Open main menu

The Zeitgeist Movement

The Zeitgeist Movement is an activist movement established in the United States in 2008 by Peter Joseph. It advocates a transformation of society and its economic system to a non-monetary system based on resource allocation and environmentalism.[1]

The Zeitgeist Movement
TZM logo.png
Formation2008; 10 years ago (2008)
TypeAdvocacy group
Region served
Key people
Peter Joseph



The Zeitgeist Movement was formed in 2008 by Joseph shortly after the late 2008 release of Zeitgeist: Addendum, the second film in the Zeitgeist film series.[2][3] The ideas were based on the Venus Project, a societal model created by social engineer Jacque Fresco. In the Venus Project, machines control government and industry and safeguard resources using an artificial intelligence "earthwide autonomic sensor system", a super-brain connected to all human knowledge.[4]

In its first year, the movement described itself as "the activist arm of the Venus Project."[1] In April 2011, partnership between the two groups ended in an apparent power struggle, with Joseph commenting, "Without [the Zeitgeist Movement], [the Venus Project] doesn’t exist – it has nothing but ideas and has no viable method to bring it to light."[2] In an interview, Fresco said that although the Zeitgeist Movement wanted to act as the 'activist arm' of Venus project, Joseph never clarified what that would entail, and Fresco's ideas of how to change society were not followed. As a result, Fresco withdrew participation in the Zeitgeist Movement.[5]

The group is critical of market capitalism, describing it as structurally corrupt and wasteful of resources. According to The Daily Telegraph, the group dismisses historic religious concepts as misleading, and embraces sustainable ecology and scientific administration of society.[6][7][8][9][10]

The first Zeitgeist documentary which predates the organization Zeitgeist movement, borrowed from the works of Eustace Mullins, Lyndon LaRouche, and Austin radio host Alex Jones. Much of its footage was taken directly from Alex Jones documentaries,[11] such as his documentary Terrorstorm.

VC Reporter's Shane Cohn summarized the movement's charter as: "Our greatest social problems are the direct results of our economic system".[12]


The group holds two annual events: Z-Day (or Zeitgeist Day), an "educational forum"[13] held in March, and an art event called Zeitgeist Media Festival.[4] The second Z-Day took place in Manhattan in 2009 and included lectures by Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco. The organizers said that local chapters also held sister events on the same day.[13] The Zeitgeist Media Festival was first held in 2011. Its third annual event took place on August 4, 2013 at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub in Los Angeles, California.[14]

The New York Times reported in 2009 that the organization's second annual event sold out Manhattan Community College in New York with 900 people who paid $10 apiece to attend. The event's organizers said that 450 connected events in 70 countries around the globe also took place.[15]


An article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion describes the movement as an example of a "conspirituality", a synthesis of New Age spirituality and conspiracy theory.[16]

Michelle Goldberg of Tablet Magazine called the movement "the world's first Internet-based apocalyptic cult, with members who parrot the party line with cheerful, rote fidelity." In her opinion, the movement is "devoted to a kind of sci-fi planetary communism", and the 2007 documentary that "sparked" the movement was "steeped in far-right, isolationist, and covertly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories."[17]

Alan Feuer of The New York Times said the movement was like "a utopian presentation of a money-free and computer-driven vision of the future, a wholesale reimagination of civilization, as if Karl Marx and Carl Sagan had hired John Lennon from his "Imagine" days to do no less than redesign the underlying structures of planetary life."[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b Travis Donovan (May 25, 2011). "The Zeitgeist Movement: Envisioning A Sustainable Future". HuffPost. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Gore, Jeff (October 12, 2011). "The view from Venus Jacque Fresco designed a society without politics, poverty and war. Will it ever leave the drawing board?". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  3. ^ Cohn, Shane. "New world re-order". VCReporter. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Zeitgeist Media Festival 2012: A celebration to be shared with the entire Earth". Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  5. ^ Interview of Fresco Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  6. ^ McElroy, Danien. June 17, 2012. Forest boy 'inspired by Zeitgeist movement'. The Telegraph. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  7. ^ Resnick, Jan (February 25, 2009). "The Zeitgeist Movement". Psychotherapy in Australia. 15 (2). ISSN 1323-0921.
  8. ^ Quotations and citations in this Wikipedia article are based on the translation from Hebrew to English of The Filmmaker Who Helped Recruit Millions for the Global Protests of the Bottom 99%, original Hebrew article by Asher Schechter, TheMarker (Israel), January 19, 2012.
  9. ^ Quotations and citations in this Wikipedia article are based on the translation from Hebrew to English of Imagine, original Hebrew article by Tzaela Kotler, Globes (Israel), March 18, 2010.
  10. ^ Swan, Rhonda (April 30, 2009). "A dream worth having". The Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009.
  11. ^ Retrieved July-10-2016
  12. ^ Cohn, Shane (May 12, 2011). "New world re-order". VCReporter. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Alan Feuer (March 17, 2009). "They've Seen the Future and Dislike the Present". The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
  14. ^ "Zeitgeist Media Festival 2012: A celebration to be shared with the entire Earth". August 14, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  15. ^ Feuer, Alan (March 16, 2009). "Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco Critique the Monetary Economy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  16. ^ Ward, Charlotte; Voas, David (2011). "The Emergence of Conspirituality". Journal of Contemporary Religion. 26 (1): 109–111. doi:10.1080/13537903.2011.539846.
  17. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (February 2, 2011). "Brave New World". Tablet. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  18. ^ Alan Feuer (March 17, 2009). "They've Seen the Future and Dislike the Present". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2018.