As of today I will no longer be the national coordinator for zeitgeist Netherlands; I resign.
Seeing the trust that was given to me by so many and my need for a proper closure comes the need to explain this further.
It’s been great years and a great learning curve. I’ve initially learned a lot from the ideas circulating within this movement. It was what once attracted me to becoming more involved: that urge to understand better and change our world accordingly. Through the years I’ve met a lot of people that have helped me grow in many ways. I thank you all for that.
I’ve also learned a lot about group dynamics, organisation and the individual on the other hand. As a movement seeking awareness and realisation of ideas, it is the ideas we would like to pursuit. Ideas can get strengthened within a group, or fatigued. It’s the fine balance of setting the conditions and environment for ideas to flourish into better understandings and/or actions. All to often I see the opposite happening. Tirelessly ideas/initiatives get discussed for the group to all agree on. What ís zeitgeist and what is not? In this simple process the apparent need to agree undermines the spirit of the movement. The need to agree gives way to people over ideas, to dominance over the spirit of the idea. It in the end, gives way to institutionalisation, hierarchy and thus a power structure. More importantly, it kills the vibe and power of enthusiasm that came with the original idea.
As a movement loyal to a train of thought, say scientific, a space where ideas can be played with and improved upon I see as essential. A place where you can introduce and pursuit your idea passionately, see who wants to tag along in it and go for it. Be critical where you see questions: either one of you might learn. And even if apparently not, you will learn not to judge and let it be. In a place that knows no mistakes, the other might ask for your feedback during a later point in his learning curve. Likewise, you might come to see the idea in new perspective and contribute to it still. This mindset shapes a movement of individuals. A movement of individuals where not persuasion, but inspiration is the driving force; where trust makes rules fade; where diversity flourishes, not conformity decides.
With this movement of individuals comes the freedom to inspire from a loving passion. As a movement seeing itself under the banner of zeitgeist however, the need to agree comes with rules of conduct, rules in general, institutionalisation, hierarchy and power structure. It concerns itself with itself. How do we spread the name? What ís zeitgeist? How would it reflect the name -thus me? By linking your identity to zeitgeist or any name, you are disempowering yourself. This dependancy -and apparent need to control- creates stress, makes passive and breeds angst. Stress creates apathy, passiveness prevents actual change you could bring about yourself and angst prevents being passionate/loving. All in all, it blocks the imagination, hinders inspiration and deteriorates motivation. At any and all time the individual is always more important than the group, institution or culture.
Nowhere is this way of conduct more paramount than in the United States and the Anglo-Saxon based international chapter. I have actively been passive as chapter coordinator in this international arena as to preserve the local freedom to cultivate each and every-bodies own way of going about. There are people with 3D-printers and 3D-initiatives, people that reached one of hollands biggest papers with the cover story ‘One day the ATM won’t hand out any money. And then?’ -filling pages four and five on technological sustainability like solar and aquaponics, people involved with the initiation of occupy that reached one of hollands most watched news-entertainment shows, people working on eco-housing, people stirred a national debate on european seed policy, people debunked a national cover story on solar unreliability, people inspired local businesses for solar and aquaponics and múch more importantly: the state of mind of people that got inspired by own research or by each and every one of us sharing the ideas and triggering curiosity. None of these examples mentioned zeitgeist. It was a state of mind, compassionate heart and courage for initiative that got noticed by others’ curiosity.
In my years as national coordinator I have seen many people get inspired and have been fortunate to experience and nourish peoples personal growth, just as they have helped me grow. It has been most rewarding and worth all my time, energy, hard work and love see translated in lifestyles and practical, future-oriented solutions. These individuals have all outgrown the movement into their own ways of lifestyle and paths of change. They have outgrown the name of zeitgeist. As rewarding as these years have been for me, there are many more roads I’m passionate in pursuing and dedicating my time, energy, hard work and love towards. As the zeitgeist movement seems to attract mostly the alpha-male ‘zeitgeisters’ instead of creating the nourishing environment for ideas, I must conclude I have outgrown the need to be involved as well.
Remember, that change comes from within. It’s in how we shape our views, our world and how (e.g. loving) we interact with our environment. It’s what we do. Be the change you want to see in the world and this change will flourish around you.
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