Saturday, December 27, 2008

Zeitgeist and The Venus Project

Have you ever watched Zeitgeist or Zeitgeist Addendum? If not, these mind-blowing documentaries will surely make you question a lot of things, including religion and politics. They are both available for free download here. The first movie, Zeitgeist, argues the following:
  1. Christianity is a myth that builds on past religions and beliefs (i.e. Jesus didn't exist)
  2. 9-11 was an inside job that was used to push the United States' own agenda
  3. Corporations, including the Federal Reserve, are the real people running the world, not governments.
I know that sounds like a lot of ground to cover for a single film, but the creators did an amazing job of weaving things together. I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories either, but the manner in which the film presented its points made me watch in utter concentration.

The second film, Zeitgeist Addendum, focuses more on the 3rd argument put forward by its predecessor. It deconstructs the economic system piece by piece, and exposes its absurdity.
I'm not going to delve into the above arguments, because I truly think it is worth everyone's time to watch both films in their entirety. Let me re-emphasize that they are available for free... you have no excuse.

What I am going to talk about though, is The Venus Project. This was regarded to as the solution to world corruption in Zeitgeist Addendum. In a nutshell, this project is a proposal for a new social structure. It is based on these fundamental premises:
  1. There is no money/currency
  2. There is no government
  3. The focus of humanity is on science, technology, and smart utilization of the Earth's resources.
It sounds utopian, I know, but you have to look at with an open mind. Jacque Fresco, founder of the Venus Project, argues in Zeitgest Addendum that there are enough resources (including energy sources) for everyone in the world to live well. The only thing stopping us from making this a reality are financial/political/religious barriers that have been falsely created by society in the first place. He is an amazing person to listen to, and you can check out his YouTube Channel for more. Here's an interview with Jacque from 1974!

Once again, check out the Zeitgeist films if you haven't already. If you become as influenced as I am, then go ahead and join the movement.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

4HWW Lesson 1: The Low Information Diet

Timothy Ferriss' book, The 4-Hour Workweek, is easily one of the best non-fiction books I've read in the past few years. The key concept in the book is lifestyle design; the art of mastering the use of time and mobility to live the lifestyle you want. What makes this book so good is that Ferriss provides real, tangible, concrete ideas that you can act on right away. This is a true escape from the airy-fairy personal help books we're all used to. Although some of his ideas are a little extreme (including outsourcing your mundane tasks to India), there are a few that hit home so hard that I'll be writting about them over the next few weeks.

The Low Information Diet

This is the idea of cutting out all unnecessary sources of information that we are addicted to, and in turn focusing on things that will move our life in the direction we want. Ferriss claims that he has "never bought a newspaper or watched the news for five years". Wow. He provides many arguments for his reasoning, but the statement that "most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your control" is a real trump card.

We've been taught since childhood that reading the newspaper daily is great for your development. But this chapter made me ask the question, when was the last time that a newspaper article ever made a huge positive influence in my life? Never. Now when I tell my friends that I canceled my newspaper subscription, and their jaws drop, I just bring out the flurry of Ferriss' arguments. That's right, I canceled my subscription.

Before you start calling me lazy, realize that the key to the low information diet is "replacing input with maximum output." I took this into my own context, and now the time I spent reading the paper is going to be replaced with things that I want to do for my own personal development. Not sleeping. Not watching TV. I still read in the morning, but it will be focused blogs that teach me something, or books that I actually want to read.

In case you're worried about how you/I can be well informed on worldly affairs, Ferriss provides an answer for that too; talk to your friends about it. Ask Bob, "What's going on in the world?" and if things are that important, you'll hear about them. This makes educated people very uncomfortable, but we have to decide for ourselves what information is actually important to us. The last thing you want to do is read something because someone else told you it's important.

Lastly, the low information diet isn't for everybody. But what Ferriss suggests, as do I, is to go on a "one-week media fast". Give it a shot. Focus on working towards your lifestyle, rather than reading about other people living the lifestyle you want:P

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." - Thomas Jefferson