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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Notes On Our Fourth Meeting

Date: October 30th, 2010
Time: 11am-2pm
Location: South Texas College, J 1-408
Attendance: 7 members

The Rio Grande Valley Zeitgeist Movement held it's fourth general meeting on Saturday in McAllen, Texas and it was one of the most memorable ones we've had so far. While we originally planned to watch portions of the Rally to Restore Sanity throughout the meeting, technical difficulties prevented us from doing so. Fortunately, we had plenty of topics to discuss and some new members who were determined to keep us engaged in some thoughtful and, at times, humorous debates.

Our first hour was spent engaged in a spirited and lively discussion regarding the general disposition of the movement, its ideas and its relation to other categories of human organizations. There were moments of levity, combativeness and genuine discussion as we attempted to put into concrete terms what made the movement different from all previous examples of failed human endeavors. It was a difficult, challenging but also rewarding discussion, and I believe all parties came away with a better understanding of what we were and were not about.

After a small break and some snacks kindly provided by one member, we continued on into a more formal discussion for the remainder of the meeting. We began by taking a general topic and breaking down the various legal, financial, material and social mechanisms by which we attempt to solve problems. The example we used was automobiles. We demonstrated how the government, the monetary system, the car manufacturers and the construction companies collude, knowingly or unknowingly, to create an environment in which we are inherently unsafe, placed in positions of subjugation by the legal system and charged money for the various failings of others. We learned that a monetary system based society has false values, while a society that had positive and relevant values would demand a safer vehicle, a robust efficient and long lasting roadway system and an environment were human error were diminished or non existent. We learned that technical problems require technical solutions, not political or legal remedies.

The last hour was devoted to discussion regarding increasing membership in the chapter. This has been the first meeting in which the attendance was lower than the previous one, and we decided to address the issue. We broke down the challenges of working within the Rio Grande Valley specifically, and discussed the various ways we can address each concern. We identified issues such as religious and social values, economic progress and economic depression, as well as education level and technical literacy. All of these issues can be encountered when attempting to promote the ideas of the movement to a Valley native, and we went over some ways in which we can help surmount those issues. Making others aware of our presence and our ideas are the focus of the global effort right now, and it is important that we pursue that goal. However, we also recognize the fact that ours is an emergent organization, and growth for growth's sake is not ideal, nor is it desired. All we can do is plant the seeds in the fertile minds of those around us, and hope that in time they will join us in our cause. More importantly, the meetings are a small part of this movement, both locally and globally. The numbers of those in attendance of any given meeting are dwarfed by those who are aware of us, our ideas and our goals. We facilitate meetings to give an opportunity for those who seek social interaction and a sense of belonging in their local community. Ultimately it is in the individual actions we take, in the personal interactions with friends, family and acquaintances where we increase our membership. We recognize that this is a long term process, which will take a great deal of effort, but it will grow into the movement that it needs to be and that is all we should ask for in these very early stages of its life.

We concluded with some general movement news, discussed the latest lecture, the new film coming in January and touched on the Illinois chapter issue. We also planned for our meeting on Wednesday, which I will post more details on as soon as we have them confirmed. We adjourned after taking our customary group photograph, available below, which was aided by the highly technologically advanced timer function of the camera, much to my personal delight. Thank you for your time and attention, and I hope that you join us for future meetings.