By Ken Lassman
Nov 18, 2011
This movie and website is making the rounds lately, so I thought I'd take a closer look. As a bioregionalist, I found myself asking a series of questions about what I found. So in the spirit of the website's admonition "not to take on, unquestioningly, a new set of beliefs," I share this review with the reader.
How does the bundled mix of philosophies and theories presented on the Thrive movie/website help our understanding of the earth and assist us in coming to terms with our economic, ecological, technological, social and even spiritual challenges? How does it help me live more sustainably; how does it help attune me to the local landscapes so that I can better re-inhabit them?
At first glance, Thrive's truly miraculous bundling of UFOs, free energy, spiritual geometries, nefarious plots to control the truth, suppression and control of the many by the few, and a request to follow this site and stay tuned to see The Truth and Eternal Free Energy just seems too good to be true. This grand bundling of all of these disparate beliefs reminds me of the bundling of mortgages, both good and bad, by the financial industry, which, of course, combined with the loosening of credit and creation of impossible insurance schemes, led to financial collapse. This uncritical acceptance of Thrive's grand bundling of visions raises my hackles and my suspicions just as the financial shenanigans should have raised the suspicions of the responsible parties in our economic sphere.
At the end of the "12 Sectors" section of the website, Foster and Kimberly Gamble, the progenitors of this site tells the reader:
"The last thing we intend with Thrive is to have you take on, unquestioningly, a new set of beliefs. Our film and this ever-growing web portal are offerings to save you time gathering information, to encourage new types of questions, to nurture your own critical thinking and freedom from authority."
So I'll take them at face value and look more closely at their vision. Initially, it seems nice enough: The Arts are good, economics should not exploit, schools should do a much better job of educating, our planet needs to return to a more balanced, healthy place, we should take back our control of our health, we need local control and access to media, and our relationships would be better if we didn't blame each other. But then the cracks begin to form, at least in my opinion, and it is not light that shines through those cracks.
Under the Environment Sector, here is what the Gambles have to say about Climate Change:
"...The real open and public debate around global warming has been essentially non-existent. The general consensus is that greenhouse gases (GHG’s) are being released into Earth’s atmosphere at a growing rate – in large part due to human activity – creating a greenhouse effect that traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere and warms the planet. While these emissions are clearly polluting our breathing air and causing a number of other environmental disasters, it does not necessarily mean that human behavior is causing the warming of the planet."
First of all, having public debates about anthropogenic global warming does not change its reality, which really is supported by overwhelming data from all kinds of measurements, ranging from ocean acidification, melting glaciers, ocean levels and temperatures, the earth's albedo, and, of course the land temperature records. What is particularly frightening about Gambles' piece is what follows:
"Global leaders, bankers, and corporations have a lot to gain from man-made global warming being accepted as truth and they plan to capitalize on it."
So the fact that I can no longer skate on my pond like I did as a kid, or that the monarchs are having a harder time migrating, or that the blooming times of the wildflowers in my valley have shifted is due to a conspiracy led by global leaders, bankers and corporations who are attempting to control me? The arguments put up on this website for questioning climate change being impacted by human activity can easily be dismantled by going to www.skepticalscience.com if you have any doubts raised by the website's arguments.
So as I dug deeper into the website, the next question that formed in my mind was: what is Mr. Gambles' agenda? Some answers began to emerge in the following sections:
-In the Governance Sector, it becomes apparent that he believes that the direction we need to go is probably best described as a type of Ayn Randian libertarian utopia in order to avoid a "government that limits our potential and violates our rights." He promotes the New Hampshire Freestate projects, which is a movement to have 20,000 libertarians move into the state in order to take it over, while paradoxically at the same time in the infrastructure section, he promotes New Urbanism, which calls for green, sustainable city planning.
-The Infrastructure Sector also wisely describes the dangers of radiation from nuclear power, but oddly focuses on the UFO gifted "radiant zero point" and magnetic free energy devices that have been brutally suppressed by those who want to maintain power over all of us. A paranoid hypothesis, but there is something about this that is even more troubling to me. As a living entity living in a dynamic, living landscape that is inextricably tied to the energetics of a living, vital planet, I have to ask myself: what if everyone had access to free, unlimited energy sources? What would that do to the biosphere? What is more important to me to learn how to do: extract free, limitless energy from the space time fabric, or learn how to live within the fabric of the ecosystem's energy use patterns?
-The Judicial Sector is all about protecting individual libertarian ideals and says nothing about being an integral part of the living Gaian biosphere as the source of all justice and balance, as outlined in Thomas Berry's writing.
-The Science Sector talks about two lenses through which everything should be seen:
1) the torus, which, is a New Age update of the hologram, and the fractal: pretty, but of very little practical use except as an apparent obsession. I say this because he actually uses a picture of a bagel as one proof that the torus is a fundamental pattern found in nature! He also uses the research of some gentleman by the name of Nassim Haramein as proof of the importance of black holes in the middle of galaxies, which he supposedly proposed in 1991, when even a cursory glance at black hole theory shows that this insight was showing up in the 1960s and 1970s.
2) Global Domination Agenda???? This is the second lens through which we should view science and our universe????
Finally, he talks about the philosophy and insights of Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry as examples of the need to defend "honoring the rights of each individual to the security of their person, property and privacy and to have contracts honored." Thomas is surely spinning in his grave over this interpretation of his Rights of the Planet thesis.
I'm sorry, but what wisdom that exists on this website has been bundled with such idiosyncratic, confused snippets that what wisdom exists loses its value just as the rotten apples spoils the barrel. I do not feel that it helps me understand the land, the life within it, and how my community can heal itself, re-integrate sustainably into the landscapes it is nestled within, and it does not give me deep connections from my locale with the rest of the universe. Time to move to a more nourishing set of readings and resources, in my humble opinion. I have some recommendations for much better insights than the Thrive agenda, how 'bout others?