What is the Zeitgeist of Our Time?

‘Scholars have long maintained that each era has a unique spirit, a nature or climate that sets it apart from all epochs.  In German, such a spirit is known as ‘Zeitgeist,’ from the German words Zeit, meaning ‘time,’ and Geist, meaning ‘spirit’ or ‘ghost.’   Merriam Webster Dictionary


I have been hearing the term Zeitgeist being spoken, often by newscasters, a lot, of late.

I think that it could be said that part of the spirit of our time is a technological renaissance that is unlike any that has occurred in history.  I recall the invention of the personal computer.

I remember when a person that had a telephone in their automobile…was obviously wealthy and or important.  I recall when people would place a fake telephone antenna on the back of their automobile, when they did not have the money to really have one in their car, in order to appear richer than they really were.

In the the 1990’s, I so desperately wanted to have an internet connection for my IBM Computer that I had purchased at my favorite department store, Famous Barr…in Fairview Heights, Illinois.

My little village, Elkville, Illinois, did not have an internet provider.  When I finally was able to connect, through my telephone modem at 14 kb, I was not only thrilled but willing to wait for minutes for the front page of the New York Times to download…and forget video.

My provider, who was in Murphysboro, Illinois, notified me after the first month, that he was being forced to discontinue his Internet Service as the connection that he was offering me was three times more expensive for him…than he had been originally told that it would be.

My supervisor, who knew how badly that I wanted internet connection, encouraged me to apply for an opening for Superintendent of Building Services at SIU in Edwardsville…as they assuredly had a good internet connection.


I read, recently, that the majority of people believe that there is intelligent life on other planets.

I wonder if we will see, in our life time…the discovery of Aliens from other worlds…and will they deem us…intelligent?


There is a spirit of discovery and learning and wonder…in our current generation…like that I have not seen before.


However, there is a corresponding lack of support for our young people and their higher education and a hardness and a bitterness in our political discourse.

The spirit of our time could be described in one word…fear.

Terror invaded our lives beginning with 9/11.

Since that terrible time…politicians have used that fear to their own advantage and political gain.

Our government began spying on it’s own people…and we said…ok…if it will keep us safe.

We fought a bloody war in Iraq…that left countless thousands dead and maimed and marked with physical and emotional and mental disabilities…that accomplished nothing toward the war on terror.

We are still at war in Afghanistan…and it may never end.

Our current President was elected on a sprit of fear!


In his Inaugural Address he spoke of, ‘American Carnage.’

I watched an instructive movie, Tuesday afternoon, Suburbicon, by the Coen brothers.

In the movie, an African American family moved into an all white suburb, and the ensuing uproar of the ‘good christian white residents’ became more and more caustic and disruptive and dangerous.

The African American families’ neighbors consisted of a husband and father who subsequently had his wife murdered in order to be with her twin sister and the attempt to also have his son murdered, by the mob, in order to cover up his crime.

At the conclusion of the movie the wife’s sister and both of the killers had been murdered and the mastermind evil husband…and the neighbors were seen being interviewed by a local television station saying…that nothing had ever happened like that before the African American family moved into the neighborhood.


Our political leaders would have us seek ‘straw men and women’ to blame for the many ills that befall us.

We are at the crossroads of humanities both short and long journey.

We can give into the spirit of fear or we can choose to unite as a family of human beings on a beautiful planet…that offers us abundant gifts.

Of course…evil has to be sought out and punished…but can we not do that much better by uniting with all of our fellow members of the human family?

‘Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future.  And we all are mortal.   John F. Kennedy

TO GO WITH AFP STORY "Americans mark 9/1

New York, UNITED STATES: TO GO WITH AFP STORY “Americans mark 9/11 anniversary with new questions on vulnerability” – This 11 September 2001 file photo shows Marcy Borders covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. The woman was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

We either live at the dawn of the golden age of man and the realization of what God intended for his creation…or we live at the precipice of Armageddon.


2 responses

  1. Thought-provoking post! By the way, did you enjoy Suburbicon?

    1. Thank you, my friend. Yes, it had clear depiction of 1950’s American suburbs

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