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9 Jan 2012

Film review: Why ‘Thrive’ is best avoided

What do you do when you are the heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune and you have spent years surrounding yourself with new agey thinking and conspiracy theories?  You make a film like ‘Thrive‘, the latest conspiracy theory movie that is popping up all over the place.  I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me “have you seen ‘Thrive’?”  Well I have now, and, to be frank, it’s dangerous tosh which deserves little other than our derision.  It is also a very useful opportunity to look at a worldview which, according to Georgia Kelly writing at Huffington Post, masks “a reactionary, libertarian political agenda that stands in jarring contrast with the soothing tone of the presentation”.   Here’s the trailer to give you a taste:

Visually the film is like some kind of Star Trek fan movie crossed with a National Geographic wildlife film, and is largely built around Gamble’s own years of ‘research’ into the question of what it is that “stops life on earth from thriving”.  A reasonable question to ask, but his approach can hardly be called ‘research’ due to the low standards he accepts as ‘evidence’ and his all-round lack of critical analysis.  His research, such as it is, is cherry-picked to deepen and support his established worldview, rather than the worldview being built from a careful analysis of the evidence.  As we’ll see, this is a dangerous foundation.

So here’s the film’s argument in a nutshell.  Humanity is killing itself and the world around it because free energy sources are being deliberately kept from us, cures for cancer are being kept from us, all because we are controlled by an invisible elite who want to create a ‘new world order’ to control us all and prevent us from thriving.  So let’s look at some of the film’s central arguments in turn.

Free energy machines

One of the key threads of the film revolves around free energy, the idea that we can generate unlimited clean energy by just tapping into the ‘torus’, a shape that supposedly pervades the universe (see right), and which could yield endless free energy.  ‘Thrive’ would have you believe that there are dedicated independent scientists around the world bravely defying the laws of thermodynamics only to have their work seized by the FBI, their patents bought up and ‘lost’, or harassed into silence.  Yet all we are offered as evidence is some grainy film of machines that could be anything doing anything, and some smart computer graphics of spinning torus shapes.

If this amazing breakthrough that would rewrite science and win Nobel Prizes for anyone involved were actually a reality, and if you were going to spend huge amounts to make a film to argue for their existence which you would then put out into the public arena, surely you would get a working model of such a device into the studio with some impartial scientists to verify it in operation?  If they actually exist, and actually work, then this wouldn’t be a big challenge surely?  As Kyle Hill writes in his review of the film, “wanting something to be true does not make it more possible”, and “someone wanting to invent such a device is not evidence”.  ‘Free energy’ is a world notoriously riddled with charlatans and cranks.

Gamble argues that these technologies could provide “enough energy to transform the entire earth”, and here’s a key point I want to challenge.  The idea that free energy would be a universal good (even if it were feasible, which it’s not – the US Patent and Trademark Office gets so many nonsensical requests for patents on perpetual energy devices that they now refuse to even look at them without a working model) is deeply dubious.  Kimberly Carter Gamble, Foster Gamble’s partner, states at one point in the film that:

“… so much of the pain on the planet has to do with the lack of access to energy”.

Wow, now there’s a statement.  How many people on this planet would argue that much of the pain on the planet has to do with the developed world having lack of access to energy?  While of course for millions in the developing world, lack of access to energy is a huge impediment to being able to attain a reasonable standard of living and to move beyond poverty, in the developed world, cheap energy (you could argue that for the past 150 years fossil fuels have been so cheap that they might as well have been ‘free energy’) has allowed Western nations to conquer, plunder, colonise, mine, clearcut, dominate and oppress.

While it has also allowed us to do many good things, energy cannot be seen in isolation from our relationship with other resources.  Free energy would mean we would drain the aquifers faster, degrade the soils faster, work our way through the earth’s other depleting resources at an accelerated rate.  Nowhere in the film is the idea of limits even mentioned, apart from occasional mentions that believing in ‘scarcity’ is one of our problems.

Can anyone seriously argue that the United States (which is principally the focus of this film) with a new free source of energy would be a more responsible member of the global community?  Would they happily share it with the rest of the world? (the current stand-off about Iran’s nuclear energy programme rather indicates that they wouldn’t).  I would argue that it is only the realisation that we are nearing the end of the age of cheap energy, cheap fossil fuels, that is finally bringing some sense, some awareness of the fact that we live on a finite planet and that we need to live more responsibly.  Gamble’s argument that we could have enough free energy “to transform the entire earth” fills me with dread and foreboding rather than excitement.

We are told that oil companies are spending “huge amounts of money” suppressing free energy, with no evidence presented to support that at all.  I would hazard a bet though that if even any money at all is spent on such things, it is a tiny fraction of what is spent on climate change denial, funding dubious organisations which attempt to undermine climate science, all of which gets no mention here.  Of course we already have technologies that can harness natural energies and which provide clean energy – they are called renewables, we know they work, and we can install them today.  ‘Free energy’ is a fantasy, and will always remain so.  As Kyle Hill writes in his review, “just because the universe is hard to understand and many times mysterious, does not mean that anything goes”.

Down the conspiracy rabbithole

Then we are bombarded with the full range of conspiracy thinking.  9/11 was an inside job, there is a conspiracy to suppress natural medicines, “Big Brother’s not coming, it’s already here”, we are one step away from a “military dictatorship”, a climate treaty in Copenhagen would have been “a tax base for tyranny”, there are ‘chemtrails’ in the sky to deliberately poison us, there is a deliberate attempt to reduce the world’s population underway, there is only a cancer epidemic because all the cures have been suppressed, etc, etc.

UFOs are also brought into the picture, which is odd as they serve little to deepen his argument, rather the argument seems to go like this: there are UFOs and they are extraterrestrial craft, and in order for them to have got here, they must have free energy machines, so therefore the Elite must know about this and be keeping it from us.  As he writes on the film’s website, “if we can expose the suppression, reveal the truth about ET visitation, and further develop new energy technologies that ETs apparently rely on, then we can decentralize power and make massive strides toward a thriving future”.  I’ll leave you to decide whether that 2+2+2=9 kind of logic makes any sense to you, and whether the word ‘apparently’ constitutes an evidence base.  Naturally, no evidence is presented to support this other than a few fuzzy videos of lights in the sky in different parts of the world.

Wheeled out as ‘experts’ to support the film’s arguments are Deepak Chopra and, erm, David Icke, among others.  Gamble is keen on talking about “my research”, yet his research, such as it is, is so undemanding that I am reminded of Sir Terry Frost’s words, “if you know before you look, you cannot see for knowing”.  Gamble wheels out the classic conspiracy theorists’ gambit, “could I be wrong?  Perhaps.  But what if I’m not?”  No, you are wrong.  And even if you were right, you have presented us with so little evidence to back up you claims that you would have no way of knowing whether you were right or not.

He also does the other classic conspiracy theorist’s trick of saying “don’t just take my word for it, do the research yourself”, offering links on the film’s website that all back up his arguments, rather than giving a rounded balanced view of arguments and counterarguments.  There’s some dreadful rubbish on there, the film ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ is presented as evidence that climate change is probably not a problem, for example, and the appalling section on climate change beautifully states “those who point to solar activity as a cause of global warming are often ridiculed and accused of being funded by the oil industry, even when that’s not the case”.  “Even when”?

Ah, so that’s what ‘Thrive’ is all about …

Then, at the end of the film, we finally get into Thrive’s manifesto, it’s vision for the future and how we might get there.  There is lots in there that I wouldn’t disagree with, more local food, renewable energy, local banking, local shopping and so on, apart from free energy being thrown into the mix too.  But now, it is in this final section of ‘Thrive’ that the dark side of the film emerges.  One of the things put forward, alongside local food, renewables and so on, is “little or no taxes”.  Eh?  Where did that come from?!  Ah, now we get into the real agenda of the film, a kind of New Age libertarianism, a sort of cosmic Tea Party, and it all starts to get deeply alarming.

Gamble sets out his 3 stages to get to humanity’s being able to thrive.  Firstly, he argues, we need to hugely scale back the defence industry and the Federal Reserve.  Well I could go along with that, but then the second is “shrink government’s role in order to protect individual liberty”, and the third is then, because we are now freer, with “no involuntary tax and no involuntary governance” and with “rules but no rules” (?), we can all now thrive.  OK, whoa, let’s pause here for a moment.  Indeed the film’s website goes further, describing ‘involuntary taxation’ as “plunder” and ‘involuntary governance’ as “tyranny”.

Thrive's vision of a thriving world: no taxes, no government, 'free energy charging stations' and community markets.

In her review, Georgia Kelly quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes as saying “taxes are what we pay for a civilised society”.  In spite of all it’s cosmic graphics and pictures of forests from the air, it is in essence a kind of New Age Tea Party promo film, arguing for a society with no government, no taxes, no laws, alongside “interplanetary exploration”, which somehow combine to create a world that respects the rights of all.  Apparently, this would lead to a world where “everyone would have the opportunity to thrive”.  In reality, it would lead to a world in which the wealthy would thrive, but the rest of us would lose healthcare, social welfare, libraries, public transport, pension entitlement, social housing etc etc.  Sounds more like a surefire route to the kind of Dickensian world that led to the creation of a welfare state in the first place.

Responding to any of the truly global issues, such as climate change (which ‘Thrive’ clearly dismisses as part of the conspiracy), would no longer happen due to intergovernmental co-operation presumably being interpreted as steps towards a ‘one world government’. The film presents its suggestions in complete isolation from any notions of ‘society’ and community, presenting a vision of the future where the entire global population is living the same lifestyle as Gamble, the resources to enable this presumably being imported from other planets, or perhaps created afresh using magic?

Nowhere in the film do you hear the words ‘less’, or anything about reduced consumption in the West.  Just as free energy and cures for cancer are our birthright, so, presumably, is the right to consume as much as we like – to think otherwise is to lapse into a ‘scarcity’ mindset.  What I find most alarming about ‘Thrive’ is that most of the people who have asked me “have you seen Thrive?” are under 20, and they seem genuinely excited by it.  Perhaps it is the simplicity of the message that appeals, the “all we need to do is” clarity of its ask.  But having to discuss why free energy machines are impossible and the shortcomings of conspiracy theories with otherwise educated young people who are inheriting a warming world with its many deep and complex challenges is deeply depressing.

How we might actually help the world thrive

‘Thrive’ is dangerous because it invites us to put our faith for the future in a fantasy.  A fantasy that free energy is possible, a fantasy that the only thing that is preventing us from creating a benign and enlightened society is a handful of powerful families.  Things that are already very successfully preventing the world from thriving include:

  • climate change (you try thriving in a world with a world whose temperature has risen 11°F, as the IEA warned this week)
  • the fact that we fail to see reducing our oil demand as a key as a key aspect of energy security, oil prices having quadrupled since 2003 and going nowhere other than up, UK North Sea oil production falling by 22.5% in 2011 (a record fall) and North Sea natural gas production falling by 29.5% (a record fall) in 2011
  • Social inequality, which as the book  ‘The Spirit Level’ so brilliantly showed, underpins many of our other social problems
  • Our economic system, designed to channel money upwards rather than downwards and to enrich the 1%, but this is a sufficiently abhorrent system (see, for example, Nicholas Shaxson’s brilliant ‘Treasure Islands’, review coming soon) without invoking secret societies and conspiracies to explain it

The solutions are already out there, there are proven technologies, proven strategies, and we need to work on all levels, as indeed the film argues, and to withdraw our support from a corrupt and ineffectual model which is taking us over the brink, and put that support into creating a more resilient, localised and accountable model.  However, it’s not about ‘interplanetary travel’, it’s about finding our feet, here and now, in the communities and the soils that surround us.  It’s not about ‘free energy’, it’s about learning to appreciate what a precious thing energy is and learning to live well with less of it.  It’s not about ‘no involuntary taxation’, it’s about taxes that disincentivise the things that are narrowing our future options, and incentivising the things we need to get in place urgently.  It’s not about ‘no government’, it’s about truly democratic government using its considerable powers to build resilience, decarbonise society, shift the collective focus.  The few countries in the world that are actually seriously engaging with the climate issue are those with stronger government, not weaker government.

I have occasionally been interviewed for a film and then squirmed with embarrassment when I have seen the final context in which my interview has been used.  I can only imagine that some of the progressives, such as Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, who appear in this film, are similarly horrified with ‘Thrive’.  It is a film that offers us nothing, and which, taken to its logical conclusion, would lead to our having thrown away the few options for actually thriving that remain open to us.  It is the film equivalent of a self-published book, with no critical editor rounding off the corners, and as a self-funded film a sense that you can do what you like.  Avoid.


Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


9 Jan 6:31pm

Thanks for this review, a very nice read.

Saw the trailer for Thrive a couple of months ago and couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the madness of the whole thing, especially the glowing free energy machines!

Thankfully no one I know has suggested I watch it, I’d worry for their sanity if they did!

9 Jan 6:41pm

it is a point of view .. cherished for one reason only .. the status quo is failing.

it may not be right, but neither is this current moment

9 Jan 6:49pm

Hi Rob,

Great hatchet job, er, i mean review. That’s one to steer clear of, then. It really sounds like paranoia, a sort of “don’t believe anything they tell you, but believe everything WE tell you” position.

However, there’s one point on which I must disagree with you. Although it’s a bit rich (so to speak) coming from the heir to a massive fortune — the makers of Thrive could have a point about taxation, I think.

When I look at the majority of the things most governments actually do (rather than what they promise to do) with our tax money, I think that on balance, not paying tax is probably a moral act. (It depends what else you do with your money and/or time, of course…)

On balance, in the real world, taxation and spending is almost always regressive… the poor pay more than the rich, and the rich get more benefits than the poor.

If only we had the option to pay for health care and education WITHOUT subsidising agribusiness, road building, bankers’ bonuses and war. Sadly we don’t.

Even the “good” things done with tax money are almost always done in a way that creates dependency and passivity.

People are led to believe that communities couldn’t possibly organise their own health care, education, defense etc. without the intervention of government. I would have thought that, with your experience of community action in the Transition movement, you’d be a bit more enlightened!

On another note, I notice Deepak Chopra (whom you clearly don’t rate as an expert on anything!) is still teaching at Schumacher College. I’d be interested to hear your opinion on that…

9 Jan 6:49pm

Ha! This just proves that you’re part of the conspiracy… *it doesn’t

Doug Atkins
9 Jan 7:35pm

I’ve been a part of Transition for a long time; it’s a vital movement. But you are dead wrong about this, Rob. And your position reveals a danger about Transition: that it appears to feel that peak oil is identical to energy power-down, and that power-down needs to be the basis for cultural transition.
Thus, you’ve backed yourself into a Luddite corner, where you think the “movement’s” relevance is tied to total power-down, rather than transition to new forms and sources of both energy and socio-economic process. “Free energy” and the associated structural reforms referenced in this trailer are real possibilities, grounded in real science and sound sociology.
You would do well to become better informed, like I have over many years of serious critical itellectual and scientific study, and not take the ill-informed strategy of a knee-jerk opposition to these ideas.
Your position smacks ultimately of a “theological” or ideological dictation of doctrinal policy to your “followers”–a dangerous precedent.

Claudio Contreras
9 Jan 7:53pm

WTF was Amy Goodman doing in a trailer for this nonsense??

patrick graham
9 Jan 8:12pm

The irony of an over-rich git like him preaching about “powerful elites” to the rest of us seems to escape him…

9 Jan 9:35pm

Spot on, Rob.

It’s business-as-usual wrapped up in New Age newspeak.

The former, is, of course, part of its attraction.

You don’t have to abandon your profligate, decadent ways, true believers, because everyone can be as profligate and decadent as you! Amen!

Sad, very sad, and so dangerous.

Judith N
9 Jan 9:53pm

We showed the film Thrive here, billing it as controversial, conversation starter. It served that purpose. It’s, to my mind, so over-the-top and sprays out a cacophony of thin theses… there was almost too much to play with…

One of my favorite comments from a young man in the audience afterward was along the lines of: “As a confirmed capitalist, after watching this I am inspired to go home and spread chicken manure around my garden.”

I particularly was amused by the images of the interviews conducted as if on a flying disk, the people sitting in their chairs, soaring oblivious over naturally stunning landscapes. Thinking about it now, that encapsulates the disconnect i felt in the whole film.

Mike Grenville
9 Jan 10:21pm

Unlike Rob sadly the many people who have been telling me about Thrive are well over 20 which I find even more depressing.

In the days before the internet and easy access to self publishing, even getting a book in print provided some sort of filter to the quality of information available. The next level would be whether it is a book with a respected publisher. Now anyone can publish their thoughts online and likewise make a film and distribute it online. Along with this wider access to information, there has been little discussion about how to evaluate information and sources. Rather like telling some one you don’t know you met in the street telling you that there are bears between the cracks in the pavements and because someone in the street told you then you take it that it must be true.

Charles Eisenstein has also reviewed the film in an article saying ‘The Story is Wrong but the Spirit is Right’

One of his main points of criticism of the film is: “To put primary blame on the global elite says that the primary problem is not the system; it is the masters of the system. If only they were not such awful, greedy — in a word, evil — people, they would relent and create a new system. Certainly that’s what you and I would do if we were in a position of power — right? Because we, unlike they, are decent people. In other words, the culprit for the planet’s woes is evil, which implies that the solution is to somehow defeat or eliminate evil.”

The reason that Eisenstein says the spirit is right about the film is that he thinks that “it will stimulate people to deepen their questioning of the boundaries of consensus reality.” Sadly I think the effect of the film is rather than stimulating questioning, it is more likely to make people feel disempowered and less likely to get out and start doing things in their community.

9 Jan 10:52pm

So where did you get the evidence free energy is not real? Where did you get the evidence libertarianism is unrealistic and dangerous. It sounds to me you are doing the same thing as Gamble did, talking from your own pre conceived world view and taking the words that best suit your agenda.

I do agree on the lack of evidence and critical look at Gamble’s part, but at least he is thinking and using some positivity with it. You are shooting down ideas because they could end up making an elite grow more powerful. Wake up and smell the shit dude, they already are, and we haven’t been further from a libertarian society in ages.

9 Jan 11:52pm

When someone initiates a review by telling people to avoid something, I am already suspicious. I see that this post is dated today, January 9, 9 days hence from The President of the United States signing and thereby enacting the NDAA with the express provision that war is now officially being waged on American soil by overriding the 1878 Act of Posse Comitatus, which prohibits the use of military to “execute the laws”.

The newly signed NDAA now gives the President the right to order your military to seize any American citizen suspected of terrorism (occupiers were recently designated the official label of “low level terrorist”; read: anyone loudly dissenting with the status quo) and have them renditioned (seized) without cause, charge or trial, and to further, be held indefinitely in a military prison, tried by a military tribunal. The constitutional right to due process has just been set aside.

These are unarguable legal facts. The only thing that can be argued is if, when or who will apply this new law and to whom.

We humans have an unerring habit of waiting until we not only hit bottom, but have bounced a few times, before we wake up.

Write and believe what you will about the film, but at least make space, and perhaps even encourage, people to see it and think for themselves, lest you reveal yourself to be part of the problem.

We are where we are because people have abdicated their critical thinking. It’s far easier to ridicule a “conspiracy theory” than to research and realize that clever people have employed a complex yet reasonably simple and intact strategy for herding financial flow for centuries, AND that I was fooled.

This can be a wonderfully circular conversation which interests me little. Search anything I’ve mentioned above and read for yourself.

Peace and the best to all.

10 Jan 12:00am

Thanks – I haven’t seen the movie – only the trailer and it is very sci fi. BUT – there is a basic ‘truth’ in it re the mult-national’s power. They fought very powerfully through the media in Australia – and behind the scenes to stop the mining tax. They could bankrupt a nation with litigation, therefore, its Government beware – don’t rock the boat. They do buy up any R & D that may upset their future planning. I really don’t think these mega companies give a toss about humanity or the planet. Its the shareholders first, second and right to the end. Its make all the money we can now and piss on the future – it doesn’t exist in our time.

occupy paddy
10 Jan 12:06am

Thanks for the heads up Rob.

Will probably watch it now for a laugh.

All the best


10 Jan 12:49am

Wondering if my post at 11:52am is going to pass muster here since it’s not towing the party line here. In my conversations with Foster I’ve been impressed by his insistence for sourcing everything he claims. He said it’s one of the reasons the film took eight years and a sizable chunk of his personal fortune to make. Go to the website and sift through the bibliography. I don’t see footnotes for anyone’s refutations above, just a piling on of ridicule.

Let me know when your book is out. The one substantiating all of your fascinating claims as to what is spurious and ludicrous about the disappearance of your democracy.

Oh, right. It just kind of happened because of a glitch in the system.

Let’s all laugh together.

10 Jan 1:27am

I didn’t realize you’re a Transition founder, Rob. I am all the more mystified by your overt hostility toward Foster and his effort.

I have great respect for the Transition movement and have begun to engage in our local Transition Mill Valley. I am noticing how slowly its been taking root and I’ve been thinking about ways to energize the relationships between members so that we can have more efficient collaborations.

The core of any collaboration is respect. We can’t always see eye to eye, and in fact, I think it’s kind of miraculous when we do.

What’s particularly difficult is know how Foster would most likely love to promote your efforts. It’s who he is.

Did it ever occur to you to engage him in a meaningful conversation before you published a colorful review ripping his life’s project that he believes is a service? Is this the spirit of Transition? My impression is that Transition REQUIRES respect, recognition, collaboration and perhaps then synergy to bond communities.

If you stand for what you promote, may I suggest temporarily recanting your article and talking to the man you vilify. You may say you’re only critiquing the movie, but it comes off offensive toward the man.

I have my own body of work and strangely it has to do with fostering collaboration. Transition initiatives are foremost in my mind as principal potentials for strong hubs in community.

I’d love to experience evidence that this is true at the root of its culture. That rests with you.

Brad K.
10 Jan 1:32am


tapping into the ‘torus’, a shape that supposedly pervades the universe

It seems to me that the torus is merely a name change from that universal initiator, the donut. The donut has launched many technological breakthroughs and other successful endeavors.

I blame my lack of current solvency, currency wise, on an obsession with a related breakfast icon, the “bear claw”. While similar in composition, the addition of cinnamon might be crucial in damping out the initiation effect. Then, too, I haven’t explored the metaphysical aspects of this slashed rectangle of pastry.

But I see the donut, or torus, if you will, as an initiator, a catalyst. It doesn’t transform anything into energy, other than it’s own substance. And, once consumed, the metaphysics of the toroidal shape devolve into a somewhat guilty feeling of enjoyment.

For energy, though, I put a pint of water in the microwave, hit the “2” button, and consume a bit more coal somewhere in West Virginia. But it makes acceptable tea.

Perhaps the witch-hunt of the 1980s, when P&G was hounded for their supposedly ‘satanic’ logo (Man in the moon looking out on 13 stars) put the evil conspiracy notion in their heads.

Josef Davies-Coates
10 Jan 2:38am

I agree, Thrive is laughable crap. I am truly saddened that so many people whom I actually respect for the work they do (and who are well over 20) have recommended it to me as a “must see”.

My favourite part of your review is this bit:

“The solutions are already out there, there are proven technologies, proven strategies, and we need to work on all levels, as indeed the film argues, and to withdraw our support from a corrupt and ineffectual model which is taking us over the brink, and put that support into creating a more resilient, localised and accountable model. However, it’s not about ‘interplanetary travel’, it’s about finding our feet, here and now, in the communities and the soils that surround us. It’s not about ‘free energy’, it’s about learning to appreciate what a precious thing energy is and learning to live well with less of it. It’s not about ‘no involuntary taxation’, it’s about taxes that disincentivise the things that are narrowing our future options, and incentivising the things we need to get in place urgently. It’s not about ‘no government’, it’s about truly democratic government using its considerable powers to build resilience, decarbonise society, shift the collective focus”

I’m thinking about getting a Zeitgeist/ Thrive-like film made that looks and promotes these really existing solutions instead of scary techno-utopian nonsense…

David Eggleton
10 Jan 4:42am

I’m aware of some comments that are not showing up here. They are from another perspective. So what?

Rob, what moved you to do more than issue an alert?

10 Jan 5:02am

it seems this movie has touched a nerve. to so fervently suggest that people “avoid” it to me means that there is something in you don’t want people to see.

10 Jan 6:40am

I found that the film was informative, with much food for thought. Perhaps I’m naive, or open-minded. If you are going to discourage your readers to steer clear of the film you owe it to them to at least be honest and accurate. For example, 9/11 wasn’t even mentioned in the film.

10 Jan 12:56pm

Thanks all for your comments. I don’t think there has been an article here before that has been retweeted as many times as this one. A few bits of feedback to some of the comments above. Doug suggested that by denying the idea that ‘free energy’ is possible, I have backed myself into a ‘Luddite corner’. My sense is that free energy is not possible, you cannot get more energy out of something than you put in, it is simply not possible. To give up on the idea of free energy is not Luddite, it is common sense. I’m all for actual proven renewable energy technology, and for ongoing research into improvements to that, but not fantasies.

Michel argues that Gamble is at least thinking and using some positivity. The whole point of the review is to argue that although the film presents itself as positive and benign, the underlying message is actually quite dangerous if thought through to its conclusion. I’m all for positivity, Transition is a very positive approach, but it’s not built on foundations which are, on closer inspection, fantasy or which mask a quite dangerous political agenda.

David asks why comments aren’t showing up… the way Transition Culture works is that if someone hasn’t had a comment posted here before I have to moderate it. I do also sometimes have to go to bed, so there may sometimes be a delay in moderating comments about which there’s not much I can do. Jim suggests that I owe it to readers to be honest and accurate. I’m pretty sure that everything I have referred to about the film is accurate, and if you watch it again you will see that there is a short sequence that makes reference to 9/11 and includes footage of it. I also put in as many links as I could when I referred to material on Thrive site. Thanks all!

10 Jan 2:01pm

Shame you only focus on a small part of the critiques, and not the whole argument, which was funnily enough part of my initial critique…

Mike Grenville
10 Jan 2:04pm

Claudio wondered what was Amy Goodman doing in this film. Along with Paul Hawken, Deepak Chopra and others I’m pretty sure they were not aware of the slant the finished product would take.

10 Jan 2:25pm

as the community starts to take a larger role in its own welfare, doing things more effectively and more efficiently, the government will naturally take a lesser role… so Rob i’m a bit worried about you throwing out the baby with the bath water with the way that you react to the reduced taxes stuff here. that said i haven’t seen the film, only the trailer.

i just feel that: work > tax > govern > welfare etc is an outdated way of doing things and that when there’s talk of reducing the size of the state people tend to fall into a kind of old school left versus right mentality. I’m sure we’re ready for a new kind of system not ‘accessible’ during Dickens’ time and capable of planetary cooperation that is again only starting to be possible now… i just haven’t had the time to flesh it out yet ready for this post :)

10 Jan 3:39pm

This is the same level of crap as the movie “The Secret” which was out a few years ago. Didn’t Oprah promote that loser? This is probably done by the same people. Lol!

10 Jan 5:10pm

Rob, you stated “The whole point of the review is to argue that although the film presents itself as positive and benign, the underlying message is actually quite dangerous if thought through to its conclusion.”

What is dangerous? That people might start digging up suppressed scientific research and realize that maybe we’ve been duped? That people might start thinking for themselves instead of listening to what all of our current establishment tells us? You know, that “doing your own research” thing.

By saying the message is “dangerous,” you are no better than any of the other politicians, world leaders and 1% who think they “know what’s best” for humanity. Information is free and people should be able to do with it what they wish.

Therein lies the problem with our current society – no one trusts each other. And we can all see that and we can see why – because our governing institutions uphold current modes of thinking that assume and pander to the mistaken believe that humanity is inherently selfish and evil and must be governed. I say that’s bullsh!t.

10 Jan 6:39pm

While I agree that free energy is total bunk ( a lot people don’t realize the implications of a violation of the laws of thermodynamics would contradict pretty much everything else we know about how the universe works, and require a total overhaul of almost the entirety of human knowledge), and that Thrive appears to be New Agey conspiracy theory with an added coating of anarcho-capitalism and not much else, I do think some of the undertones (unintentional or not) of this review are reason to be concerned.

Specifically, the idea that free energy would be dangerous because it would enable a continuation of the status quo and accelerate environmental degradation through perpetuating overconsumption. While these are valid points, it seems to me they could be used for almost *any* new technology, even renewables. Additionally, if a cheaper, cleaner source of energy is discovered (say, someone, against all odds, finally figures out how to get aneutronic fusion to work effectively), I think we’d be fools not to embrace it- if nothing else, it would help tremendously with the decarbonization effort. Yes, overfishing, deforestation, food insecurity, water shortages, etc, will all still be a problem, but that’s true regardless of our energy situation- those are limiting factors in and of themselves, even if we do have free energy, and we will need to restructure how we do things to address them no matter what.

Lastly, while I don’t know the context (and therefore may be taking offense at slights that aren’t actually there), as a planetary scientist, the slam against interplanetary travel seemed unwarranted- unless, of course, these guys were advocating space colonization as the cure for all our ills (which, given their libertarian techno-utopianism, is *entirely* possible -they’d fit right in with the L-5 crowd)- in which case, yeah, they’re crazy.

White Indian
10 Jan 7:58pm

There’s the John Frum Cargo Cult in the South Pacific hoping for free stuff.

Then there’s the John Galt* Cargo Cult in North America hoping for free stuff.


John Galt was the protagonist in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged who had invented a motor that transforms atmospheric static electricity into kinetic electricity. He then deliberately “stopping the motor of the world” to kill off “parasites” until the earth’s Objectivist carrying capacity, and ideological purity, was achieved.

Dan Kallem
10 Jan 8:28pm

Hey, Keems. How about trusting YOURSELF enough to not jump to pre-determined conclusions? What is really dangerous is for commenters like you to begin spewing indignantly about an article without having first read or understood it! (your animus doesn’t get out much, does it?).

Try re-reading the piece and see if you can better articulate what Rob actually stated about the dangers inherent in the message of this deeply suspicious film and “movement”. Go ahead, we’ll wait…

10 Jan 11:43pm

Rob, I agree with you on the movie.
The strange thing is that I had a similar experience attending the first Dutch transition training. I read the transition handbook and was very impressed, best book I ever read, did the training but was very disapointed.

The trainers were a couple of wannabee priests trying to scare the hell out of us using spiritual landmark like techniques. Horrible.
The were exercises by Joana Macy? witch lead to mass hysteria with people hugging and crying all over the place. Some people saw this compulsory hugging by group pressure as sexual harassment, but the group pressure was so strong that you had to be very strong to step out of the process.
I tried to talk to the trainers about this, but they didn’t want to listen and did not see any problem.
Several people left the transition movement after the training, because of all the bogus in there.
I think it’s good that you warn people for the movie, and hope you and everybody else will also watch out for bogus in there own community. An try keeping it open to the widest group possible. Keep up doing the good work!

Kirk Williams
11 Jan 12:26am

I haven’t seen the the movie ‘Thrive’ just yet, but their premises aren’t all inconclusive. There have been some major leaps in that field, I won’t go into any examples at this moment but the principle of thermodynamics is only applicable in a flat, closed space, of which we know the primal universe, is not. I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘but thats a load of baloney’, but then again is not the converse true of your derisions of the film as ‘conspiracy theory’ and ‘charlatan’s cranks’, of course along Occam’s Razor? Now as far as depleting resources such as water and food, because of increase of access (man was that morbid), systems such as desalination plants and large scale hydroponics could be utilized to meet increasing demand for food, water, and jobs. Just as with the increase of technological society proportionate to the increase of availability of energy utilization resources over the centuries, as would that trend drive higher our standards of living, particularly in areas where resources are depleted as opposed to consumed. Now, you know, there’s no way a feasible, large-scale, implementation would take place without the consent and co-option of major public and private industrial giants to undermine their own power infrastructure and realign the flows of capital from the boardroom to the living-rooms of consumers and manufacturers / operators. Also with as many possible inventions (I will cite Andrea Rossi’s Catalytic Reactor, John Bedini’s charger, and John Searl’s magnetic motor, along with many, many others.. check out ‘Power from the Vacuum’ and ‘Race to Zero-Point’ those are some good documentaries if you’re interested) that purportedly exist, it is quite easy to keep any and every one of them off the power grid at large. I do however find your skepticism and convictions wise as living within your means builds a healthy environment and morale, but only short-sighted. I can see that our immediate issues should be addressed before launching an entire campaign built amongst thorny grass, but an amalgamation of philosophies, I believe would surely cure our ailing social-political-global society.

David West
11 Jan 1:56am

I stopped reading when I discovered that the author has done no research whatever on free energy, the central theme of his very poor review.
If he is not only unaware of but also criticizes the truth about free energy, there’s not much point in reading the rest of the probably equally uninformed drivel.
If he just spent a little time reviewing his opinions, he would never have published the posting.

11 Jan 3:56am

Global asceticism is not the answer, technological advancement has and will be.

“For centuries the State has committed mass murder and called it “war”; then ennobled the mass slaughter that “war” involves. For centuries the State has enslaved people into its armed battalions and called it “conscription” in the “national service.” For centuries the State has robbed people at bayonet point and called it “taxation.” In fact, if you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place.”
-Murray N. Rothbard

Social benefits need not be compulsory, see “charity.”

Also see the Austrian School of economics.

As for zero-point energy, do some research before writing it off.

Tesla described it, as did James Clerk Maxwell.

As for the continuation of materialism and consumption, that can be handled via the Cradle to Cradle method of making everything biodegradable. Also, we CAN synthesize elements from carbon, the only impediment is energy.

11 Jan 4:12am

Clean energys a conspiracy, riiiight then, just like the conspiracy that mcdonalds is bad for you. Thrive is an amazing, eye opening, fascinating movie end of story.

11 Jan 4:14am

People once thought that the earth being round was a conspiracy idea, anyone against thrive (especially those who haven’t even watched it yet) are just as stupid and ignorant as those people were.

11 Jan 4:25am

Would you laugh and think me a conspiratorial fool if I were to write a wild story of how our government trained and funded a Latin American rebel army to brutally attack its own citizens while overthrowing a government unfriendly to US multinational corporations by selling arms to Iran and crack cocaine on the streets of LA?

I suppose if Ollie North hadn’t been convicted and Ronald Reagan made to make mealy-mouthed apologies to the Nicaraguan people, you’d be laughing at the above as well.

I am boggled by the willingness of the majority of US citizens to be so complicit with the most outrageous actions of our US power brokers. I was in a room with an Australian fellow 4 days ago discussing the NDAA action of indefinite detention with one of the primary attorneys who prosecuted Oliver North (and has intimate awareness of much of what you laugh and scoff at). This Australian fellow was purple in the face because a decidedly progressive group of people (a good # of whom were Transition-ites) couldn’t grok how Americans can be so blind with regard to the actions of their own government.

Even though the Fed advertised their bank bailout at $1.5 trillion, which we thought was staggering, a congressional committee now reveals the amount of the bailout was actually $29 trillion. That’s TWENTY-NINE TRILLION DOLLARS. If you’re not gasping, check your pulse.

But, you know, I don’t want to be negative. I don’t think anyone in particular is trying to deceive anyone. I think income inequality just happened because of a flawed system. It’s too complicated to believe a group of people could actually orchestrate the current situation. It’s too hard.

I might as well step off the cliff altogether while I’m at it with “FREE” energy.

All of you physicists who have spent your life proofing the laws of thermodynamics step up here. Get in line behind a long list of distinguished debunkers, brilliant men who knew so many things weren’t possible…until magically they were.

Those original crazed seafarers that headed off to their doom at the teeth of dragons lurking over the edge of a flat earth…what were they thinking??!!

And that buffoon who worked in the patent office…I can’t even remember his name…Al something, muttering something about his relatives.

I suppose I wouldn’t be moved to sarcasm, which I admit is inelegant and crass…but come on…

Why would you believe our current technological understanding of energy source and flow is at its apex after every scientific paradigm before us has fallen like a dead weight to its “unbelievable” successor?

I find that unbelievable. Anyway, back to growing corn.


11 Jan 4:49am

The point of the “negative” backdrop is acknowledge that we don’t operate in a vacuum. There are external forces and influences at work. The better you measure the breeze, the better your arrow will make the mark.

Bart Anderson
11 Jan 5:19am

Wonderful review, Rob. I felt several degrees saner, just for having read it.

I love the positive writing you do about Transition, but critical pieces like this one are also very important.

I wish there had been more critical pieces like this in the 60s, when a lot of wacky ideas were in the air. It would have saved us all a lot of heartache!

11 Jan 5:41am

Rob, thanks for your review and I’d like to ditto what Jitendra said…

That said, I think the thrust of some of your criticism about Thrive is fair– too neat a vision of the future is offered perhaps, and perhaps not enough of an acknowledgement of the promise of permaculture and Transition and other locally-focused practices in addressing our challenges…

11 Jan 10:26am

The fact that an expert says something is impossible, does not constitute evidence in its favour.

Remember: they laughed at Galileo, they laughed at Einstein… But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Back in the 90’s I visited a Permaculture site in Ireland run by a fellow called Marcus McCabe who was planning to build a perpetual motion machine. Haven’t heard any more about that, funnily enough. You’d have thought he would have managed to do it by now, wouldn’t you?

I’m with conventional physics on the free energy question. You can’t get something for nothing. If you could, life would be very different.

Andrew Ramponi
11 Jan 12:19pm

Rob, I hadn’t even heard of the film till now, but I’m surprised that it has riled you so much. Fantasy is just that, fantastical: unrestrained fancy. Maybe you worry these kinds of ideas will sucker people into putting their eggs into the wrong basket?

Whatever, it’s appropriate to be entering 2012 with guns a-blazing!

chris hart
11 Jan 12:23pm

I watched this film last week and did not think it anything like as malevolent as Rob. Of course the maker has a liberatarian bias but he clearly makes the summary point that it is only a combination of a more localised democracy, combined with the freedom of the individual to full think for themselves that can work.
Rob, you highlight the film comment… ‘so much of the pain on the planet has to do with the lack of access to energy”. and say
Wow, now there’s a statement. How many people on this planet would argue that much of the pain on the planet has to do with the developed world having lack of access to energy? While of course for millions in the developing world, lack of access to energy is a huge impediment to being able to attain a reasonable standard of living and to move beyond poverty, in the developed world, cheap energy (you could argue that for the past 150 years fossil fuels have been so cheap that they might as well have been ‘free energy’) has allowed Western nations to conquer, plunder, colonise, mine, clearcut, dominate and oppress.

Well I have to say that exactly the point the Gamble’s are making, the film starts with a picture of poverty in Africa and the slums of the world and to be honest that theme was what made the film work for me, most people in the world have suffered from access to energy and they system is unfair and crap.
As for tax, well I wouldn’t quite go as far as Gamble’s but if we did the sensible thing and reformed the banking system so the government or people created money so that banks and their shareholders didn’t impoverish every council and government we would only be paying 15p in the world and he is looking more to a new society beyond governments.
As for you saying the film show “there is a conspiracy on 9/11, to suppress natural medicines, “Big Brother’s not coming, it’s already here”, we are one step away from a “military dictatorship”, a climate treaty in Copenhagen would have been “a tax base for tyranny”, there are ‘chemtrails’ in the sky to deliberately poison us, there is a deliberate attempt to reduce the world’s population underway, there is only a cancer epidemic because all the cures have been suppressed, etc, etc’

Well again, I think you are on dodgy ground, 9/11 had the most rudimentary investigation and still no explanation of how building 7 collapsed or more important the pretty clearly pre-planneed trigger it gave to attack Iraq and Afghanistan, anyone who works with natural medicines knows exactly how hard they are being legislated against, having had our small Occupy office in Lancaster raided illegally by 50 riot police from across Lancashire and Cumbria on Sunday and everyone inside arrested I think you are at least open to question on military or police control, and I’d say i disagreed with you. As for chemtrails, carbon being a tax base for tyranny and an attempt to reduce the world population then I probably agree with you Rob. On cancer suppression, I have to agree with the film again – we are constantly divising the sort of medicines that attack and destroy whole systems rather than work with the body – funny as you support permaculture.
On the issues of free energy I have an open mind on that – I absolutely agree that we cannot go on consuming as we do but clearly we should not think knowledge doesn’t change – I’d never seen or used a computer 20 years ago. We thought the world was flat for a long time and that the Earth was the centre of the solar system. I think it is possible we can discover ways to use the mass of dark matter or energy around the planet in a new way for our good and free energy is at least worth through research.
On UFO’s I’m not much of a fan but there is a meaning for us on Earth in the universe beyond our lonely existence – we haven’t found it yet but who knows.
To be fair to Mr Gamble, who lists his sources, on free energy the deaths he suggests happened and the people are verifiable. Does transition list all opposing references in it’s books?! I found Thrive thought provoking and like all films took what I liked and left the rest. It is a product of America and obviously has its social biases, it was well produced and comments from Vandana Shiva, Paul Hawken, Deepak Chopra and many others were well made.

I am a bit suspicious of your full out attack on this film

Andrew Gillett
11 Jan 1:56pm

For those suggesting ‘free energy’ is being suppressed – are (say) China or North Korea part of the conspiracy too?

chris hart says:
“I think it is possible we can discover ways to use the mass of dark matter or energy around the planet in a new way for our good and free energy is at least worth through research”

It would be worth thorough research, as and when there is any evidence that such a thing is possible. At the moment we don’t even know what dark matter is. Also bear in mind that there is energy in all matter, of various kinds (e.g. heat, chemical bonds, e=mc2) but that doesn’t automatically imply there is any way of usefully harnessing it.

Tom Allen
11 Jan 6:43pm

I enjoyed reading this, and the comments!

Some people have made comments to the effect that they are surprised it got Rob’s hackles up. But I can see why. There’s a fair bit of woolly, anti-scientific thinking on the left when it comes to issues like energy and medicine.

If films like this are dangerous it’s because they channel limited political and intellectual energy away from real problems and real solutions.

The idea that oil companies are evil and working against our common interest is a good intuition: but what follows from that needs to be calibrated by an understanding of objective reality!

You’d only argue that the aviation industry is suppressing the knowledge of how to switch off gravity if you were on acid.

The only difference with free energy is that while most people understand the law of gravity intuitively the laws of thermodynamics are not nearly as well understood.

11 Jan 8:44pm

I realize my commentary has not been pointed in detail toward specificity regarding Rob’s critique or the film’s content per se.

I am unabashedly a member of the choir from which Foster Gamble sings. Labeling eugenics directly was a bit of a stretch for me until I listened to Amy Goodman reporting directly from the global warming conference in South Africa just last month where representatives of island nations were literally pleading for their existence in the face of rising sea level acceleration. Amy’s point throughout her reporting was to illuminate that the US was not simply being uncooperative, they were being blatantly obstructive to other nations coming to a meaningful accord to curb global warming. (BTW-I’m not sure how some posters here derive that Amy Goodman is at all far from alignment with the essence of Thrive.)

I sat and thought. Why would the great and beneficent US of A, defender of the weak and oppressed, be deaf and obstructive to nations pleading for their very existence? One delegate was pleading on his knees for action to save their country from extinction. Why would our lawmakers, supreme judges and highest executive succumb to the pressure of psychopathic multinational and military-industrial corporations and their lobbyists (Google the definition of psychopath if you think I overstate) to allow Keystone and a tar sand debacle, repeal of EPA restrictions, declare war on American citizens via NDAA (do thorough due diligence before you even think about refuting this), unchecked and deregulated proliferation of GMO monopolization, privatization and devastation of our global food & seed sources along with foisting fracking on communities against their will that will insure increased disease via poisoned water tables and air?

Many top-tier multinational corps (I don’t say all) don’t care about human lives. I think it’s spectacularly dangerous to not fully grok that there are indeed “They”s that hold the bulk of humanity as chattel. Collateral damage. The “cost” of national “security”. We’re all familiar with the encyclopedic collection of euphemisms that distance our minds from our hearts and minimize the physical impacts and realities of actions in the name of national security, aka financial and political supremacy. (I’m new here, so those words may be a stick in a hornets nest. Don’t know.)

When I see an entity of means (however faulty) choosing to spend $650 billion to wage wars against “enemies of their own creation”** while holding humanitarian actions and support at bay; backing systematic health degradation via big agriculture and pharma; while simultaneously stripping human services of people they allegedly represent and topping it off with the suspension of civil rights via NDAA (for our own protection, of course), I begin to deduce that something more insidious than Hitler’s genocide is occurring in plain sight, under our very noses. AND WE ARE BARELY REACTING!!! Foster used the boiled frog analogy and I wholly agree. If you throw a frog into boiling water it will fight to get out. If you put him in nice cool water and slowly bring it to a boil, he’ll calmly hang out—complicit with becoming soup.
**[i.e.-if a bully with extraordinary power and means were to habitually come into your house, beat up your family, take everything you work for, lay claim to all your inheritance and indenture you to forever work as their peons…what would you do? Sadly-many Americans are finding out first hand.]

The purpose of Thrive as I see it, is not the content per se. It’s purpose is to evoke a reaction, to poke you to think about things you may have let slide or never considered. What I think is most dangerous, is to dismiss out of hand, information that’s produced with source material to back it up.

How many of you did your own investigative discovery by referencing the source material given on the website, much of it in the form of links? Or have you taken the Fox News tack of attacking anything remotely challenging your point of view with sophisticated buzz-words and phrases you picked up but never really digested through a prolonged process of individuated critical thinking?

One of the things that differentiates fundamentalist thought from progressive thought is the willingness and capacity to access beginner’s mind with new information. I can be as opinionated as the next person. I also LOVE discovering what I don’t know I don’t know. Hyperbolic opinion alert ==> Only here can we truly progress!

I see Thrive’s purpose as to instigate conversations such as this — to get people talking about the possibility that we are in a pot that is slowly coming to a boil (global environmental, financial and governmental warming). Not as many people are as CRITICALLY aware as we like to believe either we, or those around us, are.

Why are people not tripping over themselves to participate in Transition towns? It’s not hot enough yet?

Why is there relatively so little collaboration among groups rowing in the same direction? It’s not hot enough yet?

Why did #Occupy flare with such force but then dribble to the side of mass consciousness again? (This one is a little more complex, and no, #Occupy is far from fizzled). It’s still not hot enough yet?

Why is this forum so intent on highlighting the minutia of difference? We divide ourselves with vitriol when we could be choosing to acknowledge and respect the unique contribution we each are by being our authentic selves.

As I write that last sentence I have to chuckle, because I recognize my own reactivity to some of you. If not for the dissent and expression of all colors here, this conversation would not be taking place. In speaking personally with Foster, one of his primary missions is to ignite conversation. He seems to care a bit less about WHAT people say and more that they’re saying SOMETHING.

Things are rarely what we think they are. I love Bucky Fuller’s concept of precession. As we travel straight ahead in thought and deed, our higher purpose is actualized 90 degrees perpendicular to our path, just beyond our periphery.

I prefer to gauge a work by its effect. The greater the ripple, the greater its effect. As with “What the Bleep…”. I didn’t agree with it entirely, but I LOVED the effect it had, and still has, on the collective narrative. It was part of this larger shift in people’s empowerment to take responsibility for where we are.

Being that 1.5 million people have seen this film to date, via word of mouth, and it engages stirring conversations that include those who have no direct knowledge of the film’s experience, I’d say it’s a rousing success.

If it pissed you off. Great! If it pissed you off and inspired you. Greater! If it catalyzed one dormant synapse in your neural net. Greater yet!

I have a deep certainty that if you spent 3 minutes with Foster, it would be harder to be as negative as some are here. Interesting how our human values can fade through a keyboard. The man is deeply in his heart and simply believes what he believes. He was willing to risk a lot to be authentic even when many of his own production team disagreed with his content. But one thing every member of that team I’ve met has said, they stayed because of who he is and for what he has sacrificed because he cares.

Thrive is an alarm clock. I think it’s working.

11 Jan 10:00pm

Wow, this is probably one of the first of these long responses on any website I fully read. Well put :).

11 Jan 10:30pm

Kimberly Gamble: “… so much of the pain on the planet has to do with the lack of access to energy”.

Rob’s retort: “Wow, now there’s a statement. How many people on this planet would argue that much of the pain on the planet has to do with the developed world having lack of access to energy?”

Bucky Fuller, one of the most brilliant, yet pragmatic, visionaries of our time, agrees with Kimberly. He parted this world leaving armies of people working to create world-around power distribution as a way of restoring and balancing dignity and prosperity for the global population.

Not that his vision circa 1982 is flawless for today, it’s that he viewed our world and energy systems from both an expanded universal scale of resource and flow and first hand experience of the earth-bound controls, constraints and manipulations of energy resources and flow. If his last main work, “Critical Path”, is a steep read; pick up his 100 page “GRUNCH of Giants”.

It’s a simple schematic of the lay of the economic/resource landscape that includes a few poignant things omitted from standard history books, but with which Fuller had first hand experience.

11 Jan 10:35pm

Wish I could edit my comment without posting anew.

In fact, Foster worked with Bucky personally while he was alive and so absorbed Bucky’s insistence on energy equality being a primary obstacle to a world that works for all.

11 Jan 11:50pm

It is those crazy dreamers who never stop pushing forward – no matter who mocks them – that finally move the ball towards the goal. Keep dreaming, working and – isn’t the sun’s energy a “free energy” source, at least for the next million or so years?
I like the idea of transition – this country boy can’t wait to get back out to the real life… I’ve had too much of this Southern California play life!

Rhisiart Gwilym
12 Jan 1:12am

Rob, you really need to take on board that there are fantastical, alleged conspiracies, and then there are real conspiracies.

Just that basic truth.

And a properly-savvy commentator realises this, and makes an effort to distinguish between the two kinds.

The 11September01 atrocities in the US were indeed an inside job. That’s the only possible, real-world, sane, rational conclusion, once you are adequately up to speed with the really high-quality evidence.

Visit, for one of many good places, ‘Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth’ (of which I’m a member), for a solid archive, and high-quality analyses, plus credible first-hand testimony from credible, sane witnesses.

These bodies of real, quality evidence, have been gathered painstakingly over the past decade by impressive and — that word yet again — sane, clearly very sane, people of solid intellectual capacity. This duty-bound, principled volunteer work has been done (often at very substantial personal cost) because the official investigative agencies of the US committed a comprehensive dereliction of duty in their failure to do so.

But of course, when the politics of a criminal, imperial state gets heavy and gangsterish enough, that’s pretty well inevitable. Especially when the crime in question is the work of a clique of the imperialist-gangster ruling class.

Until you’re fluent with this evidentiary material, Rob, you’re in no position to judge which theories are daft moonshine and which stand up solidly in the real world to hard examination.

And it’s insulting, on the basis of no adequate knowledge, to lump them all together, and the people who propound them.

I would welcome a sober and realistic conversation with you, Rob, on this matter, should you wish. And I’d be very happy to discuss at least the outlines of the evidence body which is causing so many responsible and — yes — sane people to say that there should be a new enquiry into the 9/11 atrocities, free of political shenanigans, and willing to consider all the evidence.

As with the Reichstag Fire in Nazi Germany, the real story WILL come out eventually.

Incidentally, I don’t know ‘Thrive’ but I’m deeply unimpressed by the trailer.

Best wishes. Cheers, Rob.

Brad K.
12 Jan 4:29am


energy equality being a primary obstacle to a world that works for all

One part that bothers me, a lot, is that slavery was nearly abolished hundreds of years ago — because it didn’t pay. Cheap energy in the form of virgin forests, then coal and oil, put the end to slavery.

We know that a limited form of slavery still exists, mostly for exotic reasons. But as energy access declines and food devolves from something we buy with currency to something we raise in the back ’40, it may well be that the “cheap” energy of the future may also devolve to involuntary servitude. Call it tenant farms, call it indentured servant, whatever. Energy may be the new currency, horded as today’s derivatives, credit default swaps, and plays in the stock market and speculations in the commodities markets are the purview of today’s “wealthy”.

Hint: When the US “smart grid” starts turning off lights in Oklahoma to keep the rich in California lighted, the well-to-do in all states will face many fewer hours in the dark.

John Duvall
12 Jan 4:59am

I wish Doug Atkins had provided some links to the evidence he claims to have. I have friends who believe in the existence of limitless energy sources like zero-point energy. But if such energy sources really exist, why aren’t they being rolled out and scaled up as fossil fuels decline and trash our environment? I’d love to believe that Atkins is right – I’ve just seen little or no evidence of it, in years of reading and PhD-level research.

12 Jan 5:50am

John Michael Greer praises this essay: “Anyone interested in a thorough critique of Thrive should read Rob Hopkins’ cogent essay on the subject. ” The Archdruid Report

12 Jan 8:42am

“So where did you get the evidence free energy is not real? Where did you get the evidence libertarianism is unrealistic and dangerous.”

I would suspect from the laws of thermodynamics and the socio-economic history of the 19th and early 20th centuries, respectively. The evidence in both cases is sufficiently strong and comprehensive that any serious refutation had better come up with a lot more than Gamble’s film did.

12 Jan 8:43am

The above was in response to Michel.

Andrew Gillett
12 Jan 10:59am

“The purpose of Thrive as I see it, is not the content per se. It’s purpose is to evoke a reaction”

So it doesn’t matter if it’s full of wrong ‘facts’?

Note – the boiling frog thing is a myth too – although it could still be useful as a kind of fable. The same cannot be said of the film’s climate change denial or other conspiracy theories. They are not interesting thought experiments, they are simply wrong.

Andrew Ramponi
12 Jan 12:52pm

On this free enrgy issue.

A human slave in 1850 cost around $17,000, in today’s dollars. Only relatively rich people had slaves. Our fossil fuel supplied energy bonanza, still only available to the relatively rich of the world, is much much cheaper, more versatile, reliable, capable and available than human slaves.

There doesn’t seem much in our “progress” over the past 100 years to suggest that if energy was cheaper still the benefits would be distributed more fairly. Instead the owners of the free energy systems would choose to waste even more, and defend their rights to continue to do so.

Besides, even crediting the extreme notion of a “free” energy source, governments would tax it and businesses would easily find ways to sell it, and nothing much else would change.

There’s a strange psychological paradox at work. We have an unquenchable thirst for a better bargain, yet don’t actually put much value on something thing that’s free. Until, perhaps, we don’t have it any more.

Mike Grenville
12 Jan 1:17pm

If the Chinese, North Koreans and Iranians, for example among others, can develop nuclear power, why have they not developed ‘free energy’? Are they in on keeping it secret too, or has the secret been successfully kept from them when nuclear secrets were not able to be?

12 Jan 1:37pm

“I would suspect from the laws of thermodynamics and the socio-economic history of the 19th and early 20th centuries, respectively. The evidence in both cases is sufficiently strong and comprehensive that any serious refutation had better come up with a lot more than Gamble’s film did.”

So a theory is evidence? The Law of Thermodynamics is about closed systems. Earth is not a closed system, neither is the solar system, neither is this galaxy.

12 Jan 1:39pm

And all evidence I see being thrown at libertarianism is a fear of the same things happening already. It’s not so weird people project these fears on to ideas that are foreign to them, but the facts are there and statism has always failed us miserably in the past and present.

Brad K.
12 Jan 3:55pm


I think the real challenge to “free energy” is a working demonstration.

Fulton’s Folly, the steam engine, didn’t take long, in a world without mass media, to make important changes in culture and society, and in the way wealth was generated.

Railroads, steam and gasoline powered automobiles, hydroelectric power generation — the light bulb and telephone. None of these were public proclamations for generations before having a significant impact on how wealth is generated.

Remember a dear older film, “First Monday in October”, Jill Clayburgh and Walter Matthau? They play justices on the US Supreme Court, with Matthau taking the discussion to demonstrations of the “momentum engine” at a display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. — of perpetual motion, free energy, devices.

It took the programming language “c” twenty years to catch on and become a force in computer programming. It took much less for the “Blitzkreig” form of military attack to change the world.

So, where are the implementation of free energy? Where is the means of wealth creation taking advantage of such a game-changing innovation?

Oh, and I have to dispute your claim that the solar system or the Earth are open systems. Ultimately, energy on Earth is constrained by the arrival of sunlight, which is quite powerful but very dispersed. Fossil fuels concentrate that sunlight by trading millions of years of accumulation for a few decades of burning. Radioactives trade billions of years of formation for decades — or moments — of giving up their energy. Wind, water, these are aspects of solar energy, and have their limits. Tide motors utilize energies that are enormous, yet expensive to concentrate in useful fashion. That, and the forms of wealth creation we are familiar with are besotted with the profligate consumption of cheap energy and unwilling to change to a “make hay while the sun shines” form of business, that is use energy as the tide turns, or wind blows, and wait for the next surge of energy.

We know that a soapstone stove, with a ton or more of thermal mass, can be fired an hour or so every 24 hours, and provide useful heat until the next heating. This has been employed only in residential settings and using wood fires. No equivalent on-site energy management is widespread in industry, in preparation for times when profligate consumption of cheap energy (now that energy is less cheap and less available) for convenient, round-the-clock, all-shift operations will fail.

The argument that has swayed me is that we have to face curtailing energy in all it’s forms, back to the rate at which the sun’s energy can be sustainably concentrated and utilized. And that will be tough. Food growing in the modern world depends on manufacturing, maintaining, and operating machines, on transporting equipment, parts, fuels, fertilizers and pesticides, and produce for long distances. Manufacturing stuff, from internet equipment to houses, require transporting sometimes exotic materials long distances. Local security, and especially food security, needs to consider sustainable energy at a closed system rate — dependent, ultimately, on energy of the sun.

Because the donut I had for breakfast yesterday provided an energy (blood sugar) spike, that was followed by a greater dip in energy than if I had passed on the pastry. I haven’t actually seen a free energy system or car or device that does better.

12 Jan 5:17pm

Is that photo a still from the movie? That Orwellian ‘PeaceKeeper’ tower ominously over seeing Prozac land cannot be an earnest effort.

12 Jan 7:09pm

@Michel: The laws of thermodynamics have held up in all of the innumerable cases in which they have been tested so far over the past hundred or so years. That’s not saying they are perfect, just that any attempt to overturn them requires extremely strong and extensive evidence, which nobody has yet been able to provide.

And the socio-economic conditions of the world under unregulated capitalism are indeed the strongest argument against libertarianism. While the ideal is equality for all, the reality is the grievous exploitation of the majority for the good of the minority. The Soviet Union showed the world that communism, although just as idealistic, resulted in a different elite exploiting the majority just as grievously.

Since the mid-20th century, most parts of the world have had some form, more or less, of social democracy as a compromise between the two. Laissez-faires has been tried, and failed.

And anarchism (the alternative to statism), while it may work for very small groups of people, has never once been shown to scale effectively even to the level of running a city, let alone an entire nation. And not for want of trying — anarchism as a popular movement is about as old as communism.

Kirk Williams
12 Jan 10:04pm

Free energy = the universe at large.. accelerating in its expansion, bursting out of the void.. that principle is not lost on us.. case closed. It’s all about where your frame of reference lies.

Kirk Williams
12 Jan 10:13pm

Oh and Kieran, you’re wrong.. Check out Spanish Anarchism prior to their revolution. You’ll see it was fairly successful.

12 Jan 10:36pm

Brad wrote:
“We know that a limited form of slavery still exists, mostly for exotic reasons.”

Brad, I’m not sure what you refer to as a “limited form of slavery for exotic reasons.” According to Amnesty International and Free The Slaves, there are roughly 28 MILLION people caught in the web of human slavery worldwide, a great many of which are children. Slavery flourishes in the US as human trafficking, predatory pimping and continued exploitation of immigrant workers. US corporations receive “subsidies” for being “willing” to use prison inmates for labor and pay them pennies per hour, while charging consumers full price.

Have you ever seen the pictures of young children with 80 pound stones slung from their heads as they toil all day in quarries in India, indentured for a lifetime by a parent’s $20 loan which will never be repaid? Young girls are sold world-wide as sex slaves. It goes on and on. This isn’t exotic, it’s heartrendingly all too common.

Many students today will never see the light of day without debt because of escalating tuition and loan interest—unless something drastically changes. Many educated people will work hand to mouth beneath that debt. When a person is relegated to ceaselessly work below a living wage only to fall further into debt in order to live a dignified life, while a small number of people hoard increasing profits, how is that not slavery in principle? Minutia aside, does someone actually have an argument to minimize or deny this dynamic exists?

12 Jan 11:20pm

Andrew Gillett wrote:

“So it doesn’t matter if it’s full of wrong ‘facts’?”
That statement is utterly unhelpful in guiding me to revise or update my assessment of said ‘facts’. What are your claims and substantiations?

I find it fascinating the degree to which ‘facts’ are plastic, anyway. They mold easily to the framework of our worldview. It’s even been demonstrated how factual refutation can serve to strengthen opposing views. We see what we see the way we want to see it. Albert warned us — it’s all relative.

About those slow boil frogs. Whether the frog example is true or not (I’M not going to test it), a good fable stands up over time due to the value of its effect. And yes, to the degree that Thrive risks accuracy of its claims, it is an overall success so far, by virtue of this conversation.

I am curious to know if there were parts of Thrive’s expose on the banking system, Federal Reserve and the exponential displacement of financial flow including the retaking of real property by banks via foreclosure, MANY of which are fraudulent or illegal, anyone believes is not factual?

I see many get real stuck on the “free” energy thing. When we introduce the word *FREE* we ignite an incendiary meme that nothing in this world is free, especially lunch. I see this as having less to do with that being fact than paradigmatic conditioning that you must pay the piper for anything of value. What’s particularly fascinating is #Occupy’s cry to reclaim the commons–that which humanity has an inherent, collective right to — clean air, potable water, vital soil, fish, community land. What about energy to fuel our homes, travel and creative endeavors. Why does someone have to go on owning that? Are you not outraged that Monsanto has managed to (temporarily I assert) patent and own food seed?

Letting the cost of the source go for a minute, I think alternative energy is a better moniker. Most any energy technology is likely to require a cost associated with the manufacture of some device or infrastructure.

Elementary science acknowledges “free” energy sources. Tapping into the earth’s electromagnetic field was Tesla’s thing which got him temporary notoriety and then ridicule. The earth’s EMF is free, like sunlight and wind, yet flows more consistently without end. Richard Feynman was quoted in Capra’s Tao of Physics as saying “the energy in a cubic meter of space is enough to boil all the oceans of the world.” This energy, latent in the zero point field, certainly exists at scales that boggle. Look at the magnitude of energy from the crude unleashing of atomic energy. Do you think we’ve begun to scratch the surface of possible technologies to tap and direct these?

I struggle to locate logic for a debate as to whether “free” energy sources exist, that is, ubiquitously energy available here on earth. The debate I readily acknowledge is whether the technology has and/or does exist, whether that technology and its progenitors have been suppressed (or worse) and when, how, and in what form it will emerge.

Is it that hard to understand that the people currently monopolizing the flow of fossil fuel across the planet are ready to simply allow their massive oil & coal-based cash cow simply saunter out to pasture? The electric cars were yanked back in 2004 because big oil realized the spectacular loss of cash flow that would hit them if people stopped fueling and changing the oil in their cars. (Does anyone else find it fishy that Toyota lost its already formed and launched Rav4 electric car (from 2002), instead Nissan got the nod to go with it’s Leaf in 2010?)

What is the point in arguing against the existence of technology in a society that is famous for repressive and secretive tendencies? Unless we ought to revert to Rob’s flimsy, but amusing, Bozo Defense, I think nay saying is counter-productive and more often than not, ultimately gives way to those very innovations in one form or another. There are quotes of Tesla ridiculing Einstein over the absurdity of space being curved that would make the sharpest mockeries in this thread look tame.

On the topic of “open and closed systems”, it’s a fallacy to say one system or another is open or closed without offering the parameters of that system. Open and closed are like yin and yang, they are holarchically nested within one another at varying depth and breadth and relative to scale. Within organic cellular parameters, systems are fundamentally closed. Within quantum parameters, those cellular systems are fundamentally open, etc.

Charles Justice
12 Jan 11:53pm

Wow! Lots of comments here. Lots of really long comments. Great review Rob. I had the same suspicions after some of my friends sent me a link to the film’s trailer a couple of months ago.

It all reminds me of a wonderful quote from Matsanabi Fukuoka author of The One Straw Revolution. Sorry, got to paraphrase here: He said, even if we had access to all the energy that the sun puts out, we would soon use it up, the way we are going.

It’s all about the insanity of infinite growth. We are so used to economic growth and growth in the use of energy – being on the upside of a temporary exponential curve, that we can’t get our minds around the existence of the “peak” and the inevitability of an energy descent.

People would rather deny reality: eg. perpetual motion machines, free energy sources, global warming denial, etc. then accept that it’s all downhill from here.

That’s why almost every libertarian you meet will deny global warming, because the existence of global warming makes government action, global cooperation amongst nations, and tax reform, all vital for our continued survival. Naomi Klein has an interesting take on this in The Nation.

Brad K.
13 Jan 12:21am


You are correct, that 28 million, out of 7 billion, is too many by about 28 million or so.

My comment went more towards — formal slave holding isn’t a public and accepted way of life for most of America, and most of the places in the industrial world for slavery are very high dollar for exotic reasons — child and sex slavery among them.

My concern is that loss of energy due to peak oil, peak coal, and political shenanigans might once again make widespread slavery and it’s attendant gathering service, expansionist warfare, monetarily attractive again. That is very different from the institutions and practices you cite in today’s world.

Nick Towle
13 Jan 12:29am

This film will certainly manifest in psychiatric institutions around the world as the fantasy ideas reinforce the delusions and paranoia of those unfortunate to experience these types of mental illness.

Fortunately most don’t suffer overt mental illness, instead will be seduced to maintaining a largely business as usual lifestyle while others pursue the mission of cracking the conspiracy and liberating free energy for all.

To contrast the ‘vision’ within the film with that of the Transition movement I think the fantasy of the film will be much harder to sustain than the tangible potential within Transition, where it is possible to be part of creating visible manifestations of change.

I know of a two individuals locally who claim to be on the verge of creating free energy machines. This has been the case for around 5 years. I initially asked if there was anything I could contribute to help bring these ideas to life and in response was only offered the chance to come and watch similar short films or documentaries which prove their existence.

In this same period I have attended a Permaculture Design Course and learned more about the Transition movement and this has bought me into contact with people who have a similarly compelling vision which is grounded in current energy realities. A couple of these individuals have offered practical workshops on reducing energy demand, using available and affordable technologies or materials. The end result is the equivalent of having a source of free energy in the home. The process has built new friendships and a stronger sense of connection with my community and I don’t believe money or free energy could buy these things.

I still maintain a friendship with those who believe they are on the verge of creating free energy machines. I do nothing to feed nor deflate their hopes and recognise that the time spent watching ‘inspiring’ films could equally and productively be devoted to undertaking inspiring actions.

13 Jan 12:39am

I’ve only read about half of the comments (it’s late) but I had a few things to say about free energy:

Plenty of people seem to defend the idea of free energy by making arguments such as “Well, no one believed Einstein/Tesla/*insert appropriate scientific genius*, and they were turned out to be right.” So what? What on earth does that prove? Because some of the most now famous physical theories were a little revolutionary at first, does that mean that any absurd claim should automatically be accepted as true?

This line of thought seems to go hand in hand with things like “You’re narrow minded, that’s why you’ll refuse to believe in free energy/whatever.” So what would these people prefer? Believe every single ludicrous claim that comes our way? After all, to reject a single one would be “close minded”.

With the above in mind, I propose “The Julius Hypothesis”, where I claim that the world is flat, and anyone who doesn’t believe me is narrow minded. You may laugh, but after all, they all laughed at Einstein/Tesla/Plank/Bohr etc, and they turned out to be right. My research also suggests that the moon is made of cheese, but I’m still a little unsure on that one.

Do you see the problems with the above? I hope so.
They’re the same problems (in a slightly distilled form) as are present in the arguments of so many people supporting free energy machines.

And what is this with scientists being “narrow minded”? Anyone with any scientific interest (and plenty of people without) will have
heard of the faster-than-light neutrino experiments. What did the world do? Initiate standard crackdown protocol 2.4 that these scientific conspiracy theorists believe exists for anything that might contradict “the accepted norm”? Hell no. Teams around the world investigated the hell out of the experiments, urged that they be repeated, questioned what it might mean. That’s real science, and it’s not about suppression. It’s about real results, real progress.

And as far as I’m aware, none of Einstein’s discoveries contradicted the laws of thermodynamics. Not even time travel into the future did that. Some people don’t seem to get how necessary the laws of thermodynamics are to the way we think the universe works. Presumably you trust in the science that has allowed the creation of your television, the computer screen you’re looking at, and your wristwatch. For perpetual motion machines (the proper term for free energy machines) to exist, all of what these engineers/researchers/physicists thought to have been true must be wrong. They must have invented transistors, timepieces and telephones purely by luck, because all the equations and scientific laws they used to invent them relied on the laws of thermodynamics, and they must have been wrong. Think about the chances of that being the case. There’s *literally* more chance of your toaster turning into Jesus.

13 Jan 2:43am

I think I understand a little more clearly now what you’re saying Brad. I believe I hear that should oil, etc. peak and dip, that susceptible human energy/lsbor may be forced to take up the slack. A dodgy slavish future, for sure.

13 Jan 3:16am

Fine job on the review. Extraordinary claims require extraordinay evidence and this film provides none. They use a lot ifs, perhaps, possiblys, for some unknown reasons, abouts, maybes, a all the other weasel words that phoney researches use in their slippery arguments. Case closed on this snake oil piece. You can get some of this crap on the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens”.

13 Jan 2:56pm

I live in a very sleepy part of Hampshire. Transition is hard work, 99% of people haven’t heard of Peak Oil, and when you tell them they either prefer ignorance or they don’t believe it’s possible. I don’t know if people still remember, but I only found out about Peak Oil last year and at first I was hit by disbelief and denial. That was followed by a period of research and observation in the present moment for evidence. Over time, and as it became more obvious in the real world, acceptance was reached. Thrive contains new information, what people may refer to as ‘out there’. I don’t know the answers, I don’t know what is real or what is not real beyond my own experience, but neither do you. As has already been said, to recommend avoidance is unwise. I would invite people to watch it and make your own mind up. Having said that, I came here to read your blog to get your opinion and I thank you for that, it has helped ground me and stay focused on the tangible. But my opinion is that there is no difference between closing my mind to aspects of this film as there would be to closing my mind to Peak Oil or Climate Change. Even on the subject of Climate Change, nobody knows what is causing it, it’s just the question is irrelevant as it’s happening, and we need to be resilient in the face of it.

Brad K.
13 Jan 5:53pm

@ Julius,

About your theory and “the moon is made of cheese, but I’m still a little unsure on that one.” Remember that there are people convinced the moon landings were faked, so that we really have no evidence that the moon isn’t made of cheese. They made a movie about it!

13 Jan 7:02pm

Like it or not – oil is running out, and the panic this will create will be utter chaos. Millions(billions) will suffer. I think its time for nature to correct itself, and wipe us out anyways. We are just a parasite destroying the earth. Then to top it off, people think there is a God LOL – its all astrology/astronomy. The eyes are opening a little more

14 Jan 12:55am

A film of unintentional hilarity, so awful it’s not even wrong.

14 Jan 2:02am

When we were in high school we learned the “sophistry” is making an argument for something untrue by including a lot of facts that really are true and generally are common sense. I agree with Rob that we don’t need to waste energy looking for a free source of energy that will allow us to maintain our wasteful “First World” lifestyle. It is clear enough energy has been (and is still being) spent on that. We need to instead spend our energy on common sense principals that we know for a fact will help us. There are lots of sources of energy around us. What we need is a system to use them efficiently, to eliminate waste, and to know the difference between what we want and what we need. For example, in the US virtually all houses still being built do not take advantage of “passive solar” and other “free energy” (such as plants and wind) design. This is absolutely criminal, as is forces us to use the electric company as the source of our comfort, whereas being comfortable in our houses could be *almost* free, when compared to what we are paying now. The design of our houses and surrounding properties literally engenders discomfort, ignoring building techniques that have been used for thousands of years and would not cost any extra to implement in our houses. Permaculture is a way of taking the knowledge we have and combining it sensibly into something sustainable, or, as some say, even better than sustainable – regenerative.
As to libertarianism, the people I know who subscribe to this type of political system are always complaining about how the current system is keeping them from becoming rich. What I suspect is that they, and Mr. Gamble, are looking for a way to put themselves into power, at which point they will find ways to oppress the people around them. These people, at least the ones I know, have generally hostile personalities and are not truly interested in a culture of cooperation. I suspect Gamble is like this, he’s looking for a way to put himself on top. 1.5 million have seen his movie? At $5 a pop (even modifying to consider that groups may be engaging in a viewing for s ingle charge), looks like he’s succeeding.
As to taxes and the current governmental system, there probably are alternative systems that would be more equitable to all, but I’m not seeing a way to get to them without the loss of many lives of the people who want to change these things, i.e. war, either covert or overt.
I don’t think anyone can question that corporations are, and have been for a long time, deliberately poisoning huge populations of people. It’s deliberate because they know it’s happening but they believe that it’s acceptable “collateral damage” in their quest to be rich and powerful. Clearly, Proctor & Ganble is one of those corporations.
I like that the Transition movement is looking at te big picture, not being distracted with frivolous ideas, but gathering together the practical knowledge and common sense that we have developed over hundreds of generations, but which are poo-pood as being out of fashion or even luddite. Pulling these ideas together into a logical and relatively simple system promoting cooperation would help the human race survive for quite a lot longer than it appears we will survive if we stay on our current, largely frivolous, course.
Finally, maybe Rob didn’t make this point clear, but it is cheap energy that has destroyed places like most of Africa. Many have the concept that those people did it to themselves, but from what I have learned nothing could be farther from the truth. Africans, for example, had reasonably advanced cultures before Europeans invaded and all but destroyed those cultures, taking away their lands, natural resources, and dignity. It is clear that the more free or cheap energy humans have, the more they will use it to beat up their neighbors, because free energy in itself isn’t an end – it’s a means to mine, to slash and burn, to chemicalize, to produce “stuff” most of which we know we logically don’t need. If only we could pare down to what we really need and leave it like that. Unfortunately I don’t have confidence that humanity in general is capable of that, although Transition, permaculture, etc., prove that moany of us are. So let us continue on in setting a good example.

Jason Wingate
15 Jan 2:34pm

@Mike Grenville: “Claudio wondered what was Amy Goodman doing in this film. Along with Paul Hawken, Deepak Chopra and others I’m pretty sure they were not aware of the slant the finished product would take.”

One can only hope…

@Jitendra: “Get in line behind a long list of distinguished debunkers, brilliant men who knew so many things weren’t possible…until magically they were.”

Show. Show it working.

How hard can it be?

Show it working. If it’s robust enough to save civilisation, it’s robust enough to work convincingly on a video.

I believe plenty of stuff that the mainstream doesn’t.

But free energy — nope.

You’re going to have to show it.

Listing a bunch of other cool and unexpected inventions and discoveries is beside the point. Because what people think is impossible also often turns out to =be= impossible. Talking vaguely about suspicious withdrawals of electric cars is neither here nor there. They could simply have been unprofitable. Appealing to outrage at the behaviour of Monsanto is by the way. It doesn’t affect the existence of “free energy” that Monsanto do that, nor that I’m outraged. Quoting names like Tesla and Feynman yet again is pointless. They are just names.

Away with the could-be, smoke/mirrors and manipulative rhetoric. Let’s see what you’ve got. Presumably you have something powered with something like this? Or have seen it? Let’s see it. Show. I don’t want suspicions about “plastic facts”. I don’t want “it might work in twenty years”. Let’s see it.

Because I think it’s BS and I think every word Rob wrote is true, and I haven’t seen a single solid refutation on this page.

@Nick Towle: “This film will certainly manifest in psychiatric institutions around the world as the fantasy ideas reinforce the delusions and paranoia of those unfortunate to experience these types of mental illness.”

Too right.

16 Jan 1:37am

Time will tell if free energy as in zero point energy is real. I agree with Andrea that we have easy steps to make with conscious design of our living environment and housing and can solve most of our immediate problems easily with help of permaculture and other methodologies and systems of smart design. The sollutions are already out there for a great deal of problems we face, and it is really just about grabbing those sollutions and implementing them against the forces that prevent that from happening. In this sense free energy can be something to get lost in. Assuming a man like Gamble is not pure of intention is something else. I have learned my feelings about someone has more to do with my own state of mind than with the person itself, so I have become careful with myself and calling someone else evil. And also, don’t be afraid to dream, it is the gateway to positive change, and being afraid of it is the problem itself, not a symptom.

Lauren Ayers
16 Jan 3:55pm


Over the years, righteous indignation has been a reliable clue that a person probably hasn’t dug deep enough. Back in sixth grade I laughed at the John Birch Society for calling fluoridation a communist plot to poison our precious bodily fluids. Yet, while the JBS looks no better on further inspection, it turns out fluoridation really is bad for us.

Highly respected doctors at the CDC are outraged that kooks among us won’t get vaccinations for our kids; but I followed the money right back to Big Pharma and decided to trust Mother Nature’s methods instead — after all, not everyone catches any particular disease, so what are those disease-free people doing? (And plenty of people who do get vaccinated still get the disease they were ‘protected’ from.)

Gerson, homeopathy, and so many other medical breakthroughs have been suppressed and harassed for so long that hearing something is on the AMA’s “quack” list makes me want to know more. Chiropractic and acupuncture are finally acceptable, as is home delivery, fish oil, and vitamin D -– all once ridiculed by some very nice, but rather closed-minded doctors.

Nutrition is never mentioned by the AMA or the American Cancer Society as a factor for cancer. As for heart disease, the cholesterol myth has been disproven but won’t die. Recently salt was cleared of its dastardly role in heart disease, and animal fat too, while eggs had their ‘rehabilitation’ a few years ago.

The FDA and USDA say that GMOs are fine and that school food is nutritious. And most medical people get all worked up about raw milk, yet healthy cows on pasture have a lower bacteria count than confined cows eating soy (until it’s pasteurized). Need I say more?

Thrive was quite low in righteous indignation, so I’m still open. The Zero Point energy falls into my “wait and see” file.

Meanwhile, there is ample evidence for other ideas that science simply can’t explain away with the ‘conservation of matter-energy’ rule. For instance, chapter 17 of The Secret Life of Plants covers a number of respected researchers who couldn’t believe their own results and repeated the tests hundreds of times, yet they still found a predictable sequence of transmutation of elements. Read about C. Louis Kervran here:

BioDynamic farming includes a lot of unexplainable techniques, homeopathic and beyond, yet the results speak for themselves.

Yes, as a fan of Web of Debt and public banking, I can see working with Ron Paul supporters to get rid of the Federal Reserve. But I do think Foster Gamble needs to examine some other Libertarian views much more deeply, and his website is so imbued with Libertarian ideas that his claim not to be one… well he doth protest too much.

We need both healthy skepticism and minds open to new ideas. Thrive seems to have generated a lot of both, so good for Foster and his associates.

17 Jan 12:53pm

Those ‘libertarians’ give anarchists a bad name!

17 Jan 1:59pm

@ cliff I’ve been trying to find out what libertarian means, for years and years, and I still don’t know, opions vary extremely…

The word libertarian seems almost as difficult as the word spirituality…

Brad K.
17 Jan 5:17pm


My own take on libertarian is one that values making one’s own choices without limits imposed by higher authority.

The reliance is on people of good character making reasoned choices; I think there is an element of enlightened self-interest assumed as motivation.

Anarchists don’t assume good character, nor reasoned choices. This label seems to come more often from those intent that rely on “might makes right” to make decisions.

Spirituality, I think, is choosing to live based on how choices, actions, and intentions in life affect the spirit now and after death claims the body that currently houses the spirit. This varies from “Die in battle against the infidel, and get 100 virgins in the afterlife” to “What you do to others comes back to you threefold” and “love your neighbor as your friend”.

17 Jan 6:14pm

@ Brad K

“Anarchists don’t assume good character, nor reasoned choices. This label seems to come more often from those intent that rely on “might makes right” to make decisions.”

– You’ve got to be kidding me? Anarchists assume the exact opposite of what you say. It’s premised on people being able to rationally self-organise without a state, and many of the core theorists propose that there’s an innate disposition (or “human nature”) of mutual aid and kindness in humans.

You need to do your research a bit more!

17 Jan 10:29pm

The difference with libertarians and anarchists isn’t that black and white. Anarchists are much more varied on the concept of ownership or to be more precise on the concept of collective ownership on resources. Libertarians tend to focus on free market, but corporatists pose as libertarians to promote a pseudo free market for big corporations only. It’s really an ambiguous difference. Libertarianism is actually just a form of anarchism also called anarcho-capitalists.

Nathan S
18 Jan 12:27pm

From GK Chesterton’s masterpiece ‘Orthodoxy':
“The madman’s explanation of a thing is always complete, and often in a purely rational sense satisfactory. Or, to speak more strictly, the insane explanation, if not conclusive, is at least unanswerable; this may be observed specially in the two or three commonest kinds of madness. If a man says (for instance) that men have a conspiracy against him, you cannot dispute it except by saying that all the men deny that they are conspirators; which is exactly what conspirators would do. His explanation covers the facts as much as yours. Or if a man says that he is the rightful King of England, it is no complete answer to say that the existing authorities call him mad; for if he were King of England that might be the wisest thing for the existing authorities to do. Or if a man says that he is Jesus Christ, it is no answer to tell him that the world denies his divinity; for the world denied Christ’s.”

On the point of free energy, regardless of the laws of thermodynamics that you’d break getting it, all energy conversion processes ultimately end up with waste heat, which is shown to be unsustainable in the longer term anyway, with even ‘modest’ growth :

Brad K.
18 Jan 4:04pm

@ Nathan S.,

all energy conversion processes ultimately end up with waste heat” assumes that “free energy” is either a conversion, or that said conversion takes place in the currently experienced space-time continuum.

If, for example, the science fiction concept of “hyperspace” as a mathematically alternate mass-energy universe related to ours but physically disparate, then possibly “free energy” could be a conversion taking place in that, or another, physically disparate realm. That might make the heat loss of the conversion either un-noticed in our mundane world, involve energies of such great magnitude that the use of such energy would have negligible effect in that realm, or both.

Great magnitude of energies might, for instance, involve the order of magnitude of gravitational effects between suns or galaxies. The heat energy of the core of the earth would pale in comparison, let alone the meager scale but massive amount of energy received by the earth in the form of light and other radiation from the sun and other extra-Earth sources. Solar energy, the energy received by the Earth, is massive, but dispersed, and difficult to concentrate into industrially-useful quantities (in a sustainable manner) much more efficiently than the hay field, the garden turnip, and the dandelion trying to break winter’s grip in my back yard.

My own take is that numbers, mathematics, can be used to “prove” or arrive at many surprising answers. My own take is that in the time since cold fusion and other forms of alternate energy have been announced, they haven’t transformed much. The railroad, the automobile, the steam ship, the forest reduced to lumber and sawdust have all made themselves tangibly evident. Methane, hydrogen, and other compressed gas technologies have found niches, but most haven’t shown to be feasible today, or at least don’t solve all problems. I do heat my home with propane, but that gets back to fossil fuels and that whole ‘sustainable’ issue.

My sole detraction from “free energy” and the donut, er, torus explanation is lack of examples in the market place.

Nathan S
18 Jan 8:12pm

@Brad K
Even if the heat generated in the conversion ( say an electricity generator in another dimension………..), was removed, there’s the energy losses in transmission and end use, probably 50-75% of the total, which just delays the problems rather than solving them. Also, I’ve not seen many transmission lines through stargates / wormholes recently…

Just to be clear. I’m not engaging in discussion to legitimise your pseudo-science. Just pointing out that partial solutions are no solution.

18 Jan 8:27pm

THRIVE was privately funded so as to protect and keep it’s message independant.
Foster Gamble has nothing to do with the company of that name.

The research is genuine. The facts are not comfortable but rather than dismiss them we should start with an open mind and do our own research.

For example, the American and British governments are or have, in the case of the US, just passed laws (NDAA and UK attempting to repeal common law) that permit the military to detain any citizen without charge, no different than a police state, doing away with any kind of basic human rights. This is fact. But ask yourself, why would they do that?

Regarding free energy, if we consider wind or water power it is planetary in origin. Solar is from the sun and became available when we began to travel into space. Universal energy maintains the orbit of atoms, stars and planets and is our next step to understand. It is most definately available as an energy source. But we cannot introduce it for profit, we can share it, person to person and while the science is revolutionary the practical construction is not.

As Elizabet Sahtouris says from the Thive video “we cannot expect an oil economy to develop it for us, we have to do it”. With young students more familiar and “free energy” a household word, we can alleviate our dependency on oil and conventional fuels and free up our society and our human potential.

Here is a good place to learn about it,
esecially the e-book for sharing:

19 Jan 12:52pm

@Lauren Ayers
I’m an convinced transitioner, and i totaly agree with Lauren Ayers, some farmers have more results than we can explain according to the “traditional measurements”a way of also “free” energy. A technology for free energy for everybody? maybe possible, in my opinion it is not proven that it can not exist. I watched the film, just very american , and I loved at the end the solution: a transitiontown as described by Rob what we can build now without the proven or not proven free energy. let it go where it goes

Stephen Watson
19 Jan 5:24pm

As another poster basically says re the ‘Free Energy’ – Show me. Show me. Show me. If it’s there and useable we should surely be using it by now? Is it really the US government and oil companies crushing all working machines or could it be that it just doesn’t exist and never will? Hmmm. Let me think …

However, as I used to say at the end of Peak Oil talks that I have for several years, unlimited renewable energy (wind, solar PV, etc) is not the answer. Just think of the damage we’ve done to our towns, ancient forests, virgin countryside, the arctic, the oceans and more using limited and expensive conventional fossil fuelled machinery. Now imagine the total and complete planetary havoc we’d wreak if we had absolutely unlimited, free energy with which to do it!

The problem is that unless we change our relationship with each other and our relationship with this beautiful and fragile planet then we will just trash the planet with renewable or ‘Eree Energy’. Not much consolation after you’ve just lost a 700 year old oak wood to make way for the new 7 lane motorway through the Lake District due to everyone wanting to drive one of these new fangled ‘free energy cars’.

The primary changes we need are emotional, intellectual and spiritual, not yet more technological ‘solutions’.

Martin Larner
21 Jan 2:16pm

It always bothers me when a writer starts using that intellectually bankrupt phrase “Conspiracy Theorist” (and variations) to deal with opinions or stances that they don’t agree with or choose to deride. Of course some of the subjects pigeon-holed under that umbrella have so little (or no) evidence that they probably deserve that derision.

However, if it is to be automatically assumed that the US Government and CIA who created al Qaeda in the first place couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with an event attributed to that entity – despite the fact that the event in question was extremely convenient for planned US foreign policy subsequently enacted and had been warned about in advance by just about every intelligence agency, friend or foe – because to suspect this is “conspiracy theory” then I’m dubious about the critical thinking of the author. Anyone who struggles with the idea that such things could be even dreamt of would do well to Google “Operation Northwoods”.

If the author assumes that natural medicines are never suppressed for the benefit of big Pharma or that a trickling towards a police state in our supposed democracies is not occurring, then I suggest a good long look out of the window. “Conspiracy” is a legal term and powerful interests do in fact conspire to protect their wealth and power. Such is the addiction.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as skeptical of a man who is a beneficiary of one of the same corporations he claims is responsible for all the world’s ills, and although I am aware of the historical power and meglomania of families like the Rockefellers, I don’t believe that they are any more capable of overturning the laws of thermodynamics than I am or that they have access to ‘alien technology’.

As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this particular film was yet another slick and well funded attempt by such interests to ‘muddy the waters’ and keep everyone from understanding and accepting that our lifestyles have to change. The inclusion of Climate Change Denial rhetoric would certainly fit in with this possibility.

So to sum up, I’m not at all convinced by the main arguments the film has to offer, but the author of this article goes too far in the other direction with cowardly “Conspiracy Theory” rhetoric, which is always used as a cop out to avoid rationally discussing an issue or view. We may believe a stance to be irrational, but that doesn’t mean that we should deride it in the same irrational knee-jerk manner.

My overall view of the world is that there are indeed some extremely powerful and manipulative ‘Elites’ who have a similar mindset (negating the need for active ‘conspiracies’ most of the time) and who do indeed control the financial system and perhaps do sometimes suppress technology which could make things a little more easy for the rest of us. However not only are they aware of the limits to this planets resources, but they are also at then end of the day, human farties like the rest of us.

21 Jan 8:49pm

“Do your own research
Make your own decisions
Don´t follow the crowd.”





22 Jan 4:50pm

TRUTH is more refreshing than opinions
… could be the bottom line ??

Question “Transition” by giving Lindsey Williams a fair hearing:


“whoever controls energy controls the world economy” but we know that don´t we?

The issue is not peak oil!
Listen to the whole thing.
You will be shocked.

23 Jan 7:55pm

Lol, The Spirit Level is the basest kind of motivated junk “social science.”
Anyone who references it non-ironically can never be trusted to provide anything factual.

24 Jan 8:58pm

UNITE don’t fight you’re all right (∞1∞)

24 Jan 9:10pm

I thank Thrive for raising awareness of R. B. Fuller’s legacy, Sacred Geometry and toroidal energy fields, may these topics saturate the global consciousness and facilitate the projection of an abundant and harmonious future. ∞

human as you
24 Jan 11:19pm

Upon reading your “about me” section I was a bit surprised at the review you have written… often today we say “I have to see to believe” but I have now seen things that I used to be blind to and which were right in front of my face… yet others seem oblivious to them even though they are IN YOUR FACE.. what you may ask? Well those strange trails in the skies left by ghost airplanes and that are laying huge tons of Aluminum and Barium into our air, water and soil (I bet they are flying over you right now too, did you ever wonder?) there are camps in America to incarcerate people (and now indefinitely). I don’t really like to use this example but the circumstances give me no choice… do you think the people being led to the gas chambers in Nazi Germany thought for one second that the “shower” was a gas chamber? hundreds of thousands were involved in the deception of guiding each human being all the way to the gas chamber. Do you think this can not happen again? to unbelievable? why do we not know anything at all about these airplanes and what they may be spraying? Just read the quotes Mr Rockefeller speaks about such as the world being a better place when its ran by bankers… not like old times he says… It is obvious he has not a lot of respect for the rest of us, we must seem like such nuisances to him.

human as you
24 Jan 11:51pm


We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.”
– Bill Clinton, USA Today on 3/11/93, page 2a

“Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government.”
– Henry Kissinger, Bilderberger Conference in Evians, France, 1991

“The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining super capitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control…. Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent.”
– Congressman Larry P. McDonald, 1976, killed in the Korean Airlines 747 that was shot down by the Soviets

“Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
– David Rockefeller, Memoirs, page 405

“It is the system of nationalist individualism that has to go….We are living in the end of the sovereign states….In the great struggle to evoke a Westernized World Socialism, contemporary governments may vanish….Countless people…will hate the new world order….and will die protesting against it.” – H.G. Wells, in his book, “The New World Order”, 1940

“Bankers own the earth; take it away from them but leave them with the power to create credit; and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again… If you want to be slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers control money and control credit.”
– Sir Josiah Stamp, Director, Bank of England, 1940.

“We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”
– David Rockefeller

“We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years… It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”
– David Rockefeller, Bilderberg Meeting, June 1991 Baden, Germany

25 Jan 5:39pm

To the list of four things currently preventing the world from thriving, I would like to contribute:

-patriarchy, sexism, violence against women and other forms of gender violence that successfully prevent roughly one half of the world’s population from fulfilling their potential equal to the other half.

Richard Bell
26 Jan 3:17am

Given his visibility in the Transition movement, Rob has done this movement a great favor by putting as much critical distance as possible between himself and “Thrive.” He must surely have known that his critical review of the film would annoy the true believers, as demonstrated in the anger and anguish in many of the comments in this thread.

One of the confusions that runs through this thread is the mingling of claims about political conspiracy with claims about what I will call “scientific conspiracy.”

On the political conspiracy side, at the highest level of global organization, it is no secret that governments and corporations, especially financial institutions, come together on a regular basis in an effort to manage the global economy in ways that protect and extend their power. G8, G20, Davos, etc. Nor is it a secret that corporations have “conspired” to do such things as buying up streetcar companies and putting them out of business in order to promote the automobile.

As far as I know, every civilization we know about has been characterized by an elite (kingly, priestly, Wall Street-y) that thrived by using force (of the sword, or by the more refined rule of law) to extract money, goods, and services from a much larger class (slaves, serfs, wage earners). And as historians like Howard Zinn have so brilliantly shown us, the history we receive in school almost always omits or denigrates the struggles of the poor and the oppressed. And as Zinn and other historians have shown, we can recover at least some of this suppressed history, to better inform the struggles of today.

But when it comes to suppressing science, things get much murkier. Distorting science is much more difficult than distorting history because the “facts” of science are open to anyone anywhere on the planet to test. If someone makes a claim that he has invented a device or process that produces energy in violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics (like the current hoop-la over Andrea Rossi’s “e-cat”), there is a well-established process for proving or disproving such claims. Other scientists and experimenters with no connections to the original claimants have to reproduce the results. If the claimant refuses to provide other scientists with enough information to do such a test, then we have no reason to believe the claim. (To read more about the failures of various perpetual motion machines, try checking out the magazine, The Skeptical Inquirer.)

Thus far, scientists have never been able to confirm the invention of a perpetual motion machine.

As several comments note, the absence of proof does not necessarily mean that through some mechanism we do not understand as yet, we may one day find a way around the 2nd law.

But now we come to real rub: in the absence of the proof of the existence of such a device, it would be criminally insane to bet the future of human civilization on the discovery of this device in time to solve the problems that we already know we must solve in the near-term: climate change, water, peak oil, habitat destruction, accelerated species extinctions, etc.

We even have a name for the principle we should apply in the presence of such uncertainty: the precautionary principle. The principle is conservative in the best sense of the word “conservative.” If we apply the PP correctly, we will not gamble the future of our species on the invention of devices whose invention depends on the overturning of the fundamental principles that have produced the technologies we have today.

Living under the precautionary principle, on the other hand, does not mean that we should stop exploring and investigating and inventing.

Some people have taken issue with Rob because of his concern about what our species would do if we were suddenly presented with “free energy.”
I share his concern that under the political arrangements that currently govern life on the planet, humans would likely accelerate the rate of destruction of the biosphere. And I fully agree with the argument that the inequitable distribution of wealth (including access to energy) of today’s world is unjust.

I suppose one could argue that if we had unlimited energy, then we could afford (in energy terms) to pay the vast energy cost of cleaning up the messes we have already made, and would continue making (pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere and sequestering it somewhere, eliminating hazardous chemicals from our rivers, lakes, and groundwater, etc.)

In that sense, “free energy” fits into the theories of cornucopians like the late Julian Simon, people who believe there are no “limits to growth” which cannot be overcome by human creativity. A core principle in the world as seen by cornucopians is the belief in “infinite substitutability,” the idea that as we use up one resource, we can always find an affordable substitute in a timely way. Access to “free energy” would make it much easier for cornucopians to defend their faith in “infinite substitutability.”

I see that I have now gone on at least as long as some of the previous posters. Thanks again to Rob for taking on this misleading and scientifically vapid movie. It’s too bad that Gamble spent so much money producing such a product. And if he didn’t explain clearly to the people he interviewed the claims he was going to make, he should apologize to them and take them out of the film.

26 Jan 4:05am

You underestimate the power of dogma within scientific circles. You also clearly underestimate the degree to which corporations control the flow of funding toward science. And thirdly you underestimate the intellectual investment a lot of scientists have to protect, with new facts undermining their life’s work. 99% of scientists work according to the so called consensus theories, and hardly even know about experimental science anymore, because this core principle of science is hardly addressed in universities today, unless it stays within the current paradigm.

Furthermore, sceptics always use perpetual motion and the impossibility of it as an argument. Which is invalid, because it has nothing to do with perpetual motion. Perpetual motion is impossible, but harvesting energy from the vacuum clearly isn’t that. It’s not even that mainstream science maintains the ether isn’t there, they can measure it, but they assume it is a constant. If these machines harvest energy from the vacuum or ether, it does not even mess with any law of thermodynamics, as the law that is used as an argument is based on closed systems.

I get what people like you or Rob mean, and I also get the motivation behind this political manoeuvring, but one of the core principles of science is keeping an open mind and exploring the universe and all it’s manifestations. Sadly many scientists stray from this.

26 Jan 11:35am

@michel @Richard Bell

I’m sick and tired off people trying do defend there inactivity by saying things like, “free energy might be possible….”

Especially because a future with less energy might be preferable!

Go watch the impossible hamster.

And then do something! I’ll do something now.

Hollywood Tomfortas
27 Jan 3:22am

I think many commenters here would be interested in a blog that was specifically created to debunk all the pseudo-scientific and conspiracy-theorist claims made by the makers of the THRIVE movie.

Thrive Debunked
A blog that will fact-check and correct the errors and false statements contained in “Thrive,” a new conspiracy theory documentary released on the Internet.

John B
28 Jan 4:35am

Nicolas Tesla clearly was able to do it, many wonderful inventions have been created , bought out and shelved or limited in their uses.

Is Gamble correct, Is he wrong… one thing is certain.. there is more devastation and greed in the world and it is not getting better.


Brad K.
29 Jan 5:50pm

@ John B,

i is not getting better

I think it depends on where you look, and who’s story you listen to.

The worsening economic crises in Europe and around the world focus a lot of attention on strident voices clamoring for this fix and for that fix, each adamant the other is wrong. The fact that the best-published voices are more strident doesn’t mean that the amount of greed and devastation is better or worse.

Just my observation, but there seem to be a few people raising chickens in the back yard, involved in Transition activities, or just trying to make better personal choices, that see that they don’t have to follow the lemmings over the cliff. Perhaps the world is getting worse, perhaps it is the leaders or just the newsmongers. But I doubt that this is a significant trend in the course of human affairs. Focusing on greed and devastation, though, is likely a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I am minded, too, of the snake oil salesman and the marketer and politician that choose to convince their audience that the sky is falling, but they can solve the problem. To hear their story, then, yes, evil is rampant and camped on our doorsteps. Marketing messages intended to garner political influence and increase fundraising, though, have seldom worried about the truth. Success for the ethically challenged was ever measured in dollars.

29 Jan 6:39pm

Excellent review.

David West
29 Jan 9:37pm

There is a pervading mind-set that I call Institutional Thinking. We are all initially indoctrinated into this mindset in schools and universities, and these ideas are promulgated by peer pressure, and accepted as a normal way to think.
Unfortunately, Institutional Thinking is a whole bunch of misunderstandings botched together in a picture of life as agreed by those who work in institutions, in order to keep their jobs, and to avoid having to think for themselves. It is ‘inside-the-box’ thinking.

The guy who tries to debunk lies with fact is one of those.
For example, he says that Adam Trombly never invented a free energy device, as if he personally saw it not being invented.
I know Adam Trombly, I know he invented a free-energy device, and I know his life was threatened and he was put under a gag order.
I could not know these things if I was an Institutional Thinker. You can read a detailed interview with Adam Trombly called A Wake-Up Call to the American People at:

Institutional Thinkers have some or all of the following thoughts:
Science rules all – life is defined by science.
If it cannot be sensed by the five senses it does not exist.
Aliens and UFOs do not exist.
There is no conspiracy.
Eating tablets and supplements is a normal thing to do.
Western allopathic medicine is highly advanced.
Supermarket food is better than farm food.
Technology can improve on nature.
We have a right to a job – we were born to work for someone else.
School is the best way to learn.
The human body is separate from everything else – The mind is contained in the brain, and there is no spirit.
There is no god.
Reincarnation is a myth.
Newspapers and TV tell the truth.
2012 is no different to any other year.
Free energy is a myth.
Industrial farming is the only way to feed the world.
CO2 is a poisonous gas.

Anyone who considers any of the above to be even a half-truth is suffering from the delusions of Institutional Thinking.

Of course, everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want to believe, no matter how unrealistic it might be. But in circumstances where secrets are kept by the myriad of secret service organisations and private societies, research into the truth is essential.

Fortunately, Internet provides us with an opportunity to conduct research in our own home, making it possible for anyone to glean the truth eventually. When one erroneous ‘fact’ of Institutional Thinking is eventually seen through, the veil is lifted and the rest of the mindset collapses like a house of cards.

There are still some who try to promulgate these old doctrines, but every day now more and more people are seeing through the veil, causing the institutions to struggle for their survival.

Transition Culture is about the new non-institutional mind set. Which is why thrive is such an important movie. Not only because it has succeeded in being publicised enough for many people to view it even though it breaks the conventional thinking codes of the institutions, but because it produces a differentiation between those still stuck inside the box, and those outside.

Of course it goes against the grain of Institutional Thinkers. It blows apart most of their ideas, so they spend their life trying to debunk it, instead of learning from it.

Kind regards


30 Jan 3:59pm

I am the creator of the Thrive Debunked blog which was linked here.

I have two points to make, first, I’d like to compliment Rob Hopkins’s original article reviewing Thrive, an article with which I agree. I think it’s spot-on.

Second, in response to a David West who posted a long comment deriding what he calls “Institutional Thinking.” Why, Mr. West, is it so unreasonable to ask Mr. Trombly, and others who claim to have invented free energy devices, to prove to the world that they have done so?

It would be very easy for Mr. Trombly to prove his critics wrong. All he has to do is build a working machine, capable of being replicated by others, and demonstrate that it actually works. That’s all. Why doesn’t he post the schematics of the machine? Why doesn’t he make them public? If his machine really works, once it’s public it will be impossible to stuff the genie back in the bottle, won’t it?

As for this gag order, if Mr. West believes it has been issued by a corrupt government that’s under the sway of some “Global Domination Agenda,” and Mr. Trombly and his supporters believe as strongly as they appear to that his machine is a magical panacea that will transform human civilization (as asserted in Thrive), why would Mr. Trombly even respect the order? If his machine really works, won’t his defiance of this evil gag order mark him as a hero?

Under U.S. law, anyone subject to a gag order for patent reasons is eligible to receive compensation. Has Mr. Trombly applied for such compensation? If not, why not?

If the machine really works, it seems Mr. Trombly has very little to fear from these “institutions” that Mr. West claims are so bankrupt and worthless. After all, a working free energy machine, capable of being replicated by others, would be the ultimate proof that Mr. Trombly was right all along. The world would certainly welcome an invention such as his, if it really worked.

It has been my experience, dealing with conspiracy theorists and New Age believers, that when they’re unable to provide proof of their extraordinary claims, they start complaining about how unreasonable it is that they are even asked for proof. That seems to be what Mr. West is doing here.

Again, great article by Rob Hopkins.

31 Jan 12:52am

An excellent review of this deplorable movie.

As a liberal environmentalist type, I’m very sympathetic to Thrive’s uplifting message. I was mortified, however, to finally see the movie: could they have crammed more crackpot conspiracy theories from the left- and right-wing into one two-hour period?

The film will undoubtedly do more harm than good: if environmentalism and progressive politics are tarred with this type of ridiculous pseudoscience and paranoid fantasy, there will be even less hope of achieving the uplifting future the film describes.

David West
31 Jan 1:01am

In response to the incredibly naive comments about gag orders and Adam Trombly, I believe even a small study of free energy inventors will reveal that well over fifty of them have lost their lives as a result of their efforts.
This author goes drivelling on without having read the documentation that is referenced.
Such an approach is not suitable for a forum of this nature. Please read a little before wasting our time with uncooperative and uninformed opinions

Josef Davies-Coates
31 Jan 1:41am

“I believe even a small study of free energy inventors will reveal that well over fifty of them have lost their lives as a result of their efforts.”

Oh, really?! Why do you believe that? Can you provide any evidence to support that claim?

According to this page:

“Number of Dead, Missing, or Injured Energy Inventors, Activists, and Associates – 20 ”

Note that that includes people who were just missing or injured and not dead. Note also that everyone dies. 😉

David West
31 Jan 6:23am

If you search for and find the proof like I did – 20 years of research, you will form your own picture. However, without research, you will believe what other uninformed or intentionally dishonest people tell you.
Free energy is real today. See peswiki for a start.
Instead of asking me to do your research for you, why don’t you PROVE that what is said in Thrive is untrue instead of making guesses.
I agree that the truth differs greatly from the fantasies portrayed by mass media, but if you research where and how mass media gets its stories, you will soon begin to ignore that balderdash completely.
Don’t you guys understand even now after all the years that evidence has been available that there IS a secret government that is hell bent in promoting its New World Order, and reducing the world population to below one billion.
These guys, whose names you can find if you look around, have no concern for human life. They will do anything to maintain their power-crazy control including preventing free energy from coming to market. The same guys control our finances, eduction, science, medicine, secret services, and mass media and through this they are able to make you think anything they want you to think. Study all the facets of mind control to give you an in depth understanding of how are minds are manipulated unless we know about it and can guard against it.

Study Raja Yoga, and make your mind a tool instead of your master.Study Gnani yoga, and you will discover what free energy really is. But please, whatever you do, don’t start spouting off and criticising others who have done their studies and are trying to pass on the fruits of their research to you. If you can’t recognise these truths, and don’t agree with truth, you probably are not ready yet!

There is nothing in Thrive that hasn’t been discussed and agreed elsewhere by thousands, long before Foster Gamble even started his research.

Answers to all the above topics, and many more, can be found amongst the 300+ pages at:

31 Jan 7:28am

I regard it as somewhat unlikely that many regular readers of this blog, which appears to be quite level-headed and grounded in rationality and critical thinking, will be swayed by this toxic, thought-terminating “New World Order” nonsense that has been refuted many times before, including on my own blog:

Anyone who wishes to discuss matters of fact or reasoning presented on my Thrive Debunked blog is welcome to do so, and I’ve added my two cents here only because I was told that my blog had become a subject of discussion in the comments to this article. My purpose in creating the blog is to make sure that people who investigate the veracity of claims made in the Thrive movie at least see some actual facts and rational thinking pop up in their search results. My hats off to Rob Hopkins for this article lucidly analyzing the film.

Brad K.
1 Feb 2:20am

@ David West,

Wow. “make your mind a tool instead of your master. Nothing like making this personal.

Describing a visitor to Rob’s site in derogatory terms often considered impolite behavior. I had always thought that polite discourse was about evaluating premises, about growing the body of communal knowledge.

Mere public opinion, even consensus, doesn’t necessarily mean science or engineering fact. I recall seeing images of thousands crowding to hear rock concerts, without proving or disproving any of the lyrics presented. I recall the Jim Jones ‘purple koolaid’ group suicide event that failed to prove or disprove any spiritual message or truth.

The torus (or doughnut energy blip, as I think of it) free energy thing may be admired by any number of people without impressing me. A city with lights powered by a torus, and no utility bills, now that would impress me. Or a car that runs on water with no additional fuel or electricity. Etc.

Until Fulton floated and demonstrated his “folly”, the criticism was demonstrable and overwhelming. Thus, “I haven’t been shown, yet” is as strong as I will say about the technique — and is also all the regard I have (very little, that is) for the PR and claims that have been made to date.

4 Feb 3:52pm

Thrive is fundamentally flawed in its—for some, hypnotically—promoting a wide variety of conspiracy theories based on an illusory division between well-meaning but victimized majority of “us” and evil, greedy, powerful minority of ‘them’ while distracting and absolving from the troubling truth that the real source of the problem is in all of US. If we truly root for permaculture we need sanity, humility and diligence to change little by little the tiny worlds around us and make an effort to live sustainably while providing example and guidance for each other. Thrive is visual and ideological kitsch with unicorns and rainbows on our side and black-suited, menacing thugs in ski-masks on “theirs”; appealing to open minds is the means of snake-oil peddlers and threateningly demanding for it is that of paranoids. Sure, give me a free energy generator, and I, with the rest of the free market, will embrace it—I think that it is hogwash along with the aliens. I would be much more in the company of the toned down but deep humanity of Stephen Hawking of TED than that of the directionless grand utopian vision—and global warming denial—of Foster (Procter &) Gamble of Thrive. I am sure that Mr. Gamble in his open-collar custom shirts considers the total vacuum of critical response to his movie and “movement” as the orchestrated suppression of his mission by the media controlled by “thugs” with white ties and pocket squares on the top of the corporate pyramids and not because they are patently infantile, not worthy of consideration.

Suzanne Taylor
6 Feb 8:54am

I’ve posted on the THRIVE DEBUNKED blog, and, because you are dismissive of crop circles, want to echo some of that here.

First of all, having been involved with the crop circle phenomenon for over 20 years, I was invited to a rough cut of THRIVE to check it for factual errors. Wait – let me back up and give you a “first” before this first. I am a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of NYU. I have a bachelor of science degree. Granted, it’s not the be all end all that makes me an incontrovertible authority about anything, but hopefully it gets a foot in a door that won’t be slammed in my face.

There were some gross misstatements about the circles in the rough cut, and a lot of my fixes did get implemented. Incidentally, I was not consulted about the circle material on the website, much of which is wrong. When I voluntarily re-wrote it, I could not get any buy-in to make the changes – they were too busy. It’s insult to injury, because when they are challenged about the movie’s gaps in logic – like how the early robber barons became the Illuminati who are conspiring to take over the world — they state that the website fills in gaps in the information in the movie (no matter that documentaries are supposed to document and not revert to websites to fix their illogic), but in fact the website echoes the movie and fills in no gaps.

I was invited to have a credit in the movie, but I declined. The film is deeply disturbing to me, having nothing to do with the circles and everything to do with the preposterous claims it makes – the world according to Foster Gamble. See my blog, “Making Sense of These Times,” for my critique about THRIVE — and for material about the great shift of consciousness sweeping through humanity:

Another thing of interest is that when I saw the rough cut I was concerned about the authorities they interview. I couldn’t believe they knew the nature of the movie they were going to end up in, and I told the THRIVE people they best check lest they be attacked by the participants for being deceived. They assured me they would check, but some of those people are friends of mine and they had not been contacted before the film came out. Those people indeed are shocked, but have not been vocal about it.

What concerns me about this blog is that while the film is eminently attackable, your dismissal of the circles as a real mystery is as specious as is the content of the film.

Yes, hoaxers can flatten crop – no problem. But, hoaxers cannot create biological changes to the plants or chemical changes to the soil inside the circles. We run our reality by empirical science, and there have been studies employing strict scientific protocols that attest to changes that cannot be accounted for. See for this work, with includes papers that have been published in peer reviewed science journals.

When all is said and done, what matters is that we have a mystery. You just can’t account for the whole phenomenon coming from people. Where does it come from? Who knows? We’ve never ascertained anything other than us that can function with the sort of intelligence that would be required, so is it from other planets? Other universes? Other dimensions? Who knows? Just “not us.”

And why go to any lengths to debunk the possibility of other intelligence visiting us? If we are being visited it might be what gets us to transcend the oppositional reality in which we are so dangerous to each other and to the planet. If we knew we were not the only intelligence in the universe we would be one humanity in relation “the other,” and, as someone in my movie says, “That could be what saves this civilization.”

Suzanne Taylor
“What On Earth? Inside the Crop Circle Mystery”

7 Feb 6:46am

I thought the same exact thing when I saw poor Amy Goodman in the ‘documentary’. Her comments were totally taken out of context– the forcing of them into his plot-line was painfully obvious. I’m going to a local viewing of the show here, where there will be a supposed “conversation” on the film afterward. I am very excited to speak out against THRIVE, as you and so many honest journalists are doing. I hope to prevent some from being illegitimately persuaded by this charlatan.

7 Feb 7:26pm

Suzanne Taylor: “When all is said and done, what matters is that we have a mystery. You just can’t account for the whole phenomenon coming from people.”

Actually, there is no mystery: pranksters have come forward and explained exactly how they make crop circles, including the supposed “magnetic particles” in the soil. Here are all the details:

The biggest question you should ask yourself is this: If aliens are so advanced that they’ve mastered inter-galactic travel, why do they have to communicate with us by making obscure patterns in wheat?

Hollywood Tomfortas
9 Feb 3:20pm

Georgia Kelly delivers on her promise to publish a 55 page pamphlet deconstructing THRIVE politically.

Deconstructing Libertarianism
A Critique Prompted by the film Thrive

A Project of the Praxis Think Tank

Edited by Georgia Kelly


Why is Praxis Peace Institute Publishing this Pamphlet? …. Page 3

Deconstructing the Political Agenda Behind Thrive by Georgia Kelly ….. Page 4

Some Reflections on Thrive by Dan Drasin ….. Page 10

Challenging the Hidden Ideological Underbelly of Thrive by Ben Boyce… Pg 14

The Ethical Incoherence at the Heart of Thrive by Gus diZerega ….. Page 17

Critique of the Movie, Thrive by Benjamin N. Colby …… Page 29

9 Feb 9:08pm

The issues presented by THRIVE are very emotive and scary. We must acknowledge this.

I am inspired and also appalled at some of the views shared but when we are feeling threatened we don’t always think rationally. I also ask you that this “review” coming from the Transition movement can also be objective and not turned into a debunkers club.

Too many people offer knee jerk reactions frankly based on second hand opinions.

We have a chance here to decide what we are living for, for the status quo and business as usual or for what really counts.

It is human nature to defend the status quo because it´s safe and respond to an unknown with disbelief, then denial, then anger, then acceptance and then co-ownership – turning problems into solutions. The Transition movement has handled one major issue, peak oil that made sense until now but the playing field maybe just got a lot bigger.

Denials and third hand opinions and hatchet jobs count for nothing when it is really better to go do one’s own research and make up one´s own mind,

Check out the truth, don’t just dish up opinions and blind prejudice. What good did that ever do? That is fear based reaction.

On the other hand we have a very real opportunity here for making choices about what we choose to allow influence our lives and how we choose to live. If anything this is about power and where our resources are coming from – who’s running the show? If you´re not running your own it´s not working, I at least have learnt that much…

Do you think opinions and beliefs are any help at all against truth which is our common ground?

What did we learn from the “flat earth” days or from Galileo who was tortured for saying the earth was not the centre of the solar system?

How many out there believe that what they were told by your parents, teachers of church etc is the absolute truth? I think that by now we´ve concluded it definitely isn´t

The problem here is that people think that “belief” is also the truth. It is not.

Belief helps you to survive. It also maintains the status quo. It is a curious fact that people are prepared to die and war about beliefs but we should ask ourselves is belief any more than a description based usually on someone´s best ideas at the time not always on personal experience?

If the TRANSITION movement makes any sense it stands for change and change is for the goats not the sheep.

The chance we have right now is to figure out how we want our own lives to change, to listen more to ourselves rather than anyone else’s opinion, to let go imagining society and democracy has anyone´s best interest in mind except a few and let go what we thought we believed that may no longer be true and probably does not serve us at all any more.

But for that you have to take your own action, do the research, make your own judgment based on first-hand experience and the best independent non-corporate information not just listen to the loudest voice. We have to make our own changes not always have someone else make them for us.

For me this is what the documentary THRIVE is all about. We have to make the changes that make sense to us one home or one garden at a time.

Consider this if you will: What does TRANSITION and THRIVE have in common?

To me it is summed up in three words: TRUTH, PROSPERITY and SUSTAINABILITY FOR ALL. Okay also NON-VIOLATION, I think Foster is right on with that – we should not tolerate violation by any one, government or corporation, but at the same time we must aim towards our own self-sustainability for the earth as a whole and not just for ourselves any more. I took that decision 15 years ago starting with my family and it was for the best…

Look to what unites not divides, that’s where the shift is coming from.

Meanwhile, hatched jobs just kill off the messenger.

Research “industrial military complex” if you really want to know who is running the show.
Research JP Morgan and Rothschild if you want to know who is running the biggest business in town. Truth aint pretty, but it sets us free we are told.

Before you assume anyone was coerced or falsely quoted or represented go check out the comments on the thrivemovement website all voluntarily contributed by Amy Goodman and the rest of them.

We must be honest with ourselves, what do we live for, for the good of all or for the status quo, for the same old comfortable story today as yesterday or did someone just move the goal posts while we were not looking?. Thrive should at least have us checking just what the playing field is really looking like and who sets the rules. And if it doesn´t make any sense any more then quit playing “their” game – let´s play our own that creates a better future and a beautiful planet for our children.

11 Feb 8:10pm

The trouble is that Serdar Argic is not only doing posting boards (see above re: Jonathan) but is directing movies like Thrive these days. Scary!

11 Feb 9:05pm

As Jitendra, Doug, Jonathan and many others have state here, I believe that we need to move from first thoughts, or first reactions, to keep our attention focused and heart opened a little longer in order for THRIVE to have a chance with us. Or so that we have a chance with it… It seemed crazy at first and I felt tempted to dismiss it. What stopped me was not so much the information as the way and care that clearly had been put into it. I realized those people were able to self critique. They could put themselves on others shoes and realize how farfetched it might all seem. And that gained my respect, enough for me to listen further and research further. I discovered a whole lot of very unpleasant information along with other mind blowing, amazingly good things and discoveries going on. It was all very challenging, both the brutal facts that, when we are willing to see them really do appear and from reliable sources, and the echoes from new practices and technologies which can be used in our reframing of the “world”. This is, to me, too important to be lightly dismissed, not looked upon, not investigated. We cannot afford to turn away from potentially transforming possibilities because they don’t match what we started out imagining in the first place. As someone pointed out, I also don’t see our future as so dependent on power down. Sure, we need to live more in accordance with nature and in simplicity and all that which the transition movement has been exploring and inspiring. But bear in mind that our ability to envision and to imagine also depends on information: we see further when we know more and that our inner growing should make us more open and inquisitive so that new information may be processed which we can then use according to our inner feeling. The times are challenging for all of us and in my view one of the most relevant issues is how much “novelty” we can accommodate and allow ourselves to be transformed by. As History has shown, there is a feedback loop between information and mentality. How far are we able we go?

14 Feb 10:12pm

@David West (29 Jan 9:37pm)

– Science rules all – life is defined by science … Not science but some of the things science studies do define life
– If it cannot be sensed by the five senses it does not exist … no true
– Aliens and UFOs do not exist … I can’t say neither true nor false but I do believe alien life is possible (even probable), alien visitors to Earth are unlikely
– There is no conspiracy … there is conspiracy. Large-scale conspiracies like 9/11 are unlikely to happen
– Eating tablets and supplements is a normal thing to do … I’m not sure what you mean
– Western allopathic medicine is highly advanced … conventional medicine is largely responsible for our current quality of life, more specifically life expectancy (at least in some countries)
– Supermarket food is better than farm food … it depends on what kind of food and how the farm food is cultivated but I think fresh vegetables from a farm are generally better
– Technology can improve on nature … true
– We have a right to a job – we were born to work for someone else … I think we do have a right to a job but it doesn’t have to be working for someone else
– School is the best way to learn … not necessarily but for some people is the only available way
– The human body is separate from everything else – The mind is contained in the brain, and there is no spirit … true
– There is no god … true (until someone proves otherwise)
– Reincarnation is a myth … true
– Newspapers and TV tell the truth … not always
– 2012 is no different to any other year … not true (it’s a leap year)
– Free energy is a myth … true
– Industrial farming is the only way to feed the world … in some parts of the world it’s true
– CO2 is a poisonous gas … in high concentrations it most certainly is. Why do you think we exhale it? Read about hypercapnia here and about CO2 toxicity here If you still don’t believe it I dare you to stay in a closed room with a high concentration of carbon dioxide for an extended period of time.

lizi jamal
15 Feb 2:00am

i agree with many of the bloggers here i am suspicious of anyone who says “avoid’.. rather than watch and make up your own mind..that is dangerous… i was at a TTT event a couple of weeks ago and i asked someone from the schumacher college if they had seen thrive..they said they hadn’t because they had read robs review..
i think it would be great to have a dialogue in totnes about these issues because they are dividing our community..much of the points of division are assumptions about other groups perspectives rather than actually finding out what another group thinks ..i am refering to assumptions i have heard made by members of TTT refering to people in the Totnes Truth movement some of the bloggers pointed out..there needs to be respect for diversity….we are all working for a better fairer world in the ways we believe is best..I t seems naive to dismiss many things as conspiracy theories… i don’t think its helpful and its very confusing… my view is that the main conspirators are governments and corporations…you just have to ask who benefits ? or as they say in the film… follow the money ?I am shocked by so many peoples refusal to take their heads out of the sand , history is riddled with governments manipulating and creating situations so they could implement their own agendas..often using the name of”democracy”. why is it so hard to learn and realize and wake up ? and then work together …
one love and unity

Chris Hart
17 Feb 3:21pm

Nice one Lizi – long time no speak

James Cody
22 Feb 4:17pm

This must be a must see film as me thinks thou dost protest a bit too much. The fact that it’s self-published makes it all the more poignant. Means it didn’t have to pass through the money channels to get made. It’s not mainstream. And it doesn’t even really have to get past any idiot critics now that it is. It can stand on its own. I can do my own fact checking, thank you very much. In fact, I plan to get a copy as soon as possible and decide for myself now that you’ve debunked it. ’nuff said.

27 Feb 10:45am

While I agree with most of the critic above, I disagree at the general point it is making.

Please everyone watch the movie and make up your own mind – just for diversity purposes.

By the way, dear Author, “as a key as a key” little mistake in your last bullet points.

Liz McLellan
28 Feb 5:32am

THANK YOU RICHARD BELL… reading through these comments I was losing the will to live.

Rob thank you for being unapologetically clear about this film.

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it!”
-Terry Pratchett

2 Mar 5:24pm

So, what would your opinion of the documentary be if it promoted a message that you hadn’t already decided you disagree with before watching it? I mean I don’t agree with the message of every documentary I watch, but that says nothing of the documentary’s quality. The title of this review is “Why Thrive is Best Avoided,” but when I read your review, I find out that the reason you believe it’s best avoided is because you disagree with its message, and this is something I don’t understand, because it kind of implies that you believe the people reading your review are A. Put off by political messages in general, B. wouldn’t like seeing a documentary that promotes a message contrary to your political beliefs specifically, or C. are so simple minded that you think they would easily be taken in by the film. Essentially what you’re telling us is, “avoid films that promote messages to which I, the critic, don’t want you to be exposed.” And that’s a pretty demeaning method of reviewing a film. Perhaps even more demeaning than the film itself, because rather than simply expressing an opinion, you go the extra step of discouraging people from exposing themselves to conflicting opinions in potentially persuasive detail. In short… your review of Thrive is best avoided.

Brad K.
12 Mar 3:21pm


Content is a very good reason to view or avoid a particular production.

There is evil and obscenity, for two examples of content that would cause me to avoid a presentation. No, I don’t confuse erotica or pornography with harmful obscenity. And evil isn’t just something I disagree with.

Deliberate, manipulative and seductive deceit is another reason to avoid something.

Thrive is definitely trying to make it’s message a central and powerful part of the overall message about Transition, preparation for the end of the industrial age, etc.

I was told during my military service that no matter what you do, 10% of the people won’t “get the message”. By that arithmetic, it is important to limit the scope and emphasis placed on deceitful and wrong statements; we cannot afford the wasted time and diverted effort to re-reach people distracted by wrong statements.

There are, after all, those that still believe Elvis is alive, though I don’t blame that on the Thrive production.

12 Mar 9:03pm

Let people watch and then judge for themselves seems such a reasonable argument…

If only that would be even remotely possible! With the amount of information we get to handle these days I’m more than happy with a review like this!

Another movie a don’t have to watch, great! I have read Robs books and like m so I know how to value his review.

Great thanks Rob!

16 Mar 4:44pm

Thanks for the review. It put into words a creepy feeling I was beginning to get about this, as you say, “self-funded”, film, being promoted (fairly successfully, it seems) as containing the answers to our problems. Let’s hear it for logic and evidence. If we relied on them more often, we’d be better off. The bad thing is that it took a lot of searching on the internet to find your article, while the easier things to find were uncritical and deceptive, even.

7 Apr 10:38am

I nearly didn’t watch it. But I’m REALLY GLAD I did!

It’s also now free to watch as it has paid for itself.

Hansjoerg Hoepfner
8 Apr 6:25pm

Why avoid?
Watch, think, discuss and keep the best thoughts of it.

Hollywood Tomfortas
12 Apr 1:20am

Author John Robbins, Other Progressives Denounce ‘Thrive’

The Santa Cruz–based author is joined by Deepak Chopra and others in a statement distancing themselves from the film

Hollywood Tomfortas
12 Apr 5:26am

Muertos, our intrepid THRIVE-Debunked blogger, has posted a new article about the implosion of the movie, including a statement by John Robbins himself, which John posted as a comment.

from John Robbins:

“We are a group of people who were interviewed for and appear in the movie Thrive, and who hereby publicly disassociate ourselves from the film.

Thrive is a very different film from what we were led to expect when we agreed to be interviewed. We are dismayed that we were not given a chance to know its content until the time of its public release. We are equally dismayed that our participation is being used to give credibility to ideas and agendas that we see as dangerously misguided.

We stand by what each of us said when we were interviewed. But we have grave disagreements with some of the film’s content and feel the need to make this public statement to avoid the appearance that our presence in the film constitutes any kind of endorsement.

Signatories (in alphabetical order)

Deepak Chopra

Duane Elgin

Amy Goodman

Paul Hawken

Edgar Mitchell

John Perkins

John Robbins

Elisabet Sahtouris

Vandana Shiva”

Dave Hampton
12 Apr 7:19pm

Hi Rob,
Well done, great piece, I missed seeing this before now.
I have to say I find it disturbing how nasty (and ignorant, or malicious) many of the comments are. Mr Gamble obviously didn’t get where he is today without…
Now that NINE of the leading figures featured in the film have gone public and disassociated themselves from it completely, hopefully less people will be duped.
Here’s my blog on the matter

16 Apr 2:07pm

By being cynical, as you were writing this article, you dismiss any new idea that may challenge the paradigm within you, which basically is a form of gullibility. Self-deceiving yourself.

Maybe you should try being skeptical, and investigate and study before you start typing?!

You accuse the documentary of not having foundations despite the fact of an extensive biography and directing you to the website to go and look for more info.

On the other hand your article is full of opinions and facts, but none backed up. Just because they are your opinions, and your beliefs, don’t really make it more valid.

Yes, your article is so well written and so secure of itself and the things you are exposing, that many will just believe in it as truth as many just believed in the film Thrive without doing any investigation to back up any of them. They present themselves as authorities. One because it’s on film, and the other because it’s on the internet. “Then they must be true”

And here we come to the core of the question, the so called Awakening. Which is nothing more than living a life of responsibility and awareness to it’s own power instead of looking out for authoritative figures in order to follow what they say. Believing politicians or religious figures have their best interest for you.

This was and still is the case for the majority of the population, which is constantly looking to politicians, to religious figures, to a girlfriend, a boyfriend in order to be saved.

People play blindly the game of victim-aggressor=savior (that’s uses guilt and blame as it’s foundations).

When you stop living as a victim you don’t need a savior, because only one can save himself. Go from asking why is this happening to me, to asking what is this situation telling about myself. One assumes it’s creative power and lives with the responsibility of his choices instead of justifying that he can do what he’s doing because someone died for him, or because a books tells you to do so, or a president decided to.

The system is falling. The hippies, gay, pomossexuals, gothics, skaters, occupy movement, etc etc… all these groups are bringing the old system down, that things must be either black or white; the duality system, father/mother, priest/scientist, right/wrong.

And as said in Thrive non-participation and non-violence is one good way to bring it down. That’s why many young people don’t seem to care, and then suddenly they do care when they see something like Thrive. Why? Because they are not resonating at the same level as the problem. To find solutions one cannot find the answers at the same level of the problems. Focusing on what unites us rather than what divides us, and being aware that we are an expression of one thing, humanity. Humanity is going from adolescent brat, into adult.

Be the change you want to see in the world, rather than expecting to come from the outside…. Because your beliefs define how you experience the world, one same event.

One of the great things about Thrive, is that appeals for compassion at the moment of judgment.

After all if we respond to the demise of the old systems and their leaders with angry, judgmental thoughts and behavior, and asking for heads to role, those same thoughts will be part of the new systems. New system but same old problems.

At the heart of a system are the thoughts and beliefs. We create out of our beliefs.A system, of any kind, is a physical manifestation and thus, reflection of those that create it.
Fortunately the ones on their 20’s are resonating to the film, giving hope of a future new system. Like maybe when you tried to talk to your grand-father about a subject and he couldn’t grasp the idea because it was beyond it’s time, maybe the same is happening to you now… Not because you are limited, just because you decided to limit yourself and your existence.
Anyway, I think Thrive puts it clearly not how people were/are lied to and deceived, but how people are willing to be lied to and deceived and give their own power away. It’s not about others, it’s about you; how you see the world, your world, and how you react to it. At a personal level, on your basic interactions with events, and with the people in your life.
The awakening is the responsible agreements that one should take. Investigate, from multiple sources, and keep an open mind and understand that the perception of self is nothing more than programming, and like Einsten said “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

Proof of anything is whatever constitutes proof to the individual. When we accept something as true, we examine and compare the evidence according to our own criteria , experience and beliefs.
History Channel is on their Season 4 of Ancient Aliens documentaries. Is there so much evidence to make 4 seasons of about 16 episodes each? Free energy Tesla and all? Twin tower inside job? Well, just because you state so vehemently that they are bullshit, doesn’t make it bullshit unless one is willing to take your statement as truth. And give the power to you believing in your words. One it’s the only authoritative figure in it’s own life.
Being responsible for the things one agrees to, after having done his research, instead of beliefs in outside figures, stories, or concepts, should be a more responsible approach?!
Understanding that agreements can change in time. Also instead of going for beliefs and even agreements, go for knowledge through personal experience.

The internet, while it’s free, is a great resource of info, that’s allowing the shift. There’s a lot of disinfo, a lot of crap; ultimately one should go with what resonates with him and makes him feel empowered at that moment in space/time.

Rob Hopkins
16 Apr 3:32pm

Dear PS.

“Ultimately one should go with what resonates with him and makes him feel empowered at that moment in space/time”. Really? Wouldn’t one be better to go with what has the most robust evidence base to support it? It is on that basis that ‘Thrive’ falls flat on its face. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and Thrive provides none. Which is one of the reasons why so many of the people interviewed for the film recently publicly disassociated themselves from it.

16 Apr 9:42pm

Rob Hopkins

You surely must have missed the quite extensive comment in which I expressed one must make conscious decisions and investigate by himself?! And neither see the film nor this article as authoritative figures and used them for what they are, pieces of info, to start their own investigations if they feel fit and then yes, after that, ultimately go with what resonates with them and empowers them?!

17 Apr 12:53pm

Of course, “we are one step away from a “military dictatorship”” is actually true. With NDAA etc. etc. etc. its almost here.

Erin Scott
19 Apr 9:19pm

Reading your review was highly disappointing, Rob.

You unveil a fundamental egoic response and a (semi-) surprising set of limited constructs. Too rash and too incomplete do you deny what is being articulated in the film. I also found you to not fully understand or deliberately not fully acknowledge the wholeness of that which you argue simplistically to be quackery.

As one who lived in Totnes in 2006 during the Transition launch and one who has subsequently lived in a later-developed Transition city and realized the limits of the movement, I say above that I’m “semi-surprised” at your response. In fact, you fill your niche. Let Foster Gamble fills his.

Discount as you will, insights were brought forth in this film, many of which I have come to realize and experience over the last three years independently from Proctor or this film. There are simply certain realizations, which may ‘sound crazy’ to you but which (simply) are not in actuality. As evolved as you may think yourself to be, be humble enough to acknowledge that you know what you know and understand what you understand but there is ALWAYS more truth that exists.

Lee Gillett
21 Apr 1:06pm

I hope people read your review Rob and then go see the film to make up their own minds. OK, so some of it may be tosh, but much of it I believe is accurate – you just need to see the evidence around you. The latest being that the government wants to store all of your emails and texts. I say watch the film and at least think about what it is saying. Then do your own research. The questions posed by the film are too important to just dismiss as you have done in this review.

Uffe Jonas
22 Apr 6:48pm

I’m not too happy about the conspiracy part either, it is over the top and much too long. But free energi and the suppression of it is a well documented fact (nothing rediculous about that at all, in fact, its a tragedy). See: Peter Lindeman, D.Sc. (2001), The World of Free Energy. Cf.

22 Apr 10:56pm

THRIVE-Debunked blogger and yourself are those resources online that told people “ITS a SCAM!” and ” AVOID IT!”

I am sure there will be people completely support your pov. As any human individual is standing from a different point and having a different view of the current world. People found Thrive are liberal and unrealistic are normal. You are just one of them.

As foster isn’t a guy into politics so thrive seems like a documentary looking for a ideal solution for the earth through science.

You and i may not see how the world transformed into the one that free energy is the primary energy resources. Similar ideas as human from stone age doesnt get to use electric drill to build a house.

You can be a great educator to tell our kids to question the level of possibility of any crazy ideas and what are the current system has been using that are benefiting to our current world. But please dont define those dreamers are idiots.

And when you are 100% sure foster is wrong and telling everyone so, its like you telling Thomas Edison “Human beings need to use candle for the rest of their light year!” but well turned out we are using lightbulb and LED light right now.

So i just find this part of your argument pretty funny and thanks for the laugh.

i see thrive as a documentary that connect those dreamers together and make changes to the world. The transition of any system could create any disaster or downfall and there will be great thinker and doer accommodate the transition and hopefully we are one of them to help to transition.

Dave Hampton
22 Apr 11:45pm

I agree with Rob.
“It’s dangerous tosh which deserves little other than our derision. It is also a very useful opportunity to look at a worldview which, according to Georgia Kelly writing at Huffington Post, masks “a reactionary, libertarian political agenda that stands in jarring contrast with the soothing tone of the presentation”.
I can’t believe how many intelligent people have been hoaxed by the film.
If any single one of:
Deepak Chopra
Duane Elgin
Amy Goodman
Paul Hawken
Edgar Mitchell
John Perkins
John Robbins
Elisabet Sahtouris or
Vandana Shiva
had warned me off the film that would have been enough for me.
But no – they all have! With no ambiguity in their statement.
Thrive is dangerous tosh?
I think that’s being quite generous to it.

25 Apr 4:11am

When anyone tells me a movie, book or any other medium is “best avoided” because of it’s IDEAS contained within, a HUGE RED FLAG is raised in front of me!! I can understand not recommending a movie because it’s not entertaining, poorly produced, too long or any other downfall of it’s crafting.

But to pan it mainly for its IDEAS, no matter how controversial, harkens back to the days of medieval witch hunts and inquisitions! Why is the reviewer so against people seeing this movie? What is he or she trying to protect us from? If the ideas are so ridiculous, what’s the harm in seeing it? I saw it and it’s well produced, entertaining and was something different than the usual fare. What, someone would be better off spending those two hours seeing some other mindless movie or watching a sporting event? Come on! Something doesn’t smell quite right here!

As far as getting free energy from “nothing” or “zero point” is concerned, where do you think the universe got it’s energy to expand before it emerged (big bang or otherwise) from the size of a singularity? From a gallon of gasoline? Maybe a wind turbine? Or how ’bout a solar panel? THINK, use your OWN MIND and THINK!! “‘Free energy’ is a world notoriously riddled with charlatans and cranks.” Just like those crackpots that think they can make a flying machine! Imagine that, a machine that can fly!! Now golly dang, that’ll be the day!! If god wanted man to fly, he’d a given us wings!! Bwa Ha Ha…

If you’re content with the explanations presented by the main stream media, current education system and our government then go on about your day and sleep soundly at night. If however you’re open to the idea that this life is more than flesh, blood and the sweat of work, then give THRIVE a chance. I guaranty your knees will be violently jerking left and right, but stay with it, do your own follow up. Connect the dots with your own information. If something doesn’t smell right, make sure you find out exactly where the stink is coming from.

Mindless Sheep
26 Apr 6:57am

Only a mind controlled sheep would completely disregard the idea of free energy. May I remind you that you are the most intelligent species living on a giant rotating ball somewhere in the infinite cosmos. Stan Meyers invented the first water powered engine and then died from food poisoning in 98
water is not free but we have plenty of it. This all disappeared from the news like it never happened. Its very simple, Money = control. There used to be kings and queens ruling giant empires and they completely controlled their populations. Humanity hasn’t changed, we are still discussing power hungry selfish species. We are simply programmed by our media and peers since birth, you are labeled a nut to simply think outside of the ordinary. Cheap or free energy will never see light its the biggest kept secret because it would be the base of freedom. Humanity hasn’t reached its full potential and never will if were poisoned by GMO’s, fluoride, vaccines and mind programmed to follow the sheep in-front of you. It makes me sick to think its 2012 and human beings are still committing brutal genocide all over the world like Syria for example.

free energy explained below

Dave Hampton
26 Apr 9:20am

What disappears from the news like it never happens is the fossil fuel waste product, jettisoned into the ocean of are we share (25 billion tonnes a year, as if it never happened.
What disappears from the news is nuclear accidents, nuclear waste spills, nuclear toxicity. (Plus oil spills, tar sand destruction, tracking and water table poisoning as we try to drain the dregs of mother earths remaining fossil fuel seams)
What disappears from the news is the reason for wars – oil.

And to plant the idea that we need to WAIT for free energy, when renewable energy is already working in so many of our back yards, like the solar PV and solar thermal on my roof, and community wind power, and small hydro, and the like – ALL are FREE energy uncensored, available free from a roof near you TODAY with no need to wait for anything or anyone to change other than ourselves.

This film is a piece or Republican party propaganda, dressed up as an eco-warrior.

Nothing more, nothing less.

What makes me sick is to think its 2012 and rich energy-addicts are still at war for oil fossil and nuclear. The new war is the war for for control of the old centralised power model. If you believe that some clever person out there has a big free clean energy power station that will solve everyone’s energy needs, and energy greed, then you continue to buy into the idea of dependency on someone else’s power – Which is the mass deception this film cunningly *almost* pulls off.

You have all the power you need. (They don’t.) You have free energy from the sky today, and food from the sky too. You don’t need to wait. Millions are already living off free energy free today.

The deception of the film is say than one day there will be free energy – no – free energy IS all around us – but it needn’t be the possible free energy of future – it can be the real free energy of today – renewable energy – the creative energies of the sky and the wind, that have always nurtured us since the dawn of time.

Why would i want to wait for a free energy box supplied by the makers of the Thrive movie when I already have a ‘sky’ box giving me juice from my roof….

Funny that supporters of Thrive refer to others as mind controlled sheep…

chris reiss
26 Apr 5:31pm

Good review.

I’d like to add that : if a free energy machine were invented, and the West tried to repress it, The People’s Republic of China would pay 10 billion dollars for it.

26 Apr 6:11pm

Dave Hampton: Well said. I have made this exact point with delusional “free energy” types. Why wait for the laws of the universe to be overturned when we have the solution staring us in the face (solar, wind, etc)?

It’s disheartening that so many supporters of Thrive have appeared in these comments. “Keep an open mind,” they say. Sure, but we must also examine the empirical evidence rationally and reject nonsensical hypotheses. And it’s astonishing how much nonsense Thrive contains.

Dave Hampton
26 Apr 6:41pm

I might be wrong here, but most of the people violently objecting to anyone objecting to this film’s covert right wing propaganda all seem to have strange anonymous names. Whereas most of the people who object the film’s deception are real people. And several of them just happen to be people with not insubstantial reputations. Like Deepak Chopra
Duane Elgin
Amy Goodman
Paul Hawken
Edgar Mitchell
John Perkins
John Robbins
Elisabet Sahtouris or
Vandana Shiva for example.
These are not people known for being mindless sheep 😉

26 Apr 8:52pm

What is most painful here, is witnessing people spend creative time and energy tearing one another down as if anyone person actually has knowledge of a substantive solution.

Rather how might we find enough intelligence to discern the commonality of what is needed to collaborate on the change required, and focus there. If this forum were a nation, it would be impotently frozen, susceptible to extreme power plays. Hmmm…I believe we resemble that remark.

There will be no sustainable transition anywhere until this monstrous elephant in the living room of concerned humans is grokked and kissed.


Dave Hampton
26 Apr 9:54pm

Dear Jitendra,
Thanks for your creative time and energy – tearing people down? I disagree with you. What is most painful here is seeing intelligent people duped by a blatant piece of right wing propaganda.
The film denies the science of climate change for goodness sake! Amongst other things. What’s *really* painful about all this is that our home planet is dying because we don’t have the wit or will to witness right wing propaganda dressed up as new age consciousness. Sometimes it’s necessary to collectively dismiss things like this as the dangerous rubbish it is.
There will be no transition if we doubt the established decent science physics and other solid knowledge we already have – and have had for decades – of the real substantive solution that is renewable energy. And that is what this film sets out to stifle.
I wish you all peace, but Thrive’s agenda is the opposite.

Suzanne Taylor
27 Apr 5:39am

I think the piece that John Robbins just wrote, which details the objections he has to the movie, would dispel a lot of the support some of you still are giving it:

Dave Hampton
27 Apr 1:49pm

Very well said TD2012, and thank you.
Nicely put:
“Why wait for the laws of the universe to be overturned when we have the solution staring us in the face (solar, wind, etc)?”

Well said Suzanne Taylor.
And thanks for the John Robbins piece.

What a lot of words have been written.
For me Rob H’s summary still applies:-

“… be frank, it’s dangerous tosh which deserves little other than our derision.”

although I think that was being (characteristically) very generous

Dave Hampton
27 Apr 1:51pm

And if you missed it, please read the John Robbins piece that Suzanne Taylor (above) links us to:-
“I think the piece that John Robbins just wrote, which details the objections he has to the movie, would dispel a lot of the support some of you still are giving it:-”

Brad K.
27 Apr 2:13pm

@ Mindless Sheep,

A right wing response might be Bill Whittle’s “Afterburner” rant ( (and ranting about deceptions of global warming) on William Brigg’s “modern aphorism” ( The love of theory is the root of all evil. (Myself, I don’t hold with the fossil fuels or grazing livestock methane contributions to climate change; destruction of forests, diversion of rivers, destroying various habitats and wetlands for modern agribusiness and concrete and pavement and various structures, and building massive solar and wind projects, yep, they destabilize the local and global environments. Wasting energy to build new cars and ship plastic toys from China and scrap metals to China both deplete limited resources of energy, distract from a useful response to change, and waste money during a crisis of debt.)

I don’t think any of us are opposed to the theory of free energy. But we are skeptical because there haven’t been any measurable results. I expect that competent people would have been making use of something that could be used.

Brad K.
27 Apr 2:33pm

@ Jitendra,

I think many of the advanced of the modern world have come about by the actions of individuals. Wanting to collaborate is great, but I would find someone heading in the direction I want to go, and collaborate with that person. Coming together to *find* a solution is fraught with distractions. Think of the chronic difficulty of committees to bring their individual problem solving capabilities to bear, as a group.

@ Dave Hampton,

I commend you for your home energy solutions. I caution about your advice, though. The answer to the energy lemma is to . . use less energy. Which is revolutionary, as it essentially dismantles the consumerist paradigm of the modern world economy. The sun and wind will never replace the industrial consumption of energy that fuels today’s power and money mongers — and they will not relinquish their powers and controls without bloodshed.

I would also point out that the solar and wind solutions all depend on an industrial society, or the leavings of the past industrial society, for their components and maintenance.

Your solutions apply to the very small minority of people living in circumstances similar to yours; you (nor I) have the complete answer, and I suspect there are few really good, generally useful answers that everyone can use. Eat less meat? Sure. Where do we get the crop land for the greens and veggies? And how do we fertilize the crops without livestock, and without using commercial and industrial fertilizers?

My point is that we are only scratching the surface of what “works” in an energy limited world, economically, militarily (poverty never stopped wars, not ever), and in life styles. It won’t be until we discover how much energy is available for industry, commerce, and communication (forget the advanced industrial technology for cell phones and YouTube) that we find an equilibrium — and “good” answers.

Dave Hampton
27 Apr 3:27pm

@Brad K I’m not sure I understand your point? I’ve been helping people do and be more with less (energy and other resource) for decades – and yes of course that is the solution – to live within our renewable energy means – within our Home planet’s ‘current account’ budget (not deposit account fossil fuel or fissile.) And with respect I believe i do have a good handle on many of the solutions required globally, else I wouldn’t pipe up.

The film does not seek to do encourage people to use less energy, it does the opposite: it talks about unlimited free energy, which most sane people realise would (continue to) be an utter disaster for all Earth life eve more.

My total (all in) annual energy use is low – and my lifestyle is totally replicable by all. It’s around a quarter of UK average per capita, or one eight ave US citizen.

Last time i flew long-haul was in 1981.

27 Apr 4:23pm

My comment was aimed at the spirit of our human condition, not the detail of its execution (no pun intended…really).

I think people ought to chase ridiculous visions. If the vision is not ridiculous, it’s not close enough to the border of the mind that created this current fiasco.

My apologies in advance for the following statement: Certainly the mindsets driving many of these comments lack dissimilarity from the mindset perpetuating the problem you seek to solve.

We’re still in brainstorming mode. The first rule is that no ideas are bad ideas. The second rule is we listen to the progenitor till we understand his or her perspective prior to offering our respectful concerns.

Many #Occupy general assemblies have operated the way this forum does. They fail to engage and unite. People just leave. The one’s that captured the bully pulpit get to gloat until they realize few are left to produce viable actions with the critical mass required to get something done.

Brad: Collaboration occupies a broad spectrum. If we share a vision of a just world that respects life, we are collaborators. Certainly if we join forces to direct a training for nonviolence like the 57 organizations that came together for the 99% Spring, that is also collaboration. Certain Occupy people complaining that the 99% Spring is co-opting the “Occupy” movement is moving away from collaboration.

Again, I’m speaking to the spirit of our humanity to recognize our commonality. When Sri Lankans finally chose to stop arguing over the best way to gain their independence and came together under the vision of freedom, they were ultimately able to achieve their wider goal. But I said this before.

Be kind. Peace.

Benton Collins
28 Apr 5:41am

Why “Zero Point” energy harnessing DOES NOT “OVERTURN THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE”!!

2nd Law of Thermodynamics:
“Over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate [all balance out] in an isolated physical system. From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle of the increase of entropy … The second law declares the impossibility of machines that generate usable energy from the abundant internal energy of nature by processes called perpetual motion of the second kind.” – Wikipedia

The above law is referring to closed loop or isolated systems. Zero Point energy devices as presented are not closed or isolated systems, rather it is a technique that taps into the open and infinite source of power that exists everywhere throughout our universe and beyond. Some call it the quantum or unified field, it is the force within this field that keeps atoms in vibration, electrons in spin and galaxies in motion. Zero Point differs from ALL OTHER energy systems in that the source of power that it taps into is endless. No matter is burned or consumed. No law is broken. No physics cops need to be called in.

But how do we know this force or field is real?

A resent scientific discovery (which won a Nobel Prize) has shown that the universe is not only expanding, but doing so at an accelerated rate. If the universe got all its energy from the initial “Big Bang”, (like a bullet from a gun) at the very best, with no friction to slow it down, all matter would be traveling outward from the center of this explosion at the same velocity it received from the force of that initial “bang”. But this is NOT THE CASE because matter is speeding up! Therefore, a force must be continuously pushing matter away from the center of the universe. This points to (circumstantially for now) evidence that space itself contains quantum pressure or simply, Energy!

Is there an example of a Zero Point machine in nature?

Yes. If we look at the simple atom as a tiny machine, we see a perfect example of matter in balance and flowing within this quantum field. It does not consume or burn anything, it is held in a perpetual balanced flowing, vibrating or spinning state within this quantum field indefinitely. I have yet to watch my desk or coffee mug run out of energy only to have its sub atomic elements fall apart from a lack of power.

All that said, going from the IDEA of a Zero Point quantum field energy harnessing device to an actual working model are two completely different things. But the IDEA is the launch pad for all things great and small and MOST PEOPLE with the idea of building a “Free Energy” machine WILL FAIL and be called quacks, cranks and charlatans, just like the majority people who dreamed and tried to build a machine that could fly. But we all know how that story ended.

We should be cheering on ALL those in the race to harness Zero Point energy. Be extremely skeptical and demand hard proof!! But to throw a wet blanket on an idea, that if successful, could potentially transform the world as we know it?

3 May 8:40am

Rob, you are 100% dead wrong on your review of this film and I urge you to please do your own research about every topic the makers of this filmed covered.

Dave Hampton
3 May 10:47pm

Either that “Ciscokid16″ – or you are?
(100% dead wrong that is.)

Lauren Ayers
3 May 11:23pm

For people who are interested in some ideas beyond anything you learned in school, which would include “zero point energy,” look into The Source Field Investigations, by David Wilcock. I’ve only read the first five chapters, which go into Clive Bakster’s psychic plants, free energy, the pineal gland as a third eye, past lives, lucid dreaming, psychic surgery, life before birth.

There are many scholarly investigations and the footnotes include hundreds of journal articles, The point being, as the subtitle says, “The hidden science and lost civilizations behind the 2012 prophecies.”

The inside cover continues:
The Source Field Investigations exposes many great secrets: DNA transformation, conciousness science, wormholes, stargate travel, sacred geometry, ancient conspiracies, multidimensional time, the Maya calendar, and a stunning new model of galactic energy fields triggering mental, biological, and spiritual evolution.

See the author describing some of this (96 minuites):

We entertain ‘different universes’ whenever we watch a TV show or read a novel. Why not consider these, since there seems to be a lot of evidence to back them up!

Suzanne Taylor
4 May 4:53pm

There’s more astonishment from Foster and Kimberly:

Rob Hopkins
6 May 10:20pm

This is now officially the post on Transition Culture that has generated the largest number of comments! A rather depressing statistic I feel. Ciscokid16 wrote above: “Rob, you are 100% dead wrong on your review of this film and I urge you to please do your own research about every topic the makers of this filmed covered”.

The point I made in the original post, and which many of those commenting here have ignored, is that if you produce a film that makes extraordinary claims, claims that defy science and that rewrite its basic laws, you need to produce some pretty extraordinary evidence. It’s not for me to “do my own research”, it is for the makers of the film to actually back up their arguments in the film, to show a free energy device actually working for example.

It would appear anyway that Thrive is now in tatters, with the majority of its interviewees disassociating themselves from the film. I for one feel disappointed that we have all had to waste to much of our time on it when there are for more important and useful things to do.

7 May 12:34am

Thrive is, in fact, in anything but tatters. With roughly 3 million viewers, it has succeeded wildly in generating conversation. Contrary to reductive thinking, any conversation is good.

Some conversations are more or less skillful and generative than others, however, by virtue of this thread being the most active, it ought to tell you that Thrive struck a collective nerve.

I hadn’t seen the film since I posted toward the top of this thread and subsequently had read a wide variety of dissenting opinions, including John Robbins’ and, of course, this blog’s author. I was “educated” in the “fact” that the film was decidedly Libertarian, because of some of the prominent guests in the film–or that it is even more extreme to the right, for the same reason. Mind you, not because of what those people actually said on film, but because of their “religious” [include political ideology] beliefs demonstrated elsewhere.

I was ready to see this film again with far more critical eye.

And so I attended a public viewing hosted by Foster and Kimberly Gamble themselves. What better way to sort speculation from reality than a direct conversation?

I watched the film again, with the expectation of seeing many of your complaints in a new light. You know, It simply never happened. The reactions that I read here, including yours, Rob, leave me scratching my head.

I’ve see this thing 6 times (I like the F2F public discussion forums), listening carefully each time to the phrasing and framing of Foster’s and Kimberly’s words. You’re bludgeoning a straw man.

The first question directed to the Gamble’s was regarding John Robbins. Kimberly recited the exact wording of the release that each person signed upon engaging the film. Can’t recite it back to you here, but I could find no fault or harm.

Kimberly stated that she and Foster have invited each of the dissenters to engage in public conversation regarding their objections. She indicated, not only a willingness, but and eagerness to have a dialogue that could be constructive. They both feel that dissent is important in this mass process of collective engagement. This is the the fundamental obstacle by which #Occupy general assemblies live or die–constructive handling of dissent.

Every one of you is a dissenter to something. Is our dissent there to establish we are right? Or is our dissent there to open channels to consider territory that is currently separate or disconnected from the worldview on offer?

It appears that most of the people from the film currently objecting, might be more interested in their image than having the truth out. No one’s bit was manipulated or placed out of context. Perhaps some or all of those people will respond to the invitation to dialogue. Then we can all rest our assumptions. John Robbins was invited to attend the evening to voice his position. He did not attend.

Apparently there are far more people energized and supported by Thrive, than the pockets of contrary opinions.

So Rob, have you conversed directly with Foster and Kimberly (he was the main speaker, she was the director) over this matter? If not, why?

You may not be a journalist officially, however, being that your “article” is so widely read and influential due to your rank, perhaps a bit of old school journalistic ethic might do this conversation good. That is, move it beyond inflaming divisiveness into mutual consideration.

This is not a mandate for agreement, just respectful inquiry at the source. That’s what democracy can look like.

Suzanne Taylor
7 May 3:44am

Having been brought in by the THRIVE people to vet the crop circle info, I am in the thick of the controversy. People who are expressimg opinions here at least need to keep up with the data that comes from the Gambles and from the disavowers. Here’s my latest blog post about all that: If anyone needs to see prior releases, just get on my blog and go backwards, where I’ve posted them all:

Brad K.
7 May 5:25am

@ Jitendra,

And yet, it would seem to be rather simple. Fulton’s Folly was laughed at and derided, somewhat like Thrive and “free energy”. Only Fulton’s Folly was a ship that the average guy could see, hear, and smell. It floated and performed.

The first railroad engine, the first cars, the electric light. Diesel and hyroelectric generators.

Fission, for goodness’ sake, power generation. The discussions are over ethics and technical perspectives.

If Thrive were more than another drunken college prank, then “Where’s the beef”? It is a big, fluffy bun. Show us the meat, the substance — the example. Discussions are great — among engineers, reviewing prototypes and quality and performance issues of actual, working mechanisms.

Sure, Thrive folk want to spin the nay-sayers. I am sure you are disappointed at folk that don’t value the perspective you hold over all else. I am disappointed that you are spinning discussions when I ask for a working, useful device.

BTW, I notice that the Tesseract “free energy” is the evil device in the plot of the new Avengers movie. I find the fictional “doorway” scenario as substantive as any other aspect of Free Energy to date.

J. lee
10 May 6:29pm

Though I have a lot of respect for Rob Hopkins it pisses me off when we, who do our own deep research, who think our own independent thoughts, who think critically, who come to our own conclusions, who work tirelessly to be the change we must see, get labeled a (pick one or more) libertarian, egalitarian, liberal, conservative, tea party hack, red, blue or ‘jerk’ because of our independently derived beliefs that there really is an Agenda to deceive, control and depopulate the many.

It is accepted fact by many that Nikola Tesla did discover, and was able to create, ‘Free Energy’ in 1905…and then had his lab and his life destroyed by the Robber Baron J.P. Morgan (see J.P. Morgan Bank of today) because the powerful elite at the time would not be able to make money on ‘free’.

It is also fact that our school books teach that Thomas Edison discovered electricity when it is actually the alternating current we use today was of sole the design of Mr. Telsa. In gruesome capitalist fashion, Mr. Edison used to torture and willingly killed puppies and other small animals at World’s Fair’s using Telsa’s AC to discredit him. He also maneuvered to have the first electric chair in prison use AC to show the world how ‘dangerous’ it was.

One should also re-search the work of Eugene Mallove, former MIT Chief Science Writer, who was murdered after he was ridden out of MIT and founded the publication “Infinite Energy” in 1995.

Now am I going to be labeled a ‘jerk’ because I feel is truly incredulous that we still run on combustion engines that have not been improved upon in 110 years, that in the 1920′s we had hyper efficient electric trains everywhere until GM, Firestone, Mack Trucks and Standard Oil (Rockefeller) formed the United Motors Transportation Corp. and bought up all the electric trains in America so that the consumer must purchase only personally polluting vehicles (PPV’s) and that the same companies are in power today?

Bottom line is that we do have the ability to biomimic Nature’s ways of creating limitless energy but that it will never be made available to the masses in a capitalist, endless profit, endless war, economic structure that exists.

As for the ‘one size fits all’ attack on Foster Gamble. Is it really hard for people to understand that Mr. Gamble is speaking out directly against his own family interests when he speaks of a planned eugenics program and a conspiracy (two or more people planning a crime) to depopulate the world through vaccines, food chemical crapification and metal soil spraying, light defusing, chemtrail programs?

Especially when it was his family that was/is? working with the Rockefeller Agenda as evidenced here:
“Eugenics was a scientific theory that grew in popularity during the 1920s. Eugenicists believed that poverty, promiscuity and alcoholism were traits that were inherited. To eliminate those society ills and improve society’s gene pool, proponents of the theory argued that those that exhibited the traits should be sterilized. Some of America’s wealthiest citizens of the time were eugenicists including Dr. Clarence Gamble of the Procter and Gamble fortune and James Hanes of the hosiery company.”

Now some of us independent thinkers have followed closely the propagandist piece by Al “Global Warming” Gore and was awarded the same Nobel Peace Prize as Endless War Obama. Then suddenly the terminology, without question, gets renamed to ‘Climate Change’ without questioning, which closely follows the chill of 2010 when snow blankets the Northern Hemisphere and snows in 49 states on the same day. Co-incident name change or what?

Additionally questions in my mind were raised when the Climategate Scandal occurred directly before the Copenhagen Climate Summit, where the elite at the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia are caught directly falsifying data to fit the elite Agenda to develop a Carbon Trading Exchange in Chicago (home to Obama, Emanuel) to be run by …wait for it..wait for it…..Goldman Sachs, et al. Another Co-incident?

Yes, we as anthropogenic humans are causing destruction of our planet through our polluting, smogging, chemtrail spraying, rain forest burning ways. How can we not be?

Yet, we also must understand that the Earth does change temperatures over history, significantly at times. The polar caps have melted previously, long before man came along. That natural occurring earthquakes do occur as the planet grows and expands and that sun spots and solar flares, do continue to cause changes in our weather and lives.

Yes, we must re- learn to conserve, reduce, renew, recycle, localize our economies and take personal responsibility for our health of our OneWorld. We must re-learn the ways of the true natives of America, who cared for these lands, where the fish still came up the Navarro river for over 6,000 years, if we wish for our children to have a chance with what a mess we are leaving them.

As for the credibility issue of ‘Thrive’ the most significant blowback I get comes from his discussion of the alien issue. Well if I were to believe someone who would know i would believe a guy like Edgar Mitchell, who was commander of Apollo 14, who upon return to Earth in his space shuttle had a ‘epiphany’ about the plight of Man (see his DVD ‘Message from Space’) who quit the Apollo Program upon his return to Earth to form the highly acclaimed Noetic Science Research Institute located down the road in Petaluma.

One can also google ‘Astronauts, Pilots, etc. and UFO’s’ to see other spacemen who willingly admit that we are not alone and you can re-search the excellent work of William Cooper, who was a top security cleared Navy Intelligence expert, who was ‘allegedly’ murdered for his work in disclosing the truth about the UFO’s, the true reasons for the creation of the NSA and CIA.

Another extremely credible expert in the excellent movie ‘Thrive’ is Nassim Harimein, who after being derided and dismissed by the science world due to his outlandish theories of Unified Fields, was awarded by the same physicists in 2009 for his work to out ‘Einstein Einstein’ on his work titled “Quantum Mechanics, Relativity, Field Theory and Gravity. That Mr. Harimein completely agrees with Mr, Gambles ‘Torus’ model should not be dismissed so readily.

Now as for the question of can the few control the many for so long?…would I also be called a ‘jerk’ for asking the question of an alternative Agenda, that if I wrote a document starting with the words ‘We the People’, why would I then, with my fellow elite white guys, only put laws into effect entitling 4% of the population (white men owning land) to be able to vote as well as willingly write law allowing enslaved African Americans to be described legally as 3/5th’s of a person?

…and if I and my fellow Patriots had just fought a bloody war of succession for independence from the hated Brits, knowing if I lost I would die, just after achieving my independence, why would I then go and choose the exact same colors of the enemy flag to symbolize my new nations colors???


Another silly magical-thinking, self- propagandizing, smooth smirking, self-aggrandizing Libertarian bullshitter..

…who questions everything

….who cares deeply.

11 May 7:30pm

EISENHOWER Warned You Then.
If You didn´t hear the message first time thank THRIVE you got a second chance.

“In the councils of Government, we must guard against the aquisition of unwarrated influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for THE DISASTROUS RISE OF MISPLACED POWER EXISTS AND WILL PERSIST.”

– Dwight D Eisenhower Farewell Address

Make up your own mind but let´s agree to choose Truth over blind ignorance and denial.

Scheherazade Storyteller
11 May 10:48pm

I see that the website also suggests that publicly funded health system make people sick whereas the insurance based US one is focused on keeping people well. Not really borne out by the evidence of the health of the US public and especially the complete neglect of the poorer part of the population.

This, and the suggestion on the website that climate change isn’t man-made is enough to make me worried about how people swallow this film hook line and sinker because it is critical about what is happening in our world.

15 May 1:47am

@J.Lee…Why did you stop short of the goal? Did you give up on enlightening the masses? I suppose so. Let me state this…those of you who deny the existence of a New World Order need only read the obverse of the US dollar bill. The truth is hidden in plain sight. Rest assured however, that the truth is even more complex and shocking than most people would ever accept. There is absolutely no doubt that most people choose to passively and blindly accept the common doctrine that defines “the norm” because to believe otherwise outside the concepts of such social and philosophical constructs is subject to scorn and ridicule. Yet if history has taught us anything it is that the masses are generally always wrong. It is the insight of a few brilliant and intrepid souls who shed light into this dark world, and we despise and denounce them for it. Bruno was burned at the stake. Do you know why? Galileo was imprisoned for his beliefs. Einstein was shunned when he first introduced his ideas. Tesla, the most remarkable visionary of his time, was ridiculed because his contemporaries had no concept of what he had created. There was a time men believed their country to be the limits of the world. There were dark days when people worshipped the sun as a god. There were ages when the atom was unknown, and diseases were believed to be the work of the devil. Only 25 years ago, the very idea that extrasolar planets existed was unacceptable. Now, the overwhelming burden of proof compels us to admit this foolish error. Let us not even explore “the world is flat” phenomenon. I thank those of you who have already pointed it out. Electricity was a force unknown, misunderstood and unharnessed until Maxwell and Faraday described it and Tesla tamed it. So laugh, if you must. The truth is inevitable. It cannot be stopped. There will come a time when mankind discovers the means by which the elemental forces may be harnessed to provide power. It is my personal opinion that Einstein was wrong about gravity, and as such has set us on a path which cannot be reconciled with Quantum Theory in its present context. For example…have you ever wondered…if hydrogen atoms aggregate under the influence of gravity in the genesis of a star, then where did that focal point gravitational force arise from? Why is the gravitational pull at that point excessive relative to the surrounding fabric of space time. Note, the issue here is the question of what existed in that specific point which generated the enormous gravitational force required to aggregate and compress the hydrogen atoms and induce nuclear fusion. More interestingly, once a supermassive star is in its death throes and sheds its mass and energy in a hyper nova blast, as well as ejection of its corona, why does the gravitational field increase even more despite the loss of significant mass and volume? In this simple thought exercise I have presented to you that gravity cannot simply be described as the warping of loco regional space-time by mass or volume. In the case of the supermassive star degenerating to a supermassive blackhole, gravity is increased, despite the loss of both mass and volume. One may argue for density, however does that really account for the total increase in gravity?
Well, that is only one issues with general relativity. Tesla himself dismissed it and I would consider Einsteinian relativistic theory in the same context as Newtonian Mechanics…true…up to a certain point, but an incomplete description of the multiverse at best. Sadly, it is the commonplace acceptance and reliance on relativity that has handicapped our progress on many frontiers. In Academia, free thinkers exploring the fringe of science are sabotaged instead of supported. Why? Because the mindless masses fear that which may disturb the status quo. The world is content to rest assured in the belief systems on which it has come to rely upon as the framework for its current concepts. Our unwillingness to embrace new knowledge and change shall be our detriment.

Blake K
15 May 4:45am

Dear Mr. Editor Man

I have heavy criticisms of Thrive as well, but I would never suggest someone stay away from it. There are very interesting concepts contained within, and although some of them are perhaps too specific to ever be confirmed, or shown to likely be true until otherwise falsified (such as the specific families that control the banking elite-whoa man take a step back) there is a lot of heavily supported information here, even in the mainstream.

Also, zero point energy does not at all contradict the laws of thermodynamics. It does not create energy, it utilizes magnetism to create energy. Solar panels do not create energy when they react with the sun’s rays. Learn some physics before making such an uninformed conclusion. Zero point energy is a very real phenomena and any respectable physicist would tell you the same. The question is how we use it and whether or not we can use it to create electrical energy.

The oddly specific details in regards to the banking elite could be likely true or likely false, but you sir are not the authority on the validity of information. You have no more or less information to provide for the discussion of the topic, so keep your mouth shut.

There are far too many people with opinions that are far too ignorant, and the more ignorant they are, the more opinions they have.

15 May 1:18pm

nice one mark.

Dave Hampton
15 May 1:59pm

Or as Harry Potter would say “Obscurata obscuratorum”

There is an odd mix of comments here:

Some are from broad minded open minded seekers of truth

And some are manipulative in the extreme.

The film is a botch potch of ideas.

It’s a trojan horse.

It’s slips dangerous pieces of dangerous right-wing (highly commercial) bile in with a palatable delicious organic soup of ideas.

Thrive has in common with the “Heartland” ‘Institute’ that the makers do not believe that humankind’s consumption of fossil fuels is causing Earth’s atmosphere any problems atall.

They think it’s fine to go on burning fossil fuel and that climate change is a conspiracy theory by the new world order. Well maybe, but wouldn’t that be convenient for a global economy whose lifeblood is oil.

Noone is saying the film doesn’t contain some good bits.
The many good people who were duped into appearing in it for example.

But overall it’s simply a clever piece of subtle trickery, that attempts to connect some dangerous myths that will trap us, to some powerful memes that will set us free.

Good luck spotting the difference.

Rob Hopkins
15 May 7:36pm

Dear all,

Thanks for all the comments to this thread. It does feel to me rather as though we are going round and round making many of the same points here, so with the greatest respect to everyone who has contributed, I am going to close this thread for future comments and draw the conversation to a halt.

In the interests of balance, if you are still interested in what, as I’m sure you have gathered, I thought was a dreadful and dangerous load of rubbish, you might either watch the film for free and explore its website and associated arguments at, or you might check out the excellent for the other side of the story, and the demolition of much of its contents.

Thanks all.