Warning: Philosophy ahead! Critical thought/analysis required!
That's a mouthful, but if you understand the Teutonic concept of zeitgeist, it is nothing less than the spirit which underlies thought.
Zeitgeist is neutral, it's a philosophical concept coming from the interpretation of how the human thought process works, and I won't go into who said what about it, read the Wiki for that. As an individual educated in the use of critical analysis, I have found that zeitgeist is useful to explain some of the underpinnings of more complex patterns of thought, for example, the political process.
Politics boils down to an application of power, one individual or set of individuals over another individual or another set. Politics is supposedly what you get when you replace the sword with the pen and paper, but that concept ignores the applications of power itself.
Power is ALWAYS projected as force, and in the end, it matters little whether power is projected by naked physical force (the sword), or by the more complex process of using words (the pen) to convince the recipient of the power-projection to accept the power of the person projecting it.
Stop me if you've heard this before, such as from the scribblings of Kant, or Marx, or Locke, to name just three who have trod this path....
I arose this morning and grabbed my tablet, as I am a Modern Man. On the tablet is controlled my Facebook account, and on my News Feed is the timeline of a gracious lady of my acquaintance. On the lady's timeline, of late adorned with screed from energy-limiting and food-limiting Marxists, is an article about Vaccines and Autism, and a link to a book about same, with a "motivational poster" to boot:
The basic premise in that poster is laughable on it's face, but it DOES do an excellent job of pointing out the Zeitgeist of the whacko concept behind it.
This is part "big lie technique", part Earth religion, but mostly, a simple rejection of science.
Using Dr. Haley's premise, we can take any significant point on the common calendar, look up the day in a time-based history of mankind, find some invention and process which started on that day, and insert ourselves into History by making an unsupported association between something evil (or good) that has occurred since.
What I just defined is the Zeitgeist of Ignorance. Zeitgeist can, doesn't have to, include emotion. Emotion is used here ("it's about the children") to try to convince us that a common scientific practice, vaccinating our children against horrible childhood diseases, is somehow linked to an Evil, "autism".
I know about autism. I have an autistic child (now 40 years of age). You can't bamboozle me about Autism, I grew old handling it in my family. Our Government, in one of it's GOOD works, did an exhaustive study on the subject of childhood vaccination vs. autism. The study is science-based, and the science is very good and definitive, as well as repeatable for those who have the time and dollars to duplicate it. Vaccines don't cause Autism.
In Oregon, we have a case study in the danger of this belief system that blames Autism on vaccines. In the city of Ashland, OR, hard by the border of California on I-5, a significant number of parents of school-age children have been persuaded by this belief to not vaccinate their children. The inevitable outbreaks have not happened or have not been reported yet*, but a similar situation happened in SW Utah in 1996, and that WAS documented by the CDC.
Okay, what about Autism, you ask?
Autism is nothing less or more than a grab-bag term used to describe a set of behavioral abnormalities. The term itself is akin to using the word "retarded", which is not politically correct to use any more. Autism is not specific, and "increases" in the "autism rate" have come as science finds out more about these behavioral anomalies and have casually tossed their findings into the Autism basket. My daughter was originally described as " mildly retarded", but that term is not in favor any more, and was totally replaced by the use of the term "autism". What behavioral science has done is nothing more than change the name of their game. That name-change does NOT count scientifically as more disease, but those who would make their livelihoods from "researching" this "disease" will lie to you and say that it DOES count.
That, my friends, is the Zeitgeist of ignorance. As we crowd more and more people on the face of this planet Earth, we are more and more affected by the lack of scientific thinking. The effects of that affectation are serious, and Malthus wrote all about it.
* the lack of accurate childhood disease reporting in Ashland is complicated by the fact that these earth-religion parents clustered there have networks, and they hold "pox parties" wherein they deliberately expose healthy children to measles, chicken pox or whatever else, they don't know what it is their kid may have, as their "workaround" so they don't have to get the eevill vaccinations for their kids.