October 20, 2010

Fresco Quote

Many of the dominant values shaping our present society are medieval. The idea that we live in an enlightened age, or an age of reason, has little basis in fact. We are overwhelmed with valid information concerning ourselves and our planet, but we have no inkling of how to apply it. Most of our customs and modes of behavior have been handed down to us from the Dark Ages.
That is a quote from Jacque Fresco, from his book 'The Best That Money Can't Buy,' and which I am currently reading. The book itself is an interesting read and it's written in the same tone/depth you would expect from Fresco, especially if you ever saw an interview on television or YouTube about the man. Quite refreshing actually, but that's not what I really want to write about.

Fresco's remark, that we still carry the legacy of the Dark Ages, is something that rings true to me. In fact, I've often thought to myself that we live in the aftermath of medieval times and that we are not quite out of it yet. The Age of Aquarius or Age of Enlightenment, whatever you want to call it, hasn't started yet. Technology certainly has undergone rapid development the last 100 to 200 years. The problem lies in the realization that our hearts and minds have not and are lagging behind. Many socio-economic reasons are at the foundation of our current global predicament. It's also a certainty that with new technological discoveries old ways are challenged. Maybe we are currently even experiencing 'growth pains' on a global scale.

The Venus Project offers a realistic alternative in my opinion. We simply let technology work for us, we let it in a way free us so that we have all the time in the world to explore the world but also ourselves. Without having read the entire book I already recommend it to others. I'll do more on Fresco's book in time to come.


Muertos said...

If you're in a reading mood, you may want to read a book called "Seeing Like A State" by James Scott. It explains why ideas like the Venus Project are fundamentally flawed and incapable of working (at best) and recipes for large-scale societal disaster (at worst).

I recently wrote a review of this book on my own blog:

Ed V. said...

Think I saw a thread over at the CS forums about a week ago where you quoted a writer who pointed out the dangers of radical change in society. The first thing that came to my mind was; 'wasn't your beef with TZM about the usage of conspiracy theories and nothing else?' Closely followed by the sentiment; 'how ironic that you're chiseling away at other aspects,' because its starting to put your endeavors in a whole different light.

I'll take a look at your article later, but I will say that radical change has always caused upheaval and that's why some states regressed in totalitarian societies just to contain the following chaos. Maybe James Scott makes a case for state control?
Jacque Fresco has numerous times clearly stated that any transition to a RBE would be hard. From my perspective most people are just plain ignorant, too self-centered and stuck in ideology. Avoiding a large-scale societal disaster can be done but it requires time, patience, dialogue and education.

I even believe that if you would put everyone on the planet in a RBE tomorrow, it wouldn't work because of the things I listed above. It will simply take time.

Muertos said...

I did not go searching for this book. It was assigned for a class, but when I began reading it and realized it described the Zeitgeist Movement to a T, I had to comment on it. Yes, my primary complaint with the Zeitgeist Movement is that it promotes conspiracy theories, but this book explains why the ideology that the Movement claims is its main thrust is substantively bankrupt and misguided.

Scott is not making an argument for state control. Exactly the opposite. And his thesis is not that the transition to an artificially-created social plan would be difficult, but that plans of that nature themselves are doomed to fail. That means that it's not just the transition to an RBE that would be a disaster, but the plan for an RBE itself is doomed to fail.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who promotes artificial top-down social or economic planning.

Ed V. said...

You probably saw in the book what you wanted to see and it also gave you reason to figuratively throw out the baby with the bathwater. In my book you haven't done anything remarkable. You just proceeded on a path you were already on.

Does the Venus Project really advocate state control and top-down social stratification? I was under the impression that freedom and equality were one of the main thrusts. Yet here you are presenting it as the next totalitarian society. Shame on you.