Zeitgeist; the Venus project

EDITED: After the response this got, I decided to take the link to the petition down. I appreciate that commenters took the time to form opinions on it, thank you, all Smile

So now, IF some of you still have curiosity in these ideas, I propose to check out this link and site. Feel free not to, of course.

http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&...

This is the Zeitgeist movement's "support" page, as to why I gave this link: this briefly explains where the support goes and what they're actively doing for the cause. Of course- I'm not asking you to contribute, just read what they write under the paragraphs "Change", "Breakdown" and so on. Be welcome to check out their "Understandings" page if it doesn't seem like complete bullshit by then Angel

Forums: 
Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I don't like watching videos or listening to podcasts, but I wanted more information, so I looked it up on google. A few quick links for others that want to do some reading first...

Venus Project site: http://www.thevenusproject.com/intro_main/whatis_tvp.htm

Venus Project on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Venus_Project

Jacque Fresco, co-founded of the project, on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacque_Fresco

attercob's picture

Petitioner

From the perspective of evaluating this petition in terms of what it might accomplish, I find it lacking a great deal. The petition is long and vague and does not really have a clear point. The background stuff I read is idealistic and in my opinion it's about as realistic as trying to end war by "just being all friends."

What it does seem like it might be effective for is selling this guy's books and pamphlets.

In other words it's at best pointless and most likely a money making scam.

aliceswonderland's picture

By the way - Zeitgeist movies, books and everything else is provided free, by them. A recent documentary by Jacque Fresco is not free, but it wasn't produced and filmed by the Zg or Venus project. I posted my thoughts on this matter below, if you would like to read my perspective.

Also, as to the "let's all be friends" idea - it does kind of sound like that, but I can get behind the thought that humans are not, in fact, filth Blum 3 There are scores of people ready to live in a way that benefits not just them, but everyone. That is kind of the basis for their ideals, that there are people willing to live in a different, mentally satisfying and reasonable world. Don't you think so?

attercob's picture

Petitioner

Yes, people are not all filth. In fact, even people that seem to be utterly horrible do have compassion and other empathetic emotions. The problem is that we all want different things and sometimes the things we want conflict with each other.

For a very simple example, what happens when there is enough food for 5 people to subsist but there are 10 people needing to eat? If we are all friends, then maybe some people selflessly agree to die. But what if I have a family of 5 people (mom, dad, 3 kids) and so do you? I hate to be a jerk, but I'm not letting one of my kids or wife starve, and I can't starve because then there would be no one to care for them. So you can talk about "let's all get along" but I'm going to probably hit you on the head with a rock as soon as the situation is unambiguously clear, and then I'm going to chase your kids and wife away from the food. If things are really incredibly desperate, I might try to eat your corpse. I might also think about eating your family since they are going to die anyhow. Sorry.

I'm not saying that I **want** to do any of those awful things. I certainly don't. I'd feel terrible about it. But the real world is not smurf-land and sometimes it's brutal. The people who pretend it's not end up on the dinner plate. Or they get run out of the nice fertile valley and have to live in a swamp.

Even if you think you have a nice solution to my hypothetical scenario, how do you deal with the selfish bastard that's trying to kill you and eat your kids?

Anyhow the idealist crap in the post you made just irritates me. I think it's idealistic and foolish. Worse, it's counter productive because instead of looking at the complicated situations of the world for what they really are and then trying to work towards improving them, it instead talks about a make believe land where everything can fixed with we all just think happy thoughts. Please grow up.

aliceswonderland's picture

Honestly, I'm a bit put off and insulted by your aggressive tone. I really don't think I attacked any of your ideas, so why are you attacking mine? Of course I appreciate (constructive) criticism on why my ideas are unrealistic, but... Well. It is idealistic, I don't however think it's completely unrealistic. Personally, I find it even more insulting that you assume everyone who thinks the Venus project is a good idea sit on their hands and gaze at their navels in dreams of utopia. I can't speak for the others, but I'm inspired to actually DO something, and I have tried and succeeded in bringing people (my family, some friends) to treat this planet with the respect it deserves etc.

Anyway obviously we disagree. I guess that's that.

attercob's picture

Petitioner

So you post a request for me (and other readers) to endorse your viewpoint and you are then offended when I instead explain why I find your idea lacking and unworthy of endorsement?

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

You did use some strong language toward the end of your post.

Quote:
Anyhow the idealist crap in the post you made just irritates me. I think it's [...] foolish [...] Please grow up.

I agree with your points, but your tone kinda went from objective to hurtful toward the end.

attercob's picture

Petitioner

Calling idealism "crap" and saying it irritates me is just my honest opinion. I do think it's a foolish idea. None of that's a personal insult. It's comments on the material.

Saying she needs to grow up could be considered an insult to the person. But the viewpoint is childish and naive, so I think the exhortation to grow up is probably deserved as well and more a comment on the material than the person.

As for being nice, imagine that someone posted about their "great idea" about how culling out people with undesirable traits was a great way to improve humanity. That would be totally offensive and people would waste no time explaining why. I doubt people would be nice about it.

I find the idea that we can fix all the world's problems with a simplistic ideology offensive. I briefly tried to explain why. If someone wants to insist that its a valid solution then I don't see much reason to be any nicer to them than I would be to the advocate of eugenics.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

It's possible to disagree, even vigorously, and still be polite. Polite is not necessarily "nice"; it's polite. Politeness is the grease that keeps civilized discourse from grinding to a halt. That's all I'm asking.

aliceswonderland's picture

I agree I could've expressed myself more clearly in my first post (explained personal reasons why I endorse it etc), but I at least thought that the invitation to check out the petition entailed that you find out about what the cause is - IF you're interested. I regret not posting links to videos and such, as I was in a hurry and someone posted links right after I started the thread. I absolutely didn't mean to imply that you should all sign the petition, no questions asked. I DID take offense at the aggressive tone at the end of your reply, which was of a personal nature Smile

attercob's picture

Petitioner

Insults of a personal nature would imply that I new some personal information about you to insult. I don't. The only thing that could possibly be an insult of a personal nature is the conclusion that you need to grow up. My suggestion would be that you regard comment that as much needed advice.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I ask that we not have conversations at this level. Thank you.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Quote:
We want to eliminate...greed, and bigotry, and prejudice, and people taking advantage of one another, and elitism

I skipped ahead a bit and heard some propaganda about how we need to draw our values from nature and not humans, and further in about how money's a barrier to resources. On their website there's more propaganda. None of it explains how this man plans to accomplish these goals. Lofty ideals and a proposal for how things should be working, but no road map to getting there.

The resource-based economy the way this man touts it, while it looks like a noble thing to strive for, isn't possible in our world without a little genocide, gendercide and a lot of birth control.

Our last large scale social experiment of this kind failed, because it overlooked the fact that you can't make everyone change without force, and humans are selfish and imperfect. It was called the Soviet Union.

It's fine to proclaim you have a solution, but you'll never get me to follow you without a viable strategy for making it happen.

I, like attercob, am also suspicious of a money making scheme, since the Venus Project is a corporation with a charity attached, not a non-profit organization. I can think of a couple other entities like that in our country, and while one is certainly worse than the other, I don't trust either of them. The church of scientology, and the church of Jesus christ of latter-day saints.

Brezelfrau's picture

...but I also feel like this petition is super-duper-über vague.

If you're really so passionate about this cause, please take the time to elaborate the details of the foundation and what it plans to do. I'm not trying to sound mean or anything, but I'd rather hear it from you than watch the videos you linked to and the ones linked to in the petition. I'm interested to know why you're so passionate about this.

Oh, and I do understand that there are some instances where replacing humans by machines is detrimental (I, for one, am not a huge fan of those automated check-out thingies), but replacing humans with machines can be very helpful in some industries. I'm generally for the advancement of technology and scientific research, so that portion of this petition kinda rubbed me the wrong way.

aliceswonderland's picture

Just to clarify - as I understand it, their goal is to, exactly, move towards a science-oriented societal structure where decisions are made not on the basis of, for example, christian morals, but on the scientific method and what's actually best for everybody (and is future-oriented). Since they propose a non-trade system where everything is provided for everyone - and make no mistake, this is possible if you were to discard the systems in place now-, human labor is unnecessary. If a people work for something, they generally expect compensation - money, benefits. Using technology, and our technology is waaaay more sophisticated that is in general use, the need to "be born, be taught a trade, work, die" is swept aside.

Again, I see flaws with their sometimes utopian ideals, but I maintain my faith in humankind and truly believe that this kind of society is completely possible. The problem is that we, the whole world, are accustomed to a way of life, and this is completely natural. I live in Estonia, which is a former Soviet country, and I see very vividly in my elders the marks of that mindset and society. I say very firmly that we are a product of our society, and if a generation were to be raised in the Zeitgeist-type mindset and society, they would believe it and live it.

Thoughts?

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

My first thought was literally that the resource-based economy thingy is a redressing of communism. A bit more reading and I thought, this is actually a technocracy-communism hybrid. Plus nature-harmony vibes.

We've already seen communism in the real world, and it doesn't often work well (I can't think of an actual decent communist state in existence. Modified capitalist-socialist states, yeah, but not communism).

Technocracy doesn't appeal to me. Each new technology brings its own problems which may or may not turn out to be a Big Deal down the road, so while I think scientific progress is important and valuable, I don't expect it will ever be able to cure all the world's ills. Also, scientists are humans, and I don't think their professional training makes them better or worse at governing. It makes them experts that should make good decisions in their field, but not an elite that's somehow better at ruling/judging/guiding/governing all of humanity.

I'm kinda amused by the idea of a technocracy-communism hybrid, actually. Technocracy is associated with elitism and labor(read: jobs)-eliminating automation. Communism is anti-elitist (in theory; application is the tricky part) and very much for protecting the worker over the machine.

Nature-harmony vibes... well, that's a set of moral beliefs that sometimes concurs with mine, and sometimes doesn't. My thoughts on that are very, very context-sensitive.

I prefer my personal morality (in my case, based in mainstream Protestant Christianity), tempered by secular humanism, combined with republican democracy, and moderated capitalism.

My final thought is that I don't really find the Venus Project practical or appealing. Elements of it, yes, but as paradigm-changing whole, definitely not.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... because most of what I'd have said was already said by others, but you just triggered a pet-peeve of mine, so you're suffering the consequences. Blum 3

Capriox wrote:
We've already seen communism in the real world, and it doesn't often work well (I can't think of an actual decent communist state in existence. Modified capitalist-socialist states, yeah, but not communism).

You have never seen a communist state in the real world, ever. Trust me on that. There have been a lot of states you guys call Communist (tellingly, most of those have called themselves Socialist X or People's Republic of Y, with at least the former being a more accurate label overall), and some of those have even barely survived until today (Cuba, North Korea), but not a one of those was communist (as in, the economic system).

That said, I would agree that it's exceedingly unlikely, though not quite impossible, that we'll ever see actual communism work out in the long run. The economic (and psychological) conditions for that are extremely hard to get, and keep, right.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

You're right, those People's Republics do claim to favor communism and Marxism, but no one has actually properly implemented a communist society. But also as you said, probably no one ever will.

Which isn't to say there aren't lessons to learn from communism and it's history. The primary lesson being, in my opinion, that capitalism is like all things in that it isn't good in unfettered, extreme form - guidelines & a couple moderators make it better.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Everything in moderation. Balance. :bigsmile:

The Which's picture

Embodiment

Perhaps there has never been a communist state, but in the small scale, communism has worked out. Take a look at the Hutterites. To acheive and maintain sameness, they keep their communities at 150 members or less, but they make it work.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... more specific in saying that it's unlikely we'll ever see communism work out on anything approaching state level. In fact, small communities like those, with strong religious and moral ties to keep cohesion high, are the only way I can imagine communism to work out for the foreseeable future.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I don't even see what particular action the ostensible petition is calling for. It seems, rather, to be a declaration of principles--and an ambiguous one at best. Count me out...I say nay.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

So I wasn't thee only one left with far more questions than answers. I follow a Native American path. Following the ways of nature is all well & good. Living in harmony with nature & taking less than it can replenish in a year is even better. Not over populating would be wise but I don't believe for a moment that humans will stop over populating this poor planet.

Lemur's picture

It's nice to know I'm not the only who left that site with more questions.

I'm trying to find ways to follow a greener path myself lately. Sadly, my roommate seems to think I'm a little nuts.

attercob's picture

Petitioner

Trying to be greener is cool. More people should do it. Just be careful that what your doing is really helping and not just a show, or worse counter productive. A lot of stuff that people do in the name of being green is not helpful, it just looks helpful. An example is bio diesel from cooking oil. It sounds like such an awesome idea, but when you actually look at the details it makes more pollution than regular diesel. Some people claim that when you include all the costs, it actually comes out to be a net negative energy source.

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

it makes your buses leave the smell of french fries in their wake. We had campus buses for the two housing centers that weren't on the main campus, and some of them used the oil from the dining-hall fryers. It makes enough sense to me even now, since the dining halls did have a lot of extra oil and all; I get that amusing little story out of it if nothing else.

aliceswonderland's picture

I really do understand - even though I'm way into the Zeitgeist phenomena, my first reaction when reading the petition was "VAGUE VAGUE VAGUE". Okay, maybe I should've written more about why I think this is something good (I was very busy atm, so I'm writing now ;)).

As to your doubts about this being a money-making scheme: no! Blum 3 The person behind the Venus project (Vp from now) is Jacque Fresco, and this is an amazing man. You see, the reason I'm beind Zeitgeist (Zg from now) is because they ACTUALLY have plans that can hold up to scrutiny. Fresco describes himself as a social engineer and he has been designing "the future" for years and years now (as best I can put it). I can readily understand them not being abashed at asking for donations, since Fresco, as I understand it, lives and breathes his project. I suppose he makes money from giving lectures, but otherwise... I don't know. The project has some land in Florida and I think they have some example architecture over there. Fresco is in his 90s, so... where does the money for novel, world-changing engineering come from? Blum 3

That's why I encouraged in my first post to read about it some more. Also, people that are so passionate about a cause and idea.... Honestly, they really don't seem like the money-mongering type. Their whole thing is being anti-money, afer all, and if it turns out to be a hoax, I can honestly say I will be sorely, deeply dissapointed in humankind. At the very least, watching the Zg movies has inspired me and my partner to try and live smart, live healthy (healthy for us and the planet) and learn more about what's really going on in the world - I don't take anything Zg says at face value, either.

On the "propaganda" thing - yeah, I agree their site and the petition, for a first-time reader, has a kind of... you know. Suspicious, preachy vibe. I get that (and I was wary at first, too). But as to the petition, I've gathered that the goal is to show how many people are FOR their ideas and support them.

Anyway, as I try to look at the bright side of things, I'm glad people have skepticism Blum 3 And this is a good thing! IF you decide to learn more, I highly suggest watching "Zeitgest: Addendum" and their latest, third movie, which is basically a compilation of what exactly their goals are and how they think to achieve them. Some of their ideas are... I think, utopic. But! I think most can agree, if you ponder our world and what happens in it, that change is needed. And not the Obama kind, as Obama is a worker for the corporations that sponsored his campaign Blum 3 (I think some of his decisions have already shown that he's not the "messiah" some have proclaimed him to be).

Um.. well, wrapping up the long ramble. Please ask more questions, let's argue, let's debate... Confrontation leads to progress after all, at least I believe it to be so - I hope you agree that significant personal progress comes from your ideas being challenged, often in uncomfortable ways.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

Is for getting a show of hands for their ideas, it would help a lot IF THEY would ACTUALLY TELL US what their ideas are. Very honestly The Beach Boys give us more info in their song "wouldn't It Be Nice". I'm all for a Gene Roddenbury style utopia ala Star Trek But if you want me to sign on any dotted line don't make me jump through hoops to get past a sugary sweet over sell,

I would love to see the world not relying on money, & not depleting our resources, & an end to over population, health care that is beyond comprehensive while being universal & free for everyone, while everyone eats lots of fresh fruits & veggies everyday. But this approach has turned me off to this guy sorry.

Shade's picture

Supplicant

with totally free healthcare is a lack of people to administer it. If no one is relying on money or compensation, why should a doctor or pharmacist go to school for so long? (for that matter, why should anyone go to school at all?) It's all well and good to say that 'oh, well X amount of people will do it because they really want to help others and don't care about compensation', but that won't produce enough doctors to help the people we have now, let alone future generations. Advanced technology can't help sick people by itself.

I must just be too cynical for this, but you cannot have a large-scale, sustainable society without even *some* form of a trade system. I'm with Raigne.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Shade wrote:

I must just be too cynical for this, but you cannot have a large-scale, sustainable society without even *some* form of a trade system. I'm with Raigne.

And once you have trade, currency is essential.

aliceswonderland's picture

Okay, I understand where you're coming from - I do. I suppose idealism like they propose demands some suspension of healthy skepticism after all Wink But... still, I must believe. And I do. At least I think you, the people commenting, have your own thoughts and ways of being responsible people and caring for the world.

Thank you for paying attention and being thinking human beings though Smile

Shade's picture

Supplicant

There's always a place for idealism, and if we all thought the same thing it'd be boring :P.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to everything. Smile

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Despite lots of dissenting views, you've been very cool about it all, and even voiced your own reservations.

In fact, I think I'd like to give you a few points. Smile

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

but I thought in one of your posts above you had said something about turning the system on its head and using people raised in this society to show how well it will work.

I see that. That while there would be people willing to try this out (Hell, if you can show me it's not going to fall apart in ten years, I'll move there. Technology friendly means I can bring my computer, and there aren't many things I need beyond a computer and a net connection to keep me happy) in order to make it viable for the long term you'd need people to be born and raised in that environment. And this is where you lose me.

Is it any different than me being born in the United States, or me being born in a third world country? No. As an intelligent individual whose country allows her to educate herself about the world with no restrictions (comparatively speaking), the difference between being born in the US and being born in third world country or a utopian commune is that I have a choice when I come of age. If I don't want to live in the US anymore at that point, I can leave. I can move to the utopia or to the middle of nowhere if I want to. The people in the utopia or the third world country? It is nigh impossible to leave. Setting aside for the moment any rules there may be barring your way, the culture and rules outside are so drastically different that you won't be able to function right away, and won't have any kind of a standard of life later.

Essentially you have completely removed a person's choice from the equation. Maybe no one would want to leave the utopia. It makes sense, if they have everything they could ever want right? The problem is that humans, by nature, not design, are curious. From the time we are born we need to explore and ask questions and learn. If you don't tell them there's a whole other world outside, maybe you won't have to worry about it. If they find out? The prospect will be as terrifying as it is intriguing. They will want to know about it. If you educate them from the beginning so that they already know, they will want to experience it.

If they are allowed to leave, you have to provide a way for them to transition. If they are not allowed to leave, you're totalitarian and I can't abide that.

V's picture

Embodiment

I don't consider myself a doubter. This is not a matter of belief. I have concerns, which could be addressed logically, but which are not. I don't want to learn to believe, I want to be convinced.

What is the best way to learn more concrete details about these plans which you say hold up to scrutiny? Do they have free .pdfs or webpages that break things down point by point and demonstrate their practicality, or is the best (only?) way to watch a few movies and get the answers cinematically?

Even if we assume change is needed, "they're really passionate" is so low on my rating scale that it's likely to deduct rather than add weight to someone's case. If it's such a good idea they should be able to make it obvious.

Kittae's picture

Postulant

Here's my main problem with the technology stuff. Already I think we rely on technology to an extent that we've lost a lot of our animal drive. That is, a normal person put in the wild within a climate they're used to will die rather than survive until being found or making it back to civilization. If you want to replace common labor tasks with robots--that seems great on the outset, but these are the tasks that great strength, dexterity, and critical thinking. Farming, for instance, teaches about how you interact with your surroundings, how to effectively defend against wildlife, what's edible and what's dangerous, etc.etc.

I have a HUGE paranoia about zombies. With the worry of a disease coming along any day now that'll be the next cholera or bubonic plague, or with the amount of baseless rage I see in the news, zombies don't seem too far off to me. And if that sounds a little too paranoid, consider that most preparations a person makes for zombies are the same preparations that one would make for any type of situation from a power outage to nuclear fallout. The ability to survive, within your home or without, is essential.

And of course, you can always watch Wall-E to see what we might become with a reliance on technology. = P

seia's picture

Devotee

No, not Wall-E! You'll become so entranced by the cuteness that you'll forget all about the thread Blum 3

Amy's picture

Supplicant

What is the incentive to be a doctor, lawyer, traffic cop, farmer, teacher, administrator, etcetera?? Are we talking something where full citizenship only comes about by serving the community as a whole in some fashion. The longer & better you serve the more kids you can have?

I dream of utopia I know better than to believe that the dream will become reality.

aliceswonderland's picture

Okay, so overwhelming disagreement Biggrin I hope it's okay if I don't reply to the last few comments personally, since I basically explained my feelings on the overall stuff earlier. I get where you're coming from, and it's made me realize I'm kind of fixated on a dream (I have a dream... :D), yet I'm forced to believe it can be more than a dream. Hopeless romanticism, maybe.

Still it's great that you're realists and as I said earlier, healthy skepticism is an excellent thing to have. Right now, though, I have to run to take an oral philosophy exam, which might be why I started this thread in the first place. The history of philosophy is a weird, confusing thing, and makes me think Escheresque mind-gymnastics at times Blum 3

Great trial by fire though Biggrin I'll take into account the response I've gained from here, since I'm not a very good debater on matters like these and further arguments on the V project would be pretty pointless from my part Smile

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

When empirical evidence can't be produced to support an opinion. This is not a stab at you, so please don't take it that way. Even on the Venus project website they admit, right on the first page, that this is all currently just a thought experiment. That being said, it is an interesting one when approached from that perspective. I'm just not convinced it can ever be more than that with any measure of success.

And don't hesitate to post things like this in the future. We like to discuss things. Smile

MeiLin's picture

Most High

We have a cheerfully contentious community here; you can talk about anything, and take any position...

:twss:

...just getting that out of the way...

but you have to be prepared to defend that position. We do try to keep it from getting personal, and I apologize on behalf of the community if the tone veered in that direction.

Shade's picture

Supplicant

You took the opportunity for innuendo! Noooooooooo . . . :mad-oni:

aliceswonderland's picture

Thank you, and I do agree I was lacking in the "proof" and "defense" department Blum 3 sadly, this hasn't ever been my strong side. I half-heartedly tried anyway :whistle:

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

I took the opportunity to give our newcomer some points. I didn't want any of what occurred above to discourage him/her from continuing to post.

seia's picture

Devotee

It sounds interesting, if a bit too optimistic. It also reminds me of Utopia...
The point that bothers me the most is motivation; how would you motivate people to do the "lesser" jobs if all the resources they need to live are already readily available? The only solutions I could come up with all lead to a world-scale, communist solution.

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