Mainly, we talked about wars and socio-economic crises to see what lessons we could draw for our present situation. We’re hoping to gain insight not only into possible paths to economic recovery, but also into whether we need to reassess the concept of money as we currently know it.
The last article was kept deliberately short and, for the most part, focussed on American futurist and self-described social engineer, Jacque Fresco and his Venus Project – his legacy to the Earth, as some have described it.
And if you have not had the curiosity or the time to watch it, I would invite you to take a break from reading this, grab your favourite snack now or even prepare a three-course meal – it deserves it – and delving into the world of possibly one of the most pragmatic scientists ever.
Now that we’re all caught up with Fresco’s philosophy and exploits, let’s take a look at the man who dedicated his life to advocating for a better global socioeconomic system.
Jacque Fresco was a teenager during the Great Depression, back in the 1930s, when his fascination with energy efficiency and sustainable cities started. Determined to develop it into a career, he began educating himself and went on to work in a number of jobs related to industrial design.
Very early on, he observed just how mismanaged world resources had been throughout history.
As he saw it, “The resources were there and so were factories – except that they’d been abandoned.” This was his epiphany moment, he later said – how to better allocate and distribute the resources we need and use?
As a young man, Fresco studied the works of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein and was a member of the Young Communist League for a while. He was eventually kicked out for claiming during a meeting that Karl Marx was wrong.
Leaving home at the age of 14 to hitchhike and jump trains as one of the so-called “Wild Boys of the Road”, Fresco later turned his attention to technocracy.
At the age of 32 he was already being commissioned to create low cost housing designs and the scientific research laboratory had become his new home and life roadmap.
But although Fresco’s CV is, indeed, one of staggering achievements, his approach to society and human behaviourism is the true foundation of his ideas and projects.
He believed that every individual is shaped by the background he or she was brought up in.
“No-one is born a criminal.”Jacque Fresco
Pragmatically, almost stubbornly, Fresco has a solution for every problem – always driven by scientific research and passed through rigorous testing.
Scrutiny is essential and the need to evolve is at the very core of not only his Venus Project but human life itself – evolution proves it.
“A 75-years old science discovery may well be obsolete today,” Fresco says in the documentary, apropos to evolution.
Now, let’s take a step off to the side and explore an interesting analogy for a moment.
Ring! Ring! It’s 7:00 A.M.!
In March, 1980, English punk rock band “The Clash” released “The Magnificent Seven”, the first rap track ever written by any white rock band. The song made it on their fourth studio triple-album, “Sandinista!”.
And “Sandinista!” could not have been more revolutionary, literally, for it alluded to the Frente Sandinista de Liberacíon Nacional in Nicaragua which, for any riot punk band, was how you typically addressed the world.
Inspired from John Sturgess’ 1960 Western movie of the same title, “The Maginificent Seven” contains many curiosities such as having their bassist Paul Simonon replaced by Blockhead’s Norman Watt-Roy – while Simonon was busy starring in Ladies and Gentlemen, the Faboulous Stains, a film in which he plays the role of a bassist in a punk band.
The album was released six months before Blondie’s “Rapture” and recorded in London, Manchester, Jamaica and at Jimi Hendrix’s own studio, The Electric Lady, in New York, home to many more great albums in music history.
And that’s a bit of trivia for us.
But, to link back to the topic of the article, one only has to go and read the lyrics –“‘Cos Joe wrote all the words right there, totally spontaneous. A few hours later it was in the can,” Says Watt-Roy in a 1991 interview.
Held together by the narrative of one guy’s boring working day (“Ring! Ring! It’s 7:00 A.M.! Move yourself to go again.”), the song riffs on topics that overlap with Jacque Fresco’s views – made even more relevant by their contemporaneity, too.
“Working for a rise, better my station, take my baby to sophistication,” in the spontaneous lyrical sense of Joe Strummer’s imagination, the song touches on concepts such as commercialism and manipulative advertising, police brutality and oppression for lunch break distractions.
The song flirts with the idea of putting historical freethinkers into contemporary everyday situations, like Karl Marx having to borrow money from Engels at a 7-11 store, or Martin Luther King and Gandhi watching a football game whose score ends with 50-nil.
And it sings of a rigged, unsustainable world, on and on, until the end. And that is the magnificent seven o’clock we are all about to return to as soon as the pandemic is over.
But this article would be a whole book if we were to delve into Fresco’s entire philosophy and approach to the socio-economic models we’ve been living in.
What are we living for?
“If you work yourself for a living, why do you kill yourself working?”Wise words from Tuco in the movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”
Why indeed, if our only need concerned not survival, but simply evolving in a sustainable manner.
Because that is what Jacque Fresco proposes, an evolving resource-based society – money-free and not ruled by any church or set of political views.
Because technicians resolve problems, says Fresco, not politicians – science fixes things, not doctrine.
And science evolves because it speaks one language only:
Empirical, by questioning
Trial and error. The first attempt at a plane didn’t fly, it crashed.
Could it be that one of the main reasons behind the current mismanagement of our world is that we fail to see resources as a global, rather than an individual, thing? This is the questions Fresco is concerned with.
He proposes a worldwide Government run by computers and scientific data, rather than human intervention and failure.
We vote every four or five years, but freedom should not be merely a proclamation, but a scientific fact and a routine part of our lives.
I’m guessing we can all agree with that.
We did not vote for wars and yet we had them, notes Fresco. We don’t vote for corruption in the highest places but here it still is (too big to fail is too big to jail).
Should offshore banking exist? We didn’t vote for that and yet here we are – scandal after scandal – long live the investigative journalist, might I add!
“Why let humans intervene in government if we can have computers analysing what is needed and where, much faster than any human brain can? Examine the entire planet’s soil”, Fresco says, “where we need water we build more canals.”
Less potassium in the soil of a region? Compensate for it because you now have data. The technology is there and so are the resources – for now. We’re just too blind to bother, according to Fresco.
At this point, it comes as no surprise to anyone that Fresco alludes all through his career to the fact that machines and technology should be there to serve human beings – not profit.
That’s how science can intervene best in a modern society. Fresco questions how modern we really are, as a species, for, despite our capacity to come up with solutions, we prefer to sell them instead of offering them as an individual right. And no historical economic model proves otherwise. There has never been such a thing as equality, Fresco says, between the lines.
But what would people do, then?
If, in the visionary world of the Venus Project, there is no money and therefore no need for jobs, what would people do?
Take money out of the equation and you’ll be doing the things you’ve always wanted to do, Fresco says. You’d be interested in interesting stuff, which will make you an interesting individual – again, extrapolating. You’d never have to worry about making money, so your brain would begin to relax and adapt (as some of us are noticing now in isolation).
How to make something work better, that would be everyone’s sole preoccupation. How to evolve and leave the future in better shape than the present?
It would come as natural as being a guest in someone’s house: you’ve been invited to live on this planet; it is not a public dumping ground.
Science as a road map
Play as much football as you want – as one may interpret the ideas above – but remember to water the football pitch after you’re done. That’s something many of us don’t stop to think about in our present world.
The point being – yes, we can do pretty much all we want, within measure, but we still have to take care of our surroundings and belongings.
How? Science will keep us updated on how.
Fresco points out that, as things are nowadays, we are all measured by the amount of wealth we’re perceived to have by society. And that makes money, in the end, the only true goal for all of us. And it has been so for, at least, 10,000 years.
How many more calamities do we need in order to stop and think long and hard about the way we’re living? This is the question I want to leave you with, as we reach the end of this three-part article.
Why not end this one on a positive note, by digesting this three-course meal of food for thought to the Clash’s “Magnificent Seven”?
I highly advise you get up from that couch right now and start moving those hips, because, soon enough it will be Ring! Ring! 7:00 A.M.!