The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement
- Published: 13 February 2010
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Jacque Fresco and Peter Joseph have a plan for the future: Us. The Venus Project is a future design for humanity and the Planet Earth that rests on the foundations of compassion, freedom, unbridled technological innovation, education and the transition from a monetary-based economy and into a resource-based one, writes Chard Currie.
Not matter what anyone says, know that we are living in the most exciting period in human history.
The Agricultural Revolution, The Renaissance, The Industrial Revolution; we are standing on the threshold of a future that will make all these landmarks look positively pale. Our world economy is collapsing, rumors of a one-world government and currency have grown from whispers to screams, and all the while, confusion reigns over the majority of humanity.
Confused by the doublespeak used successfully by our leaders, confused by the convoluted numbers and jargon spouted by the experts in our economic system and most dangerously, confused by our own lack of purpose over the multitude of possible directions our species can take towards the blinding light that is our, and the planet’s, future.
But all is not lost or hopeless. There are many, many people out there thinking for us and who want nothing more than for us to remember thinking too. Two of these men are inventor, industrial designer and social planner Jacque Fresco, and internet-activist and creator of the Zeitgeist films, Peter Joseph.
The two have joined forces to promote and implement The Venus Project, a future design for humanity and the Planet Earth that has been Fresco’s life-work and rests on the foundations of compassion, freedom, unbridled technological innovation, education and the transition from a Monetary Based Economy and into a Resource based Economy.
Jacque Fresco was born in 1916 and from an early age he displayed proficiency in thinking outside the box. One of his earliest influences was the film Metropolis, which depicted the future in ways no film had before. The young Fresco was inspired by its fantastical sets and design, as well as monumentally disturbed by the images of a highly regimented future human society.
While still in school he drew-up plans for underground cities, underwater cities, futuristic airplanes, air craft carriers, as well as ideas pertaining to the future functionality of society.
In one instance he designed a post office the way he thought it ought to work. Fresco noticed that post offices and airports were always far away from each other, so to speed up efficiency he theorized about having a post office with an runway on the roof, built at an angle so as to slow the mail carrying plane down upon landing, and to help facilitate it’s take off by going back down.
While these would not be able to withstand the behemoths that are mail planes of the modern era, the idea of making social systems and services easier on the human population never left Fresco’s mind.
Another major turning point in the evolution of young Fresco’s mind was the Great world wide Depression of 1929-1939:
“Living through the 1929 Great Depression helped shape my social conscience. During this time, I realized the earth was still the same place, manufacturing plants were still intact, and resources were still there, but people didn't have money to buy the products. I felt the rules of the game we play by were outmoded and damaging.” he says.
Fresco also met Albert Einstein and eminent thinker/inventor Buckminster Fuller during this time. Einstein, Fresco recalls, was too preoccupied with mathematics to help him, while Fuller, agreed with the young Fresco in some of his ideas, most specifically the positives in ramping up technological innovation.
He first came to the public’s attention at the end of World War II, when he designed, built and put on sale, the ‘Trend Home’. The Trend Home was made entirely of aluminum and glass, the design of which involved no nails or screws and could be constructed in 8 hours. It was revealed to the public in Warner Bros. Studio in 1948 to some fanfare, but interest was low and the Trend Home ended up being just another trend in the American post-war boom years.
Fresco worked in many other fields throughout the 1950’s, 60’s, including the movie industry, where he experimented with 3D technology, as well as designing medical tools, but in 1974 he founded what was to become The Venus Project.
The Venus Project
The Venus Project is Fresco’s solution to the problems that face current society. It is his life’s work, his legacy, and he has been living it since the founding of the project, named Venus, after the area in which it is located in Florida, USA.
The Venus Project claims to be nothing short of a major shift in human thought and society. For years, Fresco has, and still is, upset by the limits put on technological and scientific development due to the monetary-based economic system we currently adhere to and that the world we live in requires an overhaul.
“The Venus Project has a vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know to achieve a sustainable world civilization. It calls for a scientific redesign of our culture in which war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed as not only avoidable, but unacceptable. Anything less will result in a disastrous continuation of the problems inherent in today's world," he says.
If Fresco’s plans are to be followed, the shackles lashed to science and technology would be tossed aside. Technological progress will herald the second coming of humanity. We have reached a wall and in order to get over it, we as a species must rid ourselves of excess weight from the past. This will be done with the rejection of a Monetary-Based economy and the adoption and application of a Resource-Based Economy.
A resource-based economy
In a world under a monetary system, by its very nature, there will never, ever be enough money to go around and for everyone to share a sustainable level of comfort.
However, Fresco argues, there are more than enough resources to go around. So instead of sticking to the mindset of ‘how much will it cost?’ in terms of highly limiting monetary ideals, ask instead ‘do we have the resources for it?’
“A resource-based economy focuses on resources rather than money, and provides an equitable distribution thereof in a humane and efficient manner. It is a system in which goods and services are available without the use of money, credit, barter, debt, or servitude," says Fresco.
A Resource based Economy (RBE), is rooted in the idea and practice of the intelligent management of the Earth’s resources.
Under a monetary system, there is no such thing. There is a mad scramble to whatever resources are available. Who ever is there first or whoever can turn a profit on them before the market falls or competition arrives and prices fall is the winner. But the loser is the planet and its abundant stock of resources. The unchecked rape of the Earth’s environment is but one of the by-products of a monetary-based economy.
The first thing to do in implementing a RBE is to find out what we have and where. This can be done by electronically synchronizing the earth and its resources.
Fresco suggests that the earth be hardwired with sensors reading and collating everything, so we know exactly what we have, where we have it and how best it can be put to use. This is the key to the door that leads to a truly sustainable future for planet Earth and all the species that reside on it.
This would start to feed the population of the planet the idea that there really is enough to go around, and would be monumentally helpful to ease the pressure-fuelled concepts that run our society; competition, debt, envy, greed and ‘my bank balance is bigger than yours’.
“Social designs must be based on the carrying capacity of Earth's resources, and not on the philosophy, desires, aesthetics, or advantages of particular people," says Fresco.
Already we have vast databases and manifests telling people what resources are available, but evolving these databases, taking them to the next level, we can feed all the information of the world’s inventory and run it through a single system. The first step towards a RBE is to find out what we have and where, then we can put it to good use.
One main objective of a RBE is to eliminate the concept and practice of maintaining ‘Scarcity’.
“Social problems result from scarcity. When a few nations control most of the world's resources, there are going to be international disputes no matter how many laws or treaties are signed. If we wish to end war, crime, hunger, poverty, territorial disputes, and nationalism, we must work toward a future in which all resources are accepted as the common heritage of all people," says Fresco.
Through Scarcity, the monetary system flourishes by holding back on innovation, advancement, abundance and efficiency, the very concepts adherents of the monetary system proclaim to be their highest ideal and over-all goal. Just wonder why we didn’t have purely electric cars a decade ago, and the relatively slow development and social acceptance of green energy sources.
This leads to a prime example of the stranglehold that the monetary system holds upon mankind; the Energy Industry.
Under a monetary system, we are trapped in the practice of burning massive amounts of fossil fuels (coal etc), and also pouring huge amounts of money into inadequate and costly nuclear technology, all thanks to the profit-run energy industry.
The use of green energy sources are still treated with some apprehension from the public, mostly because of ignorance and the fact that once you start producing and using your own electricity, hey, who is going to be making a profit off you?
However, with a little research into the leaps and bounds green energy has undergone in the last 2 decades, it is now a viable and affordable way to harness energy.
Unlike fossil fuels and Nuclear energy, green energy does not require much investment to start up.
Instead of burrowing deep into the earth for coal, oil, bauxite and uranium, much less is spent on the manufacture and placement of wind farms, solar energy panels and the exciting new technologies that harness the sea’s tidal and wave power. Low cost start-up does not fit will with profit models and the debt levels people and companies are expected to go into to fund these applications, especially if the technology is going to supply something in abundance which will lower the sale price or eliminate it altogether.
“The potential of untapped energy sources is almost limitless if we utilize desert heat concentrators, wind, wave and tidal sources. Even portions of the Gulf Stream, the Icelandic Current, and the Japan Current could eliminate all of the energy shortages in the world today. If we had utilized the money that we spent on military systems for the last 40 years and put it toward developing clean sources of energy, the world would be a far better, safer, and cleaner place for all of humankind," says Fresco.
One of the most troubling aspects towards such a system, is the idea of ‘incentive’.
The common question is ‘what is going to motivate people if not money?’
“Our aim is to encourage a new incentive system, one no longer directed toward the shallow and self-centred goals of wealth, property, and power," says Fresco.
Incentive is a funny thing is today’s society. Many, if not all of us, are in perpetual cycles of debt. From credit cards to personal loans to car loans to mortgages, it is not easy to comprehend how one cannot live in this society without getting in to some kind of debt.
Sure, we may get what we want, or more likely, what we are told we want, but accumulation of material goods does not equal sustainable levels of happiness. A recent study by Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota shows that money, the collection and spending of, acts like a drug to the human brain. The so called ‘incentive’ defended by the majority of humanity is nothing more than a junkie mentality. A consumer needs money like a junkie needs junk.
Because of this debt cycle, the majority of people rarely live up to their full potential. Dreams are crushed under the mountain of perceived failure and fear of upsetting the banking gods and the status quo. Motivation to get out of one’s rut becomes a mere memory as you go from day to day, punch in, punch out, a holiday here, a hangover there, wife, husband, kids, mortgage then hey, you’re 65, time to do what you want to do! Wait, what was it that you wanted to do again?
We spend the best, our most powerful, capable and able years of our lives paying for an enjoyable retirement that we may not live to enjoy, or a nest egg that may simply be gobbled up by the banks the moment we go to collect it.
Don’t get this writer wrong, there is nothing wrong with the idea of a fair days work for a fair days pay, but in this world that concept is a luxury for a few and an illusion for the many.
The belief of the incentive that is monetary gain, is the belief in forced servitude and economic blackmail.
The Venus Project is not a lofty idea about creating a Utopian society. Fresco endlessly stresses that such a concept is not possible, as humanity and society are always undergoing changes. Utopias can and do exist, but they are only momentary, fixed to a time and place and cannot and should not, be maintained. Hakim Bey expressed this idea fabulously in his classic essay, TAZ – The Temporary Autonomous Zone and is required reading for all forward-thinkers everywhere.
The notion of a utopia lends to the concepts of a stagnant society which has reached a certain level and sees no reason to push on. This is the fallacy of Utopia seekers and Fresco has made sure to steer clear of any such lofty thinking.
“There are no final frontiers for human and technological achievement - it will always undergo change. Even if we can design a society having all of the modifications to improve the lives of people and protect the environment we will still be at the beginning of the next phase," says Fresco.
The Venus Project relies on a human species willing to accept responsibility for itself, the planet it lives on and the equitable management of resources available. Education lies at the forefront of this idea, people’s ideas and minds must be changed. Peter Joseph has laid down the gauntlet through the Zeitgeist films, an attempt to shake humanity from its induced slumber and to take hold of both the present, and the future.
The Zeitgeist Movement
The Zeitgeist Movement is the activist arm of The Venus Project, and its rally cries are the Zeitgeist films, created by Peter Joseph.
The first Zeitgeist film was released onto the internet in June of 2007 and quickly reached the top of the ‘most viewed’ chart on Google video. It has since been downloaded by upwards of 50 million people.
Broken up into 3 parts, Zeitgeist attacks the antiquated institution of religion, the continuing mystery surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent War on Terror, and the fleecing of humanity that is known as the Modern Banking System.
This of course caused a massive stir on the internet, with both millions of supporters and detractors voicing their opinions.
A simple search for ‘Zeitgeist debunked’, on Youtube brings up dozens of clips made by people refuting the facts on display in the film. And although discrepancies do exist, most debunkers show their true colours by unrelentingly fixating on narrow dogmatic systems such as organised religion and modern economics.
The best thing about the first Zeitgeist movie is that is causes the viewers to think for themselves.
Don’t think it’s true? Do some research. Form your own opinion from the sea of information out there and share it! But at the very least, get used to the concepts of ‘questioning’ and ‘thinking’.
The second film, Zeitgeist: Addendum was released in October of 2008 to immediate acclaim, and in some circles of course, instant condemnation.
It follows on from the first film by exploring the American Federal Reserve System and the creation of money, which is basically created out of debt.
The second part shows what evils money + humanity are capable of, mainly through the examples set by well known ‘Economic Hitman’, John Perkins. Economic Hitmen are responsible for the destruction of nations, executions of leaders and the over-exploitation of resources, all backed by entities such as the CIA, The ISI, The IMF & World Bank and corporations too numerous to name.
By selling massive loans to underdeveloped nations that have no hope of ever paying back, corporations can basically move in to these countries, put their friends in charge and fleece it. This has been happening for centuries, from the Colonialist period, right up to now with the ‘occupations’ of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Part 3 is an introduction to Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project. Fresco and Joseph paint a very sobering picture of a possible future. A future free from the monetary system, which brings destructive attributes such as competition, jealousy, corruption, scarcity and inefficiency.
Part 4 outlines what Joseph (and many others), believe that is the major problem facing human society today; it is that we have forgotten about the ‘emergent and symbiotic aspects of natural law’.
Which boils down to the basic premise that reality is constantly unfolding, new ideas forever emerging, change is something that is inherent hence inevitable, and that everything on this planet and therefore the Universe, is connected to everything else.
An easy to understand example of these two ideas is to put your mind back 150 years, and imagine a working TV set suddenly popping up in your hovel and playing the last episode of Seinfeld. You would run from the room and bring back a priest and another man with a sledgehammer to cleanse your house and destroy the demon box.
Fast forward to now, and thanks to the ever-increasing evolution of ideas and technology, what was once thought to be in the realm of magic is just another re-run.
We have to get used to the fact that everything is always changing, everything is in a constant state of evolution.
As for symbiosis, the interconnectedness of things, one can see this in almost any action one performs. From pouring milk that came from a supermarket that came off a truck that came from the teat of a cow somewhere out there over your breakfast cereal that provides you sustenance to survive your trip to your boring job and make it to lunch time without fainting, to a bee collecting nectar from a flower to feed it’s kind while also pollinating the flowers, to the moon’s gravity affecting tides and much more on this planet, symbiosis is EVERYWHERE.
The Zeitgeist Movement now has a sizeable and growing internet presence, and has international chapters of activists espousing the pluses, as well as acknowledging the minuses, of a Resource Based Economy and The Venus Project.
In Australia, chapters are currently running in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Any and all interested people who would like to know more about the movement would do well to contact them via their websites and join their meetings and frequent activities to spread information and promote a viable plan for a sustainable future for humanity and the planet.
The Movement actively promotes the Venus Project by taking it to the streets and getting people to think in ways they never have before.
Thinking beyond singular life spans. Beyond the use and effects of money. Beyond competition and greed, and thinking of a future for themselves and their descendents in which they will be free.
References & more info:
The Future By Design, Dir: William Gazecki, DocFlix Movies, 2006
Zeitgeist The Movie, Dir: Peter Joseph, 2007
Zeitgeist: Addendum, Dir: Peter Joseph, 2008
Your Brain Thinks Money is a Drug by David Kestenbaum
TAZ, Hakim Bey, Autonomedia, anti-copyright, 1985, 1991
Chard Currie is a freelance writer/reviewer currently residing in Sydney, Australia. He can be contacted at laze_@ [at] yahoo [dotcom] or on Facebook under the name Chard Core.
This article first appeared in New Dawn magazine and has been reprinted with permission from New Dawn 118 (Jan-Feb) 2010. © Chard Currie & New Dawn.