After my last show I got some rather scathing words from a critic. On the Zeitgeist forums he called himself EricR. His take my show was rather harsh. So much that a lot of people posted to tell him so. I am going to do my best to make my point here without sounding bitter. But what he did actually helped give me information to further prove my point.
I don't really want to get into any personal problems I had with what the person had to say. But what I will bring up is the most relevant points. And that is that someone who believed themselves to be part of the Zeitgeist movement stated the following things:
In response to my statement that we seek to feed and take care of everyone:
“Provided there is enough to go around. I do not want my standard of living to go down from where it is now. If there are not enough resources to distribute that my standard of living will go up, then I don’t want to have to share.”
“My primary concern is whether or not the application of science for the most efficient distribution of goods and services worldwide would make my standard of living and the standard of living of my family go up or down. If down, I want no part of this movement.”
“I could give a rip about the egalitarian values. I mean hey, if we can feed the masses that would be nice. But it’s not the primary objective for me. I make good money under the present system and my family does fine. To me, TZM should be about science, period.”
In response to the issue of getting people on board:
“Again, real world versus fantasyland fiction. How is TZM going to convince people that they should give a rip about the needs of others? Only way is through education and propaganda, unless you propose we genetically engineer out the selfishness genes. Personally, I think that genetic engineering of humans “A Brave New World” style to shape values would likely be necessary. But then, I’m an engineer and I advocate science for the benefit of mankind.”
In response to the issue of self sustaining technologies:
“I’m not in this movement for that. As I have said, egalitarianism is not my primary motive. If I wanted this tripe I’d join Greenpeace, the Environmental Liberation Front, PITA or any number of the leftist eco-terrorist groups out there that spew forth hypocrisy from all orifices.”
When I suggested he was kind of selfish:
“Yep, I'm selfish. I'm also educated, have a good job, and am doing just fine under capitalism. Really, I can't complain, my life has been pretty damned good. Gettin' ready to go pick up a HoneyBaked ham for our Christmas celebration. Yeah, I know, Christmas is bunk. But I did it when I was a kid, and I turned out fine. Figure I'll give my kids the same opportunities I had. They'll have enough time for the realities of the world when they grow up.”
Now, why is this relevant as to why we are not building cities?
Well, this person considered themselves a member of the Zeitgeist movement. They had some very harsh critique to offer about what direction we are taking and what direction we should be taking. He is also an engineer. And it is likely that such a person could end up on one of the disciplinary teams we talk about in the future of the Venus Project.
The problem is, it is very evident that they do not understand or embrace the concepts of the Venus Project. We still have people in our movement who think along the lines described above. Yes, this is only one man, but he is not alone. The attitude of the person presented above is the very attitude that leads to corruption. There is no place for selfishness in the Venus Project. And anyone who thinks they “turned out just fine” but still feels that they are only interested in this path so long as they have to make no personal sacrifices is clearly not on the same page.
This is dangerous to any efforts to start building the city. Anyone who still holds this value system would be highly destructive to the social environment that we need to achieve our goals. People who “don't give a wit about egalitarian values” are actually the reason we have this problem in the first place. This is why education, and spreading the word is vitally important at this stage. If we don't have a solid foundation of the values needed any city that eliminates scarcity will still end up corrupted and destroyed. The Soviet Union is an example of what happens when a community comes together to build a community based on principles they don't truly understand.
We have to be damn sure that everyone gets why the things this person said are wrong. And not just because anyone told them they are wrong. We need to be sure that people fully understand and comprehend why they are wrong.
Now I would like to talk a bit about my experience in the chat room during Peter Joseph's radio show today. As it is also pertinent for a different reason.
We have another serious problem in that the maturity level of everyone in the movement is not yet conducive to following this path. Today in the chat room I talked about doing a show about this subject. Someone else took offense to that. He happens to be part of an effort to build a city now. The exchange that went on following this lead to some rather negative exchanges. Among them was him telling me “We are going to build it whether you agree with it or not...” and when I asked him to provide debate he said “I don't have to debate you.”
Eventually another person got involved by telling me to “shut up” and calling me names and other assorted nonsense. People started to weigh in on both sides. Some people said we should just ignore them, other people said we should drop the subject, etc. etc. etc.
Now, once again I am going to stay out of any of my personal feelings on the issues presented. However, this again was another serious example of my point being proven for me. If our value structure was sufficient, nobody would be telling me to “shut up” or making statements like “I don't have to debate it.”
I ended up continuing the conversation in the chat room. But not because I was getting upset as some people thought. I felt it was an important case study in the exact problem I was trying to voice. Several people in the chat room agreed and I continued. Eventually one of the people trolling was banned. The other eventually left after saying “I am leaving chat so I don't have to deal with your whining”.
I am sure many of you remember my previous show about Ad Hominem debate tactics. And how these tactics would never go away if we don't take a stand against them. I am sure that many people reading this are now focused on the people who were “causing the drama” as it is normally said. However, they are not looking at another important culprit. And that would be the people who were trying to socially pressure people into dropping the topic. And would of preferred that we take the topic elsewhere, or simply stopped talking about it at all. Unfortunately this does not solve anything. And in fact in many cases the people who think they are being “peacemakers” end up turning to aggression themselves when they start attacking the people having the heated conversation.
I remember talking on a previous show about the “don't cause drama” issue. Basically the example I give is if your at a party somewhere and someone comes in and starts making everyone feel uncomfortable, the person who stands up to them generally is the one who is blamed for “causing” the strife. This distracts away from the real issue, which is whatever they are debating. In this issue we are talking about building a Venus project city now or later. It gets heated so rather then people endeavoring to tell people to calm down, call trolls trolls and discourage that behavior, they are content instead to just tell everyone to drop it.
Another complication in this is the self-appointed “peacemakers” often say “well your both at fault, so you should both shut up.” even if both parties are not both at fault. They don't want to lose face with either person so they don't really analyze the situation far enough to get to the core of the issue.
Why is this pertinent to why we cannot build a city?
We have to be able to have disagreements without resorting to name calling. We also have to be able to have disagreements where name calling is taking place and the community involved with the conversation stepping up as a whole to condemn that behavior.
There were a lot of people in the conversation who said “Well why don't you just ignore them?” Well the first point I would say is “We shouldn't have to ignore anyone.” and the fact that we do further proves my point. We as a species, even in this movement do not have the values we need yet to be able to succeed.
In addition, in the future we are going to get into a lot of situations where “ignoring” the problem is not going to be an option. Honestly I don't feel it should be an option now. If there is dissent, that needs to be addressed, promptly. When two people get heated with each other and you tell them their issues are unimportant and they should just drop it they still leave the situation both feeling offended. It solves nothing, and in fact encourages both people to simply take their problems elsewhere, to other parts of the movement. What could have been dealt with right then and there can spread like a virus and cause divisions in the movement. Skills in conflict resolution must be cultivated. And resolving not to resolve anything is like saying not talking about pollution will make that problem go away.
Pollution is a good analogy, because we are talking about social pollution at this point. I have watched as well intentioned “freedom movements” use this lack of resolution solution and find themselves doing OK because of it in the short term. But down the line the small cracks that develop in the unity of the movement get bigger and bigger. Eventually these cracks turn into damage that is often irreparable. People who decided that a bit of peace at the moment is more important then outright war later find that it is now too late for them to heal the gaps that have been created.
We have a lot of growing up to do, within this very movement. And that needs to happen well before we start building anything. If we can't conduct ourselves well in an internet chat room, and our only solution to this sort of behavior is to try to “ignore it” then how are we going to handle important meetings on the subjects we need to discuss in the building of a city?
The reason this is more then just a discussion about words, is that this behavior itself is a serious problem. It leads to things like the person who sabotaged our recent meeting on Ventrilo. That was another example of how we couldn't “ignore” them.
Now, finally I will talk about the reasons we are not building cities that Jacque Fresco has already given.
We anticipate a collapse. Not an if, a when. Any such communes will immediately be the subject of scrutiny and propaganda as the system tries to save itself from it's own shortcomings. After a collapse any such community will be plundered and destroyed. We cannot make plans for just a few of us. We need to save everyone, or in the end we will save no one. This is not to say that there is not a place for research centers and experimental cities. But we have to take into account that any ill-thought out project will serve to give ammunition to our opposition. Just as many of the failed communes does for Communism.
I will be doing another show on a related topic here. But next I will be talking about just how asleep a lot of people are.