November 20, 2008 1:50pm
|The concept of a world of peace and harmony, without wars and strife, without poverty or elite, without social stratification, and without the many “necessary evils” like bureaucracies (yes, even religious bureaucracies), corporations, and militaries would be something I would certainly like to see. This is the goal of the Zeitgeist movement (Venus Project). I’m not a pessimist; just a realist that thinks there are major flaws with the concept. Your stance on the issues discussed in this blog is precisely why the Venus Project is doomed to fail. I will point out some the of hypocrisy of your statements not as a personal attack but a chance for you to take a much-needed introspective look if you wish to be an effective proponent of the Venus Project.
The Venus Project assumes that if we eliminated the scarcity of the things we need to survive by using technology to evenly distribute the world’s resources instead of a monetary system, then all the competition, greed, and corruption would go away and we’d all settle into a peaceful, global civilization without crime, corruption, nations, etc. The concept ignores how the human characteristics of pride, vanity, perception of others, judgmental of others, which would disrupt the social harmony. Some people would take the opportunity to exploit such a society just to have the power. Implementation amid existing conflicting issues could cause segments of populations to stray from the fundamentals that are intended to make the Venus Project work. Society would naturally react to such disruptions for the legitimate purpose of restoring the harmony. They would have to institute a system of rules (doctrine), enforcement, and education for the greater good of all. The Venus Project recognizes these aberrations and the need to control them but is silent on how exactly it would be done.
Compare this now to Christianity. Early Christians lived in communal groups, sharing resources, not driven by money, power and greed. This system worked as long as people followed the teachings of Christ. Early on problems occurred during implementation of as some segments of society did not fully embrace the concept and either mixed in their pagan ways and otherwise perverted the original message. Religious organizations formed in an effort to control these aberrations and restore harmony through interpretation (doctrine), enforcement and education (yes, exactly the same thing you are doing). The intent was not evil, but considered necessary for the good of all.
The Inquisition for example was an attempt to correct perceived aberrations. As history shows us, the zeal to do the right thing sometimes clouds judgment and some individuals were clearly out-of-line. As you say, history repeats itself and the same thing will happen with the Venus Project. Some people will surely get out of line in their zeal to preserve the fundamentals that promote peace and harmony. They’ll believe their actions, sometimes no matter how egregious, are justified. (Just like abortion center bombers which I abhor and would take every action to prevent it, even if it meant standing in front to protect it-although I would probably wear an anti-abortion t-shirt).
You identify religion and politics as dividing factors. For something like the Venus Project, everything could potentially be a dividing factor. If I were pursuing my own scientific research in this utopia that by its nature began to consume vast quantities of resources, how would society react? There would be instant division between those who believe my research is necessary and those who believe I’m taking an unfair share. Who would be right? Who decides? (uh oh…sounds like the need for a governmental body thus politics). Who determines what is considered progress? Wouldn’t those who lost out in the decision feel discriminated against? Peace and harmony is starting to erode. You rail against religion as blocking what you see as “progress.” So you want to eliminate it. Isn’t that discrimination? How could you possibly educate and entire people to believe exactly what you believe so that there would be no division? Talk about a hive-minded society!
Now you’ve taken it a step further to give us an idea of what this Venus Project world would look like. You would eliminate freedom of speech by eliminating religious broadcasts. You wouldn’t be able to eliminate religion completely (although you would like to) but you’d be able to suppress it so that it has no influence (discrimination in other words). With religion out of the way, you can now work on eliminating other problems. Over-population is an interesting one. How would you propose to do this? Whatever is decided, even in a non-religious society, would be very divisive.
It’s really not as simple as you think. But if you want to continue to pursue this idea by “educating” people out of religion you may do so. I don’t think Jacque Fresco would be impressed with your methods.