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The Venus Project
Posted: 10 November 2007 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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His ideas seem like a huge sales pitch to me.  Not that I don’t dream of such things myself- most everyone does, but this seems like a dream or a science fiction senerio.  His monetary system sounds intriguing, but I don’t think in a captilistic society it can be done.  Although the dollar is worthless currently, it may make a come back several years after we get rid of this admin. or we will have to have a new monetary base.  This one doesn’t seem possible for centuries to come.  Nice fantasy, but I don’t think it’s possible, at least not in the forseeable future.  All I have to say is, dream on, because it won’t happen in our lifetimes, as much as we want it.  We can strive for it, but we’re not going to see it… if it every happens.

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Posted: 10 November 2007 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I had hoped to begin a dialogue on this subject by using the venus project as a means of opening the discussion.  I see now that it may have been a mistake.  There is just too much baggage associated with their organization (or is it just one man?).

I guess it is natural.  Skeptics are going to search for the flaws and focus on them before seeing the bigger picture.

I also understand completely why there is a overall pessimism when people think of the future. There is very little focus on creating a positive vision for the future.  All is doom and gloom.  Terrorism, global warming, greed, hatred, genocide, famine, disaster, human rights violations, torture, education failures, stupidity, fundamentalism dominate our thinking.

But my question is this.  Why is it that when people of good intent, try their best to paint a positive picture, look for ways to take steps in a positive direction, our first reaction is to cut the legs out from under the effort, or label it as idealistic, a scam or some other such negative connotation?

When I listen to Jacques, I don’t hear a scam artist.  I hear someone who is passionate about painting a positive picture of the future.  While some of his ideas may be misguided, or flawed, it is clear to me that his heart is in the right place.

I’m afraid we have become what we all secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) abhor.  Each of us has dreams, visions of a lively, cheerful existence surrounded by positive influences.  And yet, it would appear that we do little to nurture such things.

I had the mistaken impression that a secular humanist group would be a great place to initiate such thinking.  To begin the flow of dialogue that might initiate some positive influence, rather than dredging up negativity.

Frankly, I’m disappointed.  I hope that someday I will find a group of people who are NOT so cynical, who are willing to suspend disbelief long enough to think things through and see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

My Grandfather was such a person.  He became famous for starting the 1st school for department Santa Claus schools, and acting as Santa in the Macy’s parade each year.  But he also had a toy company, produced directed acted in, created sets, costumes in plays, baked the world’s largest apple pie, and cake, among many other things.  In spite of my lack of belief in religion, I completely understand and agree with his motives.  He simply wanted to bring joy to the world, through war and the depression he worked his magic.  Unfortunately, he too was beaten down by the same kind of negativity that prevails today.  He ended his career in debt, suffering from nervous breakdowns, and eventually died of cancer.

Walt Disney was another.  His Imagineers built the impossible, at Walt’s urging, they overcame engineering problems that would have baffled some of the best minds. 

The Space program, and the mission to the moon was built on such dreams.

I believe in the capabilities of the human spirit when it is properly motivated and focused on solving problems. I believe that those energies are being wasted on trivial bits of technology, weapons of war (both military and economic), and brainwashing.  I am afraid that we are beginning to lose that potential to work for the betterment of us all, or be blinded to it by the prevailing attitudes of our society.  I really hope I am wrong.

[ Edited: 10 November 2007 02:38 PM by Charles ]
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Posted: 10 November 2007 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Just a reminder….


Humanist Manifesto 2000
A Call for a New Planetary Humanism
Drafted by Professor Paul Kurtz,
International Academy of Humanism, USA

1. Preamble

Humanism is an ethical, scientific, and philosophical outlook that has changed the world. Its heritage traces back to the philosophers and poets of ancient Greece and Rome, Confucian China, and the Charvaka movement in classical India. Humanist artists, writers, scientists, and thinkers have been shaping the modern era for over half a millennium. Indeed, humanism and modernism have often seemed synonymous for humanist ideas and values express a renewed confidence in the power of human beings to solve their own problems and conquer uncharted frontiers.

II. Prospects for a Better Future

For the first time in human history we possess the means provided by science and technology to ameliorate the human condition, advance happiness and freedom, and enhance human life for all people on this planet.

III. Scientific Naturalism

The unique message of humanism on the current world scene is its commitment to scientific naturalism. Most world views accepted today are spiritual, mystical, or theological in character. They have their origins in ancient pre-urban, nomadic, and agricultural societies of the past, not in the modern industrial or postindustrial global information culture that is emerging. Scientific naturalism enables human beings to construct a coherent world view disentangled from metaphysics or theology and based on the sciences.

IV. The Benefits of Technology

Humanists have consistently defended the beneficent values of scientific technology for human welfare. Philosophers from Francis Bacon to John Dewey have emphasized the increased power over nature that scientific knowledge affords and how it can contribute immeasurably to human advancement and happiness.

V. Ethics and Reason

The realization of the highest ethical values is essential to the humanist outlook. We believe that growth of scientific knowledge will enable humans to make wiser choices. In this way there is no impenetrable wall between fact and value, is and ought. Using reason and cognition will better enable us to appraise our values in the light of evidence and by their consequences.

VI. A Universal Commitment to Humanity as a Whole

The overriding need of the world community today is to develop a new Planetary Humanism—one that seeks to preserve human rights and enhance human freedom and dignity, but also emphasizes our commitment to humanity as a whole. The underlying ethical principle of Planetary Humanism is the need to respect the dignity and worth of all persons in the world community.

VII. A Planetary Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

To fulfill our commitment to Planetary Humanism, we offer a Planetary Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, which embodies our planetary commitment to the well-being of humanity as a whole. It incorporates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but goes beyond it by offering some new provisions. Many independent countries have sought to implement these provisions within their own national borders. But there is a growing need for an explicit Planetary Bill of Rights and Responsibilities that applies to all members of the human species.

VIII. A New Global Agenda

Many of the high ideals that emerged following the Second World War, and that found expression in such instruments as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, have waned through the world. If we are to influence the future of humankind, we will need to work increasingly with and through the new centers of power and influence to improve equity and stability, alleviate poverty, reduce conflict, and safeguard the environment.

IX. The Need for New Planetary Institutions

The urgent question in the twenty-first century is whether humankind can develop global institutions to address these problems. Many of the best remedies are those adopted on the local, national, and regional level by voluntary, private, and public efforts. One strategy is to seek solutions through free-market initiatives; another is to use international voluntary foundations and organizations for educational and social development. We believe, however, that there remains a need to develop new global institutions that will deal with the problems directly and will focus on the needs of humanity as a whole. These include the call for a bicameral legislature in the United Nations, with a World Parliament elected by the people, an income tax to help the underdeveloped countries, the end of the veto in the Security Council, an environmental agency, and a world court with powers of enforcement.

X. Optimism about the Human Prospect

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as members of the human community on this planet we need to nurture a sense of optimism about the human prospect. Although many problems may seem intractable, we have good reasons to believe that we can marshal our talent to solve them, and that by goodwill and dedication a better life will be attainable by more and more members of the human community. Planetary humanism holds forth great promises for humankind. We wish to cultivate a sense of wonder and excitement about the potential opportunities for realizing enriched lives for ourselves and for generations yet to be born.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I guess it is natural.  Skeptics are going to search for the flaws and focus on them before seeing the bigger picture.

I cannot disagree with you more strongly here. I am looking at the bigger picture. You began this thread referring to a Utopian vision which utterly ignores reality. Let’s take a look at reality.

We’ve living in a society built upon and totally dependent on cheap, abundant fossil fuels. Those fossil fuel supplies are dwindling and quickly getting to the point where they are neither cheap nor abundant. Modern farming methods rely on fossil fuels for everything from planting crops, fertilizing those crops, harvesting the crops and delivering the crops to market. Using fossil fuels we can adequately feed most of the six billion people on this planet. As fossil fuels get more difficult and more expensive to extract we will be able to feed fewer people.

Burning those fossil fuels has released levels of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere unprecedented in our species time, causing Global Warming. Global Warming is leading to more chaotic weather patterns, causing closely alternating periods of drought and floods. This, too, will make farming more difficult, leading to further problems feeding the six billion people on our planet. Overpopulation is also contributing to water shortages and depleting the ocean fisheries. Without adequate water and seafood we face even more intensive food shortages.

The Arctic Ice Cap is melting, and already Canada, Denmark, Russia and the U.S. are positioning to claim potential oil fields in the Arctic. Great. Our response to human induced climate change is to look for more places to drill for oil and dump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Frankly, I’m disappointed.  I hope that someday I will find a group of people who are NOT so cynical, who are willing to suspend disbelief long enough to think things through and see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I am a realist. Yes, the Secular Humanist Declaration you quoted is full of excellent ideas, but we will need everyone to cooperate to realize those ideas. Given the current state of world affairs and our species history I see little reason for such optimism. The rich and powerful have never willingly abdicated their privileged positions. Humanity’s history is filled with examples of nations attacking each other over resources, killing each other over ideological differences, and doing everything possible to hold onto what each local or national village possesses rather than sharing resources equitably.

I am not about to suspend my belief in observations in order to dream about a Utopian future. If this outlook means I am not a Secular Humanist in your eyes then so be it. Call me a Realist instead.

Telling our children things will keep getting better when all evidence indicates otherwise will do them a great disservice. Rather than glossing over the problems they will face in the coming decades we should do everything we can to prepare them for a world with less energy than we currently enjoy, scarcer resources, more chaotic weather, and a standard of living lower than ours but still better than 99 percent of humanity has experienced in the last 12,000 years. How do we do that? Encourage them to choose professions that will likely be in demand as society powers down. Stock traders, lawyers and salesmen will find themselves in little demand, while farmers, carpenters, health care providers and craftsmen will see a resurgence in their professions. Aircraft mechanics will see very little work in the coming decades, while people who can repair diesel engines for ground transportation will find their skills in greater demand.

We also need to work hard to fight the long-haul trucking lobby and rebuild our rail infrastructure. This will have several benefits. Aside from getting most tractor-trailer rigs off our highways (decreasing traffic congestion and making highway travel a bit safer) moving products by rail instead of trucks will decrease pollution and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, as well as making it easier to deliver goods to remote areas in the coming decades.

We can overcome the problems of resource depletion and Global Warming if we plan for them. It will not be easy, and it will be painful. We aren’t going to feed six billion people by the end of this century, so our population will decrease. How much it decreases and how quickly (and painfully) depends upon how we plan for the the coming changes. Ignoring what lies ahead in favor of a Utopian vision of how we want things to be will only exacerbate the problems. You can’t always move forward with the world you want. Sometimes you have to move forward with the world you have.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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fotobits,

Ironically, everything you said fully supports the strong advocacy of the vision spelled out in the venus project.  Clearly you missed many of the salient points made in the essay and in the description of the resource based economy.

You seem to believe that the proposal supports continued reliance on fossil fuels, when it states clearly the opposite.  And the very professions you single out as outmoded, and those that become more important are also mirror image of the statements made in the venus project.

You seem to be hung up on 2 things.  One, the word “utopia”.  The other, practicality.

“The Venus Project is neither Utopian, nor Orwellian, nor does it reflect the dreams of impractical idealists. Instead, it presents attainable goals requiring only the intelligent application of what we already know. The only limitations are those we impose upon ourselves.” - The Venus Project

You may say that this is merely a self serving statement, and does not reflect reality.  Well, I beg to differ.  No progress has ever been made in this world without someone with the courage to propose change in the face of opposition, and in many cases in stark contrast to accepted practice.  As atheists/agnostics we know, intimately, what it is like to deal with accepted practices that do not conform to our own ideals.  Are we idealistic for retaining our views in the face of this reality?  Should we just fade into the background and wait for them to go away?  Should we attack the victims of religious dogma?, or create an alternative world view that is more compelling?

As for your lack of optimism, I’m sorry to say that I am not very optimistic either.  But that will not dissuade me.  I would not dissuade my child from her dreams either.  Consider the adversity Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, or a great many others faced.  They would not have had success if they listened to you.

You appear to be preparing for some kind of apocalypse.  Have you resigned yourself and your children to this fate?  Are you not interested in alternatives?  Planning for change is just what this project is attempting to do.  And yet, in spite of your insistence to the contrary, you seem unwilling to consider an alternative to disaster.

Yes we are in dire circumstances.  But should that not warrant drastic action?  Much of what is proposed here is indeed contrary to what is in place today.  However, we all see significant problems with the course we are on.  Many are working hard to make change.

Planning for a successful career is fine.  However, much of what we rail against these days are only symptoms of a greater problem.  We have failed to recognize the cause of the problem, therefore we treat the symptoms while the disease lives on.  The trucking example you gave is one of the symptoms, not the cause.

Apparently you want to ride it out.  Go into survival mode, and let the pieces fall where the may.  I, for one, want to help plot a different course, one that will save more of us and set the foundation for something better.  If that makes me an idealist, so be it.

The standard of living most of us enjoy is not sustainable.  However, that standard is based on waste, and trivial pursuits.  It is the standard that needs to change, but not to a lower standard, rather, to a more constructive one.  More people could be living productive, happy, peaceful lives if a new standard of living was established based on meeting basic human needs instead of feeding selfish, wasteful, possessive human tendencies.

While it is true that many professions would become outmoded, this would be true because they do not produce anything of value to meet basic human needs.  We should be establishing new priorities.  Working to see that our leaders understand and support these priorities with action, not words.  And when they don’t, we need to do things ourselves.  Significant change can only come from those willing to face these issues head on, while providing constructive alternatives. 

I have learned that you cannot build anything unless you can get people to imagine it themselves.  The Venus Project is still in the visionary stage. I think there is merit to much of it.  Where I see flaws, or gaps in their thinking, I am going to give some consideration to what could be done to fix them. 

To bring any idea into reality it must start this way.  I would agree that the plan is too extensive to become reality any day soon.  But without such a vision it will never get started, and without people taking action, encouraging one another, building what they can, it will never become reality.  I learned from my grandfather that all great things start out small.  But they only grow when people put their backs into it and work to make it a reality. 

Sitting back and planning for the worst, or attacking the victims of flawed policies will do no good.  The real problem is the foundation on which those those policies are built.  The choices we are given are not true choices.  Choice A and Choice B lead to the same result.  You cannot solve a problem if you have not defined it’s true nature.  Critical Thinking 101.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Alright Charles, I see we’re not that far apart in our thinking. However, we diverge on one major point. I am planning for disaster. Our society has reached overshoot. We cannot continue feeding six billion people indefinitely. Resources wars have already begun (Iraq, Darfur). I remain optimistic our species will survive, but cannot see our society surviving.

The standard of living most of us enjoy is not sustainable.  However, that standard is based on waste, and trivial pursuits.  It is the standard that needs to change, but not to a lower standard, rather, to a more constructive one.  More people could be living productive, happy, peaceful lives if a new standard of living was established based on meeting basic human needs instead of feeding selfish, wasteful, possessive human tendencies.

I agree with you 100 percent here.

But we come back to the crux of our disagreement: How do you propose we feed six billion people when the oil starts running short and climate change wreaks havoc with our growing seasons? Alternatively, how can we peacefully draw down the population to a sustainable level?

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Posted: 12 November 2007 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I think maybe we need a short as well as a long term solution.  In the short term we have to deal with the mess we have right now.  But unlike an aggressive investor, we should be looking for long term solutions at the same time.

Whatever progress that can be made toward that long term solution, even if it never makes it out of a think tank, is bound to have some benefit to future generations.  In the short term we have many holes to fill, fires to put out, etc.  But we must not let our busy lives deter us from our goals.

I think this has become the strategy of the defenders of the status quo.  Keep us so busy or reduce our capacity to influence change to the point that we no longer represent a threat.  We must not let them succeed, or the disaster we both see coming will be inevitable.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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The world needs all types of people Charles. I have an idea. Let’s team up. I’ll be in charge of short-term worst-case-scenario planning and you can take the lead on long-term planning to build a sustainable society. We need both.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Deal

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Posted: 12 November 2007 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Good . Ready to start? I think we may be able to teach each other some things, with help from other people reading and participating in this thread.

If you want to build a sustainable society the first thing you have to do is define a sustainable society. Sustain means preserve, perpetuate or maintain. A sustainable society is one which can maintain its population and standard of living perpetually. Given that our current society is built upon cheap abundant fossil fuels, and those fossil fuels are becoming scarcer and more expensive, we must transition from a fossil-fuel based society to an energy source that is replaceable. Your second task is to define the scope of your project. Are you going to plan for local sustainable society, or is your vision global? Once we have settled on a definition of a sustainable society and you have defined the scope of your vision we can discuss how to proceed with a plan to build that society.

My job is to develop a short-term plan survive in a post peak oil world. I too need to plan a sustainable society, but I have decided to limit myself to my local community. I need to identify the probable issues we’ll face and develop a plan to overcome those issues while maintaining a comfortable standard of living. As I see things, we’re face a rough road as energy demand passes energy supplies. We in the developed countries are in a fairly good position to survive over the next two to three decades. We’ll have to make some fundamental changes in our lifestyles, but that will be more a matter of giving up some luxuries rather than going without basic necessities.

What can I do? Well, my wife and I have started on some things. We have replaced our light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights. It is 81 degrees outside, and I’m sitting here with the windows open enjoying the fresh air moving through the house. Interestingly, I just heard my neighbors’ air conditioning unit kick on, even though they are both at work. That is the kind of behavior we need to change immediately. My wife and I have also changed our driving habits. We’ve cut back from 40k-plus miles per year to about 15k combined, and we have cars that get better mileage than the ones we used to drive. My Volvo S40 averages about 26 mpg, versus the 19 mpg of the Volvo 850 Turbo it replaced.

What else can we do? Some things are easy. Buy locally whenever possible. Shop at a local farmer’s market instead of buying fruits and vegetables trucked in the 2,000 miles away. Buy local craft brewed beers instead of beers made in distant states. That means I’ll be drinking Austin Amber instead of Fat Tire Amber, but some sacrifices are necessary. Work from home as much as possible. If you’re looking for a house, look at neighborhoods close to where you work instead of commuting long distances. Support your local musicians. This isn’t much of a sacrifice in my case, as I know some excellent musicians in this area. Dry your laundry on a line outside when practical instead of using the dryer in the house.

Planning for the next decade or two is a bit more expensive. My wife and I plan to get at least one solar-powered attic fan for our house. We’re going to tear up the carpet and either tile the floors or have a professional stain the concrete. This will reduce our A/C bills in the Texas summers. When we need to reroof the house we’re going to look into solar collecting systems for electricity. We’re also installing ceiling fans throughout the house so we can keep the inside temp a few degrees higher in the summer and still be comfortable. We expect these modifications will allow us to live here comfortably for the next decade.

Moving forward, we’re talking with some friends about buying some property in the Hill Country. Nothing too far out of town, we’ll need access to emergency medical care, but we want enough land for five or six families to build houses. These houses will be as efficient as possible, built to take advantage of prevailing breezes for cooling, with wood-burning stoves for winter heat to augment the passive solar heating coming through the windows. We’ll also build as much solar and wind electricity generation into the houses as we can afford. We’re trying to get friends with a good mix of skills; carpentry, medical, animal husbandry, and mechanical. we’re all collecting as much knowledge as possible in book form. Yes, I know, libraries and universities aren’t going to disappear overnight, but we’re not counting on the Internet being available 24/7 forever. We’re going to grow as much of our fruit and vegetables as we can. One of our friends is a professional hunting guide, and we all have hunting experience. Even if things don’t fall apart completely we’ll be able to take care of each other as we age, and live cheaply after retirement.

I am open to suggestions and critiques.

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Posted: 12 November 2007 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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fotobits,

I didn’t own a car until about 5 years ago.  And then I purchased a Honda Accord that gets pretty decent gas mileage.  Although, with prices as they are right now ($3.31 last time I checked) I don’t drive it much.  I have been working from home for about 4 years now.  Most of the other things you talk about I have done for a while as well.  I have also worked with a good friend who runs the sustainable casa blog, and he and his wife have established their businesses as green a year or so ago.

I feel I have been doing my part as far as I can within the limits of our society.  I live in a modest town house with a shared garden area.  There is a thriving local farmers market.  But it is not ideal.  There are simply too many trappings of our capitalist society here.  I thought northern California would be an ideal place to set up, but I think much of the attitudes of the 60’s have become jaded, and the former hippies now have gone corporate.

My brother has adopted the survivalist stance as you appear to have done.  He lives in rural western, ny. Unfortunately he also believes that 9/11 was an inside job, and that terrorists live in his backyard.  I have another friend now living in portland that has abandoned his corporate job in favor of buying old homes and rebuilding them for sale for low income housing.  He has learned many construction techniques.  He also campaigns for organic food solutions and a cash (money) free society.

While I had considered a plan similar to the one you are, I am no longer satisfied with that as the end game. The problem I see is that all these things are really too small to make much of a difference.  The real issue is not just our lifestyles and standards of living, it is also the way our economy drives innovation that could be more swiftly addressing the needs of our society with sustainable solutions.

You and I should not have to go broke installing energy efficient alternatives, or rely on poorly made disposable goods that should last a lifetime.  This is why I want to do more.  Not to mention the social issues that arise insufficient resources to properly care for, and educate people who are struggling to make ends meet.  Basic Human Needs have not been a priority for a long time.  Not since the new deal and the draft of the 2nd bill of rights has it been on anyones list.  And now, I think even that proposal would not adequately address our circumstances.  It is time for something drastic, which is why I have been exploring alternatives like the venus project.

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Posted: 13 November 2007 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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The Venus Project, as has been discussed, is not an answer, it is a vision. I’ve read the essay, and there is nothing there except an idealistic notion of trading unspecified resources for goods. No mention of population control. No mention of Global Warming. No mention of how it will be possible to feed six-plus billion people when oil runs short, oceans rise, and deserts spread.

You can explore all the alternatives you want, but you’ll get nowhere until you answer this question: How are you going to feed everyone?

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Posted: 15 November 2007 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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fotobits,

To begin with I will try to explain a phrase used in futures studies for the category of solution prescribed by the Venus Project.  It is referred to as a “Soft Solution” or a “Soft Solution for a Hard Problem”.  Traditionally we are accustomed to presuming that a hard problem requires a complex or difficult solution.  The approach here is to develop a solution that begins by significantly reducing the complexity of the problem before attempting to design a solution.  This is not a denial of reality, but rather a redefinition of the starting point.  It is based on a significant shift in paradigm.  Without the shift in paradigm the solution would not be appropriate.  So, if you are to evaluate the solution based on today’s paradigm, you will not see your concerns addressed.  The Venus project, as defined on their site, does not directly address the means of shifting the paradigm.  It only suggests the possibilities that arise out of the proposed new paradigm.

There are also a number of researchers who are working on aggregating possible and desirable futures using what is referred to as a futures methodology which systematically explores, creates, and tests futures to improve decisions.  Including analysis of consequences of suggested policies and actions, large and small-scale issues, near and distant future.  in addition, projecting possible, probable, or desired conditions to evaluate the consequences.  It is more philosophy than science. It helps to provide a framework to better understand the present and expand mental horizons.

The use of futures methods enhances anticipatory consciousness, which in turn improves the foresight to act faster or earlier, thus dealing with change more effectively.  The value in futures studies is less in forecasting accuracy, than in usefulness in planning and opening minds to consider new possibilities and changing the policy agenda.

So, that is the context in which I was attempting to bring up the venus project.  Perhaps we all would have been better served had I provided this context before attempting to reference the venus project.  But, I simply began the discussion where I had left off myself.

I have read a lot more of what is available on that site.  The essay attempts to give an overview, however, like many other things in this world, more careful study reveals details that are missed at first glance.  In addition, there are a great number of futurists examining various issues in regards to proactive planning for future needs.  Jacques Fresco’s Venus Project is just one of them.  I would suggest that you avoid getting hung up on one proposal and embrace components of each that hold the most promise.

The biggest flaw I see so far is the over-selling of the amount of leisure time one might have in a society such as what has been proposed.  I would anticipate that human resources would be as important as any other in building and maintaining the infrastructure that would be required to sustain the supply chain of energy, goods and services used to support everyone.  The difference is that much of the stress and strain of job security, competition for resources and other such conflict would be largely eliminated.

You appear to have missed a key component of the economy proposed here.  Trading, in the sense we know it today, is no longer a means of acquiring goods.  Available resources are measured against the needs of all, and methods are developed, where they don’t exist today, through innovative thinking, application of science and technology to develop the most efficient solutions possible.  To the extent that existing means of providing for basic human needs are no longer sustainable given that the resources required to support that supply chain have dried up, then alternatives will need to be developed.  Again, this is a reliance on human ingenuity, not available resources as you have implied.

I can hear it now.  “This is no different than what we are doing today!”  Well, in fact, it is a great deal different.  Financially motivated efforts to solve these issues have failed to produce lasting solutions.  This is because of the way we invest, and expect profit in return.  If the motivation was instead to solve the problem in the most efficient way, with the longest lasting results, harnessing the most promising ideas from our most qualified minds, without a profit motive, there would be an entirely different result.  The only motive that would be required is our survival, and solutions that are in the best interest of all of us.

Bottom line, there were many concepts here that would (in my opinion) potentially contribute to a desirable future paradigm.  One that would have a strong correlation to stated Humanist goals.  That is where I was going with this.  To the extent that there are undesirable aspects of the project or possible negative consequences, further review alongside other prospects could reveal a more compatible paradigm.  A dialogue that helps reveal such a paradigm can be very constructive to building consensus and ultimately a consciousness that drives policy and action resulting in the realization of many Humanist goals.

I think I will start another topic, focusing more on futures studies in general as they apply to a secular humanist perspective.  That may generate a more constructive dialogue.

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Posted: 15 November 2007 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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“Idea-assassins rush forward to kill any new suggestion on the grounds of its impracticality, while defending whatever now exists as practical, no matter how absurd.” - Alvin Toffler

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