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Redefining Individuality

We all love our individuality. It is what shapes us as human beings and not some brainwashed robots, right? But how free and individual are we really? Can anybody, regardless of their situation, go to any local store and buy the food they need, rent an apartment that provides them with the human and sanitarian needs such as sleep, a shower to clean themselves and a place to cook their food or perhaps book a flight to India the next morning that would enrich their life personally and socially purely out of the enjoyment of visiting and exploring other cultures and places? No. You are only as free as your purchasing power. That means from the day you are born you are dependent on other people to take care of you and provide you with the necessities of life until you are old enough to attend school (assuming it is free), memorize the information that will hopefully grant you with a diploma and that would hopefully make you able to compete with many others to a job that will likely rob your personal freedom to express your individual desires to take on your own projects, just so you make enough money to survive. Is this truly individuality?

Now, what if we made a society where we utilized science and technology to intelligently manage and allocate our resources to meet the needs of all human beings on the planet by claiming all of Earths resources as the common heritage of all mankind. Where we collectively would utilize technology to free mankind (through automation of jobs and labor) in order for every human being to be able to reach their fullest potential personally, socially and culturally. That sounds like a society that cherishes the individual, right?

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    Nov 10 2012: "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength" 1984

    "Can anybody, regardless of their situation, go to any local store and buy the food they need, rent an apartment that provides them with the human and sanitarian needs such as sleep, a shower to clean themselves and a place to cook their food or perhaps book a flight to India the next morning that would enrich their life personally and socially purely out of the enjoyment of visiting and exploring other cultures and places? No"

    That is not freedom, that is entitlement, and slavery. Freedom, and individuality... are your right to fly to India... If you can build a plane, and refine fuel. In the words of Louis CK "I hate Verizon... How can that thought exist? Really you hate them? Well... build your own. You go out there with antenna's and wires and see how close yours is to perfect!"

    Freedom to have someone else do your plumbing for you? What kind of backwards freedom is that? That's "Until everyone in this country has water, our society must force people to plumb"... Isn't it much better for plumbers to occasionally become rare, and thus desired and profitable, so that people choose the profession? That's freedom, you can do whatever you want for society, as long as you contribute, and how much you contribute, is based on how rare and qualified you are at your labor, and how much society chooses to value it freely.

    In Europe, America, and many western nations, people do not want to do tradeskills anymore... They're getting lazy. Slowly, over time, that makes less and less qualified tradeskill labor, which causes the price for that labor to rise naturally. Thus people who fail at their dream job, now see plumbing as a way to make 60-80k a year and buy a house.

    That is a good, free, and just society where you can express your talents in their highest form. Now, no society, actually operates entirely on these free market principles, but it would be the direction to move in, imho.
    • Nov 11 2012: "That is not freedom, that is entitlement, and slavery."

      How is collectively utilizing technology to free mankind (through automation of jobs and labor) in order for every human being to be able to reach their fullest potential personally, socially and culturally anywhere near slavery? Entitlement? Sure, it should be a right that all people got access to the necessities of life. Your hundred year old ideology will never manifest in this day and age.

      "Freedom to have someone else do your plumbing for you? What kind of backwards freedom is that?"

      Once again, your mind is all over the place and this is what happens when you don't pay attention to what the case really is. Automation would replace humans for low-skilled and medium-skilled jobs and labor, so that humans can focus on _important_ and _desirable_ stuff that enrich their lives.
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    Nov 10 2012: I think I saw a video clip about the Venus Project in a film some time ago, and it made me very sad. (if it's the one I think it is) While I am very supportive of a moneyless society, I am not in support of "whitewashing" the future as the project seems to include. I find that I am quite turned off by the futuristic visions that involve uniformity and seems to sacrifice creative expression in the name of efficiency. I could be wrong of course, I haven't researched the ins and outs of that particular project. I think that instead of using technology to build a new vision of the future, we should use it to improve the one we have. Instead of building entirely new cities, renovating the existing ones. Recycling outdated technology into something more useful. I see the future as far more vibrant and expressive. There is absolutely room for innovation, but depending on technology for survival just seems a bit irresponsible to me. In my mind at least, it's far more realistic to plant a public orchard to eat from, for example, than to create some sort of complex mechanical system to make sure everyone gets fed. I think we as a society make things more complicated than they are. There are ways to thrive both physically and spiritually, without resorting to a mechanical system. It just takes a bit of creativity, which I believe the TED community has in spades. I think an automaton city may be the answer for some people perhaps, but for some of us, such as myself, there is much to be gained from having your hands in the earth and working as a community group. Of course, everyone's ideal society is different, that's just mine. I think any vision of the future must include room for the visions of others and the ability for them each to live up to their infinite potential as human beings. There is no right answer I think, only a right direction. :)
    • Nov 11 2012: Then I suggest you look more into it before you make anymore baseless claims about it. The Venus Project doesn't call for uniformity, it doesn't prohibit people from doing anything just because we automate certain jobs and labor and it absolutely call for diversity and value creative individuals that can innovate and build the technologies of tomorrow. The Venus Project doesn't call for a Utopia, it calls for an emergent society that will transform endlessly.
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        Nov 11 2012: Then we must agree to disagree.
        As I said, in my opinion, any vision of the future must include room for the visions of others. I respect your point of view, even if I don't agree with it. :)
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          Nov 11 2012: I like your sentiment, Rachel: "Any vision of the future must include room for the visions of others."
        • Nov 11 2012: Rachel, there _is_ room for the visions of others. Let me reiterate. The Venus Project doesn't call for a society dictated by The Venus Project, it calls for an _emergent_ society. They welcome any critiques or improvements to their design as they realize there is no Utopia. If you have any ideas in terms of the future or specifically regarding their design, why don't you confront them with it? If you really are interested in the making a difference that benefits all, join their activist team and work directly with The Venus Project sharing your voice and visions. However, if you are just here to disagree for the fun of it or to superimpose your values, you are wasting my time. I'm here for a dialogue, not a debate.

          Furthermore, the teachings or the information in the Venus Project is not what Jacque Fresco dictates. It’s first doing a survey of the carrying capacity of a given environment and maintaining a population in accordance of the Earth's resources, not Fresco's opinion. We have to learn how scientists arrive at decisions. Once you use the scientific method, it doesn't mean that your decisions will be perfect. They'll be far more accurate than just opinions. Opinions are very dangerous, because they aren't based on scientific studies.

          Here's a direct quote from the director of The Venus Project: "The social designs that are proposed in [The Venus Project] merely provide the opportunity for individuals to develop their fullest potential in whatever endeavor they choose without the fear of loss of individuality or submission to uniformity."
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        Nov 11 2012: I believe it with every fiber of my being. :)
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        Nov 11 2012: I think you misunderstand my intent. I have no interest in dismissing the project as folly. Quite the opposite in fact. In your original post you inquired if we thought that system was one that valued the individual. My response was that I, personally, do not believe it does, and why. That does not mean that I do not believe it holds any value. It means that it is not something I feel I would choose to include in my own vision of the future. I'm not attacking the project, just stating that I as an individual would not choose to be involved with it. My personal values lie elsewhere, that's all. :)
        • Nov 11 2012: I am not sure what original post you are referring to, so could you perhaps re-post the statement where you express your belief and why? Or you could just give a conclusive answer to why you think the project doesn't value individuality. This is important for me to address to avoid any misinformation.

          "I'm not attacking the project, just stating that I as an individual would not choose to be involved with it."

          That is fine. The project doesn't want to create followers, but thinkers. But if you have any inquires or questions towards the project, please feel free to address those directly to the project and don't post things that could be lead to misinformation by posing your personal opinion of it, without even looking into it thoroughly. I know its easy to fall for the temptation to just pose a comment on it, but that doesn't serve any constructive dialogue which we cannot afford in these trying times. You can tell I'm passionate to keep things clean and to the point and so should you, if you are interested in making a change. And I believe you are.
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        Nov 12 2012: How can I possibly add to a dialogue if I am not allowed to voice my opinion? That in itself stifles the individuality which this system supposedly encourages. Having opinions is part of the very foundation of individuality. The definition of dialogue according to Mirriam-Webster is:
        1di·a·logue noun ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg

        Definition of DIALOGUE

        1
        : a written composition in which two or more characters are represented as conversing
        2
        a : a conversation between two or more persons; also : a similar exchange between a person and something else (as a computer)
        b : an exchange of ideas and opinions
        c : a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution
        3
        : the conversational element of literary or dramatic composition
        4
        : a musical composition for two or more parts suggestive of a conversation

        After reading a fair bit about it, It seems that it is a very dangerous kind of social engineering. I think in theory perhaps it could be a good thing, but man's greed and lust for power will inevitably rear it's ugly head as it has since the beginning of time, and corrupt the system. At some point in the future, when humanity is able to overcome this, there may be room for this type of system. But who gets to make that decision? Who ultimately has the power to put this system into effect, and what happens to people like me that refuse to be a part of it? Do I have a right to choose not to conform to this system that requires the cooperation of the entire world? Don't you need my cooperation? It's a global socio-economic system. I am part of the globe. Once a system like this is established, where do I go and what do I do to protest a system I don't believe in? Am I then a societal outcast? Am I told that living under this system is what's best for me so I have to suck it up?
        • Nov 12 2012: "How can I possibly add to a dialogue if I am not allowed to voice my opinion? That in itself stifles the individuality which this system supposedly encourages. Having opinions is part of the very foundation of individuality."

          You have plenty of space to address your opinion, no one has ever denied you that. But how are we going to have a constructive dialogue if you merely point out the shortcomings of my proposals and do not offer an alternative or build on my ideas?

          "I think in theory perhaps it could be a good thing, but man's greed and lust for power will inevitably rear it's ugly head as it has since the beginning of time, and corrupt the system."

          I urge you to read and learn more about behaviorism.

          "But who gets to make that decision? Who ultimately has the power to put this system into effect, and what happens to people like me that refuse to be a part of it? Do I have a right to choose not to conform to this system that requires the cooperation of the entire world? Don't you need my cooperation? It's a global socio-economic system. I am part of the globe. Once a system like this is established, where do I go and what do I do to protest a system I don't believe in? Am I then a societal outcast? Am I told that living under this system is what's best for me so I have to suck it up?"

          Nobody makes the decision. There is never a quantum leap from one state to another. There is always in between systems. In terms of a moneyless society based on technological abundance, we all arrive at the decision that this is the way to go. If you don't approve of it, you are not forced to be a part of it and can live your life anyway you want to and you are always welcomed if you change you mind.

          Before I go into any further discussion with you, I want to ask you a question: Do you believe that people have free will? That we act without influence?
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        Nov 12 2012: I think we do have free will. But that there is no such thing as acting without influence. I cannot offer any suggestions for The Venus Project, because what I would suggest changing is at the very core of what makes the project what it is. As I look at the pictures and the proposed cities, there are some things noticeably absent. In these preplanned cities, there are no unique buildings, they're all the same. I have seen no playgrounds, no children, no animals. There is no color. There is no creative expression. There are curvy white buildings on a bed of grass, typically in a pattern of concentric circles. I submit to you that from someone who highly values individuality it looks like anything but a society that values individuality and creativity. It isn't the purpose of the project I disagree with, it's the proposed plan to get there. I think it takes away more than it gives. I'm not trying to change your mind or anyone else's. I'm simply saying that there is more than one path to the same goal, and that some people, such as myself, will choose to take the other road. I think the project has forgotten the human need of creative expression. If it addresses that, and depends less on robots, and explains what happens to already existing cities, then maybe I'd feel a little less strongly about it. What does happen to the existing cities anyway? Do they level them to get an even playing field? Or do they just build new ones in undeveloped area?
        • Nov 12 2012: Thank you for clearing that up, Rachel. I think I understand you much better now. In terms of the city designs proposed by the Venus Project, these are merely templates that showcase the most efficient use of resources. Nothing more. Everybody would be free to do whatever they would like with their house; the shape, the color etc. Knowing this, you could imagine the amount of creativeness that would occur in such a society, much more than is allowed today. There would be no fixed way of designing, there would in fact be a multitude of designs and cities that is based on the needs of the inhabitants. What is more beautiful than that? In other words, if you want a pink house with four giraffe statues on the roof, that is for you to choose. Check out the Venus Project's videos on their website under the menu 'Technology' to learn more about these possibilities.

          In terms of robots, I don't see how less usage of this would make any sense? Nearly everything you have in your house is made by automation and the fact is that robotics/automation is increasing our ability to produce abundance and is at the same time liberating us to focus on stuff we really want to do like creative things that enrich our lives, which you sought after. However, that doesn't mean that you wouldn't be allowed to be a chef and open up your own restaurant just because food production could be automated, if you know what I mean.

          The future of existing cities would depend on a couple of things. But the way I see it however, it would be much more effective to just build new ones and mine the old ones for resources needed for the new ones. Of course, some building and cities would be kept and preserved for future generations to see what kind of society we lived in before. But, its really not my call. Whatever happens in time, happens.
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        Nov 12 2012: What would be done with the old cities?
        Most of the old cities would be leveled and mined for their resources. They are too inefficient to maintain. Some of the cities would be set aside as museum cities.

        This is a direct quote from the website FAQ and for me, it's a deal breaker. If my city is one of the cities planned for levelling and mining, where do I go then? I have to suffer the loss of my home, and my community to build a "better" city someplace else? They will demolish an entire city because it's "too inefficient to maintain"? What if I don't want to move? I have to live in the skeleton of a demolished city? Why is it any less logical to take all of this incredible technology that is proposed in this project and implement them in existing cities to make them MORE efficient without destroying the homes of millions of people and erasing hundreds if not thousands of years in cherished local histories? And what of indigenous peoples that see their ancestral homes and lands as a part of who they are? If they are truly after making meaningful change, they really ought to start in a more practical way, such as helping to provide this technology in a more accessible way. To advocate these types of buildings in everyday construction situations. To work with what already exists to make it better rather than destroying what doesn't fit into their idea of perfection. This isn't global improvement, it's global replacement and I do not support erasing history to make room for a thinly veiled closed minded vision of the future. NOW I'm attacking the project and since I am now unable to comment without being overtly disdainful in my comments I will say no more on the matter. I wish you all the best, sincerely, and thank you for taking the time to talk with me.
        • Nov 12 2012: I am sorry you look at it this way and hopefully you will eventually see the benefits. Trust me, I felt exactly like you when I first discovered the project, being an artist myself and where I tend to romanticize such things instead of thinking them through rationally. I have now learned to appreciate both and move beyond certain hang-ups. I know this is a sensitive issue (it is for me as well), so I won't go any further into it.

          I wish you well and I hope I haven't completely turned you off to future discussions, since I admire your passion and insights.
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      Nov 11 2012: Hi Rachel,

      We depend on technology for survival nowadays, and our ancestors survived without our technology. I don't see it as mutually exclusive. I don't see any of them intrinsically better than the other

      I grew up into what i call a blue whale approach to knowledge, i try to extract something useful wherever i hear/read/see it, without caring of the useless info that surrounds it. Sometimes its tiny, and sometimes it comes from the most unexpected sources.

      Yes i too am aware of the venus project and the zeitgeist movement, and even from them i have learned some. It is in one of those videos that i heard a nice concept: technology is also a pencil and paper that allow us to put our ideas out of our heads. If given the choice, if we are to change or ways of living, i would like to keep pencil and paper in my toolkit. And a computer too, probably.

      I like your ideas about the future, and i don't see them too different from those of the venus project. The key concept seems to be to free people up so they can raise above their current limitations, and of course this can allow them to express themselves more, promote culture, technology, etc

      I guess one of my points is that a world explained and assisted by science and technology does not take away the beauty and mystery of what makes us, us.

      And if the lowest common denominator is the curiosity of what a money-less world would look like, is it worth putting heads together to build up from that minimum common?

      cheers
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        Nov 12 2012: To the contrary, I think there is much value in "mundane and menial" work. As a single mother of four children and caretaker to several more, menial and mundane work makes up a good majority of my time, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I glean much satisfaction from doing the things other people have relegated to machines. I think people thrive on purposeful work, and not ALL purposeful work must be curing cancer, writing symphonies or touring the Pyramids at Giza. I suppose it comes from being raised in a hearty Texas family where digging post holes, raking leaves, and changing the oil in my daddy's truck was valuable, character building work, not a a menial task no one wanted to do. It needed to be done, so you did it, and you felt pride at a job well done. Most of all, I think all of these huge hurdles and global issues needn't require a complex system of automatons and scientific study. Commitment to hard work, cooperation and simplifying our lives can do the job just as well, and probably better. :)

        I think science and technology have their place and should be balanced by an equal amount of hard work and creativity.
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    Gail .

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    Nov 10 2012: When the economy fails, the Venus Project will have room to voice its ideas.
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      Nov 10 2012: which is unfortunate. in time of trouble, the stupidest ideas spread like wildfire. see marxism and nazism a century ago.
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        Nov 10 2012: What is Venus Project?

        But, please, do not redirect me to any website, I do not have time for this. Just say it plain and simple, twitter style.
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          Nov 10 2012: don't quote me on that, but something like:

          we need to hand over all production to machines. including the organization of production. supercomputers would decide what to produce, how to produce, what to produce from, how and where to distribute. and we humans would not have to work or pay for goods. there would be no money, and everyone could consume as he sees fit.
        • Nov 10 2012: It is impossible to describe The Venus Project in just a couple of sentences or less. And one cannot judge an organization from a sentence. I suggest you to check out their website, when you get time.
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          Nov 10 2012: Just because a project works on Venus why does that mean it will work here?
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          Gail .

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          Nov 11 2012: Kriszian Pinter has distorted the Venus Project to the point where it no longer makes sense.

          It is based on the notion that when automation takes over the jobs that no human really wants, and manages our resources, that we will be free to contribute our talents to our society in a moneyless soceity.
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        Nov 10 2012: Why is it not called The Cuba Project?
        • Nov 10 2012: Krisztián's description of The Venus Project was slightly off. They do advocate automating jobs and labor that isn't desirable for humans thus liberating humans to focus on important and desirable stuff and they do suggest that if we create abundance with automation and the value of sharing all of Earths resources, we could move beyond the monetary system. However, 'supercomputers' do not make any decisions. Here is where Krisztián is off in his description. The fact is that _nobody_ makes any decision in a resource based economy, not even the 'supercomputers' he is referring to. Instead we _arrive_ at decisions with the help of a correlation center (what he call supercomputers) that _merely_ keeps track on how much resources we have and how much we can use in order to maintain sustainable and abundance. That is all. The correlation center would never make any decision on behalf of humans. That wouldn't make any sense.

          We have to learn how scientists arrive at decisions. Once you use the scientific method, it doesn't mean that your decisions will be perfect. They'll be far more accurate than just opinions.
      • Nov 10 2012: You are slightly off, Krisztián. The fact is that _nobody_ makes any decision in a resource based economy, not even the 'supercomputers' you are referring to. Instead we _arrive_ at decisions with the help of a correlation center (what you call supercomputers) that _merely_ keeps track on how much resources we have and how much we can use in order to maintain sustainable and abundance. That is all. It would never make any decision on behalf of humans. That wouldn't make any sense.
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      Nov 10 2012: That does not seem like a system I would want to be a part of. It seems so wasteful of human potential to decide that is the stopping place of our evolution. We must learn as a society to rise above mindless consumption. No amount of technology will do that for us. If we must create machines to regulate our waste and misuse of resources, the only thing that has evolved or progressed is the technology. All we'd have done is create a mechanical nanny. I'm sorry if it sounds crass, I don't mean it to be, but I think that humanity can be so much better than that, and creativity is a better tool than any mechanical device.
      • Nov 11 2012: Krisztián's description of The Venus Project was slightly off. They do advocate automating jobs and labor that isn't desirable for humans thus liberating humans to focus on important and desirable stuff and they do suggest that if we create abundance with automation and the value of sharing all of Earths resources, we could move beyond the monetary system. However, 'supercomputers' do not make any decisions. Here is where Krisztián is off in his description. The fact is that _nobody_ makes any decision in a resource based economy, not even the 'supercomputers' he is referring to. Instead we _arrive_ at decisions with the help of a correlation center (what he call supercomputers) that _merely_ keeps track on how much resources we have and how much we can use in order to maintain sustainable and abundance. That is all. The correlation center would never make any decisions on behalf of humans. That wouldn't make any sense.

        We have to learn how scientists arrive at decisions. Once you use the scientific method, it doesn't mean that your decisions will be perfect. They'll be far more accurate than just opinions.
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      Nov 12 2012: The Venus Project does not negate the value of which a monetary system can provide. EDITED: Fresco believes it is inherently unequal. The majority of those in the Project, although desire no money, are not naive enough to see it going away even if the Project is picked up on a large scale. For Fresco's dream to come true, the fact of the matter is, the entire world would have to agree at the same time and sacrifice at the same time - this is not likely and is hopeless thinking.

      What both (Fresco and his V.P followers) note, is that the current system is corrupted and evil, because money is the difference between someone eating and surviving.

      Upon establishing a system where basic needs are given as a human right (which can be created by use of technological progressions) - money systems will surely be needed in order for an individual to achieve their desires or continual requirements of improving themselves further. Think Star Trek - The Federation is designed for humanitarianism and spreading those values to other worlds by means of understanding and sharing, in order to explore the unknown universe. Oh yes... This science fictional dream is apparently ignorant and destructive to some, because of the socialistic attitudes that are required...

      This is the mark Kris and many miss - thinking the situation is cut or dry. Money or no money.

      Obviously we need a trading system always, but no system should exist that entails a holocaust of children dying annually, globally. No amount of argument can suggest a system that would prevent the above is stupid, unless the person is in fact ignorant themselves of the entirety of the idea - which is all V.P claims; ideology.
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        Gail .

        • +1
        Nov 13 2012: Having read the book, I can say that Jacques looks forward to a moneyless society (not even barter). Think Star Trek. It evolved beyond the need for money. The dream is not socialistic. It is egalitarian. We get to an egalitarian society only by having a society of equals, and money is inherently unequal. We simply don't need it.
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          Nov 13 2012: We will always have bartering systems and methods of trade. To believe we no longer will require them is a dream. Star Trek does have a money system (it just doesn't work like ours today), they just don't make money the difference between living and dying or being treated differently in social class.

          A truly equal world.. That is too idealistic and ultimately useless to think about. However, at the same time we should look into what would be the first steps into such a world - in order to make this one better.

          Fresco, like many, is selling an image - he is a philosopher; needs to sell the thoughts he had lived his life investing in - never would I believe he is foolish enough to believe money will be forgotten, even if his project would be picked up by the world tomorrow. There are many futurist/transhumanist philosophers and almost none believe in no monetary systems, at least for a very long time.

          Money is not the problem, and is not innately what separates or creates inequality. It is a tool. Science, philosophy, religion, art.... these things are more likely to separate cultures and people than money.

          The problem is, money further the divides when money is not being considered as a real primary factor in the modern world. When people in capitalist countries are not interested in where their systems monetary exchanges, imports and exports are going... Then there is the room for the money movements to be controlled by those who do understand the above.

          There is no one problem with this world. Suggesting money is the root of all evil merely dismisses what really is; ignorance. With an education system that was globalized, multicultural and virtuous (taught manners) - money wouldn't be an issue; people would just realize life is worth far more than a fancy car.

          As an American, I am witnessing our Golden Age. In history there is nothing after this age...

          Money may blind efforts, but it is only a tool. Our thoughts are to blame, not a tool for trade.
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        Gail .

        • +1
        Nov 13 2012: In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Dark Frontier", a "New World Economy" began to take hold on Earth and throughout the Federation in the late 22nd century, and eventually made money obsolete.

        Just because you cannot envision a moneyless society does not mean that a moneyless society is not viable. There have been moneyless societies in the past. They were destroyed with the introduction of ownership of land as well as trade rather than gifts.
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    Nov 9 2012: I think everyone can agree that having every person's basic needs met is the hope and wish for us all. Of course, my vision of the future is probably quite different than most. I don't see the value of creating machines to do all of the work for us. I see the greatest value in doing the work ourselves. I don't think the solution to the problem is creating automatons. I think the solution lies in in nature. And within ourselves. When we as a people place higher value on our fellow man than what we want and what we have. When we're able to work toward a common goal of a thriving and healthy society as opposed to a consumer and ego driven one. When you strip away all of the mindless consumption and replace it with thoughtful creation, that's when solutions become viable. There is no gadget or invention that will solve our problems for us. Only our evolution as a people can do that. Technology has a very valuable place in our lives, but I feel we should be careful that we use it mindfully. And often, what seems like progress is not always the kind of progress we were hoping for. Of course, this is my personal opinion, riddled with my personal biases as a tree hugger. :)
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      Gail .

      • 0
      Nov 10 2012: I think (but am not sure) that Mats was describing the Venus Project, where automation takes over all of the work, leaving humans free to follow their passions without the need for money. It suggests that if we had such a society, it would only require 3% of our volunteering time to sustain it. Then, freed from the hassles of having to sell yourself into slavery to earn a living, you have time and motivation to improve your skills in whatever area appeals to you, and then give your gifts to society. (Gift economy).

      The thing about retirement that amazed me is that I am far busier on more important things than I ever was when I worked for money. All of my retired friends say the same types of things.

      What can your gift be? If you are a musician, then give a concert. If you are an inventor, then join with other inventors to improve society through your inventions. It is a people-centered soceity rather than a money centered society.

      Though I have many problems with the Venus Project as it is now described, I am a fervent supporter of a moneyless society.
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        Nov 10 2012: TVP is like the Jill Stein Green Party platform... It is an amazing plan, for what to do with America... In 50 years, if we've survived, won the argument on sustainable economics, and filled our entire government with coherent competent representation. The plan for how to actually get to that point... Seems non existent.

        If we had the technical expertise, and resources, to have already automated all labor, we would have done it. This is an evolving process that takes the work of some of the most brilliant mathematical minds that have ever lived. Recruiting them takes societal perks, ie money... Of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong.
        • Nov 10 2012: "The plan for how to actually get to that point... Seems non existent."

          In what way?
      • Nov 10 2012: It is important to realize that the ideas and concepts put forth by 'The Venus Project' are not limited to the organization alone. These are scientific concepts thus logical approaches that could be worked out by anybody as long as they utilize the scientific method. 'Biomimicry 3.8', for example, does something similar by asking how nature would have designed something.

        However, 'The Venus Project' realize that the architectural designs and blueprints alone doesn't provide a true path for the future, so they also include the social aspects of how we should conduct ourselves and what values are sustainable within the moneyless society they propose. This is probably the most 'controversial' aspect of the Venus Project, which gets most attention, as it pretty much tells people that their values are obsolete thus people feeling that their identity is under attack. This is understandable and I felt the same way until I realized that my identity is the result of my experiences and is shaped by my environments, not something that is inborn.

        The teachings or the information in the Venus Project is not what Jacque Fresco dictates. It’s first doing a survey of the carrying capacity of a given environment and maintaining a population in accordance of the Earth's resources, not Fresco's opinion.
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          Gail .

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          Nov 11 2012: The problem with that is that I am no longer a product of my environment. My worldview crashed in 1984 and I realized that all that I had been taught was a lie - a destructive one at that. The VP sounds like the Stepford wives on steroids.

          Still, there is much about it that I can admire. Once the holes are filled in (sicence that is now studying the "mind" as well as quantum mechanics will fill in that void as soon as more researchers come into agreement.) That which is missing is the best part and the way to get to a better VP than has been suggested.
      • Nov 11 2012: Then you are lucky. You have come to realization that there is more to life than what we currently have. But change doesn't come automatically. "We must become the change we want to see." - Gandhi

        Could you please elaborate in detail what you feel is missing about The Venus Project?
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    Nov 8 2012: I am more of a dreamer than a philosopher, but I believe individuality has more to do with who you allow yourself to be. The freedoms of personal expression, the unbridled creativity within yourself, the ability to break through those constraints to reach toward your infinite potential as a living being. I feel that mankind requires obstacles in order to grow and evolve. I also, on a personal level, feel that purposeful work gives one a sense of pride and belonging. All of these incredible cultures that we are surrounded by were built by hard working citizens over countless generations. I fear we would lose appreciation for the beauty we've built. Without struggle, I feel that we would become shadows of creative beings we are. Some of the most beautiful things are born from great adversity. :)
    • Nov 9 2012: Yes, but the freedoms of personal expression requires room for playing and exploring these freedoms. This freedom usually gets robbed in the current environment unless you are a millionaire. Try going somewhere or doing something without money. It's nearly impossible.

      Are you suggesting that in a society that calls for equality in terms of opportunity and basic needs met wouldn't have problems? Of course it would. And by freeing man from useless jobs and labor by utilizing technology and automation, humans could focus on what's really important both socially and creatively. Imagine if all the scientists in the world where gathered to find a cure for cancer. Or if all of the engineers were to find a way to explore space more effectively. Or where people got time to bridge the differences with other cultures. Or artists that has the whole world at their fingertips for inspiration and beauty. I don't see how constraints of these freedoms would generate pride and belonging, quite the contrary.
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      Gail .

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      Nov 10 2012: My creativity exploded when I left the for-profit workplace. Meaningful work did not go away. I agree that we thrive on meeting challenges, but the mind-set that operates in a culture of equality may still have its challenges, but they will not be fear-based thus fear-caused.
  • Nov 12 2012: Mats, for what I see written here, it seems more about changing society instead of redefining or changing Individuality.

    My personal opinion is that whatever we get for free is worthless.

    Would your idea make schools redundant? Why go to school if there is nothing to do?
    Would your idea make e.g. supermarkets redundant, or car dealers? Would each individual home receive a package (each day?) containing food, clean clothing? And if a tap develops a leak, a machine will come to the house..?

    What is wrong with money anyway? I think it can be just as useful, or dangerous, as a gun or a car.

    Do you have any opinion as to why we are in this world?
    Personally I think it is more about being useful, than being happy and content while being useless. That's why I believe heaven is a kingdom of uses, not sitting on a cloud playing harp.
    All this does not seem very realistic, but that is just my opinion.
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      Nov 12 2012: Ah, yes. That is an excellent way of putting it. :)
  • Nov 9 2012: Such idea of society requires much more than science and technology to emerge . You may have the technology and a flawless plan to implement that,but the main factor that will determine its sucess or failure is the composition of the people that will live there . The culture* that the people needs to adopt,in order to fully enjoy its potencial of this society is largely different from the current culture,that is kinda like a "General and Soldier",where the Generals have unquestionable power over Soldiers and where ideas are adopted,without any kind of questioning . A third element of this culture is the praise to Consumerism,which is the consequence of our over-focus on individualism . Along with other (forgotten)elements,changing these three elements of culture is one of the few ways to make such society sucessful .


    *Culture here is used as a meaning for a education(formal and informal) that the individual received,that shapes how he/she interacts with the Environment around .
  • Nov 19 2012: The only problem with brilliant ideas as this, is that the only people capable of implementing changes to foster such a movement are those who cherish their own idea of individuality. The idea is there, but strategic planning is necessary if it will ever be possible. 'The common person' will not change their life to improve sustainability, world hunger, ozone depletion etc.--if they are not properly informed on the subject at hand!

    There needs to be a series of steps and milestones for our society to reach before pushing such a movement-- and it will only start with a more informed citizenry-- People shouldn't be told to put down the US weekly and read the WSJ, it should be second nature.

    If we as a society are going to take full use and advantage of resources and technology that are available, the people who control those means must use them to effectively inform-- to create a more intelligent people and ultimately encourage the use and emergence of entrepreneurial ventures that shape a new definition of how an individual acts and is informed in terms of his/her own and others cultural, social and economic position.
  • Nov 18 2012: It's funny because this reminds me of a quote in Fight Club, "You are unique, just like everyone else". I agree with much of what you describe. We either live within our means or we pay the consequences. How does that equate to individuality? I look forward to one day having a society that utilizes science and technology!
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    Nov 12 2012: I think... Especially in America, that we are a culture that prides individualism.

    Collectively we educate that the individual can do anything and can be anyone they want. In another sense, we inspire positive individualism - as the main drive of individualism seems to be idealistic.

    Ironic as a well paradox... A 'system' that cherishes individualism.

    I would agree with you Mats; we need something that can inspire the collective to truly care about individuals as opposed to what individualism has inspired.

    This seems to be socialist? Yet, that ideology could not function without crafting a new system which would allow it to evolve in light of good. If we implanted socialism today in America, the current culture of individualism would abuse to the system, to the point of bankruptcy - although our system is arguable heading there anyways.

    I don't think any ideology implanted into today's existing system will carve the path towards a 'united world'. Because that is what you are hinting at, and that is purely idealistic as of today.

    In order to achieve a system where everyone is taken care of in equal fashion... we need to take a first step. That step to me is looking at what already exist and has existed and objectively considering what has/does work[ed] and the contrary. The goal is true equality - which is a social, culture and civil issue - baby steps. We can, more than ever, look at the examples history has to provide and make a conscious effort towards what is in fact humanitarian and virtuous for all mankind, let alone just individual countries.

    Again, I feel that is where you are hinting your discussion is going - an united world. Especially since you come from one of the happiest nations in the world, as well as one of the most successful. It seems likely you are inspired to wanting to know how the rest of the world can be on the same page...

    That will come from questioning our immediate existence; the concern of money will always arise.
  • Nov 9 2012: I do often ask myself what we as a society are working towards. I hope that at some point we free up some or all of the very limited time we have in life. I am hoping that automation will be a big break through in that area as well. I would hate to think that in 300 years people would still have to perform menial mind numbing task in order to survive. That does not mean that our time can not be filled with meaningful task as a substitute for work. On the other hand they do say "Idle hands are the devil's playground.". I see myself as an individual who contributes to the whole. I accepted a long time ago that I am where I am because of the decisions I made. People who blame others for their lot in life are usually in self denial about their own contributions towards that life. Take for instance, here in the United States immigrants often raise themselves up from poverty much quicker than those who were born here.
    The internet provides a great way to explore the world now, and talk to people from those countries. I can not imagine the damage that would be done to the planet if billions of people just started exploring all at once. I do have a shower and I can buy what I need at the grocery store. I often hear about countries where people have less than I do. Rarely do I hear what happened in their part of the world to create that situation. Many times, no matter how much people assist those countries, it just continues to be a dreadful place to live. Many people sent food to North Korea as an example. Sometimes the people of those countries have to want a change bad enough to rise up against oppressors.
    Another point to consider is a possible population explosion. Come on, that much free time. What do you think people will do. That would strain our resources even more. I think that one day we may be ready for that step, but we have not reached that point. People who get off the grid are the closest to that dream, if you exclude the very wealthy, in my opinion
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    Nov 8 2012: Would you say that a definition of individuality must include being able to do anything you want whenever and wherever you want? Is that consistent with the value you express in a different thread of sharing resources?
    Would it make sense from a resource or environmental standpoint for everyone to start hopping planes all the time to travel half way around the world to enrich themselves personally? Is it not possible to be independent of mind and taste and still live within the contraints of what is good for the community and the environment not just in the present but for future generations? Must individuality involve rampant exploitation of resources for private ends? (Note, I take no issue with the idea of seeking to provide universally for the health/nutrition/shelter/learning needs, but it sounds like the demands you propose to place on resources to facilitate everyone's private projects vastly exceed that).
    • Nov 8 2012: "Would you say that a definition of individuality must include being able to do anything you want whenever and wherever you want?"

      Not necessarily, but that is what most people associate individuality with, in regards to their society. The opposite being limited mobility and flexibility. Individuality could also be about free speech and expression. That is however not relevant in this context.

      "Would it make sense from a resource or environmental standpoint for everyone to start hopping planes all the time to travel half way around the world to enrich themselves personally?"

      There are other ways of traveling that is both clean and resource effective, like monorails, mag-lev trains and pressure-tubes trains. From a human behavioral standpoint it is necessary for humans to be positively stimulated both socially and culturally to feel that we belong and to develop understanding of the world we live in and communication skills to survive thus enriching our lives. If you constrain people from certain things, it could result in neurosis that could in turn have a devastating effect in the society. Today this neurosis could be poverty as a result of decreased and negative social relations and limited access to the necessities of life, which leads to crime and violence as a result of both the the negative feeling of social stratification and of course the biosocial pressures to survive.
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        Nov 8 2012: I am relieved that your answer to both is no, as being positively stimulated both culturally and socially does not require as a way to avoid neuroses universal and continuous globe-trotting.

        It helps, if we want to use resources responsibly, to be honest with ourselves about ways of feeling connected and fulfilled that do not need to be massively exploitative of the planet. Some things are luxuries rather than necessities. We can feel fulfilled also by what we give.