Vol. 1, No. 1
Thursday, Feb. 11, 1971; p. 10


by David Jenrette

There exists an antique aphorism designed to cheer you when you are low and to sober you when you are high; it applies in sickness or health, war or peace, affluence or poverty, engrossment or ennui. You may have guessed it. The all-purpose motto is: THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS.

This saying is more applicable today than ever before as today's style becomes tomorrow's thrift shop bargain: apropos to malaprop is a TV channel change.

In all this queasily quaking quagmire (Thank you, Spiro) it is refreshing to know that someone still stands steadfast: may I present Dr. Jacques Fresco of 3112 s. W. 23 Street?

Fresco is not of this time, he is a prophet of days to come, an emissary of the future, a talker about tomorrow.

Jacques is quite concerned with the upcoming ecological of the planet: he feels that we have less than fifteen years in which to act and the action must be strong and harsh.

Every night (except Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) Dr. Fresco admits the public to his presence from 8:30 to about 11 p.m. at a dollar-a-head (if you have one: a dollar, that is). Coffee afterward at Dean's Waffle House is optional.

These meetings are labeled as discussion groups, but they are primarily religious sermons glorifying technology, especially The Computer. Jacques holds forth at a temple of technology; the walls, tables, and shelves are covered with diagrams, lights, electronic devices, gadgets, telescopes, etc. Some of these may be touched by the vulgar; others are safely behind glass as religious relics ought to be. There is no green living thing in evidence, not even a window to view trees at a distance.

As I understand it, the Fresco solution to impending environmental doom is to make The Computer our absolute ruler. The Computer will then take care of housing, feeding, clothing, recycling, stimulating, and soothing us. Since the computer can do everything better than man, Jacques says we should let it. The computer can produce better art, better plays, better designs, better music, etc.

Man will then be free to wander, contentedly chewing his cud, in a pastoral state of absolute security and health. Population will be kept down by contraceptive chemicals added to our foods by the thoughtful computer overlord. No man will be master of another; no man will have wants unsatisfied; no conflicts will be tolerated.

I will not criticize Fresco on the following nitpicking points because I do not want to be considered petty:

  1. Credentials - Jacques has Ph.D. written behind his name, but I have never heard what university.
  2. Inaccuracies - The lectures contain factual errors from time to time, but they are delivered without notes and anyone can make mistakes.
  3. Paradox - Jacques stresses over and over again that no man should be in a position of authority over another man. Yet, in these so-called discussion groups, Jacques permits very little comment. In fact, he absolutely dominates the group in his military uniform.

My only criticism is this: Jacques postulates a future for man where the emphasis is solely and squarely on security alone. It is written in an old book that man does not live by bread alone; it is written that way in newer books, also. According to Robert Ardrey (for one) man needs three things: security, stimulation, and identity. An" ecologically sound environment with all needs provided al Fresco has no stimulation, no danger, no excitement,. a computer -ruled world with everyone defined equal provides no opportunity for identity. AB a result, only sheep-people could exist in Fresco's Utopia.

Effective solutions to our environmental problems must allow for man's competitive, possessive, aggressive, thrill-seeking nature – his pushy, greedy, ballsy, rowdy self. Anything else is like recommending an aspirin for a brain tumor.

FOOTNOTE: About four years ago, at the suggestion of one of Fresco's young female admirers, I attended four or five of the meetings. Several weeks ago I revisited and found Fresco presenting precisely the same ideas to precisely the same kind of people, including several young female admirers. Jacques, you devil, I think I just figured you out.