No. 247, p. 10-12
October 1996


by Art Coulter, MD

"I now see that the major shift in human evolution is from behaving like an animal struggling to survive to behaving like an animal choosing to evolve. And to evolve we need a new kind of thinking and a new kind of behavior, a new ethic and a new morality. It will be that of the evolution of everyone rather than the survival of the fittest." - Jonas Salk

Many thoughtful people are aware of the multiple crises facing our species. These include: a rapidly approaching ecological catastrophe, resulting from pollution and destruction of our natural environment; the population "time bomb", due to explode by 2050 or sooner if the exponential growth of human population is not checked; nuclear war, likely to occurwhen we least expect it; the devastating poverty that traps hundreds of millions of human beings (especially children); and the interlock among these and other looming disasters, each making the others worse. The complacency with which the power elite, mired in greedlock, views all this, is distressing. Fortunately, many thinking men and women do care, and have come up with worth while ideas and projects to manage these problems.

Synergetics is one of many such efforts; and we seek synergic relationships with others who share our concerns. Recently I was surprised to receive by Priority Mail a packet from Florida, describing something called THE VENUS PROJECT. The packet contained a brochure, a booklet, and a videotape. I have no idea how the originator heard about me or about Synergetics. But I read the booklet and listened to the tape, and I was fascinated!

The author was a man named Jacque Fresco, who describes himself as a "Futurist", a "forerunner in the field of Industrial Design and Human Factors Engineering". I cannot give an adequate picture of The Venus Project here, but I am deeply impressed. A few quotes may explain why:

"Our present, outmoded political and economic systems are unable to apply the real benefits of innovative technology to achieve the greatest good for all people, and to overcome the inequities imposed upon so many ... In this new, participatory democracy in which everyone contributes to their level of competency, we will be able to ensure social and economic stability, provide an environment where people will be better educated, and enable everyone to have access to all of the amenities that a prosperous and innovative society can provide. With The Venus Project's approach and with our current technologies we will be able to eliminate war, poverty, hunger, debt, crime, and all the other social ills that currently plague our society. This is not a mere paper proclamation, but instead it could be transformed into a working reality ... if we choose to make it so."

Sound like another idealistic visionary? I know the feeling. But this guy really has some intriguing ideas, and in addition he really cares. Read on:

"All social systems, regardless of political philosophy, religious beliefs, or social mores, ultimately depend upon natural resources, i.e. clean air and water, arable land and the necessary technology and personnel to maintain a high standard of living ... Simply stated, a resource based economy utilizes existing resources rather than money, and provides an equitable method of distributing these resources in the most efficient and humane manner for the entire population."

What did he say? An economy not based on money?

Yep! "If all the money in the world were destroyed, as long as topsoil, factories, and other resources were left intact, we could build anything we choose to build and fulfill any human need. It is not money that people need, but rather it is the freedom of access to most necessities without ever having to appeal to a government bureaucracy or any other agency. In a resource based economy money would be irrelevant. All that would be required are the resources and the manufacturing and distribution of the products."

Jacque Fresco contends that it is simply not so that "limited resources prevent us from achieving a society of abundance. . . we still have enough resources to achieve a high standard of living for everyone through innovative solutions that could be readily applied if we were to direct our attention to these ends... we could utilize solar concentrators . . . rather than fossil fuels ... there is the untapped potential of other clean energy sources such as "fresnel" lenses, wind generators, and tidal power. .. A massive drive to obtain additional energy sources to permit a higher standard of living for all would only be feasible if we did not have the artificial limitations of a price tag."

The Venus Project does much more than replace a money based economy with one based on natural resources and on innovative technology directed toward fulfilling real human needs. It also includes application of Cybernation - the combination of computers and automation. It is based on evolution by design, addressed to real human needs, not the blind pursuit of more wealth by the wealthy which now dominates the political and economic processes. Instead of "urban renewal" - which achieves so little and costs so much and mostly makes the rich richer - the Project envisions designing new cities - "cities that think". It does not call for revolution or resort to the political process - which has become hopelessly Dysergic. Instead, it proceeds by designing and building a new cybernated civilization which will be so beautiful, so humane, and so truly democratic, that people will find its appeal irresistible.

Many years ago, the Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon, wrote an essay, "The Body Physiologic and the Body Politic". In it he pointed out that the human system was organized to provide a stable internal environment for the cells and tissues of the body. Building on the work of Claude Bernard, he introduced the term "homeostasis" to describe this state. If the cells need more glucose, the system responds by providing more glucose, for example. Cannon suggested that our economic/political system should be similarly organized. Over 60 years later, the VENUS PROJECT may provide a way to achieve this.

What is the relation of this to Synergetics? That remains to be determined. Our visions are certainly Synergic - time and time again I have seen examples of Synergy in the Venus Project design. But I also can foresee problems and obstacles blocking the way. The recent discovery that a new class of diseases infests our society- diseases caused by Mind Viruses like the deadly Militarism Virus and the malignant Meme that causes the Scrooge Syndrome - is sobering. We need a systematic, sustained campaign to identify these Mind Viruses and to develop psychosocial vaccines and other remedies, a psychosocial technology to supplement, in many Synergic ways, the Venus Project. Synergetics provides the basis for such a technology.

Some of the goals of the Venus Project are the following:

  1. To reclaim and restore the natural environment.
  2. To attain a balanced-load economy that ... manufactures food and services of high quality at a level that is balanced to meet human need.
  3. To replace the monetary-based economic system with a resource-based economy.
  4. To redesign our cities, transportation systems and industrial plants so that they are energy efficient, clean, and conveniently serve the needs of all people.
  5. To use clean, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and other forms of clean energy.
  6. To eventually transcend the need for all of the artificial boundaries that separate humankind.
  7. To ultimately utilize all these new technologies for the benefit of all of the world's people.
  8. To encourage the widest range of individuality in constructive endeavor and creativity.
  9. To assist in stabilizing the world's population through education and voluntary birth control.

Perhaps I am letting my enthusiasm unduly dampen critical judgment. But there is an integrity in the VENUS PROJECT approach, and a clarity in its thinking, that inspires confidence and new hope. And I can see a Synergy with Synergetics that sends my mind racing. Anyhow, check it out. For more information, contact The Venus Project, Inc., 21 Valley Lane, Venus, Florida 33960. Phone 941/465-0321. E-mail venus@gate.Net.