No intellectual discourse seems to be more esoteric than that of Futurism. At the same time, however, the term itself is surprisingly inclusive—Futurism is applied to a host of disciplines, from science to philosophy, literature and art. From Jules Verne and Robert Heinlein’s science-fiction, to Vannevar Bush’s Memex and Marshal McLuhan’s Global Village, to Michio Kaku’s String Field Theory and far beyond, Futurists’ visions have seeped in at many levels of society, actively writing the pages of the future as we perpetually approach it. The Futurist art movement in the early 20th century prized speed, technology and mankind’s mastery over nature. But almost a century later, the advance of science and technology has yet to put an end to human predicament. In light of the social and environmental calamities plaguing our planet, designs for sharing the world’s resources and the common good can appear as weak opponents. Nevertheless, and despite past attempts, society will always need its vanguards to propagate change and in this respect, Futurism’s heyday may still be yet to come.

The Venus Project, for example, offers a total redesign of our culture, a “comprehensive plan for social reclamation in which human beings, technology, and nature will be able to coexist in a long-term, sustainable state of dynamic equilibrium.” From its base in Florida , the project deals with large-scale urban planning, architecture, and global resource management—an interdisciplinary approach that its creator, Jacque Fresco calls Socio-Cyber-Neering. Fresco’s work seems to be an excellent example of a strangely pragmatic, contemporary Futurist position. Eager to learn more about the Venus Project we interviewed this Futurist, architect, and resource economist:

META: Explain to us what the Venus Project is all about.

JF: Very briefly, the Venus Project proposes plans for social change that work toward a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. I believe it is now possible to achieve a society where people would be able to live longer, healthier, and more meaningful lives. In such a society, the measure of success would be based upon the fulfillment of one’s individual pursuits, rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power.

META: Is this not, foremost, an aim, which requires political and legal action?

JF: No. I wouldn’t say so. Today many people believe what is needed is a higher sense of ethical standards and the enactment of international laws to assure a sustainable global society…But even if the most ethical people in the world were elected to political office, without sufficient resources we would still have many of the same problems we have today. When a few nations control most of the world’s resources and the bottom line is profit, the same cycle of events will prevail. What is needed is the intelligent management of Earth’s resources. That is what we intend to do.

META: The influence of nation-states is increasingly diminishing. Some say, we live in a post-statal time. How important are politics in your conception of the future? Which role should the state play in future?

JF: Politics are surpassed in a resource-based economy. It may have been useful a hundred years ago; today it no longer serves. We now have a highly technical society far beyond the abilities of politicians to understand the benefits that technology can provide.

META: Which role do you think the state will play in the future?

JF: No role. It is a system that has long outlived its usefulness and will be bypassed.

META: We live in a world in which many of the Futurist dreams of the 20th Century are fulfilled. For example, we have the Internet, mobile phones, and we are developing sustainable technologies. Do you think these are big steps? What’s left for a Futurist to hope for, today?

JF: The intelligent management of the Earth’s resources for the benefit of all the world’s people and the protection of the environment is the ultimate challenge, and we are not even addressing this issue. Unfortunately, all Futurists stay within the confines of the present established social institutions. The civilized world has not even begun to take form as long as we have military, police, prisons, territorial disputes, war and weapons of mass destruction.

META: How has the Futurist attitude changed within the last 40 years?

JF: They talk about gadgets, technology and robotics, but no introduction to a workable global society. All too often, the Futurists are involved in business or how to make a buck in the future, which are the aims of an individual, self-centered, predatory society where the bottom line is profit; not the well-being of people.

META: How important are the works of Buckminster Fuller, Craig Lynn or Zaha Hadid for you?

JF: If they don’t touch the social system, they have no importance.

META: Which contemporary architects do you like the most? Why?

JF: I know of no architects that work on social design or totally integrated architecture that includes a sustainable future for all people. The architecture would be an integral part of the aims of the social design with the guidelines of the intelligent management of resources.

META: What is, in your opinion, the most perfect form, for example the ellipse, the circle, the triangle, the cube? Explain why.

JF: The circle, in relation to one of my city designs. It is the most efficient arrangement, requiring the minimum expenditure of energy and providing maximum service to the occupants.

META: What is Socio-Cyber-Neering?

JF: This means the application of science and technology to the design of social systems. The word is derived from cyberneering and engineering applied to social design.

META: Occidental culture is strong in individuality and emotions. We can see this in any of our novels, operas and philosophies. Some perceive cybernetics as a threat to our highly individual culture. Do you think social cybernetics and individuality are combinable?

JF: By all means, definitely yes.

META: How, then, do you perceive the role of the individual in the future?

JF: I see the individual making contributions in all areas of the social spectrum. The Venus Project is designed to elevate all people to their highest potential without elitism, technical or otherwise.

META: The Venus Project supports the deconstruction of old architecture in favor of completely new solutions. What is your attitude towards tradition in architecture?

JF: Those systems that have long outlived their usefulness will be bypassed. Some of the old cities would most likely be preserved to show the evolution of architecture and to help people understand the evolution of city design.

META: As a Futurist, do you find tradition, in general, to be valuable?

JF: No, I don’t find it valuable—only if it serves a useful purpose and helps to advance humanity.

META: How can we fight the now widespread renewal of premodern, religious thought, for example the denial of Evolutionary Theory?

JF: We have an insufficient amount of information available in the media today, so we operate at a tremendous disadvantage. We have to publish our own articles, videos and other media in any way possible to contradict these established religious notions. Speak to others about different points of view in this area. Enlighten your neighbors and friends as much as possible.

META: What does it mean to be a Futurist?

JF: Each Futurist is a different person with a different point of view and different values regarding the future. I would consider myself a social engineer with deep concerns about the direction that society is moving towards. The essential difference between me and other Futurists or social activists is that I propose an alternative social design. Criticizing a society is not enough without providing possible workable alternatives. If we fail to accept this responsibility, others will do our thinking for us, sometimes referred to as Fascism.