Archive | April 2015

A Critique of The Venus Project

I would like to start by saying that The Venus Project is one of the most interesting projects that I have researched and I love the approach.

For the most part, I am a fan of the Venus Project. Jaque Fresco was wise in considering a more scientific approach to social transformation. The Venus Project however, is not as scientific as one is led to believe. The behavioral studies associated with TVP are “Blank Slate” based.

The problem with this is “Blank Slate” doesn’t appear to be an accurate depiction of general human behavior. Even the nature / nurture dichotomy doesn’t seem to accurately describe human behavior in general though it at least includes innate behaviors. “Nature / Nurture” seems to be the central dogma of clinical psychology and appears to be very useful in that specific discipline but, is it generally descriptive enough for social transformation?

Contrary to “Blank Slate”, humans have innate behaviors that we would perish in our first hours without. We have behaviors that are directly connected to our basic physical needs and these are indeed entangled with our aspirations.

Philosopher of Science, John Wilkins critiques the manner in which behavior is addressed in general.

It is observed that we are predisposed to reconcile environmental stimuli, in a very specified manner with our condition. This is the basis of Cory Doctorows’ systems -1. We want systems that do not have specific things that we find objectionable. We don’t tend to build models that are generally functional as a result. We just tend to patch the current condition by removing what “pisses us off”.

This is what I like about The Venus Project. It’s not just the same old slowly failing patchwork. It is a restructuring that considers systemic function with at least some degree of rigor. Blank slate however doesn’t seem to fit the bill for a behavioral axiom. There does in fact seem to be a human nature, though it is rooted in predisposition as opposed to behavior itself in a lot of cases.

Considering cognitive biases, we may be incredibly vulnerable to the worst of our nature in the intentional ignorance of it.