The horizon of our civilization is gloomy, and humankind is approaching the brink of radical and unmanageable changes. Consumers nowadays have become the target of an aggressive economic growth, being forced to buy everything foisted on them by the market. To meet the demands of the continuing economic growth, the tempo of production is being constantly accelerated, and the engineers are racking their brains to come up with new inventions. More attractive products are made (computers, TVs, and the like) to win in the market, and ways are found to keep the goods popular for short periods of time. So, production has been repurposed and recalibrated for items that are reliable only within their warranty limits. Once a product breaks while out of warranty, the buyer will rush to buy a new one.
Industrialization and the unstoppable economic race will only make the rich richer and the poor poorer. And this is broadening the gap between the pauper and the wealthy, and calls for a world economic crisis. (The industrialization and the substitution of the human workforce with machines and robots will degenerate into an excessive manufacturing of goods and a higher redundancy rate of workforce; hence, the potential for sale and purchase will diminish and trigger a global economic crisis.) Our planet will turn into a wasteland as a result of the unrestrained consumption of goods. Worse, in the wake of the irresponsible use of natural resources, at some point, the earth will succumb, and our civilization will vanish like it did in the past.
Ostensibly, Jacques Fresco has a solution to prevent this catastrophe.
(To the reader: Before reading this chapter, I recommend that you watch “Future By Design Jacque Fresco”)
His theory is based on two essential principles:
a) We should not use money as a legal tender anymore.
b) We all are equal, and we should have free access to the goods we need (Fresco 2006).
Jacque Fresco contemplated down to the last technical details for the construction of the new civilization and put forth comprehensive designs for building towns on land and sea, meticulously described and engineered: transportation, education for the children and the young, social activities, health care, and so on and so forth (Fresco 2006). Arguably, his theory regarding the evolution of humankind from the perspective of the matter is elaborate and genuinely rational.
There is no doubt in my mind that humankind will reach such levels of development, but something is begging these questions: Did Jacques Fresco think about the psychological factor affecting the humans? Are we ready for such a dramatic change? What would happen to people’s mentalities if suddenly we all became equal and no one owned anything and the sense of ownership ceased to exist and work was not remunerated and one who worked a million-dollar job was making as much as one who worked a menial job? What would happen to their psyches if competence were abolished? Who would still be willing to till and labor if harvest came free?
My point is that what prevents us from moving toward the society envisaged by Jacque Fresco is material thinking (see “Thinking,” p.190) prevailing in our societies. To build a society based on Jacques Fresco’s ideas, all the existing minds, the leaders’ included, may have to switch allegiance from a material thinking to a spiritual thinking (see “ Thinking,” p.190). If we remain prisoners to the same old mentality, tucked cozily in the arms of our material thinking, we will definitively set off a global economic crisis. And if we try to build our societies by following Jacque Fresco’s model and based on our old principle of material thinking, we will meet the pathetic fate of all the former Communist countries. If our way of thinking remains unreformed and we are still fettered by Jacques Fresco’s principle, the ghosts of the past will reopen their gates.
Let’s remember the Communist countries. At the turn of the twentieth century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels devised a Communist model similar to Jacques Fresco’s descriptions, and based on their philosophy, the USSR and other communist states came into existence. In spite of the promising legislation of the Communist countries, particularly the USSR, such as equality among people, the wealth belonging to the people, free education and health care offered to everyone, and so on, the system finally collapsed. The question is, why?
First off, let’s talk about the principle of the equality among people. In the USSR, a doctor was making less money than a garbage collector, and a director received the same salary as a regular worker, or even less. The wealth (agriculture, factories, works, buildings, etc.), so much trumpeted as belonging to the people, was in actuality owned by the state. In other words, a legal owner did not exist. Lack of competition and remuneration based on merit, and the inexistent sense of private property changed people’s minds and their attitude toward the state and the society. From the ordinary workers to the heads of state, they all tried to appropriate, purloin, and help themselves to the assets available at and around the workplace. So farmers were stealing food, constructors were pilfering materials, managers with access to job guidance wielded their clout in allocating rent-subsidized houses (the free state-owned housing was provided and subsequently became family property) and encouraged their relatives and friends to get one. The heads of state were stealing at high level by manipulating huge masses for their interests. As a result, a rotten society came into shape, in which stealing, lying, nepotism, and partisanship stood above the law.
But this type of state could not last forever. Over the years of economic development, competition was a main stimulus of the evolution based on material thinking. Unless they continue to compete with one another, people will inevitably relapse into backwardness. Let’s take a look at those who have guaranteed welfare and do not worry about tomorrow. The people on Indian reservations across Canada or those living on social assistance benefits in the Canadian province of Quebec receive substantial financial assistance from the government and have access to free health care and other insurances.
Not being busy with a job and not worrying about their future, their thinking and social behavior take a distorted path. A statistical comparison between the employed and those who stay at home (on Canada’s Indian reserves or living on social assistance benefits) indicate higher rates of crime and drug or alcohol abuse, pedophilia, incest, depression, and suicide among those who do not work. Staying at home is a convenient thing, and many generations of families—grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren find it suitable to live on the social assistance rather than going to work.
The nature of menial jobs is another case in point. Jacque Fresco says that more and more people will embrace a profession in science and research, natural exploration, biochemistry, and so on, and everything else will be left with machines and robots (Fresco 2006). Arguably, there will be numberless jobs and trades that robots cannot complete: cleaning, cooking for restaurants, concierge and front-desk customer servicing, animal husbandry, butchery, waiting tables, and bellhop work. These jobs have always been performed by humans who willy-nilly had to do them. When everyone has everything and no one needs to work anymore, those jobs will not be needed. However, someone has to do it. Who?
As a result, we should ask ourselves in clarion voice if we are willing to pass on this legacy to our descendants and what we should do to steer their destinies to an unblemished shore.
Though I have ideas that conflict with those of Jacques Fresco and his theory, I believe his principle could mark a great start for the life of the whole planet as long as our civilization is moving up to the level of spiritual thinking.
Up until now, the material satisfaction has been the driving engine of the evolution of humankind. That is why all kinds of vehicles have been invented—to ease the human work and optimize our living. Techniques have been innovated to improve human labor, and there is not much left to be invented. The problem is that not all the inventions are for the real benefit of the people but are rather for the satisfaction of human greed. Our lust for money and wealth and physical satisfaction is clouding our thinking and hinders our vision of our true destiny.
So far, we have been occupied with the study of our bodies and searching for physical satisfaction. Now I think it is time to focus on examining our souls and their relationships with our bodies, the world, and the whole universe.
But first, let’s get to know ourselves and find the answer to the following questions: Who are we? Why do we have to suffer? What is the purpose of our existence? What is the universe? What should we do to live in harmony with Him? And so on.
Only by knowing the answers to these questions we will move up to a new form of thinking, the spiritual one, and step up to the higher level described by Jacque Fresco.
Excerpted with permission from The Destiny and Signs of God: Spiritual Psychoanalysis by Ionel Rotaru.