Man is from Earth… Is the future from Venus?

Looking ahead

“His contribution to futuristics is singular, as few, if any around the globe, dare to sweep, the depth, and the drama of his vision. When he writes or speaks, futurists grow quiet, pensive, and finally, appreciate – as his work, however one might differ on the details, is a sound in its call for a third examination of the assumptions under which we labor,” says Shostak. “While little of his vision may materialize in the lifetime of us all, our grandchildren may yet salute much of what Jacque first help them set in motion.”

The industrial engineer’s ideas have been featured most recently on the Discovery Channel’s two-hour special Engineering the Impossible and The Weekly Reader, which circulates nationally in classrooms. Fresco and his partner of 26 years, Roxanne Meadows, received more than 1000 letters, most of them from children asking if they could move to Fresco’s brave New World.

What sets apart his vision from other futurists might be his engineering background, which allows him to build, or tried to explain how to build, many of the technological wonders he says will free mankind from the mundane work that keeps us focused on small pursuits rather than self-improvement in the betterment of the world.

“For a woman to spend the best years of her life typing out the same old letters or standing behind a counter waiting for someone to buy something is a horrible waste of the mind,” Fresco says.”The technology already exists to do away with most of these kinds of jobs.”

Fresco says “cybernation” – the wedding of the computer to production – doesn’t go as far as it could today because it will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and that possibly scares people.

“It will probably take some kind of economic or environmental catastrophe to get people to turn to something else,” says Fresco. “I’m not wishing for either, but it seems inevitable.”

Hard times

Kitchen inside dome house designed by Jacque Fresco

Kitchen: Sunshine pours through the skylight in a Fresco dome house.

Born in Manhattan in 1916, when fire engines were still drawn by horses, Fresco says his interest in creating a dramatically different social order emerged from the heartaches of the Great Depression. It was a time when, from one week to the next and without the natural world and its resource changing an iota, the fall of the monitor system left families hungry and jobless.

Fresco began to read books like Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward and started to develop his own blueprints for a culture based on values and resources. His father was an agriculturist, So Fresco grew up knowing of nature’s bounty if properly harnessed. He worked many jobs, designing aircraft, movie special effects and developing medical devices.

Along the way, she says, she meant Albert Einstein; R. Buckminster Fuller, the famed designer of domes like the signature sphere at Disney’s Epcot Centre; and former vice president Herbert Humphrey. Fresco also appeared several times on The Larry King Show when the talk host broadcast from Miami in the 1960s.

“Every revolutionary idea was laughed at, at first,” says Fresco. “The Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics. Alexander Graham Bell wasn’t an electrical engineer, he was a phoneticist. All real innovations come from outsiders – it rarely comes from institutions.”

Fresco’s Venus lab, about 12 miles from Palmdale, is visited by those interested in his philosophies, as well as nearby schoolchildren. It’s filled with scale models of his circular cities, modular home housing and cities in the sea. He uses the expertly crafted models made by his artist partner Meadows to make movies he sells to high school teachers and university professors intrigued by his ideas.

The tapes and books, and that models Meadows creates of commercial real estate projects, provide the couple income to keep their hope of finding a major backer for the Venus Project alive.

Says Meadows: “We know people are hungry for a new way of life by the letters we get. They right to us and say, ‘I thought we were alone.’ We give new hope for the world because it’s a specific plan, not just verbal rhetoric.”

In the meantime Fresco continues to invent, whether it be a device to kill anthills without poisons or shoes that breathe with every step.

“Refrigerators should be around with shelves that rotate so you can easily reach every item,” the inventor says. The compound is filled with experiments.

It’s all a way to fund the tapes and books he hopes will spread his larger message.

Says Fresco: “It’s time to consider our values and our outlook. I cannot predict what the future will be – only what it could be.”

His new book, “The Best That Money Can’t Buy,” Jacque Fresco details his vision of the future. Here are a few of his theories:

If everyone’s needs are met, there is no need for money. He says the need for a money system was born of scarcity.” Modern society has access to highly advanced technologies and can easily provide more than enough for a very high standard of living for all of earth’s people by implementing a resource-based economy.”

There is no need for what he calls self-serving government leaders, only experts in a particular field armed with computers: “Computers as decision-makers will always scan for new information and methods of conserving resources. This will result in a more humane and meaningful approach, one that is not based on the opinions or desires of a particular sector or individual.”

The need for clean energy: “Fusion power and other forms of clean sources of energy, when applied intelligently with emphasis on human and environmental concern, could provide all of the nations of the world with clean, unlimited energy sources and standard of living unattainable today.”

Children won’t be taught how to make money, but rather to pursue their own interests and the symbiotic relationships between people, technology and the environment. “Early education will emphasize understanding and cooperation.”