Are any of you people members
of the World Future Society? I’m sure most of you’ve
heard of Arthur C. Clarke. Would you raise your hands?
Good. He said that if he wrote a book that everybody enjoyed
and understood he said he wouldn’t be
saying anything new. Think about that. What I’m going to talk about is
going to change some of your lives: the way you look at yourself and the
way you look at the world around you. The subject matter
is not the kind you get from ordinary
sources or books so I would like your
participation in an experiment. Some of you might be
able to tell what it is that I draw on the
board before I finish and if you know what it is,
interrupt, say “I got it!” I’m going to start.
Can all of you see the board? I don’t think I can
make it with this. Can all of you see the board?
Can you hear me all right? The minute you know
what it is, interrupt. (Audience member) Sinking
ship, the Titanic. – What is it?
– Titanic. – OK, great. If he didn’t call that (remember,
there’s no ship there at all) there were enough bits for
his associative memory to put that together.
You know that’s not a ship. Now, what is this?
Some of you older people might guess this. (Audience member)
– An alarm clock
– Who did that? You are amazing! That’s not an…
Where’s the alarm clock? Well, anyway if she didn’t call that, if
she wasn’t able to call that I would have put the little legs
on it, the clock, the hammer everything until
somebody called it. Now, there is still some
that cannot see the ship. So I would have gone all along,
put all the windows in Titanic everything until somebody got
up to said “Yeah, Titanic!” This is an attempt to
prove that all of us are capable of making decisions
and arriving at a conclusion without all of the
information prepared for us. That is a unique quality in human
beings: We can put things together. We do not require the accumulation
of a great deal of information. In this system, if you
understand the system quite well who would you say, this is? (Audience member) Lincoln?
– Who said that? Who said that?
Someone said Lincoln. I don’t see Lincoln, but it is.
It would have been Abraham Lincoln. When I got through with it, I would have
gone on with the beard and all the rest. This is just to prove that people
can put something together and I’m going to try
to explain to you just what creative
thinking really is. I’m going to use old language,
the language that I use with people who are not familiar
with this way of thinking. The old language is that
people can think and reason. I do not believe
that is possible. I have many inventions.
I’ve worked on many different things but I don’t believe that human
beings can think or reason. This is what I do believe.
By the way, you don’t have to accept anything I say. During the question
period, don’t be polite! Come at it from all angles.
Break it down if you can. This helps me and it helps you. When I talk about thinking, reasoning
and putting things together we’re talking about the forces
that shape human behavior. I believe that all human
behavior is lawful that the reactions and
values that all people have are perfectly lawful to the
environment that they come from. Every human being is
perfectly well-adjusted from where they are coming from from their background
and experience. If you as a baby were raised
by the Seminole Indians you would behave (if you never saw
anything else) like a Seminole Indian. If you were brought up in
any other Indian group and you had feathers
in your headgear and you were dancing around the
fire and I walked over and said “That’s ridiculous! Why are you dancing
around the fire with the feathers?” You don’t take your hat, throw
it on the ground and say “I never thought about it that way.”
We can’t do that. We are victims of culture. We look at the world
with our background. We have no other
way of doing it. Psychology is kind of a
rudimentary form today an attempt to grasp at the factors
that shape human behavior the facts that are responsible
for the way we look at ourselves other people and the way we behave
or, if you wish, misbehave. I don’t believe that any
human being misbehaves. They use whatever
tools they know of whatever tools they’re familiar with.
Language is a tool. If someone were to show you
a picture of an airplane (what appeared to be an
airplane) without wings; people look at it, they
stand by and they say: “It will never fly!
” but they don’t say “How do you propose to lift off the ground
without wings?” That’s the key to communication. A very famous scientist (deceased now) tried to get
the government and people to put up sufficient funds
to monitor outer space to try to make contact with
extraterrestrial life. I want to try to say this to you
and think about what I say. Toss it around.
I’m using the old language because you’re not that
familiar with these values. If people, beings or things can travel a hundred
million light years through time and space,
they are not humanoid. The storage system for
water would occupy miles and all of the facilities
required by humans would take up tremendous
amounts of space and require tremendous
amounts of energy. There are people that talk
of flying saucers that land here on Earth and they
go to some farmer. They take him into the saucer and they
do all kinds of experiments on him. First of all people do not travel hundreds
of millions of light years to pick up some farmer and ask him
what kind of suspenders he wears. Carl Sagan wanted to communicate
with extraterrestrials. He hoped that they, in turn,
would communicate with us. Now you know, that Republicans
can’t communicate with Democrats. You know that husbands and wives
have difficulty in communicating. Children and parents have difficulty
because the language we use was designed a long time ago. It is inherently difficult
to get ideas across in the language
that we use today. However when engineers
meet and talk they speak a different language. One engineer might present
a very thin cable and say “This can support
5,000 tons” and the other engineer says
“What’s its tensile strength?” He’s given that information,
then he puts it in a machine and he snaps it to make
sure that it holds to that. When engineers
design an airplane they do all the calculations
(this is a front view a very rapid drawing of a
front view of an airplane.) They do all the rapid
calculations and they figure what that wing will
be able to support. After all their calculations
and after they are certain they then pile
sandbags on the wing until it breaks off, to make
damn sure that it does the job. That does not exist
in everyday language. In everyday language you
don’t have that ability. When an engineer meets
another engineer, he says “I can illuminate an area
with this tiny point of light that has 50,000 square feet. The engineer says “That’s not possible!
” he doesn’t talk like that. He says “How do you
power that unit? What kind of voltage
does it take? How do you illuminate that spot?
” They ask questions. The average person says “No,
not in a thousand years…” That’s been around for a long time.
That is a language of war hatred, bigotry, prejudice: the inability to ask questions. We’ve got to be very
careful about that. At one lecture I remember at
Princeton I was trying to say that human beings
cannot think or reason (this was the psychology
and sociology department). One of the individuals stood up (one
of the staff) and he said “All right where did the camera come from?
There were no cameras at one time. Someone had to think
about a camera. it just doesn’t come
out of thin air!” After doing a lot of
work many years ago in ancient Egypt or if you have lived
out in the country if there was a hole
in a barn wall that was knocked out the cows on the outside appeared on
the wall of the barn upside down. In Egypt, you went in this dome
to see the upside down world. There was a little hole here.
Day light came in and you saw people walking
upside down on the wall. How many of you have experienced
that kind of phenomenon? That is essentially
the box hole camera. A simple camera without a lens
is just a little hole in a box. Somebody said “How can
I see that image?” and they used a transparent
membrane back here and they could see the upside-down
head, a person or cow and they asked this question “If
only I can retain that image.” That isn’t the answer.
That’s just a question. “I wonder how I could
retain that image.” Years before that,
the American Indians and other primitives
have taken tapper cloth or they’d weave natural
materials into a kind of fabric and then they would take berry
juices and dye it different colors. Sometimes a leaf would
fall upon that surface and after the sun dried it,
they had an image of the leaf. So they began to use dyes
from this background. That all human beings,
to understand me better the first human being that jumped off
a precipice with wings, he died. His brother-in-law wrote “Next
time, make the wings larger.” No one starts out right
away and solves a problem unless you have a tremendous
background in many different areas. The next guy that jumped off, he
jumped off with larger wings. He flew a little and then
he went [wings collapse] and the old fisherman said
“You gotta brace them wings like a boat, like a mast. They’re not going to hold!
” So they braced them. Then this individual
jumped off the precipice. He flew but hit a tree and hurt his leg really badly. His wife said “You know,
John, a fish has a rudder.” Good point! And they stuck
the rudder on the airplane. No one ever sat down and
invented a television set an airplane, the electric
light, wireless. None of that came about by man
walking in deep concentration and then through some
ethereal substance. Bingo! The idea is formulated.
It doesn’t work that way. It’s hard work. I make more mistakes
than anybody I know because I try more things. There’s nothing wrong
with building something and finding out that it doesn’t work.
This is where you get your experience. There’s nothing wrong
with criticism. I remember the first
model airplanes I built went nosing into the ground
and I was ashamed of them and a young engineer told me that my
center of gravity had to be corrected; that is, move the wing forward. All of us stand on the
shoulders of one another and we shape the future. Another question that was asked: “Somebody had to invent
the bow and arrow! Somebody had to think of it!
It didn’t just come out of nowhere!” I talked to many Indians and
after talking to many Indians this is what I found out: Indians used to skin animals (and this is a lousy drawing
of the skin of an animal) stretched out in the sun. When the Indians got back the skin was half the size.
It shrunk and became thicker and they didn’t like that at all, so
they cut leather into thin strips. They took an existing frame
and they tied that skin to the frame (some of
you may have seen this) with lace of leather all around
to prevent it from shrinking. When they cut the
strips of leather and put them out in the sun, they
shrunk and became fat and short and they were
displeased with that. After many years, one Indian
tied that strand of leather to a piece of wood, a stick: he split the top, tied a knot and
tied the leather to the stick. When he came back, hoping that
it would dry and not shrink the stick took this
form; it was bent. He plucked that; it went ‘Bung!’ After many years, somebody
took another piece of wood put it in, pull the
string and off it went. “Well if man can’t think or reason,
where did the movie camera come from? Somebody had to think of that!
It doesn’t exist out there.” Here’s where it came from. Thousands of years ago in China they used to take a candle and they’d take some
bamboo paper at the time put it in front of the candle
and then they’d cut out a little figurine of a human being
and put the candle behind it. As the candle undulated the little person would dance
and they’d play music. That was the beginning.
How did that happen? Some guy had a candle
and a piece of paper and he just happened
to be behind it and his finger appeared
to move on the screen and so he extracted or built
upon that phenomenon. Then later something
interesting occurred. The Chinese used to take these tremendous
scrolls and open them up while they then later taped
or wired or used gut and tied many pages together
and built a kind of pad but in order to get
to a particular page the Oriental would mark
the corner of the page so that they could
find it with a symbol. As you flipped through
the pages fast that little dot would
jump all over the place. Years later, an individual drew various successive pictures
of a bird in flight and put them down on the corner
of the paper and flipped it. The little bird wings began
to move up and down. A Frenchman saw that and he took little
pieces of cardboard and he put them in
a circular pattern (I’m going to try to get it down
as clear as I can, quickly) and he put a crank up
here that you turned and the little pictures
would go around the circle. The Chinese also had something like this.
They had a bamboo interrupter that would just hold the picture
for a second, less than a second. As you turned it, a man appeared
to move across the screen. The Frenchman machined
that out of brass. He did a beautiful job and
when you turned the crank the person walked
with smoother motions rather than these
abrupt motions. Edison saw that unit that
the Frenchman designed and he turned it
into this position. I guess I can’t work
with that microphone. Can you hear me back there? What happened is… He turned it into a
vertical position and all the pictures were set in a circular fashion. You turned the crank here… (Roxanne) Excuse me, they won’t
get the audio and the camera… – I’m sorry
– Why don’t you just put it in your pocket or something? – I’ll try. Thanks. Roxanne is my associate. She works on all the buildings and
all the things we’ve developed in The Venus Project which
I’ll talk to you about later. Edison purchased it, put a
magnifying glass in front of it. You put a nickel in, you turn the
crank and you saw people moving; a bunch of still photographs. It was a long, slow process. No individual
invented the camera. A little bit here, a little there,
add it to that and eventually the Wright Brothers read
about experimental aircraft where thousands of people died,
trying to develop a flying machine. After picking up bits
of this information (including man-carrying kites in
China, thousands of years ago) they built the first
flying machine. They were called ‘The
Father of Flight’. Again there’s no father of anything. You may take an idea so far, you add
to it and gradually, it’s built up. Genius! A genius is a person
that has been exposed to many different systems.
Therefore, they can come up with a wide range of solutions. A man like Leonardo da Vinci: You think that he just
evolved out of nothing? He spoke to people that were
interested in mechanics in his time. They gathered, they shared ideas,
but you’ll only hear of Da Vinci. Unfortunately, guys
like Nikola Tesla Edison, all the great
innovators of the past have been influenced
by other people. The mythical structures that
we build around inventors that they inherit special
abilities: They are geniuses or they’re in tune
with the infinite mind and the ideas somehow filter in. This is a kind of nonsense. It’s the same story about “Is there
intelligent life out there?” The real question is “Is there
intelligent life here?” We don’t think so, not yet. I’m serious. I’m not kidding. What is intelligence? The ability to reason things out?
You can’t have that ability unless you’ve had experience
in particular areas. An Eskimo never dreams (I repeat this) of walking
on a palm-fringed beach. Can you understand that?
It is not possible unless he has seen motion pictures
or something about the beach. It is not possible for any human
being to build a frame of reference of any kind without experience. I know where every invention
I ever made came from. I know the influence, the books
I’ve read, the people I’ve known everything that
shaped those values. Sometimes people say “When did you
think of that wonderful idea? It was February the 1st?” No. It’s cumulative
bits of information that we put together
with experience. All of the artificial structures
and artificiality of all societies they are all primitive today.
They are all backward. The very fact that we
use political systems the very fact that there are
Democrats and Republicans and notions about how the
world ought to be governed. Scientists could not
do a thing with that. If you want to put a man on
the Moon, you have to know what the distance is precisely. You have to know how much material
you’re lifting up toward the Moon. You have to know how much
force a human body can stand. To start with, they don’t
have that information so they build special
devices, a big centrifuge. They put in a human being in it
and whirl it around. They say “How are you doing?
” and the guy conks out and they say “This is
how fast you can rotate certain groups of people.
” They build data and from that data, they
plan the Moon voyage. The question then is, what
kind of world do we want? How is it that we want our
social system to operate? What makes criminal behavior? What are the factors that
make a Jeffrey Dahmer? I’m sure you know who that was.
Before Jeffrey there was Albert Fish. I don’t know if any of you
remember Albert Fish. Albert Fish was a
fine-looking gentleman. He ate 45 children. You wonder, how can anyone
do that kind of thing? I’m going to try to give you some idea
of the background of Albert Fish. When he was a youngster,
about 10 years old he was touching his
private parts. His mother was an
old-time Baptist. She’d say “You are going straight to hell.
You will burn eternally!” That kid, Albert Fish, stuck
needles into his genitals because he didn’t
want to burn in hell. He took other children into
empty lots and cut off their private parts because
he wanted to save them. If you’re brought up in
a distorted environment (which we all live
in today) any judge that wraps the gavel
and says “30 years!” is an ignoramus because
he has no idea of the factors that
shape human behavior. When you become aware…
If you bring up a healthy boy with about six women and
one of the girls say “Oh did I see the gorgeous hat!” that boy will pick up
the same mannerisms same facial expressions and say
“Oh, I just love that hat!” because that’s the environment.
If you’re brought up in Italy you say “Hey, watsa matta he?
You like or no like?”. In other words it depends
on where we’re brought up. Did you know that Lincoln was Irish?
It depends on your group and the values
that you exchange. If you want a world without war without hatred,
crime and stupidity it can be arranged if you follow this bit. If we consider at some
time (which society will at a later time, I hope
it would be sooner) that all of the Earth become the
common heritage of all nations. All of the resources of the Earth:
the common heritage of all nations. If you believe in God, if you understand
the teachings of all religions there are no property
lines in heaven no banks, no personal positions in which one person is
elevated above another that if the Earth were common
heritage of all nations and all of the artificial boundaries
removed that separate people there would be no basis for war no basis for armament. The world you live in is an old world.
Its language is old its values are old and our
institutions of education fail to touch the social system.
“You want to be careful, don’t touch that! This is an area that you don’t
want to get involved in.” In order for you to grow and
make the world a better place you have to face this situation. I don’t say that people are
going to sit back and do that. According to all
historical records no civilization (to
my knowledge anyway) has ever set out to
plan the future: exactly what we’re going to
do, how we’re going to live how we’re going to work
out transportation. No! We just build highways all over the place.
Although you go to school and you learn something, you
learn that a straight line is the shortest distance
between two given points. Well look at a road map
of the United States and I think you’ll find
spaghetti all over the place. Rarely do you see that. Look at your cities, every building,
a different size and shape; this does not express
individuality. It’s utter chaos. At 4 o’clock, all the cars
come out of this building and they can’t get across that bridge,
so you’ve got to build another bridge. You elect people to political office
that are totally incompetent. They are neurally bankrupt.
I don’t care whether you’re Democrat or Republican. They don’t have the value system to
solve these problems that exist. They are not educated
in that way. They are brought up with
a uniform set of values and they go out into the world and this
is the sad story of coming events. There are computers today, there
are machines in existence today that can handle 500 trillion
bits of information per second. No human comes
anywhere near that and you think that in
the next 15 or 20 years there’s going to be people
in government? No way! For example, if you took
a group of computers and arrange them in
a special fashion and ran the electrical tentacles out to the agricultural belt with probes into the soil when the water table drops that will turn on the pumps and
bring the water into the area. If the nutrients change, it would
pump nutrients into the area. What kind of world do you want? I don’t think any of you here,
maybe a few of you might remember when human beings used
to operate elevators. They turned a crank; they never quite
got to the floor, up and down. Finally, they became automated: “Step back. It’s a lovely day today!
How are you, Mr. Jones?” (if they scan your face) and they’ll
take you exactly to that floor. After that comes the transveyor: an elevator that moves up and down,
sideways, in all directions. You get on it and verbalize “I
want to go to the art center the music center” and
it will take you there. The kind of world you live
in and the automobiles that exist as transportation
units are dangerous because they have a bumper in
front and one in the back. I’m sure that if an extraterrestrial
visited the Earth they’d say “What are those shiny things in the
front and back of the vehicles?” “They’re bumpers; they’re
there to prevent damage.” “Well, don’t you ever
hit on the side? Why aren’t there bumpers
all around the car?” Then they came with the airbag.
They put an airbag in front of you. If you get hit on the side, your
head goes right through the glass. The automobile companies
had a long time to solve those problems. Then you see motorcycle
policeman “Pull over! What do you think you’re doing?” All you have to do in a car if
you wanted to (I wouldn’t do it I wouldn’t even put this in a
car) is put a sort of kymograph or a cylindrical recorder. When you go through a 30 mph zone
at 50 mph, it’s recorded on there. Every month you have to tear
that strip out of your car and mail it to the
police department. Though the police
wouldn’t like that but how many violations
do you think you’d have? There are better ways than that. You just make a car intelligent. Here’s what that means.
How intelligent can machines be? There’s a little gadget
called a pressure transducer. If you squeeze it, it
generates electricity. So let’s put one in each tire.
Let’s say that you kick the front right tire. It goes to a recording that says
“Ouch, my front right tire!” Of course, if you kick any
tire, it’ll verbalize but if you kick it hard it’ll say “OUCH!
My front right tire!” If you kick it again it’ll say
“Who do you think you are?” Do you want to give
a machine feelings? Do you want to give a machine
compassion, love, warmth? I’ll tell you why they leave it out
of machines: because it doesn’t work. Human emotions that you learn
are the most significant most important differences
between men and machines. Human emotion is a
very touchy subject. It’s like racing your
engine at a stop light. It doesn’t take you anywhere.
It doesn’t serve any purpose. If you get a lump in your throat when
you see hungry people, that’s emotional but when you get increase the agricultural
yield per acre, that’s caring that’s love.
Love is transforming all of the verbal and paper
proclamations to a way of life. The shameful thing about our century
is that there was only one Edison one Luis Pasteur, one Nikola
Tesla, one Madame Curie. We should have had thousands
of them and we will once we get rid of the artificial
boundaries that separate people; once we get rid of
nationalism, patriotism… Again, I do not mean
to offend anybody. All that I ask you to do is to
think about this, toss it around this is what The Venus
Project advocates. The Venus Project is
a design for culture in which we bridge the
difference between all nations. How is that done?
By universal language, the blueprint. If you open a blueprint in Japan,
they know what you’re talking about. If you write a prescription
for England, Japan, France the pharmacologist understands that.
There’s no discrepancies. There’s no ambivalence “I
wonder what he meant by that.” It’s clear.
The language we use daily is not. The language of warmth and
love are verbal excuses and verbal outlets
for some people for avoiding their
responsibility to make the world a better
place for everyone. The smarter your kids are,
the richer my life. Every kid on a corner, shooting
up drugs, going nowhere you’re going to have to
pay for in the future. Therefore, it is efficient
and functionally selfish to build a better
world for everyone. People come to me all
time and they say “Can you design a city
with a wall high enough so when the Y2K problems come
or the system breaks down or the banks fail, we
will be protected?” I say “Sure I can design that, but
there are people that will drive by with launching mechanisms
right over your little wall.” There’s no place you can hide. We have 25 acres.
People call it ‘Eden 2’. It’s beautiful but if the bottom falls
out of this culture there will be people on my
front gate with children: “How about some food just for the kids?
” The next day, 50 people. Everything looks solid to you,
everything looks solid and stable and the future looks promising
but here’s the truth: I have seen an XY plotter (that is a machine that
moves in three dimensions). They put a scalpel
in that machine and an X-ray of a brain tumor. This machine removed
the brain tumor on a cadaver in about
1/10th the time. The doctors think “Just the industrial
worker on the production line he’s on the way out, but
not me, I can think.” Let me say this again, the
typewriters that work to speech… Today you talk to your
computer and you get it typed and also corrects your English,
restructures your sentences makes recommendations. How much longer do you think
people are going to be in positions in
industry and government making their own decisions? We don’t believe that anyone
ought to make decisions. We believe that people ought
to arrive at decisions. Here’s what that means: You go across the country and
pick up samples of the soil from all over the nation.
You bring it to central agriculture analyze that soil, and then
turn to the health department and ask them what people need:
manganese, whatever they need. What is the soil good for?
What should we grow? Tomatoes and then rotate the
crop, move to something else; that’s what I mean by
surveying the conditions. Not “what’s your opinion?” Democracy is a crude
and vulgar system and should have been
phased out centuries ago but we don’t have enough
outside points of view on radio and television. When I talked this way on the
Larry King show, he said to me “Just a minute, I depend on those
people that you’re attacking.” I wasn’t attacking the
automobile companies. I just said that if you did
that, it would be safer. If you put proximity
units on automobiles (most of you have them in your home
now, when you walk over the building the light goes on,
that’s a proximity unit) put that in your car and if you’re backing
up and a child is crawling behind you it stops, no matter how
much you step on the gas. I don’t want any signs
‘Slippery when wet’. I want an abrasive put in the
highway and take that sign down so it’s not slippery when wet. I don’t want to say to kids
“Stay away from drugs.” I want to make life so
interesting for people that they don’t want drugs.
They don’t want to dull their senses. They want to become keen and
they want to become fully aware (I’m using older language) and
conscious of their surroundings. It’s painful to deaden your
awareness when life is beautiful when what you do goes out to people
and makes their lives better. In one session at Princeton, I
changed the values of many people. They walked out discussing
this for years thereafter and I still get letters today. I went into an area of New
York called ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. The kids there were
considered very bad. The social worker used to wear
a necktie and eyeglasses. Anyone who wore eyeglasses
when I was a kid was a sissy. When you wear a
necktie and a suit and you’re talking to these
kids in rags in the slums they look at you as an outsider.
You’re unacceptable to them. I put a wire recorder out
in the front office and after the social worker talked
to the young boy… By the way they made guns out of
water pipe in New York. how many of you knew that?
They didn’t go and buy guns, they made them. The social worker picked
up the gun and said “You’re gonna take someone’s eye out
with it, wind up in state penitentiary hurt your mother and father.
Do you wanna to do that?” The kid said nothing at all. When the kid walks out I make
a wire recording of the way he talks to his friend “He’s a jerk!
” (The guy up front, the social worker.) Then I walk over to the social worker
“How did you make out with Johnny?” “I had a good talk with the boy.
I believe we established rapport.” “How do you know that?
” He says “I felt it intuitively.” Then I played the tape (by the
way, it was a wire recorder) I played the tape of
the kid’s answers and he says “That ungrateful so and so!
” I said “No, no, just say I don’t know how to get to Johnny
(I know how to get to Billy) I tried 8 different methods,
none of them worked.” I said “Watch what I do next week.
” I walked in the office picked up the gun and said “I
understand you made this gun?” “I told the guy I made it last week!
” (this is New York City I used to make recordings of this; I
wanted to use it in a film later). I picked up the gun, I’m looking
at it and I’m shaking my head. He said “What’s a matter with it?
” I said “Come here. The damn pin is an 8th
of an inch off center.” He says “Yeah!” I said “If you put
a couple of washes on the side you can move the pin right on center.
” He says “Hey, do you work here?” I said “What?
With those jerks? Naah!” “Can I bring my friends
over to meet you?” That’s people like him
with similar values. Then you go to work in their
terms, not your terms. Real psychology has to be
related to the real world. Not theory, not lab
experiments in schools where you’re not in touch with people,
where you don’t get the feel of people where you don’t get the sense of their identification
with the world around them. I have changed many
of those kids. I’ve brought a gun in for them to
look at and I said “I made this gun.” “Wow!” they said. “I sure would like
to be able to make a gun like that.” I said “Well, I can help you do it.
” “You can? What do I have to do?” You have to learn
how to draw a front view of a gun a side view of a gun (I know I’m going fast,
making a lot of drawings). You have to make three views
to the gun so it can be made. He says “I’m gonna learn to do that!
” So I set him up on a drafting table and I took him from guns to
water skis, to other things. Today, a lot of them are
engineering draftsmen. Because they told me that the kids
only had an IQ of 24 or something “You can’t get to them.” I said to one of these
kids with an IQ of 24 “Suppose you wanted to rob that
jewelry store across the way how would you go about it?
Any way at all.” He said “I’d throw a bag
of fecal matter in there. The guy gets mad at my
friend, he runs after him and I clean off the counter.
” That’s where they live. “And suppose you wanted
to rob the 3rd story? No ladders, no ropes, no weights how would you get up
to the 3rd story?” After several days, one of the
youngsters came up with a piece of wood: (he didn’t even know
what a wedge was) “Do you see that hunk of wood? I could stick it in
bricks and it gets tight no matter how far
the bricks are. Then I can climb up the gutter
(he didn’t use that language he used much stronger language)…
I’d climb up the building and take whatever I want to take.
That’s how I do it.'” How do you give people an IQ test that
comes from a different environment? How do you know what they sense? Do you think that the formalist who tries
to structure the nature of intelligence the nature of creativity without
being creative can do it? In order to teach children
how to become creative I make a Martian out of
rubber with eyes on tentacles and a pointed rear end. They look at it and
they think “Ugh!” and I say to them “What good
are four eyes on tentacles?” Eventually [they said] “You can look at the back,
front, side and the top at the same time!” “And what if the
guy had six arms?” “He can shave, read a book, eat
a doughnut and drink coffee” instead of “Ugh!!
” as we’re brought up. Have you met a Martian?
They have an opening here. They say “What’s that?
” Notice the attitude? “What is that?” “If we eat anything
that’s bad for us it’s ejected right away.
Not in your system! It goes through
your whole system.” You are taught in medical school
how ‘wonderful’ the human body is. How wonderful it is?
This isn’t true at all. That you’re indoctrinated to a
set of values that are unreal. In order for me to get
these ideas out there it’s extremely difficult,
because we need films we need equipment in
order to do that. What The Venus Project has
to offer is a way of life without ambiguity, a
language that has a much more precise
form of communication to change the relationship
between people where the male and female are
not given separate roles where the female says “I want to
be a biochemist or a physicist” and she goes that way.
When you hand a girl a doll you’re placing a set.
You’re beginning to manipulate people. Everybody’s afraid of
controlling human behavior. You’re always controlling behavior!
When you pick up your little girl and say “Don’t play with that little
Lutheran boy across the way!” or “Don’t talk to that little
Catholic girl across the way!” you are always
indoctrinating children: “Who loves you more than
anything in the world?” “The candy store man.
” “No, your mommy and your daddy.” Indoctrination continuously!
Then all of us together sing “We are free! We are free!” Beware!
Whenever you hear of freedom and all that sort of
thing, watch out. A real free society, the
closest I’ve ever come to it was in Polynesia. I lived in the
South Pacific islands for a while and the natives gave me bananas, coconuts
and all that. They were very generous and they had no word for work.
Would you believe that? They went fishing all day,
they played, they had luaus and they said “Jacque,
whatcha want?” and I said “I would like an outrigger
canoe” and they built one for me. A few days after they brought it to
my hut, I heard some rustling outside and they were all carrying the canoe away.
I said “What’s going on?” They said “You no use!
” It’s a different value system. The men and women walked
around nude on the island when I got there,
a long time ago and I never saw a native
poke another native: “Hey, get a load of that chick!
” None of that. They looked at the eyes of women
when they talked to them. Never “Hey, look at that
,” never at the legs. The motion picture cameras and all your
movie theaters are ‘dolly up and down the hindquarters’ and you wonder why men
are like that. They are not like that. They are made like
that by culture. Then the missionaries arrive and the little girls used to come
to church, innocent, listening. They put the t-shirts on them and the girls had no idea why they
were putting t-shirts on them. “What’s it for?
” It’s like me, covering your nose: “You can’t go in a room
unless your nose is covered!” Well, the girls cut two holes in
the t-shirts and came to church. We’re dealing with many different
cultures, subcultures and values. Our culture, if we are to
grow and build a civilization worthy of humankind, we
have to have a quantum jump in the way we look at our
world, people and ourselves. The Venus Project is the
redesign of a culture in which the elements that comprise
that culture are different. For example, our cities are round,
not because I like round cities. The city is round, the center of the
city has a socially integrated computer. This may be a medical center; this
might be an engineering center. If you work in the medical center,
you live in beautiful gardens with running streams
and waterfalls. Every district is the same
distance from the center. There are no cars in the city.
You get on a conveyor and dial where you want to go to.
There’s no crime in the city. Just before the public
library in the United States people said “You can’t
really do that. The people never bring back
the books; they’ll keep them. They won’t return them!
” All that was incorrect. I want to build a library where any
child can walk in, check out a camera check out art materials,
check out water skis. Make things available
[and] people don’t steal. No one’s going to hit you on a head to
take your watch off, if it’s available. “How are you going to pay
for this central library that gives children these
things, for nothing?” It costs about 50,000 bucks to
keep a kid in jail one year. An adult: 75,000 bucks a year. Food, clothing, shelter,
dental care… Isn’t it easier to do
it in a different way? I would love to go to Mexico
and say “What’s your problem?” They’d say “Well señor, we don’t
have the modern machinery you have.” Give them modern machinery. Build schools for them and they
won’t be coming over the border. What makes them come over the border?
Hunger, lack of employment. They say “It’s the god damn Mexicans.
You know what they’re like!” It’s nothing like that!
Everything is shoved by something else. You are told that a
tree falls over. You were told that a sailboat sails.
A sailboat cannot sail unless acted upon by a resident
force called the wind. A tree doesn’t fall.
If it rains and it’s asymmetric and the soil becomes loose,
gravity does the rest. The tree doesn’t fall.
Plants do not grow. They require radiant
energy, nutrients, water. Stop any of those things
and the plant stops. Human beings are not
self-operating entities. We are operated by
many resident forces. Of course many of us are not aware of that.
It looks like we’re perfectly free making our own decisions.
“I know I think for myself. I’m sure you do.
” That’s an illusion. If you’re brought up to
believe in the Kennedy Rocker and you want one for your
home, it’ll injure your back distort your anatomy “but Kennedy had one like that
and I want one like that.” When you break the patterns that have been established
by existing society you begin to move people
in a new direction. I admit I could get up here and
give a very pleasant lecture of how wonderful everything
will be in the future: a helicopter in every
garage, a house in suburbia another on the beach,
maybe one in Hawaii this is the future…
That is not the future! Those are the illusion generators
and there are lots of them. Dick Gregory once told me that being Black and
living in the South he said “Whenever I was late for
work, I couldn’t run to the bus because they would wonder what
that blackie was up to, running.” In other words, we project
our value system into others we project characteristics
into others. We have to find out what
we are really like. Many people tell me they
want to find themselves. This is another ridiculous thing.
Who you are going to find? Some jerk at 18?
And a different value system at 23? You can never find yourself.
If you read, keep up with new ideas what ‘self’? Your self of 20? When I was 15, I was a jerk. As time went on, I learned more
about many different things and knew how much I had to learn
in order to move forward. There is no ‘finding yourself’. People come over at me and say “I want
to know how I relate to the cosmos.” We don’t even know how
a single cell splits and they want to know how
they relate to the cosmos. What a bunch of verbal crap! Really, it’s meaningless. I’m sorry that I
only have one hour to try to give you ideas
along different lives. Generally it takes seminars.
It takes a lot of demonstration and films. I didn’t mean to
offend any of you. I hope that I didn’t. Thank you for your time. [Applause] (Audience member #1) I’m sure the
audience has some questions? Fire away. (Audience member #2) I teach middle
school kids, and what do you see… – I’m a little hard of hearing,
I’m sorry about that. – I teach middle school kids and I wondered…
Some of your philosophies of education… – OK, I got the point. For example in
our city design we have big lakes. We’ve made all these lakes.
They exist. It’s real. We have modern structures
there, all different. Roxanne, my associate,
said to me “Jacque, I just don’t want to
draw pretty pictures of buildings I want to build them. I want to make them.
” She did all the cement work. One day she came over and said
“How about a swimming pool?” She was with a girlfriend and I said
“When are you girls are going to start?” “We’ve never built a pool!
” They built it in two weeks, a beautiful pool. We’ll show you pictures of it. So we built a big
lake in the city and there’s a hill in the middle of the
lake about 80 feet up out of the water. On top of the hill
is a craft shop where children can build
anything they want to build but in order to get there, you have
to get in the boat and row it. Instead of lining them up and saying “Come
on, everybody together, forward, backward” arrange the environment so you
have to row to get to the hill. You have to climb the hill
to get to craft shop. An automobile or anything you
build will not go together unless four children pick up the car
and the others put the wheels on. Instead of saying “I want you
people to work together, cooperate and stop fighting!
” arrange things so that it works that way. That’s what nature does. When a baby fox sees a porcupine it says “What have we here?
I don’t know.” It gets closer to the porcupine
and finally it gets a quill and he stays away
from the porcupine If you raise your
children and try to avoid experiences that had hurt you and you buy them every
toy that they want you produce a blob of jello. Some degree of challenge, some
degree of stress is necessary so we build an environment (to
try to answer your question) where the elements so arranged, has
to produce what you call, creativity. Can I give you one more bit on that?
All right. Is there anyone else interested
in creativity in children? Would you raise your hands? What we do is, I ask a
child to make a drawing anything they want to draw and
this is what they usually do… Can everybody see the blackboard?
I’ll draw it up here. They draw something like this. I’m talking about about
4 and 5-year olds. Then they draw
something like this. Then most of them do
something like this. I’m sure you’ve all
seen those drawings. In fact, I’m sure many of
you draw that way today. The teacher gives them some crayons.
They color it and she hangs it up. “This is little Billy’s drawing…” but when she tells Billy that
this is the way we spell ‘cat’ Billy says “I see” and he comes
back with something like this. Can you see that? The teacher says “That’s wrong!
” That isn’t wrong. Most of it is appropriate.
It’s just this that we change. So I say “Very close.
We just substitute this with something like this.” Then the child comes back again
with something like this. I say “Much closer, much better! Only we turn this around so you
can put the ‘A’ inside of it.” Say whatever you have to say
to get the idea across. Instead of saying “That
isn’t what I told you!” You’re just using that child as
an outlet for insufficiency. Then, I do this with the children.
I have them draw the letter ‘T’. Then I say “Which one of these
looks like a peach pit?” The child generally picks this. Those of you back there, I’m
sure you can’t see that. The blackboard is
fully cluttered. and I don’t have…
Here, I’ll try to clear the area where most of you can see. The child draws the letter ‘T’. He draws a peach
pit in the middle. Then he draws a peach
pit here and one there and he takes out the
middle peach pit. Then I say “What is this?” They say “That’s a bunch of birdies, flying!
” I say “Good. You move down a peach
pit and a half and draw the letter
‘V’ upside down” and the child draws the
letter ‘V’ upside down. Then he draws a birdy under the ‘V’ one
peach pit down. Then he joins another
birdie to that and a half round beneath that.
One peach pit above he does this.
Then I say to the child “What is this?” “That’s a heart!
” I say “Good. Half a heart from the top of the eyebrow
to the bottom of the nose. They move from that offensive drawing made
by the child to this in less than a half hour. I’m talking about
5 and 6-year olds moving into this realm, drawing
sports cars, turning them around. We give them crayon and chalk because we want them to bring
out their artistic ability. You can’t bring out anything if
there’s no basis or structure for it. If you sit in the woods and
meditate on your navel for 3 years you’ll have a tremendously clear
picture of the navel and nothing more. You have to work to get information.
You have to arrange things so that it generates what
you call creativity. A psychologist in
one session said “I know two children that came
from the same environment. If environment is everything, one turned out
to be a gangster, the other a minister. If environment is everything, how
do you get those differences?” The minute you pick up one child and start playing with him and the
other stands there with his lip out you’re making jealousy and envy. There’s no such thing as
the same environment. When I pick up my little girl,
I pick up my older little boy. You never work with one child “Why can’t you keep your area clean?
Your brother does, all the time. You leave all your things around…
” When he trips and falls down the stairs his brother smiles.
An inhibited smile, but he does smile. We build these artificialities
in the world we live in today. We’ve got to interfere
and change things. Those of you who would like to
know more about The Venus Project we have a video, a tape
and a book introducing the basic conceptual
layout of what it’s about. Any other questions?
I can’t go into more detail. Yes? (Audience member #2) I find your
views about the future interesting but how do you account
for human nature? How do I account for what?
– Human nature. Human nature is the way people have found other people to
behave over many long years. They appeared to
manifest greed, jealousy envy, even animals.
If you take a cat and put it on your lap in
the presence of the dog the dog may growl. That’s why I mean by the
nature of the beast. So I said “Come on down to
my lab in about a week.” I picked up my cat put it on my lap
and the dog’s tail starts wagging because you reinforce the dog
before you pick up the cat. The cat is a threat to
the dog’s security. The dog wants you to
pet it, not the cat. You give the dog these
ambivalent feelings but you can have 15 kids in
the room without jealousy without envy.
It is not human nature it’s human behavior
that’s shaped by culture. If you were brought up
in China, years ago you’d walk with your hands in your sleeves,
shuffle and wear a long pigtail. They say “Well, that’s human nature.
” It’s not. That’s the influence of
environment on your behavior. Dancing is the same thing. Dances change over a period of time.
Music changes overtime. There is really no human nature. Think about it. Toss it around.
There are varying degrees of human behavior. If we wish to understand the factors
that generate our value system that generate the way
we look at the world we have to go back in time
and study these things. I’m sorry I can’t go
into much more detail just a general overview of
The Venus Project. Yes? (Audience member #3) You mention a universal language.
Are you speaking about Esperanto? – No that wouldn’t do.
Or interlingua? No that wouldn’t do.
The language has to have a physical reference. That means that… Suppose we took some tungsten and hit it with
high pitch sound. Bouncing off that tungsten,
a pattern occurred on a screen that
looked like that. Now if this was the
nickel, this was the iron and we learned how to
chart that pattern when you wrote tungsten,
you’d do this in the future so it’s always like chemistry,
like a pharmacologist reads a prescription (assuming the
doctor’s handwriting is good): He looks at that prescription
and picks up the same product. We don’t want individuality
in that area. We want uniformity. Is there a place
for individuality? In the next few years,
the word individuality will go the way all the other
crude and vulgar terms went. Individuality… When you buy a
Mercedes, if you can afford it and you turn the key, you want it to start.
Not sometimes, all the time. When you turn, you
want it to turn. When you put the breaks
on, you want it to stop. It’s called quality control. Variations in human behavior which we call
individuality today is poor quality control. In the future, the question people will ask
is: Then wouldn’t everybody be uniform? The question of uniformity is
essentially this: They will uniformly like anyone they meet.
Uniformity: share ideas and resources. Uniformity: share knowledge
with everyone else. Uniformity: courteous
to everyone else. That’s the only kind of uniformity.
As far as the accumulation of wealth property and power, this would
be considered part of the age of the vulgarians.
To us, this is all normal! This is a thing to do:
to become successful. In my early days, I
wanted to be successful and a company came
to me and said “We have a bunch of Mexican and Indian
women that sit at a conveyor belt. They pick the black beans. They pick the
white beans, throw them in another box” and they said “Can
you improve that?” I said “How far do
you want to go? How many beans can you deliver?
” What I did in the early days is I built a big bicycle
wheel with hollow spokes that turned like an airplane
propeller into a vat of beans sucking up one bean
to each vacuum tube. Then there was a
photoelectric cell here. If the bean was black it
tripped it with a wire. As you sit and watch, those beans
went up like this in a big vat and in eight hours we did
the work that 50 women took three months to do. I would like my
machines to come in but I would like them to
get a shorter work day an increase in purchasing power.
If machines don’t improve the lives of people
who work in automobile factories if they’re automated out of
existence, so will you be automated out of existence. All of us can be automated out…
Roxanne recently had some area… She does architectural
renderings and site plans. There are machines that do
that, some years ago, CAD. There are machines today
that make models. If you take a vase, you put it
on the table and it’s scanned they have a laser beam that penetrates a fluid
and solidifies that fluid in the exact shape of that vase. You can do in England, China,
anywhere in the world. I want to repeat this: Machines
today (that is three months ago) could handle 500 trillion bits
of information per second. I don’t care how many humans you get together.
There’s no place for human behavior in the next 20 years.
There’s no place for human participation in the
next 20 years, or maybe less. No one can predict the
future precisely. I’m not gentle. I don’t pull
my punches, I can’t afford it. I respect you.
I like you too much. I would rather tell you
things as they are not generate