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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Seeing Like a State - EOS and TVP

I had an interesting article show to me regarding the problems with TVP and Zeitgeist ideology. I think it summed up a basic problem that I’m aware of with any ideology; what looks good on paper does not always translate well into reality.

The article also pointed out some of the problems that I have seen with TVP and I hope that we in EOS do not make the same mistakes. I’ll quote from the article:

“The most important element is what Scott refers to as “high modernist ideology,” which he defines thusly:
“[High modernism] is best conceived as a strong, one might even say muscle-bound, version of the self-confidence about scientific and technical progress, the expansion of production, the growing satisfaction of human needs, the mastery of nature (including human nature), and, above all, the rational design of social order commensurate with the scientific understanding of natural laws.  It originated, of course, in the West, as a by-product of unprecedented progress in science and technology.”

This definition describes the Zeitgeist Movement/Venus Project perfectly.”

It also highlights a major difference between EOS and TVP. EOS, like TVP, also aims to place science at the core of our ideology and build rational social order. However, we differ from the above in that we make a distinction between people and technology. People, of course, form part of any society but EOS does not aim to reorganise society on rational grounds all the way. Instead we make a distinction between the “people” side of society and the “technological” side. We then have little to say on the people side, preferring instead to allow people to organise themselves (within certain bounds) and then we concentrate on the technological side, where we have expert management of the means of production.
“Scott’s analysis, however, does not bode well for high modernist projects.  The thesis of Seeing Like a State is that high modernist ideology ignores the complexity, expansiveness, and functional chaos of systems and social structures that develop organically”

The separation between “people” and “technology” and allowing people to organise themselves takes into account the organic nature but we also take into consideration the organic nature of social structures in another way; holons.

The concept of holons comes from observation of how nature works and allows groups to form and disband as needed. It also allows the system to grow in a very organic way rather than having a centralised authority impose the system from above. It also allows us to have a great deal of variety within the system so …

“What does this all have to do with the Zeitgeist Movement?  Just this: Zeitgeist wants the entire human race to adopt a high modernist ideology regarding the production and distribution of resources.”

EOS does not expect the whole human race to adopt the same ideology. We concentrate on the management of resources without money but communities within the system can run as they wish so long as they allow others to do the same. We can have from very religious communities to atheist to primitives to transhumanist. We see strength within the diversity. It also allows us to preserve history, languages and cultures. Power becomes distributed and localised with people controlling their own fate. We don’t need everyone to change to fit into our vision of the future.

The distributed holonic approach also allows us a different way to implement the system.

“If the Zeitgeisters ever got their way, this would be the inevitable result.  The change they envision for society is so massive, so sweeping and so total that the only way it could ever be implemented would be by force—probably by the force of a large authoritarian government or perhaps multi-national coalition.”

Instead of imposing the system from top down, the holonic approach allows us to build up communities and add to them so the system grows in a very organic and natural way.   I think this highlights another difference, which the article didn’t bring out; we aim to test things. So we build module by module and as we do so we test so we build on working foundations.

Oddly for an ideology that says it has its roots in the application of science to society, TVP does appear to lack any testing; no experimental communities or test cities. Yet testing and experimentation forms the core of science.

Testing and experimentation forms the only realistic way of knowing if what EOS or TVP or any other ideology proposes actually works. If we just implement TVP without any verification we have the potential to cause more suffering than we find in the world already.

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