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Jacque Fresco - Anthropology, Efficiency, Superfluous Customs And Primitive Cultures

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We're talking about anthropology tonight. From the point of view of a scientific approach to the problem. And so heres how anthropology might be viewed as a scientist might look at it.. some scientists. We would look at a culture.. Does anyone have any ideas? Of what might be done. What you think, the methods might be. Want to guess that? Yes try it. Man: A possible comparison to some other known system. Yes.. thats the way you do it. What you do is you take an area, we'll take a rough idea of an island. And we'll put a tribe here. Now we'll say "well they eat fish and use this area of water for fishing" They... they pick their crops in this area of the forest. Then they get their root plants in this area of the forest. And they make their boats, they get their building material from this area of the forest. Then they get their water from this area. And so.. This is the area of resource supply. Then you deal with the population, how many people exist you know. Then you draw functional connections between the tribe and its real physical need. Water.. food.. fish. You draw all of those things Then you measure the amount of work done to accumulate a pile of food so high. Anyone doesn't understand that? You got 100 people and you put out so many man hours to gather the fruit and the bananas. You measure the efficiency ratio of the tribe. That is.. how much work they had to do to get a potato. If you had to walk over the hill and plant the seeds, and take all day to bring it back. Thats a hell of a whole lot, you use up a potato and a half of energy to get a potato. So.. we measure the efficiency of how much energy they put out to get the job done. But if you're dying of thirst. And you looked up and theres a canteen of water on top of a mountain or desert. To get up there you use two canteens of water within your body.. get that canteen of water, so you don't go up there in the first place. So what happens is that you measure these activities. The next thing you measure.. is activities superfluous to the task at hand. Now.. We measure activities superfluous to the task at hand. Now heres what that means. Does anyone want to volunteer what they think that means? What are activities superfluous in task? Man: Just general entertainment, amusement by (?) Yes thats superfluous in.. The task.. the task is to eliminate (?) Does anybody else want to say anything to that? I'll tell you what that means. That means if you go out to fly a kite one day, you ever fly a kite? And you get ordered and you get on the bus and go all the way out there and then it rains. Badly, heavily. And you say oh darn it, fiddly-dee or shit whatever you say. That doesn't stop the rain. And that would be activities more than necessary to fly a kite. You don't need it. But if you just got a flat tire and you say "God dammit I just had a tire and I bought it." and all that. (Rather say) "Get on, out of your car and put the other tire on" That would be essential. And if you can afford it, you pick up the phone and say get down here and change the tire. You put it on somebody else's back, and you use money to pay them off, that's another way. Now you measure all of those factors. Then you take their beliefs. They believe that the potato was put there by the water god because the water god was angry at the banana god the banana god made it rain on Wednesdays. And that made this god mad. And all of that bullshit is what we call cerebral clutter of the tribe You think you know what I mean? They build up a lot of cerebral clutter. Thats is they talk to their bananas. And they talk to... they placate the sea, they go down and they hope that the sea wont be bad next year and generate tidal waves. And you build up non essential verbal clutter. Okay? Now! Then you add up the efficiency of one island against the other. because when you go to another planet, and I say "What kind of society do they have?" What is the efficiency ratio of the society? If they have this much arable land area And they maintain a population that can eat off that. They are alright. If they let that population too many people grow, there wont be enough bananas to go around. They have to maintain some sort of eco-balance. Alright. Now the folk ways... You know what that means? Who marries who and what ceremonies you do when a guy dies, bury the arrow heads and his fur. And you bury his favorite hat with him. That would be depriving a tribe of some possibly useful equipment. We talk about that in terms of energy expenses toward a non-functional gain Now, are there any problems with that kind of thinking in relation to anthropology? I didn't go into at all which I'm going to any more. I would like to know whether you would like to raise questions about that now. Man:Is there any importance in it, whats the importance of anthropology? Whats is the what? Man: I there any importance to anthropology? Is there any importance? Man: whats the point of doing this? Well the point is, it deals with the evolution of culture. So in the study of man and his technological climb. Okay? you draw the technological climb and then you draw this line. This non-technological climb; religion, superstition, hanging plastic Jesus in your car. You draw all the non technological.. The technological thing. The non technological are downward trends. You see that? In other words. If you have a machine that doesn't work too well and you yell.. ..its better to pick up a can of oil and oil it. Because that means standing there and yelling. So that would be technological. Technological is where you break a leg, then you make a crutch out of wood. That would be a technological solution. But sitting under bay leaves for three months under the sun.. Doesn't really help cure your broken leg. That would be patterns unrelated. Is that alright? Now if I send you in a submarine on an expedition and some of the cable.. Those gadgets they lowering in to the water the spheres , they lower them into the ocean depths? A mile down.. and all that cuts the cable. It falls deep into a trench. And you say "Oh geeze I hope I can get out of here." Because they don't.. A ship.. that lowers you into the sea.. doesn't have 67 other bathyspheres and rescue equipment also included in the expedition. They also don't have a bathysphere joined by an airlock. And another bathysphere joined to that and another joined to that, separate units. That would drop together and if anything goes wrong you could climb into other units. That would be redundancy, safety. Does that make sense to you? Extra gas in the car, whatever. So instead of lowering some poor bastard to the bottom of the sea. You do it redundantly with additional safety equipment, ok. We get back to anthropology. Then you try to find out why they worship the guava instead of all the other fruits. And they say once he came sick and we were out of food, and we fed them guava and they got well. You can find out how these customs came to be. How it is that we evolve certain language habits. And then we you deliver the information through anthropology, you just show charts. And you show their music.. And you show this, for example I mention this many times in sessions. So the great plains Indians of the west have dances they do around the fire. And the dance I indicated is this. (Fresco Stomps) Theres a bird, a turkey, kind of a turkey that walks like that. Did you know that? And that's where they got the dance, so you show all of that. And you show how all of their customs, you try, this is a very difficult job to do.. Try to link up the connections of their customs and the major influences that primary effected those customs. You want some paper to draw on of any kind? Alright. So we show all that, and then that way we build a chain Linking early systems of society and the technological growth.. And the primitive growth how it, they go through all the technological society. As we come to say 1914. We have a pretty high degree of technology, even in 1914. But you show how the superstition and the folkways still come from the primitive tribes and have clung to that society. And you try to show how it is that 20th century man even then he walks on the moon may take a plastic jesus with him on the moon. You show how it is that he does that. What the factors are that makes him do that. Does anybody here the things they know? Why a man in the space age would spit on his telescope and wish him a lot of luck? People do that occasionally. Man: Positive thinking, using the most positive attitude. Does that mean he may not have a positive attitude? He has a degree of uncertainty. Man: He's uncertain he my be negative. Uncertainly sometimes may cause that as the prime effect to carry on habits. Uh.. even back then, they weren't very useful. They weren't useful to the tribe, but you cant take them away. Thats something you can't do. Alright, now this is a description of anthropology. Now what do you feel that description may lack, at least compressed or other things we talk about? Man: It doesn't contain any.. its like studying economics or political science. Those things don't contain any solutions. Oh! We don't consider the early stages of man with a solution in mind. If I go to New Guinea, I go to some place, I go to a Seminole Indian village. They don't send me there to modify the village. The school says "Go on and study the customs of the Seminole Indians". Now, the Seminole Indian. Well one of the arguments I had with this anthropologists, She said that primitive people were happier than we are in our technological civilization. Well I asked her whether not she could show me anything that indicates that. The reason I said that they were not, she said "Do you have any evidence to show me that they are not?" And I said t "If they hand you the pipe of peace, I come(?) as a friend... Then you say "I don't smoke its bad for the lungs but I agree with you that peace is essential" They don't sit back and say "Well that's your custom, that's interesting as long as you come with the same intention" They have no shades of gray. If you don't drink their bowl of fly soup when they offer it to you If you push it away, you've offended the chief. But I'm sure if people came from another planet and we offered them some meat and they said "we're vegetarians" "whip up some fresh vegetables" We would not be offended. So primitive people tend to project a hell of a lot. Man: What happens (?)sometimes is you got stress. Man: I mean, if one wants to use a level of stress in their lives as a measure. Man: Might, under certain circumstances some primitive people might be better off and it might depend on the tribe under study. Yes, it might be. It might be but they are not happier because they are primitive. They may be happier in your sense because they had an island, they had a low population density and a lot of food. But not because they are primitive. Primitive means less able to cope with problems. Before the outrigger canoe a lot of boats would over turn in the sea, a lot of people drowned. Now, people tell me that the primitives at least worked out the outrigger canoe. I don't think that the primitives did. I think some primitive worked on the outrigger canoe and the others were supported by that idea. Some primitives probably invented the javelin, or modified a stick that they throw. Some primitives may had added the bow and arrow to the tribe. Which could have had enhanced the survival in the tribe. But happiness is a method. When a primitives wife doesn't behave he doesn't walk over there and say "Now look if you don't behave we cant get the job done." So the primitives work it out real well. When John gets married and he tells you what to do you do it or he'll hang you up by your hair. You understand what I mean? So a(?) lot of primitive tribes are not so free and democratic. They don't sit around to discuss anything. The witchdoctor says this is the way it is. And you say "I wonder at that." That is discouraged. If by happiness you mean from awakening to sleep.. The amount of stress that occurs in that person. Pain is one way of measuring it. Is the chief happy because he has his javelin in his hut? We say that happiness is a very interesting thing. Your going to deal with that, I'll try to give you a description of it. If I were to give you a brand new Mercedes. Lets say.. How old are you? Boy: 14 Alright. And we worked it out so you could drive it, through town and all that, you're able to do that. I think you'd be very happy.. for a while. Then after 3 years you get in your Mercedes and drive it around. I don't think you'd say "Gosh its nice to have a Mercedes." Its only the beginning when someone gets you a new toy. The minute you shove that electric train in your closet. You know what I mean? When you get a bunch of (?). You gotta know how to (?). You shove them on a shelf (?). Take them off the shelf a second time, unless you have a goal in mind. You know what that means? That means if Paul makes a boat for me, I sail around in Biscayne Bay, and then I've sailed it in Biscayne Bay. And I may enjoy doing that weekends. But if he ordered me to do it everyday of my life. I may not enjoy it. But if I have a goal. I wanted to go to the Exuma islands. Then I'm going somewhere, and that the journey from here to there may have elements in it that make me feel good because I'm getting somewhere. But if a storm comes that interferes with it. That interferes with the kind of happiness. Like if you go to see the South seas on a trip. And there's a fog going through the area. And you're traveling on a boat and they guy says "Thats Tonga island over there" You cant see. That would be an interference factor. So whenever I go on a boat and the guy says its foggy. I go downstairs and leave. I don't say "shit now I cant see the islands I came to see. So through a system of a certain type of maturation in attitudes, the way you grow up and think about things. If you want to go bicycle riding with the kids and you bike is gone. No one can lend you a bike, it was stolen. You better go to the roof, instead of staying home saying "shit I can't go, they're all out bike riding" That is the unhealthy thing to do. Finding something else to do, okay.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: The Venus Project
Director: The Venus Project
Views: 102
Posted by: ltiofficial on Oct 13, 2012

A Jacque Fresco talk from the 1970s about anthropology, efficiency, superfluous customs and primitive cultures.

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