9 September 2013

The Venus Project: Kicking kink out of the city?

Idealists scare me, not the least because their schemes for the betterment of humanity always involve some form of sexual control.

Take Totalitarianism, for example, and its extreme fictional realization in Orwell's 1984. Didn't read it? No worries, there's a film version you can watch instead. Be warned, though. It's one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen. Imagine being brutally tortured out of your humanity by the state as punishment for your "transgressive" acts of sexual intimacy. Sounds too horrible to ever come true? It's the logical conclusion to a state mechanism designed to control every aspect of human existence.

Now it seems that another fascist visionary, Jacques Fresco, is raising funds in an effort to redesign all aspects of your life in what he calls The Venus Project. On the surface, his re-imagining of society along the lines of a fully automated, ecologically oriented, sustainable network of cities echoes the standard conventions of utopian science fiction stories.

He fails to realize the critical importance of two key features common to utopias, however. On the one hand, there is always a complication that stands in the way of their full realization. Machinery falls apart, for instance. Natural catastrophes can wreak havoc with even the most advanced technology. Human beings are dynamic, driven by competing impulses that compel us to redefine ourselves, leading to continuous social change. One way or another, all empires fall.

On the other hand, utopias are divisive. They necessarily marginalize those who fail to subscribe to their worldview. The anarchist society's exclusion of artists in Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed comes readily to my mind. In an anti-bourgeois state where owning personal property is against the rules and all labour must contribute directly to the maintenance and functioning of the state, art is perceived as frivolous and its production as selfish.

In the case of The Venus Project, anyone with the knowledge to fix and program the complex and sophisticated network of machinery upon which Fresco's society will be wholly dependent will likely form a new ruling class, thereby undermining his claim to building a world in which goods and resources will be distributed equitably.

Going Native

What's worse is the impact of his vision on your sex life. Are you kinky? Maybe into BDSM? Perhaps you enjoy a little humiliation too? In Fresco's utopia the only flavour of sex you'll be having is vanilla, since he contends that "deviant" sexual behaviour can be eradicated by scientifically redesigning our society.  His source of inspiration? A little trip down to Polynesia, during which his encounter with "noble savages" changed his ideas on sex....

"In my experience in the islands, the south pacific, years ago, the natives wore no clothing, and since they wore no clothing it never developed any peeping toms because the children were swimming nude ever since they were very young. And so no one became a peeping tom, there was no basis for it. When a male talked to a female, they usually stare at their eyes when they talk to them. There were no girly magazines, no fetishes because no parts of the body were accentuated by covered up. So you see, what results from that is a totally different pattern of behavior regarding sex. They used to stroke the whole female, they had touched on from the top of the head all the way but they had no particular areas of the anatomy that were emphasized. You see, fetishes comes from people that review over and over again in their heads what they'd like to do, sexually, due to deprivation, and if they review that in their heads over many years, they develop all kinds of exotic ideas." 
Jacque Fresco, TVP Teamspeak3 seminar, 2 October 2011 

What's wrong with having "exotic ideas" about sex? Do all sexual proclivities arise from deprivation? PC and I have multiple lovers at the moment, yet when I masturbate I currently fantasize about extreme anal insertions in both dungeons and clinical settings.... Does that make me "deviant," or simply more in touch with my desires? Unlike my teenage self who was ashamed of her sexual nature, as an adult I have the courage and maturity to acknowledge and embrace my sexuality.  

Perhaps The Venus Project ought to be renamed. Its rejection of the multiplicity of sexual expression in our culture is an insult to its namesake, the goddess of love and lust. 


David said...

You may be more in touch with your desires, but where do your desires come from?

Your sexual nature isn't a separate part of yourself, it IS yourself. Whatever you express sexually has an emotional and conceptual basis. Extreme acts of sex are borne of extreme emotions and desires about yourself and your identity. Deprivation CAN be a potent catalyst of such feelings but so can passionate love.

The question then isn't whether any particular sexual practice is healthy or acceptable, it's whether the desire for them is rooted in a healthy emotional basis. It's important to be aware of any underlying psychological and emotional problems that may be manifesting in a desire for kink and resolve them for the sake of your long term mental health.

Accepting and embracing your desires is a fine thing -- as long as you accept and embrace their origins as well.

Emmanuelle Undine said...

Hi David,

I agree with you entirely, insofar as you say that my sexual nature is me, rather than simply a part of me. However, I feel the need to clarify a few things about the context of my extreme fantasies.

Exposure to visual and literary stimuli depicting extreme acts is their source, rather than deprivation. The focus, for me at least, is not so much on submission, but on the physical sensations that accompany what I imagine. (More often than not, I fantasize about sex acts I have no intention of performing in life -- I know and respect the limits of my body.)

In my personal experience, practicing kink and BDSM in a safe, loving environment is not only an expression of creativity, but also a great way to work through extreme emotions. I find it cathartic to express emotional pain through the staging of a kink scene; its ritualistic, symbolic gestures work like art. Pain becomes transmuted.