Towards the development of a virtual model of sustainable and self-sufficient welfare society to transform the real world: a discussion rich of suggestions and ideas by César Emilio Valdivieso París, a Venezuelan professor, creator of the project “El Mundo Feliz del Futuro” and first commenter of our blog.
- As your project “El Mundo Feliz del Futuro” shows a complex and articulated plan to transform the world, could you describe it briefly and narrate how did you develop this idea and then put it into practice creating a network?
The project initially consists of the design of a virtual imaginary city, presented in the form of a film or series of several chapters, in which its inhabitants can be observed developing their daily activities in the most suitable social environment for the achievement of personal well-being, and within the framework of a sustainable physical environment.
This city (which would be a nation in miniature) would be self-sufficient in the production of all its goods and services, depending, for the supply of raw materials, on an international materials exchange system.
The idea arose after I realized that such a radical proposal, which aims to change lifestyles implemented over the centuries throughout the world, could not be explained by words alone, but it was necessary to present it as a model perceptible by sight and hearing, which would make it more understandable.
In addition to the purpose of spreading the ideas that sustain the project, the decision to create a network of collaborators is given by the need to involve professionals from different branches related to the operation of a city, and especially those who have skills for the creation of animated films.
- From the variegated and multifaceted perspectives, fields of interest and initiatives of your website, it is possible to identify a strong philosophical basis. Were you influenced by Epicurus in the interpretation of the concept of the pursuit of happiness as motor of human life? And which are yourother models of reference?
On the Greek philosophers, including Epicurus, I have made some general readings that surely have had some influence on my way of thinking. But, specifically, I can name the North American writer Dale Carnegie as one of my main guides in finding the meaning of existence. I have also been influenced by the ideas of Simon Bolivar, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi.
Definitely the project “El Mundo Feliz del Futuro” (“The Happy World of the Future”) has a very strong and precise philosophical basis, which from the beginning I named “welfarism”, before discovering that the term, in the sense in which I handle it, had already begun to be delineated in 1879 by the British philosopher, economist and jurist Jeremy Bentham, and finally coined by the British economist John Hicks, in 1948.
- You wrote that the main generators of unhappiness from ancient times until the present have been and will be in the future: the religious, political and economic manipulation; corruption and crime; ignorance; oppression; economic growth (in the future); and population growth (in the future).Then you suggest an interesting kind of constructive education to face ignorance: could you summarize it and explain how do you think to implement it starting from the current system, without making it a niche and élitarian alternative?
A constructive education is one that teaches the human beings to be as happy as possible, and that includes elements such as: a strong logical and scientific formation; principles of the resource-based economy; functioning of a sustainable and self-sufficient society; physical and mental health care; healthy relationships among spouses, parents and children, and strangers; and arts and recreation among other possible topics.
To implement this type of education, until the creation of a truly sustainable world society is achieved, would be in the hands of the citizens of the different nations, and the role of the model created by us would basically be to act for them as a point of reference or example to follow.
Regarding the concern you raise in the last part of the question, I must say that I do not rule out the possibility that, despite the efforts we make to turn this project into something popular, it could become on the long term in a niche and an alternative for elites, if it were not able to break the mental barrier created by centuries of a very strong religious, political and economic manipulation, which would probably lead, at some point in history, to a highly destructive natural or human catastrophe. Under those circumstances, such elites would be responsible for rebuilding the planet Earth if it were possible, and if there were any survivors.
- Talking about citizens kept prisoners of ignorance, there is a link to this aspect when you discuss the issue of political oppression. Similarly, in the book “The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude”, de La Boétie wrote: Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces. Do you share this idea? And how is it possible to promote this rebellion and canalize it in a constructive way?
I share the idea absolutely and I do not see another way to promote it other than education, regardless of whether or not we succeed in doing so. Without a doubt, citizens must learn to exercise the power of the majorities, and a leader must never be more than a simple representative to whom, for practical reasons, the faculty to act in their name is attributed, but whose decisions and whose mandate must be able to be revoked by the simple will of half plus one of the electors, at any moment of his or her administration.
- In your political plan, there is a strong focus on the role of the internet and electronic means, so what is your opinion about e-democracy? And how can it preserve its links with reality?
Democracy, considered as the faculty of the great majorities to make the decisions inherent to the functioning of society, has maintained the same meaning, since the concept was put into practice in ancient Greece, until the present day. The only difference is that nowadays this form of government has adapted to the existence of the internet and electronic means, so that its exercise can be carried out in real time, and encompass more population, in larger geographic areas.
It is worth clarifying that in the face of the ever present possibility that a common person or an authority pretend to ignore the popular will expressed by electronic means, citizens must be educated to impose their designs, using the police force or the physical presence of the crowds, if it is necessary.
The link of e-democracy with reality is given by the ease with which voters can understand the technology used, and audit and validate its results, so that any citizen can, in real time, verify from his or her computer the list of voters and the votes they issue. This system would allow to verify by means of the photographs, the fingerprints and the ID number that would accompany the list, if there were electors supplanting identities or if their votes are registered or not in the system as they issued them.
- Could you give us an overview of virtual revolutionary eco-city plan you have developed, considering also the sustainable materials and technologies you promote?
Our model city would be divided into clearly differentiated sections such as the industry and energy sector, in which all the goods and services of the city would be produced, and all the necessary electricity would be created through the use of solar panels, wind generators and steam turbines activated by concentrated sunlight by using mirrors; the agricultural sector, where vertical farms, fish farms, apiculture, livestock of small mammals such as goats and pigs, and bamboo forests producing wood and fiber to make clothes and paper could be observed; the recreational sector, composed of sports fields, trails, lagoons, forests and grass; the residential sector where all the dwellings would be located, built with mud, stone, wood, glass and other sustainable materials; and the city center, also built with sustainable materials, where would be the administrative offices of the city, educational institutions, health centers, and the mall, among others.
Through the streets of the city would be circulating pedestrians, bicycles, skateboards, skates, as well as electric cars, motorcycles, and seaways.
- Do you think that your dream of society for the future will be easier to be implemented in the developing or developed world? What about Venezuela?
Undoubtedly it would be much easier in the developed world. The developing world presents two important obstacles: the first one derives from the so-called “geographical determinism”, according to which, since nations are located in geographical areas without stations and therefore extreme climate changes, they are less prone to technological development as the benign climate (in the case of the tropics) or the stable weather (in the case of the poles), allow to comfortably lead a primitive lifestyle. The second obstacle, much more important than the first one, is what can be called the “historical determinism”. In the specific case of Latin America, the fact that its European colonizers were mostly barbarians with bad education and lousy social habits, who forcibly procreated with native Indians and with slaves brought from Africa, generated, up to the present, an offspring that inherited the violence, the unpunctuality, the lack of love for study, the disorganization, the indiscipline, the machismo and the corruption that they brought with them, which is totally incompatible with an advanced society like the one we propose.
It is mandatory to clarify that Latin America has produced many citizens who have been an example of excellence for the world, but who unfortunately constitute a minority.
Venezuela, my country, suffers from the same problems mentioned above, but it has the aggravating circumstance that at this moment it holds the shameful title of the most backward nation in Latin America, and perhaps in the world, due to the ultra-populist regime that governs it.
- Finally, could you give us a suggestion about how we – citizens and young students – can cooperate in this project of creating a better world?
Of course! All people concerned about the growing environmental and social deterioration that humanity is facing, can help by sharing the link to the blog that contains the project, and, even better, by studying the proposal carefully with an open mind, and after assimilating its concepts, dedicating themselves to disseminate them or to design and promote their own virtual model of ideal society, with which they would make the existing problems and the ways to face them, more comprehensible.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”
This is probably the only part where I am going to use the “I”, because I strongly believe that the ideas and messages I try to convey should be independent and more important than the person behind them. I would love to be able to offer some food for thought, a different perspective or simply a pause for reflection while waiting for the bus. However, what I would appreciate most is to start a debate or a conversation in order to share opinions, thus do not hesitate to comment the blog or contact me privately.