Monday, 14 March 2011

Communism and uniformity / absorbing variation

Another similarity between an RBE and communism could be the pressure for uniformity. This does not seem to be so clear cut. At yesterday's series of talks for Z-day and the Friends' Meeing House in Euston, London, Peter Joseph seemed to emphasise the point that aesthetic or personal preference attributes need to take a back seat to sustainability.

The speaker from the design team spoke of the need for standardisation, as it is efficient, and mentioned the fact that in an RBE, with no money, no need to work and no  ownership, people would just go where they wished and live where they wish when they wish. This is workable with enough standardisation, but the speaker from the design team (echoing Jacque Fresco) said that people's individual tastes / requirements could be accommodated into the designs of their homes, which seems to undermine the standardisation imperative, and re-introduce the idea of ownership insofar as if something is personalised for me how can someone else use it it ad hoc - this would deprive me of its use.

So how can we absorb the variation that individuality calls for, whilst eschewing the idea of ownership and accruing the benefits of standardisation

I think technology would absorb a lot of the required variation. I presume when we enter residential accommodation in an RBE, we will somehow be identified to the tech that runs the house. Our music tastes (say) would be accessible by the playlists associated with our identity, and whatever a bed had become would be adjusted to achieve the equivalent of our preferred mattress firmness and body shape (a la memory foam). That said, currently we seem to be able to tolerate a hotel room without being able to completely personalise it, but I suppose if we are moving around a lot, our personal taste may need accommodating "on the fly".

The example given by the speaker was of someone who liked cooking and entertaining guests with the food. He seemed to suggest that one's house could be designed with that in mind, but how then can that house be communal?

I would suggest that the dining room and associated kitchen would not be part of a particular home for exclusive use, but available communally just like pretty much everything else. The host would reserve use of the facilities for the duration of his dinner party, but at other times it would be available for others to use for the same or similar ventures.

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