Saturday, 21 April 2012

What's your idea, muertos?

J S Bach wrote Baroque music. J S Bach's music is brilliant. Therefore Baroque music is brilliant. Most people with even the most basic introduction can see that this logic is flawed. It is wrong to classify things and then assume that the class of things is homogenous / consistent. (If you do this with ethnicity you finish up with racism.)

This blogger muertos criticises a movement or style in architecture / planning called High Modernism (based on a book called Seeing Like a State). The designs for Brasilia were labelled High Modernism and were (the book argues - I don't know enough to give an opinion) not a success. Therefore, by muertos' logic, it appears, High Modernism was not a success.

He then goes on to label TVP/TZM as "High Modernism" (I assume he is referring to Jacque Fresco's designs for cities) and therefore TVP/TZM will fail and therefore are wrong and their ideas should not be tried.

This technique is usually applied using communism as the failed big idea.

I don't know if muertos shares the ideals of TZM/TVP, but I think not. He mocks TVP for being conspiracy theorists - in fact he writes "primarily aimed at spreading conspiracy theories". I'm not sure that he is misunderstanding; I think he is being rhetorical. He is apparently confusing (deliberately?) TVP with the first Zeigeist movie, which had a conspiracy theory section. It was making the point (rather over making it, I think) that institutions seek to preserve themselves and will stop at nothing to do achieve that end. By any reckoning, the consipracy theories in the first Zeitgeist Movie have nothing to do with Jacque's designs for cities.

I hink muertos doesn't share TVP/TZM's aims, because he opines that they are "at best, doomed never to get off the ground". I see no reason to express this pessimism  - at least not in these terms - if he wants them to succeed in their aims.

Now maybe there are lessons to be learnt from what happened with Brasilia that can be applied to Jacque's designs to improve them. Maybe Jacque has already considered this. I say this openly as I don't know enough about Brasilia or Seeing like a state to be able to agree/disagree.

Seeing like a state's general idea seems to be that top down planning fails through not taking into account the nuances / subtilties of activities that have been carried out organically from the bottom up. Important lesson, but how do we get sustainability and equality if we don't plan?

Muertos is guilty, I thnk, of protesting too much. His heading includes the phrase "recipe for disaster" and he calls TZM a "bizarre organization" and "a recipe for a catastrophe". I would prefer it if he made more constructive criticisms (and spare the rhetoric) because, as its tagline suggests, TVP wants to eradicate poverty and war. If muertos also wants to eradicate poverty and war, I for one welcome his contribution. For the record, I don't want to eradicate politics and money for any other reason than they seem to stand in the way of, or don't contribute to, or oppose the eradication of poverty and war.

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