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  • Interviewer: How do we go about changing someone's nature?

  • Jacque: First of all, as a kid, when I was about 15 or 16,

  • I asked all those questions you're asking now.

  • I said to myself, "How can you make a world of uniformity,

  • bring all the nations together? Their social customs, their concept of God is different.

  • They may have 10 wives. You believe in one. How do you bring them together?"

  • And I said the most difficult three words in my life,

  • "I don't know."

  • I really didn't know. I said, "How can I do that?"

  • I said, "Don't try to design a global civilization

  • until you understand what you're talking about."

  • I got confused. I got into my own... Thinking is talking to yourself.

  • If I say, "I'll see you Saturday." "I'll take the kids... It means I can't see you."

  • It's talking to yourself, it's nothing magical.

  • I talked to myself and I said,

  • "How do you know your system will work? It sounds good on paper.

  • You sound like (it's my own language) a Utopian."

  • I got a book from the library years ago

  • and it was called "125 Utopias and Why They Failed."

  • To me, that was very important to read,

  • and I read that book and I came up with something slightly different.

  • I felt that... I had in my day a thing called a Victrola.

  • You wind it up and the record would play.

  • And I was thinking within those terms and my age... I'm 94,

  • I've seen so many changes that I couldn't accept the notion of Utopia.

  • If I designed a very good city that's the best I know up to now,

  • but I know that that new city would be a straight jacket to the kids of the future.

  • They'll design their own cities.

  • If you made a statue of me in front of that city, you hold back the future.

  • If you have a laptop, which I'm sure you may have...

  • A laptop is not the best that can be.

  • It's the best we know of up to now.

  • Ten years from now the laptop will be smaller, lighter, faster, everything.

  • You can't freeze anything, or you can't use the word Utopia because it assumes

  • you've delved on the ideal civilization. And to me that's ridiculous.

  • Anything I design can be surpassed.

  • Even in the history of my own work,

  • I keep changing things. I have no fixed notions.

  • Interviewer: All the visions of The Venus Project I've seen, they look beautiful.

  • They are stunningly well designed worlds.

  • But it seems like a lot of the people I've spoken to,

  • not yourself yet, I'm speaking to you now,

  • they see a world without greed, without fear, without murder,

  • without governments, without police forces, without investment bankers.

  • Jacque: How do attain that when there is such a thing as jealousy? Even a thing like that.

  • Interviewer: Or terrorism. Someone might want to blow up.

  • Jacque: Sure. I met many different people in my travels,

  • and I'll try to explain what jealousy is.

  • See, they don't define their terms. If you ask a particular person,

  • "What are your conclusions now, in life, that you're 70 years old?"

  • He says, "Well, I'm a nature lover. I believe in letting nature alone.

  • I think nature's a wonderful thing."

  • I say, "You mean you like hurricanes and earthquakes which kill thousands of people? That's nature too."

  • Being ruthlessly honest, there are some aspects of nature that preserve life and some that are dangerous.

  • A rattlesnake is natural. A cobra is natural.

  • And an earthquake is natural. Meteors falling on the earth is natural.

  • I'm not a nature accepter. There are some aspects of nature I like,

  • other aspects are detrimental to human beings.

  • When I meet a person who says, "I'm a nature lover,"

  • I say, "What do you mean by that?"

  • Another person says, "I'm spiritual."

  • I'm not sure what that means, so I say, "What do you mean by that?

  • Do you mean you have no locks on your door?

  • If you see a hungry person, you bring them into your house and feed them?"

  • "Oh, no."

  • I know that what they're talking about, they have no real clarification of the use of words.

  • And then I begin to get confused because I want to know

  • what the other person means when he says, "I believe in social design. I'm a socialist."

  • Or I meet another guy says, "I'm a communist."

  • I say, "How do you prevent corruption under communism?"

  • "I don't know."

  • I say, "How will you house the millions of people who need housing?"

  • "I don't know."

  • Then just say, "Tell me more about what you believe in." They have no information.

  • Then I met a friend of mine or an acquaintance, not really that close,

  • and he told me he was running for political office.

  • I said, "I'm so sorry to hear that."

  • He didn't get the message.

  • Of course he didn't get it. He said, "What do you mean by that?"

  • I said, "As politicians..." I've met many of them in Washington.

  • I said, "How would you stop cars from hitting each other?"

  • "I don't know."

  • "How would you increase the agricultural yield without exhausting the soil?"

  • "I don't know." "Well, what do you know about the physical world?"

  • "Well, I guess I'm not technical."

  • I said, "You understand that everything we have today:

  • your cameras, your car, your airplanes, your communications

  • are all technical. And a politician is not a technician.

  • I don't know what they can do. I really don't know what they understand."

  • I said, "When you fly in a commercial airliner today

  • you don't have to call the pilot and say, 'You've been flying at an angle. Straighten up.' "

  • He knows his business. The navigator knows how to get to where you're going.

  • And it's all done by some branch of technology.

  • Is technology the answer? No.

  • It was more answers than non-technology.

  • "Be good. Be kind." What do you mean by that?

  • To me it means that everyone should have access to a relevant education.

  • All people all over the world need clean air,

  • clean water, arable land, and a relevant education.

  • Relevant means no advertising, no lawyers, no business men, no investment bankers,

  • people that have the ability to make food grow, take care of physical injury.

  • Those are the real people. I don't know of any other kind of people.

  • But there are people called philosophers,

  • which sit back and meditate on their navel,

  • or go into a room and free their mind of all kinds of thought

  • and come up with wonderful answers: "What is needed in a world is peace and harmony."

  • "How do you attain that?" "I don't know."

  • I say, "You don't have a method of solving a problem."

  • They say, "I don't know what you're talking about, Jacque."

  • I said, "Well, if I had anything to do with it (with the running of a nation)

  • I would take down signs "Drive Carefully, Slippery When Wet".

  • I'd put abrasive in the highway so it's not slippery when wet.

  • There are other signs "School District. 14 mph."

  • The power output would be 14 mph.

  • So you can step on the gas all you want to.

  • And it says, "Danger. School children crossing."

  • I'd design a gadget that looks like this

  • and when a kid presses the button to cross the street, he can't go across

  • until the red light goes on and the pavement turns up like that,

  • like a cone. So no car can hit a kid.

  • That's how I say I care. I don't know what it means

  • "I believe in peace and harmony and goodwill."

  • I understand the language, but I know it has no backup.

  • The Venus Project differs from other projects in that when I said to myself,

  • "How are we going to change people?"

  • I said, "I don't know." So I joined the Ku Klux Klan.

  • Did you know about that? (Interviewer: No, I didn't.) In Miami.

  • And I dissolved it in a month and a half.

  • There were 32 members including the head guy.

  • After that I joined the White Citizen's Council. They hate foreigners.

  • I joined by identification. I identified with them.

  • But I always worked on their leader and I dissolved it in one month alone.

  • Then, when I came back to New York from California, I asked a lot of people,

  • "Well, who are the most backward people in the area?"

  • They said the Arabs. They said they still believed the earth is flat.

  • I said to myself, "I'm going to see if I can dissolve that group."

  • But before I did I found out who the leader was.

  • His name was Elbaz. I called him on the phone.

  • I said, "Elbaz, can I come and talk to you?" I know his dialect.

  • He said, "You are Arab?" That's the way he spoke.

  • I said, "Eah". It means "yes" in Arabic.

  • I speak many little bits of language, German, French, a little bit.

  • So, what I did is I asked Elbaz if I could see him.

  • He said, "From where your father he born?" I said, "Lebanon."

  • He said, "Come and saw me." Means, come and see me.

  • So he said to me... when I got to see him, alone,

  • "You believe the world he round?" I said "Yes." He went "Tsk-tsk."

  • In his country that means, that's ridiculous.

  • Then he held his hand up like this and he pointed to his head. I'm telling you exactly what he did.

  • He said, "If the world he round, man fall me down here.

  • All the water, he fall me down from the world."

  • He said to me, "You saw what I'm telling you?"

  • I said, "Eah."

  • So I gave him my balloon (I brought the balloon there)

  • and I rubbed it with fur real fast

  • and I put some corn flakes in his hand and told him to hold his hand

  • 10 inches away from the balloon.

  • Do you know what happens with corn flakes if you rub it with fur? (Interviewer: I don't.)

  • Electrostatically, they move up and adhere to the balloon.

  • It's called static electricity.

  • His jaw hit the pavement after the corn flakes went all over the balloon. (Interviewer: And didn't fall off.)

  • He said, "World, he magnet?" I said, "Eah".

  • "Aah!" And he explained that to all the others. Interviewer: So, you showed him some evidence.

  • Jacque: It took an hour and a half and I turned them around.

  • You don't turn people around with logic. It doesn't work at all.

  • Interviewer: Evidence is what they like.

  • Jacque: Well, for him, what he considers evidence. Not what I consider evidence.

  • Then I thought, in the Bible it said, "Honor thy father and mother."

  • My mother was a racist and a bigot.

  • She hated foreigners, Japanese, Blacks... And I brought a Japanese kid home one day.

  • She said, "I don't want that kind around."

  • So I used reason, as a dummy.

  • I was a kid and I thought reason is the bridge. It didn't work at all.

  • So I said, "If you can't get to your mother you can't change the world."

  • Do you want to know how I changed the clan and my mother? (Interviewer: Sure.)

  • I befriended a guy named Lou Merlin, who was head of the clan in Miami of that group.

  • And he had a war surplus store. Do you know what that is?

  • Interviewer: Yeah, Army Navy store.

  • Jacque: I used to buy lenses.

  • And he said, "What do you do with this stuff you buy?"

  • I said, "Lou, you're welcome to come to my lab and see what I do with it."

  • And I did different optical devices.

  • And he said, "You're a smart guy. What do you think of the Klan?"

  • I said, "It's a great organization but it doesn't go far enough."

  • See, if you attack, it doesn't work.

  • He said, "What do you mean it doesn't go far enough?"

  • I said, "Lou..." After he visited my lab he respected me. And here's what he said,

  • "Will you come on down to the Klan and talk to our boys about what you're doing."

  • I said, "Lou, they wouldn't listen to me. You know."

  • He said, "I'll get them to listen to you. You're a smart guy."

  • I said, "Lou, if you can do that, that'd be fine."

  • So he said, "I want you to listen to this here Jacque. He knows what he's talking about."

  • Because he was impressed by things I showed him.

  • I can tell you what I showed him too, later on if you want to know.

  • Anyway, he said to me... After I talked to his guys a little while...

  • I tried to talk to them about animal training because they were interested in dogs. They hunt a lot.

  • So I showed them some films I did on a bunch of animals that I had trained

  • that sit at a table and I bring food there (It's real) and they eat it.

  • And I said, "Before I worked on animals, I worked on insects."

  • I paint formic acid on a tin can, put an ant on and the ant would follow the formic acid.

  • He never said, "Wait a while, I've been here before."

  • He never walked off unless I painted the formic acid off the can.

  • And then I know that most insects respond to sounds, chemicals, light.

  • Then I worked on animals. My greatest difficulty was snakes.

  • In conditioning snakes I didn't even know how to start. This was when I was a kid.

  • What I did is I put a black and brown mice in with the snakes,

  • and the snake would center his head and grab the mouse.

  • You'd see the hind legs kicking. Now it's funny how he swallowed it.

  • The teeth have back grate and they move up and back,

  • shoving it down the throat. He didn't swallow.

  • Then I wanted him not to bother the white mouse.

  • So I put a white mouse in there and I put a glass partition between the white mouse and the snake.

  • And he'd center his head on the white mouse and hit the glass.

  • And after 10 or 15 times,

  • when the white mouse was anywhere within the area of the snake it wouldn't make an attempt.

  • So I pulled the glass out then and the white mouse could go anywhere in that cage,

  • but the snake would only eat the dark mouse.

  • And the next thing I did is photograph the white mouse

  • sitting on the snake's head. You know, going like this.

  • And the snake was moving around, never bothered the white mouse. Interviewer: You conditioned the snake.

  • Jacque: Yeah. Then I said, "What about nature, like jealousy?

  • Is that inborn? Is that an instinct? Or is it learned?"

  • So I talked to a psychologist about it.

  • He said, "No, it's a natural thing, jealousy.

  • It's all over the world, in every animal."

  • I said, "Give me an example."

  • He said, "Well, if I reach for my cat, the dog growls.

  • But particularly if I put it on my lap and stroke it."

  • I said, "Is that what you mean by jealousy?"

  • He says, "That's what I mean by jealousy." That's an operational definition.

  • So I said, "If it's instinctive I'm going to try to find out."

  • I would feed the dog a little bit of fresh liver and then reach for the cat.

  • And keep feeding the dog fresh liver and then after 10 or 15 times,

  • when I reached for the cat, the dog's tail would wag.

  • If it's inborn that wouldn't happen. The dog would still growl.

  • I had to reject that.

  • I began to talk to scientists. Mostly psychologists in the old days.

  • And I said, "Why do you adjust