by Doctress Neutopia

June 5, 1999



Cybernians and Arcosantians,

 The Paradox Workshop program has really been for me a dream come true. Why I say this is because before I came to Arcosanti I have been promoting the idea of Arcology as a way to solve the environmental and human development  crisis for a number of years on the Net. A hate group formed, the Neutopia Monster Truckers, with the purpose of stopping and belittling my advocacy.  Their mission in harassing my presence on the Net is because they see me as a threat to their nationalistic, blindly materialistic world view that results in their gas guzzling American way of life. They love cars, eating meat, the Star Wars defense budget and talking about insignificant things, which maintains the status quo of greed and stupidity. It has been a joy to live at Arcosanti with other people who are not only talking seriously about Arcology but who are actually working on its construction.  Also being able to talk directly with Paolo Soleri has been an invaluable experience. By being a part of this program, I feel that I am one step closer to creating the self-actualization of Neutopia.

 It will be very interesting to see how Arcology will develop and where the energy and resources will come to complete the project. There has been talk of accepting money from a corporate source. There is also talk of creating an "ecological golf course" around Arcosanti as a buffer zone to protect it from the encroaching urban sprawl. Under the Corporate Arcology model, it does not matter if the money is coming from fascist, totalitarian, authoritarian or other oppressive structures of power as long as the money is there to complete the building of Arcosanti. And who in America besides the US government--a government more concerned with building Star Wars weapons and a national theater nuclear weapons system than solving the housing and the world environmental crisis--has the capital needed to fund the completion of Arcosanti? The answer, of course, is either private wealthy individuals who make up the 1% of the population who control 90% of the wealth, Corporate America, or else some unexpected miracle happens to bring in the human energy and resources that are necessary. By miracles I mean a significant sign that allows a new power to break into history, a power that has the potential to transform our lives.

Corporate America has approached Arcosanti with project proposals before.  The rumor is that the Ford Foundation agreed to fund the paving of the dirt road leading to Arcosanti if they could place a sign at the entrance, "The Ford Foundation: Paving the road to the City of the Future." How amazing it is that Paolo Soleri, the founder of Arcosanti, has not sold out to the seduction of big bucks so that he could possibly witness the finished prototype before his death. In the corporate model, the Arcosanti community is irrelevant to its completion since what are important are the ends, not the means. In the Corporate Arcology model, it does not matter if labor is exploited in its completion since the process is not important. At the end of the corporate model, I can predict that apartments at Arcosanti will go to the privileged class, those who can pay, not to the grassroots labor movement who built the evolutionary city!

Then there is the University Arcology model where some university system takes over and makes this an extension of the university bureaucracy, which is, by and large, controlled by funding from Corporate America. Even though as an educator, I find this model more appealing, I am somewhat skeptical of this model because Western education does not take a holistic approach to learning which I feel is fundamental to understanding the Gaian lifestyle within an Arcology of Love. The University Arcology model is run by the same hierarchical value system that controls other US universities where the profit motive rules. Thus radical thinkers are unable to carry out experiments in alternative forms of social organization based on esthe-quity (equity and esthetics). Without esthequity, how can creative partnerships between the sexes have a chance at being a new foundation for peace?

An alternative to the corporate and university model would be the Neutopian Arcology model. In this model, Arcosanti becomes the place where finally the "Love Project," the root of the Omega Seed, could find a way to manifest. Consequently, the "Love Project" becomes the esoteric reason behind the making of Arcosanti, the invisible meaning behind the construction site. One could think of the "Love Project" as the process of the internalization of arcology, a phenomenon that humanity is experiencing on both the personal and collective level. As we grow more and more aware of our need to drastically alter the current pattern of moral and environmental development away from the "global shopping mall" to the complexity, miniaturization, duration paradigm through the building of arcology, the need for the "Love Project" comes an imperative.

People who are devoted to bringing about deep-seated social and personal change by going to the root causes of the environmental crisis, would be turned on by the Neutopian model. In this model, by becoming a principle meme in Cyberspace, Arcology becomes an urban laboratory in building a first of its kind intentional community of world peace, a place that is perhaps necessary for the Urban Effect to finally occur at Arcosanti. Under this model, Arcosanti becomes a center of the arts and sciences united in the effort to save the environment for human beings by building a network of Arcologies on Earth, Outer Space and in Cyberspace. Hence, Arcosanti becomes the nucleus of the communication revolution since the message of the revolution becomes clear: in order for the human species to survive requires that we move away from the hyperconsumption model of Corporate America into a frugal economy founded on human rights for all. A network of arcologies is necessary to accomplish this noble transfiguration.

A transfiguration requires us to envision the Neutopia Arcology model. In the Neutopian model, the mission of Arcosanti is expanded to become an experiment in movement building. It becomes a center for the global movement for sustainable technologies, renewable energy, organic gardening, ecofeminist values, and the heart for intelligent resistance to the planetary metropolis and its suburban sprawl. Shifting away from an authoritarian form of governance to a democracy/meritocracy form of education/governance described in Doctress Neutopia's essay, "Education with a Corrupt Mission?  Arcosanti becomes a place where the power of true love can be liberated from the chains of history.

This is a revolutionary model because to make Arcology work requires re-thinking the Protestant work ethic in order to create a society based on allowing people time to do their "own" work in the service of the whole. Thus it becomes an economy not only which maintains the life support systems, but fosters time for personal growth, creativity, holistic health practices and building love relationships. Resources not only go into construction site, but to developing the inner life necessary for the virtual Arcosanti model to become alive in the breathless space of Cyberspace.  Within a Neutopian Arcology, economists work on developing a Gaia e-currency system--an Earth Bank--which provides an egalitarianism that gives the individual freedom to access the resources s/he needs in order to excel.

Paolo Soleri has provided us with a beautiful instrument to conduct music much more advanced and in touch with cosmic vibrations than our post-modern nightmare of nuclear-family houses "protected" by nuclear bombs. Now the question is: can the residents of Arcosanti hear the music? And do we have the courage to dance the dance of true love for the good of all?




Human Extinction or Lovolution?