I interviewed venusplusx.org polymaths Alison Gardner and Dan Massey on sexual freedom, the occupy movement, transhumanism, the singularity, physics, religion and spirituality, and their forthcoming book. LGBT rights and quantum entanglement in the same talk. Thanks to Khannea Suntzu for filming. Thanks to Hank Pellissier for transcribing part of the interview for the IEET, and join the discussion at IEET | Sexual Freedom – an interview with VenusPlusX.
Dan and Alison are two Renaissance persons interested in everything. All these topics and many others will be explored in forthcoming interviews and talk shows on highly imaginative technologies, science, art, culture and society, hosted by show leaders (to be announced soon), with one or more guests and a selected audience. The videos will be edited and posted online a few days after the shows.
The IEET article is pasted below:
Are we ready for global-wide sexual liberation? Is accelerated social and technical progress possible without it? VenusPlusX commits itself to these provocative questions. Founded by independent activist-partners Dan Massey and Alison Gardner in September, 2011, the duo is devoted to ushering in “The New Age of Sexual Freedom” - a world free, in it’s words, from the “global culture of racial, sexual and gender oppression and violence driven by governments, religions, corporations and social customs.”
VenusPlusX takes it’s name from a science fiction novel set in a post-gender future (Theodore Sturgeon, 1999), and it draws inspiration from two famous androgynous, transgender USA icons – the Statue of Liberty, and “Columbia” on the Capitol dome. Their website states that they are promoting “a single, simple idea: universal sexual freedom, starting with the supreme, elemental, entirely natural love-sexual connection, and carried forth in everyone’s individual and shared bodily certainty of what freedom feels like and how it is inextricably connected to our pursuit of happiness, prosperity, health, and global peace.”
Giulio Prisco - I’d like to start by asking, what is your “Sexual Freedom Foundation” and what objectives do you want to achieve?
Dan Massey - Giulio, we created this activity to bring about a greater public awareness of the effect that sexual repression has had on the development and progress of human society and to take deliberate actions to change that. We believe sexual repression is at the foundation of most bad behavior – grief, neurosis, and other problems that beset society today – and it is necessary to make a serious attempt to correct that.
Sexual freedom is the important goal that we would like to achieve because we think it will allow the reformation of human society and will allow people to agree on objectives and move forward to accomplish many great goals that are completely unreachable now because of the negative influences that pervade our society, which are grounded in the mythic structure of religion, government, commerce, and culture itself.
GP - Could you give me one specific example of how sexual repression is hurting people at this moment and also hindering our progress as a species?
DM - Worldwide homophobia, in fact, phobia of all forms of sexual expression, throughout all human cultures, religions, and governments. The basic rejection of sex which begins almost from the moment a child is born and deeply programs their mind to basically live in opposition to their most fundamental desires and needs, which they will grow into. This creates an internal conflict, which leads to arguments between people, inability to find common goals, inability to move ahead on common purposes and generally the attitude that everyone is your enemy and that your goal is to protect yourself against them and secondarily, to exploit them to the fullest ability that you can achieve, in order to forward yourself and gain advantage over the other person.
Our society tends to work this way. Most people are indoctrinated into this way of functioning, and, as you can see from all around us, it is a failure. It continues to be a failure and the way it has to be changed is to get at the very fundamental misunderstandings, the very visceral things that are programmed into people very deeply, and make them change.
You ask, how does this affect things? Well, for one thing, it affects the ability of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people to participate meaningfully in society, even though they are among the most creative and gifted people that are produced by human reproduction. But the deliberate attempt to to exclude these people from participation in society, which goes on worldwide, and is supported by governments, political parties, churches, companies, comers, villages, even… is what has to change. And the way it has to change is that people have to be provided with a superior view of reality that shows that what they have done traditionally in past centuries is wrong and needs considerable rethinking.
Our purpose is to force these issues out into public discussion and cause them to be explored and people to be more broadly educated on this subject. In terms of specifics… society is basically failing because it is hung up on irrelevancies and stupidities. Until you get the individual attitude towards erotic pleasure sorted out, not just in individuals but with entire communities, you’re going to continue to have this going on.
I think this is one of the main reasons why transhumanism hasn’t made any progress so far, in the last several decades. It’s thought of a lot of ideas but it has not achieved much acceptance for the simple reason that people cannot agree on how to split up the spoils of the undertaking.
GP - Let’s go back to sexual freedom if I way. On your website you say that gender doesn’t exist – what does that mean?
DM - It means that there is nothing about people that determines how they should fit into society. That gender as it is generally interpreted in contemporary society is a social construct, not a natural product of how people are. What evidence shows is that sexual orientation is primarily determined by genetic characteristics with some element of choice and preference overlaid on it. It is heavily inhibited and directed by social pressure, but once you get past sexual orientation, which deals with the issue of who you would have sex with, you get to the issue of gender, which is how you think you should fit into society as a whole. There your choices currently are limited by the spaces society makes for self expression, which in most communities are strictly limited to either male or female.
In reality though, there is no particular reason why the presentation of gender needs to be coupled to one’s biology and sexual identity, and in fact quite of ongoing work has shown that these distinctions come about through social pressure and that many people who experience these phenomena actually have variations in brain development or in physical development that cause things like the actual genetic sex, the sexual orientation, and the mental sex, of the “gender” is you will, to all be conflated.
Our society does not accept that these things can be independent choices that are a product of genetics and individual social position, and we try to force things into a very small number of roles. Gender is an artificial concept and the number of people in society who are oppressed by this is quite small – maybe around 1-2% - primarily because the rest of the people being oppressed are so oppressed they not even allowed to think about the fact that they’re being oppressed. This goes back to the fundamental problem that sexual oppression is the source of most of our social problems.
Allison is reminding me, that racial oppression, racial prejudice, is driven primarily by sexual competition between the variant races. Fear of sex, both of coming from or going to someone who is in some way visibly different than yourself. And this gets back again to paranoia. We think sexual paranoia is really the major driving force in racism as well. We think that once you get past the sexual aspect, the issues of racism will be much less significant.