Jacques Fresco, the subject of this documentary, recognizes the perilous situation our planet is in, and for decades he has been speaking out about what needs to be done. He has a design resume longer than your proverbial arm, and has worked for aircraft companies, the Army, research companies, has taught design, created the Venus Project and much, much more. He’s written books and produced videos. He’s a social engineer, a futurist, an inventor.

In this movie, Fresco explains that as long as scarcity, deprivation, and insecurity plague the human race, things won’t be getting better. He declares we must intelligently manage the earth’s resources for everyone’s well-being.

No one would argue that industrial society’s need to continually sell products, helped along by planned obsolescence, doesn’t lead to waste of resources and energy. What can we do about it? Fresco says we need to have a resource-based economy. Make everything available to everyone because all resources should be regarded as common heritage.

His new system is not the New World Order, thank goodness, but it does have some central control issues that get sloughed over. Mr. Fresco’s idea is that if everyone has everything they need, then our lives would be heaven on earth. We’d be free to explore whatever we dang well pleased.

As I worked my way through Paradise or Oblivion my initial enthusiasm was dampened as the futurist stressed that we must automate as much as possible, must inventory all our resources (although he admits that leaders of any country would be suspicious of such a procedure), and central planning should determine what we do. Everything we do, essentially.

Jacques Fresco rides the wild bull of science and technology, the way many of his predecessors and contemporaries have done. They see no problem until the problem becomes huge and then they want to engineer a solution. But science can solve everything, can’t it? Nope, it can’t, and to cling to science and technology as our religion, our sole means of survival and sustainability, is a dangerous path to follow.

What Fresco is missing is spirit. He doesn’t broach the subject of intuition, of a spiritual knowing that transcends the limits of the “scientific method,” a practice that is becoming more and more doubtful as time goes on. The connection between traditional societies and nature cannot be denied. We in the industrial world have much to learn.

I did really like the first half of this movie and felt that Jacques Fresco recognizes the problems. Even though he denies that he is a utopian, I believe he is. His solutions turn out to be airtight, so airtight as to allow little breathing room for the humans he would try to save.

No doubt, Mr. Fresco is sincere when he expounds on his ideas, of which there are many. The problem, for me at least, is that he indulges in the same old ruts of thinking that got us into the untenable position we are in now.

Still, I think the movie is worth the 45 minutes it takes to watch it. You might get the same feeling that I did, that Fresco is only a short distance away from understanding what we all need to understand to survive. I believe that knowing will be achieved by a reflective, intuitive, inward journey, from whence we will all come to understand in a way that is simply out of the reach of the mechanistic approach of technology.