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Transcript: Here on Earth, the human experience cannot be separated from the socio-economic environment, the ecological dynamic in which the experience is occurring. In nature, there are continuous and influential feedback loops between individual organisms and their environment. Today, we have positioned ourselves in spaces and dwellings that have horribly disrupted feedback loops, such that we have lost track of our constructed environments influence on our lives. When we think about living on this planet, and the creation of the organizations, services, and technologies that provide for our needs, wants, and preferences, then we be begin to see the idea of community emerge into a type of socio-economic design, a type of living system, or “society”. In part, a “society” is a dynamic and emergent system in which a population are living and behaving for a purpose, while maintaining a set of relationships that sustain their continued existence. Here, at the societal level, community becomes constructed around the individual’s intention for self-development and mutual life fulfillment. And yet, when we are surrounded with unfulfilling situations it is easy to blame society; it is much more challenging to look at ourselves.
At a societal level, community becomes a structure to help humans make meaning, to facilitate connection and integration, to meet intentions (i.e., “expectations”) for fulfillment, and to provide opportunities for self-growth and contribution. It could be visualized as a social, organizational vehicle for developing human potential and facilitating human fulfillment. It works because we are all connecting and integrating together [in the expression of a unified model for our own and all others highest fulfilled development]. If we desire to maintain our fulfillment, we must maintain a socio-economic organization that facilitates a sensitivity to our needs, as well as the sufficient fulfillment of those needs, which together with our experience of community, are the basis of our well-being.
And so, in community, we are continuously asking ourselves, “What are the best means of addressing our needs, today, and well into the future?” We recognize that our future depends upon relevant information in the now, and how we apply it. We need a space of accuracy and coherency to move into the future intelligently (such that our decisions are fulfilling for ourselves and for others).
Here, it is important to reiterate that the “community” someone may presently know as their local neighborhood, their activity club, their charitable organization, their social platform, their village, their nation, or their ethnic group are not the community we know and are referring to when we speak about community. Each of the aforementioned organizations are actually part of a larger socio-economic system, but neither that perceived [to be] isolated organization, nor its larger socio-economic context, are what we know of as community. We recognize that the division of community into expressly contrasted socio-economic organizations, can easily drive us to hate [one another].
Community is not different things to different people (it is not stratified), it is something we can identify and define in common. Together, we may express our design for community through identification and coherent integration of a common socio-economic living system – a system that logically, verifiably, and experientially orients toward greater mutual fulfillment. Here, designs are communicated through specification – an act of clarifying processes and other relationships (in order to ensure a standard of communication and construction, that is coherent, and unlikely to produce miscommunication and unstable constructions).
And yet, we in community are continuously setting aside our own notions of “community”. We update our information space, which is our unified model for fulfillment, as we learn more about ourselves and the world we live in. Here, we recognize the possibility of unwittingly serving ends we would not otherwise intentionally mean to promote, and so, we remain open, and inquire into, new information.
Now, we ask, if community (or, any given society in fact) were defined within a series of design specifications, how would they be structured and what would they identify?
Presently, our perception of community (as a societal expression) involves designed separation of the living system into four primary and interrelated ‘system specification’ categories. From our perspective, any human society, as a life organizing system with a set of persistent environmental (including social) interactions, can be broken down into these four system categories, or systems structures. Each of the four structures represents a different aspect of society, and for our purposes, of ‘community’. In community, we see these separations as “viewports” (i.e., windows) into our unified information space. In fact, you could look at any society through these four different viewports, and come to more greatly understand it, and its influence on you. And it is here, through system specification, that we can design and test the fulfillment potential of community - like any system, we can define its parameters and how it works. Through specification, we can define our living system’s orientation toward (and not away from) a greater experience of fulfillment.
The four systems of conception that compose the Auravana Project’s specification for community, are, in no particular order and in brief:
The social system specification - describes the organized structuring of the social environment; the social structuring of community. A social system is a grouping of units of individuation (units of consciousness) forming a cooperative network in which information is shared and integrated through a structure. Essentially, the social system identifies our aligned interests, and that which we have socially in common. It is an organizing system for social navigation that specifies a direction, orientation, and approach to our lives (to our socially coordinated experience). This specification details the purpose for the community’s existence (a direction), its value system (an orientation), and its approach (a methodology and methods). Herein, these concepts, their relationships and understandings, are defined and modeled. Discursive reasoning is provided for their selection, as opposed to the selection and encoding of other concepts; and their consequences are evidenced.
The [economic] decision system specification - describes the formal structuring of decisions involving a comprehensive information space that resolves into a modification to the state-dynamic of the material environment. In effect, the decision system is designed to structure and coordinate the flow of resources for global accessibility to all goods and services. A decision system is a collection of information-processing components -- often involving humans and automation (e.g., computing) -- that interact towards a common set of objectives. To navigate in common, we must also decide in common. Herein, we maintain a relationship to resources that focuses on access rather than possession, maximizing the advantages of sharing, and incentivizing cooperative, rather than competitive, interest. All metrics relevant to human fulfillment and ecological well-being are factored in to the allocation of resources, optimizing quality-of-life for all, while ensuring the persistence of the commons. The system’s decision processes produce tasks that are acted upon by an intersystem (a.k.a., “interdisciplinary”) team involving the coordinated planning and operation of projects. Through this comprehensive and transparent decisioning process we know precisely what needs to be accomplished to sustain and evolve our fulfillment. Herein, through formalized decisioning and cooperation we may continuously restructure community toward a higher potential dynamic of life experience for all. Note that the community’s "economic system" is primarily encompassed by its decision system -- an economic system is a decision system.
The material system specification - describes the structures, technologies, and other processes we construct around ourselves and into our material-spatial environment, into our ecological habitat. The material system encodes and expresses our resolved decisions. When a decision resolves into action, that action is specified to occur in the material system. Here, our behavior influences the environment, and in turn, the environment influences our [social] behavior. The coherent integration and open visualization of material systems is important if our creations are to maintain the highest level of fulfillment for all individuals. This specification represents the encoding of our decisions into our environment forming our lifestyles around a unified habitat service system within which exists a network of integrated city systems. The visualization and simulation of our connected material integrations is essential for maintaining a set of complex material constructions designed to remain in alignment with the regeneration of our highest potential state of fulfillment. As such, the material system details what has been, what is, and what could be constructed [from our information model] into our environment. This specification depicts, through language and symbols, visualization, and simulation the materially system (i.e., the network of integrated city systems). For anything that is to be constructed in the material system, there is a written part, a drawing part, and a simulation part, which is also how the material system specification is, itself, divided.
And finally, the lifestyle system specification - describes the common behavioral orientations and interests of individuals among community, while identifying the cycles to which they entrain that make up the daily motion in their lives. A lifestyle is how we spend our time; it is our pattern of living in the world as expressed by our activities, interests, and understandings. This specification provides a reasoned reflection on our way of life, how we live our values, and the ways in which we express our world view. It logically derives and discursively argues for the life experience that we all have in common: we all participate in communities of practice, we all have interests and needs, we all contribute through our participation, we all seek self-integration and self-development, we are all active sometimes and inactive at other times, we all discover and adapt through our experiences, we all have routine patterns of behavior, and we all entrain to a cycle. Herein, learning is something we do through life experience and something which influences life experience. What would your life be like in community where goods and services are openly coordinated to be accessible without the need for any form of exchange? It is interesting to think about what a lifestyle might be like in a society oriented toward self-development and contribution, and not stratified by age and the power positioning of oneself over others.
Simply put, these specifications express the logical derivation and technical operation of a living ‘community’ system. They are the “living” documentation to be used in its definition, reasoning, construction, operation, and shared duplication. And yet, they are not static representations of anything. We adapt and evolve them as we observe and learn more.
To us, there is the emergence of community when these four primary organizing systems exist in harmonious relationship, operating together in a connected and coherent manner for our adaptive, mutual fulfillment. And so, when we use the word ‘community’ we are referring to a specific type of social, decision, material, and lifestyle design. We inquire into a specific type of societal information model. We inquire into a model where feedback is accounted for and relationships are experienced as they are, unified and harmonious. Here, feedback evolves the information space, allowing for the generation of an environment where our behaviors and constructions may become intentionally aligned with our fulfillment.
Together, these systems represent a unified information space depicting the open-source and free “operating system” of a community-type society. We are in, metaphorically speaking, a “digital age” where we can rapidly reprogram the systems around us to optimize for our fulfillment, and to regeneratively distribute prosperity. Consequently, one might view the specifications as the adoption of nature’s operating system applied to our intentional flourishing. It may also be of use to consider the specifications as something similar to that which physicists refer to as a “TOE”, which is an acronym that stands for “theory of everything”. To physicists, a TOE is a unified, coherent description of all of nature. And so, one could also possibly say that the design specifications, as a unified information model depicting community, represent a theory of every form of fulfilled human organization in nature, given what is presently known. Certainly, if it is a theory of an optimal form of human organization, then it has to account for what we experience and know.
Essentially, the design specifications represent our description of community as a set of common and persistent interrelationships and integrations that orient toward fulfillment and are capable of being scaled up to the population of the planet without causing instability (due to inaccuracies in design and lack of alignment with natural processes). The system itself is scalable and efficiently duplicable because it mirrors the way nature works to our best understandings. And yet, it is important to consider, that community develops when we as individuals awaken to our own growth and self-development, having our own experiences and proving to ourselves what is true and real.
Here is where the idea of not fighting the existing system, but facilitating the experience of a different way, becomes relevant; as the saying goes, “construct a new system that makes the existing one obsolete”. And remember, a system that works for everyone works for us too.
So, that is what we are working on, we are designing the optimal in the now. Who doesn’t want a life of wholeness and meaning, of potential and purpose and play, which are directly motivational and facilitate access to one’s whole and integrated self? And after you have had some time to consider the question, then ask yourself this, “What does it feel like to experience flow in my daily life through the expression of connection and integration at every scale of relationship on up to the larger ecological and socio-economic?” If we flow with natural principles we can even amplify what we are capable of in nature; we can get even better at it, and do it in a way that keeps us harmonious with the natural world, so that we are optimized in our alignment with its flow (i.e., we aren't fighting the flow of nature).
In community, we have become explorers, creators and caretakers. Our lives and creations have come to involve consideration of natural life cycles in order that we may build stability and resiliency into our systems. Community is a model for living aligned with our natural life cycles, a model of successful communication and integration at every scale of relationship. It involves the construction of a set of relationships in alignment with the nature so that we may regenerate abundance that we don’t pay for [in quality].
If you were to walk around and experience community you might say that it feels open - a sense of how people treat each other in an open way, it’s visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing, and also that there are a lot of opportunities for people to interact, discover, and grow. Simply put, it is an environmental design that uplifts us in every way we know we can be uplifted around a population of others (in a material environment). As such, it is further experienced as seemingly effortless coordination between people for everyone’s fulfillment, a place where the wisdom of all can contribute to all of our well-being. And, it is from this place in the fullness of our lives that we experience creation rather than compensation. When we are full and not insatiable, which is the claim of the starving and suffering, then we can have play and freedom around our fulfillment.
When we don’t feel full in the moment, then we are left continuously wanting…the next purchase…the next form of entertainment…the next system…the next thing to check off…the next place to arrive…the next “community” to join, whatever to fill the void we feel. Among community, however, we structure our fulfillment through unification of our designed specifications so we have the time and space to think more carefully about our needs, our wants, our preferences, and certainly, reconsideration of our opinions. Here, our sufficiency means we have no incentive to take without regard for others. If we just take what is in reach without considered coordination [through specification] we may we miss out on the experience of fulfillment through the synergy of our efforts.
If we were to simplify this to the extreme, then we might say, “Life’s long, so let’s all get along”. Instead of exchanging (beliefs and resources) amongst ourselves for some fulfillment, lets design a unified (living) system for our fulfillment.
The unified part, here, bears reiterating. If we just look at the material structure, how are we ever going to build something integral. The experience of community is the integration of external as well as internal elements. Without a holistic approach we can’t build community, let alone ensure that its design is scalable, duplicable, and updatable. There is an entire underlying system of identification, organization, and coordination that makes up the idea that people have in their mind as a set of appealing architecture. The architectural images that may have first attracted you to this direction (such as those published by The Venus Project) are just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg in concern to the construction of community. It is important to be aware that there is socio-decisioning, and a particular lifestyle, behind the emergence of the material structures and technologies that may have initially drawn your attention. We have to go deeper in our thinking than the superficial.
It is important to think not only about the material specification (which includes the buildings, infrastructure, and all other material/technological aspects of the integrated city system), but also the necessity of social organization, decisioning, and lifestyle design. There is a lot more to the designed creation of the system that this direction promotes than just its [material] architectural and technological realization. An iceberg may be useful metaphor here to further illustrate the point. The small amount of iceberg above the surface represents the visible material architecture and technology; the huge mass below the surface, represents the remainder of the community as a living system, from individual lifestyles to social coordination, and decision algorithms (that facilitate economic-resource fulfillment). The material architecture, the part of the iceberg above the water, is just what you see first; and although its specification (i.e., the material specification) is essential, its creation to the neglect of the other specifications (i.e., the social, decision, and lifestyle) will not lead to a safe and stable societal-city design.
Providing access to resources and technology alone will not solve significant social problems; there is also the need for [at least] social re-organization and decision re-design. We need a newly updated and more comprehensive information model for living. More technology and material abundance isn’t necessarily of benefit when a society’s socio-decisioning structure, and lifestyle, verifiably produces suffering. Here, we have to pay attention to suffering, for suffering is a sign that the design of a living societal system is broken.
Now, consider the iceberg metaphor in the context of large scale change throughout history. You get a lot of people, some of whom are very fearful, who decide they want to change the socio-economic system. So they do; they change the system, superficially. And now, possibly after a generation or two, they are right back where they started from -- after some time it just returns to the same kind of abuse that it has always been . . . because that is the nature of dis-connection and an insufficiency in self-integrated organization. The system simply turned back into what it was before, under a different name and maybe a different set of technologies. Fear and ignorance created change, and the change did nothing, so no one has really been helped. Had we worked integrally and intelligently, both internally as well as outwardly, likely we would have a more meaningful and higher quality-of-life as a result.
Fear and ignorance [of] cause a focus on symptoms, inhibiting a deeper awareness of root causes and relationships. We can very easily become part of the problem, and not part of the solution when we don’t view the situation from a sufficiently encompassing perspective. The way you become part of the solution is to work on developing yourself into an expression of your highest potential, and also, by reconstructing your environment into one of greater fulfillment of all. Becoming a real part of the solution, not a pretend part of the solution, or worse, a part of the problem by simply introducing more confused information and fear into an already fearful system. Here, it is wise to consider that maybe we need less active-ism, and more activity in personal self-development and co-creating [a specification] for fulfillment.
Importantly, our work isn’t about forcefully taking the creations of others down or setting them on fire; it is about creating something different and sharing it with others so they may experience and possibly realize that they too can re-construct their creations toward one of greater fulfillment for all.