We ask questions all the time, but rarely do we stop to think about how we’re asking them. One might consider the following insight:
All questions are good questions . . . in facilitation of our own [individual] learning. However, every question is not the right question . . . in facilitation of a systematic understanding. Notice how the phrases that follow the ellipses (“. . .”) represent a contextual qualification of that which came earlier in the sentence.
For example, a frequently asked question received by the Project is, “How are you going to motivate people to do work in the community without money?” This is a common question from someone in modern society who understands motivation to do “work” as either coming from an external place of punishment or reward. The question presumes the non-existence of self-motivation and the desire to contribute. Fortunately, there is such a thing as being internally motivated. Hence, it is not the “right” question, for if it's presumptions were followed through into the response, then the response would not be useful. Community does not exist to motivate people; instead, community is designed to not inhibit self-motivation. And yet, the question, “How are you going to motivate people?” is a question that if responded to comprehensively, and the response critically considered, may facilitate a more holistic understanding of the root problem. Herein, a more interesting question might be, “What would a system look like where we are all facilitated in working toward our own (and all others) highest fulfillment, with joy and abundance?” Notice that this is a more open question, which does not presume inaccurately (Read: that “work” is something we only do when forced or rewarded by something external to ourselves). Essentially, the kinds of questions you begin with lead you to the types of answers you are going to get; context is vital. Answers strictly framed by the questions that are asked may be limiting comprehension. Note here that “right” questions lead to answers that evolve our understandings and our potential for fulfillment in the real world.
In community, we seek to understand why we have done what we have done, and why we think the way we think. When asking questions, there is no need to conform to standards that have been constructed by others in an effort to avoid punishment or looking less (i.e., shame). Inquiry, in essence, involves the expansion of our awareness to more greatly understand why we have done what we have done, and why we can do differently in a compassionate way, which is only liberating. Without inquiry, all we are left with is fight or flight. We are all fallible, we are all learning.
Questions are psychologically powerful -- not only does hearing a question affect what our brains do in that instant, but they can also shape our future behaviour. When a question is posed, it has the potential to influence the brain’s thought process. Therein, questions that do get attended to with some good level of mental effort can have power influence over the person answering the question. When a mind is thinking about the answer to a question, it has a difficult time contemplating anything else. In general, research in neuroscience has found that the human brain/mind can only think about one idea at a time (although there are certainly many subconscious processes occurring simultaneously). Hence, when someone is asked a question, it "forces" their mind to consider only that question. Behavioural scientists have also found that just asking people about their future decisions significantly influences those decisions, a phenomenon known as the “mere measurement effect.” In concern to decisioning questions, such questions prompt the brain to contemplate a behaviour, which increases the probability that it will be acted upon. In fact, decades of research has found that the more the brain contemplates a behaviour, the more likely it is that the organism will engage in it. Just thinking about doing something can shift perception and even alter body chemistry. Take note that asking more questions when sharing information is more likely to keep an interlocutor engaged.
Herein, it also relevant to note that phobias show up in the kinds of questions we ask. Questions that conform to fears subvert our capacity to see things other than the way we have been trained and acculturated to see them. Hence, the honorable question is the one determined by how we respond to the response.
In community, we look forward to new questions: A new question may convey a new perspective, a contradiction in the present system, or a useful design consideration that we overlooked. With that said, some questions look a lot like questions, but are really personal, subtly concealed attacks. We do not look forward to these questions, and we will likely not respond to them. Also, if you feel that you have a better response to one of these FAQs, or that you have your own FAQ that you would like to add to this list, then please contribute it through our contact webpage.
The Auravana Project’s response to any particular question herein should become clear, and possibly even self-realizing, once the design specifications have been read and integrated in their entirety. Questions about the system’s reasoning and its technical functioning will more than likely be answered by a reading of the specifications, which become a reference tool to provide direct and integrated answers to such questions. When someone has questions about logical derivations and technical specifics, then we have a comprehensive specification as an informed part of our response. However, when questions are time-sensitive and paradigmatically limited, then this FAQ is more useful. With that said, we don’t have all the answers, and we don't claim to; we are still designing the system.
A1. What is the plan for implementation of the proposed community?
The design for the community is not yet sufficiently complete to plan its implementation. We do, however, presently have a ‘scope of work’, and we are in the process of converting it into a comprehensive project plan. Visit our Project Team Support webpage for the ‘scope of work’.
At the same time, we hope to be an inspiration to others to collaboratively evolve and improve the design, and eventually form a network based on an optimized design.
A2. What is your time frame for implementation of your proposal at a global scale?
It is important to recognize that it took us many generations to acquire this knowledge, and also, for humanity to enter the precariously unsustainable position it presently finds itself in. Hence, it is likely going to take us generations to share this knowledge at the scale of the population of the planet. In other words, we may be able to create the first community (or small community network) within several years, but it is going to take generations for this information to permeate the global consciousness such that the population at a planetary level is capable of transitioning to community at a massive scale. We all need to manage our own expectations. The sort of design that we are proposing, and the type of "change" that is required for this design to become globally accepted, does not come overnight. And so, the Auravana Project is here to ensure an intelligent and strategic transition.
It is important to recognize that many people brought up in modern society will perceive the change necessary to actualize this new system as a disruption to, and interference in, their life. This system challenges their pre-established beliefs, interwoven and encoded into the very fabric of modern society, for generations. People dislike disruption because handling it requires effort and potentially puts them in a position they can't control, which may lead them to fear the change that is coming. Hence, when we begin marketing this system and communicating the design at a larger scale, we shall demonstrate that the formation of community is not a disruption to their lives and their fulfillment, but an opportunity for greater well-being and more fulfillment.
A3. Why do you include a business plan as a necessary part of the project plan; I thought you were trying to create a moneyless society?
Entities in the monetary market economy maintain nearly total control over all of the resources on this planet at the present point in time. Further, computer processing and internet communications technologies require global coordination for their materialization, which is primarily due to the fact that their composition includes rare earth elements. Iridium and various other metals required for their operation are rare and are not available everywhere. Presently, many of these technologies cannot be recreated without industry, so when these objects break we will require resources from outside of the community. For anyone to say that in the near term we are going to have a high-tech moneyless society without some degree of continued exchange with the market that mines and coordinates the movement of these elements is dubious.
Hence, the Community is being designed to generate an abundance of certain goods and services, which will be sold into the market. The revenue taken from the sale of these goods and services will be used for two purposes: 1) to maintain and upgrade the service systems where internal resources are insufficient; and 2) to meet the fixed cost needs of constructing new cities within the community network.
B1. What are the different perspectives or approaches in transitioning to community (and access abundance) at a global scale?
Transition is actually an ongoing process, rather than a means to a defined end/goal. With that said, there are four general opinions on how the transition to community at a global scale will occur. Each of the four differentiated opinions is describing a different approach: 1) the top down approach; 2) the distributed sustainability approach; 3) the collaborative commons approach; and 4) the community network approach, which is a separate approach that involves aspects of the prior three approaches.
1. The top down approach says that the transition will come from those in positions of power and authority in various governments and corporations. These individuals will use their influence, their power to create law, and their power to interpret law to transitioning their socio-economies more greatly toward universal access, a sustainable resource base, and the dissolution of all crimes without a real victim (i.e., “victimless crimes”). Unconditional/universal basic income and socialized health care are seen as transition steps to this end.
There are people in positions of authority and power, in modern society, who understand that the world is changing, and they too desire to facilitate responsible change.
One of the many challenges with this approach is that it is an attempt to use an authoritarian, force-based structure to create a non-authoritarian, contribution-based structure. Eventually, people with power over others would have to give up their powers as well as dissolve the structures that allow for those powers in the first place. We know scientifically that entering into a position of power changes cognition and behavior (Hogeveen, J. et al. 2013. Power changes how the brain responds to others. DOI: 10.1037/a0033477). So, anyone consciously attempting this approach must keep this in mind, always.
2. The distributed sustainability approach says that the transition will come from a mass social adoption of sustainable technologies and regenerative ways of living. Sustainable ways of living lead to the localized fulfillment of needs, and a resource transformation cycle that accounts for the Earth’s natural ecology. Neighborhoods and individuals will slowly become independent of the market and State in the fulfillment of common human and ecological need.
Globally, the number of sustainable projects is growing at an exponential rate.
One of the major challenges with this approach will be to bring neighborhoods and individuals sufficiently together to create an optimized and integrated city system after they have become established as their own “sustainable” units. Further, people can become comfortable (if not pacified) with a decision that has no real impact on the fundamental structure of the society around them.
3. The collaborative commons approach is well-described by Jeremy Rifkin in his written work entitled, “The zero marginal cost society”. The collaborative commons is a lateral sharing and effort contribution network facilitated by our modern telecommunications systems, which generally bypasses the capitalist market altogether. For a reasonable overview of this approach we recommend watching Jeremy Rifkin on the Fall of Capitalism and the Internet of Things (YouTube).
In this case, there are two transition triggers.
The first transition trigger is a shift in something called “marginal cost”. In business, “marginal cost” is the cost of producing an additional unit of a good or service after the fixed costs are covered. Hence, “zero marginal cost” means that after fixed costs are accounted for there are no additional costs for producing more of the same good or service. The technological revolution we are experiencing right now will soon reduce costs for most goods and services to near zero, making goods and services essentially free.
The second transition trigger is the tendency in capitalism to automate - to turn things previously done by humans into automated functions. The continuous pursuit of automation leads to the erosion of labor positions -- technologically induced spikes in unemployment. What remains are activities that people do out of enjoyment, not for the necessity of money or due to force. More and more people are participating in the collaborative commons, putting their efforts and energies into common designs and open projects.
The internet has entirely changed the way humanity communicates, shares, and designs. The 3d printing revolution will entirely change the way humanity materializes objects. What really matters is that people have an understanding of what is to come so that they take rational and healthy decisions, and not create or otherwise advocate for laws that prevent this natural progression.
One of the major challenges with this approach is the creation of technological unemployment, leading to a reduction in the purchasing power of the general population, and a turn toward violent discontent.
4. The fourth approach is the one that we, as The Auravana Project, are presently working on. Our approach is to design a new socio-economic system intended for human fulfillment and the flourishing of all life on the planet. We call this new socio-economic design by the term ‘community’. Effectively, The Auravana Project is here to integrate the world’s knowledge and understandings into the design of a constructible, duplicable, and scalable community system. The design for this system is separated out at a high-level into four specifications. These specifications detail the logical derivation and technical operation of the system, and are the emergently informed reference documentation to be used in its construction, operation, and duplication.
The first form of this system will operate as a single, integrated city system. It will function not only to sustain itself, but to produce and otherwise generate abundance so that the city system can duplicate (and possibly up-scale). In other words, the living designs that produced the first city will evolve through what we learn while operating in the first city, and they will be used to duplicate the socio-economic operation of the city itself such that we will have two cities operating as a two node community network, then three cities, then four, then five, and so on. Thus, we shall establish a vast community-city network composed of multiple connected integrated city systems that reference a single socio-economic design specification oriented toward everyone’s fulfillment and flourishing within the community network.
We see this approach as a way toward sanity and stability that is itself sane and stable.
Simply, we will create and found the first community-city, then duplicate the city into the formation of a community network. We expect that ecovillages and other transition-oriented/sustainable neighborhoods that have sufficiently aligned with this new socio-economic design could easily transition to, and join with, the community network.
In concern to modern towns and cities, however, it is far more efficient to build new cities as self-contained systems from the ground up than to restore and retrofit old ones. New cities can take advantage of the latest technologies and be clean, safe, and desirable places to live from their inception.
In all honesty, however, we will transition to community at a global scale through a combination of the four aforementioned approaches. Firstly, community incorporates sustainable and regenerative technologies and practices into an emergent, integrated, and optimized design. The difference in our approach, versus the distributed sustainability approach, is that instead of individuals, families, and neighborhoods becoming individualized units of sustainable design, we are integrating sustainability and regenerability into very structure our networked socio-economic operation. In our documentation, we refer to this design, in part, as an “integrated habitat service system”. Hence, we can scale the size of the design without the introduction of potentially dangerous artifacts. Secondly, the planet is presently separated into governmental jurisdictions. Hence, in order to create community, we will need leaders in various jurisdictions to understand that the world is changing and to desire the facilitation of responsible change by allowing and supporting the construction and operation of this community. Thirdly, we are, in fact, developing this system in and through the collaborative commons. The design is entirely open source and free. It accounts for desired and undesired human input, while incorporating an automation directive to automate all undesired tasks and functions. We apply automation everywhere we desire and where resources are available.
Whatever is going to happen in the near future, it is going to be spectacular. As a global society, we may not have the money to solve our global problems, but we do have the people and resources, which makes it obvious that the current system inhibits systematic problem solving and does not work for us as a species on this finite planet.
Postscript to question:
We can't just assume that even though we have an excellently designed and evidenced system that we are just going to easily transition to community at a global scale. We have to address pre-existing human behavioral conditioning. There are necessary psycho-emotional shifts that must take place in the population if we want to see community come into existence globally. Most people brought up in the profit-oriented system of modern society have been psychologically conditioned by its motivating, socially disconnecting, drivers. In other words, they have been conditioned by the profit system to behave in ways that are not in their own, or others, best interests, and so, we have to confront that conditioning. Copiosis is one proposed algorithmic-based system for addressing this conditioning. It addresses the conditioning by modifying the drivers under every transitory experience away from the psycho-emotional feeling debt (i.e., owing someone something because of a benefit, service or good, they provided). In modern society, because of market conditions and conditioning, people feel as if they owe someone for a benefit they receive from them. When transacting with others, or receiving gifts, they often feel the need (as real emotional pain) to return the benefit in kind. This feeling of debt is part of the conditioning they have accepted from modern society -- those who are conditioned cannot freely accept benefit from another without the automatic reaction that they owe that person in return (i.e., in kind). Yet, community has nothing to do with, and does not encode, debt transaction. In community, when you receive a benefit from another human being you are not obligated to return that benefit. You do not have to feel obliged to respond in kind. Similarly, the Copiosis model via its net benefit algorithm rewards the act that was of benefit, through the system itself, without the benefactor have to take any action. Among the many potential benefits of the Copiosis model, over time, it is expected to de-condition people from feeling the need to pay for goods and services.
B2. What do you think about the idea of having a revolution?
Today, there are injustices, but let us not let "leaders" pound on the injustices to the extent that we stop thinking and simply jump on the bandwagon of hate and revolt. Often, speaking of the injustices is only a ploy for another set of masters. The book “Animal Farm” by George Orwell carries this theme. In the book, the animals stage a revolt, which is led by the pigs. After the animals overthrow the farmer they realize that the pigs are significantly worse.
We need to understand the system as it is before we start to change it on a massive scale. We need to have our priorities straight. We need to have the designs and evidence for the new system well established before construction. We are proposing an entirely different way of living, and we need to have that well thought out. If the system isn’t well developed then we are potentially putting our own lives, and the lives of others, at unnecessary risk.
Generally, the term “revolution” conjures up fundamental systems change through violence. Whereas, the term "non-violent revolution" is used to refer to fundamental systems change without violence. We do not advocate violent revolution. Instead, we agree that the way forward is to design a new system that makes the existing system obsolete, and slowly people will join us as they see and experience this new and better way.
In truth, we don’t have to start a non-violent revolution, entrepreneurs and industry are doing this for us. For example, 3D printing is a revolutionary mix of technologies that allows us to materialize our creative potential more quickly than ever before. Most people don’t understand the exponential trend of technological development and computer processing power. Computer-based technologies are exponential in their growth curves - not linear (i.e., new technologies multiply functionality, they don’t simply add). To put the concept into perspective, taking thirty steps linearly, one might walk across the living room. But, taking thirty steps exponentially-doubling the distance with each successive step, would be the equivalent of traveling the distance from Earth to the moon. The fact that today’s technologies are exponential in their growth curves, not linear, is absolutely fundamental to understanding the next phase of human and societal evolution. In other words, we are entering an increasingly thought responsive environment due to our exponentially rapid technological advancement.
In order to safely use thought responsive technologies we must adopt a new socio-economic system that orients toward access abundance and cooperative fulfillment. The alternative is an extremely powerful authority stepping in, encroaching fully on free expression for those who are not the authority, and controlling every aspect of everyone’s behavior to ensure conformity to a set of safe operating rules. We prefer the former, for the latter is truly a nightmare scenario. A violent revolution could trigger the latter scenario, which we want to avoid at all costs.
Aphorism: It is a grave matter to overthrow an established order, for who is to say that the result may not be worse.
Fundamentally, people can be so afire with purpose that they fail to observe the reality around them and don’t see that which is most relevant to their purpose.
Among community we are not seditionists, we are not insurrectionists, and we are not militaristic. We simply test and build new and more optimized ways of living for our individual, social, and ecologically interconnected lives. It is by working on this purpose that we shall construct fulfillment for all sentient life on this planet.
B3. What do you think about the idea of a collapse, and would it help in creating community?
During collapses people panic and latch onto the first strong message that they hear, regardless of whether or not it is good for them. In a collapse people will use what they have at hand. Humanity would do a lot of damage on the way down. If a collapse comes, and you think psychopaths are in charge now, wait to see who is in charge during a time of panic. When fear is externalized and widespread, the psychopaths thrive. Hunter S. Thompson once said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro". To apply the quote in this context, we mean that when the going gets really horrific, those who thrive on the generation of fear are likely to rule [with an even greater predation than they do now]. Collapse is a very bad idea and will mean widespread suffering. Collapse, as economic ruin, leads easily to social ruin. Collapse for economic salvation is definitely the wrong approach, and would be counterproductive to restore a safe ecology. It would likely make our work at local and global redesign more difficult. As soon as there is panic all plans go out the metaphorical window. Conversely, it may increase motivation . . . which would be useful.
If a collapse does come, at least we have a specification from which we can begin to create anew with a different orientation in mind.
Some of us may be emotionally drawn and yearn for collapse, but at the same time it is important to recognize that we need the resources and knowledge this present society has to construct community. Instead of being drawn to collapse, why not spend your time and effort designing something constructive. Narratives of collapse are preparation for the death and destruction of others, and possibly oneself. If we are going to feed into something, why not feed into an intelligent redesign of our socio-economic environment.
The concepts of ‘emergence’ and ‘emergency’ are related. Many of the great developmental leaps in human history and biological evolution were preceded by immanent threat. Evolve or die is a powerful driver of previously unrealized capacities. Our collective and inescapable global crises are the evolutionary breeding grounds of a new way of living.
IF YOU HELP SOMEONE TO LOVE, IT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE DIFFERENT.
C1. What is the functional purpose for the first city?
The purpose for the community’s very existence is detailed in the Social System specification. In brief, it is to facilitate a group of individuals in developing toward their highest potentials in the most sustainable and resilient manner technically possible. Besides the primary purpose for the community’s existence, the first city is a prototype with several additional functions. A prototype is a model built to test a concept or process. The first city will operate as a center for learning, self-development, and orientation to this new way of living. It will be a testing space for our specifications, as well as an exploration and research center.
The city will function not only to facilitate our highest self-development, but also to:
Hence, the population of the city will be composed primarily of people interested in their own self-development as well as the continued development and rapid duplication of the community’s design.
C2. What is the planned population size of the first city?
We do not yet have a definitive figure on the population size of the first city. Its population size will depend on various factors including the land area, available material resources, and our financial starting capital.
C3. Who will finance and join the first city?
We have not yet planned the financing for the first city. We are presupposing that it will be financed through two means: crowdfunding and individuals/families entering the first city.
Those selected to participate in the first city will principally desire a better way of living for themselves and others. The population of the city will be composed primarily of people interested in self-development as well as the continued development and rapid duplication of the community’s design. A percentage of the total incoming population will likely have some reasonable degree of financial wealth, for in the market which dominates this planet, it is those with financial wealth who have the means to most greatly influence the entire world toward this direction.
Screening is required for any community, and entrance into this community will be no different. It would be highly unwise for the community to just accept anyone from modern society without screening for things like violence toward others (through a background check), value orientation, as well as an understanding of the structure and function of the community itself. Herein, motivation and the probability of contribution are extremely important variables. The system would likely break down quickly if we just dumped a bunch of people with contradictory value orientations and psychophysiological disturbances into it. In fact, if such was to happen, then it shouldn’t be called a “community”, because a community is [in part] a set of commonly fulfilling social and economic interrelationships. It is a place where we build togetherness.
People in modern society have all manner of emotional, intellectual, and psychological issues for which the community must screen. This is a critical approach to the functional creation of the first city. Secondary and tertiary cities may be able to accept a larger percentage of people with some of these various issues. It can take time for people with psycho-social issues to heal and to re-orient. Later cities will be better able to handle a population going through healing crises and prolonged periods of restorative inactivity.
It is important to state that the first city will not exist to feed and shelter a group of people “taken in” from modern society. The city is not intended as a “safe haven” from which to escape the rest of the world. There is no escaping global problems.
C4. Where will the first city be placed?
A geopolitical/jurisdictional analysis needs to be completed to determine jurisdictionally feasible locations. A climate and land assessment would need to be completed on the potential locales to determine viability. The location will need to be politically conducive to our socio-economic system. Ideally, the jurisdiction would already have high life satisfaction and low corruption (systemic and otherwise) among its population. We have not yet started these analyses. If you are interested in starting them, then we would appreciate your help.
C5. How are you going to create this proposed community without fossil fuels?
The creation of a renewable energy technology requires a certain amount of fossil fuel input because you have to build, or otherwise acquire, the [renewable source] generators. We may have to use fossil fuels to bridge into a renewable economy, although it is also possible to source our energy from existing renewable energy sources in the market.
E1. Are you actually proposing that everyone live this way?
We are not telling people what to believe, or even to believe anything. The design specifications are written to help those interested in sustainability and flourishing to look into and unravel a "bigger picture" that may facilitate the emergence of a more fulfilling societal environment. The specifications provide a common base of understanding. We are all explorers here, and what we have written is just some of the exploration that has come before and our integration thereof. With that said, it is true that we are proposing a particular way of living that could be scaled up to the population size of the planet, so it would be false to say that were aren’t proposing a way of living for everyone.
One could call the project an experimental approach to living differently with the recognition that the socio-economic system we have now is also an experimental approach to living. In fact, we have learned a lot about ourselves and the ecological tolerances of the planet over the last several millennia, though particularly in the modern era. And with the knowledge we have acquired it only seems reasonable that we can do better, we can live better for ourselves and we can be better stewards. We can live with greater well-being, greater fulfillment and greater abundance, while concurrently existing in regenerative harmony with the earth, as that which gives us all life, and is fundamentally the lifeground of all of our beings while we are here.
Right now, most people on the planet are living in a way proposed and imposed by others, mostly long dead. Conversely, we are not here to impose a particular way of living on anyone. No one can be coerced or imposed into community. Community will either be participated in by those who understand it for what it is, or it won’t exist.
One could say that the ultimate goal of this direction is to increase the standard of living for 100% of the population, not just the 99% or the 1%. This means that whatever solution we have to offer has to be an improvement for the 1% AND the 99%.
E2. You are trying to destroy my way of life.
Yes, and no. It is true that this project represents an attempt to change the way the majority of us live. However, the system we propose is entirely voluntary; it represents a suggestion to change, and there is no force applied to change. The question to ask is this, "Is our current way of life actually worth keeping?" Does the current way of life bring suffering, war, poverty, hunger, social stratification, violence, addiction, and stress to essentially the entire world? It is essential to recognize that the structure of modern society is not capable of providing a high standard of living to everyone, nor can it ensure the well-being of the environment. Even someone who is succeeding in the current system will often have to spend much of their time performing pointless tasks that they would rather not do, while contributing to environmental destruction and slave labor. Therein, sustainability, economic efficiency, and resource preservation are the enemy of the current, dominating economic system. It is up to the individual to decide which way of living is more desirable: pointless toil, environmental destruction, and suffering versus an emergent design that continuously reassess to ensure environmental balance and human prosperity.
We are not trying to impose this system on you, or on anyone. More precisely, we are not imposing anything on you. We are presenting an alternative.
We recognize that only a voluntary system can actually meet our needs. When people are forced into a relationship, the relationship is unlikely to be of great quality. If, for example, you are forced to pay for meals at a restaurant, then the restaurant is highly unlikely to be customer sensitive.
We are not trying to convince anyone of anything. All we are trying to do is logically derive and design a new system, and then ask, does this not make you curious for what life could be like. The more we ignore and push evidence underground, the more dangerous we make life for everyone. Fear inhibits our exploration. Curiosity causes us to invent a torch as a tool for which we may explore the darkness and the unknown. To value curiosity doesn’t mean we can or should give up our sense of skepticism or cautiousness, which is different than fear; it is still a forward movement, but doing so while being careful and aware.
E3. You are proposing a centralized system and I will dismiss it as such.
By calling this a “centralized system” and dismissing it as such, you are essentially trying to put us in a straw-man box that you have likely been given instructions on arguing against.
It actually takes quite a bit of time to explain the classification of the economic decision system. We classify the model as systems-based, access-based, resource-based, and participative-based. If you are interested in how we classify this system and its relationship to centralization, decentralization, and distributed networks, then we recommend that you read the subsection of the Decision System specification called “Classification of the Economic Decision Model”. Be aware that it is a long section, and it includes appendices.
To simply label the model as a “centralized system” shows a lack of diligence in applied effort to understand that which we are putting forward. It also reveals, to some degree, the assumptions being made about the system. Every system has some degree of centralization, otherwise it wouldn’t be a ‘system’. The decision system itself is simply an emergently designed model, commonly developed and informed by a distributed, open community of sharing and cooperating users.
In the real world there is complexity. And, a system which is efficient is simple. What we are proposing is simple, and yet also fairly complex; it is simplex.
Is bitcoin a distributed or centralized system? Bitcoin follows the bitcoin protocol and bittorrent does similarly with its own central protocol; however, the use of the system is distributed and power therein is decentralized.
Also, notice how in order to communicate with one another we need commonality. A community is the notion that there exists commonality at all scales, and when we recognize this, then we can intentionally plan our designs to construct more fulfilling and sustainable creations for all of us. Herein, we as humans are the designers, the users, and the operators of the community systems that provide for our fulfillment. In community, we do not construct institutions or encode abstract transaction mediums, which represent a barrier to feedback, and ultimately, our fulfillment. It is true that some of the systems in the Community are automated, but those systems are designed, used, and operated by us (not by some external profit/power seeking entity).
Furthermore, community is not a centralized political system with a centralized justice system based on retribution. It is not composed of a special group of decision-makers with a special right to threaten others, as is the case with systems of political and judicial centralization. Instead, community involves an explicit, transparent, and objective decision process common to all and informed by all. Herein, we apply restorative justice practices in place of retributive justice as a neuroscientific way forward. Fundamentally, if there is a central authority [committee, department, institution, figure, or whatever], then there is not community. One could say that in community, decisions occur central to users, and not central to industry, business and capital, bureaucracy, or some other “rightful” power player or authority.
In community, users reflect how much care and interest there is in fulfilling a particular need or want without the layers of abstraction, hidden motivations, and violence of competing forces, which are ever present in government and in the market. Human and ecological signals are what we care about in community, not “market signals” or “political signals” (as threats from authorities).
A centralized social control system often institutes a system of education controlled by its own authority. The Lifestyle System Specification describes why the Community is not that sort of environment and it describes the harm to fulfillment that such an environment creates. Among community, the individual has control over their own education.
E4. You want to put a supercomputer in charge of my life.
We do not want a computer in charge of our lives, and we have not designed a system that would lead to such a circumstance. More than likely, you are probably misunderstanding (or have not read into) the Community’s decisioning system. The decisioning system is detailed in the Decision System Specification, and it is designed specifically to facilitate human fulfillment in a sustainable manner. We are in charge of our own lives and we have designed the decision system to facilitate the synergy of our efforts and the coordination of resources to generate a dynamic of greater access and opportunity for all of us.
Therein, our automation systems do not exist to control our lives. They are designed by us, and for us, to facilitate our fulfillment. The same cannot necessarily be said about automation systems programmed and run by businesses and governments. One can easily imagine an authoritarian dystopian future where automated driverless cars are accessible to police such that they could use the networked system to force someone to pull over whenever and wherever they want. In community, we realize that the more you give an authority control over your life, the more likely the authority is to abuse it.
The specifications of the computing systems we use in community are composed based upon a set of fulfillment- and sustainability-oriented design parameters. These systems are not designed to make up threats, to issue threats, or to follow through with any threat.
Do you know the show “Star Trek: The Next Generation”? In that show there exists a main computer program for the Enterprise space ship. This computer is entirely under human control by design. It can lock doors, put out fires, establish security parameters, handle navigation, monitor life support systems, sometimes self-repair, and so on. But it will never exceed its boundaries defined by the humans that have designed and programed that computer. The technology in the community will serve whatever purposes human users, whom are also the designers and operators, intend it to.
Here, it may be of interest to note that in the show “Star Trek”, the economic system of Earth as well as the Starship Enterprise is essentially similar to that which we are proposing. In other words, it is based on access, resources, and participation to facilitate everyone in their development toward their own highest potentials.
Watch a clip from Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1, episode 26 - The Neutral Zone, YouTube
E5. You are promoting a scientific dictatorship.
What exactly is a scientific dictatorship? Whatever that is, we do not advocate that, and that is certainly not what we have designed. Firstly, we have not designed a dictatorship. Community isn't a system where a special group of people use their special powers in a planned way to shape the world to their whims -- there is no management of other humans occurring in community. In fact, we have designed a participative system where dictatorship would have a near impossible time forming. The Lifestyle System discusses the topic of management and describes why the Community does not encode that concept. Instead, the Community is composed of users who are also participating in the design, development, and operation of those technical systems that sustain the structural operation of the community. Secondly, science is a method of falsifiable discovery and body of emergent knowledge, and so, it seems that the term “scientific dictatorship” is a misnomer for something else.
It is true that science is a component of our three formed approach, but to call the system we have designed a “scientific dictatorship” is to remove the application of science from all relevant context.
We use science to inform, not to dictate. Community is not a system where science and technology rule over people. You may notice from the Social System specification that we put the systems methodology first and we sub-classify science as a systems method. We do agree that problems arise when science is placed ahead of systems thinking. Hence, we are very clear in our design that science is a complementary approach to a holistic orientation to life.
E6. What you are proposing is a techno-fantasy / techno-fix.
Firstly, technology is only one element in the complex design of the whole system. Secondly, at one time a simple handheld radio was a techno-fantasy.
We can design any society we want. The question is, “What sort of society are we choosing?” Those in modern society are paradoxically choosing a fairly tragic and unfortunate design; through a system based upon self-maximized extraction from the earth and other human beings they are essentially stealing fulfillment from themselves.
What is possible is heaven on earth for every single human being. We stand at a point in history where we could create a highly fulfilling environment for every human, using automation and robotics technology to complete the undesirable tasks that are currently performed in the economy, and hence, allow every human to explore that which is interesting and to develop toward his/her highest potential. “Heaven on earth” means a high standard of living for everyone and the opportunity for self-development.
In other words, we are designing a society where everything required to live a high-quality and high-opportunity life is available to everyone. And, it must be done in a way that is sustainable for the planet. This vision is completely doable right now. And, you are mistaken if you think we cannot create this new society in the very near future.
E7. I don't want you coming in and taking my property.
Hold on a moment. Where did you get the idea from that we, as participants in this proposed community, would ever come in and take your property? You definitely didn’t get that from the specifications because they go on ad nauseam about how this is a voluntary, contribution- and participation-based system void of force and coercion. Our work is in the interest of all human beings, and it is not in anyone’s interest to force you to relinquish that which you do not want to relinquish. Imposition creates counter control and resistance.
No one that advocates or develops this system is going to take your property. Once the system is running it isn’t designed to encode force and coercion, and so, still no one will come and take your property. Either people decide that community is right for them, or they don't. There is no advocating here of taking anyone's property. We do, however, think that over time, and as people see and experience what we understand to be a more fulfilling system, that there will be a natural gravitation toward access and common heritage, and away from the continual re-encoding of the idea of property.
In reality, it isn’t the market-based and abstracted concept of “property” that you are looking for, it is actual, tangible access and the opportunities for a high-quality standard of living and self-development that access provides. In other words, when someone says, “I don’t want you taking away my property,” that sounds doubly strange to us. Firstly, this is a voluntary, participative and contributive system, and force and coercion are not a part of the model. And secondly, because, it is not your “property” that you don’t want taken away, it is your ‘access’ to something real that you don’t want taken away. Property, as is well described in the Decision System specification, is not the substantial equivalent of access. The Decision System specification logically explains why property is a concept with multiple contradictions and why that which exists in reality is simply access.
After all, the idea of private property is not a human universal, but a construct of our society. In some societies, no objects are owned and everything is free to take and use as long as somebody else isn't using it.
An open and critical minded person must admit that it is incredibly wasteful to have a car in every driveway and a vacuum cleaner in every apartment when they spend the great majority of their time not being used.
Community is not an imposed system; it is understood, and then, participated in. Violence begets violence. Community, as a system, does not encode force. Let us now reference an often repeated quote by Buckminster Fuller, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality; to change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
For those who participate in community, within and beyond community, no one is going to take your stuff because [in part] everyone has access to similar abundance. And, even if scarcity were to arise suddenly due to an unforeseen event, our approach is toward problem solving and our orientation is toward cooperation and sharing. In other words, if we “fall on hard times”, even then, we don’t start competing and subverting. We recognize our “togetherness” and we move gracefully through the challenge.
Fundamentally, anyone who wants to improve the situation of humankind should be subject to critical examination because if you (or we, or anyone) suggest a moral improvement to humankind and get it wrong, the lives of many people hang in the balance. So, we should be tremendously critical towards the statements of anyone (including ourselves) who claims to improve the moral standing of humankind. This is, in part, why we have encoded critical thinking directly into our socially organized approach.
E8. What about jobs?
How are you going to create jobs? Who is going to do any given job? People won’t want to do jobs they aren’t coerced or financially rewarded for. Who is going to do the unpleasant jobs, like cleaning toilets? You are a going to need a class of workers for the scientific managers to dictate to.
Simply put, we aren’t here to create jobs and we aren’t interested in the market-based concept of “employment”. Instead, community is a system where tasks are created and coordinated by us, and acted upon by us, for our common fulfillment. The worldview that requires and requests jobs is a different worldview than the worldview that understands the existent relationships between coordinated effort and need fulfillment.
Now, let us take a step back and pose a very simple question about the economic structure of modern society. What are the lowest common denominators required to perpetuate a market economy?
(1) Human labor must be sold as a commodity. Outside of investment and inheritance, nearly all money is obtained through income, and income is derived from wages, or profit through some form of employment. Therefore, there must always exist a demand for jobs for the market economy to operate.
(2) Money must be continuously transferred from party to party (employer > employee > consumer > employer) in order to sustain economic continuance and “growth”. This is done through constant and “cyclical” consumption by virtually everyone in the society. Therein, jobs are entirely contingent upon demand for production in some form. If there was no demand for goods and services, there would be no demand for labor and financial circulation would stop.
Needless to say, these two aspects of the market system that are intimately connected, are absolutely paramount to its functionality. If either one of them were substantially hindered, the integrity of the economy would be seriously compromised or possibly be made entirely obsolete.
What if conditions arose where the circulation of money or the necessity of human labor was severely stifled? In other words, what if people simply didn’t need to continually buy things? What if, hypothetically, it was discovered that through optimized techniques in resource management, collaborative design, and sustainable production, the most commonly purchased goods and services could either be made obsolete by larger order renovations, or could have such extreme product efficiency, longevity and near maintenance free durability, that most items could last a lifetime without replacement or major repair?
Here, we may come to realize that it isn't a job that people want, but access to resources, goods and services that money brings. Most jobs today are not directly related to the actual necessities of life. Rather, most are artificial concoctions created in order to keep people employed so they can maintain purchasing power in an environment where our technology continues to expand exponentially, displacing humans from the production force.
It is a common statement in politics today to hear about "creating jobs". Well, in theory, an occupation could be created where people are paid to sit in a room and test chewing gum all day, everyday... but is that a valuable use of the human mind? Should we relegate our mental capacity to any so-called job due to mere "economic" reasons, regardless of what it actually contributes to personal and/or social development? In fact, the very livelihood of most people in modern society is dependent upon how much they contribute to a planet and life harming structure, and even fewer of us are needed as contributors each year. The market becomes even more bizarre as a train of reason when we realize that mechanization not only frees us from labor, it is actually more efficient and productive due to the exponential advancement of science and technology.
In the market, automation will not [necessarily] free all humans to do intrinsically rewarding things. The productivity gains that technology enables mostly flow up the stratified socio-economic pyramid. Another quote from Buckminster fuller conveys the point nicely,
"If humans are not required to earn a living to be provided survival needs, many are going to want to be productive, but not at those tasks they did not choose to do but were forced to accept in order to earn money. Instead, humans will spontaneously take upon themselves those tasks that world society really needs to have done.”
Advancements in science and technology have shown that we can automate nearly all technical functions. The more we have applied mechanization to labor, the more productive things have become. Therefore, it is not only negligent for us to waste our lives waiting tables, working at a bus station, fixing cars, or other repetitive, monotonous jobs, it is also entirely irresponsible for us not to apply modern mechanization techniques to all service platforms, which is a powerful way to sustain abundance for all the world's people.
Unfortunately, among the many things the market creates, is the creation of disorder, and then, the servicing of that disorder; and all the while people are thinking that the disorder is normal and the servicing is necessary.
In community, we have no need to create jobs for an abstract intangible (e.g., money). Instead, we are fulfillment and solution oriented. We understand that if no person or system does the work necessary to maintain the functional operation of the community, then the services therein fall into disrepair. This is, in part, why we can’t just take people from modern society and plop them down into community, and expect community to continue. Community requires a different approach, orientation, and direction to life than that which is active in most people in modern society, and has generated the question, “What about jobs?”.
Fundamentally, community represents the opportunity to contribute whatever you desire, wherever you desire, and whenever you desire; none of the work herein involves a salaried professional. The concept of “employment” is discussed in depth in the Lifestyle System specification.
E9. Will I be forced to do work I don't want to do in the community?
You really haven’t read the design specifications, which go on and on and on about how this is not a system based in any way on force or coercion. To repeat ourselves, this is not a system based on social or economic force or coercion of any kind. There is nothing you have to do in community. With that said, it will help if you find a different way to see how you are arriving at your perspectives and decisions concerning your contribution(s) to society.
Oddly enough, this is a weird question from someone who is continuously coerced to participate in the market system. If you reside in the market and are not independently wealthy, you are likely being forced right now to do work that you don’t want to, and yet, you may not see this work as forced, though it is. In modern society, we have been so well trained to use power over others that it actually becomes invisible, the ways in which we use power.
In community, money is not a middleman between “your” and “our” total need-fulfillment. You would only do work when, and if, you felt it was worth your time and benefited someone. Community is a societal design in which all human needs are fulfilled without abstracted transactional requirements and the necessity for reciprocation (i.e., returning a benefit). If you are motivated to help others, then wonderful. If you are motivated to help yourself, excellent. But, the coercion of money, the slavery of servitude, the feeling of debt, and the extraction of profit is immoral in community.
In community, everyone knows (or can easily come to know) what needs to be done in order to maintain the systems that provide for everyone’s fulfillment. All tasks required to continue the operation of the fulfillment system are explicit and transparent. Herein, there is no such thing as competitive advantage, there is only the synergistic coordination of our common efforts through a common system toward our common fulfillment. When we know what needs to be done and we know what resources are available to do it, then we can each relax into our desire to do that which needs to be done.
Community involves a change in one’s thinking from sacrifice and exchange, to contribution. This system isn't a renunciation of possibility; it is a system of synergy toward ever greater access opportunity.
E10. Who will clean the toilets?
One answer is: the user of the toilet. Remember, the individuals in this community have a different value orientation and approach to life than individuals existing in modern society. We have taken the time to explicate our social organization through the Social System specification. Further, we recognize and highly value efficiency. Hence, another answer would be, the one who has volunteered temporary responsibility for cleaning those particular toilets as part of an Intersystems team. Cleaning a toilet is not a highly skilled task, so a third answer is anyone in proximity who received and has accepted an alert that a set of particular toilets are in need of cleaning. A fourth answer would be; we can design machines to clean the toilets for us. And fifth, even better, we can design more efficient, effective, and self-cleaning toilets.
We also feel the need to note here that the modern sitting toilet is something of an aberration that interrupts our ability to effectively relieve ourselves due the position in which our body is placed during usage. The human being developed to relieve itself while squatting, not sitting. In community, most people would likely return to the manner in which their organism been designed to relieve itself, squatting. Squatting toilets are much easier for a person to clean than sitting ones.
E11. I want the penthouse; how will the community accommodate my want?
What do you mean by “penthouse”, and why do you want it? Everyone needs a comfortable place to rest, to be with themselves and intimate others. Among community we ask ourselves how can things be designed and structured so there is greater fairness in access and fulfillment for everyone.
In modern society, aside from having a top-level view or prime beachfront location, a “penthouse” is a status symbol. “Penthouses” have achieved the social status recognition that they have, not only because of their desirable location, but also due to their typical interior design. They are designed to be more spacious and have more amenities than any of the other living spaces in a building or neighborhood.
The material architecture of modern society has been so constructed and located that there are ownable prime locations; there are good and bad locations, which creates an unfortunate situation for those who either can't afford the good location or who can't get into the location because it is sold out. The common realtor statement of "location, location, location" is true, but its contextual expression indicates a lack of fulfillment-oriented and iteration-based design such that everyone has the best location. Among community there is no ownership, and this “thing” one might refer to as a “prime location” is available for everyone to enjoy. Remember that at the material architectural level the Community represents a strategically designed integrated service platform. Hence, we can design everyone’s living/dwelling space to be a prime location.
Unlike modern neighborhoods and cities, which are monuments to “great names” and amusing attractions, the material architectural space of the community exists for the highest fulfillment of everyone.
The question, “Who is going to get the penthouse?” may be valid in the socio-economic context of modern society, but it is not a design question that we would ask in community. In modern society, the people who get the penthouse are the wealthiest. In the market, the only answer to the question, “Who is going to get the penthouse?” is: the individual who, by one means or another, beat out the others, or whose relatives beat out others, and could thus, afford it and/or inherit it. The question itself presupposes the existence of an intangible transaction medium (i.e., money), and competition for access to scarcity; and hence, when asked in the context of community, the question represents a psychological projection.
The thing is, we all like living in and around beautiful places and locations. If that is something we all like, and to some degree need for our aesthetic well-being, then why don’t we just design that experience for all of us. We have the resources, the skill, and the intelligence to do so. In community, we don’t hinder ourselves through attachment to artificial limitations, we coordinate what we have, and we do what we need. We can solve for the technical problem of aesthetic need entirely without the monetary market. We can design and redesign our environment however we need.
It is important to remember that in community there would not be the same obsession with status driven placement as we see and experience in modern society. Individuals in community are in an entirely different socio-economic context with a divergent value set than the set active in individuals engaged in the “rat race” of modern society. An obsession with status driven placement is not only unsustainable, but socially unhealthy.
In the context of an apartment complex in the Community, maybe the top levels are not living spaces, but common activity areas and gardens for everyone’s enjoyment, and the same for the bottom several levels. Or, maybe there are access protocols that maintain fairness in accessibility to the top rooms on a rotational basis, 1 week or so with 52 people being able to stay in each room each year. In this case, the rooms would not necessarily be any more spacious or have any more amenities than anyone else’s living space.
E12. What about moving homes after I enter the community?
Do you want to switch homes, or do you want your house remodeled? The access system is designed to accommodate these choices.
It is important to remember that the city systems are, to the greatest degree possible, location independent. So, regardless of where you live, you are living in an aesthetic place where you can easily and efficiently get to anywhere you desire. Aesthetic iterative design removes the idea of "priority geographic location" as land, within the community, with a more valuable attribute. Hence, there are, to a relatively high degree, no "prime location preferences". And, if there were, then it must be determined why, and every location must be brought up to the same preference category. This would exist as a priority so that the access of dwellings could occur without preference bias.
The common types of location bias are:
The community maintains a scheduling and access platform for moving from one home to another when desired. If you desire to move dwelling locations within a city that is at full carrying capacity (i.e., “peak capacity”), then the home that you are presently accessing can be placed on the list of available housing options. When another house that you would like to switch to becomes available on that list, then you can switch. If the city is not at full capacity, then the list of available options will be greater.
Alternatively, you always have the option to modify (or update) your home given the availability of resources, which are priority allocated to remove interior space and technological amenity bias. Sometimes, however, people just want to move because they want to experience a relatively different living environment, such as moving from a house to an apartment or tropical to temperate climate. In community, there are no jurisdictions, and so, you can move from one city in the community in the network to any other without restriction, freely and whenever you desire.
No one can decide to move you on your behalf. No one can decide to give your home to someone else. No one can decide to take your home because you didn’t finalize your payments for it, and a no one can decide to take you home because you were delinquent in tax payments. No one exists to do these things, and no one would want to. We all want each other to have a safe, comfortable, and convenient place to be ourselves and to fulfill our need for restoration on a daily basis. What we don’t want is a society where people live in fear that their home, their personal space, could be taken away from them if they become sick, if there are political changes, if they don’t “pay up”, or if they aren’t contributing to the society.
The rhetoric of “property” fools many in modern society.
E13. Competition inspires excellence and quality far more than cooperation.
Per the reasoning and evidence that we provide in the Social System specification, we disagree that competition leads to greater excellence in an individual, and quality in technological production items. Therein we detail at great length why we value cooperation over competition. Cooperation is one of our values, and competition is its antagonist. Essentially, you are saying that withholding useful information from others for competitive advantage, scattering the information landscape with misinformation for marketing purposes and dis-information for causing missteps in others, and the generation of conflict due to the creation of artificial scarcity, creates a better environment for the individual and for the products of said society. For whom does secrecy, turmoil, and structural violence work best? It works best for the authorities of the day – those who are in power, and the next generation who will be acquiring power. Therein, you can’t really say that you are free when you are being given and accepting false information, which you are using to take decisions.
It is important to recognize that in a competition-based socio-economic system motivations for contextual actions are often hidden. When we cooperate, we share our motivations and we account for our actions. Fundamentally, any competition in an economic zero-sum-game scenario is detrimental to the biosphere and to everyone on the planet.
And finally, that which creates what you refer to as “excellence” is what we call “being in a state of flow”. The neurophysiological state of flow is described in detail in the Lifestyle System specification, and the lifestyle of those in community is built around that concept. We don’t need competition to facilitate an environment conducive to the frequent generation of flow (a.k.a., “excellence”).
We share and let everyone gain from every progress.
E14. What do you think about capitalists?
Capitalists set society up so they can maintain capitalist social relations into the future. In doing so, they have encoded a particular set of static relationships into the fabric and infrastructure of modern society, which in and of themselves negate emergent feedback, and hence, restrict our capacity for self and social development. We who understand this direction must also understand that the capitalists have been inculcating generation after generation into their ideology, and they will not stop. They will continue to pursue economic growth and property rights at all costs; they will continue to capitalize (here, “capitalize” is a euphemism for exploit). And, it doesn't matter how many of them fail in the process, for capitalism is a highly resilient networked [belief] system.
It is unwise to fight capitalists, or their networked system, for it is both highly resilient and powerful in its violence. Instead, we must begin cooperating and sharing toward a new system that facilitates a massive social realization that winning does not bring fulfillment, and that the system in which capitalists participate is entirely obsolete in giving them what they most desire (human fulfillment and flourishing) under its many layers of turmoil and repression. Let us use the tools that capitalists are presently creating to show them how life could be different.
E15. Why don’t you just create a handicraft-based economic system?
The approach to design that is efficient for a craftsman making individual objects does not scale for teams developing complex and technologically integrated service platforms. Craftsmanship is a skill and a personal art, but it is not sufficient for the maintenance, or even continuation, of a community whose technical functioning involves machines and computing systems. It is not possible for city-scale population sizes. Making matters more difficult, electronic systems change frequently. Hence, designers require new systems-oriented concepts to represent the dynamics of economic action at scale. A handicraft-based economic system cannot scale.
Certainly, creation by hand (i.e., handicraft) can be fun and a useful skill, and that is exactly what it will be in community. If you enjoy it, then do it, but you won’t be expected to do it in order to survive and to have access to all that community can provide.
E16. Aren't we naturally apathetic as just our human nature?
No, that is a lie that we have been fed to get us to conform to an aberrant system. In fact, by nature we are playful, curious, and creative beings. A more relevant question might be, “In what environment might humans begin to express what others perceive as an apathetic attitude and behavior?” Approximately 15,000 hours after shoving children in the equivalent of a prison many of them come out with a lack of desire, naturally. Go to the Lifestyle System specification and read the section on “Learning”, or do a keyword search in the specification for the term “lazy”.
In community, if someone doesn’t want to contribute, we don't mind. Certainly we don't get angry, though we may conclude that they are suffering in themselves at the moment. We understand a lack of desire as equivalent to an illness. Why would any healthy person wish harm (added harm in this case) to someone suffering. In modern society, those who don't want to “work” and participate are automatically regarded as lazy or hurting others. Notice the reality of the situation that the person without desire and curiosity and passion is actually the one suffering, not society (or government).
Let's take it a step further and just presume incorrectly that some exceptionally healthy people will just be intrinsically "lazy" in an abundant and free society. What we are proposing is still a better alternative than falsely perpetuating scarcity, as well as unnecessary labor and resource usage, for the sole purpose of, and poor attempt at, producing "incentive”.
There are two general forms of motivation, internal and external. These are more commonly known as “intrinsic motivation” (internal) and “extrinsic motivation” (external). We recommending reading the subsection of the Social System specification entitled “Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose” if you are unfamiliar with the difference in these two types of motivation. The Social System specification also covers the topic of “human nature”.
"But what about all the 'slackers' who will consume without giving back? The answer is just, 'So what?' Why not have pity on such people who are stuck in such an embarrassingly juvenile state of mind? My mom, a hard worker, dreamed of being a slacker in a big house with servants. You know where she found her dream? A nursing home. :-( So, be careful what you wish for, slacker wannabees. :-) If a few can supply the many, then, so what of the slackers? Who cares? Why build a whole mythology around slackers? And surprisingly, there may be less slackers than one might expect, because when you have the freedom to make things your way, without a "boss", there is often a lot of fun to be had in making things. Just look at all the kids making free music for the internet these days. Or people writing web pages. :-)"
-- Paul D. Fernhout, Post-Scarcity Princeton
E17. Won’t people abuse and misuse your abundance generating fulfillment system?
In the transition there will need to be a way of discovering misuse and abuse of the system. We can, however, take steps to curb such occurrences. The first and most important step we could take is to do our best to screen those entering the community to ensure a requisite value alignment. But even with excellent entrance screening measures there is no guarantee that abuse and misuse of the system isn’t going to occur.
Psychosocially, it may be difficult for some people coming in from modern society to adapt to this new way of living. Therein, social therapy and trauma healing may be necessary. One could imagine that some people coming in from modern society may have psychological hoarding habits. In community, hoarding would be considered a misuse of the system. Others might begin selling common resources outside of the community in an effort to acquire money for themselves, or to acquire money to give to a relative still suffering under market conditions (possibly in poverty). This behavior would also be considered an abuse of the system.
E18. What about people taking more than they need? Won't people in the community run in and grab a whole lot of goods and run off with them?
Why would someone from the community walk into an access-distribution center, and then, run out with a bunch of televisions (or any technology)? In community, where you have access to everything and nothing can be sold, why would someone behave in this manner? What is the incentive? Remember that there is no property or commercial relationship among community, only ‘access’ is encoded. Hence, the televisions can’t be sold in the community – there is no sale value (i.e., no price). The only exception one can think of is if someone has an art or research project. And even then, a community artist or researcher would coordinate his/her access to those resources required in large quantity so as not to burden the community. We can account for this sort of access in decisioning.
However, in a society where scarcity-oriented behavior is incentivized, then that population is likely to associate objects and services that are "free" with hoarding and with lack. This view is reflected in the common question, "In community, where everything is free, then everyone will want a 10 televisions, and won't that break the system?" In community, because goods are coordinated to be accessible without the need for exchange, we don't live with the fear of not having things, and hence, we don't feel the necessity to hoard and collect. Further, when the benefit of sharing is visible (through a unified societal information model that makes coherent sense of our environment), then there is unlikely to be hoarding and jealousy-oriented behavior. If you don’t live with the fear of not having something, then you don’t feel the necessity to hoard and collect it. Here, "free" is actually a misnomer, because there is no money in community, in real life. Money is a social construct; there is nothing like it in nature. There is no physical referent. Our belief in it is the means and the ends. Money isn't anything that you can use on hand. It is the potential to get what you need, and so, people want to keep that potential amongst themselves, or only a few very close knit individuals. And then, sharing breaks down, and we start noticing a loss of contentedness, a loss of happiness, and a loss of core meaning and identity [in life] starts to emerge [from the cash economy], then nepotism and hierarchy. In a society where money is used, people will hoard the money itself as a resource, and begin hoarding other resources that have monetary value. Community cannot be sustained when some people hoard resources.
If a collection is the “selecting, gathering and keeping of objects of subjective value”, then where is the subjective (price-brand-uniqueness) value in a functional object embedded within a society that does not encode the idea of unique, scarce, market-consumable products? In the market, objects facilitate survival through their re-sale and status symbol value. Therein, advertisers leverage popularity and artificial scarcity in order to promote the acquisition (and collection) of their products. In community, there is no such thing as a “resale value”, and hence, no incentive to collect or hoard functional objects for such a purpose.
Humans sometimes add artificial meaning to objects in search for solace, safety and security. I modern society, where many people feel socially isolated and disconnected from community, the collection of objects helps to fill the void they feel in social connection. Therein, objects become substitutes for the experience of community, an artificial source of emotional security.
E19. Someone is going to use the technology in the system against you.
It is easy to imagine scenarios for how technology and power could be misused and abused under the current system, but in a fulfillment oriented system, what is the structural basis for such abuse, or the utilization of technology as a weapon against others?
In community, we surpass the need for money, which is the basis for most corruption in modern society. In community, all goods and services available for everyone without a price tag.
E20. How does community view the individual versus the social?
It would be more correct to ask, “How does the community view the individual and the social?” In the indigenous mindset we are simply a strand in the web of life. The world is not a ladder or a chain or a pyramid, it is a cycle of life and death of which we are an individual part living amongst a social population. In community we have a holistic view. We understand individual self-awareness, biochemical individuality, as well as, social and ecological interconnectedness. In other words, the community recognizes both the individual and the social as a whole system, and it accounts for the interrelationships therein among a common ecological environment.
Many people in modern society are so atomized in their thinking and physical relationships that they think they are "in" some atomized [subjective] reality. In community, we understand that the human species has common needs, that the lifegrounded ecology that provides for our needs also has common needs, and that we can provide synergistically for all of our individual wants through cooperation, and that our wants, in fact, also have commonality. The Social System specification describes the spectrum of human needs at length. We also understand that when some individuals don't have their needs met and others are consuming the most frivolous of wants, then that environment is one of social instability, and that likely, structural violence is occurring to prevent the fulfillment of the needs of those who do not have them met. Wealth inequality is highly destabilizing to social interaction; poverty is the same for individual physiology.
E21. The community you propose won’t work because human nature dictates that a certain percentage of people will just be violent. Aren’t there just naturally psycho-sociopaths in the world as human beings who were just born to prey on other humans regardless of the environment? Or, is it that people are predisposed and the environment made it conducive for them to become that way?
Kids with generous parents become generous themselves. Kids with giving parents become giving themselves. The children of parents who facilitate in making their dreams come true end up facilitating others they love in being happy also. Keeping children without choice and economic option is a form of structural violence and paves the way for a victim-perpetrator mentality and the desire for power over others later in life.
In great part, violence is a reaction to our environment. Whether we lead a life of violence or of empathy has a lot to do with childhood experience. Neither our birth nor our genes preordain our personality or violent behavior. The relatively new science of epigenetics says that the world that surrounds a child changes the way that child's genes are expressed. In early childhood the relationships around us redraft our genetic code by causing some of our genes to be switched on and others to be switched off. There is potential for all manner of behavior encoded in our bodies, and our environment triggers the expression of one potential behavior over another.
Consider that no human individual was ever born genetically predetermined to lead a life of violence. The switching on and off of genes in early life influences our behavior (often, for the remainder of our life). The brain of a child grows according to how that child is treated -- in an empathic environment the brain of a child will grow in one way, but in an environment that is harsh, punitive, and cold the same child's brain will grow quite differently.
Our early childhood relationships change our brain, they shape our behavior and personality, and that is how we create the kind of society we are going to have. In the critical stages of child development, the empathy centers of our brain grow like muscles grow, through nourishment and use. A child that receives empathy will grow new neural pathways in the child’s empathy centers. Alternatively, the science of early childhood development tells us that when a child is frightened and neglected the body chronically produces the natural stress hormone cortisol, which attacks and destroys brain cells in vast quantities devoted to emotional regulation and impulse control. Essentially, our brains’ empathy centers grow – or fail to grow – according to how we are nurtured. Hence, children that have been abused and neglected have large areas of the cortex and prefrontal lobes atrophied or missing. What is recognized today is that impulsivity and violence are a response to this kind of emotional brain damage from childhood onward. The violence of history is symptomatic of large scale child abuse and neglect. To a great extent, this is why when we read history we are likely to get a significantly skewed first impression about "human nature".
James Prescott looked at all the societies in the anthropological databank in which there was sufficient info to do a meta-analysis. What he wanted to see if there was a correlation between the violence within a society and the level of body contact between mother and infant. His hypothesis was that the lack of touch in a society is correlated inversely with the level of violence. What he found is that it was true from 26 of the 27 societies he looked into. Almost without exception, societies in which mothers and infants had the lowest level of contact (i.e., mothers were not carrying kids around all day) had the highest level of violence. Body contact creates a sense of security for a child. What Prescott found was that the societies in which the mother infant contact was lowest, and in which teen/adolescent sexual experimentation was forbidden, were the societies in which violence was highest, and not only within the society, but between societies (as in, they were societies most likely to be at war with the societies around them).
Human nature is not that which limits us, it is our designs and our decisions that limit our own and others highest expressions. Violence is a preventable brain disorder. The love of a parent and affection of a social environment is literally growing a child’s empathy centers through [at least] the compound oxytocin, which generates new neural pathways in those areas.
When children are treated with force and coercion and dictatorship, then how would you expect them to behave when they grow up, and what would you expect them to accept as “normal”?
Someone who intrinsically, for one reason or another, lacks the ability to empathize is not necessarily, nor will they necessarily become, a psycho-sociopath. Pyscho-sociopaths are the product of trauma, an incentive system that rewards greed and other socially corrosive behaviors (e.g., the monetary market), and a socio-economic system that provides a platform for certain types of people to take advantage of other people (e.g., the State). The following is an analogy to clarify what is being said: If you have someone who is 400 pounds, and you really want to help them lose weight; what you shouldn't do is surround them with massive buffets of obesogenic, disease-promoting foods; they are just going to gorge themselves. Obviously they have a problem controlling their eating, and so, surrounding them with rich and fattening and addictively unhealthy foods is not going to help them. If we have people in society who have a tendency towards aggression and control of others, and they also lack empathy, the last thing we should do is create a platform for them to take advantage of others (as in, the free-market and the State) -- these are institutions that they can worm their way into and use to dominate and control others. These systems (and their incentive structures) are like a big buffet to someone who has a sugar or sweet addiction. We have to design the non-existence of that buffet.
Authority isn’t necessary to deal with social ills, though it is believed by many in modern society to be so. In fact, the reverse is the case: it is the encoding of “authority” into our minds and our various socio-economic institutions that creates and otherwise allows for the situation that “authority” is supposed to exist to resolve. Most people become sociopathic after this encoding process has taken place – they advocate and desire force over others as the resolution to symptomatic issues (i.e., they advocate for government).
The science is fairly clear that individuals who have social behavioral pathologies (i.e., violent “criminality") are largely bred through child abuse. So, if we want to focus on having a more peaceful, cooperative, and socially fulfilled society, then we need to focus on raising our children without aggression and trauma; and, we need to facilitate the processes of healing and restoration to those who have experienced trauma.
E22. Sounds good, but without prisons or police, what do we do when someone actually is violent?
Our response is nicely summed up by Dr. Gwen Adshead, a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist on Dr. Gilligan's book entitled, “Preventing Violence”.
"[Dr. Gilligan] argues that traditional approaches to violence prevention, which emphasize punishment, actually make violence worse; and the more severe the punishment, the worse the violence grows. Violence is more likely where there is a culture of shame. Key risk factors for shame include rigid gender role stereotyping, with resulting distorted views of what is to be “masculine” or “feminine,” and entrenched social hierarchies, based on inequalities of opportunity, income, and hope[ium]... [He] concludes that we can reduce violence by reducing social inequality and other stigmata of shame. We should also stop putting people in prison except in those cases where people need a type of therapeutic restraint for the protection of others. If we do this, we should provide therapy and education for violent offenders, rather than deprivation, isolation, and more shame."
Essentially, the community applies what is known as “restorative justice”, which is detailed at length in the Social System specification.
E23. I want my child circumcised. How will the community accommodate my want?
The question implies that you have some sort of ownership over the child that you gave birth to and are nurturing. Therein, circumcision suggests that there is something wrong with the natural state of our bodies. Essentially, you want an irreversible medical procedure completed on another human being without their consent that will have lifelong consequences, whether male or female. As a sovereign human being, are you comfortable with your parents making a permanent, unnecessary, lifelong decision about your own body for you? The name "female circumcision” is now called "female genital mutilation", and it is considered socially unacceptable, a crime even. But, modern society continues to perform the homologous equivalent surgery to males as infants without consent.
Among community, we would expect someone who wants such a procedure done on another human being that they are nurturing to have an up-to-date and well-informed view. So, please read Circumcision the hidden trauma by Ronald Goldman. The book clearly evidences how all of the supposed “medical benefits” have now been disproven. Just by recommending this book it would appear that we are taking a position. But, this is not the case. If you enter into the Community and you still want the procedure done on "your" child, then the procedure may or may not be possible dependent upon the community having a surgically trained medical service team member capable and desiring to complete the procedure. The tools for such a procedure are of course available, but whether or not a medical intersystem team member wants to perform the operation is the issue. Of course, you yourself could become a trained medical intersystem team member and then perform the operation yourself. Among the community, the issue is not the availability of the tools; the tools are available. Instead, the issue is whether or not someone is sufficiently skilled to use the tools to perform the operation and whether any of these people think this is an appropriate use of the tools.
Do read the recommended book, and you might also enjoy reading all of the Amazon.com reviews for the book, including subcomments.
E24. Are drugs illegal in the community? What is your drug use policy on consciousness altering substances?
We do not look at life from the same worldview as the worldview that generated that question. Coming from modern society, you may think that we have policies for everything, but our policy is not to have policies.
No, we do not have a drug use policy to govern individuals’ drug usage behaviors. We do not use nor do we advocate the use of force against those who choose to use drugs. We recognize that there exists a scale of harm, neutrality, and benefit in concern to drugs, and we support research and dissemination of empirical evidence concerning the effects of conscious altering substances. We don't assume that any use of a consciousness altering substance is problematic. And yet, we acknowledge that the usage of some drugs, at appropriate dosages and conditions (i.e., set and setting), can lead to an expansion in creative expression and facilitate a healing of trauma. We recognize that informed individuals with access to many life enhancing opportunities are more likely to make healthier and wiser decisions. Fundamentally, no one has the “right” to regulate another’s consciousness.
When it is claimed that a "drug is illegal due to abuse", then such a statement is ironic because the abuse is in the making of the drug illegal. Drugs are excellent scapegoats by the dominant and in-power culture to vilify groups that it doesn't care for, or like. It wasn’t health and safety concerns that lead to cannabis being made illegal in the United States. And then, the United States making accords with numerous other States that subsequently made cannabis (and many other drugs) illegal. It is a matter of public record that the United States’ Richard Nixon administration (1953 - 1961) made cannabis illegal in order to disenfranchise the youth movement against the Vietnam war, and they also focused on heroin as a way to criminalize black resistance. So, when people speak about health and safety as factors in “drug legalization”, then such statements are fundamentally dishonest.
Coffee is a widely accepted drug in modern society for of its economic benefit. Businesses that sell coffee, of course, do not like coffee being referred to as a drug. Yet, coffee shifts neurochemistry (and consciousness), and allows people to focus for long durations of time [on the most mundane of tasks]. Corporations will even give their employees free access to the drug. If you drink coffee every day you have very little room to point a finger, or make judgment, for you too have decided that the state of mind that you are in under the influence of a strong stimulant is desirable to the "unmedicated" or "undrugged" state of mind, and your employer probably agrees with you. They provide that particular drug to you for free. You have to buy your own cigarettes and cannabis, but if you want to experience the drug ritual of coffee, they will not only give you the time off from your job (i.e., a "coffee break") to do it, but they will provide the drug because they know that it will enhance your ability to focus on a single task for long periods of time, and that is in their economic interest.
The war on drugs is a war on people and on consciousness. It is not a war anyone in community would participate in. It is a grotesque invasion of our privacy and our sovereignty over our own bodies that a government would even have the temerity to suggest that it has the right to punish us for using drugs. We look forward to a day when the war that has been declared on nature, and on our nature, ends.
By criminalizing certain things, we don't focus on the relationships. Therein, one of the biggest problems with prohibition is that drugs are adulterated and people don't know what they are taking. In modern society, the harms of prohibition so far outweigh the harms of just letting people engage in, sometimes, self-destructive behavior, that it is bizarre that is still a conversation.
"There is no war on drugs because you can't have a war on inanimate objects, there is only a war on drug addicts, which means we are warring on the most vulnerable segments of our society.” -Gabor Mate
We would like to see the prohibition on all drugs lifted, and we recognize that the usage of some of these substances are fundamental to our natural way of life. It quickly becomes apparent to the student of anthropology that substances belonging to this category (hallucinogens, psychedelics, entheogens, and neuro-gnostics, etc.) have been used by human beings quite-nearly everywhere in the world, and are integral to the spiritual systems of natural peoples. A prohibition on them is as unnatural as banning fruits or seeds. Modern society has made drugs appear as "good drugs" and "bad drugs" investing properties in drugs without regard to the thousand-year statement of natural compounds that “the dose makes the poison”.
The problem with the “religious freedom” exception to drug usage in some jurisdictions is that you need a specific religion. It doesn't seem like any government should be in the business of telling us what we have to believe to access certain chemicals that affect our brains.
Note: Hallucinogenic mushrooms are that most mysterious of drugs that grow just about everywhere and transforms into an illegal substance the moment you pick it up. DMT is illegal in many jurisdictions, and yet, we produce it in our own brains. All humans have an endo-cannabinoid system designed to generate and receive cannabinoids, and yet, cannabis is illegal in many jurisdictions.
It is important to understand that although consciousness altering drugs may be illuminating, they are not automatically illuminating the truth. A “drug” is just another technical, biochemical tool. Their use exists within a context, a “set and setting”. Therein, drugs can lead you to question the reality of everything you think you know. Drugs can also lead you into a state of hyper suggestibility for others to take advantage of. Some drugs act as a non-specific amplifier of consciousness as they bring subconscious thoughts and fears to the surface. They have the potential to shift the fundamental nature of what you think reality is. Whereupon, new information can come in and new structures can be built. Some societies and their authorities are so terrified to have people question their existence that they outlaw drugs. Certainly, authority doesn’t want its enforcers to explore [their] consciousness because in such exploration individuals are likely to begin to see authority for what it is.
Unfortunately, when it comes to drug usage in modern society many people substitute contempt for compassion and learning.
If you are interested in the history of drug prohibition, then we recommend:
Not all drugs are addictive and no one chooses to be addicted to life consuming drugs. People with addiction actually respond differently to drugs than people who don't become addicted. Drug addiction involves a variety of contributing factors including genetics, childhood trauma, and access to life fulfilling and enriching activities in the present.
If you are interested in drug addiction, then we recommend:
What exactly is a drug? Is a drug that which affects consciousness? But, doesn't a deeply nourishing meal impact consciousness as well? In modern society, people tend associate the word “drug” with things they don't like and “medicine” with something which is beneficial, which creates an artificial distinction. Particularly since the number two cause of death, at least in the United States, is properly prescribed medications. So, just saying something is a medicine shouldn't in any way imply that it is benign.
To return to the question in specific, we do not allow or disallow any drugs; this is not how we, among community, approach life. We do, however, seek to account for the compounds we ingest, and their metabolites, on ourselves and the local ecology. If we cannot filter compounds out of our water recycling system that pose a danger to others and our ecology, then we will not use those compounds in our community until such time as we have solved for their filtration or safe decomposition. We need water to be free of all drugs and others medications, including the industrial byproduct sodium fluoride.
Essentially, community involves the creation of a lifestyle where people aren't interested in drugging themselves into oblivion.
E25. What about my personal space? I am not willing to give up my personal space to live in your commune?
What you mean by commune is more than likely not what we mean by community. Now, what do you mean by “personal space”? If by “personal space” you mean a home, then yes, personal space is accounted for in the community. If by “personal space”, you mean privacy, then our response is also yes, that too is accounted for. Herein, personal space is respected through the value orientation of individuals in the community, and it is an encoded element of the decision system itself (i.e., personal space is accounted for by decisioning protocol). However, a violation of personal space is not punished, which doesn’t mean that there aren’t social consequences for such behavior. Instead, we design and engineer personal spaces with the option of privacy in mind.
E26. What about art?
What do you mean by art? If you are referring to art as “creative self-expression”, then we too recognize art as an important self-development and communication medium. One of the sub-platform service system of the community is entirely dedicated to art. In community you will no longer have to do “art” to provide for your survival and basic needs, as is the case for “artists” in the market. Instead, you can participate in art for the enjoyment you get from participating in creative self and social expression.
E27. Does science create your value system?
Science does not create anything; it is a method of discovery and a repository of falsifiable data. The scientific method is one of three approaches we use in combination with an intentional direction to generate, or otherwise arrive at, an emergent orientation system (i.e., a value system). The repository of knowledge known as science informs our selection of a value system in the context of our fulfillment and the flourishing of all life on this planet. In community, we sense the world we live in, rather than impose upon it with traditional assumptions.
E28. What does love and marriage mean in the community?
In community, just like in a healthy love/marriage relationship, we continually recognize each other’s needs, and seek to facilitate their fulfillment. We express our love in a myriad of ways. When we love something, then we want to see that thing realize its full potential.
If you want to get married, or not, that is your own personal choice. However, in community, there is no entity called “government” to act as a third or fourth party in the marriage. There is no marriage with the State.
One might well ask, “In what type of society do you have to pay to compose an agreement with another human being to whom you are expressing a list of pledges around the idea of sympathetic love?”
There are several additional notes to consider:
E29. What about school bullying?
Please read the Lifestyle System specification; it details the difference between learning, education, and schooling, while defining each at great length. Fundamentally, forcing people to live and work beside one another (as occurs in the modern schooling system), and then later in life, in the labor market, is unlikely to produce an abundance of positive and fulfilling social relationships. In community, education is based upon one’s own interests and projects, which is not equivalent to the modern conception of school. In concern to bullying, one might well ask, “Is it not natural to want to lash out at others (or inward at oneself) when feeling trapped?” Bullying occurs in settings where people are trapped together, as in, school and other states of forced association. If you can’t leave the situation that is where bullying is likely to occur. One of the primary characteristics of the State is forced association.
E30. How will I get my news in community?
What exactly do you mean by “news”? If, by “news”, you mean access to new information without opinion mixed in, then in the context of community, we need to know whether you are talking about events involving systems-level societal issues, including alerts about the design and operation of the community, or whether you are just asking about socially coordinated events, such as a scheduled group activity. In concern to systems-level issues, as is discussed in the Decision System specification, the Community’s design and operation are entirely transparent to everyone. As such, the community maintains an open and unified information system where all incidents and other events are reported. Here, you can keep abreast of activities by viewing event logs, incident reports, schedules, and source code. Further, users can setup alerts for new and/or changed content. In concern to scheduled social events, just imagine a platform like meetup.com, which coordinates group events and meetings. Of course, everyone in the Community will also have uncensored access to the Internet where a variety of applications facilitate distributed, real-time reporting.
Or, do you define “news” as pre-packaged information about current events reported by an external entity? If by “news” you mean the information spread by various for-profit and State-supported media outlets, then let us start with a quote by John Rappoport from a blog post entitled “The space-time continuum called The News”:
"The news isn't a just a thing, a person, a message. It's a hallucination pretending to be real, as if a dreamer has suddenly risen and broken through the surface of the ocean, and now he can see the shore and the glittering buildings...and when he reaches the beach, he can walk into the city and actually watch very important people doing very important things all around him...and that's supposed to be the up-to-the-minute news. But actually, it's the reverse. The news is the dream, not the awakening."
In the market, the end goal of “the news” is not to inform (i.e., to convey a description of events in reality); instead, it is to increase viewers, to entertain, to sell products, and also, to spread corporate and State messages. Therein, the news significantly represents the agendas of others, and headlines are media creations designed to attract attention for profit. In each moment “the news” treats its audience as an empty vessel, and as such, it is the antagonist of self-directed inquiry and integration. Each new event is as surprising as the last, except for its resolution, which is nearly always satisfied by a commercial product and/or the State. “Analyses” provided by the news media are no such thing - they are primarily public relations statements issued by players in the market. The purpose of the news media is not to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of events, but instead, to present an audience with an impossible, unsolvable situation that invokes division and polarization. The resulting confusion creates despondency, and amplifies social isolation. The news amplifies threats in order to sell itself, advertisements, products, and other agendas. In other words, the news [media] exists to create a state of mental confusion for profit and/or competitive advantage.
In practice, news is a bunch of contradictions that rarely get corrected, and a bunch of dots that never get connected. The information received from the news media ruins an individual’s flow and integration of information toward greater systematic understanding of that which is actually occurring (dynamically) in reality. Therein, news media trot out the same important faces of governmental and business leaders over and over again, who, day after day, are struggling to improve our destiny against great odds and intransigent enemies of progress. When the news is taken into one’s mind on a daily basis, most sink so far into it they fully accept its parameters and remain enclosed in a mental box. The space and time of “the news” form their own continuum. In this continuum, viewers are content to take their dream-knowledge from the anchor. Whereupon, they go about their daily lives feeling sufficiently informed, void of a curiosity to explore the systematic nature of events that occur in the world. In a news-oriented culture, this is considered safe, proper, normal, and reasonable. The audience comes to think of the news as a space where they go to acquire the knowledge they need to function in the world. Therein, the news produces a trance like state that clouds reality and conceals power.
There are several additional notes to consider here:
Fundamentally, when profit controls the spread of new information, or there is no systems-level societal transparency, then there is no way to discern when someone is telling the truth. When “news” (as new information) is monetized, then social values start to change. It is profitability that has led to the 24 hour cable news station. Advertising is sold during the news broadcast and between broadcasts, which pays for the total production. In the market, access to new information becomes a profitable enterprise, at the expense of individual self-integration and societal transparency.
The market-State organization that creates and distributes “news”, isn't principally interested in conveying the facts; they, like every[one] organization in a position of socio-economic competition, are interested in controlling others by controlling the narrative.
E31. How does your system deal with playground activities that are dangerous to children?
If a desired engineering structure is causing injury due to its engineering, then we will re-engineer the structure. Which, is a different approach than the approach taken by a litigious bureaucratic society. Certainly, we do not deal with activities that pose a “danger” in the way in which modern society deals with said claimed activities. Officials in modern society seem set on removing playground activities to the point where there are very few enjoyable activities left. Officials keep removing the most “dangerous” activity under the guise of “health and safety”. The process is somewhat like a game of whack-a-mole -- they remove the first most dangerous activity/equipment, whereupon the second most dangerous activity/equipment takes its place as the first, and the process repeats itself. For instance, first the carousel is removed, and the seesaw takes its place. Next, the seesaw is removed, and the swing takes its place. Now the swing is removed, and something else takes its place. When officials are asked why they keep removing activities that were once commonplace such as carousels and seesaws and swings, their response is unanimously, “We are afraid of being sued for negligence”.
Community isn’t about “allowing” the young to do or not do something. This is not our perspective or our approach. The more experienced individuals in the community are not the authorities of the lesser experienced who “allow” or “disallow” activities. Such an approach is out of alignment with reality and will generate a lack of trust between participating individuals of all ages. In a healthy and cooperative society, calculating risks will include seeking knowledge from people with experience, and not rebelliously ignoring what people know. Hence, in part, what is a “dangerous” or “not dangerous” activity is relative to the social context in which a young human is developing. In other words, young humans may learn from the sharing of experience[d people], and thus, avoiding certain danger does not come at the expense of those people not experiencing or looking into things themselves. Trust in the experience of others and request for guidance is unlikely to occur when others aren’t seen as trustworthy and well-informed mentors.
There are reasonable risks and unreasonable risks. A structure engineered with the potential of chopping off a finger through its normal operation is an unreasonable risk. We can create/engineer reasonable challenges for the young of our society. If the young in our society want to experience [risk], then we can facilitate that experience.
When the young are brought up in an environment where they learn to trust one another and themselves, they are more likely to calculate risk precisely and intelligently. Unfortunately, at this very moment we can’t find the reference to the study we are about to mention, but we are going to recount it as best we can. If we remember correctly, a theme park was having trouble with children hurting themselves in a certain location of the park. A study of the situation found that when parents were “hovering” around children in that location (i.e., dictating to the children what they were and weren’t allowed to do), the children were more likely to hurt themselves. Essentially, in rebelling against the authoritarian parent, the children would miscalculate risks and injure themselves. The park solved for the problem by making the area a child-only section. In other words, parents were not supposed to enter the area, and hence, could not hover over the children. Without the parents’ presence, children calculated risks more accurately and injuries dropped.
In community, children are not anyone’s property. They are sovereign and free to make their own decisions, including putting themselves in some [relative] degree of danger (like hunter-gatherer children around cliff edges, camp fires, and sharp objects). These are considered to be their decision that they would suffer the consequences for if they acted without care, and intervening on their behalf would be interfering with their sovereignty. In this case, adults communicate with children as they would other adults: How would you interact with an adult if you were concerned for his/her safety, or didn’t want them to touch something they might break? How would you treat any other sovereign human in an environment where danger is present? There is value to the way in which hunter-gatherer societies raise their young by acknowledging their sovereignty instead of ruling over them.
Further, an article in The Atlantic entitled “The Overprotected Kid” suggests that potentially dangerous play has some kind of constructive benefit in a person's development; primarily, the acquisition of risk calculation skills and the overcoming of fear. In other words, the young need a space to experience and manage risk at an age where the risk can be better managed. A young person that misjudges the power of a stream and gets all wet as a result will learn a lesson about his/her environment that will be useful in more serious circumstances.
May we also recommend:
E32. What happens when people have different points of view?
What happens in most civilized parts of the world when people disagree? People talk things through, and they wait until sufficient information is available and coherently integrated to arrive at a workable solution. Herein, when we have our needs sufficiently met we can approach challenges and conflicts with an intelligent and "cool" (i.e., non-inflammatory/non-violent) response.
When disagreement arises it is important to first reflect on our common ground:
The first 12 common grounds are pretty universal among all Earth's human people. The 13th one is where all the divisions arise. We must express the first 12 as the common ground with everyone, and then, for the 13th, express the reasons as to how and why we have arrived at a particular train of thought, and how and why it has brought us to reach certain conclusions. In other words, we must use our intellectual capacity for reasoning and our ability to collect and integrate evidence, which is how we have arrived at community in the first place.
If only more people could be aware of how much all of our children and grandchildren lose when we don’t coordinate our intelligence and our efforts. In their heart, many are aware of the damage that conflict does, but in their fear they listen to one rival party who advocates one exclusive path, which must prevail and be victorious, regardless of the cost.
E33. How does a dissenting minority make itself heard?
It appears that there is a misunderstanding here concerning the resolution of decisions in the Community. This isn't a system of factions, minority or majority. Also, this isn’t a democracy where opinion rules, and everyone’s opinion has equal weight. We don’t impose our opinions on others (i.e., there is no such thing as politics in community). Instead, this is a system of self-integration and social coordination through an approach that involves critical examination of evidence and systematic design, which generates an entirely unique decision resolution space. Among community, we don't want anyone's consent or dissent; instead, we facilitate each other’s self-integration and self-develop as we work together to fulfill our needs and desires commonly. In the context of decisioning, “dissent” simply represents an “alternative” decision. In community, we account for all possible decision alternatives, while integrating all available knowledge into a holistic design that sustains our highest possible fulfillment. We resolve problems together, synergistically, using an open, emergently informed, and unified information model, which is presently separated at a high level into four specifications. At every step of the process we recognize that it is important to question more deeply in order to integrate more fully. In this sense, it is everybody’s responsibility to question (Read: “dissent”) in order to improve their own understanding, as well as facilitate the stability and evolution of community itself. Hence, in community, it is easier for us to talk things through. We are able to discard personality, pride, personal clashes, and territoriality more readily, and our precision of language and logic allows us to resolve many preliminary issues.
Without questioning and critical understanding we can very easily just become empty vessels for whatever factions, politicians, and businesses tell us. Through a thoughtful desire to understand we can quickly tune in to what is actually going on around us, and after integration, we resolve decisions for the highest fulfillment of all. Herein, "freedom" is found when individuals can identify fact from fiction with consistency. And yet, in modern society, it can be bad for public relations (i.e., "bad PR") for people to know how things [f]actually work.
It may be of relevance to note here that the community maintains a communications platform that is openly accessible to everyone, and it maintains an anonymizing subsystem for anonymous communication where desired.
Certainly, the practice of labeling "dissenters" with dismissive terms such as "conspiracy theorist", "nutcase", “utopian”, etc., is enormously destructive to society's ability to talk about lesser known and innovative ideas in science. If conversations in a society about ideas [in science] that diverge from “textbook theory” are reacted to with social isolation and re-labeling (as something that the idea is not intended to be), then such a society is likely to subtly destroy individuals and hinder the integration of ideas that could be more accurate and of great benefit.
E34. Will pets be allowed in the community?
Obviously. Co-habitation with animals can work and it can be mutually beneficial. Of note, however, we tend not to call the animals that live with us, and around us, "our pets". They are simply other beings that live with us, and that we caretake to some degree, but we do not view them as "ours", and they are not “pets”.
It must be noted, however, that in modern society, more and more people are acquiring companion animals to make up for the social isolation they feel from others of their own species. “Pets” are well known to work as a buffer against social isolation.
E35. How will the community produce food?
This is actually a complex technical question, for a complete answer we would have to include mechanisms and models for sustainable organism cultivation. In brief, however, the community uses multiple systems in the production and cultivation of food, which include but are not limited to: permaculture; aquaculture, hydroponics, algae bioreactors, wild food foraging, sustainable/regenerative agriculture and symbiotic farming.
E36. Will there be bowling in your "utoptia"?
We are not designing a utopia. The idea of “utopia” is discussed at length in an appendix to the Social System specification. In concern to the recreational activity known as “bowling”, there may be bowling in the community; it depends on the interests and technological capabilities therein. Let me ask you, would you like to clean a bowling alley? No, we don't expect many people would. Can the process of cleaning a bowling alley be automated? If no one wants to clean the bowling alley, then the bowling alley will no longer exist as a functioning structure in the Habitat system and will be recycled back into it. Instead of bowling inside, amongst all the noise and neon lights, the culture might shift to an easy to upkeep outdoor bowling type game.
E37. What about the notion of exchange?
In community, instead of exchanging property or artificial intangibles (for there is no such thing), there is a contribution of one’s human abilities, skills, and time on a coordinated social basis. Herein, if we so choose, we may exchange our time and effort for the time and effort of another, which may or may not involve resources accounted for by the common decision system. This “social service exchange network” is part of the community’s social participation network. This network is connected to, but exists outside of, the systems-level operation of the community acted upon by InterSystems Teams.
The “social service exchange network” involves effort applied toward socially laborious tasks that we voluntarily desire to do for one another. Such tasks arise on an individual frequency basis, and may involve, but are not limited to such services as massage and hair cutting. These are not tasks that are necessary to maintain the structural integrity and operational continuity of the habitat service system, and so, they lie outside of InterSystem Operations. This contribution exchange network is essentially a non-currency-based information sharing and scheduling exchange platform where, “I will exchange my time and effort to do something for you that you value in exchange for doing something for me that I value, or just because you enjoy doing it and are not looking for an exchange”. In a sense, this is kind-of-like, but not really like, the “Gift Economy” that Charles Eisenstein speaks of in his book “Sacred Economics”.
Herein, the means of exchange/contribution is the self, and not an artificially distinct construct (e.g., money) or tangibles (i.e., material resources or products). As we become more capable of automating services, and more capable of performing some services ourselves, then some of these initially exchanged services will naturally become automated, or at least, mechanized (as labored desire for them decreases).
E38. In the community, will you solely use open or closed source software?
Per our value system, we prefer open source standards and software. However, if we need to use closed software because there is no open alternative, then we will do so until such time as an open alternative becomes available.
E39. What is your opinion on unconditional basic income (UBI)?
Note: There are a variety of forms of basic income including but not limited to: unconditional basic income; universal basic income; guaranteed basic income; and conditional basic income.
We don’t have a position on this subject. Unconditional basic income (UBI – the State as the employer) is not a part of the internal design of the Community. Our question is, how will unconditional basic income help or hurt our ability to form the community and to transition toward community at scale? Will it give interested individuals more time to dedicate toward this direction? Will it raise taxes, and thus, reduce the financial contribution of those who would contribute to the formation of the community? What psychological affect would occur by punishing the “productive” and rewarding non-contributors (while remembering that humans are prone to emotional resentment)? Is unconditional basic income just a way to preserve capitalism? Will the worth and value of individuals become dependent on their ability/desire to go shopping? How will an unconditional income affect consumption rates, and hence, resource usage and waste production? Could UBI be accomplished on a voluntary basis, without government coercion (i.e., taxation)? Is governmental force and wealth redistribution a way to facilitate the creation of community?
If you are interested in basic income then we recommend Federico Pistono’s lecture given in 2014 entitled, “What if everybody got free cash? Myths and facts about Unconditional Basic Income” (YouTube). It is important to note something that Federico doesn’t mention. He doesn’t mention that taxation is, at a basic event-based level, the threat of violence. Some people refer to it as “theft”. Regardless of the political concept of “representation”, taxation is not voluntary; and when there is resistance, then there is violent enforcement. Is violence, or the threat of violence, the way toward human fulfillment and flourishing?
Consider unconditional basic income in light of the following research study. According to a study published in Nature, after scanning the brains of more than 1,000 individuals, scientists have found a relationship between brain size and socio-economic status in children and adolescents. According to the study, certain brain regions, in particular those involved in language and decision-making, tended to be smaller in those from poorer and less educated families than those from affluent backgrounds. Although the study was correlational, the researchers are hopeful that the findings may bring about positive changes to anti-poverty measures that could make a real difference to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is interesting to consider how UBI would impact poverty, and the host of diseases that flow downstream therefrom.
E40. Why aren't more environmental protection and ecological policy organizations on board with your direction?
In the market, membership organizations look to maximize the number of people making [financial] contributions; they would not survive otherwise. We are proposing a non-monetary, non-state system. One has to basically say that the system is the problem and begin working a change to its structure.
Environmental protection and ecological policy organizations say things like, “Sometimes the best way to get something done is to go out there and stand up for what you believe in, no matter what.” We cordially disagree that the best way to effect systematic change is to “stand up for what you believe in”. In the real world, the best way to effect systematic change is to design a new system, and then follow through with a strategic implementation plan. Therein, slowly people will begin to experience and see this new way, and a transition will occur. Most people who “stand up to [authority] for what they believe in” do not understand the totality or complexity of the actual problem, otherwise they would take a different approach. Fundamentally, pressuring politicians and businesses to change their practices shows a lack of understanding, and possibly reveals a felt sense of inadequacy on the part of the protestor to actually participate in a tangible redesign. Designing a new system to make the existing one obsolete represent efficient action toward effective change.
With the above said, we do support these organizations in bringing awareness to some of the symptoms of the actual problem.
E41. What sort of vacations will be available to me in the community?
Stop creating a life that you need a vacation from.
E42. Why are people in modern society taking so long to change over to this new, fairly-well understood, and certainly more fulfilling socio-economic systems design?
The complete response to this is complex and multi-variate. Change toward fulfillment can be difficult when our biology and psychology are wired up through experiences and cultural programming to reproduce suffering. Certain experiences can produce people with:
Also, remember that the people who came before us built a lot of architecture, and as the saying goes, “You build and environment, and then the environment builds (or otherwise, keeps rebuilding) you in its image”.
F1. Aren't most of the problems we see in modern society due to government?
What you are doing is an extreme form of philosophic deduction (not inductive reasoning nor scientific deduction). The form of deduction you are doing is known as reductionism. You are reducing what is a systematic and societal level issue to an emergent structure for monopolizing violence and farming humans, “government”. You are reducing a whole issue to a subset of the issue that obscures the whole issue from view, and reduces the “solution” to a subset of that which is required for the solution, but cannot provide the solution. Reductionism is the negation of a systems approach to social issues. Yes, government is a problem, but government is not the [only] problem. The topic of “government” is important to cover, and the specifications do so in great length.
The specific problem with government isn't any particular regime, it is the belief in authority in people's heads. If the belief stops, regimes end. Battling regimes doesn't do any good, including revolution; as long as people believe in authority they are just going to build another one. Nevermind escaping the physical chains, the thing that has to happen first is the release of the mental chains. Essentially, if humanity has a potential to optimize human fulfillment and maximize the flourishing of all sentient life on this planet through a greater understanding of ourselves and the environment we exist within, then a voluntary relationship is superior to a coercive one. In community, every relationship is one that people choose to be in because they understand how it benefits them and they experience the benefits of it. The potential of humanity is represented by that state, not the State (Read: government).
Community is not about abolishing violence, it is about facilitating the emergence of a socio-economic architecture and set of aligned values that direct and orient our life toward fulfillment and flourishing, which will naturally lead to the obsoleting of the use of violence to meet our needs and wants.
Of note, technical application of habitat resource management is a significant part of our solution to solving conflict, and war in general.
F2. Is the government a threat to the construction of the proposed community?
It is true that “government”, as an institution with a consolidated power structure, frequently resists substantial change with military force. We are proposing an entirely different socio-economic design to the design that maintains the existence of government -- we are proposing a substantial change to how we live on this planet. And so, the question posed is an acknowledged concern, and it is why we must conduct a jurisdictional/geopolitical analysis on the located presence of the community.
We know that government officials and their enforcers are very sensitive to how they’re spoken to; we ought to always speak to them with the utmost respect and cooperation. While we don’t condone the manner in which government and its enforcers treat people, we also realize that we can do more about the situation and be more effective when we come from a state of composure and self-control. In practice, government acts as a mechanism of control based upon forced association and the monopolization of violence. We should be very careful to respect that power. We may not agree with it, and seek to change it, but the power [behind people who hold governmental positions] is very real. We are not interested in giving them any reasons to interpret our behavior as threatening. It is important for us not to appear as a [violent] threat, which we are not. We are part of a non-violent movement and we are a non-violent project. How could we not be, since we understand that the way forward is not to attack the current system, but to design a new system that makes the existing one obsolete. Among community, we do not choose the worst parts of human behavior to use as our voice. We do not choose hatred, violence, conflict, or a refusal to see the beyond one’s own selfish present.
“Never let anyone steal your fire.” The basic idea of which is that we are individual beings who hold the unconditional power to dictate our inner disposition. While external forces may have the ability to impose unwanted conditions on us, we ultimately get to decide how we perceive and process the data of our experience. Some people, for reasons as small as a bad night’s sleep to factors as grand as being a victim of abuse, are out there to hurt others. When we interact with these people it’s extremely easy to let them determine our mood, and hence, our quality of life. Refusing to let anyone “steal your fire” means you don’t become a sponge for other people’s energies. It means you don’t allow your inner spark, your enthusiasm, your passion for life to be snuffed out by someone who’s taking their unhappiness out on you. If you let them steal your fire, they win.
Besides the belief in authority that props up the social construction of government, it is important to recognize that any given government is composed of many individuals with many different interests, beliefs, and understandings. Some of the thought structures of individuals in government will naturally coincide with our own. Most importantly, government is not our enemy. Government is [in part] the encoding of a set of limited beliefs and social constructs. If governmental individuals and organizations desire to participate in this direction, then we are open to such participation, as long as that participation is constructive and doesn’t generate corruption in the system’s design. Further, we will eventually need to engage with a government in order to found the first community-city. Like any first contact, it will need to be cordial.
Additionally, the people who do violence [on behalf of Statism] are the ones that need the most help and the ones we need to reach out to peacefully.
There is an important saying that we should all consider: You have to be careful about tugging on the cloak with which a subjugated population wraps itself. Sometimes it is easier to trick people than to convince them that they have been tricked.
F3. Isn’t government a necessity in maintaining social safety and controlling pollution?
We understand that you wish for safety and security, and we share your concerns, but if your strategy to achieve that state is to support obligatory monopolies based in violence, then we feel you are misguided.
G1. Most communes die. Why won’t yours?
We are not sure quite how to take that question.
Firstly, we do not consider the specifications a proposal for the formation of a “commune”. A commune can be loosely defined as a group of people living together who sharing possessions and responsibilities, which is a slightly misleading and highly insufficient definition for what we are proposing. There are many different types of communes with many different social and economic formats. Hence, it is an imprecise representation of the complex societal system that we are proposing, which may be broken down at a high level into four interconnected structures: social; decision; lifestyle; and material.
If, however, your question at all refers to the collapse of most communes which were once in existence, then it could be said that most communes collapse [in part] because of at least one of the following reasons, probably all of them in most cases:
If you read through our design specifications and the Auravana website, you will notice that we account for each of these risks.
G2. I disagree with your proposal.
Firstly, in market lingo: to us, a well thought-out critique of what we are doing is as valuable as gold. We who pursue this project seek well-developed critiques. We have spent a lot of time exploring critiques of this type of socio-economic system (including critiques of a resource-based economy) in order to fill in gaps in our design and remove contradictions. We expose ourselves to as many perspectives on an issue as possible so that we so that we may understand holistically. In fact, we regularly take the approach that we are wrong, and we use our intelligence to guide us toward our goal of being less wrong.
With the above said, it is important to read the material before embarking on an ambiguous critique of the project. If your critique shows an understanding of the design, we will be much more likely to address it, and use it to improve the design. We desire to evolve the system, which your critique, if well informed and evidenced may help to do. Furthermore, criticism with the offer of an alternative is even better.
If you really want to know what our proposal is, then you have to read the proposal. Once it is read, then we can have an informed and productive discussion.
G3. I don’t like what you are proposing.
Maybe this isn't the right model for you. If it doesn't work for you, then go do something else. Don't work with something that doesn't work for you. If the descriptions of this system do not resonate for you, then clearly this is not a good model for you, and it is ok for you to go find a model that fits where you are right now. And maybe you will outgrow that model, and maybe this model will become better for you later on, or maybe, never. In truth, it doesn't matter. You should go grow and be all that you can be. If another model leads you to a better place, then great; and, if it leads you to a worse place, then there is a learning there too.
Even if it isn't what we want to hear, hearing is good and useful because it stretches the realm of the possible for us.
G4. What you propose is impossible.
What exactly do you think we are proposing? Maybe we could reverse analyze how and why you got to the point that you see human fulfillment and ecological sustainability on this planet as hopeless. Please, walk us through why community has become an impossibility. What is going on inside of you that is limiting you? We have the power and resources relative to what is needed to ensure everyone on earth live a life of enrichment and fulfillment. What we propose is possible. Furthermore, if we work together, it is highly probable.
In modern society, many individuals have wrapped their identity, and hence, the filter of their perception, in the limitations of their current situation. There are containers of thought that some of us are in right now and there are limitations to viewing the world from that container. A lot of what we propose looks impossible, even to someone who is very optimistic and excited. Yet, when we start to live in a state of fluidity with the emergence of community, then our mental constructs that create the appearance of a vast separation between important things in our lives, become seen for what they are, and start to dissolve.
G5. I mostly agree with your design, but this one little thing that I disagree with will cause me to throw out the entirety of the proposed system.
If you are truly aligned with this direction, then it may be useful to ask yourself, “How important is your disagreement in the grand scheme of issues we encounter as challenges to this direction?” Or, maybe you could help those participating on the project understand where we have made a mistake.
G6. I see that you are critiquing modern society. I know of another group that is also critiquing modern society; they are fairly horrible people and advocate a whole lot very bad things.
All critics of the modern socio-economic system are not the same. It would be inappropriate to put us in the same box as others who critique the system while maintaining a whole lot of other aberrant viewpoints. Further, our fundamental intention is not to critique the system; it is to design a new system that makes the existing one obsolete. In order to design this new system, we must understand the issues and failures of the current system, which may appear as a critique, but it is actually reasoning for the considered design we have selected. Among community we don’t live in our own sub-cultural bubble and define ourselves by hatred.
G7. What is your position on . . . this very controversial topic?
We don't have to take a position; we wait for the evidence in critical context and direct our decision resolution space toward regenerative fulfillment. Taking a position could become a missed opportunity to look more closely.
Certainly, we do not have engineered public relations positions on anything.
G8. You are a hypocrite for promoting a moneyless society while selling things. What do you say to those who object to your business/income work, given your claim to be against money?
You are mistaken. At the present time we are not selling anything. But, so what if we were selling things beyond cost, for profit. Let’s assume we had a moral objection to eating food. We simply found the act of eating any kind of life offensive, for whatever reason. Yet, given we must eat to stay alive, are we a hypocrite for eating, even though we have no choice? Some people tend to see things in a very black and white manner and the fact is, just because a person does not morally or rationally agree with a particular action or system, does not necessarily mean they have the freedom to circumvent that action or system.
Money is the medium by which society has chosen, generations ago, to organize itself and we had nothing to do with its installation. We were born into it, just like we were born into a biological form that needs to eat to survive. However, unlike the human form’s present empirical need to consume food to survive, the market system is not permanent or empirical. It is an outdated contrivance, which is why we advocate its change.
Human society today, no matter what corner of the earth, derives health and well-being through a property-based, income extracting process of trade on some level. The entire world is owned by people or institutions via the “private” or “public” sector, which is “rightfully” protected by police and military force. Therefore, as a human being living during this social paradigm, we have no choice but to submit in some way. Either we work to sell our labor in some form, whether freelance or creating products that generate profit, or we live in pure destitution and perhaps even die.
Of course, some thoughtless person will inevitably say to us “you should go live in the woods then!” Yes, we suppose we could live in a park somewhere, hiding from park authorities, eating grubs. But guess what? We don’t care to live in such deprivation without health care or basic needs, as well as the digital technologies we are using to facilitate the redesign of society. It just doesn’t sound like a fulfilling way of living. Likewise, we also have family that needs financial assistance, along with friends and relationships. No one is an island.
Our favorite response to this condemnation, is “Ok. We will stop trading or using money for the rest of our life. However, we will need 25 million dollars each to get set up in order to do so, assuming each of us live until about 80 yrs old. We would like a protected, automated estate, a farm system, 3d printing systems, and please make sure it is supplied by a renewable source of energy. Once set up, we will never use money again. We will build a system that will work for the rest of our life and repair things ourselves, learning as need be. We will grow everything and use advanced printing technology to live simply and sustainably. So if you can provide us with about 25 million dollars each, we will happily stop interacting with the system with full integrity, releasing everything we create for free. Please let us know when you can write us a check!”
Now, to conclude, we will add one qualification. It is one thing to live, acquire money and try to do good with it (e.g., to be in the business of waking people up), and another to blindly self-maximize and extract just because you can.
G9. If you don’t like the current society, then just leave.
We think there might be a bit of a misunderstanding here. We are trying to create a new society, and so, we will be leaving this society, or facilitating its transformation, as soon as we have the next one sufficiently designed and under construction.
The second misunderstanding is that everywhere you go on the planet, except for a few remote and extreme weather locales, you are still under the power umbrella of one government or another, and you will still be required to participate in the market. Hence, the statement, “if you don’t like it, then leave,” is like saying to a zoo animal in a cage, you can move cages, but it is going to cost you your family and friends, a lot of your money, and you shall still remain caged. Saying to an animal in a cage in a zoo that it can go to another cage in another zoo is obviously ridiculous. An animal that doesn't want to be in a zoo does want to be in the wild. To say to that animal that it must like its cage, because it doesn’t want to go to another cage, is not comparing being in cage to being free. It is comparing being in a cage to being in another cage. To those who advocate the persistence of territorial monopolizing authorities, this word “freedom”, we do not think it means what you think it means. Moving to another cell is not the same as being set free from prison. The “love it or leave it” argument is basically saying, if you don't like the forceful associations here, then you are free to choose another location of forceful association. The point of community, however, is to bring a free society to wherever we live.
When it comes to “citizenship”, you are not technically allowed to not be a citizen of any country. If you want to leave one country, you are expected to immediately take up citizenship in another country. The UN specifically bans, to the degree it is enable to enforce, this rule; it bans people from being “stateless”. You must always have a codified relationship with a monopolizing authority.
Furthermore, most governments have laws regulating their “citizens” ability to leave their jurisdiction. Some countries, like the United States of America, will tax a citizen on his/her global income regardless of whether the citizen is using US-based services. This sort of taxing behavior is actually quite uncommon among governments (though it is becoming more common), and it is a sign of a State desiring an empire. If you are a US citizen and you leave the country, but do not renounce your citizenship, then you will be taxed regardless of where you live on the planet (note that US military abroad are of a different [tax] class than other citizens).
When a “citizen” decides to leave a jurisdiction permanently, the renunciation of citizenship often carries with it two penalties: firstly, the renouncer generally has to pay some percentage of his/her income back to that society's government; and secondly, the renouncer is often barred from ever again re-entering said government’s jurisdiction. It is also not uncommon for governments to deny exit and entry based on criminal history.
In modern society, we really need to examine how much freedom we actually have. Sometimes we do have the “freedom” to go to another farming system (i.e., another State). But, what sort of freedom is that? What most people call "freedom" is nothing but a set of privileges granted as part of a system of social coercion. People who feel "free" in a jurisdiction only feel that way because the range of privileges granted to them by their government is relatively broader than that of other governments. Many people in many jurisdictions actually have a false sense of their privileges versus the privileges of others, because most governments market themselves as providing the most privileges to their citizens.
Society should exist for the benefit of humans, but it seems that in fact many humans are existing for the benefit of society. And generally, the poorer one is, the greater the exploitation. The very idea that we are already highly civilized prevents us from being motivated to mature and find a system by which humanity can be fulfilled.
It is important to remember that we are all connected in a variety of ways on this spaceship we call Earth. Merely moving to another location on the planet will not absolve those connections interwoven throughout the Earth’s biosphere.
G10. You are trying to make everyone equal.
That is not an accurate statement. A reading of the Social System Specification would clarify what we mean. Briefly, the challenge is not to make everyone equal (whatever that means), but to foundation everyone with at least a basic assurance of survival and material dignity, so that each may have the opportunity to develop themselves, to contribute, and to create a life of their choice from there. And, to those who do not take the opportunities presented to them, why should we not give them another chance, and another, and another? In community, their inaction will have no impact on others around them, and we guarantee (or at least think it likely) that eventually they’ll get tired of being left out of and of not doing anything to better with their lives. Among community, we collaboratively create an environment that facilitates equal access to life enriching opportunities and the ability to contribute to the evolution of human flourishing.
THE FULFILLMENT OF OUR POTENTIAL IS THE REASON WE ARE ALIVE, IT IS THE LIGHT INSIDE OF OUR EYES.
H1. What about overpopulation?
What exactly do you mean by “overpopulation”?
To us, the term “carrying capacity” replaces the term "overpopulation". The term “carrying capacity” comes from the field of environmental/ecological sciences. Carrying capacity is the population level of an organism that can be sustained in a local ecology given the quantity of life supporting resources and infrastructure available. When a population rises beyond the carrying capacity of its environment, or conversely the carrying capacity of the environment falls, the existing population cannot be supported and will decline to match the carrying capacity. A population cannot stay in “overshoot” for long. The rapidity, extent, and other characteristics of the decline depend on the degree of overshoot, and whether the carrying capacity continues to be eroded during the decline. Populations in serious overshoot always decline. It is essential for the Community to account, equate, trend, and maintain a service continuity buffer for carrying capacity.
The concepts of ecological and technological science are the most effective tools for understanding a situation of “overpopulation”. Here, crucial concepts are: sustainability/regenerability; carrying capacity; overshoot; and technological ephemeralization. The Community’s economic decision system is specifically designed to account for these crucial concepts.
It is important to recognize that through scientific discovery and advancements in engineering we can technologically extend the carrying capacity of our ecological environment.
If, by usage of the term “overpopulation”, you are referring to what the media and news speak of, then we are more likely talking about a scare tactic. The media would have you believe that we will soon reach the point where we can no longer sustain the population of the planet, which is not an accurate representation of what is occurring. Instead, what is actually happening is that the earth will no longer be able to support the capitalist socio-economic system, which involves resource exploitation, scarcity generation, consumption, and waste. The capitalist economic system is causing serious declines in the carrying capacity of the biosphere including the density and diversity of life on this planet. Capitalists exploit resources for profit, which eventually get dumped into our oceans, landfills, and atmosphere as pollution (i.e., waste that negatively impacts life on the planet).
Due to the divisionary nature of the capitalist model, the ecological environment is not sufficiently accounted for in the design and production of consumable products. In Community, the concept of “carrying capacity” and the danger of overshoot (and pollution) is just common knowledge. We all know that the carrying capacity of our biosphere cannot be exceeded by either population growth, or consumption of resources, without disaster.
So, it could be said that we don’t really have an overpopulation problem on the planet at the present time. Instead, we have a lack of intelligent design. Our planet could easily support our population if we designed our socio-economic system in a sustainable manner.
H2. How will the process of deciding to have children occur in the community?
Bringing unplanned, unwanted, or uncared for children into the world is a disastrous occurrence affecting the well-being of everyone involved as well as the carrying capacity of our ecology. It is perfectly right and understandable for people to want to have children, it is a necessity for our species and a part of our intrinsic desire as mammals. But, for a species with our intelligence, capabilities, and resource needs, to bring an unwanted, unplanned, or uncared for child into the world as an “accidental life” is totally unacceptable. Even indigenous societies plan for their children. Such societies are/were so in tune with their bodies and natural medicines that they could plan for births, and as such, the continuation and sustainability of their population.
There is considerable literature to indicate that when socio-economic access to life enriching opportunities is high and individuals are educated, then birth rates are likely to be nominal for carrying capacity. Ecologically unsustainable birth rates are really an issue of education and poverty. Socio-economic imbalance and scarcity are the major problems in concern to population stabilization.
The moment two people decide to have children, the community's interest in their life goes up considerably. The reasons for this should be obvious, but needs stating anyway. Firstly, new births impact the carrying capacity of the service system. Secondly, your kids are going to be out playing with my/other kids, and your kids are going to be interacting with me. Third, your kids are going to grow up, and if you raise a bunch of psychotic arsonists, well I may have flammable aspects to my house that I would not want their attention drawn to. The moment that you decide to have children, then even the staunchest individualistic self-maximizer is no longer an island in society because your children are, statistically, going to outlive you and come "sailing into" society. If the children are screwed up, then we are all screwed. Hence, we do have a "collective" interest in the well-being of the next generation from the moment of conception onward. How others raise their children is of significant interest to everyone. We are not being busy bodies in this concern. We have to live in this “grow and release” environment too. And, we are going to grow older with people’s kids around, and if those kids grow up hostile, aggressive and confused, then we all suffer, and our lives become significantly problematic on just about every conceivable level.
If your kids are dangerous, then the entire community is in danger. There are significant breakdowns of the isolationist and atomistic view of society when we realize the affect that child raising has on all of us in the long-run. We in community have an interest in the process and timing by which other human beings are brought into the community, whether this be children, or adults from outside of the community. In modern society, bad parents have socialized the costs of their poor behavior.
If you have children, then you are taking on a huge responsibility, which involves raising and imprinting. We are all invested in the quality of the upbringing (and parenting) of the children around us. "Your" children are going to be the foundation of the civilization I am going to have to live in in my old age, and it matters significantly what you are doing, and we can't pretend that it doesn't. In modern society, the nuclear family is trying to fill a set of roles that have historically taken an entire community.
H3. How many people can the proposed decision system support?
We don't know, but it is designed to be scalable. Any decision system depends on the people involved and on the structures used. You can have a totally dysfunctional decision system between two people, and a totally functional one at many million. The number of people involved is not the determining factor. It is our intention to design the decisioning system so that it could scale up to planetary size without the introduction of harmful artifacts as it scales. It is capable of doing this because it models the world as it is, and it uses that model as a basis for understanding why certain structures and actions are more likely to lead to greater social and ecological stability, and to a higher potential of fulfillment and well-being, and other structures, less stability and a lesser potential.
I1. How and why is history important?
By comparing where we have been, to where we want to be, we can make course corrections along the way. By making course corrections we are unlikely to get lost in suffering and more likely to align with that which we desire. In part, history reveals how to navigate around traps we have already encountered. If we want to repeat history, we do the same things and can logically expect the same results. If we do not want the same results (i.e., war and famine), then we need to change how we do things. Fundamentally, when we don't remember we are likely to just keep making the same mistakes all over again.
J1. What is your position on religion?
We take no position on religion. In fact, we have many allies in religious faiths, for many of our values are aligned. The highest and most fulfilling values of all religions are also our values. In fact, our designs are in perfect accord with the highest aspects and ideals found in most religions throughout the world. We propose to translate these ideals into a working reality for everyone on this planet. We have many religious supporters for this reason. What would be a better religious/spiritual focus than to help facilitate a better world for everyone?
Just like religion, direct experience of community is what keeps it vital. Let’s build a better world here on Earth.
Fundamentally, we are not asking anyone to change their beliefs, we are asking people to question how they think about fulfillment and sustainability on this planet. And yet, is it not admirable to alter our beliefs when evidence arrives to contradict them?
J2. Will people of faith be welcome in the community?
People of all faiths are of course welcome. We are here to keep the creator’s gift to us abundant.
J3. What is your position on spirituality?
We can't think of anything more spiritual than facilitating the creation of an environment of fulfillment and sustainable access so that we have the opportunity and sacred space to pursue the inward and outward development of our consciousness and/or faith.
One might say that spirituality is the desire to develop toward one's highest potential through the continuous fulfillment of one's total self. Herein, there is an accepting, but also an expansion beyond artificial limits and dogmatic borders. The Community is here to facilitate that.
Though difficult sometimes, it is important not to judge people who are stuck in a highly limited mindset and are creating their own suffering and re-generating the suffering of others. It is wise to realize that they are here for learning and growth, which can be challenging and hard, and that some of us get deeply caught, which is all the easier because of the structure of this reality system and the information viruses that are ubiquitously present at the moment. We are all here, this life, for a short period of time and then we move on. Let us all make the most of life and share that abundance with all of our neighbors on this planet.
K1. What is the audience for the design specifications?
Firstly, it is important to define what is meant by the concept, ‘audience’. Etymologically speaking, the term ‘audience’ originally comes from hearing a play.
The dictionary provides some additional context:
Entertainment has an audience. Marketing material has an audience. An interviewee has an audience. Having an audience means that the material being presented is tailored to that audience. The specifications are not tailored (i.e., edited) to be suitable for any particular population of people. The specifications are composed to resolve the community’s design for no audience, but the construction of something fulfilling for all of humanity. The design specifications as they presently exist do not have an “audience” besides those individuals who wish to contribute to the community network. They are engineering specifications (in conceptual and technical form) that include the logical derivation and technical operation of the system. Here, the term engineering means that we have a specification (i.e., “blueprint”) in advance, and we are going to build what is in the specification. In order to logically derive the system, we need to account for not only the paradigm that we are creating, but also, all the other paradigms that we are excluding. Hence, they are written comprehensively, and are to be used as documentation for the system’s reasoning, construction, and operation.
When a blueprint is shared it has a uniform interpretation. There is no cultural way of building something technical; there is a scientifically informed, mathematical and engineered way. For those who actually desire to create community, let’s get out of the “audience” mindset and start being discoverers and contributors.
Marketing material has an audience, but we ought not to introduce the conforming of content for a particular perspective into the system's comprehensive design. Certainly, there is something to be said for presenting the specification for community to the public in different ways -- it may have a different impact when it is presented in one way versus another. Certainly, it is important to understand the audience to whom we are addressing when we create marketing material. However, that doesn’t mean that the comprehensive specification is different in any way. What we are proposing (Read: the specification) remains the same, we are just tailoring our communication to the paradigm of thought of the audience.
K2. The specifications are just an ideology.
An ‘ideology’ is a conceptual system of thought (i.e., a set of common ideas) determined entirely by a social environment that justifies action, including routine day-to-day activity. Your ideology justifies your own actions to yourself, as well as the reasonable or unreasonable actions of others, and hence, ideologies differ between cultures (as in, different social environments). If the proposed system is considered an ideology, as a group of ideas with an internal logic required and active when deciding that justifies and reasons action, then it is categorically separate from other ideologies. Here, it is important to acknowledge that the proposed system applies ‘systems thinking’ for integration and for engineering, ‘science’ for evidence and for discovery, and ‘critical reasoning’ for resolving contradiction toward understanding. Hence, it is an emergent system designed to maintain a transparent degree of measurable alignment with reality, and our mutual fulfillment therein. Its approach is explicit and designed to evolve through discovery, neither of which is typical of an ideology. Typically, an ideology is entirely self-referencing with no inquiry directive toward evolution. Alternatively, the proposed system does not justify anything static to a set social environment; instead, it is a system that maintains a continuity of discovery, and uses an integration of understandings, to construct a space of greater flourishing. To us, this system is not an ideology, but an evolving possibility.
Certainly, the system is not an “-ism”, which is how ideologies are sub-classified. Every “-ism” is a type of ideology (e.g., capitalism, communism, socialism). The design specifications go to great length to describe why the proposed system is not classified as an “-ism”. It would be incorrect to equate our proposed system (i.e., community) with any other, or former, “-ism”.
An ideology is used to identify someone or some group as separate from others. It is something in which we cloak our ego, and ends up obfuscating other ways of seeing the world and reality. Whereupon, people adhere to ideas that explain and offer psychological compensation for their position in the class system of their time. They, very often, act against their own interests as the result of ideologies they hold that justify their socio-economic class position to themselves. Denial and hope both play a hand in this. These compensatory ideologies are part of the hegemonic influence over subject peoples in an imperial situation. This happens in all class systems. Conversely, community is a classless socio-economic system, and our identity is not fixed, but emergent to the flow discovery and growth.
Of note, all narratives are classified as being ideological. Yet, the design specifications for community seek to reduce narration through the use of discovery, evidence, and logical derivation, in order to create something that may feasibly maintain our mutual fulfillment in a commonly discoverable existence.
K3. Do I have to read the design specifications?
The competent creation of community will only come from a group of collaborators who have a working literacy (maybe even a mastery) of the basic foundational understandings of this paradigm of thought.
You don’t “need” to read the design specifications (of which, at the time of this writing, there are over 700 pages, not including all the content on the website). If you want to more greatly understand the logical derivation and technical operation of the community (our proposal), then the specifications are available. If you want to participate in the design of the community, then the specifications are useful, but possibly not essential to the development of a vertical subsystem in the larger community system. If you want to eventually join the community, then it is prudent to read the specifications, because entrance into the first city will involve screening to assure alignment with, and understanding of, the system into which one is entering.
Reading is one of the best ways to overcome intellectual solipsism (i.e., the experience of being caved in by your own limited ways of looking at the world). If you want to learn how to think like those who are constructing and will be living in the community, then read things by those people who are actually working on this direction. We do not want people to simply conform to the worldview we are putting forward.
Herein, people often ask, “Do I need to comprehensively understand the community system to be a functional member of the community?" First, ask yourself, "Would I prefer to live in a community where everyone has taken the time to understand the reasons we have chosen this direction?" We can offer a simple thought exercise: two communities, one consists of individuals who have taken the time required to understand the system, and possibly, have contributed to the evolution of community’s specification; the second community consists of those who believe they understand this direction without affirming it. Which one will you be a part of with the recognition that there is serious danger in being part of something, and not knowing how it functions and why it functions? It is unwise to participate in a socio-economic structure, and not know how and why it is structured as it is.
Even modern society, with all of its confusion, recognizes the importance of maintaining an understanding of how its society works. Modern society primarily works through a type of relationship known as “power over others”. It trains this form of relationship into the minds of children as they develop, primarily through the method of forced schooling and the curricula therein. In community, however, there is no force in concern to education. Our expectation is that individuals brought up as children in the community will naturally desire (at different ages) to learn about the system that transparently and explicitly facilitates their fulfillment. And herein, we recognize the usefulness in designing the community so that there is likely to be interest and engagement in its functioning. The composition of the first several cities, however, will be composed primarily of individuals brought up as children in modern society, and so, screening for understanding and orientation is important.
The community represents an entirely different way of living than the way ubiquitous and altogether “normal” in modern society. We want to make absolutely sure that you know what you are getting into; and, for your own well-being you should want to know what system you are entering and why it is a different system than the one you have come from.
Fundamentally, we have to design what we want to build. The question is, do you want to build and live in a community, or do you just want to live in another’s creation?
The design specifications are like a navigation tool set for exploring and creating with a wider mental awareness and a more encompassing worldview. In a sense, the community is a technical navigational system into which we are placing ourselves, which is operative at both the individual and social levels. It is a system for navigating together within a common existence. Operating within it requires an aligned navigational system and an understanding of its functioning at some basic level. If you wish to navigate together with us in common, then you must learn how we navigate. Otherwise, your inability to navigate and self-integrate may put yourself and others in unnecessary danger - you may interject social conflict and inefficiency, as well as maladaptive structures and behaviors.
We recognize that in their present form the specifications are not the best introduction for beginners to this topic. With that said, if you are a beginner with a significant motivation for understanding the system’s complexity, then the specifications may be profoundly intriguing to you. It is important to note that as participants to this project we recognize the significant challenge the specifications pose as an introduction to this idea. However, they are not intended to be an introduction, they are intended to be the reference documentation we use in the community’s construction and operation. Our project team webpage maintains our “scope of work”, and as part of our future tasks mentioned therein we shall be creating marketing material that simplifies the specifications and makes the general idea more accessible to a wider and newer audience.
K4. When I am reading the specifications for the first time I feel like I am learning a new language; why might I feel like this?
This is common feedback, and that is why we have this question as part of the FAQ. People often state that reading the specifications feels like work, and like learning a new language.
There can be a substantial learning curve when it comes to acquiring a comprehensive understanding of what is actually being proposed by the Project. It is important to remember that this community proposal represents an entirely different linguistic worldview than most (if not all) other worldviews present in modern society. The design specifications might stretch your ability to visualize what is, and what is possible (like a form of mental yoga). The specifications may give you another viewpoint on your own life and the lives of others. They may open new doors of perception, or provide a new lens through to view existence. Fundamentally, the Community's design describes an entirely divergent way of living and of understanding reality than the many worldviews expressed among the current population of the planet. This can present a significant motivating challenge for those interested in this direction. The design specifications are dense in content and many individuals who read them for the first time feel like they are learning a new language and integrating a new worldview, which takes time and requires internal processing.
The language that many of us have been brought up with is a linguistic dead end. Language can be impoverishing and many of us have been brought up in a world of [conceptual, linguistic, and physical] impoverishment. Wherein, the instinct to want things to be better without the work of trying to understand how they have come to be as they are, is guaranteed to keep you where you are.
Sometimes, work is doing that thing that you are least inclined to do, but that will provide you the greatest growth and development. Certainly, it is challenging to think in this new way when we have been trained to think in a much more limited way. Community requires factoring complexity, rather than just accepting simplicity. It requires questioning core axioms and working on the structure of society itself, not just working within it. It requires recognition of the environmental factors that condition human behavior, rather than just working with current behavior patterns as givens. It requires deeper thought and critical questioning.
Today, many people wonder about the society in which they live in a way unchanged by the wonder. By which is meant this: If you don't change your language about how you’re wondering about something, you are likely going to keep arriving back at the same perception.
Herein, discernment takes time to appear. We acknowledge a sense of urgency and a desire to care for that which was entrusted to us, but sometimes we first have to develop ourselves so our actions may become intelligently coordinated with others who have found this common direction.
Due to a wide variety of factors, many of us are very skilled at, and easily slip out of, using language precisely and viewing circumstances from a sufficiently encompassing perspective. If the specifications are to be used to construct the first community, then they need to be written precisely, some may say pedantically, so that they are acceptable to formal critique and not open to subjective interpretation.
K5. Why do you refer to the proposed community design as a whole-system solution?
We need whole-system solutions that address complex interconnections, not just isolated parts. Interventions that only effect single mechanisms are not sufficient for structural [socio-economic] instability. The design specifications seek to address core underlying causes, not just symptoms. Hence, the designs identify clearly what we want to move towards, as well as, away from. Unlike previous phases in human history, all of our most pressing issues now are global, and as such, profoundly interconnected. This means we need solutions that address that interconnectedness and complexity to bring about helpful societal redesign.
Organizations tasked with trying to effect specific metrics within a complex system are bound to be, at best, under-equipped to deal with the nature of the issues, and at worst, unintentionally externalizing harm to other important areas as a result of “success” in their area of focus. All positive efforts are necessarily parts of the meta-imperative to create a thriving world for all: we need to recognize them as such and intelligently coordinate and integrate our efforts. We need fundamental restructuring of the primary systems that organize human activity.
Almost all of the world’s major problems have in common that someone stands to incur more economic advantage by causing them than by not. Further, systems of government are not only highly inefficient, but structurally lend themselves to corruption in ways that are inevitable. These power conferring systems reinforce memetic connections that condition and illicit many of the most destructive aspects of human potential. Modern society’s systems of economics, governance, law, and value had their foundations laid when there were only 500 million people (an approximation) on the planet, with low technological development, and when many still thought the earth was flat. Their foundational axioms are flawed and inadequate to the complexity, scope, and magnitude of our current needs.
Nothing less than a fundamental reassessment and restructuring of our core thought processes and fulfillment systems, aligned with our current needs and based on the best of what we currently know, is adequate to the real task at hand (i.e., global human fulfillment and ecological stability). All of our most pressing issues now are global, and as such, profoundly interconnected. This means that we need solutions that address that interconnectedness and complexity to bring about lasting success.
We are proposing a realistic solution, and we have the technical capacity to materialize that proposal.
K6. Why is it challenging for individuals in modern society to understand the concepts put forward by the project?
We take full responsibility here. We have not yet made our proposal sufficiently marketable, but that will come in time. Our present priorities and desires involve working on the specifications themselves. If you would like to join us and work on “professional” marketing material, then please do contact us.
Also, many people have been trained and conditioned by the preeminent institutions in their society to react to the mere mention of the concepts put forward by this project. They have been taught to associate these concepts with emotion laden and "negative" events without critical thought. All the science in the world is unlikely to convince someone that the opposite of what they believe emotionally is the actual fact of the matter. There are too many old poisons in people’s heads. Furthermore, there is significant conceptual confusion amongst the population of modern society, which creates a mental fog that is exceptionally challenging, as well as being time and energy intensive to work through. To a large extent, the general population of people brought up in modern society have little to no context for understanding the operation of community.
The Auravana Project is here, in part, to facilitate in the removal of conceptual chaos and contradiction, and to present a design based on evidence. By doing so, we clear our minds of the fear that has come before and participate in the creation of a new society dedicated to uplifting all of humanity out their own, self-created chaos. The goal is not to convince anyone of these values that orient our lives toward greater fulfillment, but to setup an environment and the conditions where they realize it for themselves. If anything is "true", then we should all have the capacity to realize it on our own without feeling imposition.
Unfortunately, when people are conditioned to just "go with the flow [of the crowd]" it makes those who don’t seem maladjusted, or possibly, dangerous. Instead of taking responsibility for our complicity as corporate cogs or imperial citizens, we follow our leaders' example and blame the system for forcing us to collaborate in its crimes. The problem isn't necessarily people who are asleep to the fundamental structures around them. The problem is [in part] people who are dreaming, but think they are awake. You can shake them forever and they will never wake up. You can show them the structure that creates their dream, and still they do not awaken. You can explore the suffering caused to others by their continued dreaming, and they will brush it off by saying that those who suffer are simply not dreaming correctly, dreaming big enough, or have the wrong dream mentality. The dreamer believes that you get the life that you deserve, not the life that you are continuously creating through the structural circumstances into which your life becomes entangled.
Additionally, people are being occupied with jobs and entertainment. Society is so constructed that most people are preoccupied with a job, pleasant or unpleasant, from 9-5 most days of their life. You would think that most people would refuse to spend the majority of their life slaving away for the profit of another, and choose to do something about such a socio-economic environment that coerced them into such a situation. Instead, most people support and sustain and inculcate their own imprisonment, which may not be too disagreeable to those with a pleasant job or reasonable wealth.
In the market there are many commercial entities and consumable ideologies competing for our attention. These “attention grabbers” are great at assimilating dissent and diverting potentially useful energies into systematically valueless efforts. And yet, one might ask oneself, “When I am playing a game of monopoly for my life and the lives of my significant others, what does dissent mean to me?”
Most people just blindly accept the prison. Some have come to cherish its routines. A lot of the defense of the current system comes from its own workers (who say things like, “I started at 7 dollars and I worked my way up to 15; you can too!"). The psychology of the underclass is groomed to not understand what is happening, and to have animosity toward each other (divide and conquer) as well as those who advocate a system where the groomers and attention grabbers aren't in power. It is essential to recognize that many people have identified fully with the cage and will fight to protect it. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (Wikipedia) is a useful narrative here.
There is an old saying, “Slavery is not always enforced by the slaveholders, but rather by the slaves.” Social conditioning dictates the role people play in modern society, and that role becomes an identifying persona that people hold on to and will fight to protect.
There are a few who realize something is very wrong, but the majority of them shrug off any useful effort through various psychological self-comforting and self-protection tactics: one of which is expressed in the following statement, "There may be something wrong, but that is just normal, it is the way of our life, and of society; we just have to live with it." Often, said people will become most agitated when the reality of modern society is explained to the young in their presence. They will say things like, “s/he (referring to the young) will just have to endure the suffering, and explaining the situation will make it all the harder for this young person, so shut up and just let them remain ignorant to the reality of the situation”. Such people believe they are protecting the young, but they are doing no such thing -- there is great danger to knowing just one story.
There is also a self-reinforcing and self-congratulatory narrative occurring to people in modern society. This narrative occurs mostly to those who are financially successful, to entrepreneurs, and to those who aspire to be financially successful entrepreneurs. These people are either the beneficiaries of a concentration of wealth, or they are would very much like to accumulate a concentration of wealth. Most of them are living their own narrative, which entails the decontextualized belief that, “you get what you deserve; I got to where I am because of hard work”. In other words, how much money you have and your economic success is based on how much value you put into the market system. This general train-of-thought states that who we become is based solely on our own decisions, and is entirely unrelated to the environment. To them, success is a mindset, and the fact that more and more people are struggling socio-economically is simply symptomatic of a moral malaise, and has little to do with the structure of the system itself. From their perspective such people are just too lazy to work, or don’t understand the wonderful benefit of how work is just so great for its own sake (i.e., the orthodox work ethic). They tell themselves a story told to them, and they aren’t interested in hearing anything different.
On the surface, modern society seems right and good, but underneath the surface there is quite a lot of brainwashing that makes us complacent about how unnatural and unfair the fundamental rules of the system are. Fulfillment of human needs is disregarded by some societies; in particular, by those pre-occupied with their status or with jobs. Many people are so conditioned that they just blindly accept a structure that demands work from morning to night [for another's profit]. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people aren’t aware that there are other ways of thinking about society.
One must exercise inquiry and a new approach to break free from the cage. It is important to recognize that overcoming the resistance of just doing something different is a major challenge for everyone. There is inertia to the way people live their lives. When we understand why people are the way that they are, then we can have compassion and patience with them.
We who participate in this project see modern society as intolerable, not just verbally, but actually, which has caused us to do something about it, and to seek to instantiate the creation of a new society. Most want others to create this society so that they can slip into it. They too say that they want it, but only after others have put the time and effort into constructing it, then they will join us. They don’t want to do it together with us, which is the whole problem.
And finally, there is a strong learning and unlearning curve for this information. We are not in the marketing phase of the project and so most of our material is still highly technical and has significant complexity behind it. Technical material is not generally useful for attracting a wider audience.
Fundamentally, you can't change anybody but yourself. You can, however, facilitate in the creation of an environment where it is easy for people to grow on their own and in their own way. A growth-oriented environment requires fulfillment of needs and access to growth opportunities. Whereupon, people are likely to feel fulfilled enough to be authentic. When we can be ourselves and we feel authentic, then we become sufficiently open to the exploration of real feedback, which is necessary for self-development. If, however, “I” were to come up and tell “you” about where “you” really need growth, “you” would likely want to push back in the opposite direction. The minute “I” start giving instructions, “you” will back up and go the other way. In general, we don't like it when others try to make us do something, we will resent it and push back. It is easy to help others make changes in their behavior when we can demonstrate through our own development the acquisition of self-knowledge and a sense of life-directing purpose.
K7. In communication, you say the system and accompanying specifications are simplex. What do you mean by that?
The system described by the specifications is both simple and complex – it is ‘simplex’ (simple and complex). Whereas simple concepts unify our understanding, complex understanding allows for creation. Herein, simplicity means concepts which unify and bring together seemingly disparate knowledge and ideas. Simple concepts allow for explaining the most with the least possible number of assumptions. However, in order to acquire a comprehensive understanding for the purpose of design and construction, complexity is required. The specifications are long and complex, and of course they would be since they describe a socio-economic system. However, a lot of the wording is actually reasoning for the system’s derivation and selection, which is a requirement for testing, construction, and a nuanced understanding, but not for a superficial understanding. All the reasoning present in the specifications could be removed and the system could be visualized quite simply. The system will likely be viewed as complex for someone coming from an entirely different paradigm of thought, but when it is understood it is actually quite simple. Certainly, it is less complex and maintains many fewer layers of abstraction and obfuscation than modern society. Automation is a good analogy: In concern to the system itself, automation is applied to reduce experienced complexity, but automation is itself internally complex. In order to create an automated system, complexity must be accounted for.
L1. Why not join the current system and change it from the inside out?
That is not the purpose of The Auravana Project. The purpose of this project is to design a new system that makes the existing system obsolete. We are not here to patchwork the existing system or to attempt its reorientation. In other words, we are not here to join with the existing system and try to change its course. Fundamentally, interventions that only affect single mechanisms are not sufficient for structural reorientation.
In the future, the way in which the current system operates will be viewed as highly confused, delusional, and probably, criminal. Why would anyone join a criminal organization with the goal of turning it into a cooperative fulfillment structure? To put it into more understandable terms, that would be the equivalent of trying to join the mafia and turn it into a legitimate charity. What are the likely outcomes of joining a such an organization and turning it into an integrated access system designed to facilitate human fulfillment? Probably not too high. We have to work more fundamentally than that. In other words, some systems cannot correct core problems, their structure won't allow for its.
If the dominant model is irredeemable, then a new model must be built to make the existing model obsolete. Observably, the largest impediments to the implementation of a new model are: 1) the acceptance, in all its various forms, that the dominant model must change; and 2) the idea that patchwork is a viable solution to a systemic problem. While it is true that we need to build bridges of learning and understanding, unfortunately, that doesn't go far enough. In many ways, as a species, we are moving in the right direction; some examples of this are a reduction in human violence globally, and an increase in life saving and enhancing technologies. These are all great signs, but don't circle the sign post.
Note that the idea that this is one of the least violent times in the world is only true if we are incredibly anthropocentric in our view of the data. How do we define violence: human on human? We might actually be witnessing a much greater degree of violence than ever before if we open up that definition of violence to: human on other than human life. The population of modern society is committing ecocide on a fantastic scale, with lower estimates of 50 species a day going extinct because of human behaviour. This is violence, it just may not be human on human violence. If we look out at the planet from a pan-species perspective, then this may be one of the most violent times.
How do we change society? We change society by changing ourselves, how we think, our values, and the structures which we support and into which we move our energies. A society is enabled by none other than the people who inhabit that system and the worldviews they maintain. The Auravana Project is here to create a more fulfilling society, and then, to strategically and intelligently scale that society up to planetary size.
In any society, circular reinforcement is at play - the very system we come to expect and are influenced and shaped by, we it feed forward right back into itself. This creates a culture-to-system and system-to-culture chain of causality that rolls us onward or downward by its own momentum and existence. Hence, it falls to us to start looking around and start being at the cause of a better world and less at the effect of a culture in decline. Once we start breaking this chain of influence and see ourselves as the cause, then we may begin to design a new way forward.
L2. How is The Auravana Project like a “movement”?
A movement is a group of people who seek to change a position. Unfortunately, movements frequently calcify into orthodoxy, which may be controlled. The Auravana Project is not a movement; it is an open source project with a project plan informed by participating contributors. Our focus, presently, is on the development of a unified open source specification for the creation of a community network of socio-economically integrated city systems. Hence, we are not involved in activism. There is, however, a social movement advocating for what we feel is an akin direction. That movement is called “The Zeitgeist Movement”.
Further, the Auravana Project doesn’t have members; instead, we integrate the work of contributors (i.e., we have “contributors”). An organization with a membership structure conveys wealth and power to its leaders. When there are leaders and followers, then the more followers you have, the more power you are likely to have. Contribution has less of a “leader/follower” meaning associated with it. Quite quickly, any organization with members becomes more about how you maintain and grow the organization and its membership, and less about what the message/purpose was, and eventually, leaders start changing the message to suite their new organizational needs. Of note, we do not think this is likely to happen with The Zeitgeist Movement due to their transparent nature, prior works, and observable value system.
L3. What sort of activism does The Auravana Project do?
The general train of thought that we propose is concurrently being shared on a larger scale by The Zeitgeist Movement. The Zeitgeist Movement is an awareness/activist movement. The Auravana Project is not an awareness generation and advocacy movement. Instead, we are here to design and develop the system; this is our focus. We are commitment to what Buckminster Fuller said so beautifully: “In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. That, in essence, is the higher service to which we are all being called.” If you are more interested in bringing awareness to the world of an RBE/fulfillment-orientation, then we recommend participating with the The Zeitgeist Movement, which doesn’t mean you cannot also participate with us. If you want to logically derive, design, and eventually construct the system, then participate with us (or any other organization you know working in an open source manner on this direction).
There is also the notion that “activism” is useful work done without reward to facilitate the flourishing of all life. If this is your definition of “activist”, then we suppose we could fit under that name. The Auravana Project represents work that we would do regardless of whether or not we were paid to do it.
L4. Why do you not spend more time discussing these issues with the public?
We are strategic and efficient in our communication for we have limited time from the system we are in, and hence, we have other priorities at the present. There will come a time when greater communication with the public is a priority. Now is not the time; mostly due to the availability of resources. Yet, if we had more resources at our disposal, then we could run our serial priorities in parallel (i.e., we could do more with the time we have). Please contact us if you are interested in sharing some of your time or resources with the Project.
L5. I want to help. I will help by talking with you at length about what you are proposing.
Firstly, talking about and through this information is important because it helps us to more greatly understand it for ourselves, and to improve our communication of it. However, as a project we are not interested in just talking, or just the sharing of ideas. We are interested in people doing things that tangibly advance this direction. We have found, time and again, that people get completely lost in chatting about the topic and never actually do anything.
Herein, it is important not to confuse ideas with answers. If you have an idea, then do something to turn it into an answer. Make suggestions, but we expect you to take responsibility for them.
If you just want to talk with someone about this information, then please do contact us because we have a variety of individuals open to such communication. We also know a variety of social channels where such communication occurs regularly. We do, however, separate this communication from our focused communications on the project.
L6. What more can you tell me about The Auravana Project that isn’t covered on the about pages of the website.
This Project exists to design the community system sufficiently so that it can be materialized and effectively constructed as a new form of society. One of our goals therein is to bring together people with different approaches to dealing with the technologies and systems that we will need to construct and live in the Community. Presently, the Project is dedicated toward designing and developing the proposed community along the lines of our 'Scope of Work' (i.e., project plan). All tasks that are completed under the auspices of the project must have some direct relationship to the 'scope of work' and work toward the design and eventual founding of the first community-city of this kind.
We do not have “members”. Also, we don't value the project based upon how many people are participating at any one time, but because of its importance in bringing about our greater fulfillment.
Amongst those who participate, there is not an affiliation or loyalty to the project as there can be to an institution or movement. The Auravana Project is not an organization that anyone can have an allegiance to. We are here to design a "NL/RBE" (fulfillment-oriented) community and to do so with intelligence and perseverance through an openly active desire to more greatly understand reality. We recognize that you can’t “do” projects, you can only “do” tasks. The tasks that we have chosen to complete, which are composed into that which we refer to as The Auravana Project, move us more greatly toward the fulfillment and flourishing of all life on this planet.
No one “manages” the project; instead, we recognize our purposeful direction and we align our efforts, which sometimes involve working together synergistically, and other times involve working separately, and then coming together periodically to reintegrate our separate efforts. In other words, this is an open source project. It is bound, however, by the availability of resources, access to useful collaborative technologies, and our own skill sets.
With the above said, when we near the time to materialize the first community of this kind, we will need to form a conducive open source organizational structure with defined roles and responsibilities for said purpose. Such an organizational structure (possibly, a non-profit foundation) will come about when the design specifications are more complete, or when participants take the time and apply the effort and financial capital necessary to create the organizational structure that will consecutively bring the community into material existence. In other words, this organizational structure would have to be effective in turning the concepts proposed in the design specifications into material reality.
Herein, we recognize that if someone doesn't agree with the overarching design of the system as proposed in our integrations, which take the form of a unified design specification, then either: 1) their understandings and their own integrations will help to further the evolution of the specifications; 2) they can fork the specifications; or 3) maybe this project isn't for them.
L7. I met someone who advocated The Auravana Project, but they said something different than what is written on your website and in the specifications.
Mistakes occur. The specifications and our website represent our referential integration.
Their claim about the Project was likely their own personal position, and morally, they should have made that clear. The Project's understandings are explicated and logically derived in the design specifications.
Also, we who participate in the Project are not presently interested in advocates; we are interested in people doing tangible things to advance this direction.
L8. Why has the project been give the name Auravana?
This is a good and frequently asked question that deserves a response. The following is that which the word means relative to this direction. Among the meanings given below for the word “Auravana”, it is important to state:
Firstly, the name carries no emotional baggage; it has no dramatically negative associations. And secondly, most people find the name to be fairly attractive, and hence, it is useful for marketing purposes.
There are several ways in which one could interpret the word AURAVANA as existing in alignment with the stated direction of the project.
Also, in Sanskrit there is the word “avarana”. The “v” and the “r” are reversed and there is an additional “u” in the word auravana | avarana. The word avarana refers to the nine primary sections or “enclosures” (i.e., avaranas) in the Sri Yantra (a.k.a., Srichakra M). The Sri Yantra is considered a sacred instrument, a diagram, formed by nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate out from a central point of unity. The Sri Yantra is called the mother of all yantras because all other yantras derive from it.
In other words,
M1. Geometry appears to play an important role in the design of the Community.
"Geometry will draw the soul toward truth and create the spirit of philosophy." – Plato
Yes, this is true. The type of geometric image we entrain ourselves to becomes a reflection of our consciousness. Where there is existence, there is geometry. We can use the natural geometry of existence to provide for our highest fulfillment. Community represents a different geometric relationship to life than the geometry expressed by modern society.
"Geometry is knowledge that appears to be produced by human beings, yet whose meaning is totally independent of them." - Rudolf Steiner
The proposed circular configuration of the city is not just a stylized architectural conceptualization; it is the result of research into the construction of an environment that can best serve the needs of the inhabitants while conserving resources.
In concern to geometry and its importance in understanding our reality may we suggest watching the following videos:
N1. Other similarly related FAQs
Note that the responses of these organizations are their own. We do not necessarily agree with all of their responses, and they do not necessarily agree with all of ours.
COMMUNITY CREATION IS A CHALLENGE WORTH PURSUING.