Our last broadcast note set a slew of intentions for short term progress, and most of those are moving right along. Priorities now are hardware development and public engagement. Video production has been lagging for a while, but increasingly in mind for events ahead. Conceptual refinement and wiki-fication of core principles and protocol is also a tad slow, but not terribly urgent, as much proof is still getting baked into the puddings!
Should have added something in that previous intention-setting about elevating revenues, as that's a prerequisite for much of the rest today...thankfully, some of our work outputs are now drawing in cash contributions. Next post here will go into detail on the processes we're exploring for reckoning and reporting on that front. It's so gratifying to receive some significantly 'above and beyond' infusions of crisp legal tender as a result of high-quality relationships growing out of work (art!) well made.
And that gratitude/gratification is our main game: switching over the ordinary economic exchange mentality (this for that, tit-for-tat) into an open ended reciprocal gifting sequence. Not trivial. Everyone's got a lot to give, and gain, if we can just get it through our brain.... It begins with elevated awareness, a systems view, and great role models (or else great courage and perseverance to lead the way). It requires high tolerance for complexity, unless it becomes simply an unconscious attitude, internalized via culture and community.
Let me back up for a sec and talk about community and its substrates.
Try a thought experiment: put yourself in the midst of a plaza of NYC, the quintessential metropolis. Stay there through one day. Where does your gaze track; and what are the rhythms that cross your heart? What is this place for? Who has invested here, and who stands to gain from its functional fulfillment? What kind of conversations would you find? What sense of connection, of character, of place?
Where else could you see yourself sitting during that same period…immersed…whole...?
The city symbolizes privilege and regulation: you may enjoy anonymity, or celebrity, for a time, racy indulgence or regimented statistical foresight. Splendor and sophistication too, if you look. Yet, take a look at what truly feeds people--bellies, hearts, souls--and let's see where that leads us. Where would you rather wake up each day? To go about your work? To find your food? To pause, relax, or play? In many urban centers, there are movements afoot to reform neighborhoods and celebrate distinctive character--but what character? The whim and fancy of a few generations in the midst of deadened landscapes? Planting tidy gardens while inchoately craving the great woods? Why compromise any more?
Density, efficiency, rigidity, these are not compelling rationale, they are siege tactics. The thrivable future does not occur in cities of this era. It's a village thing. Urbanism is not misguided per se, but the present legacy of decrepit infrastructure and uber-moral architecture there is discouraging. It had a purpose, it has a certain perfunctory appeal, no longer so compelling. Quite a pricey leap forward from there to any inviting sci-fi scenarios.
Monitored digitized bio-drones in a concrete mega hive…you be the judge, and savior.
I recently moved into a remarkable slice of (seasonally adjusted!) heaven on earth in the rural Hudson Valley of NY. I'm in awe of the great city to the south, but I'm not called there often. I think a lot about how the earth is run today and how much will change in my lifetime. I'm a problem solver by nature, with a minor in keen observation, and we hold massive, cataclysmic dysfunction in our laps today. I've been working on things, designing and tinkering, attempting to weave the best ideas into the fabric of my own existence as a guinea pig and prototype.
The last steady income I received was in 2010 doing Permaculture landscape design in *cough* Los Angeles. Since then, I've been pushing hard to get beyond the business / contract mentality and establish myself in a resilient communities network of conscientious creators and unlocked assets where wealth and investment are more about relationship, reputation, and transparent participation.
I have no career path, in fact the prospects of even a moderately successful position within the ordinary working world seems slim for me now. It's frightening, and I'm not alone in feeling marginalized as "worth less" in a ruthlessly contracting and competitive professional environment. The options seem to be: a) conform, through debt and re-education b) exploit as best able c) escape, with prejudice, or d) invent. I'm really only interested in the latter.
So I've started taking / giving jobs and doing creative projects. Building relationships, a portfolio, trust - patterns. Not rigid protocols. I lent a hand on a neighborly barn-raising effort last Sunday (photo up top) for a new small farm operation that had sent out a word-of-mouth request for spare hands and picnic aperitifs. With a party of 20 or so local enthusiasts, we spread around to conquer additional tasks on the land while rafters started going up. Left a few hours later with connections, stories, snapshots, and know-how.
When people want something, and have some cash to spare for it, they're used to being served unquestionably. Control is addictive. Instead of exploring and creating, in concert, it's a matter of defining and constraining - dictating. It's an imbalanced exchange: cash is the coup de grace, because it's universally recognized, and values-neutral. If you won't bow down and perform, it'll go to the next tolerable chap who does.
People have built up comfortable walls, fences, facade, identity, and know they are defensible by law.
In order to break through and build relationship--community--some give and take is necessary, a degree of uncertainty, challenge, adaptation that may unsettle us a little bit. We change when we come into communion with someone and often that sets off internal alarm bells - fight or flight. It's unpredictable and we're mostly trained to fear that stuff and act defensively. In the city? Screw it; just never see 'em again. Fuggedaboutit!
Out here in the 'country' things are a little different, there's still a memory and practice of greater interdependence, of knowing and indulging your neighbors and local craftspeople because your wellbeing is wrapped up in theirs. Even if you were relatively well off financially, you *couldn't* necessarily take it elsewhere - cash is not king, kindness and character and competence rule. Your actions will be imprinted for posterity in the collective intelligence of the community, based on word of mouth and the looser field of gossip and speculation which attend it. You have a reputation to cultivate - and a sense of community, too, as something you are invested in: the common wealth.
Rather than an 'accounting' which strives toward null balance, we move toward a record of donation, a map of the value story within social ecosystems. This can be unsettling, disruptive, for people ensconced in the barter modality. The question of motivation comes right to the fore, but can be difficult to address in a unifying way across disparate philosophical and circumstantial frames (minus overbearing cultural norms). It's a process of revelation, of demonstration, and trust emerging from co-creation.
So, thinking about trust as the seed of connection and creation…somewhere between the parochialism of the old and the fluid complexity of living networks, we aim for mediated "P2P" society, peer-to-peer. Perhaps though, we should acknowledge the distinctions between sensorially rich person-to-person relationship, and transient, fragmentary "A2A" (avatar to avatar) online connections. Eventually, that gap may be bridged by pervasive digital signaling. For now, consistent facetime is a crucial threshold.
Regularly seeing, and being seen by, someone who shares your values is strong medicine against knee-jerk narcissistic response when they don't quite please you (remember, that's the style of the city: shove off, mate!). Adjust the frequency, perhaps, and context, but sustain the connection as long as it holds meaning for your greater social being - the thing that feeds and guides you both.
Our concept for a "collective" enterprise is closely related to the idea of a swarm entity - a thing which seems to exhibit coherence and self-organization to accomplish something(s) of benefit to the whole of its constituent membership. It also, perhaps, blurs the lines between "entity" and environment. These are defining characteristics of a model we are developing for the Open Venture Organism, a species of co-creative super-being.
Much of this depends on a slew of new operating modes which we are working hard to conceptualize and develop in the context of generic Value Network principles. Things like documentation, reputation, liability, stewardship, and distributed collaboration. Much of that comes down to basic understanding of the patterns of 'common good' social physics. The OVO lives within a Value Network. OVO is contingent on facetime.
Given the opportunity to go to work with someone, there is a more balanced and generative mutual appreciation. People are flexible, and genuinely looking for positive outcome and expanded possibilities. The idea of gift as value creation - but how to record all that? How do people feel about publishing the finer points of interpersonal exchange? Maybe, there's decreasing range of choice in the matter. Data is the new vox populi - be it insidiously extracted, or intentionally broadcast.
In the old system, the "market" is there to reinforce the value of goods or service for which the beneficiary does not have enough personal knowledge to accurately assess compensation - nor perhaps the inclination for research and evaluation. It's a useful reference point, but not to be taken as the ultimate arbiter of value. Value is not pure data, it is a story, a relationship. It is a graph, an image, an assertive word, a passing sentiment, but not a naked number.
As we learn to tell that story, we find great leverage for sustainability--and change--within our communities. No longer a race to the bottom, we join in an architecture of mutual elevation. We are growing out of business! A return to human-scale development, a world made by hand - with the extraordinary perks of appropriate technological wizardry and synchronous global intelligence. Do sign on, learn, and share.
Well. Lots of open-ended ideas and investigations protruding from the above. Back to field testing and farm boosting for now! More good news from Akkadia soon.