Possessing beauty

The Infobeing Manifesto: an alternate system

<p><p><p>The Infobeing Manifesto: creating an altern</p></p></p>

It’s one thing to talk about all of the overwhelming problems the world is facing, its another thing to fight the powers who are causing these problems, but what is needed is a real, feasible, and powerful alternative.

We humans are inherently neither good nor evil; but are to be judged by the consequences of our actions.  We are all subject to the laws of evolution that govern all aspects of life on earth.  While we are spiritually bound by our shared human experience, concern for with what is right for the species and for the planet is secondary to the instinctual drive to ensure our own survival and that of our families. 

We are all subject to the laws of evolution that govern every aspect of life on earth. While the fundamental forces of evolution within the earth’s biosphere (the realm in which biological life exists) are inescapable, humans also exist within and are capable of altering natural ecosystems. In addition, we simultaneously exist within and are capable of both creating and altering man-made ecosystems, which are generally referred to simply as “systems”. While these man-made systems are not necessarily biological, they too are governed by the laws of evolution. These systems include the workplace, financial markets, industries, governments, militaries, cultures, religions, sports leagues, and social movements. All of these systems are created and shaped by humans with specific purposes and intentions.

Because of our power to create and shape systems, there is a need to judge which of these creations are healthy and which are not. Through what lens can we judge whether a system is good? Because we will always be dependent upon natural ecosystems and a healthy biosphere, we must consider the extent to which man-made systems promote not only social justice and individual survival, but also the long-term survival of our species. So systems can be judged both by the results they produce for each of us and within the context of the impact they have on the biosphere.

With these guidelines, it is easy to incriminate today’s most powerful institutions and the systems they uphold. But incrimination alone too often only gets us ridiculed or ignored by society. While we are all spiritually connected by that which makes us human, our concern for with what is right for our species and for the planet seems to be secondary to the instinctual drive to ensure our own immediate survival and that of our families. To merely offer criticism does nothing to help others survive and therefore it doesn’t often motivate fundamental change. Fundamental change will only happen when we begin creating alternative systems that 1) help individuals meet their immediate needs for survival, and 2) have no negative long-term impact on the biosphere upon which we depend for long-term survival.

We all depend upon functioning systems for survival. In order to survive and thrive within any system, it is necessary to believe in and remain loyal to that system. And so for loyal members of a system, that system’s propaganda – biased points of view that enforce adherence to that system – understandably can supersede critical thought. It could even be argued that it is the more practical individual who shuns truth for the improved likelihood of short-term survival.

Resistance movements, focused on stopping destructive systems, have seen only limited success – perhaps mainly in cases where a critical mass of members subsequently opt-out of a system (thus weakening it), or the rule-makers decide to change the rules in order to achieve more desirable results. But when there is no viable opportunity for members to opt-out (a legal system or economy), and where the rule-makers are currently achieving the results that they believe are desirable to themselves, little success is seen through resistance alone. This is why something even more desirable than the status quo needs to be created, and it can be done.

In contemplating an alternate system, it is also important to understand that systems do not exist in isolation. In nature, ecosystems exist within, and depend upon, the larger landscape. The same is true with man-made systems. So, for a system to be sustainable, a natural condition is that it must be based in reality – compatible with the larger landscape upon which it depends. For example, when the rules of a social system conflict with the national legal landscape, that system should be considered less good and desirable because it is less likely to survive. An alternate system must be compatible with the larger landscape (or strong enough to overtake it).

To summarize, humans exist within many competing and overlapping man-made systems and natural ecosystems. But if the purpose of man-made systems is to enable humans to survive within the biosphere, systems are wrong to the extent that they destroy life directly or destroy the biosphere upon which all life depends.

Resistance is important, but the real solution is to create a better system that everyone to thrive without destroying the biosphere upon which we all depend for our long-term survival.  So let’s go beyond resistance and open the door to an alternative, better system.  With today’s relatively cheap and powerful communication technologies, we intelligent humans have never before been in a better position to do so.

The Infobeing Revolution

When people are given an opportunity to join a highly-functional, healthy system that provides superior benefits, they are more likely to opt-out of destructive, dysfunctional ones. Imagine a strong, sustainable system that 1) removes many of the dependencies people have on destructive systems, 2) enables members to thrive within a sustainable social framework and economy, and 3) works to peacefully change external, destructive systems.

Imagine a system that ties members together through the Internet, providing a reward structure compatible with the following goals:

- Members are given the tools they need to survive and thrive within the natural ecosystem,
- No harm is done to life,
- Focus on overall quality of life vs. materialism,
- Open to everyone, regardless of other affiliations or traits,
- A meritocracy of equal and unlimited opportunities providing fair rewards for all members,
- A reward system to incent behaviors that  benefit others,
- Focus on continual personal and community development.

This system could be designed by and maintained by a group of loosely affiliated founders working strategically toward the delivery of the various components needed. This group of founders would consciously work together to create rules and technologies to support the goals outlined above.

Ideas alone are not enough.  This movement needs to be grounded on something tangible. 

What is needed is a “virtual society” that exists both within and outside of existing societies. We won’t stop fighting the corruption and inauthentic culture around us, but we’ll do so within a strong, inter-connected community where we belong and in which we have removed some of our dependencies on the institutions we oppose.

Let’s explore some of the possible characteristics of such a system. In order to make our members less dependent upon flawed systems, a technology platform is needed that provides everyone with unlimited opportunities and appropriate incentives to grow and achieve an improved quality of life. Using this platform, everyone would be able to contribute their unique skills and interests to the benefit of the larger community. Doing so would result in tangible financial rewards and provide opportunities for a rich social life within a vibrant and healthy community.

While this network would be constantly expanding and improving, all of the necessary technology is already accessible, in fact much o fit is free (open source), today. But today the individual parts are not functioning as a system, only as disconnected parts. What is lacking is a group of individuals to piece it all together in the right way and to establish the right rules...then to spread the concept far and wide.

The idea is to enable everyone to effortlessly connect with all the right people in order to maximize their value to the community. Need 5 people to help you complete a software development contract? Send out a message, quickly assemble a team, and get right to work. Need 3 guys to help you move? No problem. Want to clean up a park and get paid for it? We could provide this opportunity. Want to get paid for the valuable service of feeding the homeless? Not a problem. When a system is set up to reward healthier behaviors, those behaviors become the norm and the revolution is complete.

A key component of this system would be the incentive structure. We should consider a point system to promote the right kinds of behavior. Members could earn points by helping others or doing positive work within the community. One way to look at it is that doing favors for others buys you the ability to ask for favors later. This system is much like the age old model of the “barter economy”, but it is more efficient because, through the point system, a favor done for one person can be returned by a different person…so everyone is free to maximize their value to the society by doing what they are good at and interested in. Aside from transactions between members, points might be granted to members for performing good deeds (like cleaning up a park or registering voters).

Yet even with such a point system, there is still a need to buy food and shelter in the physical world (which probably couldn’t be purchased with points). So an auction might be set up where individuals sell points they’ve earned (using market forces to set a point exchange rate). Some people would rather buy points than earn them (in order to purchase services or labor from network members) and, because valuable transactions within this system are based on points, there would be a demand to purchase these points.

In order to ensure that work performed by network members is consistent with the values and goals of the community, a rating system could be set up to hold everyone accountable. Each transaction that happens within the network might be subject to a community rating. Individuals, by way of their association with projects and transactions, might be subject to a “Green Compliance” rating. We could set up a list of criteria and allow anybody to review and rate transactions. So, for example, John might give Jane a ride to the next town in his H2 Hummer and, while he negotiated 10 points for the favor, he might later receive a Green Compliance rating of only 1. These ratings would reduce his payout, effectively discouraging him from driving a Hummer. Of course the individuals busily rating transactions would get points for doing so…performing the valuable role of encouraging responsible and beneficial behaviors (holding others accountable isn’t currently rewarded in today's Capitalist system).

The realization of this idea is the start of a new society, with virtual citizens from around the world, with its own economic (point) system, its own democratic governance and laws, and its own way of providing members with the opportunity to earn a living and achieve a more desirable lifestyle.  It fills in the gaps created by real-world governments.

While the above section lays out a vision of what this network would look like, along with a few simple examples, the first step is to establish a network of founders. At this time, we could use founders with the following skills: Web Development, Linux / Open Source Portal software development, Java Developers, Economics and Law (to devise a feasible and legal point system if possible), PR, Marketing, Sales / Business Development, and many more.

If we are going to change the world we have to proactively create alternative, healthy systems. This is just one example. Instead of waiting around for change to come from the establishment, we can be smarter than the establishment and put our skills to use. Doing so will be rewarding, but will also be a significant challenge to the “founders” of this network. It will involve constant negotiation and strategizing, disagreement and arguing, but time is running out and this sort of thing needs to be done.