Imagine the imposssible for a moment. Imagine you can trust everyone you meet, everything you read and hear. What would your normal day be like? Imagine being more involved in your passions, your dreams? Would you feel more alive? More keen to work hard? Imagine if “the best” mostly means “being at our best” and shed lots of pointless fighting. Does this sound like a world most of us would prefer? One that once it exists would be robust and healthy? If you’re inclined toward “yes,” please, read on.
I’m convinced we should assume it’s all doable; perhaps I can convince you. The time is right, the technology exists, the need is strong, it’s already happening in bits and fits. So what if not all the pieces are clear and easy; from among all the geniuses alive today, it seems inevitable to me that all the missing answers will emerge; possibly many already have. It’s gotta keep emerging, again and again, until it actually happens. I propose that the key is to find something we can all agree on; a collective goal and a robust plan to achieve it, and we’ll naturally build it. Imagine nearly seven billion of us pulling the same end of the rope.
Economics question: How do we “make it pay” to be nice? Clearly the answer is not money. We’ve gotten a lot out of money, a whole world’s worth; but money is no longer nurturing. Instead, we mass produce scarcity, crime, manipulation, mediocrity, fakes, inadequacy, distrust and fear. Most of us don’t want this and would love to upgrade our economy to something more nurturing and life affirming.
What if, instead of money, which tracks value, we track benefit and regard? Let’s do this for every transaction, from acquiring a house to receiving mail. Each transaction has a giver and a receiver. The receiver benefits from the transaction and awards regard to the giver. Let’s create all awarded regard out of thin air, subject to stabilizing rules and limits, of course. Debits and debts are gone, same with investing and interest accrued. Instead, the more regard you accumulate as you mature, the more you are worth to the species. Simple.
Here is what we have now. Our emotions are personal and self-protective. It makes emotional sense to optimize our life around personal gain. Sensible, except that our power structures are untrustworthy, fragmenting, destructive, filled with illusion and high drama. We’re easy to manipulate, and getting easier: psychological techniques and data bases are constantly improving. Subconsciously, our brains prioritize threat and desire, so, lots of money goes into appeals for safety and goodies.
It takes training to override these emotional appeals, training that most of us skip. A regard-based economy will provide such training in every transaction. Thus, we’re motivated to become genius at creating benefit every moment, a cost-free way to grease the wheels. Poof, the cost of economy shrinks, releasing huge species-wide energy.
In a regard-based economy, people of high regard are likely to rise in status. Personal lust for power gets harnessed into creating benefit. It seems to me that hierarchies based on regard make much more sense, will feel more trustworthy. This sounds self-organizing, more efficient … a good thing.
A regard-based economy is much harder to game. No money or elections to steal. Cutting corners on pollution just harms your regard. Crime, corruption and lies no longer pay and cease to dominate daily life. Perhaps cheating strategies might be limited to cyber attacks on the regard tracking system. By current standards, the security protection needed for that is quite trivial. A regard-based economy strikes me as cheaper and easier to run.
Let’s optimize everything to be fair, efficient and easy. Our current system is not at all so optimized and I think it’s driving us crazy. Let’s think about fundamental design goals as we consider what we want. Build it from the bottom up to be low maintenance, scale easily to nurture billions of us. Cheap but not shoddy, no cheating.
Let’s eliminate many fears and most crime: Make all basic needs free. Why steal when you already have what you need. Can we produce enough to go around? The current economic system wastes resources in two forms: hoarding, and the infrastructure of money. The stuff in the attic, most lawyers, banks, stock market. I say recycle all of that. Use those resources for basic needs. Also, by shifting attention away from survival towards passion and involvement, many of us will enjoy giving a little extra; the global output rises. Plenty to go around.
What about resources that are well beyond the basics? Fancy cars, huge homes, yachts, status, glamour and so forth, are important facets of modern life. Everyone wants these and there’s not enough, not now and probably not ever. This is a difficult but solvable problem. Anything beyond the basics falls into a new category called dreams. People who receive extraordinary regard are dream-nurtured. Business ideas, career goals, talents, curiosities, penchants, all the things we dream about and feel deep connection to. Why not reward people who create high regard by nurturing their dreams?
I propose that everything is visible, no relevant secrets. We all need privacy, so secrecy has become a vital human right. However, when something relevant is withheld during a transaction, a false sense of benefit is received. Seems to me that we love integrity, so let’s embrace it at the core. Revealing a relevant secret creates trust, removes the fear of discovery, and adds to the world’s total knowledge.
I propose further that corporate intellectual property become public domain. A lot of widely useful knowledge is locked up behind security walls, where only a tiny fraction of the world can benefit. Rediscovering this knowledge is expensive. In a regard-based economy it can be worth considerable regard by not being withheld. Plus, those walls are expensive for both corporations and customers. How many passwords do you have? How much of your time is needed for getting access credentials? How much of the world’s economy is invested?
I propose two paradigm shifts. First, a shift away from fight strategies towards knowing the underlying needs that drive them. This shift is occurring in limited domains all over the place, is well studied and is wildly successful. I refer to non-violent communication. Let’s become more fully aware of what our basic needs are. Second, a shift away from the presumption that “I and my group are all that matter” towards community where “everybody matters.” Change how we think about and see ourselves and that will change how we act. I think this, too, may be self-perpetuating. As some of us manage to shift our paradigms, and others like what they see, the shifting will spread.
First big steps
If our numbers are as huge as I suspect, we merely need a gathering mechanism to combine us into a peaceful regime change. No war, no revolution, no take over. Just evolve naturally, gently, humanely. Build a way of collecting our desires and dreams, thoughts and ideas all aimed at 2.0. Build a way to come to agreement.
Since bits and pieces already exist (businesses, attitudes, trends, books), let’s build website to showcase this, explain what we’re up to, seek donations and volunteers.
The best way I can think to share this is within an imaginary 2.0 world, an online game that lets us build it and experience it. We can play, learn, teach, think, plan, experiment, evolve. We could make it our mission that it will become a household concept. Unlike all existing games, this one has a purpose other than mere entertainment or simplistic skill acquisition: it’s about us enjoying becoming an “us” and creating a world we prefer. What will emerge? What will it be like?
Another way to share it is with a simple friendly game people can play in real life, one which instills the two paradigm shifts and gives a taste for what it’s like to live that way. Surely psychologists can conjure something.
This is a lot of work, a team thing. Some roles are obvious: philosopher, engineer, author, scientist, outreach specialist.
First little steps
What I’ve written here is a sketch, with lots of missing details. Its purpose is to attract both kinship and creativity. Creativity is vitally needed for getting past all the obstacles along the undiscovered road ahead. I’ve written about a few that seem likely to me.
I want to read your emails and material that embrace and invigorate 2.0. I want to hear your ideas about this and your suggestions for possible first steps. I want to hear about other similar ideas.
At some point I hope for strong cohesion around core ideas, for a simple initial plan to gel among a core group, and volunteers to carry it out. My contenders for a simple plan: (1) Create a needs tracking system so we can understand, prioritize and organize ourselves and our efforts. It has to be something friendly and easy and powerful. It’s our core: we fulfill needs. (2) Start a non-profit company so we have a “thing” to join with formal meanings, vision, mission, business plan.
What’s in this for me?
I intend to cultivate my optimism about this to the end of my days. The way that looks to me right now, I would like to be one of the seed crystals around which like-minded people and 2.0 efforts collect, organize and mature. This may be my idea right now, but to be effective it must transform into our idea, and ultimately leave me behind, happy and delighted. I love the idea of helping to satisfying a need this big.
I don’t have much of a social online presence, most of my friends are nearby and I suppose I’m just old-fashioned that way. So, becoming public about this is a newbie experience for me. I once built a business and loved talking with my customers. We shared a love for something human built. I want more of that.
I’m going to learn to be 2.0. This is hard. I’m as well trained in 1.0 as anyone. I get triggered. I get stuck in the old paradigm of “it’s all about me.” I’ve been practicing 2.0 and it gets easier very slowly. However, so far, my reactions are: peace, warmth, freedom, eagerness, inspiration. I want more of that.
Where did this come from?
One of the ideas for 2.0 was to imagine an environment in which my business would have flourished, would still be going today. People loved it, I loved it, it filled a need. The cost of marketing and engineering were too high for me alone to bear. Investors wanted major control and profit. I went bankrupt. My brother built a company that got a lot further than mine and was blindsided by an [expensive] consultant who sold him out to a competitor for pennies on the dollar. Competition drives creativity but greed and fear suppress it.
More broadly, we’re tearing each other apart over money. We put a lot of effort into it; and we’re really good at it. Seven billion of us, pulling in the same direction, making misery.
It’s not our fault. Nature gave us a thinking brain that can be triggered into focusing on emotional alarms, to keep us safe and fed and flourishing. Nature did not give us the ability to suppress these alarms. You’ve felt it, an emotional state lasting a while: minutes, weeks, a life time. Not our fault as individuals. Our current civilization maximizes this triggering.
As a species, though, surely we can use that thinking brain to design a civilization that does the opposite? One that provides lots of practice coaxing our emotions to ease up. One that rewards species benevolence. I say let’s at least think and talk about it.
What’s in this for you?
I hope for you to create for yourself sober and well-reasoned optimism about the future, in any form comfortable for you; from pondering to building. Join or not, the idea is free, take it.
Join and help design and build 2.0. No ideas are too small nor too big. Many hands make much work delightful for all involved.
I want hear from you: ideas@AllTheBestRegards.com
And for hate mail, please send it to: rants@AllTheBestRegards.com