Speakers: Daniel Schmachtenberger, Jordan Greenhall, and Forrest Landry
Facilitator: Andrew Hewitt
Welcome, everyone, to The Transition!
And welcome our out of town guests to our beautiful community of Encinitas, California. A community that has a long history of conscious evolution, since the arrival to Yogananda back in the 1930s, this really special city has been a stand for creating a worldview based in unity, peace, and love. And here we are at this remarkable moment in history, where that transition is palpable, right? You can feel it happening every single day.
And tonight, we get to discuss with some of the most brilliant minds on this planet. Solutions for showing up fully at this unique moment, so we can fully give ourselves to this incredible transitionary moment we’re going through. How’s that feel? Pretty amazing, right? What an opportunity we get.
So, in this very special community of Encinitas, we have this superpower here. This superpower that somewhat resembles an Oreo cookie, sitting on stage here tonight. And it doesn’t just… So, not only do they look good, but they are absolutely brilliant. But not only are they absolutely brilliant, they are some of the biggest hearts we also have in this community. And that combination is so rare and beautiful. And what you’ll feel tonight, not only is an intellectual rigor, but you’ll feel the depth of empathy and love, and commitment these men bring to every single day of their lives.
And so, a little backstory on how this came to be. Jordan and I are having dinner one night and he’s sharing with me just how grateful he is to be in this community where he gets to.,.. His intellect juiced by Daniel and Forrest. And she’s sharing at how he speaks at these conferences and he gets to meet nobel laureates, and gets to meet all these incredible people, and yet continually, he comes to Daniel and Forrest as his intellectual mentors. His intellectual stimulation. Considering them among the smartest people he’s ever met in his entire life. And, right? Don’t blush.
So, and then he goes on and he’s sharing how what that actually looks like. And he’s sharing with me how he’ll sit between them, and he’ll be like the translator. And they’re so brilliant they’ve developed like their own language to just be able to communicate in all the complexities, right? And he sits there and I’m visualizing this, and I’m like, man, can you invite me to the next time this happens? This sounds really fascinating. And we keep talking and we come up with this idea. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have our community experience this? And so then I call Daniel and I share this story with Daniel. I;’m like, Daniel, I would actually love to see you and Forrest just totally intellectually geek out on system change and have Jordan in there join you in there to translate. I think that would be really cool for all of our community. And Daniel in perfect Daniel fashion thinks about it and says, “I think that would be a terrible idea. They aren’t going to understand a thing that we’re saying. I don’t think that would be the best use of time.” And that’s classic Daniel. He’s completely committed to fully showing up in every moment to serve. And so we came up with this revised idea. And this revised idea tonight is one that, not only will you get to experience the depth of thinking these three men have put into system change, and this transitionary moment we’re in as a civilization, but you’ll also understand it. That’s our intention tonight. And I don’t know about you guys, but I know for me, as somebody who wants to be a game changer, somebody who wants to show up every day and really give myself fully to this transition from one epoch in civilization to the next, to the birth of a completely new civilization, economy, worldview, however you want to frame it, and I find myself often confused on how I can best contribute to that. Confused if the strategy I’m working on is actually sufficient and necessary to create the world that we all really want.
And so, these guys are my go to. They’re the intellectual council that helps steer me on path. And they are that for many people in our community. Can I get a celebration for those who have been supported?
We’re going to go deep together tonight. I hope everybody gets upgraded in their strategy for how you’re approaching your contribution to system change. How you’re approaching your way of giving yourself fully for this unique moment we’re in.
And, without further ado, what we’re going to do is, they’re each going to share a little bit individually, and then we’re going to get into some questions. And we’ve had some questions submitted beforehand online, and then you all have pens and paper to be able to submit question as we go. So please write questions, and please consider questions that would be helpful for everyone here and everybody watching, because this will be recorded as well.
And so, these three men are just an absolute incredible resource, not just for us, but actually for the larger global community. I’ve had the privilege of sitting in think tanks the last couple of years and constantly am finding these three being brought into those circles. Being requested by some of the most influential people on the planet, to be guided on their strategy for system change, and tackling some of the most systematic problems that we face.
Without further ado, Jordan Greenhall, Daniel Schmachtenberger, and Forrest Landry. Let’s give them a round of applause.
Jordan do you want to kick us off?
So just a quick P.S. on the introduction before Jordan dives in, ‘cause I have to. Andrew was really kind to offer to do the introduction and set this up. And it was his idea that we’re here. We asked for the shortest and most low-key introduction possible. And something that I really genuinely love about Andrew is really deep loving of people, and seeing people, valuing them, being willing to speak to that, and enthusiasm. But it’s a very important caveat that we don’t see ourselves as having solutions to the world problems, we see ourselves as people who, like everybody here, and like many people, are thinking about these things, because they are necessary to think about. And I think we’re as acutely aware as most anyone of the gap between the best of what we know and what we have to know. Which is what actually motivates why we’re working on it and why we open up the conversation so more insights and perspectives can come together in the process. We enjoy getting to talk together about topics that we have worked on with some related frameworks. And we’re excited to get to share tonight some sensemaking, some at least approach to sensemaking, of what’s going on in the world, and the way that we’re thinking about it, and hope that it is useful. And hope that it starts a deeper conversation.
[inaudible]…think, and I promised I won’t walk outside of those boundaries. And I also won’t turn my back on the crowd and talk to them. Because we’re supposed to do it like we’re in the room.
So to begin, what I’d like to do is I’d like to express my personal thanks to president Donald James Trump.
No, I’m serious. Because the 2016 election did more to shake good people from their dogmatic slumber than any even that I’m aware of. Yeah, it’s actually been a very big deal. I’ve felt a significant increase in energy. A significant increase in a willingness to accept the fact that the best way to describe our current circumstances is that shit is fucked up.
That’s actually a deep insight because it recognizes simultaneously that things aren’t working, and that we haven’t got a good way of describing exactly what is going wrong. And that is the first step to real wisdom. So it’s a good thing that’s happening.
We’re going to spend a little bit of time trying to talk about what we’ve been doing in trying to put some frameworks around “shit is fucked up” might mean, and how we might go about visioning what a good positive direction might look like. And I’m going to start with just a short piece, and then Daniel will go into some depth the nature of the problem. And then Forrest will actually introduce us to an example of what a piece of the solution likely looks like. It’s something that he calls transcendental design. So, one way of framing it is that we’re smack dab in the middle of a global scale civilization-level collapse. Now, if we do our job right, it will be a transition to something else. But right now, we’re, you know, collapse is a good way to think about what’s happening.
And what I mean by global-scale is that for the very first time in human history, starting somewhere maybe in the 80s, all human beings we’re roughly entrained in a single civilization framework. That’s never happened before. And then, now, that civilization framework is reaching its end of life. And what I mean by civilization is roughly the things like the axioms, the assumptions, the heuristics, the models, the practices, the institutions that we humans use to solve problems, and to meet our needs. So whether this means things like go to college, or get a job at a company, get paid money to buy food, or go to a grocery store to get food, right? These are all things that our civilization produces to allow us to solve problems and get our needs met.
An insight, and I think a core thing for more and more people to really grasp, is that our civilization toolkit, this thing that has gotten us so far, this thing that has produced 7.5 billion people, and a level of capacity, and wealth, and wellbeing that’s never been seen before, is itself the thing that is reached its end. It just can’t solve the problems that we’re facing. And, by the way, it’s also falling apart under its own terms, but that’s a different conversation.
And so, what we have to do, is we have to figure out first how to unload that toolkit. Unload our assumptions. Unload the things that have worked so well, yet all the way down to the deep code, and rebuild something, kind of from scratch. And we’re going to have to do this very rapidly. So this involves something we’ve never done before as a people. It’s going to require a level of vision, it’s going to require a level of communion, it’s going to require a level of peace that is, I mean, largely considered to be fiction or prophecy. And now it’s not. Now it is in fact minimum necessary requirement. Which is kind of an interesting thing. Sometimes I find myself sitting, Daniel and I work together in a business, sitting in a room, having a conversation about businessy things, and I’ll just reflect, gosh, last night I was having conversations with people that it’s quite likely that within the next seven years our oceans will just be dead. And that’s the clock, and these are the things that we’re dealing with. And we’re talking outside that Daniel wants to make sure that as we’re communicating, that people are left here with a sense of empowerment, and not a sense of panic or fear. And what I’d like to convey is a sense of resolve. Which is, recognize that we must in fact step in, and that fear and panic, although they may be a very natural response, just aren’t a useful response.
Okay, so that’s that part. Now, I think most of what we’re going to be talking about is actually pretty intellectual. That is not to say that we believe that the solution is largely intellectual. There is a piece for the mind to play, but in fact, some of the questions that came from Facebook, the basic answer is hard. So, I think this is a great place to begin the conversation, I guess publically.
One concept I’d like to download before I hand off to Daniel is a framework a friend of mine, Dave Snowden, not Ed snowden, but Dave Snowden, introduced about ten years ago, for thinking about the different kinds of ordered systems that we find ourselves in. Ready? This is a very intellectual framework, but I think we can do it quickly.
The first kind of system is a simple system. And this is something like the way a pendulum swings back and forth, or a game of tic-tac-toe. Where the state space, which is the state, the set of available states in the system is relatively small. Like, the total number of tic-tac-toe games can fit on a page. It’s not that many things. And so, even a child can sit and observe the system for a while, get the whole thing, understand what to do and master it. That’s a simple system.
A complicated system is the sort of thing that we humans, our civilization is very, very good at building. And these are things like the Boeing 777, or the National Energy Grid, or the Interstate Highway System. Things that are extremely large […], a whole bunch of states that the system is able to handle. So much more that no person could ever really grasp them in their entirety. You could never really master them. But if you spent enough time with them you could build up an expertise, and understand what the states are and how they interact. And if you get a crew of people who are all experts in the system, you can begin to manage it. And that idea, this notion of becoming experts, and managing complicated systems, is kind of a succinct way of framing what we do. What our civilization is extraordinarily good at doing.
Now, the thing about complicated systems that distinguishes them from complex systems, is although the […] Is very large, it doesn’t change. And so once you’ve figured out the Boeing 777, you can print out the whole manual, put it aside, look it up, and that’s that.
In a complex system, things do change. Now what’s interesting about complex systems is on the one hand, it’s only been about three or four decades that we’ve even been thinking about them seriously. Like, the name isn’t even more than three decades old. We’re just really beginning to get a handle on what these things are and how they operate. And on the other hand, things like our bodies, our minds, our relationships, our ecology, or economies… those are all complex systems. Which is to say all the stuff we actually care about is complex. And a big part of the game that we’ve been playing as people for the past 15,000 years at least, has been trying to use complicated stuff to manage complex stuff. And this generates a real problem. You see, in a complex system, things like causation are almost impossible to really figure out. You can’t make predictions with precision of exactly what impact your decision is going to have on the system. Feedback loops, feedforward loops, emergent properties, new capacities that didn’t even exist, evolution… these are all characteristics of complexity. And one of the big problems in some sense, a nature of the problem we’re facing, is that when you have a complicated system trying to manage a complex system, as the complex system changes, which is what it’s going to do, the complicated system has to become more complicated to deal with the failure modes.
And so, it gets more and more complicated, and more and more complicated, until eventually it gets so complicated you can’t manage it. And then it has to do something that Dave Snowden calls takes a journey through chaos. And chaos is the fourth kind of system. And we don’t like chaos. Chaos is generally a very sad place to be. And we might even want to say that we don’t want to take a journey through chaos, but it seems […] that we’re able to do that. Because every single time a truly complicated system has to adapt to a complexity it can’t manage, the way that it breaks down is disorderly, and then it goes into chaos, and […] come back into authentic complexity.
So it might be the case, and it’s something to consider, that our job right now is two fold. First, is to figure out how to position ourselves so that we can in fact endure the chaos. Possibly be even antifragile to the chaos, and use the chaos to build something very positive. And then second, to do what we can now to envision what a future looks like that embraces complexity authentically. That doesn’t try to tame complexity, but works with complexity. And builds a civilization, or whatever you want to call it, it may be something completely different, that is directly related to the natural dynamics of complexity.
So Jordan used the word antifragile. Which means resilient, if we could get the gain down a little bit, but… more than just resilient, it means that when things come up that are going to be deviations from the homeodynamics of that system, it’s not only going to not break, but it’s going to be able to learn from them, and the system is going to evolve. He mentioned that complex systems are evolving. So, complicated systems are not self-organizing. Right? The 747 is a designed, externally designed thing, as opposed to a self-organizing and emergent thing. That’s another key distinction. You notice that our human civilization systems, our macroeconomic systems, the way we think about putting the principles of them together, our governance systems, especially our infrastructure, are complicated systems, but they interface with the complex systems of ecology, of human psyches, of human social dynamics, and the behavioral dynamics of economies. And so, it’s important to get that our built world, our human built world, is not antifragile, it’s not self-organizing, and so it’s fragile to collapse. And we’ve seen this, if we look at civilizations throughout history, they didn’t all fare well. Right? And it’s important to get that because, since we didn’t go through easter island, and we didn’t go through the collapse of most of the things that were called civilizations in the past, and in our life we haven’t gone through that at all, we don’t actually have an experiential intuition for shit really breaking down.
And so it seems like that just couldn’t really happen intuitively because we haven’t been exposed to it – intuition is conditioned by our experience – our intuition is not adequate. Our experiential intuition is not adequate for the scope of what we face. This is a super important topic.
And so, when we look at Syria, we see that their complicated system, their governance system, their infrastructure, has radically collapsed. We see that it was complex dynamics that led to the collapse of that scenario, and the lack of ability to support life of the people who were there. Lots of complex. There were economic motives, there were all kinds of social and political motives, but there were also droughts, that were most likely the result of climate change, that led to subsistence farmers not being able to grow food, that led to them coming into the cities, that led to resources collapse, resources wars that then collapsed the complicated systems. Right? This is complex system failure creating breakdown of the complicated systems that we depend upon.
When Jordan is saying our previous toolkit isn’t adequate, more complicated blueprints are not going to get us there. Right? That’s one aspect.
I want to talk about another part of our toolkit that has to change which is our motivational toolkit. Right? Not just our design toolkit, but our motivational toolkit. What we think of as the game theoretic, or the behavioral mechanics in it. So, we can think about phases that civilization has gone through. Many people have brought up the point, right, when Ghandi was asked “what do you think of western civilization?” he said “ I think it would be a good idea.” And, it’s actually a meaningful point, right? Cause he’s saying, and Jacque Fresco has said this, many people have… as long as homelessness is okay, and you’re going to kind of focus on other stuff, and as long as killing each other is a reasonable solution to conflict resolution, is it fair to call it civilized yet? Or, you know, is it fair to call it humanity? Is it really humane? So, maybe civilization and humanity are terms that we are aspiring to – we haven’t got to yet. And, maybe the birth of civilization, a term actually deserving of that, is what is on the other side of this chaos if we navigate towards that?
So, when we talk about the history of civilization, usually we’re talking about the history of empire. Post-agriculture, right? That’s usually the timeframe that we’re talking about. And when we look at phases, right, what we’ll call hunter-gatherer tribes, and then groups of tribes, and then fiefdoms, and kingdoms, and movement towards nation-states, corporations, globalism… even those were fundamentally different organizational dynamics for some in-group to win at a competitive game for scarce resources against some other outgroup, they all had that in common. They were all playing win/lose games. That was fundamental to their game theory. So, ingroup, outgroup, fundamentally zero sum, win/lose game theoretic dynamics.
So, if you disagree with people, or you want the same resources that are scarce, and so you decide to kill each other as a solution, and you’re dealing with spears, you’ll kill some people but not everybody and not the whole ecosystem. If you’re going to race to pull out the un-renewable resources from the ecosystem faster, but you’re doing it with axes, you’ll damage some ecosystems but not all of them. Right? But as your tools are going through exponential increases in power, and the capacity to affect the world, then the capacity to cause damage will actually lead to a place where win/lose becomes lose/lose. When you go from stone tools, to guns, to missiles, to weapons of mass destruction, there is no such thing as winning a war at that level. And so win/lose attempt become omni lose/lose for everybody.
When you go racing towards who can extract the dwindling resources fastest enough with the kinds of industrial technology that allow us to extract them so much faster than they can regenerate, that’s omni lose lose for everybody.
So, we’re going through a shift where we either have lose lose motivational dynamics, or omni-win/win, and there’s no spaces in between. We’ve never had an omni win/win worldview. Right? We had win for everybody in our civilization, but usually not even that. It’s like, win for the ruling class in this civilization at the cost of the peasant classes that do all the work, and the labor force, etc… So, what does it mean to really recognize that the level at which we can affect each other, because of exponential technology, requires that we take full consideration for making sure that we’re not externalizing harm at that effect, on a planet that can’t handle the externalization load anymore. So, we use the term omni-considerate, and obviously we can’t be fully omni-considerate, but it’s a directional term. Moving in the direction more, so that there is no externality gap. Right? We can say that the future of macroeconomics, one of the defining criteria has to be that the incentive of every agent in the system, and that’s every person, or group of people, has to be aligned with the wellbeing of every other agent and of the commons. And any place where someone is incented to do something that directly or indirectly causes harm someone else… you cannot prevent harm that you are incenting.
Well, a system that meets that criteria looks like no system of economics that we have ever had. It’s not Marxism, it’s not socialism, it’s not capitalism. It’s not a retrofit of any of those systems either.
Now, notice that exponential, which means the ability to affect the world radically more powerfully, and most people don’t have an intuition that can make sense of exponential curves of any kind. Exponential curves where the next phase of the iteration can have as much change as the entire curve up to that point… what that means is that the way we solved problems previously is becoming more and more obsolete faster and faster, with more and more consequence. This is a big deal. Right? This is why we’re talking about a transition, not just an iteration.
And so when we think about exponential curves, and the ability to affect things where our tools give us the ability to make better tools faster, like we see with Moore’s Law with computing, like we see with biotech, nanotech, all of those areas, as our ability to impact the world is scaling up radically, our choice making for how to implement that power effectively, to implement it omni-considerately has to be scaling, and right now it’s not even close. So when the first technology was powerful enough that it portended the ability to take ourselves out, the first existential tech, which was the bomb, and, you know, Einstein’s insights lead to the bomb, he said, famously, “It’s painfully evident that our technology has far surpassed our humanity.” We have to fix that issue. We have to make sure that we have exponential increase in our choice making capacity. Jordan says it almost feels mythic. Right? Like the coming of the end of an age, and the possible emergence of a new age. It’s reasonable to think of those metaphors. And so, if you think of it in the mythic sense, as we’re scaling towards having the power of Gods, if we don’t have the wisdom, then that power is inexorably self-terminating.
So, we have to move from complicated system design to actually understanding complexity. As one example as many of our frameworks of problem solving having to change, we also have to move from thinking that we can solve some of our problems independent of, or at the expense of others, as a reasonable approach. That also has to change. And so, where there were local issues before – when the people died on Easter Island, it didn’t necessarily impact everybody – we don’t have that scenario. We have this radically connected global issues where the oceans dying is an everybody issue, and anyone contributing, any nation contributing to those dynamics ends up affecting all of us. Nations made sense when the level at which we affected things was at kind of national level, and we could govern at the level we affect things. But when we’re affecting things at a global level, we have to really govern and think at that space. So, the idea that there can be collapse somewhere, and we are unaffected by it, and can make it through, that’s also an obsolete idea. And on a very short timescale, if you look at the different groups that are looking at catastrophic risk, and existential risk, there’s variance in what the timescales are, but they’re all profoundly shorter than most of us think about on a daily basis. How many people here feel that? Feel the sense of imminent shift?
When you have a system where some things are getting exponentially better, more powerful, some things are getting exponentially worse, that doesn’t mean that the system is going in either of those directions, it means that system is destabilizing, and you’re getting to the end of that phase. You’re either going to get a phase shift down to a much lower level of organization, which look like things none of us want, or a phase shift up, discretely, to a fundamentally different set of organizational and motivational, and even identity, worldview dynamics. So, that’s what we’re here to talk about more and explore here tonight.
Forrest is going to share some design principles that are relevant.
Good morning. Good evening. So, I’m going to pick up on a few of the themes that have been raised by my good friends. One of the things that has been raised is the notion of complexity. And in a way of thinking of things we can actually say that these concepts have relationships to one another. That these themes come together. When we’re looking at complexity, how do we deal with complexity? What are the tools that we use to deal with complexity? Well, there’s two other concepts that come to mind. One of them is simplicity, and the other is clarity. These three concepts always occur together. They don’t ever occur separately. Where there is something that is complex, there is also something that is simple, and there is also something else that is clear.
So, the idea isn’t to try to reduce complexity into some state of simplicity, or to try to see it only through the terms of something which is simple, but to actually use the tool of clarity to be able to deal with complexity. So, in effect what I’m going to try to do, is I’m going to try to be really clear about some of the ideas that have come forward that we have about what sort of toolkit can we bring to bear on the kinds of problems that are facing us. We know that the solutions that have been brought forward to create the civilization that we’re now in are no longer adequate for dealing with the problem. And when we try to even identify what the problem is, we recognize that, like life itself, it’s very complex.
So the effort is essentially to try to bring a kind of clarity to the process. What is the essence of what is going on? How do we understand it? How do we relate to it? What ways can we influence or be influenced by it? And so, when we’re looking at design, when we’re trying to think about, okay, we’re in the position of having these conversations about choices, about the choices we make individually, about the choices we make collectively as a community, as the choices we make collectively as a nation or as a world. And so, in effect, a lot of the exercise comes down to: what are the principles of effective choice? How do we choose together? How do we align ourselves so that the choices that we’re making are good choices? And what does it mean to make a good choice? How would we know it? How would we recognize it? How would we understand whether the design that we’re proposing to solve a particular problem is actually a good design? That’s something that would create a solution that is enduring, that is antifragile? That would, in effect, create a state of health, a state of thriving?
We want to use whatever choices we make individually to try to move the society that we’re in, the culture that we’re in, into a phase transition that is in a sense a healthier way of being. And to do that we would want to, of course, have some idea of what health is, so that we can recognize it. We would want to appreciate the kinds of dynamics that create systems that actually have a sense of vitality to them. That we would want to be a part of because we recognize that it is good for our own lives, for our family, for the quality of life that we know. We want to increase that. But to know how to do that in a way that’s balanced, in a way that is essentially omni-considerate, well, that’s a complicated problem. And in order for us to develop the tools to deal with these kinds of things, in order to have designs that are essentially good designs, we need to even think about the notion of how design works. What kind of designs are actually going to be effective in this scenario, and which ones will not be?
Nature has been, of course, a good example of design process. Evolution has, in a sense, resulted in the complexity and the world that we know, and a lot of the solutions that we’re aware of have been arrived by a process of evolution. Evolution as a design methodology, although it is somewhat unconscious, tends to be very thorough.
When we’re looking at design of something of a biological nature, like considering just the eyeball, just this one organ that we have, it isn’t that it just solves one problem – figuring out a way to see what’s in the world and have that information be something that we can respond to – it actually solves a whole constellation of different problems simultaneously. It has to be something which is possible to grow. When you’re born, you don’t have an eye, and then when you basically arrive on this planet, you have a functioning organ. It had to go from a state of not being to a state of being. There needed to be some way for the organic systems to essentially emerge with this structure, this organism. It has to in effect be self-healing. If i get a piece of grit, or I scratch it, or something bumps it, or I have something go wrong, that there is an automatic mechanism that it uses to essentially repair itself. How many of your cameras will repair themselves? You drop a cellphone and it cracks, it’s not going to heal. It’s just going to stay cracked. And in a sense, the kind of evolutionary process that has resulted in the design of this marvelous piece of technology, that in a lot of ways exceeds anything that we can build today, has not just optimized for one particular aspect, but is essentially solving a whole constellation of problems simultaneously.
So, when we’re looking at civilization design, how to in effect recreate what we mean by the very notion of civilized, what is the essence of the problem we’re trying to solve, it’s not something we’re going to address by optimizing for any single, particular function. In fact, even the notion of optimization itself is something of a problem. We don’t get to the kinds of solutions that we need by optimizing for any single metric, or even finite set of metrics. We need to, in a sense, know what are the principles, what are the characteristics, that a good solution needs to have?
When I’m trying to make decisions I’m not necessarily going to go through some sort of calculus equation to figure out whether or not it’s a good decision. I’m going to say, does it have these characteristics? Does it, in a sense, meet the necessary and sufficient criteria in order for it to actually be a solution in this space that it’s supposed to be a part of?
I’ll give you an example. So, I do a lot of product design. I have a company and we make things and we sell them to the commercial market, to the end consumers. And, you know, a lot of people that approach me that say, “Hey, I have this great idea, I want to make this thing, and I want to sell it to people,” and so on, and so forth. And, you know, I look at it and we have a conversation, and I ask a few questions. I ask, OK, so, you know, do we have the materials? Can we source the stuff that this thing is made out of? Can we build the tools that are necessary to make this thing? Can we train the people to use the tools to make the product? Can we afford to have, you know, can we pay people to do that? Has anybody thought about the instructions that are necessary to be read by the person who’s going to use this thing? Is there an idea of how you’re going to present it to the market? Do you know who the beneficiary is? Do you understand all of the kinds of relationships that are going to evolve in the marketplace and how it’s going to change the market? Have you accounted for, what happens with the product after the person’s done using it? Where does it eventually go in the environment? Does it come back to the manufacturer and you recycle it somehow? Does it end up in a landfill?
When we look at things like pollution, there’s sort of this realization that pollution happens the instance that something is made. It’s not sometime later on when it ends up in the landfill. As soon as we combine something that nature has no way of taking apart, we’ve already become part of the problem. So, in effect, we need to think about a much broader set of questions. A much broader set of ideas. A much broader set of issues and characteristics. In order for us to essentially identify, to recognize that we’re even thinking about this in an appropriate way. Are we even asking the right questions? And how would we know?
So in a lot of ways, the details we’re trying to get to, the things that are essentially really important, how do we organize ourselves into communities of people who can collectively influence some of the situations that are affecting all of us? What does it mean for us to essentially align our choices as agents in a way that actually makes sense? What does that mean?
When we think about the notion of civilization, in a lot of ways it comes down to a kind of conversation. Right? When I think of civilization, I think of people’s capacity, their availability to talk to one another, and the level and the quality of the conversations that they’re having. It’s not… our current culture has gotten very enamored with the so called broadcast process. Here I am giving this presentation, and in effect, I’d actually like to, rather than speaking at you, to be having a conversation with you. Right? But, in effect, we’ve gotten so used to this method of providing information in some sort of bulk account, and that we’ve in effect had this sort of method of communicating that is essentially a top-down way of thinking. We’ve gotten very used to design processes that are very top-down design processes, you know? We have a problem we want to solve, we figure out a way to solve that particular problem, then we work out all the details, and then we deliver. It’s sort of a waterfall, lifecycle design.
What we really need at this particular point is a kind of design, a kind of conversation, that rather than being from some sort of central, single, monolithic point of view, has in a sense a kind of diffused integration. That has a kind of organic quality to it. We don’t have the time to wait for evolution to figure this out. And given some of the powers and capacities that we’ve developed technologically, we are in effect have entered into the responsibility of being responsible for our own evolution. Being responsible for our own design. So, thinking about design questions, in a way that neither top-down, which is maybe accurate, but not precise enough, bottom-up, which maybe be pretty precise, but takes a long time.
We find ourselves in a situation where we need to come up with design capabilities, design characteristics, that have the rapidity of top down, but the effectiveness of bottom-up.
And so, in a sense, our exercise is to develop the set of tools, to develop the set of conversations, the set of intelligence building apparatus that allows us to deal with complexity in a profoundly clear way. So that’s what this conversation is about tonight.
So, um, before we get to the questions and answers, I just wanted to bring two more things. Once is a strategic framework for how, at least I go about thinking about what I want to do, and how and why I want to participate in this thing. Because I’ve certainly noticed over the past couple of decades that different people have different proclivities, they have different preferences, they have different kinds of things that they’re attracted to, and things that they’re not interested in at all, and so, um, there is no one approach. Right? EVery single person here is fully responsible for doing exactly what is their’s to do in this thing. But it seems like there are three basic categories that, things are pulling apart into. And they’re almost temporal.
So the first category is the category of the urgent. There are things that are urgent, things we must not let happen over the next couple of years. And those aren’t too hard to guess. And unfortunately we’re getting awfully close to them. Things like, say, nuclear war among the great powers, would be the sort of thing that we must avoid over the next couple of years. And there’s a number, actually, of things that are absolutely urgent and must be avoided. Or, in fact, must happen, over the next several years. 2,3,4 years. And, if you’re the kind of person who has the energy and commitment and ability to sacrifice to address those kinds of things, that’s a good place to go. But if you don’t waste your time on things that require 15 years of planning. Those things are out of match.
The second category is a category where a lot of folks are spending time on right now. And this is in the timeframe, maybe anchoring around seven years, or fifteen years. Somewhere in there, depending on how things play out. And I consider this to be the period of transition. And this is the period where we do our absolute level best to squeeze a couple more years out of the current civilization model, to hold us while we engineer the transition so when we land it’s a soft landing. And so, something like say, universal basic income, which was a question that was asked, and it’s something that is getting more and more consciousness now, is in that category. It’s not post-transition, it’s transitional. If it works, it will get us to the next step, but it will not be the next step itself.
And then the third stage is the stage that Forrest was talking about. The post-transitional stage. And that’s extremely difficult. This is the sort of thing that, to be resilient to exponential technology is going to require a level of capability, a level of precision, a level of design that we can barely name, and we haven’t really fully figured out how to embody yet – it’s going to take years. In some sense if you’re in the first two categories, you’re job is to buy time so the people who are prepared to try to do the stuff that the post-transition framework can get those things in place so we actually have a good thing to land on. If you’re a visionary who can put names against those things, to seek out the people who are equipped to be able to take that vision and bring it into reality.
So, that’s one piece of material that I hope is helpful. That people can think about how to apply themselves.
The other is the hopeful side of this conversation. I had a conversation with our friend Brett, I think it may have been yesterday, about a dynamic that’s going on in a number of different places. And this group is certainly part of that, which is what he will call the shamanic path. And he’s an evolutionary theorist. And he put it this way. He said human beings actually tend to operate in two modes. When things are going well, or actually if things are going even marginally OK, we tend to just, kind of, stay where we are. And run the code that we’ve already written. And we like that. That’s really safe, because change is generally a very bad thing. But when things are clearly not going well, then we actually have to shift into a different mode. And we have to call up the shamanic energy. People sitting around the fire and talking about things. People dancing ecstatically. People taking drugs to be able to think differently. Because as individuals, we really can’t think. We do not think as individuals. We think as groups. We think as groups in conversation with each other. As Forrest was saying, re-learning the art of coming together in groups that can have these conversations, and re-birthing, or actually calling out in ourselves, the shamanic energy to be able to actually have the kind of consciousness necessary to do the things we’re talking about, is the thing. The thing to be done. And the good news is that even though we have only grown up in a timeframe where these sorts of things haven’t happened in our memory, we are the ancestors, and the descendants of people who have had that timeframe. So it’s in us to do it, and I imagine most people are feeling it or have felt it for quite some time, all the way down at the cellular level. So, it’s tuning into that and figuring out how to recover that thing, I think is also a piece of the solution.
Alright. So we’ve got some questions that have come in, both online prior to this event as well as all of you, I hope, have been writing questions as these gentlemen have been sharing. And we’re going to pass around a box in about five minutes to collect your questions. And then they’re going to be ordered and prioritized as best as possible, and shared. So, please, if you haven’t already, if you have a burning question that you would think would be relevant to a large audience, please jot it down and the box will go around in about five minutes.
In the meantime, we’ve got some great ones that have come in online. And let’s start right here.
“How can I most effectively evaluate and calibrate my own truth detection process? How can I, as objectively as possible, find out if a problem is real, or probably real, versus an over-reaction, or a misperception about collective reality or reality itself?”
So, um, first, if you have found yourself responding to the environment… let’s say for example you’re among the very large number of people who responded to the 2016 election with some mixture of anger or fear, stop. Those emotions are very effective at driving action. They’re extremely poor at finding truth. So relax. Slow down. And I’m not saying slow down in the face of danger, because there is danger. But as our friends in the marines say, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Become smooth. So, first, if you’re not smooth, become smooth. Nothing else can be good until you are smooth. This is very important right now.
Second, Forrest mentioned an unfortunate model we found ourselves trained into, largely from birth, if you’ve been watching television. Certainly since you went to school, which is to get into a mode of broadcast. Of being in the recipient of information that comes from people who you’ve never met, and is broadcast out to a very large number of people. That is broadly untrustworthy. No matter what the origin source is, if it is broadcast, it is broadly untrustworthy. Which means you can listen to it, but you’re going to have to do a lot of work to make any sense out of it at all. I spent about the last year now receiving information from hundreds of disparate sources, that I painstakingly curate to make sure they are completely separate from each other. And honestly I can’t make sense of what’s going on right now very well.
So, it’s very unlikely if you’re getting news from three or four different sources, that you’re going to be able to actually use that to make sense of what you, in particular, should be doing. Right? You may be able to get really angry about some things going on nowhere near you, but that doesn’t help you.
So, they key is in fact this thing that Forrest was talking about. This. The way we’re going to do this is we’re going to have to be engaging in conversations with people. Honestly, we’re in a situation where we actually have the ability to engage in conversations with people all over the world, and we can find them and talk with them, and share with them authentically, and listen to what it is that they’re actually trying to express, regardless of what their words sound like to us. And re-learn the art of creating these new forms of collective consciousness. And that may sound superficial, but it is absolutely the opposite of superficial. It is hard to do. And people are crazy. I mean, it’s nuts out there. And people also have crazy ideas. Like, we use words to use all kinds of weird things. And so it’s beginning to build from the bottom up. It is actually the thing that we’re doing. So, it’s not that we’re trying to find the truth so that we can figure out the next thing to do, it is the thing we are doing. And, having the ability to, in yourself, be able to listen to things that make you respond emotionally, or know sense to your mind… learn how to ask questions, how to listen, and turn to dialogue, how to seek out and find the people who have the thing that you need to share, how to share what it is that’s yours to share right now. I mean, that is a really interesting challenge. How do you not just run the response your persona tells you that gets people to do the shit you want them to do? How do you actually share what is actually yours, that you’re here to give? That is a fundamental lesson to learn. And so, that notion, by direction, being able to do that, that is my answer to that questions.
So, picking up on what Jordan said, the best source of information is people you know. In other words, rather than trying to get information from news sources of people you don’t know – you don’t know the filter that information coming through. Right? Anything that’s a broadcast communication, anything that’s essentially a one-to-many communication transaction (and when I say many, I mean thousands or more), you’re going to have in a sense a conflict of motivation, that is essentially, there’s a commodification of attention and time. They’re heartbeats. That irreplaceable moment in your life which will never be repeated again. Okay? So, in effect what you first want to sort of keep in mind is that we don’t make sense of anything by ourselves. We make sense of things in the community of people that we know and trust. And, in effect, by knowing the person that is in a sense, has in their awareness that you’re interested in this particular topic, or that they have a way of thinking about it that is very clear, that they, in a sense, become a resource for you to know what that information actually means, in context. Right? To have someone to be able to say, here’s my perspective on it, but you know the kind of perspectives they have, gives you a lot more information. A lot more sensemaking capacity, than receiving information from any anonymous source. So, the kinds of things that we naturally do: we hang out with our friends and we have conversations. I’m suggesting we do that a lot more. And that we do it a lot more deliberately. And that we do it with the kind of intention that is the specific intention of seeking insight, that we in effect are trying to see through the perspective of another individual, so that we can combine it with our own perspective, and have a greater depth, a greater dimensionality of perception, that what would otherwise be possible. Right? We have two of these organs. [eyes] We have two of these organs. [ears] In fact, we have this capacity to take the information that we see in each of these eyes, and synthesize it together to perceive three dimensions, where any single organ by itself would only see two. And this is a technology. This is actually a very powerful technology. If i wanted to build a radio telescope that was bigger than the size of the planet, I’d take the signal that is received at the middle of summer, and then I wait six months and I take the signal that is received in the middle of winter, and I combine them in a certain way, and I get the effect as if I had built something that was the size of the orbit of the earth. That’s an amazing, amazing result. It’s like this enormous, multiplicative effect, when we seek out diverse opinions, diverse people – you don’t want to just talk to people you know, but you also want to talk to people who are interesting – that in a sense, you have a kind of intuition that something they say may combine in an interesting way with something that you would say to them. And that through that sharing, through that mutual experience, that you will each perceive the world in a way that is more genuine, more depth. And that’s what we mean to make sense of something. To, in a sense, get to the point where we see into it. To have insight is to see into. So, put your cellphones away, get together for dinner, and talk about some real shit. Right? I mean, that’s basically what it boils down to. And remember what insights you have. Write it down. Put it in some sort of notebook or something, and then the next conversation, the next dinner party which you have, bring out the best of the best of what you’ve in a sense come to insights for. And synthesize that to a deeper level.
The more you go through this process, the easier it is. And the more insights that you gain, the more insights that we have into the kind of designs and solutions that will constitute civilization 2.0.
I want to add to what these guys said, cause this might be the most important question of the night. Just to underscore the importance… Do we know what’s happening at Fukushima, really? Or, how long we have for coral reefs before we have to do what? How do we navigate, how do we collective choice making, when we don’t have collective sensemaking? How do we prioritize, like, this is… Jordan has written extensively about this. This is a core, existential civilization issue. And individually, we take in information, we process it, and we act on it. But where we’re all inter-affecting each other, and we’re dealing with macro phenomena, we have to be collectively taking in information, right? Treating each other as sensors. And collectively processing it, and being able to collectively act on it.
It is, by definition, the case that all perspectives on reality are going to be a reduction of reality. There going to have blind spots that are unavoidable. The only way you start to address them is to start to have more perspectives, and then the ability to start to integrate and synthesize those.
Of course, we’re saying get together and talk to people. And both of them were saying get together and talk to people. One of the keys was that people who have different perspectives, and different data, different intel, because… how many people were really surprised by the Trump election, who were talking to people about politics, that all were in the same misinformation bubble that they were in? Right? And, because they stayed within a worldview protected, in-group, misinformation bubble, the world they thought existed, and the world that actually existed, were really radically different. And, so, a couple of things I would add is, want to know what the world actually is, rather than want to reinforce your ideas about it. Because if your ideas about it are off, they will be maladaptive. So, want to get perspective that is different than, and even challenging to the current way that you see things. Critical. Once step deeper than that is separate your identity from your worldview. So that your sense of security, emotionally, and your sense of certainty about certain facts are decoupled. Because to the degree that your ability to not freak out because you’re fairly sure about something, you will not take alternate opinions on that. Alternate perspectives, even if it’s wrong. And so the ability to have ability to not freak out that is decoupled from fairly certain about things is actually really important.
[inaudible] One of the conversations I’ve had with these two gentlemen, particularly, is that I know that when they say something, that they’ve thought about it carefully. And so, as a result, I can put aside whatever beliefs I have, and whatever reactions I might be experiencing, and whatever my ideas, or thoughts, or opinions might be, and say OK, I really want to know what this persons thinking. I want to understand how they are perceiving the world. Because whatever it is that they’re saying, it means something. And so, in effect, a lot of the conversations are really based upon this idea that we believe that the other person is saying something that is meaningful. It’s important.
So, in effect, we want to engage that aspect as the essence. What is important? Ask that question. What’s important for you right now? What’s important in this conversation? What is important for us to say to one another, so that we each have a more comprehensive view of what reality actually is?
This whole thing about having opinions and perceptions and stuff like that, there is always going to be a filtering process. Nature, in a sense, is going to be represented to us through the filters of our perceptions and our biases. In effect, we need to get skilled at knowing what our biases are and working around them. Uncovering the blind spots. Seeing around the corner of things, or behind you. In effect, we are at a civilization level, trying to uncover and to compensate for sociological blind spots. Things that are blind spots at an even bigger scale. But in order to do that, we have to develop some new skills. We have to develop some listening skills. And listening skills in a sense as, what is the essence of what’s being said here? What is truly important? What is this actually mean? What are the implications for this?
And so, in effect, when we start to really codify our communication process on this basis, when we start to think about things in a sense of, OK, I want to get to the essence of this, so that I understand it really, as it is, as it actually is, not as I would have it be, but as it, in a sense, needs to be responded to.
You know, when things are going wrong, the first principle I heard in management class, or training, or whatever, was stop, look, see, and tell the truth. This goes back to what Jordan is talking about, when he said the first thing you want to do is slow down. In order to get more insight and more depth, you want to slow down, and sink into the truth. Sink into the feelings of what your nervous system is actually telling you.
There are an enormous number of tools that we have built in. For every blind spot, there are a couple of two winnings, two things that are good. For everything that’s good there’s actually a couple of blind spots. We need to know how to navigate this. The way that we know that, the way that we navigate through the minefield of what’s possible is to slow down. You don’t go running through a minefield. That tends to get you blown up. So go slow.
So Forrest, Daniel, Jordan, what I’m hearing you say is one of the importance of these sensemaking tools, both as a collective as well as individuals… and it’s interesting that as a process leads to empathy, it leads to more deeply understanding the other.
This next question is about building new models that make old models obsolete, without creating absolute chaos. Is that possible, and if so, how?
I think I can take that one. So, when we’re looking at large system design. You know, like, say you have an operating system. It’s a very complicated piece of software. And, for some reason or another, you need to change it, and you want to make sure you actually have a computer that continues to work, because you need it to do things while these changes are going on. It is possible to do that, it’s a technique called refactoring. Where you basically are partitioning the source code, and you’re working with segments of it, but you’re keeping the whole system operational, and rerouting signals across the paths that you’re trying to fix.
So, it is possible to do this, but it takes an awful lot of skill. If you are essentially trying to recreate an operating system, of course, the easy way to do it is to trash the old one and start from scratch and create the new one. But often times, this isn’t actually a very good idea, because what happens is it throws out the baby with the bathwater. All of the problems that the old system actually effectively was a solution for have to be addressed again from scratch. And half the time we don’t even know what those problems are, what those solutions actually, you know, what the techniques of solving those problems actually were. So, our new system may not actually be an improvement. It might solve this set of problems over here, but all of these things that used to work are broken.
So, in effect, when we’re looking at system design, part of the things that we want to do, and we’re trying to morph a large complicated system, is to first of all, try to look at the picture of what it’s functionality actually is. What problems does it actually solve. What are the assumptions that were made that may be different now, or what are the assumptions that are still true, that we need to, in a sense, continue to uphold?
When you have clarity about those kinds of things then you can start replacing components one at a time. You can start basically going through the system and using the components of the old one to build the new one. Having a clear sense of what a successful architecture looks like, is to some extent you understood the old architecture, and understood it well enough to understand what problems it was a solution for, and what things it was not a solution for. So that when you’re designing the new thing, you’re in a sense encompassing and incorporating all of the learning and all of the knowledge of the thousands of programmers that came before you.
[Inaudible] Piggyback on that… The answer to the second question depends upon how good we are at the first question. Right? Our ability to understand the nature of the problems well enough, when Forrest was describing how many things we’re simultaneously optimizing for, one of the challenges with the issues is when we get scared, and we want to go fast, and we don’t understand the problem space well enough, in addressing some of it we might be externalizing issues in an even more problematic way.
And so, we can see like, getting scared about climate change, and so, we need to address temperature. One metric. Temperature is a big metric. So, geoengineering in a way that has potentially huge externality load, and doesn’t address any of the causal dynamics, where there actually are solutions that address the causal dynamics, is the kind of thing that happens if you don’t sense make well enough. And then you’re in a rush, right, to get through.
So, it’s critical to actually keep coming back to that. Right? A problem well understood is half solved, and the engineering aspects, and the more deeply we understand that the better.
Knowing what questions to ask.
Knowing what questions to ask.
A couple more things on, so, the question was based off of the Bucky Fuller quote, “We don’t try to fight the existing systems, but build new ones that are fundamentally more adequate, meet the needs better, that obsolete the old system, and they just become then a strange attractor.” Right? Because they’re more selective.
So, that’s the topic of prototyping. Right? Civilization prototyping. This is one of the critical things that has to happen with people in here who are focused on ecovillages, and intentional communities, all the way up to city-scales. Right? And what would be the minimum viable scale to start prototyping a different economy. A different governance. A different materials economy. A different set of social dynamics and coherence. And that’s to get a kind of sense of what is actually potentially viable in real instantiation, and then to the extent that it is a successful model, be able to reverse engineer that, becoming more wide.
Then there’s also the forward engineering of, how do we take civilization wide dynamics that we can make iterative shifts on, that move the whole system forward. And one of the key dynamics is move it forward towards more health, in a way that increases our capacity, right, that upregulates our collective capacity to answer that question better in the next iteration.
Alright. So this is good. I actually have a very different angle, which I think creates a really nice parallel. Historically, whenever we go through a major transition, there are two failure conditions that lead to things being very bad.
The first has to do with the way that elites relate to the transition. So think about, for example, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the collapse of the Roman Empire. In each of those characteristics, the elites related to the transition very differently. In the collapse of the Roman Empire, the elites simply refused to allow a transition to occur, until the mismatch between their system and the complexity got so high that it did in fact go to what I would consider a good representation of absolute chaos. We need to avoid that like the plague.
And so, finding ways to get some portion of our elites to be able to have a consciousness as a necessity of being deliberate about change is extremely important.
But if you think about the American Revolution, at least in the United States, all along the coast in the colonies, a pretty sizable function of elites, who we now know as the Founding Fathers, were willing to step in and take leadership in making that happen.
Now, the other failure condition comes from the fact that at the end of the day, we’re all monkeys. We’re primates. Alright? We’ve gotten pretty good at not killing each other in this room, and scarring, and being quiet, because we’ve trained really hard at doing that. But as civilization starts to break down, we go right back to being apes. And the way that apes don’t freak out is when some of the apes seem to know what the fuck is going on, and they don’t freak out. So when things go crazy, people are going to start looking around and say, alright, who seems to have their act together? Have your act together.
It’s the emergent leaders, is the second piece. People who have done the work to be able to hold fast, and not panic when things begin to break apart, that other people will look to and say, where’s the anchor? What’s going on here? And if we have enough of those people embedded in what’s happening, even as things fall down, they don’t go to absolute chaos. It’s actually very interesting. It’s not an objective function.
We’ve seen experiences where monetary systems have completely vaporized, people have had a hard time eating, there’s been fighting… didn’t go to absolute chaos. Because something held the fabric together. Right? People, certain emergent leaders were willing to step up and say, no, we’re still going to be civilized. We’re still going to hold this thing together. That’s the other answer to it.
So, the architecture, and the mechanics, and the thinking, and the process are all very true, but at the foundation, if you want to keep these monkeys from tearing each other apart, be the person you want to be.
Thank you for beautifully teeing up the next question Jordan.
So, let’s get into the how of that. So this next question is, how can we realign sense of purpose towards the wellbeing of all, and away from the self-interest of the market economies, so that we actually wholeheartedly cooperate, and even innovate, with such transitions? How do we get there as humans?
So, it is necessarily iterative, the answers necessarily iterative. One of the things, there’s a dialectic of different things that you’re hearing in the group, which is, hey, things are more immanently collapsing than you’re aware of on a day-to-day basis, when you’re thinking about cleaning the house, and paying the bills, etc, so there’s an urgency in that. At the same time we’re hearing, don’t react too fast with urgency, and slow down. What that means is a shift of attention from other, less-critical stuff, to the topics that are actually at hand, because you get that they’re real.
I don’t know how many people have watched the videos of Richard Feynman talking about space, but one of the things he does beautifully is he’s like, when you think about the vast distances of space, and you think about the number of stars that we talk about, like, really think about it, and it’s really there. It’s hard for us on the planet to think about 400 billion stars in our galaxy. It’s not just hard, it’s impossible. But, to the degree that you try, and that’s one tiny galaxy, to the degree that you try, you’re being expands.
It’s hard for us to think about the wellbeing of everything in our personal choice consideration set. And it’s hard for us to get that the civilization that we have known, and that the people that we’ve respected have known, is coming to an end. And that the solutions aren’t within that wisdom set. It’s actually super hard to get that.
But you can. Right? As you start to think about it, you can actually get, oh, wait, exponential growth materials economy, extracting resources faster than they replenish on a finite planet, that just actually doesn’t enduringly work. That’s fairly simple math. Right? You can start to educate about those things, and maybe we don’t know exactly what the timeframes are, but, this current civilization set is shifting, and say, alright, if I take that seriously, if I really take that seriously, what do I do differently? Well, I’m going to allocate more time to getting more educated. I’m going to develop my thinking, and sensemaking frameworks. One of the things that we didn’t speak to earlier while we were talking to people, when Forrest says he takes seriously when Jordan or I say something because we’ve thought about it doesn’t mean he agrees with all of it. Right? And it doesn’t mean he rejects all of it. It means he has an ability to have analytic thinking, and really critical thinking, and parse is this true, is this not true, how do we know? Those are skills that are developable, that everybody has to develop. And, then, synthetic thinking, that seems true and it seems quite different than another truth. How do those actually fit together? Right?
So, the ability for now synthesis, there’s more than that that’s necessary. But developing those frameworks, and putting data in those frameworks, and putting more time into the entire thing. So, how do we develop the care, right? If you really think about, and get, that your own success, and the success of your family is not insurable independent of the success of the whole, if you get that is true, and the timeframe of your life, and your children’s life, and that in trying to ensure their success, independent of the success of the whole, it will fail.
Daniel, can you say that once more. It’s a really important point.
That trying to ensure our own individual success, independent of, or even at the expense of, the success of others or the whole, is not a viable strategy. And yet, it was something that seemed viable for a very long time. And so it’s easy to kind of fall back on that intuition. But to get that it’s a fundamentally different time.
So, people can get that intellectually. But how do you get them to be that?
I’m going to give Daniel time to think by throwing something out that’s part of the conversation. Daniel mentioned this notion of win/lose, [which] seemed like a valuable strategy for a very long time. I’m actually going to make a stronger statement. That, for effectively all of evolutionary history, up until, like, a couple of weeks ago, it was by far the best strategy. It was the absolute best strategy. If you didn’t do that, you were going to be selected against, and somebody else’s children were going to be the children who populated the world.
It’s very important to keep that in mind. Evolution really, really, really wants us to struggle with other things to survive. But now we’re in a situation where things are changing. So the magnitude of this change is not just in the sense that our civilization is collapsing. Right, it’s the other side as well. Daniel mentioned reaching a point where there’s going to be a pivot, and it’s either going to go up or down. If it goes down, it goes way down. If it goes up, it goes way up. And the people who talk about abundance aren’t wrong. Right? We actually have created so much capacity that the kinds of things that we have been struggling over before for hundreds of thousands of years are no longer meaningful.
For example, you guys are, I assume, reasonably familiar with this notion of technological unemployment? It’s also getting a lot of press in the Bay Area, and places like that, where things like self-driving cars are going to unemploy 1.5 million people in the next decade, and that robots are going to take everybody’s jobs.
Now, if you’re on the scarcity mindset, that’s very scary. Being unemployed is very bad. But if you flip it around, what that means is that we don’t actually need people to work that much anymore. In fact, in some sense, in the next 20 years, if we do our things right, nobody needs to work anymore. And we actually have to figure out how to apply ourselves to something completely different.
So, we’re in the process again of watching this old structure begin to fall apart. And, as Daniel said, it’s going to be iterative. Right? Things like Universal Basic Income are a nice transitional piece. And there will be other pieces as well that will begin to buffer the feeling of scarcity in a way that begins to allow people to have actual material freedom, to not to feel like they have to go out and fight, dog [eats] dog in the workplace to survive. And then, in the meantime, we’re in the process of trying to figure out how to build structures that are designed for abundance. Which is a very different thing. Abundance is a completely different framework about how we go about doing things. By the way, it’s non-trivial. Purpose, for example, is a big problem. If you think about it right now, we have this really nice mesh, where you work to survive. They glue together. Right? If I pull that apart, and I make it [so] you don’t have to work, but you can still survive, where’s purpose fit into this? Most people get their sense of purpose by being valuable to other people. By doing their job and creating something in the world. But if you’re no longer working and you’re still surviving, that’s actually terrible. That will destroy things if you don’t have some way of actually generating purpose [through a] different mechanism.
So, this problem of designing post-transition, designing for abundance, it’s a spiritual, it’s a psychological, it’s an economic, it’s a technological process. It’s another way of saying the new toolkit we’re trying to build.
I hope that is somewhat helpful.
Can I pick off of that? So, Jordan used the word “purpose”. And I think it was an entirely appropriate choice. There [are] these three concepts: purpose, value, and meaning. Alright? And those, again, are three things that go together, but are distinct. They are three concepts that we tend to conflate a lot. When we talk about, how do we create an economy, we’re thinking about value systems. We’re thinking about money as a value system, or, you know, an exchange medium of some sort or another. Right? Whereas when we’re talking about jobs, and what is our function in life, what do we do. You know, you come to a party, and you ask what do you do? What’s your job? And when we move to a situation that’s a post-scarcity economy, when we’re looking at an abundance economy of some sort or another, the usual ways of thinking of defining our lives in terms of purpose, or in terms of value, just aren’t going to work. Because it’s not going to be about that. It’s going to be about the meaningfulness of life. Meaningfulness is deeper than value or purpose. The notions of value and purpose are relative to the notion of meaningfulness.
So, if we’re going to, in a sense, come to some sort of alignment, where we’re basically saying, okay, how do we as individual people move beyond this economic actor model? Where we’re basically having some sort of exchange medium, and that this exchange process is how we create survival. How we create some sort of thing that is essentially providing food and shelter and all the rest of that stuff. If we come up with a way of using our technology that manages to provide food for every living person on this planet, which we actually have, or a technology that allows us to provide shelter for everybody, which we actually also have, then really it becomes a question of thinking about it differently. We need to, in a sense, incorporate a kind of non-economic foundation into creating choice alignment. And, how do we do that?
Well, we don’t do that by trying to have a purpose for everybody we know, or thinking in terms of how much of a dollar value each person has. How much is your net worth isn’t a very meaningful conversation. But, on the other hand, you’re talking about life experiences. Or what’s important to you right now. Or what sort of insights that you’ve had from an experience you had last week. Those are the things that create true connections. And, in effect, if we’re going to move to an economy of, essentially some sort of post-scarcity situation, it’s going to be based on a meaningfulness principle, rather than on a purpose principle, or a value principle. And this is a key concept. This is something I believe to be a necessary aspect of how to think about this.
So, I want to say one more thing on there. Jordan mentioned phases, that there’s a transition that we’re in, and there’s urgent stuff, that allows us to keep figuring stuff out, there’s a transition, there’s a post-transition… the transition phase is fundamentally different than the phase it’s transitioning from and to, is a key insight. We’ll maybe get to that later. But, to answer this question of, how do we increase the connectedness of the sense of self, and the sense of reality? And increase the care, awareness, etc… how do we do that? And we said it’s going to be iterative.
So, one design criteria is that in the post-transition phase, that actually has to be everybody. And, we mentioned antifragility in the presence of exponential technology. We can’t actually put exponential technology back in the bag. That’s just an inexorable thing. That those capacities are there. Now, when you think about someone who, you know, we see goes and does a mass shooting, that seemed kind of unprovoked, they have the access to a gun, and especially, say, an automatic gun, they can do more damage in that process than if they had the access to just a knife. Right? And so, as we take exponential technology, where you think about the first really catastrophic technologies we had, very few could have access to. Like nuclear weapons. As you move into decentralized exponential tech, and where very small numbers of people can have really catastrophic actions, the omni-consideration and choice making has to be universal. Not just some people, because there’s no longer a ruling class that then has all the power and everyone else who doesn’t. And, so that’s part of the post-transition design criteria, and it’s a really deep, big deal criteria to think about.
So, for instance, most of the time that person who goes and does the mass shooting, the neighbors say we didn’t really know them. Right? They were quiet, they kept to themselves, they were a shut in. And so they could be developing in their loneliness, in their psychopathology, with nobody noticing it… that doesn’t work in the future. So, how do we move to connected enough civilizations that everyone is actually connected to other humans meaningfully? That other humans are connected to them? Those are going to be key design criteria.
But while we say everyone omni-considerate as part of post-transition, it doesn’t take everyone for us to get there. This is the iterative. It takes some people building capacities that start to change game theory dynamics. So, you know, the person who goes and kills a whale on a fishing boat because that whale is worth 100s of thousands of dollars, or a million dollars dead, and alive it’s not worth anything, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re whale-hating beings, right? It doesn’t even mean that they feel okay with it. It means that there’s a game theory that doesn’t have everyone’s incentive, and everything else’s wellbeing aligned, and they don’t know how to feed their kids otherwise. Right? Or they don’t know how to get ahead in whatever set of dynamics. So, can you have those theoretic dynamics at scale, and have everyone get there? No.
So, how do we have small groups that start to coalesce, and work on changing those things that effect and condition human experience and human behavior at scale? Like media. Like education. Like economics. That’s a key part of the understanding. It takes everybody, but not at first.
So we’ve got some really juicy, brilliant questions from the audience. And about 25 minutes to rapid fire through them. So, here’s what we’re going to do for this final round. I want you to really tune in if this is your question, and if it’s your question, jump on it, and answer it as concisely as you can, and we’ll move on to the next ones so we can get through some really good content here.
So, this first one is a bit of a challenge. This first one is a challenge to guide us through a visualization on how the perfect storm unfolds to guide us through this transition, and the best case scenario to reach an intelligent, collaborative, sustainable system model. And particularly, help us visualize the best-case scenario steps that unfold to get us there.
You want this to be fast?
Go for it, Jordan.
So, I estimate that we need an order of magnitude between 5 and 10, as significant as the Trumpocalypse, to have enough impact on enough people’s consciousness to cause an impact to have a detach from their existing dependence on legacy systems, and be willing to take a risk to jump into novelty space. But, if it’s more than 10 or 20 times as large as the Trumpocalypse, that begins to create negative cascade effects. So, look at something like… ideally we would have some kind of significant economic collapse. That would be best-case scenario. Like, if we could image having hyperinflation, where all dollars are worth nothing tomorrow, that’d be a godsend. That would actually move almost everybody into, oh, this thing that sucks anyway, doesn’t work anymore, let me be experimenting on the ground. Without things blowing up, right? Blowing up is bad. Imaginary stuff going away is good. So that’s a good rule of thumb. To the degree to which you can get on the order of about 250,000 people beginning to interconnect with each other, and also connect with at least 12 people on an individualized basis. So, that’s about 3 million people in a meshwork, building the kinds of practices that we’ve been talking about, that’s probably critical mass needed in the United States. Globally it’s a different story, and there’s all kinds of different dynamics, and I don’t know exactly how it plays out there, but that’s a decent framework though.
So, if you could imagine scaling this to, how many people are in here, about 300? So, scaling this by two orders of magnitude, three orders of magnitude, that’s probably the right kind of framework to be able to maneuver us across a transition.
Another big piece that would be fantastic, as i mentioned, is if we could get a critical mass of elites, in the next two or three years. That’s where things get very sketchy. We don’t have a lot of time for that. We need to get a critical mass of elites to be able to actually be willing to take the risk that the game they won is going away, and they’re going to be the folks who are going to make the next game happen. We might be able to do without that, but probably not.
I have a quick one. So, in the intermediate transition phase, imagine a world that basically doesn’t have any intellectual property taxes. And then, for the long game, imagine a world where everybody understood the full meaning of this simple idea: love is that which enables choice. If you really get that, if you really, really get that. If you live by that principle, if everybody in the world understood that thoroughly, the world would absolutely be a better place, as cliche as it is.
Teeing up the next question, you talk about forming a collective that’s aligned and feeling deeply interconnected. What is the toolbox to keep us accountable to that state? Specific actions we could all be doing to keep ourselves accountable to really living in that state of interconnectivity?
So, we have this idea that we want to maintain a particular condition. And there was a question that was asked about, you know, who’s going to be the enforcers of the law? Who’s going to make the laws? And this question strikes me as being very similar in some respects. How do we maintain an integrity state? We can’t do it by having a special class of people that is essentially the enforcers. The police. That’s just another version of the Stanford prison experiment. It devolves very slowly. It ends up ugly. And you can’t do it by basically trying to have everybody become the policeman and watching everyone else. That basically erodes what is a sense of individual sovereignty and privacy. It makes you essentially subject to the tyranny of the consensus. And, in effect, you end up not being able to do anything at all, because there’s always going to be someone out there who’s going to disagree with the basic premise of what you’re talking about.
So, in effect, we need a third model. Something that is neither this top-down kind of structured organizational model of trying to create consensus, or essentially a sort of bottom-up thing, which just takes a long time, and nobody ever actually comes to agreement before the problem in crisis is already past. Right? You need something that’s faster than that. And yet, not necessarily has the disadvantages of the top-down technique.
The kind of model that comes to mind to me is this sort of peer-to-peer relationship that computers can set up [asdfasdf]. They have a protocol of communication. And if neither computer is disagreeing about the protocol, then an effective transition happens. Information moves across one machine to another. Well, nobody’s essentially the enforcer of the protocol. If you don’t speak the protocol, if you don’t know how to speak the language, you don’t end up communicating. Right? The transactions that are necessary to move resources around just don’t happen because nobody want’s to talk to you. So, in effect, the real thing here is you can’t enforce communication. But, by having communication, by learning the language, and learning to develop some sort of consensus technology of having the conversation, that that process tends to enforce itself.
Mother nature doesn’t need some enforcer to enforce natural laws. To, in a sense, create coherency. It just happens. It’s just part of the system. It’s something that’s built in. And in a same sort of way, we’ll want to look at having the integrity of the system, having the integrity of the civilization, having the antifragile characteristic, be something that’s intrinsic to the process itself. That if a crime was performed, that the action of the crime is it’s own worse punishment for the person performing it. That’s what we’re looking for.
Wonderful. So this, I’m really glad this next question was asked. Because it was something that we all faced in putting this event on, is gaining holistic perspective. We’ve talked about the importance of diversity. We’ve talked about the importance of women leadership in this new phase that we’re going through. And yet, here we sit, as four white men. And so, how do we gain that wholistic perspective? How do we continue to really encourage diversity and ensure diversity as we’re building this new civilization, this new system?
I think I want to make one correction. It’s not just that it’s diversity. It’s that it’s integration. Right? If we just have everything the same, you don’t have enough integration. There’s not enough variation in the system. And if you have just an emphasis on diversity, then you end up with so many different points of view but no integration. That doesn’t work either. You want to have something which is essentially an integration of enough diversity, that essentially you have really encountered reality. If you’re trying to solve a problem, and you only understand part of the problem because you’ve exposed yourself to that, you haven’t learned the language of the solution. You haven’t become a fit vehicle to receive and perceive what a solution would look like.
So, in effect, part of it is by embracing diversity, by embracing other points of view, we encounter the language of the problem space. And we become the kinds of people, we become the kinds of individuals that, when we have the insight, we can grasp that feeling, and turn it into a form. We can write down the answer because we know the language of the problem space. We have made ourselves an expert in the kind of spaces that a solution exists in. Without going through the work without actually having the encounter with the problem, without having exposed yourself fully to the nature of what the real situation is… you know, we talked about Bret earlier, a person that has deep evolutionary, biological experience. He’s a person that I view as crucial as informing me as to the kinds of issues occurring at a biological level, because without accounting for those kinds of things, our solutions are incomplete.
We, in a sense, need to understand the full ramifications of problems. It means that we need to have omni-consideration, it means we’ve basically got to see from enough perspectives so we can combine and synthesise something that our intuition can actually speak to, and our intellect can grasp.
Daniel, do you want to tune in? Daniel, or Jordan, tune in?
So, in biology we have this topic of an adaptive landscape. So, in a landscape you’ve got multiple peaks and multiple valleys. So, as nature’s evolving, and we see increased orderly complexity, and kind of a movement of new, emergent, more complex creatures, right? With humans kind of at the end of that chain so far. Viruses are still evolving too, right? Corals are still evolving too. There’s a whole bunch of different things that are adaptive, and then there are some things that are not adaptive. The same is going to be true in the future of civilization. It’s not going to be a homogeneous, here is the worldview, or, here is the aesthetic that everyone has. There’s going to be an adaptive landscape of a number of ways of being, a number of aesthetics, a number of ways of thinking about things, and problem solving, that are all adaptive, that are all functional, that all meet the necessary and sufficient criteria for a civilization that’s viable. And that means that there can be meaningful relationship across them. Right? Not just inexorable and unrecoverable disfunction between them. So, it’s like, do we want diversity? Well, some. The kinds of diversity that lead to inexorable breakdown and conflict, we don’t want. Right? But there’s a truth part in those elements that we need to be able to hold. The kinds of diversity that lead to multiple perspective, that lead to synergy and emergence, is critical.
So, synergy across a bunch of the same thing doesn’t really happen. Right? Synergy across homogeny, you don’t get much emergent property.
So, this is a key dynamic. One thing I would say about it is, how do we seek out different perspectives, with a friend who just did a PHD dissertation on studying higher stages of human development, which, as soon as you even say that it bothers people, right? What does it mean, higher stage? And yet, development isn’t nothing, right? And, one of the key things that he identified was something that had been previously thought to be a key definer, which was perspective taking. The ability to take multiple perspectives was less relevant than perspective seeking. The predisposition to seek lots of perspectives, and then a capacity to actually do it well, and then the ability to synthesize across those.
But the most critical part they identified was the impetus to actually seek other perspectives. So this is important. One thing I’ll also say about it is it’s hard. Notice how many times this happened for you, where someone has a worldview that actually bugs the shit out of you, right? Where there’s something that you feel is sacred, that it seems like their worldview doesn’t care about or even damage, and you’re just willing to inside [something] them. But, again, we just defined that all wars are lose/lose.
So, what does it mean to be like, okay, how do I deal with this? So, one thing I would say is to just actually sit in that we have to, and figure it out is a part of it.
I want to actually piggy back on one or two things…
Hold on, Jordan’s been burning here and we want to move on, so you have a quick 30 seconds.
There are no necessary value conflicts. Daniel was just asking a question if you see somebody who values something that you don’t, there’s no aspect of those values that necessarily need to be exclusive. Have that as an idea and try it out, see where you go.
Daniel, you mentioned emergence, and you’re often sharing that principle. So, the question is, can we rely on emergence, can we do the work individually [asdfasdf] available for emergence to happen? And if we do that, will that allow things to transition smoothly and fast enough? Or is there something we need to be doing in addition to that to bring about this new civilization?
That’s actually a profoundly difficult question.
Well, I’m serious, I actually need to think about that. I think that we can’t, we can’t rely on the notion of emergence. I think that if we try to rely on the notion of emergence, that we are, in effect, having a kind of false hope. We have to work to create that kind of emergence. There’s an effort that’s involved between here and there. I think that emergence will actually happen. But I think it will only happen if we don’t take it for granted.
I’m going to take a different perspective with the exact same end result, which is, it’s not, it’s actually, the question’s not well formed. That’s not the way to think about it. The way to think about it is to tune in to who you are, and what you’re here to do, and do that completely.
And if everybody did that, do you think that would be enough to guide us through this transition?
It doesn’t matter.
Yeah, I think I have to agree with Jordan on this one.
“Is it going to be enough to get through the transition?” is an unanswerable question for anyone right now.
We’re trying really hard to just identify the concepts that might be the attributes of what a solution might look like. But characteristics that the solution needs to have, that list at that particular point is unbounded. We don’t know if everything on it is necessary, we don’t know whether it’s sufficient. We know it’s important to ask the question of, what sort of characteristics are a solution? What sort of things do we need to develop?
You know, I think you’re right, Jordan. That the question to some extent is not well formed. But it’s interesting. I will spend some more time thinking about it.
Which, knowing Forrest, he will write a definitive essay on it in the next 48 hours.
It’ll be an email, sent to three people, who will ignore it. Which is fine.
So, getting into really practical, daily ritual, what would you recommend as a daily ritual or practice for healing, and the self-work necessary to be fully available at this moment?
Well, meditation’s important. If you don’t spend a little bit of time by yourself, getting to know who you are, if you don’t spend some time, basically learning what is the vehicle that is your life, you know, you’ve got to spend a little bit of time every day. Usually first thing in the morning.
If you become truly self-aware, if you know the influence that people have on you, because you know who you are in the absence of all influence, then you can begin to account for the effect you have on other people.
And let’s just layer in the other side of that, which is friends. Friends are hard. Like, friends, if you have not yet figured out how to actually have friends, that’s the next thing. And if you have, by the way, there are a lot of people who haven’t figured that out. Most people just play next to each other. Very few people know how to play with each other. Seriously, like holding people to the standard fo doing what he just said. Holding them to the standard of absolutely not holding back from being exactly who they’re supposed to be is what a friend is supposed to do, that is hard. So, if you do this, and you do that, I think you’ve got about as good an answer as you’re going to get.
When Jordan said on the last question, work on becoming who you’re here to be, and offering to do what is yours to do, that is all of you. Right? It is not purely intellectual development, or heart development, or will development, or personal, or interpersonal… it’s all those things. And emergence happens at the intersection of all those happening, right? So, if, is it relevant to work through childhood traumas that make us shutdown, or not willing to face certain things, or create certain types of emotional predispositions, that lead to cognitive predisposition… yes, it is necessary. Is it sufficient? No. Is it necessary to develop our critical thinking so we can actually see is this fact a fact or not? Yes. Is it sufficient? No.
So, if you think about whatever system, if you talk about left and right brain, or mind, heart and will, all the chakras… all the systems of intelligence and capacity, that, any system that looked at what the human organism, they all need progressively more developed. And not just the person but the other people in the environment.
When you can operate as a true, whole, integrated human being, then you can be available to meet in community.
So, perhaps this next question will take us a little deeper on this topic. What are the rate limiters that are unnecessarily slowing down our ability to live from a state of feeling interconnected to all life? And how do we remove these rate limiters so that we quicken humanity’s evolution?
I think there’s an awful lot of fragmentation in our communication process. You know, our message medium to one another in the form of social media, and Twitter, and stuff like that, Facebook, and all the rest, they encourage us to say shorter things. And we don’t get a chance to sort of sink into what somebody really means. It’s like we’re overwhelmed with this avalanche of incoming sensory data. And most of it is noise.
We want to, in effect, try to come into a space where we get to have depth as much as we have frequency. Personally, I would rather speak to a few people really, really well, than have just acquaintances with 1000. That’s a rate limiter on civilization.
A persona, I think is one of the primary rate limiters. The way we went about fabricating an identity that worked [asdfasdf] in middle school and high school, to be able to allow us to endure and survive the absolute crisis that is the reality that we live in right now. And, of course, what that does it that means you don’t engage in a lot of stuff that we’re talking about. And, that thing, we might call it ego mind here, tries to protect itself. And it inhibits thinking. And it reacts to things. And so, nothing works if you’ve got that in between you and other people. So that’s a major rate limiter.
And the nice thing about that is, you don’t actually need it. You can get rid of it. Its a, turn it off and go back to being an authentic being.
So, we’ve got one last question that’s for all three of you. And that is, what is your big bet? I know you’ve formed a think tank called Deep Code… there’s a limited amount of time, there’s a limited amount of resource… what’s your big bet on where the biggest leverage is?
Do you want to do functional groups?
Oh god, no.
I think that for my own part, I’m basically having the hypothesis that there is a theory of ethics that will allow us to close the ethical gap, that will allow us to move from a consideration of choice, effective choice, good choices, which is here to form based purely on the notion of opinion, to something which has a more rigorous, more mathematical character. Which isn’t to say that I’m expecting that choices be made only on the basis of some intellectual premise,. But that combining the hearts and the value system that we have with a toolkit that allows us to integrate those things in a sane way, that we can move the dialogue to a position that is considerably deeper than could be reached than could be by any single point of view.
So, in effect, I guess you could say that for me the big bet is whether or not that ethical system is truly complete and actually works. I have subjected it to every single test I can think of. I have tried it in my own business, I have tried it in my own business, I have tried it for many years since I have become aware of these concepts, and my hope is that is a component, a kind of piece of architecture that will actually work. That will hold the weight, in a sense, that is to be placed on it.
So, I could say something like, my big bet is transforming macroeconomics. And that because economics can be seen as an interface layer between our worldview and infrastructure, which involves things like what do we value, and who are we, and who is other, and what are we connected to? And then, that’s actually codified in an economic equation, where the whale is worth something dead and not something alive, and where oxygens not worth that much because there’s lots of it, and scarce stuff is worth alot, even if we don’t do anything with it, right? The value equation that then predisposes what we confer resources to… if you do these things well confer more resources, so we can confer power that way, which then ends up determining which technologies get built, which is where the physical power, in a darwinian sense, where the actual planet and each other are affected… we could say that interface layer, right, that transition to internalizing all the externalities, and we could talk about a few processes to do that. We could talk about a real-time balance sheet of the commons, where we have a sensor grid, an internet of things sensor grid, and satellites, and people/sensor processes that are informing the built world, and the natural world commons, where they’re actually at in realtime. How they’re changing. And, so, rather than have separate balance sheets that are competing at the expense of each other in increasingly non-viable win/lose game theory, we can actually work to increase the comprehensive integrity of the balance sheet of the commons, and everybody’s generative access to it.
When Bucky Fuller kind of talked about that as a possibility, the ability to actually have commons management, we didn’t even have the internet. We didn’t have the internet of things. We didn’t have those kinds of data science capabilities. But, with the technologies that are both forcing us to change, because they’re no longer viable, also make possible change. Right? The technological unemployment that is going to both end capitalism, also makes it possible to end capitalism as we’ve known it, and make fundamentally better systems.
So, this emergence is both a “have to” and “can” at the same time because of capacities. So I could say, you know, a change of economics. But, can we change that without changing infrastructure, where we actually have to build those kinds of technological systems that don’t fully exist yet, and we have to build closed-loop, material economies, production material economies, different waste management, etc… well, they inter-affect each other.
[Worldview…..] the media, education… there are theorists……. Worldview is the main thing. And if we can have a more omni-considerate worldview, if we can have less dysfunctional ego structures, that will change everything. There are theorists who, like cultural materialism, who say, actually, the tools and the predisposing behaviors, and if you change the tools, that’s the only thing that’s really ever changed anything. There are other theorists who say well actually the series of social systems and incentives, and drivers of changing behavior…. I see them as inter-affecting and co-arising, and so, there is not a solution in there that is even realizable independent of a handful of other things that have to co-arise. So, what I’d be putting my bet on is a minimum necessary and sufficient set of transforms that make possible a fundamentally new and viable civilization structure.
So, to answer that question I had to kind of think back on what is my big bet? Like, when have I made a big bet? And it’s interesting to notice for me that I’m intrinsically a person who operates through portfolio theory. So, I don’t tend to make big best. I tend to make distributed risk. And, a long time ago I came to the conclusion that the only viable approach was something called collective intelligence. Which is to say, we don’t yet know how to do any of the things that we need to do, and the only way that we can do it is we have to learn first how to be much, much better at knowing how to do things. And I worked really hard on that for a long time. And about four years ago, I hit the wall. And I recognized that I could not get where I wanted to get unless I was willing to place my big bet. My big bet was love. Which, for many people here, that may not seem like that big a thing, but you should understand, that up until four years ago, I actually really didn’t have any friends. So, I’m quite serious when I say friendship is hard. And being willing to go into the crucible of love, which I think is a better way of describing it, and exploring all its dimensionality, and the pain, and the healing, that can only come from that… that I think is the big bet.
What a great note to end on. It always comes back to love, doesn’t it? So simple! So simple at the end of the day, yet not.
So, I really hope that our intention tonight was met. That you’re more tuned into the complexities of this moment of transition that we’re in, you feel upgraded in your way of thinking about it, and strategizing, and contributing your unique gift to it, and that, as Paul Hawkins says, that you feel that state of blessed unrest. That recognition that there’s a tension right now that’s ripe, that we feel, that is sometimes hard to fully digest. And yet, there’s a blessedness in that, that we’re all alive and awake and available in this unique moment to act. And to fully feel our fullness of life to participate in this transition as a collective that’s waking up.
And so, thank you all for joining us. Thank you Jordan Greenhall, Daniel Schmachtenberger, and Forrest Landry. I’m Andrew Hewitt. Thank you guys so much.