Archive for the ‘Future Positive Front Page’ Category

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Saturday, December 19th, 2009

I would like to recommend a very interesting telecourse on  what is called Evolutionary Enlightenment by Craig Hamilton. Craig was/is a long time associate of Andrew Cohen. He is currently teaching independently of Andrew, but they shared a “thinking  space” for a number of years.

I finished the class that started in October this morning. Craig will re-present the class again this January with some evolutionary improvements. The only time Craig isn’t thinking, he is meditating.

The class was both inspiring and highly meaningful. Craig would like us humans to show up in the world as our best selves. This means we should strive to walk our talk. If we say people should be kind to other people, then we should strive to relate to all others we meet during our day with kindness. If we say others should think, before they speak, then we strive to remain in mindfulness throughout our day, and from that perspective, speak with compassion and thoughtfulness. But more than just being thoughtful, kind and compassionate people, Craig wants us to do something. Craig says being is not enough. We also need becoming.

As a student of human intelligence and human knowing, I would describe first enlightenment as the “Understanding of Being.” This is classical enlightenment or “Buddha Enlightenment.” Human intelligence emerges from the integration of Spacial and Temporal Intelligence. Classical enlightenment is Spacial Enlightenment.

Those seekers on the leading edge, are now discussing a second stage enlightenment that transcends and includes the Understanding of Being, this new enlightenment is what I call the “Understanding of Becoming” or Temporal Enlightenment.

Craig uses the word Evolution to represent temporal enlightenment—Evolutionary Enlightenment. Craig asks his students, “How are they going to make the world a better place?”

The following quotation is credited to Andrew Cohen, but I think Craig would agree with it.

Why Are We Here?

When we awaken to the evolutionary impulse, we realize a completely new relationship to what it means to be alive and what it means to be ourselves here and now.

Not only do we discover a freedom to be ourselves that we’ve never known before, but even more importantly we find a reason for living with intense commitment and liberated passion that gives us an incomparable sense of personal, philosophical, and spiritual self-confidence.

We suddenly begin to understand, in ways that both include and transcend our intellect, that the reason we are here on Earth (once all of our basic survival needs have been met) is not merely to experience security, comfort, pleasure, or even peace of mind but to develop.

We realize that we are here to consciously evolve, to intentionally do anything and everything we can to unleash all of the extraordinary creative potential within so that the human race’s next step can, in some small but not insignificant way, emerge through us.

—A. Cohen

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Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The future could work differently. …

GIFTegrity—a gifting tensegrity

How it might work

Timothy Wilken, MD

Tensegrity is the pattern that results when push and pull have a win-win relationship with each other. The pull is continuous and the push is discontinuous. The continuous pull is balanced by the discontinuous push producing an integrity of tension and compression. This creates a powerful self-stabilizing system. The term tensegrity comes from synergic science.

The gifting tensegrity is a newly invented mechanism for the exchange of human help. Let us begin by describing how a GIFTegrity might be structured and how it could work. Every member of a synergic help tensegrity would participate in two roles. That as a giftor and that as a giftee.

The continuous pull of the giftees’ needs are balanced by the discontinuous push from the giftors’ offers  of help. Again we see as an INTERdependent life form, there will be times when we will help others and times when others will help us.

The GIFTegrity works on trust. I give help to those in need and trust that when I am in need there will be those who will give me help. Synergic Trust was discovered long ago, and was once known as:

The Spiritual Principle Of Giving And Receiving

“When we give to one another, freely and without conditions, sharing our blessings with others and bearing each other’s burdens, the giving multiplies and we receive far more than what was given. Even when there is no immediate prospect of return, Heaven keeps accounts of giving, and in the end blessing will return to the giver, multiplied manyfold. We must give first; to expect to receive without having given is to violate the universal law. On the other hand, giving in order to receive — with strings attached, with the intention of currying favor, or in order to make a name for oneself — is condemned.”

And while, The Spiritual Principle of Giving and Receiving relies on “Heaven to keep account of giving,” the Gift Tensegrity relies on a public database to keep account of giving and receiving. This database of the synergic help exchange is a public space where the exchanging of help is made visible to all members who are participants in good standing.When you join a Gift Tensegrity you sign in and register as a Giftor-Giftee. You will fill out two profiles. The first profile is for your role as a giftor. Your giftor profile is the list of the types of help you would like to give to other members of the synergic help tensegrity.

The second profile is for your role as a giftee. Your giftee profile is the list of the types of help you would like to receive as gifts from other members of the synergic help tensegrity. A third profile will develop as Giftor-Giftee members use the synergic help exchange. This is the personal history of each member’s giving and receiving. This profile is transparent. It can be seen by all members who are participants in good standing. It shows all the gifts you have given, all the gifts you have received, and any comments made by other members of the synergic exchange tensegrity that you have interacted with in relation to the exchanging of help. Every exchange generates a Giftor’s comment rating the Giftee, and a Giftee’s comment rating the Giftor.

Now once a new member has completed their Giftor and Giftee registration and entered all their data into the data base, the computer sorts and matches gifts of help with needs for help.

Now initially within the Gift Tensegrity, the role of Giftor is active. The role of Giftee is passive. This means that once the computer has completed sorting and matching registered gifts of help with registered needs of help, the lists of matches are presented to the Giftor. These matches are not available for viewing by the Giftee.

The list of matchs are sorted with those who have the highest ratio of giving/receiving and most positive comments being sorted higher on the list than those who have lower ratio of giving/receiving and negative comments.

Freedom of Choice in the Synergic Help Exchange

However, the Giftor is free to offer his gift to anyone on the list regardless of the order presented. The Giftor is in control of his giving. Once the Giftor has made his choice and selected a Giftee to receive his offer of help, then the Giftee is notified that an offer of help has been made.

The Giftee is then presented with a list of offers of help from those Giftors that have selected them for offers. With these offers of help comes access to the profiles of the offering Giftors. The giftee is then free to examine the offer carefully, read the profile of the Giftor and decide whether to accept the offer or not.

Freedom of choice is an absolute tenant of the GIFTegrity. The Giftor decides when and to whom to offer a gift of help. The Giftee decides when and from whom to accept a gift offer of help. Giftors are unknown to Giftees unless the Giftor offers help. The Giftee is under no obligation to accept an offered gift. At this point the Giftee may contact the Giftor with questions or clarifications about the offer. If the Giftee accepts the offer, than that action is recorded as a synergic help exchange and both profiles are updated. Both Giftor and Giftee can make comments about the interaction then or at a later time if more appropriate. If the Giftee declines the offer of help, the Giftor is notified so they can offer their help to some other member.

What you might give or receive

How do you registering the types of help you might choose to give or like to receive? It would seem that almost any good or service could be exchanged in a synergic help tensegrity. I would suggest three general classes of Gifts as a way of organizing the data base. Also considerations of Local, Regional and Global come into play.

1) Human Knowing – KNOWLEDGE: Expertise, Consultations, Counseling, and Advise.

Those humans with expertise in almost any field can make that expertise available to others as a gift. Physicians, Attorneys, Accountants, Engineers, Scientists, Teachers, etc., etc., etc.. Location may be less important with telephone and internet communication.

This can also be available in the form or books, art, courses, online files, etc., etc., etc..

2) Human Action – WORK: Sevices, Projects, Labor (skilled and unskilled), Jobs and Tasks.

This could be as simple as baby sitting, or giving someone a ride to as complex as building a room on someone’s house or writing a custom software program, etc., etc., etc.. It could be a million and one different forms of helping provided by humans in action. Location is very important. Many services would only available locally.

For the third category, I have borrowed the term lever from synergic science. It means any device that provides the user with leverage.

3) Human Levers – THINGS: Tools, Appliances, Equipment, Automobiles, Trucks, Tractors, Lawnmowers, House Furniture, Household Goods, Furnishings, Materials, Supplies, etc., etc., etc..

And, you can give these things away fully or only gift the use of them for a specified time. Location is very important for the gift of using a tool or appliance, perhaps less important if the item is given away fully. Shipping costs might make a difference, but you can Gift an item with the provision that the Giftee pay shipping.

In fact you can gift anything with conditions. A gift is an offer of help. The giftee is under no obligation to accept the offer. Synergic exchange is fully voluntary. The giftor makes offers of help when and to whom he chooses. The giftee accepts offers of help when and from whom they choose.

Conditional Gifting

If I gift the use of a tool for a weekend, I may do so with the condition that it be returned in clean and in good condition. Conditions of gifting is both intelligent and synergic.

Things that are gifted can be new or used. Working or not working. The important thing is to describe the offered gift accurately. A television repairman might like the gift of an old TV, that he will repair and use or gift to someone else.

Since your giving-receiving profile is based not on the number of gifts offered, but rather on the number of gift offers accepted, it is of great importance to have a good relationship with the giftee. That means your descriptions of an offered gift needs to be very accurate. No one will be criticized for gifting junk as long as they describe it accurately as junk. Those seeking junk will be happy. Remember one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Status in the GIFTegrity

Your ranking on the help offer lists is determined in part by your ratio of giving-receiving. Every time your offers of help are accepted your ratio goes up. Those who give the most to others will be the most honored members in the community of the GIFTegrity. So you will want to give as much as you can. Likewise every time you accept a gift offering from others your ratio goes down. So you will want to accept others gifts carefully and only when you truly value them.

The other factor in determining your ranking on the help offer lists is your comment mean. This the average score for comments made about you during help exchanges. Every encounter will be rated. +10 for it couldn’t have been any better to -10 if couldn’t have been any worse. To be successful in the gift tensegity you need to give and interact in a positive way with other members. This means you want to accurately describe your offered gifts and make sure those accepting your gifts get what they expect from your descriptions. You also want to be courteous and friendly in your encounters. If you have an encounter that earns you a low comment from an exchange partner, you will want to repair that encounter as quickly as possible so that that exchange partner will modify or withdraw their low comment.

For instance, if I gift a used computer to someone and it doesn’t work as described, I need to be willing to take it back at my expense if the giftee paid for shipping. Or pay for disposal and give up my credit for the gift. Remember, every exchange effects ratio of giving-receiving for both the giftor and giftee.

Gifting – Local, Regional & Global

Knowing is one of the most global of gifts. With the internet and modern communication devices, I can help people all over the world.

Human action will usually need to be local, occasionally regional, and rarely global.

Levers and especially use of levers will usually be local. However, it may make sense to gift a major appliance or automobile regionally. And rarely, smaller lighter items might be shipped globally especially if they are unusual one of a kind.

Bringing Dead Wealth to Life

One major advantage of the GIFTegrity is that it resurrects Dead Wealth. Dead Wealth is that wealth within the human community that is not being used to help self or others. Dead Wealth is found in all three forms – Knowing, Action and Levers.

Knowing – Almost all of us have significant expertise in some areas. Some knowledge of how to solve problems that we have encountered in our lives. However, in our present world we trade the hours of our lives to others for just enough money to earn our livings. Our employers don’t want our expertise and knowledge unless it applies to the limited task they hired us to perform. Yet in the larger context of community our unwanted expertise and knowledge could help others. The GIFTegrity gives us an outlet for sharing that expertise and knowledge.

Again, this might be in the form of knowing and action joined together such as consultations, couseling, analysis and real time problem solving, or it may be available in the form of knowing and levers such as reports, books, video or audio tapes, artwork, photos, computer files, etc., etc., etc..

Action – We all have some hours in our lives that could be available to help others. The Gift Tensegrity gives me an outlet for all of those other skills and abilities that I am not currently trading to some employer for money. Some of us can do home and automobile repair, handyman work, cleaning, cooking, sewing, child and elder care, teaching, etc., etc., etc..

Or, it might be that if we knew what help others needed, we could combine their errands with our own when we are out running around anyway. The Gift Tensegrity allows you to quickly find out how you can turn those wasted hours into help for others.

Levers – And finally, we all have lots of perfectly good things we have in boxes in our garages, attics, and closets. Used tools, appliances, furniture, clothing, furnishings– things we never use but are too good to throw away. Now they can be easily liberated by simply describing them accurately and gifting them away. Or how about just gifting away the use of some those great tools you only use one day a week or one day a month.

GIFTegrity Servers – Local, Regional & Global

Because so much of our need for help is a need for local help. I see the need to establish Neighborhood GIFTegrities. This is where you will get help with household repair, automotive service, child and elder care, transportation, etc., etc., etc..

I envision this being started when someone with the time and interest decides to gift the use of their home computer and DSL line to run a neighborhood GIFTegrity Database. Then anyone in the neighborhood could use a computer with dialup connection to the internet to connect to the local GIFTegrity and enter into synergic help exchange.

These Local GIFTegrities servers would then be linked to Regional Gift Tensegrity servers which in turn would like to Global Servers. This would lead to a disseminated system with high level of redundancy.

This system will work easily with today’s home computers and off the shelf database software.

Need Help – Look First to the GIFTegrity

The GIFTegrity is a synergic help exchange. And as INTERdependent form or life, we all need help. As a synergic help exchange that means that the relations between the members of that exchange will be synergic. Remember synergic relationships are those that make me more productive, more effective, and more happy. When I need help, this is where I will look first.

In the beginning the gifting tensegrities will not instantly replace the fair market. It will begin as simple an alternative to the fair market. I will begin to meet some of my needs at the GIFTegrities. As I begin gifting and finding that some of my needs are met this way. I will have less need to sell the hours of my life for money to use in the fair market.

Once I am gifting 10 hours a week.I will then be able to reduce my working week from 40 to 30 hours. This is how the transition will occur.

Out of Work – Look to the the GIFTegrity

The gifting tensegrities can be enormously important to those individuals finding themselves out of work. When there is no market for the hours of your life. There is still no shortage of people who need your help. The gifting tensegrities acts as an immediate outlet for those with help to Gift, but no market for their help to Sell.

In fact the GIFTensegrity becomes a new type of insurance for all humans who are at risk for losing their jobs. In this society, that is all of us.

GIFTegrity – Not Just for Individuals

Synergic TeamNets are groups of individual humans that form themselves into Synergic Teams for the purpose of performing a larger and more complex task than they can perform as individuals. These individuals co-Operate through a network based on synergic relationships and synergic compensation mechanisms to accomplish those larger and more complex tasks. Barry Carter has written extensively about this concept in his book Infinite Wealth. And, I have developed a mechanism for organizing Synergic Production Teams called the Ortegrity which is available elsewhere.

TeamNets can register with a gifting tensegrity and list the Needs of their TeamNet Project. They may be able to attract the help they need thought the free synergic gift exchange, or they can attract help, by inviting others to join their team for Synergic Revenue Shares if the project produces revenue.

Read the Scientific Basis for the GIFTegrity

Specifications for a GIFTegrity

Synergic Economist Wayne F. Perg, Ph. D writes:

“My concept and understanding of the GIFTegrity is one of a radical move away from trade-oriented or materialistic sort of exchange.

“In the GIFTegrity there is no accounting, there are no prices, there is no barter (no tit for tat), and there is no medium of exchange! For me, it is the road to a post-monetary, post-barter economy.

“Barter and monetary economies both tie together giving and receiving. One cannot be done in the absence of the other. It is this “tying together” that is the ultimate source of “dead resources” and unemployment.

“The GIFTegrity frees giving from receiving and receiving from giving and will, as it is implemented, bring all resources to life and eliminate unemployment.

“The GIFTegrity does this by creating transparency, i.e., by creating good information on the SEPARATE giving and receiving actions of all members of the gifting tensegrity. Because there is no trading, only gifts given with no requirment of payment, there are no market prices and no accounting of trades. What there is is an open exchange of information on needs and resources available to fill those needs and ongoing individual negotiations around actions that will meet those needs.

“I see the GIFTegrity bringing the exchange relationships of a living organism to human society. As Elizabet Sahtouris has pointed out, the heart does not hold an auction for the supply of oxygenated blood and it does not withhold blood from those organs who are currently unable to pay.

“I see the GIFTegrity as a powerful new vehicle for first supplementing and then eventually replacing our present exchange economy that relies on money and barter to facilitate exchange.

“I see the GIFTegrity as a powerful step forward from money systems and barter because it separates the acts of giving and receiving whereas both money systems and barter tie giving and receiving together into formal exchange transactions. It is this tying together of giving and receiving that creates “landlocked” resources and unemployment.

“I do not see the GIFTegrity replacing informal, undocumented and recorded giving and receiving within families, groups and communities within which all participants are known to each other and within which trust is well established. In fact, I see the operation of the Gift Tensegrity increasing the number and size of the groups within which informal, undocumented giving and receiving is the norm.

“It is my understanding that, in the GIFTegrity, I do not make any commitment to giving in advance. As a giver, I have access to information on the needs of those who are seeking what I have to give, but potential receivers of my gifts have no access to me as a giver until I offer my gift to that person, organization, or community to which I decide that I would like to give.

“Also, given my big picture vision for the GIFTegrity, I see givers and receivers including organizations (including for-profit businesses) and communities as well as individuals.”

Read the Scientific Basis for the GIFTegrity

Specifications for a GIFTegrity

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Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

It was my privilege to attend a September Retreat with today’s author. I found his ideas both enlightening and inspiring. The following is his most recent essay. Reposted from Reality Sandwich. Enjoy!

Rituals for Lover Earth

Charles Eisenstein

The medicine man enters the outer vestibule of the sacred healing chamber. He dons the ceremonial vestments and performs the ritual ablutions, purifying himself for the healing ritual that is about to commence. Putting on identical masks, he and his acolytes enter the chamber, to which all others are forbidden entrance. The man they are healing is ready, having been ushered into a deep trance by another shaman using a magical elixir. Within the chamber are the ritual implements, which have themselves been purified, and which none but the initiated are allowed to touch. The medicine man calls for each implement in turn, handed to him by an acolyte. He uses these in a ritual scarification procedure that removes a small part of the ill man’s body. When he awakens from the trance, the man is magically healed, though some further ceremonies are required before he is able to leave the grounds of the temple of healing.

To even be allowed to perform this complex healing ritual, the medicine man must go through many years of training that include numerous tests, initiation ordeals, and the mastery of a special esoteric language. Upon completing his training, he is welcomed into the brotherhood of adepts, and his name is altered with a symbolic suffix. He swears a sacred oath and is given a piece of paper inscribed with mystical symbols in an archaic script. Thenceforth, he is treated with honor by his people and accorded all the perquisites of status.

I have just described surgery, as performed by licensed physicians in a modern hospital. All of the elements of ritual are present, yet we do not typically see what goes on as a ritual. “That’s not a ritual,” we say, “because each of those actions — the hand washing, the surgical masks, the professional training — all have a very good, rational reason.” Rituals, we think, must tap into something irrational, something magical; if they have any real effects, they are purely psychological in origin. We see rituals as a separate category of action that has been largely eliminated in today’s rational, science-based society. Asked for an example of a ritual, we might point to Communion in a Catholic church, or to a sweat lodge ceremony, or to something indigenous people do on the Discovery Channel.

I would like to offer a different conception of ritual that illuminates its continuing ubiquity in today’s world, and that suggests a means to deploy ritual as an agent of transformation. Let’s play with this definition: a ritual is a prescribed sequence of symbolic actions that draws meaning and power from a “story of the world”. In turn, it reinforces and affirms that story.

What, then, is a “story of the world”? By a story I mean a system of meanings and explanations that focuses human intention, assigns roles, coordinates activity, and says what is real. One example is the Story of Money, which assigns meaning to the slips of paper and information bits that comprise our money system. When that story falls apart, such as in Weimar Germany or 1993 Yugoslavia, money becomes nothing more than its physical substrate.

If you can enroll people in a story, then you can create something much bigger than you could build with your own hands. Even something so mundane as building a house requires telling a story that people believe in. The story, “A house will be built here,” includes such elements as workers’ paychecks, agreements to deliver materials, disbursement schedules, and so on. All of these are symbols. On the physical level, the workers’ paychecks are but slips of paper with blobs of ink on them. They have power only because of the story that embeds them, a story that all participants believe in. An alien anthropologist, though, might laugh patronizingly at our concern over these magical talismans with their sacred inscriptions. The same goes for the construction contract, inscribed with the mysterious personal mark of each signatory, and the delivery contract, which we inscribe with row after row of symbols in the superstitious belief that the desired materials they symbolize will actually show up in a truck on the appointed day.

Our lives today are rife with little rituals that sustain the Story of the World in which we have been living. There is nothing unusual about this; it is as it has always been. However, we are entering one of those special moments in history when an old story is coming to an end, to be replaced by a new one. We are emerging from two stories, in fact, two stories that are deeply interlocked. The first is the story of Self and World: we are discrete beings, fundamental separate from each other and from the objective universe that contains us. The second is the Story of the People: it is the Ascent of Humanity, in which science and technology lift us from a state of dependency on nature to become nature’s master, separate and superior. The consummation of this story would be a destiny of space colonization and immortality, in which computers, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering complete our domination of nature and free us from natural limitations. These stories embed other, smaller stories, stories within stories within stories, that include everything in our world that depends on agreements, meanings, and symbols. So money, as I’ve said, is a story. The government is a story. The American Medical Association is a story. The law is a story. Dates and times are a story. An educational degree is a story. Professional licensure, your credit rating, ownership of any property, the air traffic control system, all are stories.

The rituals that sustain these stories include such things as writing a check, signing a contract, affixing a stamp, waiting in line, voting, filling out a form, writing a report, issuing a grade, affixing a label, signing off on a proposal, asking permission, showing a passport at immigration, friending someone on Facebook, registering a vehicle, making a schedule, using a theater ticket, filing a lawsuit, or issuing a receipt. I think it is quite easy to see how these actions maintain the web of stories that underlies our society. It is perhaps more difficult to see the ritual nature of such activities as using hand disinfectant, getting a vaccination, dialing a telephone, taking a pill, using a condom, studying for an exam, performing a safety check on an airplane, performing surgery, or planting a garden. These tap into a much deeper level of story, that which underlies what we call physical reality. I won’t discuss this level much right now: the metaphysics of symbols, the ontological status of the storyteller, and so on. The laws of physics, that we think are so objective, reflect on a deep level our sense-of-self and the story of What Is that defines self and world. But my purpose right now is not to undo these deep metaphysical stories. For now I will speak mostly of the stories and rituals that create social reality. They will be enough to create a world far more beautiful than we dare imagine today.

As the overarching stories of our civilization draw to their conclusion, the rituals that draw from them and sustain them begin to grow stale. They lose their seamless integration into the logic of our lives, and begin to look, well, like “rituals.” Their meaning drains away from them. In previous essays I described how this is happening to our language, provoking a crisis of meaning where words are losing their magic. This is obvious to me every time I download some software or make a purchase on line, and have to click an “I agree” button located underneath a voluminous scrolling window filled with legal text entitled “Terms and Conditions.” When I do this, I am supposedly entering into a contract, a concept that draws on ancient sacred ceremonies that involved the swearing of oaths, the letting of blood, and so on. In political and legal philosophy, one often comes across the term “the sanctity of contract.” But today we recognize the numerous on-line contracts that we enter into as meaningless formalities, and we do not really feel like we are lying when we affirm, “I have read and agree to all these terms and conditions.”

In a similar vein, many of the more important ritual underpinnings of our society are dissolving as well. The ritual incantations of our financial officials, for example, are no longer having the intended effect on the economy. Our medical rituals are becoming less effective as well, a fact we, in a desperate effort to preserve the familiar story, attribute to “superbugs” or “patient noncompliance” or mysterious “genetic factors,” when in fact, it is the deep story of the War on Germs and the Conquest of Nature that underlies our medicine that is coming to an end. Something similar is happening in the educational system, where the multitudinous rituals based on the factory paradigm of standardization, “class”-ification, “grading” (as of industrial materials), and the subsumption of the individual to authority, are becoming increasingly ineffectual. Finally, the rituals of politics have become a transparent charade, where elected officials cynically invoke once-sacred principles neither they nor their listeners actually believe in. When they fail to keep their promises, when they enact policies that few of their supporters agree with, we increasingly don’t even bother to be disappointed, because the ritual of the campaign promise has become, transparently, nothing but that, a “ritual.”

Rituals are seamlessly woven into a story of the world and are, therefore, not even recognized as rituals (e.g., writing a check). When they start turning into “rituals,” we know that that story of the world is falling apart. What is happening to the rituals that sustain our civilization today has happened before, leaving impotent relics that we call rituals, but that are actually “rituals” in quotation marks. We might perform them out of nostalgia, a reverence for tradition, or in an attempt to restore the lost sacredness of modern life by borrowing it from another culture, but they will have little effect if we do not believe in a story that embeds them.

Let me offer a few examples of fake rituals, these “rituals in quotation marks.” Nearly all of the sweat lodge ceremonies I have been to were replete with fake rituals. Even if they scrupulously followed the prescribed procedures of the native tradition from which they originated, what was once authentic had become fake. That is because we did not truly believe the Story of the World in which the rituals were once embedded. In former times, when a Native American firekeeper invoked the ancestors, he was speaking from a world view in which the ancestors were a present, perhaps a palpable, reality. When he invoked the Four Directions, again he was speaking from a system in which the Four Directions, interconnected with many other stories, were an unquestioned, basic pillar of his understanding of the world, as undoubtedly real and objective to him as protons, neutrons, and electrons are to us. But today we are steeped in a different story, a story in which the ancestors do not participate in the events of our lives, and in which the four directions are merely points on a map. Science defines our basic understanding of what is real, and this reality picture has no room for ancestors, spirits, or Grandmother Spider creating the world. Even if we strive to believe in them, we cannot. A feeling lurks in the background, “This isn’t real.” Wanting to believe something based on sentiments about respecting traditions or restoring connection to earth or spirit is not the same as actually believing something. Beliefs are not mere vapors in the head, but reveal themselves as actions.

Some months ago, I attended a sweat lodge conducted by a full-blooded Native American. The ceremony was held at the top of a hill, with a station to be purified with sage smoke, another station to hear of the rules for the lodge, and so on. Each ritual was contained inside a larger ritual. But guess what the largest ritual was, the one that contained the whole experience? At the very bottom of the hill, before we could participate, we had to sign a waiver. The entire experience took place within a legal container, and that initial ritual gave primacy to the Story of the Law. I don’t think anyone experienced the sweat lodge as transformational; certainly I did not. The only real ritual was the signing of the waiver. Everything else was a “ritual.”

To be sure, it is possible for a very very powerful person to hold a group of people in his or her own Story of the World; in other words, to believe it so completely that he can hold that belief on behalf of those who do not believe. I have experienced rituals of that sort as well, but in my life they have been very rare indeed. In the case I just described, I could sense an inauthenticity, a breach in the integrity of the ceremony caused by surrendering its primacy to a story that was alien and hostile to it.

I hope that the reader someday has an opportunity to be in the presence of someone who can invoke the ancestors for real. Such a person will never say, “I would like to invoke the ancestors…,” which is two steps removed from a true invocation, or even “I invoke the ancestors, ” which is one step removed. He will address them directly, and in his invocation you will hear truth. You will feel the ancestors’ presence, and while your mind may doubt your heart will not. That feeling is unmistakable. Today it is only available to us in special moments, but as the old stories collapse and we reenter a world story that has room once again for the ancestors, we will have this experience more and more often. Life is so much richer for it!

Humanity today is transitioning into a new Story of the People, a new Story of Self, and a new Story of the World. I sometimes articulate it as “The connected self living in joyous cocreative partnership with Lover Earth.” I explained the paradigm of Lover Earth a little bit in “Money and the Turning of the Age”; no longer do we treat earth as a mother from whom we are entitled to take and take without thought for how much she is capable of giving. Such a relationship is proper for a child. I want my own children to feel free to receive — it is up to me to determine how much I am able to give. But the relationship to a lover is different: to a lover we desire to give as well as to receive, and we desire to create together, each offering our gifts toward a purpose transcending each of us, so that our union becomes greater than the sum of our individuality. And so, humanity-plus-earth is becoming a new thing; out of our sacred union, a third thing will be born. At the peak of our separation from nature, we fell in love with the earth, a moment marked perhaps by the first satellite photographs of our gorgeous planet.

As for the connected self, this is the self of inter-beingness, the self that realizes, not only as an intellectual concept but as a felt experience, that its very being includes the being of all other creatures. Contrary to the self of Descartes, of Adam Smith, of Darwinian biology, it is untrue that more for me is less for you. It is the self of the Gift, the self that knows that as we do unto others, so we do unto ourselves. And, that as we do unto ourselves, so we are in fact doing unto others. Such as self no longer lives in an objective universe of impersonal forces and generic masses. Its every choice shifts the cosmos, and everything that happens in the cosmos in some way happens within the self too.

Just as the rituals of the old world create and sustain it, so also can we use rituals to create and sustain the new world-generating stories. Rituals occupy a special status among all the actions and beliefs that form a story-matrix. Rituals connect us to what is real within that story. They are among our most powerful tools of reality creation. Therefore, if you would like to participate in the creation of the world of the connected self living in cocreative partnership with Lover Earth, I suggest you enact rituals that empower and create this new story. You can easily recognize them, because from within the new story they are natural and true. They are not “rituals,” but an integral part of the new reality. From within it, they make sense. From the perspective of separation they are irrational, but from the perspective of reunion they are not irrational or magical at all. They will, however, feel sacred.

Let’s consider a small example: sorting out your garbage for recycling, composting, etc. In the old story, unless you are doing it to avoid a fine, this is quite irrational. What benefit is there to you if the landfill is a few inches lower? In the objective world of force and mass, it simply does not matter if you, one person, recycle or not. It doesn’t matter either if you buy lots of plastic packaging, or eat beef from a deforested Brazilian jungle, or save a few gallons of water every day by conserving toilet flushes. In any event, the juggernaut of destruction rolls on. These actions only matter if everyone else does them too, and if they do, then it doesn’t even matter if you do them or not. Therefore, it is irrational to do them if they involve any expense or inconvenience, as often they do.

Because they do not make sense from within the old story, we find all kinds of ways to make ourselves do these things anyway. The favorite means is to connect them to our self-image, so that we get to think of ourselves as worthy and good because we recycle, care about the environment, and so on. We can understand them as rituals — which is what comes to mind naturally as I watch people sort different kinds of cans into different bins — whose symbolic meaning is “I am doing my part,” “I am good,” “I am right,” or “I am worthy of love.” Unfortunately, they actually feed a deeper story, which is something like, “I am not really good, so I must recycle, I must try hard, I must be a good boy or girl.” In the case of many environmental activists, these efforts usually accompany a sanctimonious attitude: a conditional approval of the self and a resentment toward those who are less enlightened, less ethical, less conscious. There is little joy to be found in sanctimony.

These same rituals become much more powerful within the new story. Instead of thinking about them in terms of ethics, doing your part, or being good, think of all the irrational things you do as gifts to Lover Earth. When you pay triple for a fair-trade shirt, or do without one; when you plant a tree or help stop a new road; when you make any contribution, no matter how small, to the well-being of the planet and its animals, plants, waters, air, soil, and people, source that act in the spirit of gratitude and offer it in the spirit of a gift. Even if your offering is like the shy, small gift of a teenage boy to his sweetheart, the earth will be touched and grateful. This gratitude is something we can feel. In the old story, the story of impersonal laws and generic masses, the only explanation for this feeling is that we are imagining it, projecting it, anthropomorphizing the earth. From the story of the separate self, how could you feel what another is feeling, and why would you even care? It is irrational. But in the world of the connected self, it is quite to be expected that we can feel what others are feeling, for they are us. Each of us is the sum total of our relationships, and not separate beings having relationships, discrete subjects possessing something separate from our core being called a “relationship.”

What is irrational and difficult in the old story becomes easy and natural in the new. The struggle to be good is over. That struggle, that war against the self, is based on a conception of a self that is bad: the Economic Man seeking to maximize rational self-interest, the selfish gene seeking to maximize reproductive self-interest. Our civilization is built upon that self; hence a penal system, a religious system, an educational system designed to overcome our natural selfishness through fear, guilt, and shame. Do you, my friend, feel guilty for not living more sustainably? For your complicity in a culture that is destroying the earth? Do you wield that guilt over yourself and others in order to compel better behavior? If you do, then the rituals of recycling and reducing will actually strengthen the old story of which that guilt is part.

Instead, I invite you to embed these rituals in the new story, and in turn to draw upon the new story in creating new rituals. From the old story, it is stupid for me to wash used pieces of plastic wrap and stick them to the refrigerator to reuse. How much oil or landfill space am I going to save that way? Not very much! But I don’t think of it that way at all. I am not doing this to be good or to do my part. I am having a personal relationship with that piece of plastic wrap, and with all the beings that created it, and with all of its relations. When I bury my compost instead of putting it in the trash can, I feel the happiness of those apple cores at returning to the ground, and the happiness of the earthworms who will turn them into soil, and of the soil that will receive the worm castings. Entering the new world means shedding any pretense that you or I are better, more ethical, more moral, or more spiritual than anyone else, and allowing our true selfishness — the selfishness of the connected self — to blossom. It is an opening to more pleasure, a bigger trusting of desire, not a conquest of pleasure and desire. And if the joy I share with the apple core is my projection, if the story of the connected self is my own comforting illusion to assuage the loneliness of living in a cold hard universe of force and mass, then so be it!

Many of the rituals of the old world can be embedded in the new. In addition to the above, such things as writing a check can be done in a new spirit of gratitude and gifting rather than payment. Other of the old world rituals are fast becoming obsolete, however, and we want no part of them. I, for example, cannot bear to write a resume when one is requested for a conference I’ve been invited to speak at. Nor do I participate in many of the rituals of the medical system or school system. Other rituals that feel wrong to me I still participate in, because I am afraid or not ready to exit that part of the old world. I still file an income tax return, for instance. Each of us, as we pioneer in our own way our unique part in the story of the connected self on Lover Earth, is moved to leave behind different of the old rituals.

Rituals bridge the distinction between symbol and reality: they don’t just mean something, they are something. They are actions in themselves. When tribal peoples conducted a ritual reenactment of the creation of the universe, they weren’t just narrating or representing that creation, they were actually participating in it. For them, cosmogenesis wasn’t a discrete event at the beginning of linear time, but an ongoing event taking place outside of time and diffracted onto it. The ritual didn’t represent the creation of the world; it was the creation of the world. So also, the world-creating rituals we enact today must be real to us. Do not invoke the Four Directions or the ancestors unless they are a living reality to you. Otherwise you will just be “playing Injun'” and reinforcing the story behind the phenomenon of cultural appropriation. Rituals must not be less real than any other action; they must be more real. Rituals are actions that are infused with sacredness, connecting us to what is real, true, and important. Perhaps one day, a fully healed humanity will no longer distinguish something called a ritual, because all actions will be sacred. Until then, rituals serve to remind us of the sacred world-creating power of all we do, just as prayers can remind us of the sacredness of all speech, and holy sites can remind us of the sacredness of all the earth.

Make your rituals real. Your gifts to Lover Earth and to other parts of your connected self are not just symbols of love, they are love. I am not saying to be content with reusing your plastic wrap. Momentous and heroic actions, that save a forest or free a nation, come from our enactment of the roles of a new story too. They are always irrational from within the story of separation. No one ever did anything great by fighting herself and trying hard to be good. No will is strong enough. But when we give ourselves to a great story, it carries us towards acts which, from outside it, look brave and magnanimous. As we release ourselves into the story of the connected self and Lover Earth, as that story becomes real to us and we believe it in every cell, we become capable of miracles: things which were impossible from the old story, but possible from the new.

The institutions built upon the stories of the Ascent of Humanity and the separate self are falling apart around us. I believe that everyone knows in his or her heart that we are indeed connected, interdependent for our very being, and that we are coming into cocreative partnership with a planet we are falling madly in love with. You may know it and not quite believe it yet. My job is to help you believe what you already know. But even if you don’t fully believe it now, no matter. The old stories cannot hold much longer. Like it or not, we are being thrust into the new. But why wait? The rituals that connect us to the reality of Reunion are already coalescing, forming new systems of meaning, institutions, forms of social interaction, conceptual vocabularies, exchange infrastructure, and the myriad human roles of the new stories. Paradigms as diverse as permaculture, energy healing, nonviolent communication, P2P economics, alternative currency, and thousands more all draw from and contribute to the new Story of the People, Story of the World, and Story of Self. As we work, each according to our gifts, to create them, we make it all the easier for the heart’s knowing of a more beautiful world to blossom into belief and then into reality for all of us. That new world is a place we can only enter together. The reality of the connected self requires it.

Ascent of Humanity: A Book by Charles Eisenstein

Visit Charles Eisenstein’s Blog

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Friday, October 9th, 2009

If you think working together is a powerful form or co-Operation, what until you try thinking together. The following essay is reposted from Integral Enlightenment.

Thinking Together

Craig Hamilton and Claire Zammit, Ph.D.

We’ve all heard by now about the “wisdom of crowds”—the notion that the aggregated intelligence of any group is nearly always superior to the intelligence of any individual in that group. We know, for instance, that if a group of us average our guesses at the number of jelly beans in a jar, our “collective guess” will usually come closer to the mark than the best individual guess in the room. We know that this principle accounts for the wisdom that regulates markets, and that consistently returns good search results on Google.

Why, then, is it so often the case that when it comes to critical decision-making, thinking together as a small group tends to make us stupid rather than smart? Why do even our best attempts at collaboration often leave us secretly wishing for the simplicity and sharpness of outmoded “command and control” decision-making? With “groupthink” phenomena now well-studied, we know that primitive social drives for control, belonging and status can imperceptibly sabotage our collective pursuit of clarity. But, what prevents this knowledge from being integrated to the point that our collective intelligence is not only an aggregate phenomenon but a lived experience?

For those of us in positions of leadership whose success depends on our ability to tap the wisdom of our organizations and communities, the need to find a way out of this collective constipation is paramount. The following pages will explore an emerging paradigm which suggests some tangible methodologies for overcoming the social barriers to group intelligence, and ushering in a new era of collaborative thinking and collective creativity.

The Possibility

Imagine a group of people gathered for a creative strategy session with an unusual mandate. The entry fee for this conversation is that everyone has made a sincere and educated effort to check their “ego” at the door. With personal agendas temporarily set aside, there is a noticeable absence of self-consciousness, or self-concern of any kind. The familiar jockeying for position has vanished, and along with it, all approval seeking. No one seems invested in being right, appearing smart, or appearing any particular way at all. In the absence of these familiar negative social behaviors, there is simply an authentic, innocent, undefended interest in creatively engaging the task at hand. Without the familiar, primitive “mental noise” blocking the system, listening is deep and there is plenty of space for considered reflection. Unified by a heartfelt and soulful commitment to a greater good, the group flows easily from one idea to the next. Diverging points of view are engaged organically, effortlessly, in the recognition that a diversity of perspectives represents a rich field of data to mine for insights. All questions and concerns are welcomed into the inquiry. Aware of the ever-looming specter of paralyzing group dynamics, an atmosphere of humility pervades, and an embodied knowledge that confronting the questions that challenge our deepest assumptions is our only safeguard against collective error.

Seeing Beyond the Self

The above scenario may sound like science fiction at worst, or wishful thinking at best. After all, most of us would be hard-pressed to point to a single example of a group we’ve participated in that bore any resemblance to this one. It is thus all the more significant to realize that the scenario described above was not derived from imagination, but from the lived experience of groups working to pioneer a new model for collective engagement.

As the above example suggests, at the heart of this new model is the conviction that the singular impediment to optimal group functioning is what has traditionally been known as “ego.” Whether in the form of self-concern, self-aggrandizement, self-doubt, self-consciousness, self-infatuation, or self-absorption, this knot in the center of the psyche has long been recognized to be the lone obstacle to higher moral, spiritual and psychological development in individuals. But the recognition that this same unhealthy self-focus is the prime saboteur of higher collective functioning is a relatively new idea.

In part, this is a natural and expected progression. As organizations have begun to push the outer envelope of collaborative skill-building and collective functioning in general, it seemed only a matter of time before they would come up against the same challenge as those who have been working on individual development for centuries. But there is an element to this newfound discovery that is unique to the life conditions of our historical moment.

Confronted by an ever-growing array of global challenges, those at the leading edges of collective inquiry are recognizing the urgent need to pioneer new, more effective ways of thinking together about the big questions. In the midst of this urgency, there is a growing willingness to experiment with unorthodox approaches, including those arising from the time-tested spiritual psychologies of the East. As goal-oriented teams begin to apply the insights of meditation and inner cultivation to their collaborative pursuits, some surprising new possibilities are revealing themselves. Foremost among these is a collection of revolutionary social technologies that leverage positive group dynamics to catalyze trans-egoic creative collaboration among participants.

Understanding Ego: the Foundation

To begin to get a sense of how a group might be able to function beyond the grip of ego, it is first necessary to get clear what exactly we are trying to move beyond. Although the word “ego” is used in a variety of ways in contemporary culture, in this context we are using it to refer to something very specific. Within all of us, there is a primitive psychological and emotional drive for security and certainty. During our early evolution, it no doubt served countless important functions, but here in the 21st century, as we attempt to evolve our capacities for creativity and consciousness, this drive has developed into a pathology—a pathology of self-concern.

There is not sufficient space in this brief overview to elaborate in detail on the ego’s many faces, but if we look at a typical group interaction, we can easily see its effect: If I am concerned about how I’m going to be perceived in the group, will I be willing to take a risk to challenge the group’s assumptions? If I am driven by a need to establish my dominance over others, how interested will I be in hearing their points of view? If I am worried about how the group’s decision is going to affect my own department, will I be available to explore all possibilities with an open mind? If I have an unrealistic sense of intellectual superiority, will I be willing to listen to ideas that challenge my own? If I am overly attached to a positive image of myself, will I be able to hear corrective feedback about my negative impact on others?

The list of the ego’s undermining effects on group functioning is a long one, and those who have spent any time in collaborative environments could no doubt add many more to the few we have mentioned here. In the face of this seemingly ubiquitous obstacle to optimal collaboration, what then are we to do?

Drawing from our two decades of group facilitation and observation, we have put together a short list of core principles that begin to illuminate the contours of a new approach to high-level collaborative thinking. It is by no means comprehensive, but should give a snapshot of our best thinking on this to date.

Principles of Evolutionary Culture

1. A Commitment to the Greater Good: All of the individuals in the group must be genuinely committed to discovering and/or achieving the best possible outcome for the whole. Individual or departmental agendas must be set aside. Bringing the group to this high level of commitment may take considerable preparation, but is most easily achieved when all of those involved are on board with the organization’s greater mission, and when there is a trust already established in the leadership’s commitment to fairness.

2. A Commitment to Wholehearted Engagement: Each group member must be committed to fully participate in all group meetings. This means bringing one’s full attention to the matter at hand, leaving all personal concerns at the door. By listening carefully to the contributions of others and putting their own best thinking into the mix, each member contributes to the building of a larger vessel which can carry the group to unforeseen heights of insight.

3. A Culture of Self-Responsibility: All group members must feel personally responsible for the success of the group. Each must feel on a visceral level that the success of the group in achieving its outcomes rests on her shoulders alone. Given our natural tendency to defer responsibility, cultivating this level of ultimate personal responsibility among members of any group is a formidable task. One-on-one work with group members outside the group setting is usually necessary.

4. A Suspension of Assumptions: For the duration of the gathering, group members suspend everything they think they know in order to make room for new insights and understandings to emerge. Practicing what is known in Zen as a “beginner’s mind,” they cultivate an inner and outer environment of profound receptivity and openness, which turns out to be fertile soil for leaps in creativity.

5. A Culture of Deep Listening: Group members aspire to listen to one another from a place deeper than intellect. They tune their ears to listen for the deepest threads and the emerging glimmers of novelty in each other’s contributions, and, through their responses, they highlight and draw out those elements to make them transparent to the group.

6. A Commitment to Authenticity: Everyone in the group must be committed to speaking their mind and heart. This is built on the recognition that in order to make the best decision, the group needs everyone’s data. To support this commitment, there must be an explicit agreement within the group that no point of view—no matter how challenging to either the leadership or to the group’s assumptions—will be ridiculed or dismissed without genuine, respectful consideration.

7. A Culture of Risk-Taking: Nothing takes us to the edge of evolution faster than taking meaningful risks. This means speaking on an intuition when we’re not sure we have the words to give voice to it. Or, responding to a gut feeling that something isn’t right, but doing so vulnerably, realizing that it might be oneself that’s not right. It also means being willing to step into new ways of being, even if they feel frightening and unfamiliar. The more risk we are each willing to take, the more profound will be the group outcome.

8. A Culture of Empowered Vulnerability: Leading by example, the leadership demonstrates that it is okay to be vulnerable, to take the risk to expose one’s ignorance and uncertainty. The group sees that such vulnerability is actually a position of strength and power because it shows a courageous willingness to step into the most insecure places. This leads to a healthy culture of non-avoidance that is the best inoculation against “groupthink.”

9. A Culture of Constant Resolution: The group strives to maintain a clear and harmonious field of interaction between all participants. This means always striving to clear up any interpersonal tension as soon as possible, so as to build a container of deep harmony and trust among everyone. It is about leaving each interaction “without a trace.” This can sometimes require additional processing outside the group meetings in order to keep group time most efficient.

10. A Commitment to Grow and Evolve: In order for the group to consistently function at an optimal level, all individuals must be committed to staying on their own “evolving edge,” by seeking healthy feedback and taking on new challenges outside their comfort zone. When all of the individuals in a group are actively and enthusiastically engaged in their own evolution, their collective spirit of boundary-breaking infuses the group with vitality and organically keeps the group on its own evolving edge.


The possibility of a group thinking together beyond the grip of ego may seem like an unattainable goal to those with extensive experience of the pathologies of group life. But there is a growing body of action research demonstrating that, through the dedicated application of the principles described above, this higher collective possibility can be made a reality. Those pioneers who are willing to experiment in this arena will find many challenges along the way, but it is our conviction that the bounty of inspired collaboration and rich human engagement that awaits is well worth the effort. Indeed, if human beings are going to rise to the challenge of our moment—that of coming together beyond our differences and giving birth to a cooperative and sustainable global village—finding a truly generative way to think together is a task that calls for the best from all of us.

© 2009 Integral Enlightenment – All Rights Reserved

Originally Published as: Thinking Together Without Ego: Collective Intelligence as an Evolutionary Catalyst

Read articles by Craig Hamilton on other related topics.

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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Change is coming. The old system is failing. A new system is emerging. Market will disappear soon. It will be replaced by GIFTegrity. Imagine a world without Buyers and Sellers — a world without money.

Why Market Is Obsolete

Timothy Wilken, MD

The American political economic system is is classified by synergic science as a neutral system. Neutral systems require unlimited resources to grow and thrive.

Neutrality means you don’t need help from others. You are so rich that you can survive all by yourself. And, we Americans have been very rich for the last 100 years. Now I know some of you will scream, RICH! I am not rich. But really you are. You see we Americans have so much cheap energy we don’t even notice it. We modern humans have been sucking petroleum out of the ground as hard as we can for those 100 years. We don’t pay for it. We do pay for the straw, but not for the oil.

In 1981, Buckminster Fuller calculated the real cost of that oil, if we were paying for the oil itself and not the cost of sucking it out of the ground. The real cost of one gallon of gasoline was $1000, 000. Correcting for inflation to 2008, that would be $2,340,000 a gallon of gasoline. How many gallons of gas did you use this month? Then consider the fact that most of our electricity is generated by burning petroleum, so how many gallons did you use to heat your home, or cool your home, or run your electric appliances and cook your food, and pump and heat the water for your bathrooms and laundrys? One survey in 2007 estimated that the average American consumes 7.8 gallons of gasoline each week. That would be 405 gallons a year times $2.34 million per gallon. This comes to ~$1 billion per year for every living American. In a lifetime, Americans are consuming non-renewal resources worth billions of dollars.Now we humans can only continue to waste such great wealth, if wealth is unlimited.

Guess what? Santa Clause is dead. We are running out of oil. The earth itself, and certainly the oil reserves of earth are finite. That means they are limited.

Lets take a moment to understand, how we got here.

There are three classes of life on Earth–Plants, Animals and Humans. The plants are an independent form our life. They can directly convert the unlimited sunlight into matter and energy for growth and reproduction. They have a neutral relationship.

The animals are a dependent form of life. They depend on ingesting the bodies of other plants or animals to obtain the matter and energy they need for survival. Good space is limited for the animals. They must compete. They have an adversary relationship with each other.

We humans are an interdependent form of life. We share our body with the animals and like them we depend on plants and animal food for our basic survival. But our human minds can learn and invent without limit and we can discover new tools and new ways to work together to solve our problems. We have the potential to develop a synergic relationship with each other. Synergy means we can work together. Sometimes you depend on me, sometimes I depend on you. The synergic way is the only way that will work for humans.

But along the pathway to synergic relationship, we humans got lost. Jesus of Nazareth told us 2000 years ago we should be synergists. We should love and help each other. But then humantiy got seduced by the the market place and what seemed like an unlimited world.

When America was founded in 1776, the North American continent provided relatively unlimited resources.  The early colonists were in the right place at the right time. The right place was the nearly empty continent of North America. Millions of acres of arable land and forests, filled with abundant water in millions of steams, rivers, and lakes and stocked with uncountable numbers of wildlife. This was further enriched with enormous reserves of iron, coal, copper, aluminum, zinc, lead, gold, silver, oil, and much more – all available for the taking.

The right time was 1776, by then the collective power of humanity’s time-binding had discovered, invented, and developed the tools and knowhow that created the mechanism of the Agricultural, Industrial, and Transportational Revolutions. The level of knowledge and technology available to the American colonists coupled with enormous North American reserves, provided them with cheap food, cheap power, and cheap transportation. And, the greatest gift was oil. It began in 1859, when Edwin L. Drake drilled America’s first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Thus, conditions were perfect for the success of human Neutrality. America would have the equivalent of unlimited resources for the next 150 years.

However, today things have changed. The North American continent is getting full. In 1776, there were less than a billion humans on the planet, today we are nearing 7 billion. We no longer have a limitless abundance of natural resources available for the taking. Our world of plenty is being reduced to a world of scarcity. In fact, petroleum already peaked in America in 1971. The world peak is estimated to have occurred in 2008.

Recently, the electrical power crisis in California has drawn national and world attention to a shortage of crude oil and natural gas. These fossil fuels are currently the primary source of the cheap energy that powers our modern Industrial Civilization. If we are running out of crude oil and natural gas, as some of the best scientists and engineers in the Energy field are telling us,  we have big problems.

Think back for a moment to the year 1801, only two hundred years ago, that was a time when there was no gasoline, no refined oil, no natural gas, and no electrical power derived from oil and gas. As a thought experiment, try to  imagine what life was like at the beginning of the 19th century. If you were transported back two hundred years, how would the lack of petroleum affect your lifestyle?

While we might accurately imagine the loss of cheap energy from petroleum, most of us would overlook the 70,000 products that are manufactured using petroleum as a raw feedstock. This includes plastics, acrylics, cosmetics, paints, varnishes, asphalts, fertilizers, medications, etc., etc., etc.. Now, in addition to our loss of cheap energy and the 70,000 products that you and I have come to depend on, imagine our sharing that impoverished Earth with over six billion other humans?

When the price of oil reaches $2,000,000 a gallon. How much oil will you use? Listen at the sounds as your automobiles sit in the driveway without gas, listen as all your appliances and electrical pumps all go silent. Not even the sound of running water. Nice and quiet, huh.Now think of the physical work you will have to do to suvive. Think you might need help? Perhaps you really aren’t independent.

As things start to get scarce, the humans lose their option for Neutrality. Soon they have to learn to do without. They go without owning their own homes. They go without higher education for their children. They go without free time for recreation as they are forced to get a second job. Or, they sidestep back into the adversary world – they steal, embezzle, or defraud.

Today, within the United States, the very center of human Neutrality, we see declining quality of life, declining compensation for all workers, deteriorating nuclear families, and declining numbers of humans able to own their own homes. We see increasing mental illness and child abuse; ever escalating health care costs, and more humans without access to medical care. Examining today’s youth, we see declining numbers of college graduates, mixed with increasing drug and alcohol use; increasing suicide; casual sexuality and unwanted pregnancy.

And there are even bigger problems facing Americans and the rest of humanity.

Acid rain, ozone depletion, water and air pollution, toxic buildup, strip mining, deforestation, erosion & topsoil depletion; greenhouse effect, ice age, nuclear winter, el nino, and even asteroids threatening the planet. These big problems are invisible to indifferent governments and ignoring citizens. Whose problems are these anyway? In Neutrality, they belong to no one. They are certainly not mine. Something is wrong in Paradise When we humans institutionalized Neutrality over two hundred years ago, it was a great advance over Adversity, it dramatically reduced the pain and suffering for humanity.

In the 18th century, Neutrality was a major advance for humankind. The neutral system gave individuals opportunities for great economic success. The birth of capitalistic economics greatly enriched the human condition. Neutral organization was more powerful than adversary organization. Neutrality did work well in the free world for many humans who inhabited it two hundred years ago. But that was then. …

Today, it is up to us. You and me. Our governments can’t help us. They don’t understand the problem. Our corporations can’t help us they don’t understand the problem. We can only rely on ourselves. Individuals of integrity will need to join together to build a new model of society that depends on co-Operation and abundance. And, by abundance I am referring to an abundance of integrity, intelligence and responsibility. Then we can begin restructuring our society in ways that will lead to a relative abundance even within the finite world we inhabit.

Wake up Humanity! WE must learn “to hang together,” or as Benjamin Franklin predicted, “we will most assuredly hang separately.”

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Monday, August 31st, 2009

This Momentous Day

Timothy Wilken

A character in the Dean Koontz’ novel From the Corner of His Eye, Reverend Harrison White explains:

“Each smallest act of kindness reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil.”

Reverend White telling us that each day is a momentous day since all actions have consequence. Today, I can choose to act kindly or not. But my actions will “reverberate across great distances and spans of time”.

Synergic scientist Edward Haskell called this truth, so beautifully stated by Koontz, the Moral Law of Unified Science. For humans, the earliest formulation of the Moral Law of Unified Science appeared 3500 years ago as the doctrine of karma.

“Hinduism began in India about 1500 BC. The belief in rebirth, or samsara, as a potentially endless series of worldly existences in which every being is caught up was associated with the doctrine of karma (Sanskrit: karman; literally “act,” or “deed”). According to the doctrine of karma, good conduct brings a pleasant and happy result and creates a tendency toward similar good acts, while bad conduct brings an evil result and creates a tendency toward repeated evil actions. This furnishes the basic context for the moral life of the individual.”

The doctrine of karma was accepted by Buddha ~500 BC and is incorporated in modern Buddhism today. It appeared in western thought ~300 BC, in the Old Testament of the Bible as the phrase: “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

“The first formulation of the MORAL LAW for a non-human “kingdom” of Universe was Dimitri I. Mendeleev’s discovery of the Periodic Law in 1869. “The properties of the chemical elements are functions of their atomic weights.”

“What Mendeleev’s discovery states for Atoms is that “As ye sow, so shall ye reap,” where “reaping” is the properties of the chemical elements and “sowing” is the co-Action between the atom’s two components – its vast, light, electron cloud, and its tiny, massive nucleus.”

Haskell’s analysis of the Atomic elements showed that these two components – the electron cloud and the massive nucleus related in only three ways – positive, neutral, or negative.

Today, we know that the Moral Law of Unified Science applies to humans just as it does to the electron and nucleus. We humans have three choices. We can sow adversary actions and reap adversary resultants. We can sow neutral actions and reap neutral resultants. Or we can sow synergic actions and reap synergic resultants.

We can hurt others. We can ignore others. Or, we can help others. Life is nothing but choices.

What will you choose to do on this momentous day?

See Edward Haskell’s FULL CIRCLE: The Moral Force of Unified Science

Front Page

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Reposted from The Edge. [First published in The New Republic, 3.19.07.]

A History of Violence

Steven Pinker

In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davies, “[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized.” Today, such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world. This change in sensibilities is just one example of perhaps the most important and most underappreciated trend in the human saga: Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species’ time on earth.In the decade of Darfur and Iraq, and shortly after the century of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, the claim that violence has been diminishing may seem somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene. Yet recent studies that seek to quantify the historical ebb and flow of violence point to exactly that conclusion.

Some of the evidence has been under our nose all along. Conventional history has long shown that, in many ways, we have been getting kinder and gentler. Cruelty as entertainment, human sacrifice to indulge superstition, slavery as a labor-saving device, conquest as the mission statement of government, genocide as a means of acquiring real estate, torture and mutilation as routine punishment, the death penalty for misdemeanors and differences of opinion, assassination as the mechanism of political succession, rape as the spoils of war, pogroms as outlets for frustration, homicide as the major form of conflict resolution—all were unexceptionable features of life for most of human history. But, today, they are rare to nonexistent in the West, far less common elsewhere than they used to be, concealed when they do occur, and widely condemned when they are brought to light.

At one time, these facts were widely appreciated. They were the source of notions like progress, civilization, and man’s rise from savagery and barbarism. Recently, however, those ideas have come to sound corny, even dangerous. They seem to demonize people in other times and places, license colonial conquest and other foreign adventures, and conceal the crimes of our own societies. The doctrine of the noble savage—the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of public intellectuals like JosÈ Ortega y Gasset (“War is not an instinct but an invention”), Stephen Jay Gould (“Homo sapiens is not an evil or destructive species”), and Ashley Montagu (“Biological studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood”). But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler.

To be sure, any attempt to document changes in violence must be soaked in uncertainty. In much of the world, the distant past was a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it, and, even for events in the historical record, statistics are spotty until recent periods. Long-term trends can be discerned only by smoothing out zigzags and spikes of horrific bloodletting. And the choice to focus on relative rather than absolute numbers brings up the moral imponderable of whether it is worse for 50 percent of a population of 100 to be killed or 1 percent in a population of one billion.

Yet, despite these caveats, a picture is taking shape. The decline of violence is a fractal phenomenon, visible at the scale of millennia, centuries, decades, and years. It applies over several orders of magnitude of violence, from genocide to war to rioting to homicide to the treatment of children and animals. And it appears to be a worldwide trend, though not a homogeneous one. The leading edge has been in Western societies, especially England and Holland, and there seems to have been a tipping point at the onset of the Age of Reason in the early seventeenth century.

At the widest-angle view, one can see a whopping difference across the millennia that separate us from our pre-state ancestors. Contra leftist anthropologists who celebrate the noble savage, quantitative body-counts—such as the proportion of prehistoric skeletons with axemarks and embedded arrowheads or the proportion of men in a contemporary foraging tribe who die at the hands of other men—suggest that pre-state societies were far more violent than our own. It is true that raids and battles killed a tiny percentage of the numbers that die in modern warfare. But, in tribal violence, the clashes are more frequent, the percentage of men in the population who fight is greater, and the rates of death per battle are higher. According to anthropologists like Lawrence Keeley, Stephen LeBlanc, Phillip Walker, and Bruce Knauft, these factors combine to yield population-wide rates of death in tribal warfare that dwarf those of modern times. If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million.

Political correctness from the other end of the ideological spectrum has also distorted many people’s conception of violence in early civilizations—namely, those featured in the Bible. This supposed source of moral values contains many celebrations of genocide, in which the Hebrews, egged on by God, slaughter every last resident of an invaded city. The Bible also prescribes death by stoning as the penalty for a long list of nonviolent infractions, including idolatry, blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery, disrespecting one’s parents, and picking up sticks on the Sabbath. The Hebrews, of course, were no more murderous than other tribes; one also finds frequent boasts of torture and genocide in the early histories of the Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Chinese.

At the century scale, it is hard to find quantitative studies of deaths in warfare spanning medieval and modern times. Several historians have suggested that there has been an increase in the number of recorded wars across the centuries to the present, but, as political scientist James Payne has noted, this may show only that “the Associated Press is a more comprehensive source of information about battles around the world than were sixteenth-century monks.” Social histories of the West provide evidence of numerous barbaric practices that became obsolete in the last five centuries, such as slavery, amputation, blinding, branding, flaying, disembowelment, burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel, and so on. Meanwhile, for another kind of violence—homicide—the data are abundant and striking. The criminologist Manuel Eisner has assembled hundreds of homicide estimates from Western European localities that kept records at some point between 1200 and the mid-1990s. In every country he analyzed, murder rates declined steeply—for example, from 24 homicides per 100,000 Englishmen in the fourteenth century to 0.6 per 100,000 by the early 1960s.

On the scale of decades, comprehensive data again paint a shockingly happy picture: Global violence has fallen steadily since the middle of the twentieth century. According to the Human Security Brief 2006, the number of battle deaths in interstate wars has declined from more than 65,000 per year in the 1950s to less than 2,000 per year in this decade. In Western Europe and the Americas, the second half of the century saw a steep decline in the number of wars, military coups, and deadly ethnic riots.

Zooming in by a further power of ten exposes yet another reduction. After the cold war, every part of the world saw a steep drop-off in state-based conflicts, and those that do occur are more likely to end in negotiated settlements rather than being fought to the bitter end. Meanwhile, according to political scientist Barbara Harff, between 1989 and 2005 the number of campaigns of mass killing of civilians decreased by 90 percent.

The decline of killing and cruelty poses several challenges to our ability to make sense of the world. To begin with, how could so many people be so wrong about something so important? Partly, it’s because of a cognitive illusion: We estimate the probability of an event from how easy it is to recall examples. Scenes of carnage are more likely to be relayed to our living rooms and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age. Partly, it’s an intellectual culture that is loath to admit that there could be anything good about the institutions of civilization and Western society. Partly, it’s the incentive structure of the activism and opinion markets: No one ever attracted followers and donations by announcing that things keep getting better. And part of the explanation lies in the phenomenon itself. The decline of violent behavior has been paralleled by a decline in attitudes that tolerate or glorify violence, and often the attitudes are in the lead. As deplorable as they are, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the lethal injections of a few murderers in Texas are mild by the standards of atrocities in human history. But, from a contemporary vantage point, we see them as signs of how low our behavior can sink, not of how high our standards have risen.

The other major challenge posed by the decline of violence is how to explain it. A force that pushes in the same direction across many epochs, continents, and scales of social organization mocks our standard tools of causal explanation. The usual suspects—guns, drugs, the press, American culture—aren’t nearly up to the job. Nor could it possibly be explained by evolution in the biologist’s sense: Even if the meek could inherit the earth, natural selection could not favor the genes for meekness quickly enough. In any case, human nature has not changed so much as to have lost its taste for violence. Social psychologists find that at least 80 percent of people have fantasized about killing someone they don’t like. And modern humans still take pleasure in viewing violence, if we are to judge by the popularity of murder mysteries, Shakespearean dramas, Mel Gibson movies, video games, and hockey.

What has changed, of course, is people’s willingness to act on these fantasies. The sociologist Norbert Elias suggested that European modernity accelerated a “civilizing process” marked by increases in self-control, long-term planning, and sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others. These are precisely the functions that today’s cognitive neuroscientists attribute to the prefrontal cortex. But this only raises the question of why humans have increasingly exercised that part of their brains. No one knows why our behavior has come under the control of the better angels of our nature, but there are four plausible suggestions.

The first is that Hobbes got it right. Life in a state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short, not because of a primal thirst for blood but because of the inescapable logic of anarchy. Any beings with a modicum of self-interest may be tempted to invade their neighbors to steal their resources. The resulting fear of attack will tempt the neighbors to strike first in preemptive self-defense, which will in turn tempt the first group to strike against them preemptively, and so on. This danger can be defused by a policy of deterrence—don’t strike first, retaliate if struck—but, to guarantee its credibility, parties must avenge all insults and settle all scores, leading to cycles of bloody vendetta. These tragedies can be averted by a state with a monopoly on violence, because it can inflict disinterested penalties that eliminate the incentives for aggression, thereby defusing anxieties about preemptive attack and obviating the need to maintain a hair-trigger propensity for retaliation. Indeed, Eisner and Elias attribute the decline in European homicide to the transition from knightly warrior societies to the centralized governments of early modernity. And, today, violence continues to fester in zones of anarchy, such as frontier regions, failed states, collapsed empires, and territories contested by mafias, gangs, and other dealers of contraband.

Payne suggests another possibility: that the critical variable in the indulgence of violence is an overarching sense that life is cheap. When pain and early death are everyday features of one’s own life, one feels fewer compunctions about inflicting them on others. As technology and economic efficiency lengthen and improve our lives, we place a higher value on life in general.

A third theory, championed by Robert Wright, invokes the logic of non-zero-sum games: scenarios in which two agents can each come out ahead if they cooperate, such as trading goods, dividing up labor, or sharing the peace dividend that comes from laying down their arms. As people acquire know-how that they can share cheaply with others and develop technologies that allow them to spread their goods and ideas over larger territories at lower cost, their incentive to cooperate steadily increases, because other people become more valuable alive than dead.

Then there is the scenario sketched by philosopher Peter Singer. Evolution, he suggests, bequeathed people a small kernel of empathy, which by default they apply only within a narrow circle of friends and relations. Over the millennia, people’s moral circles have expanded to encompass larger and larger polities: the clan, the tribe, the nation, both sexes, other races, and even animals. The circle may have been pushed outward by expanding networks of reciprocity, ‡ la Wright, but it might also be inflated by the inexorable logic of the golden rule: The more one knows and thinks about other living things, the harder it is to privilege one’s own interests over theirs. The empathy escalator may also be powered by cosmopolitanism, in which journalism, memoir, and realistic fiction make the inner lives of other people, and the contingent nature of one’s own station, more palpable—the feeling that
“there but for fortune go I”.

Whatever its causes, the decline of violence has profound implications. It is not a license for complacency: We enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to end it, and so we should work to end the appalling violence in our time. Nor is it necessarily grounds for optimism about the immediate future, since the world has never before had national leaders who combine pre-modern sensibilities with modern weapons.

But the phenomenon does force us to rethink our understanding of violence. Man’s inhumanity to man has long been a subject for moralization. With the knowledge that something has driven it dramatically down, we can also treat it as a matter of cause and effect. Instead of asking, “Why is there war?” we might ask, “Why is there peace?” From the likelihood that states will commit genocide to the way that people treat cats, we must have been doing something right. And it would be nice to know what, exactly, it is.

Once again, Steven Pinker returns to debunking the doctrine of the noble savage in the above piece based on his lecture at the recent TED Conference in Monterey, California.

This doctrine, “the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of public intellectuals like JosÈ Ortega y Gasset (“War is not an instinct but an invention”), Stephen Jay Gould (“Homo sapiens is not an evil or destructive species”), and Ashley Montagu (“Biological studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood”),” he writes. “But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler.”

Pinker’s notable talk, along with his essay, is one more example of how ideas forthcoming from the empirical and biological study of human beings is gaining sway over those of the scientists and others in disciplines that rely on studying social actions and human cultures independent from their biological foundation. —JB

STEVEN PINKER is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. His most recent book is The Blank Slate.

Front Page

Monday, June 30th, 2003

This morning we feature part twelve of our series on the global brain from an important book by Howard Bloom. See: 1) Biology, Evolution and the Global Brain, 2) Creative Nets in the Precambrian Age, 3) Networking in Paleontology’s “Dark Ages”, 4) The Embryonic Meme, 5) Why Birds and Humans Flock Together, 6) Mammals and the Further Rise of Mind, 7) Tools of Perception and the Construction of Reality, 8) Reality is a Shared Hallucination, 9) The Conformity Police, 10) The Huddle and the Squabble, 11) Ice and Fire. Reposted from Telepolis.


The Dance of Attractors and Repulsors

Howard Bloom

In the first nanoseconds of the Big Bang two kinds of forces revealed themselves – attraction and repulsion. The repulser of explosion began a rush apart which hasn’t ended to this day. Its aftermath is an “expansionary universe” separating stars and galaxies at breakneck speed. Then there are the forces of attraction – those which pulled together quarks in threesomes, linked atomic shells to produce molecules, then sucked masses of these interlocks into the swirls we see as galaxies, stars, and human beings. Physicists are still debating whether attraction or repulsion will have the final word. But the fact is, repulsion and attraction are not battling to the death, but twining in continuous tango.

The success of a society depends on the dance between its repulsers and attractors, its huddle and its squabble, its elements of competition and of cooperation. One of our most powerful attractors is an instinct often overlooked in treatments of human history. It’s the principle of reciprocity.

The principle of reciprocity

Bacteria give each other information, and even change forms to eat what others find poisonous. To pay for this cleanup effort, the bacterium whose environment is cleansed turns more raw material into food for its decontaminator. An alga will live in the protective tendrils of a fungus, paying its “rent” by turning sunlight into fungus fare. Two lionesses will share food. If one is dying, the other will still bring her meat in token of past favors – repaying what looks very much like the gift of lasting friendship.Fair exchange holds together alliances of male baboons. A group of elite males frequently confronts a youth gang trying to woo and corner one of its most valuable assets – a female in heat. Another squad of male adults will come to the rescue and help chase the juvenile delinquents away. However the deliverers expect that the favor will be returned some day. And it is, or the winning coalition will not last1 . Male baboons are unexpectedly good hunters. When one comes home with a haunch of meat, he tends to keep it to himself. But a female can sometimes call on the bank of kindnesses she’s rendered to him in the past for the right to join his feast2 . Males hold babies or take care of youngsters, thus racking up the right to call on female help. But the coziest rule of repayment in chimp and baboon societies is “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.” One good grooming session deserves another…even among enemies. And it can be used as currency: a subordinate chimp can groom his “overlord” into ecstasy and be repaid with the right to mount one of the head honcho’s females3.

The rise of modern Homo sapiens seems to have enlarged the very genes for this social adhesion device. Animal behaviorist Franz De Waal feels that humans offer each other presents (and expect returns) much more often than other primates do. But de Waal fails to mention that humans engage in long distance forms of reciprocity far beyond that of other mammals. This is one of the areas where our genetic uniqueness seems to lie. Australian aborigines traditionally trekked a hundred miles or more to meet a rival band and swap sting ray spears, axes4 , grinding stones, necklaces, girdles, shells, hair belts, dillybags, boomerangs, and an early version of the news couched in the entertainment-format of stories and of songs5 . In Bougainville, the tribesmen of Petats exchanged women’s hoods to obtain pots. Then they traded their pots to the people of Lontis for taro. The clan leaders of Lontis in turn took the pots and swapped them elsewhere to acquire pigs. But even the pigs were just a step in a chain of barter. The Lontians had “purchased” the porkers to trade them further down the line for shell wedding jewelry6 . The Puyallup-Nisqually tribe of Northwest America’s Puget Sound had names for ten different forms of trade, including fgwis – a straight swap of one item for something of the same sort; obets·leg – putting down a payment for something which as yet didn’t exist; and ·baliq7– “when you take someone to somebody so you won’t be afraid of them any more.” Then there was the “silent trade” in which one people would leave its goods at a traditional drop-point and disappear, waiting overnight for another tribe whom they might never see to replace the offering with local specialties before they, too, disappeared into the forest again. This was going on in Herodotus’ day between the Carthaginians and the mysterious peoples on Africa’s far west coast, and was still a major way in which the olive-skinned citizens of North Africa obtained ivory and gold from the black denizens of the malarial jungles to their south as late as the 15th century.

The silent trade’s ubiquity hints that the practice’s roots may have gone far back into prehistory. The Siberian Chukchee used it to swap consumer items with the inhabitants of Alaska. Africa’s herding and farming Bantus used it to trade with their pygmy neighbors hidden in the bush. In New Caledonia shore dwellers would trudge to a pre-arranged rendezvous where they’d lay down piles of dry fish and seafood by the side of the path, then wait for their arm’s-length inland partners to take what was offered and leave in their turn a pleasing assortment of yam-like tubers8 . And 14th century Islamic traders who had ventured into Northern Asia’s “Land of Darkness” used the silent trade to obtain ermine and sable from furtive primitives. Despite the anonymity, haggling was part of the process. If a Moslem businessman felt that the pelts he’d been left weren’t worth the items he’d deposited on the ground the night before, he refused to accept them. The next night the invisible natives would either up the ante by adding to the pile of furs or would take their wares and walk9.

Genes for trading?

But where do [Subtext] genes come into these shenanigans?10Remember the Baldwin Effect? A newly invented form of behavior like the migration of spiny lobsters gives some beasts a leg up in the evolutionary race. The lobsters most able to fall into single file and make the trek away from the glacial edge before winter freezes everything in sight do best. Those hyperactive types who can’t stick with the departing parade end up snuffed in blocks of ice. Generation after generation, the killing cold chisels recalcitrant genes away until finally what began as innovation becomes instinct. Time’s lessons shape a genetic template which automates the actions of future generations.

Here are a few of the things our new generations do. Children who’ve been fighting give each other gifts to make up. Rhinehart Shopp also found that in a German kindergarten, children used gifts to become close to others with whom they hadn’t had ties before11 . Studies in social psychology show the same possible “trading instinct” at work in college students. For example, one experiment revealed that if a student brought a stranger a soda while the two were filling out a form, the one who’d received the coke bought twice as many raffle tickets from his benefactor when the paperwork was over as did similar experimental subjects not softened up with a gift. So strong was the need to pay back an unexpected kindness that the ticket buyers opened their wallets and coughed up the cash even when, as they admitted to researchers later, they could hardly stand the person who had bribed them with beverage.12

We might suspect that this attempt to balance the books through reciprocity was just the product of good parenting or of Western Culture … if it weren’t for the fact that every society that’s been studied has a principle of give and take. Aztec emperors, for example, used to slit their flesh and offer the gods their blood. They were paying for the glories they’d received and putting a down payment on triumphs yet to come. This was definitely not the result of western culture. The civilizations of the Americas had been out of contact with those of Europe for well over 11,000 years.13 The Indians of America’s Pacific Northwest, equally isolated from cross-cultural contamination, used to blow a pinch of tobacco off their palm as a gift to the spirits, and to request a gift in return. The Chibcha of Colombia were saddled with deities whose services came at a far higher rate, demanding everything from cotton cloth to gold.14The most expensive blessings came from the god of the sun, to whom the Chibcha offered up their children in sacrifice. (When the Conquistadors first marched into Chibcha territory, the Indians, convinced the alien beings were sons of the solar deity, literally threw a hail of children their way.) Far more than any other animals, we are the species who live by the rule of “to get you have to give.”

It would have been extremely easy for natural selection to braid together genes for long-range reciprocity. Imagine that you are a late stone-age farmer. How do you handle the fact that your soil in the lowlands only yields low-fat crops whose constant ingestion would either bore you to death or give you malnutrition while someone a thousand feet up the mountainside can raise fat-saturated treats you’d find exciting, but that are driving him nuts with their monotony?

How do you handle the fact that a tribe in the forest glories in hunting something both you and the mountain-dweller can’t get your hands on – meat, that folks living 200 miles away have the best stones for making tools which ease the job of hunting and harvesting, and that 150 miles in another direction live folks in a territory rich in the salt needed to keep your body running? According to economic anthropologist Melville Herskovitz and numerous others, you make networks of friends, and exchange gifts. Every gift you give obliges your friend to give you something back someday. You try to stay even so no one ever feels taken advantage of. Some of the friends you make are well beyond the boundaries of your tribe. The ultimate result: chains binding stone and iron miners in the highlands of Guatemala to food producers in the plains and shores near the Gulf of Mexico had linked together the architecturally magisterial Olmec Civilization by 650 b.c. They pulled together a canoe-based trading circle of Trobriand Island tribes spread over hundreds of nautical miles.15 And we’ll soon see the wonders they accomplished for the early Greeks. Societies with enough genetic attractors to become a part of such a mesh would give their participants a well-balanced diet. Societies and individuals genetically predisposed to shun goods-shuttling would be enfeebled by an insufficiently varied menu, weakened by reliance on weaponry made with whatever came to hand, and eventually find their territories snatched by folks more able to hopscotch commodities. Homo isolatus would be replaced by Homo commercialis.

Cities like Catal Huyuk may well have bred significant enhancements into this genetic social fastener. The currently dominant view in evolutionary psychology is that human “mental modules” were stamped into our DNA during the “EEA” – “The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness” -, a roughly two and a half million year hunter-gatherer phase which ended before the climax of the last ice age. Since then, our pre-programmed heritage has supposedly been locked in stone (or in amino acids). However the facts don’t seem to bear out this contention. Behold the refinement of the LA gene which confers the ability to digest milk on adults. Some people, notably those of Northern Europe16 , have it. Others – like East Asians and Polynesians – don’t. It’s particularly handy in wintery climes, where the sun frequently refuses to reveal enough of its radiance to generate Vitamin D in human skin. This is a deficiency which cow’s milk neatly cancels out.17 However humans, as we’ve seen, probably didn’t domesticate animals from which they could derive dairy drinks until after the first cities were founded. Which means the gene for adult milkshake tolerance did not appear until well after the walls of Jericho were erected and Bos tauruswas taught to toe the line.

Other genes have arisen during this geological wink of time. One is the sickle cell anemia gene which protects black African peoples against malaria18 . Still more are found in the immune shields which defended the European conquerors of the Americas from scourges like measles and smallpox. This heritage of disease resistance seems to have begun in the last five thousand years or less and developed to its fullest just within the last millennium. One clue to the immunological recency: [Subtext] measles is thought to have jumped to humans from the rinderpest of domesticated cattle.19 It was the dense-packed urban environment which turned it to a killer. In the grisly manner evolution favors, the measles virus massacred those in European cities who had no genetic resistance and left only the fortunates whose genes were able to adjust themselves for an appropriate defense. These protective genes then grew robust within the following generations, making a profound mark on the face of history. As it has become popular to point out, the genetic acquisition of immunity was the greatest weapon of the Conquistadors and colonialists, who wiped out an estimated seventy million “native Americans” with the unseen weapons of their germs.20

Wars and epidemics

Trade, social organization, and combat apparently sorted genes with rigor, pampering those able to handle increasingly sophisticated human interactions, and punishing those unable to play the networking game. During the 10,000 years from the rise of Jericho to that of the welfare state, the form of disaster which favors the newly fit and winnows out genes not up to the challenges of “modernity” struck over and over again. It struck in the form of war – a variety of misfortune which would inspire human ingenuity to create offensive weapons and clever stratagems able to undo the invincibility of city walls. Jericho would fall and become a wasteland for thousands of years. So would the early cities of the Indus Valley’s Harappan civilization. To the best and most cleverly organized went the spoils – one of which included survival. Then there were the post-agricultural plagues, which continued to decimate populations from Biblical times through the glory days of Athens, the height of the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, up to the influenza pandemic of 1919 and the spread of antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis, staphylococcus, Hansen’s disease, AIDs and a host of others today. Humans were being outfoxed by a collective mind far older and nimbler than any they’d developed to that point – the 3.5 billion year old global bacterial brain.

During epidemics, the rich have nearly always outsurvived the poor. In some cases they’ve even benefitted, as did the founder of the Krupp fortune, a wealthy burgher during the Black Death who bought up scads of properties left vacant by plague-eradicated families for mere pennies, and whose legacy (and progeny) prosper off his callous canniness to this very day.21 Krupp’s windfall shows how those who master the art of social integration are privileged to protect themselves from the probability of death. Krupp had money, a bonus shoveled toward those who specialize in the perpetuation and regeneration of mass sociality. These [Subtext] virtuosos of large-scale connectivity include politicians (masters of conformity enforcement, even when their primary devices for cohesion are horse-trading, persuasion, coercion, corruption, and coalition building), warrior-heros-turned leaders (masters of survival in intergroup tournaments), merchants (welders of intergroup links), and priests (“spiritual” coagulators and keepers of the social norms).22 Experts in web-building are given larger, more hygienic, safer living spaces, more generous and nutritionally varied allotments of food, and servants to help them avoid such crippling daily chores as heavy lifting or grinding meal for beer and bread. (Kneeling over a grinding stone and dragging it back and forth against a slab beneath it was the method used by the low-scale women of nearly every early civilization until the invention of the water mill. It made good flour; but grinding destroyed the tissue in a woman’s joints and deformed her skeleton). The elite have nest-eggs and even extra homes to see them through hard times. (True in the days of Rome and of Europe’s great plagues – see Boccaccio’s Decameronto get a sense of how it worked.) This means if disaster strikes, those whose genes allow them mastery of integrative skills are (and were) the best placed to survive.

Plagues came over and over. So did war. Each ran humanity through a selective sieve, culling out the socially unskilled from those who had mastered network maintenance and enrichment. In the end, those who became part of the massively integrated ecosystem of a metropolis – that knot of town and surrounding countryside tied to numerous other junctures of its kind – were the ones who triumphed and survived. Would some mental modules be favored and others suppressed by 500 generations of this sorting process? Five hundred generations were enough to create massive changes in Lake Nyas’ Cichlid fish. And fifty years were enough to alter the genes of soapberry bugs.23 It is unlikely that we are spared from rapid evolution by some sort of mystic dispensation.24

One of the genetic propensities which may have been fine-tuned by this process is on display in children. Toddlers and very young kids have been shown by numerous studies to gravitate toward and defer to those who are the best social organizers. Little nippers adept at turning rambunctious companions into an orderly team not only win the most popularity contests, but become the focal point of play groups and the leaders of gangs of friends.

A seemingly valid argument has been raised that city-centered peoples would be ill nourished and tremendously unfit. How, then, could they have ratcheted up our genetic heritage? Champions of this view cite the unequivocal truth that once mankind converted whole hog to agriculture, the archaeological record shows a spread of malnourishment and its attendant diseases, diseases unknown to hunter-gatherer societies.

There are two counter-arguments. Towns were the spawn of trade, not, as I’ve mentioned before, of agricultural surplus. The first cities were founded on gathering plant abundance and on hunting where the prey was so plentiful one didn’t need to move to follow it about. What’s more, it took a long time for wild game to disappear even from the menu of urban agriculturalists. Bones of undernourished grain eaters don’t show up until thousands of years later. Meanwhile, those in cities could spread like kudzu on a fertilized lawn. In battles they could outnumber and overwhelm hunter gatherers. Their only competitors were nomads who stressed animal herding and made plant gardening a modest trimming to their way of life: cattle-breeding predators like the Indo-Europeans or, later, the Huns and Gauls (otherwise known as Celts). Even [Subtext] nomadleaders like Genghis Khan were masters of social integration, leading peoples whose instincts made it possible to knit them into large-scale enterprise. But nomads eventually could no longer menace the meshworks of metropoli.

The proof is in the pudding. Urbanized, highly networked agricultural societies have taken over the world. Hunter-gatherers and wandering herders have long ago been forced to exist on the fringes, scrounging in lands so poor others were not interested in exploiting them. Now those who are a part of the megalopolitan webwork have found uses for even fringe lands, and “indigenous cultures” are in danger of final extinction. This would be a tremendous loss for our understanding of human diversity. But why are these low-integration cultures considered more “indigenous” to this earth than that other product of the planet’s evolution, cosmopolitan societies? Especially considering that the earth itself, in the form of evolution, seems to have awarded its prizes to the interwoven for at least ten thousand years?

Conquest as a data connector

Reciprocity was by no means the only human agglomerator and information exchanger. There was also an element we glimpsed at the beginning of this chapter – conquest. When the Indo-Europeans (more about them coming up) conquered from Western China to the Atlantic, they took lives and labor, subjugating the peoples in their path. What did they give? The chariot and their language – two of the most important staplers of human society for the next three thousand years. When, in the middle East, those who’d been born with the Indo-European gifts learned to use them, they stitched together empires – those of the Hittites, the Hyksos, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Persians. In the Far East, such warrior peoples as China’s Chou (1111-255 b.c.) and the horse-mounted Siberians we know as the [Subtext] Japanesequilted together the cities and lands of thousands of small tribes and city states as well. Invaders gave something no one wants and should ever have to accept – slaughter. And these warriors took, oh, how they took. But most subduers kept their subjects alive. The empire builders among them spread the tendrils pulling us together to this day. They broke the barriers separating mini-groups by standardizing languages, writing systems, laws, trade, weights and measures, and by building roadways over which their troops could travel and in which merchants, pilgrims and the curious could follow.

Like trade, the hunger of some societies for complex growth and for the subjugation of the less powerful is not uniquely human. Some ants are entrepreneurs, striking out on their own, finding an unexploited niche, laying eggs and raising their own employee pool.25Gradually, the new nest turns from a mom and pop operation (without pop) to a major corporation as the growing staff of underlings develops a caste structure and a division of responsibilities.

The sheer growth of the community produces advantages. As colony size increases, so does the safety (and the expendability) of the individual. The group can shift resources from a frantic fecundity to other forms of production … or of usurpation. The bigger the group, the more the rate of offspring per adult falls off.26Large insect colonies benefit from improved defense. Small colonies have to live in vulnerable lean-tos. Large colonies manage to construct fortresses. (Shades of Jericho!) What’s more, large colonies evolved the luxury of defending their ramparts with castes of biologically remodeled soldiers – huge, well armored and well armed. Small colonies, where everybody has to do a little bit of everything, cannot afford to produce six-legged battle tanks. Large groups can also spare foot-soldiers aplenty. If challenged, they can mount massed counterattacks. Should a small colony throw all of its members into a last-ditch squadron, it would risk losing its entire population in minutes. For a large colony, the loss of such a troop is just a minor bagatelle.

Megahives provide other useful comforts. The air conditioning systems of bee hives control for temperature and humidity, increasing worker health, productivity and hive survivability. Teams of carefully coordinated bees bring water from distant parts, relay it to indoor workers who slap it on the roofs of cells, their ceilings, walls, and floors, while others at the hive entrance fan outside air into the corridors with their wings, producing a pleasant cooling effect. In winter, large hives can form a cluster of bees clinging solidly to each other, providing insulation and warming the hive with the muscles of their wings.27 Inhabitants of smaller groups are forced to endure the freeze of winter and the summer heat, a serious threat to their mortality. Larger groups can also capture bigger, meatier prey. Because of the enormous numbers in their platoons, army ants the size of a match can bring down pigs. No wonder celebrated entomologist E.O. Wilson feels there’s been an evolutionary progression in the insect world from primitive groups whose members had to do almost everything on their own to insect empires controlling huge territories, monopolizing food-rich trees, and hunting down and eliminating rival nests or turning them into slaves.28

Among humans, information-synapsing often makes this sort of conquest a two-way swap; and it’s sometimes hard to tell whose memes will come out on top. One horse people, the Mongols, took China, conquered its landmass, and killed off as much as a third of its population in the process.29 Then the vanquished peoples’ culture conquered the conquerors, who learned to live in cities, to use Chinese firearms and navies, to rule through a semi-Chinese-style administration, and to tax peasants instead of turning farmland into pasture for their horses. In exchange the Mongols expanded the use of paper money (a financial web-enhancer the Chinese had used sporadically), encouraged private enterprise, opened free road passage throughout the empire, extended use of the system of official post roads and rapid long-distance communications, and introduced new ways of easing trade which made domestic commerce and international export and import a relative breeze30 . They also popularized a dish previously almost unknown in China, yoghurt.31

Conquest made it possible to extend the mesh in yet more peaceful ways. India was a largely tribal culture until roughly the 6th century BC. Then the improvement of the plow led to agricultural surplus, a cash economy, and the rise of businessmen. A new breed of ruler discovered it could tax the commercial classes, use the money to build a professional army, and set out to conquer every neighboring territory in sight. Expansion was built into the system. Kautalya, Indian analyst of statecraft and teacher to kings, argued in roughly 300 BC that it is the duty of a ruler to make war “whenever a king has at his disposal instruments of force adequate enough to ensure victory.” Kautalya stated the goal unabashedly: “to make acquisitions” of territory.32 The result was the Mauryan Empire, which launched a far more peaceful march: that of Buddhist emissaries who followed trade routes into China, Southeast Asia, and eventually most of the Far East. A bloodless overthrow performed by Indian ideas wove half a continent into commonality.33

Conquest is the needle which stitched together virtually all of the “great nations” which we know today – allowing such multi-tribal hodgepodges of peoples as Germans, Russians, [Subtext] Arabs, Japanese, English, and French34 to convince themselves that they have always been “ein Volk” – one folk with a unique bloodline and history. In fact, before their conquerors arrived, each of these patchworks had consisted of thousands of squabbling “folks” of different histories and different genes–their bloodlines sometimes almost as far apart as could be.35 In this, the imperialists of history followed another animal pattern, that of the dominance hierarchy – the strangely unjust principle which sometimes uses brutality to bring individuals or (in the human case) collections of groups together in a stable and ultimately peaceful form.36It’s ironic that one of our strongest forces of attraction should be something so unpleasant as our will to lord it over others and that this ace-attractor should be egged on by repulsers – our animosities and our savageries. But that’s the way the Big Bang tango goes.

Genes of reciprocity and conquest would slowly reweave something nucleated cells had lost a billion years ago – the ability to swift-swap information across continents and seas. For 3.5 billion years, the bacterial brain had been upgrading its worldwide web, and frequently showed how its collective “wits” could turn befuddled herds of humans into livestock for its feasts. But we were making progress. Next we’ll see how genes of reciprocity and conquest knitted a culture known as ancient Greece.

Copyright © 1996-2001. All Rights Reserved. Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Verlag Heinz Heise


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Wednesday, June 11th, 2003

The following is an excerpt from an important book by Howard Bloom. It is reposted from Telepolis.


Biology, Evolution and the Global Brain

Howard Bloom

A past issue of Telepolis carried a chapter from Peter Russell’s book, The Global Brain Awakens. In this excerpt, Russell predicted the coming of a worldwide intelligence networked by computer web.

It might come as a surprise to the British computer scientist, experimental biologist, and physicist to discover that the researchers and theoreticians who specialize in evolution would sneer at the fundamental assumptions underlying this vision. The reason for the evolutionary community’s contempt? A concept called individual selection. An idea which has provided powerful new ways of looking at human behavior since it was first codified roughly 30 years ago. But a concept which since then has partially degenerated from an intellectual lens to a set of blinders.

This article will expose the shaky roots of individual selectionism. And it will summarize one model- my own- which could provide a missing bridge between the skeptics – evolutionary scientists – and the believers-computer specialists who envision a planet pulsating with shared information. A planet, as Russell puts it, which has grown a global nervous system.

The scientific credentials of those who predict a worldwide intelligence are impeccable. Peter Russell studied mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge, worked with Stephen Hawking, obtained a post-graduate degree (once again at Cambridge) in experimental psychology, and also has a degree in experimental psychology. Joel de Rosnay, author of the 1986 book Le Cerveau PlanÈtaire (The Planetary Brain), has been Director of Research Applications at the Pasteur Institute, a research associate in biology and computer graphics at MIT, and was instrumental in the creation of France’s Center for the Study of Systems and Advanced Technologies. Valentin Turchin, a key member of the international “Global Brain Study Group,” holds three degrees in theoretical physics. Gottfried Mayer-Kress, author of The Emergence of Global Brains in Cyber Space, holds a doctorate in theoretical physics from The University of Stuttgart and has been associated with such prestige institutions as CERN, Los Alamos National Lab, and the Santa Fe Institute. Francis Heylighen, another catalytic member of the “Global Brain Study Group,” possesses a doctorate in physics from the University of Brussels and is, among other things, associate director of Brussels’ multi-disciplinary Center Leo Apostel.

Why, then, would an international fellowship of equally august specialists be likely to deride as naive pseudo-science the notion of superorganismic intelligence?

The individual selectionists who dominate today’s “Neo-Darwinism” believe that all human and animal behavior is the result of genetic avariciousness. Even the most seemingly self-sacrificial deed is the result of a hidden calculation of genetic costs and benefits. A gene sufficiently greedy to guarantee that two copies of itself make it into the next generation will rapidly expand its numbers. Genes which program for self-denial will give up resources to help others. As a consequence, some of these group players will launch no copies of themselves. The population of unselfish genes will dwindle generation after generation until the contributors to the larger good have philanthropized themselves out of existence. And the long-term survivors will be pre-programmed to commit an act of cooperation only if the price of what they are forced to relinquish pays off in a genetic profit.

Meanwhile, another school of evolutionary thought has been driven underground. It is known as group selectionism. Those few evolutionary scientists willing to admit to their belief in group selection aver that individuals will sacrifice their unique genetic legacy in the interests of a larger whole. Such a need to cooperate and converge would be necessary to make the global brain and the planetary nervous system possible. On the other hand, if the individual selectionists prove correct, humans will be unwilling to share knowledge which might give others an edge. The cyber-ocean of the worldwide web and its technological successors will be a barracuda pit rather than a meta-intellect.

Numerous academics in journals which shun emotionally biased language have labeled group selectionism “a heresy.” Robert Wright, the chronicler of individual-selectionist evolutionary psychology, is more gentle in his condemnation. Group selectionism, he says, is simply a seductive “temptation.”

Robert Wright calls individual selectionist psychology “the new paradigm.” But the concept of individual selection is showing the rigidity of age. The view that all behavior is ultimately based on self-interest began its climb early in the 20th century. Cloaked as “the survival instinct,” it dominated another questionable orthodoxy-the fight or flight syndrome hinted at by William McDougall in 1908 and popularized by Walter Cannon in 1929. As research psychologist Robert E. Thayer says, “certain aspects of the fight or flight response were never supported by scientific evidence.” What’s more, the fight or flight model can be only partially correct. Creatures confronted with an overwhelming threat are frequently immobilized by anxiety, resignation and a variety of related physiological mechanisms. In other words, instead of battling or running to save their lives, they leave themselves open to the jaws of the predator. So much for the ubiquity of the survival instinct! Yet fight-or-flight remains gospel to this day. Over thirty years after Cannon, however, W.D. Hamilton and others had the courage to face at least one small fly in the self-interest ointment. If individual survival is the be all and end all of existence, how could one account for altruism?

During the early ’60s, Hamilton focussed on the selfless manner in which female worker bees sacrifice their reproductive rights and chastely serve their queen. His triumph was a mathematical demonstration that the workers were carrying essentially the same genes as their queen. Hence when an individual lived out her life on behalf of her monarch, she only appeared to be ignoring her own needs. By pampering the colony’s egg-layer, each worker was coddling replicas of her own biological heritage. Altruism, asserted Hamilton, was genetic self-interest in disguise.

Hamilton’s ideas and those built upon them have contributed mightily to our understanding of evolutionary mechanisms in fields from medicine, ecology, and psychology to ethology-the study of animals in the wild. But roughly 25 years after the Hamiltonian epiphany, examination of real world bee colonies demonstrated that William Hamilton’s mathematics did not correspond with fact. There was far more genetic variety in societies of unselfish insects than the equations would allow. Individuals were not abjuring their interests simply to protect near-clones of their own genomic material. Apparently something else was going on.

Nonetheless, concepts based on what became known as individual selection hardened into dogma. And many of those tempted to posit non-Hamiltonian approaches have been stopped by the quiet threat of exclusion from professional respectability, of expulsion from career advancement, and of prohibition from the achievement of academic tenure.

In the mid-90s a growing group of scientists have risked ridicule by arguing for the simultaneous validity of group and individual selection. State University of New York evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, who has produced papers championing group selection for over 25 years, is this band’s acknowledged pioneer. I have been the organizer of one of its guerrilla brigades – “The Group Selection Squad.” And my theoretical work indicates strongly that the social and biological sciences may benefit enormously from a selectionist reappraisal.

David Sloan Wilson has pointed to over 400 studies which support the group selectionist point of view. He has concentrated his attention on research indicating that among humans, those who pool their reasoning usually make far better decisions than those who keep their thoughts to themselves. I’ve focussed my efforts elsewhere, introducing to the debate a scientific discipline whose data individual selectionists refuse to take into consideration. This obdurately-overlooked field is psychoneuroimmunology – the study of the interplay between physiology and conditions in the “mental” or psycho-social environment.

As we’ve already seen, individual selectionists insist that a creature-be he man or beast-will only sacrifice his comfort if the payback to his genes is greater than what he gives up. His self-abnegatory behavior must benefit close relatives, the carriers of genes like his own. This is called “kin selection.” A living thing can give up an aspect of its welfare on behalf of a non-relative…but only if it has reason to expect that this favor will be returned. This theoretical loophole is known as “reciprocal altruism.”

Yet as long ago as the early 1940s, researchers like Rene Spitz were already discovering that among humans the genetic survival instinct had a counterpart of an unexpected nature. It was a physiological twin of Freud’s supposed Thanatos, the death wish. The new empiricists lacked Freud’s genius for coining catchwords. They merely noted what occurred and came up with separate labels (“anaclitic shock,” “learned helplessness”) for each instance they identified. In my book The Lucifer Principle: a scientific expedition into the forces of history, I’ve taken the liberty of introducing a blanket designation. Each investigator from Spitz to Harry Harlow to Lydia Temoshok to Martin Seligman and Robert Sapolsky has unearthed an example of a “self-destruct mechanism.”

Let’s take a typical example. Numerous investigations performed by scientists of widely varying points of view have revealed that the hospital patients who need help the most-those submerged in depression-are the least likely to receive aid. At first glance, it appears to be their own fault. Depressed patients behave in a manner which makes doctors and nurses avoid them. They become incommunicative and irritable. They upset others through every means from facial expression and verbal intonation to body language. An individual selectionist would explain that such self-damaging behavior must be the result of an adaptive response-one which relieves close relatives of a burden or confers upon them a benefit (“kin selection”) or one which stores up the good-will of someone who will compensate the self-victimizing individual or other carriers of his genes in the future (“reciprocal altruism”).

However empirical studies show the opposite. The patients with the greatest number of relatives and friends are the least likely to be depressed. Instead they tend to be the cheerful souls who, even in the face of death, remain charming and bring doctors and nurses flocking sympathetically to their bedside. So those who according to the individual selectionists could benefit replicas of their genes through their demise are the least likely to be stricken prematurely by the axe of death.

On the other hand, both animal and human studies demonstrate that depressed beings flirting with the grim reaper are those the individual selectionists would least expect-those least likely to benefit genes similar to their own. Their family ties are either malformed or non-existent. The immune systems of creatures with few or no friends and intimate kin shut down, while the immunological resistance of those who are part of a social web remain far more vigorous. In other words, isolated individuals undergo a strictly involuntary surrender to disease and bodily dissolution. They are seized by something akin to the suicide mechanism called apoptosis, a sequence of self-destruct events pre-programmed into nearly every living cell and activated when the cell receives signals that it is no longer of use to the larger community of which it is a part. Between their self-crippling immune-systems and their self-defeating conduct, isolated individuals vastly increase their odds of death. The payoff to copies of their genes is likely to be zero. None of this squares with the elaborate dogma of individual selectionism.

When caught in a bind, individual selectionists frequently claim that we are witnessing an instinct which was helpful during our days in hunter-gatherer tribes-an instinct which, under Pleistocene conditions, genuinely did enhance the survival chances of those with similar genes. However, these apologists proclaim, what benefitted the genes at our core in the days of the first stone axe has been perverted in its purpose by modern industrial civilization.

This argument is unlikely to hold water. The isolation of chimps, dogs, laboratory mice, and a wide variety of other animals leads to depression, a down-shifting of the immune system, and a failure to either see or use avenues of escape. Like us, creatures without industrialism dramatically increase their odds of death when they are severed from their social bonds, not when their disappearance stands to benefit the carriers of genes like their own.

This is where the new model of the evolutionary process I’ve introduced in The Lucifer Principle and will elaborate further in an upcoming volume called The Irrational Invention Machine may come in handy. Let us suppose for a moment that group selectionists are correct. Individuals will sacrifice themselves for the good of a larger whole. Those larger wholes compete. When groups struggle, the ones which boast the most effective organizational, strategic and technical advantages win. Individuals who contribute to their group’s virtuosity will be part of the team which survives. And in this manner does evolution proceed.

Now let’s add to the group selectionist claims another concept-one familiar to the mathematicians of complexity. Complex adaptive systems are learning machines made up of numerous components. Neural nets and immune systems are particularly good examples. Both apply an algorithm best expressed non-mathematically by Jesus of Nazareth: “To him who hath it shall be given; from he who hath not even what he hath shall be taken away.”

The neural net has an extensive population of individual switch points-electronic nodes whose connection to the larger grid can be increased or radically diminished. An immune system takes the principle a step further. It has between ten million and ten billion different antibody types alone. In addition it possesses a flood of entities known as “individual virus-specific T cells.” Both the immune system and the neural net follow the Biblical precept. Elements which contribute successfully to the solution of a communal problem receive resources and influence. But deprivation is the lot of those elements unable to assist the group. In the immune system, T cells encounter the MHC insignia of an invader. A small proportion of the would-be defenders discover that their unique receptors allow them to help defeat the attackers. These champions are allowed to reproduce with explosive speed, and are given the raw material they need to increase their numbers. T-cells of no use in confronting the current assault are robbed of food, of the ability to procreate, and often of life itself. Each is subject to destruction from within via the “pre-programmed cell death” of apoptosis.

In the neural net, nodes whose collaboration contributes to the solution of a problem are rewarded with more electrical energy and with connections to a far flung skein of recruits. The nodes whose efforts prove irrelevant to the problem at hand are fed less electrical juice, and their ability to connect with and arouse others is dramatically decreased. Both T cells and network nodes compete for the right to commandeer the resources of the larger system. And both show a seeming “willingness” to abide by the rules which dictate denial. This combination of competition and selflessness turns an agglomeration of electronic or biological components into a learning machine whose totality possesses an adaptive power vastly beyond that of any single element within it.

The same modus operandi is built into the biological fabric of most social beings. Look, for example, at evidence from the phenomenon which its discoverers call “learned helplessness.” Animals and humans able to solve a repeated problem remain vigorous. But mice, monkeys, dogs and people who cannot get a handle on recurrent misfortune become victims of the self-destruct mechanisms mentioned above. Let’s be more specific. Experiments on the physiological impact of mastering a problem began in the 1950s, when Joseph Brady and his colleagues devised a cruel but clever mechanism. They placed two small chairs side by side. The chairs were wired into an electrical circuit which would deliver simultaneous shocks of identical voltage to each of the contraptions’ loungers. The experimental subjects destined to be strapped into these hot seats would be monkeys. Only one thing made the monkey on the left different from that on the right. The right-hand monkey was given a button with which he could solve the pair’s joint dilemma. With it, he could turn each shock off when it arrived. Investigators assumed that the primate with the switch would develop severe health problems. He was the “executive monkey,” the one of the pair weighed down with responsibility. The beast sitting next to him was relieved of his pain at the same instant. But this free-rider had to exercise no judgement or effort. Surely the creature without the switch would thrive more readily, unencumbered by the double burden of distress and vigilance. Indeed, early analyses seemed to demonstrate that this assumption had been correct. The monkeys with the ordeal of decision making were declared to have a far greater tendency to develop ulcers.

But later inquiry showed that the executive monkey experiments had fatal design flaws. Their results had been invalid. Twenty years down the road, variations on the experiment demonstrated something rather different. When put into adjacent shock cages, one of which had a control switch and one of which didn’t, two lab rats would at first scurry and jump attempting to find a means of escape from the arbitrary administration of Thor’s lightning. The rat in one cage would soon find his control button. When the current sizzled his soles, he would lunge for the switch and turn it off, rescuing both himself and his comrade. The rat whose frantic search resulted in no discovery of a means of control, on the other hand, would eventually give up his struggle, lie down in the cage, and accept his jolts with an air of resignation.

As “learned helplessness” experiments continued, it was discovered that more than mere laziness was crippling the beast unable to contribute to the resolution of the shared dilemma. His immune system no longer protected him from disease. If given a way to escape his situation, his perception was too bleary to see it or to register its utility. His self-destruct mechanisms had taken control. All indications were that these self-maiming reflexes were physiologically pre-programmed. Most telling was the fact that the beast able to cope with the slings and arrows of a researcher’s outrageous fortunes retained a vigorous immune system, a relatively keen perception of the world around him, and remained active and energetic-despite his periodic spurts of torment. How might his neighbor’s internally-inflicted disablement aid the projection of the victim’s genes into the next generation? Apparently no one bothered to ask.

A naturalist named V.C. Wynne Edwards, however, had already observed the effects of these phenomenon in a social context. Under feral conditions innumerable species are not isolated by a cage but live as part of a larger group. Edwards studied wild grouse in the Scottish moors. Here, punishments and rewards were handed out not by scientists, but by the natural and the social environment. Male grouse whose mastery of their surroundings enabled them to find good provisions of food and safe sleeping conditions became strong and self-confident. Those less able to forage successfully or to find the safest roost became less physically robust. Weakened, they entered the seasonal competition for females. They fought their problem-mastering flockmates in one-on-one battles, and usually lost. Their failure to find a way to dominate their natural environment led to a corresponding failure to gain control in their social environment.

The successful birds ended up with avian harems, access to even more food than before, and an increased level of pep and acumen. The losers had insult heaped to their injury. As their self-destruct mechanisms kicked in, they showed symptoms which comparative psychologists have called a direct analog of human depression. Like the rats with no handle on their fate, these unfortunates gave up, resigning themselves to a position on the outskirts of the flock-the very location in which they would be most tempting to a passing fox. They lost appetite. As their immune systems shifted into low gear, they grew unhealthy. And in times of scarcity, they were the first to die.

Wynne-Edwards theorized that he was watching group selection at work. The birds whose failure had led to a physical decline, he felt, were sacrificing themselves to adjust the group size to the carrying capacity-the amount of food and other necessities-in their locale. The Scot announced his conclusions in 1962. By 1964 William Hamilton’s equations had taken the evolutionary community by storm. Wynne Edwards became the poster boy for group selection and was driven from scientific respectability. He is cited in current textbooks primarily as an exemplar of scientific error.

What Wynne-Edwards had seen at work was a complex adaptive system devilishly similar to a neural net. Those individuals within the group capable of finding solutions to the problems of the moment were rewarded with dominance, desirable food and lodging, and sexual privileges. The weak links in the group’s neural net, the individuals who had not found a means of solving the environmental puzzles thrown their way, were isolated and impoverished by the social system and disabled by self destruction.

In other words, the group had shown all the key characteristics of a functional learning machine, a complex adaptive system, or, if you prefer, a superorganism. Later, Israeli naturalist Amotz Zahavi would demonstrate that groups of birds function as communal information processing apparatuses. However Zahavi failed to put his observations together with those of Wynne Edwards, with those of the “learned helplessness” experimenters, and with the principles of complex adaptive systems.

My work since 1981 has been to demonstrate that these elements are parts of a single puzzle. The existence of self-destruct mechanisms, the fact that they are turned on and off by control of circumstance, and the fact that social animals are linked in information-exchange networks explains the mechanism behind David Sloan Wilson’s research-survey conclusion that a group usually solves problems better than the individuals within it.

In short, if one acknowledges that individuals like the grouse do indeed compete for reproductive advantage (remember the seasonal tournaments which determined which avian males would receive mates), but that their competition takes place within the framework of a connective intelligence, the idea of group selection seems a necessity. Pit one massively parallel information processor against another-a constant occurrence in nature-and that which most successfully takes advantage of complex adaptive system rules, that which is the most powerful cooperative learning machine, will almost always win.

It is time for evolutionists to open their minds and abandon individual selectionism as a rigid creed which cannot co-exist with its supposed opposite, group selection. For if I am right, the networked intelligence foreseen by computer scientists and physicists as a product of emerging technologies has been around a very long time. In fact, it has sculpted the perverse physiological makeup which manifests itself in our depressive lethargy, our paralyzing anxiety, the irritability which drives others away when we need them most, our resignation when attainment repeatedly eludes us, and the failure of our health when we become victims of overwhelming loss or crisis. These physiologically pre-wired features have made us microprocessors in the most intriguing form of parallel computer ever constructed on this earth. Without transistors, they have turned each one of us into cells of a networked brain.

Copyright © 1996-2001. All Rights Reserved. Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Verlag Heinz Heise


Visit Telepolis.

At Amazon: Howard Bloom’s The Global Brain


Tuesday, October 29th, 2002

“We know how to solve our problems, we just don’t use what we know.”

— Alfred Korzybski

This is the fifth in a series: 1) Beyond Property 2) Wealthy Beyond our Dreams 3) Synergic Trusts—Moving Beyond Property  4) Trustegrities— Redefining the Future


Synergic Guardians—Protecting the Future

Timothy Wilken, MD

Science fiction is a form of Time-binding. “Science fiction differs from science fantasy in that science fiction must obey the Laws of Nature.” A simple example is found in motion picture films. ­In Gary Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy­ we hear explosions of battle in the vacuum of Space although sound cannot be conducted in a vacuum. However, in Stanley Kubick’s 2002 all the scenes in space were truly silent. The film 2002 is science fiction while Star Warsis science fantasy.

The best science fiction writers are always good scientists. And the best science fiction often predicts future science. Many scientific discoveries and technologies are described in science fiction stories years or even decades before they become realities. Jules Vern, described travel from the earth to the moon in 1865 and ocean going nuclear submarines in 1869.

Issac Asimov is perhaps one of the best examples of both a great science fiction writer, and a good scientist. His interest in science and writing developed in tandem.


He wrote his first story when he was only 11 years old, his first published writing was a column he did for his high school newspaper. While he continued writing, Asimov also attended college and managed to graduate from Columbia University with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1939, and two years later earned his M.A. in Chemistry. He continued studying at Columbia in a Ph.D. program, but with time off for WWII, he was not awarded his Doctorate in Biochemistry until May 1948. During this same period, he also managed to write 36 science fiction stories.

Asimov is most famous for his Robot stories. Asimov’s Robots were something very special. They could take any form, from a small household appliance to large space craft carrying tens of thousands of human travelers. Their most common form however was humiform. Examples of humiform robots are seen in recent science fiction movies. Most notably 3CPO the intergalactic translator in Gary Lucas’ Star Wars trilogy, Arnold Swartzenegger’s performances as terminators in James Cameron’s The Terminator films, Brent Spiner’s performances as Lt. Commander Data in Gene Rodenberry’s Star Trek — The Second Generation, and most recently Robin Williams’ performance of The Bicentennial Manbased on an original Asimov story.


Asimov’s robots were highly intelligent, spoke and understood all human languages, were highly mobile, physically strong and enormously powerful. They were awesome machines. If they had wanted to hurt human beings they could have in an eyeblink. But Asimov’s robots never wanted to hurt humans. Their powerful “positronic” brains were constrained by the Three Laws of Robotics. These laws first appeared in print in 1942 as follows.

Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics (1942)

1) A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Here we see that Asimov’s First Law of Robotics contains the commitment to helping. Not only must the robot not injure a human being it must protect the human being from harm. This is a requirement for helping. His Second Law of Robotics states again that the Robot must help human beings by obeying their orders. In Asimov’s stories the robots were often owned by the human beings they served. Asimov’s robots were almost always very decent and caring individuals, while their owner’s were often only too human. The robots were treated in the best of circumstances as respected and valuable friends, and in the worst as victims and slaves.

Asimov’s robot stories were remarkably interesting and intelligent. He fully explored the ramifications resulting when his robot’s intelligence evolved to a point that it equaled human intelligence and finally surpassed it.

Writing in 1942, Issac Asimov described a futurescape, where Robots had been invented in 2007. He invented the Three Laws Of Robotics to insure that this servant class of robots were safe to be with human beings. His futurescape spanned 6 decades and by 2064, positronic robots governed by the three laws of robotics were a widespread and common phenomena on Earth. They were especially important in humanity’s expansion into space and the colonization of other planets.

Forty-five years later, Asimov was still writing robot stories, but things had changed.

Twelve centuries had passed in his imagined futurescape, the science of robotics had progressed as rapidly as Moore’s Law drives computer design on Earth today. Robots were smaller more intelligent and could be made to look exactly like humans. Theoretically, a robot’s lifespan was unlimited. Robots had an endless opportunity to learn and to think about what they had learned. They were more intelligent than most humans, and their long life experiences meant they were usually much wiser.

It became obvious that the laws of robotics needed to be advanced as well. Asimov rose to the occasion by creating an additional or fourth law of Robotics. It was called the Zeroth Law because although it was created fourth chronologically, it was logically the First Law.

Asimov’s Four Laws of Robotics (1985)

0) A robot may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

1) A robot may not harm a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the Zeroth Law.

2) A robot must obey orders given it by a human being, except where that would conflict with the Zeroth and First Laws.

3) A robot must protect its own existence except where that would conflict with the Zeroth, First or Second Laws.

Robots in Asimov’s earlier stories then became known as 3-Law Robots in contrast to these new more powerful 4-Law Robots.


Recall that Asimov’s First Law of Robotics contains the commitment to helping. Not only must the robot not injure a human being it must protect the human being from harm. This is a requirement for helping. His Second Law of Robotics states again that the Robot must help human beings by obeying their orders. Thus within the original Three Laws of Robotics, we see a strong commitment to helping humans. This commitment to helping is expanded with the Zeroth Law.

As 20,000 year old 4-Law Robot Daneel Olivaw explained:

The Zeroth Law is a corollary of the First Law, for how can a human being best be kept from injury, if not by ensuring that human society in general is protected and kept functioning?”

The Zeroth Law of Robotics introduced the concept of responsibility to and for the entire human species. Now Asimov’s robots were required not only to care for and protect the individual human beings that owned them, but also to protect all human beings and by extension the ecosystem and the earth itself.

Protecting Humanity

Asimov’s Four Laws of Robotics can serve as the basis for developing a code for the Synergic Guardians of the Trustegrities. We can eliminate Asimov’s Second law which does not apply since humans are not property and cannot be slaves, and we can elimate the Third law as redundant since a Synergic Guardian is a human being and so is protected by the First law. This leaves us with only two laws necessary to protect humanity as community and humanity as individuals.

  • A Synergic Guardian may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.
  • A Synergic Guardian may not injure an individual human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the First Law.

The Needs of the Many

In Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek,  Mr. Spock, the Vulcan Science Officer from a race ruled by logic, would remind his shipmates that: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.”


The human body is a community of 40 trillion individual cells. The individual cells are organized synergically to be interdependent upon each other. They cannot separate themselves from the body as community. The survival of the cells depends on the survival of the body. The needs and safety of the body precedes the needs and safety of the individual cells. Sometimes individual cells are injured or even sacrificed to protect and insure the survival of the body as a whole. The needs and safety of the community of cells takes precedence over the needs and safety of the cells as individuals.

With the discovery that humanity is an interdependent species comes the realization that we humans can no longer separate ourselves from community. Humanity as community is larger and contains humanity as individuals. The needs and safety of humanity as community must precede the needs and safety of humanity as individuals.

Our present culture based on the false premise of human independence often places individual needs and safety over community needs and safety. This will shift dramatically in a synergic culture.

The first law of the of the Guardian Trust Code commits to protect Humanity as Community. The second law commits to protect Humanity as Individuals. This represents a major shift in human values from today’s focus with the individual as primary to tomorrow’s focus with community as primary.

While the Trustegrity Guardians are responsible for the safety of both humanity as community and humanity as individuals, the needs and safety of community take precedent over the needs and safety of individuals.

This does not suggest a casual attitude towards the rights of individuals. Trustegrity Guardians may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would cause injury to humanity as a whole — except where that would cause injury to humanity as community. When an adversary event presents no risk to humanity as community then the Trustegrity Guardians’ first responsibility is to the safety of the individual.

The Bigger Picture

Within synergic community, it is understood that actions that injure the EARTH and environement—the natural resources, fertile soils, waters, minerals, ores, metals, and the very air we breathealso injures humanity.


It is understood that actions that injures LIFEthe plants and animals and the biodiversity of all non-human Lifealso injures humanity.


It is understood that actions than injures the wealth produced by human action—whether in the form of Time-binding Trust or Property of living humansalso injures humanity.


Therefore, synergic community desires the protection of  all Synergic Wealth:

1) the Earth Trust—the planet and all natural resources,

2) the Life Trust—All plants, animals and humans,

3) the Time-binding Trust—the accumulated ‘knowing’ from the time-binding of all the humans who have ever lived and died. Our inherited Wisdom, Knowledge, and Information including Architecture, Art, Literature, Music, Science, and Technology,

4) Human Action—Mental and Physical—Thinking, Action, and Behavior—Primary Property of Living Humans

5) Human Leverage—Mental and Physical—Intellectual Property in the forms of Theories, Discoveries, and Technology Designs—Primary Property, and Physical Property such as Tools, Technology Artifacts, and Products—Secondary Property of living humans.

This then forms the basis for a code of behavior for the Synergic Guardians of the Trustegrities.

Code of the Synergic Guardians

1) A Synergic Guardian may not injure the EARTH or, through inaction, allow the EARTH to come to harm.

2) A Synergic Guardian may not injure LIFE or, through inaction, allow LIFE to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the First Law.

3) A Synergic Guardian may not injure HUMANITY or, through inaction, allow HUMANITY to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the First or Second Laws.

4) A Synergic Guardian may not injure an individual HUMAN, or through inaction, allow an individual HUMAN to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the First, Second or Third Laws.

5) A Synergic Guardian may not injure the Time-binding Trust and/or Primary or Secondary Property, or through inaction, allow the Time-binding Trust and/or Primary or Secondary Property to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the First, Second, Third or Fourth Laws.

Best of the Best

The Synergic Trustegrities will seek to attract the best of the best as candidates for Trustegrity Guardianship. Once selected these Trustegrity Guardians would have greater trusteeship privileges with concomitant authority and responsibilities for and to the Synergic Trustegrities. Once selected Trustegrity Guardians can serve in one of the three branches of the Synergic Trustegrities — the Earth Trust, the Life Trust, or the Time-binding Trust.

Trustegrity Guardian Candidates should have repeatedly demonstrated both personal and public honesty, and should have a history demonstrating synergic morality and behavior. In the future, Universities will offer degrees in Trustegrity and Guardian Science to prepare those young humans to desire to serve Humanity as Community. A careful selection process will be developed to select the very best which could include Trustegrity Guardian Academies.

Synergic Guardians of the Trustegritys

Recall the Trustegrities are structured using the principles and mechanism of the Organizational Tensegrity. Decisions are made in heterarchy using synergic consensus. Loss within the organization is eliminated with the synergic veto. Action is carried out by negotiated hierarchical. This eliminates conflict. The three trustegrities would work together. They would be guided by Humanity as Community using Synocracy.

The Earth Trust Guardians would protect and preserve the Earth Trust including the Earth and all natural resources. The Trust would be administered to best serve present and futurehumanity.

The Life Trust Guardianswould protect the Life Trust including all living systems — all life forms — this includes all humans, all animals, and all plants.

And, thirdly the Time-binding Trust Guardians would protect and preserve the Time-binding Trust — the accumulated “knowing” from the lives and actions of all the humans who have ever lived and died. Our inherited Wisdom, Knowledge, and Information including Architecture, Art, Literature, Music, Science, and Technology. Because of their committment to protecting all who have lived and who have died, they also protect the new  “knowing” of  humanity — the Intellectual Property of  living humans.

Synergic Guardians are not allowed to hurt anyone through their control of the Synergic Trusts. But in addition they are required to protect and conserve the Synergic Trusts. Further, they are required to help others and to insure that all humans have the basic needs of life —both survival and meaning. This is a binding obligation. Failure to meet these obligations results in the immediate loss of Synergic Trustee privileges.

They will protect and conserve the Earthand the natural resources — including both the renewable resources — soils, water, and minerals — and the nonrenewable resources — coal, petroleum, natural gas, metals and other mineral ores.

They will protect Life— plant, animal and human.

The Life and Earth Trustsare finite and fragile. Once a species of plant or animal becomes extinct, it is lost forever. Once our nonrenewable resources are consumed they are lost forever. And even the renewable resources can be damaged by careless use. And once damaged, they may not be repairable.

The Synergic Trustegrities hold all land and all the natural resources including native plants and wildlife in synergic trust. Land and natural resources cannot be owned. Land may leased as living sites for individuals and families. Land may be invested as production sites for manufacturing and commerce and earn revenue shares on behalf of the Trust. Natural resources may be invested in synergic production if it serves the interests of humanity as community and public welfare. Such investment would earn revenue shares on behalf of the Synergic Trustegrities.

The revenues the Synergic Trustegrities receive from their leases and investments are used not only to protect and preserve the synergic trusts, but also to help others.

The Synergic Guardians accept as their primary responsibility the protection of humanity as community and humanity as individual. They will seek to ensure that all humans are safe from crime and war; that all humans have access to shelter, nutrition, medical care, and education. They will further accept responsibilty for the provision of good care and life support for all humans in need — children and adults — the ill and injured, the poor and destitute, and the homeless.

On behalf of the Earth Trustegrity, they will provide:

1 ) Access to land and natural resources for personal use at minimal or no cost, and

2 ) Access to land and natural resources for synergic production with appropriate charges payable to the Earth Trustegrity in lease or rental fees, licensing fees, and/or revenue shares. All rental fees, licensing fees, and/or revenue shares are entrusted to the Synergic Trustegrities for Humanity as Community.

On behalf of the Life Trustegrity, they will provide:

3 ) Safety from crime and war, and full access to:

4 ) Comfortable, safe, healthy housing.

5 ) Good nutritious food

6 ) Good preventitive health services and comprehensive cradle to grave medical care, and access to the privilege of Reproduction based on fairness, equality, and mutual benefit to both humanity as Individuals and humanity as Community. This would include monitoring administrating, adjudicating the Trust privilege of Reproduction.

7 ) Access to animals and plants including native flora and wildlife for personal use at minimum or no cost.

8 ) Access to animals and plants including native flora and wildlife for synergic production with approriate charges payable to the Life Trustegrity in rental fees, licensing fees and/or revenue shares. All payments made are entrusted to the Synergic Trustegrites for Humanity as Community.

On behalf of the Time-binding Trustegrity, they will provide:

9) Full education to an individual’s ability and interest regardless of age,

10) The opportunity to participate in synergic organization and invest their action and leverage to earn revenue shares and acquire property throughout their full lifetime.

11) Access to communication with humanity as individuals and to humanity as community for personal reasons, for synergic production and consumption, and for synergic consensus utilizing Unanimous Rule Democracy.

12) Protection of the intellectual discoveries and inventions of Time-binding whether they be in the Time-binding Trust, or the Intellectual Property of living humans.