Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Open-source Culture

In the beginning was the commons. Over vast stretches of prehistoric time, tribal cultures evolved in tandem with the natural environment. They did this without creating private property or hierarchical relationships of control and dominance that led to consumption of nature as a resource. Open-source culture provided for community sharing and community development. With the rise of patriarchy, empire, and systems of egoic control and empowerment, this open-source approach to community was destroyed. Over the course of the last centuries, the commons was fenced, and everything from agriculture to water was commoditized without regard to the true cost in non-renewable resources. Human beings, who had spent centuries evolving away from slavery, were re-commoditized by the Industrial Era.
The corruption of the commons led to the loss of integrity between and among individuals, organizations, and community. Artificial paradises made up of objects and possessions were substituted for true community based on authentic heart-to-heart relationships. Secular corruption is made possible by information asymmetries between those in power and the public. In the absence of transparency, truth, and trust, wealth is concentrated and waste is rampant.
We, Homo sapiens, were in harmony with the Cosmos and the Earth during earlier centuries when indigenous wisdom prevailed. The evolution of social forms and technology toward ever-greater levels of complexity is part of our human development toward deeper consciousness and self-awareness. The technosphere, as José Argüelles and others have realized, is the necessary detour that takes us from the pristine biosphere to the psychically collectivized state of the noosphere.
We live in a constellation of complex systems. It is impossible for any single person or even any single organization or nation in isolation to understand complex systems.
Collective intelligence -- multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making -- is the only means of obtaining near-real time understanding of complex systems sufficient to achieve resilience in the face of changes. Many of these changes, including biospheric ones such as climate change and depletion of planetary resources, are the result of human activity and industry in the last three centuries.
As our technological capacities continue to increase and our environment becomes ever more fragile and endangered, we find that changes to the Earth that used to take ten thousand years now take a fraction of that. We must rediscover and reintegrate indigenous wisdom in order to come back into harmony with larger whole systems, and do so in a manner that allows for application of appropriate technologies and science, open-source intelligence gathering, and real-time self-governance.