What would you like to see more of?
What we need more of:
Awareness, understanding, acceptance, compassion, action, commitment, abundance, security, diversity, creativity, responsibility, fun, exploration, cooperation, …..
Awareness is perhaps hardest, as it means giving up many of the ideas we are most comfortable with about ourselves and the world we live in. It means being willing to question, to try out new ideas and seeing where they do actually work and where they don’t, rather than relying on accepted truths at any level. It means accepting that many things are connected in ways we barely begin to understand, and that some things are random, and that the act of being human is finding that boundary between order and chaos that has a balance between creativity and security that works for us as individuals, for us as members of society, and for us as part of our ecosystem.
Understanding is about accepting our eternal ignorance, and not using it as any sort of excuse to stop learning and testing and building the best understanding we can, even as we accept that it will be eternally incomplete.
Understanding involves seeing both the competitive and the cooperative aspects of evolution, and getting that competition always pushes towards simplicity (from a systems perspective), while cooperation can allow for the emergence of new levels of creativity and complexity. Once one starts to see that, then the need for fundamental change in our existing social and economic structures becomes clear. And cooperation in complex systems always requires complex sets of attendant strategies to maintain itself – to prevent invasion and overwhelm by cheating strategies.
Once one can start to see that every level of structure requires boundaries to allow the form of that structure to exist, then one can start to explore the nature of the boundaries that are actually required and the forms those boundaries make possible. Complex systems can have very complex and very subtle boundary conditions, and as human beings we are very complex systems, with some 20 levels of complex systems embodied in us all.
Don’t expect simplicity where it cannot exist.
Accept that whatever sort of understanding we have (however complex it is) must involve simplifications of something that is vastly more complex than we can possibly comprehend. In this context, eternal ignorance must be accepted, the hubris and certainty of our youth must be acknowledged for what it was – a simple approximation to something vastly more complex.
Accept that security for any of us, anywhere on the planet, must involve security and empowerment for everyone, everywhere. And we are very rapidly developing the technology to make that a viable reality.
At this level of cooperation, predatory strategies are simply not an option, ever.
And that doesn’t mean getting rid of people, and it does mean ensuring that people who were once the embodiment of unacceptable strategies are now embodying fundamentally cooperative strategies.
As a species, we now have the possibility of creating a world that empowers every individual to do whatever they responsibly choose, and that means everyone accepting that freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin, and that we must each be responsible for our complex nature, as individuals, as members of societies, and as members of ecosystems. We are all three, and we ignore any of them to our peril.
We are rapidly developing the technological tools to solve all the very real problems we have, but having the tools does not necessarily mean we will use them wisely.
Tools are neutral.
It is how we use them that matters.
Fire can cook our food or burn down our houses.
Ensuring that we have sufficient boundaries to survive and thrive, without those boundaries being an unreasonable barrier to creativity, exploration, and self expression is the very real challenge we have now, at every level.
We all have our conservative and our liberal aspects.
Each is required, in appropriate context.
Each is dangerous if taken to extreme.
Finding that virtue of the mean is an eternal exploration, and will involve mistakes, and forgiveness.
And our deep history has some deep lessons about the sorts of strategies that work – Jordan Peterson does some great work in that respect.