Fighting the Muppetocracy


I have some strong criticisms of Vinay’s position ( e.g. his naive anthropocentric, technocentric optimism, lack of understanding of the neo-primitivist critique, other minor matters ) but I greatly admire his courage, and that he gives his whole heart and soul to his struggle, and he’s actually achieved something worthwhile with his impressive hexayurt project. IMHO, we need a lot more folks like him who can face the bleak and bitter horror of the predicament we are all in, and lay it out clearly, honestly and fearlessly.

I think you are a bit confused, Lyne. ‘We’ is an abstracted concept, there can be hundreds, thousands, of ‘we’s’ and until the precise referent is defined, nobody can be clear as to whom or what is being talked about.

Likewise with the notion ‘we are all one’. That may well be the ultimate truth, in a religious or philosophical context, ( personally I believe it is ), but then to pretend that the distinctions and divisions don’t exist is ridiculous. Such airy-fairy polyanna nonsense isn’t going to solve our problems, is it ? It would be nice if everyone could raise their consciousness to a higher level, but what chance is there of that happening ? To build a strategy upon that premise is as unrealistic as planning your personal life upon the assumption that you will win the lottery.

You and I are separate beings, two, not one, and have individual self-centred interests and pursuits which may remain forever opposed. To pretend otherwise is delusion, isn’t it ? And so it is for all groups and entities.

To lump all humans into an aggregate of ‘we the people’ may sound good rhetorically, but it’s meaningless, it’s like saying ‘we the fish’, and ignoring the fact that some fish survive by eating other fish, some fish require niches that others do not, and so on.

I do believe that every single ‘thing’, that we distinguish as an independent form or entity, are all facets of the One, the greater Universe, sure, that’s not hard to grasp or even to demonstrate scientifically. And if, say, I’m walking in the countryside, that’s a great way to experience being. However, if I’m in a fight or conflict, I have very well-defined boundaries, where I stop and all the rest begins, and I’ll defend those boundaries, just as all the other living organisms do, with violence if necessary. Don’t blame me for that. I didn’t design the system. Great White Sharks and Orcas eat nice cuddly seals. Foxes eat chickens. They have to do it, not a choice. So, whilst everything is One, everything is eating everything else, all the time. We people are merely constituent parts of that system.

You can insist that there is no ‘you’. Okay, lay down and let the hungry tigress devour you, to feed her starving cubs. It’s your right and privilege to do that. It’s probably a generous and noble act, if it’s done with complete understanding. But to expect everyone else to have that attitude is delusion. Starving sailors adrift in tiny boats draw lots to decide who will be murdered and eaten so the others can survive.

When resources are abundant, wealth easily come by, then we can all be friendly and relaxed and generous. But in times of hardship, shortage, crisis, extreme competition, what happens ? Look at history. There are lessons to learn.

The oneness of all

I think of the oneness of all things as a higher truth; I don’t insist that you share that belief, but don’t tell me it is a delusion.  Is separateness something that is working for the world?  I don’t think so.

I think of separateness as the real delusion, because the human race is like a bee hive - the lone bee can survive on its own for a while, but the only meaningful existence for a bee is as a part of the whole, which is the hive… the only meaningful existence for people is as part of the planet and acknowledging that we are all part of the same entity.

If this isn’t your truth, then I am sorry, because I think acceptance of the oneness of all is about the only thing which offers us a chance.  While people are still killing themselves to own things and stuff, or to push other people around, while we still see ourselves as separate from our neighbours and allow ourselves to “win” and someone else to “lose” - which, let’s face it, we are all doing in the first world at the expense of the rest - while we still do this, I don’t see that there is any chance that we will change things for the better.

We need to find out how to live our lives without exploiting and destroying others, how to preserve the earth we have been given without draining it of all natural resources.  We need to see the connectedness of all things to realise that the new car we buy today bears a part of the responsibility for destruction of tomorrow.

It works for me on many levels - a practical one, a philosophical one and a spiritual one.  Yes, the reality we are sold by the world is one of freedom as individuals to do what we want… but is that the reality?  I don’t think a complete separation of me and you has either a scientific or philosophical basis.  It’s an illusion.

In any case, setting all that aside, if you destroy my planet I am affected by that. If I save the planet you are affected by that. Things are losing the balance they once had, and we are all going to have to choose our sides quickly… it really does seem to me that we are faced with a situation which is beyond the vast companies and governments and their exceedingly slow grinding to respond to… it needs the wisdom of the multitudes to stand up and be counted and make the sacrifices that are necessary to make a difference.

Intention is all.  I don’t know what the intention of government might be - to retain the status quo?  The aim of companies is plain:  to make profit.  Maybe we need a new intention we can all sign up to.  Saving the world maybe.

“We” is an outcome

Lyne, we are not fighting an ideological battle here. Collective action is exactly what happens when the problem of sharing goals, aligning incentives, coordinating on means is taken on board rather than assumed away. “We, the people” is one of the possible outcomes of this process; anarchy is another; dictatorship yet another. A favourable outcome is to be actively pursued, never taken for granted.

If there were an entity called “we” that could decide what she wants and try to get it, your own story would make no sense. Open government, dear to your heart, is not uncontroversial: some people like it, a few people actively dislike it, most don’t care either way. The situation you describe is an outcome in which, at least in Quebec, it’s not happening. This could be looked at in various ways: for example, you could say that opengov did not happen because “we the people”, through a democratic process, decided we don’t want it enough to make the effort; or we could say it did nit happen because some people that dislike it or don’t care find themselves in a position of greater power than other people who do want it. I think the first description is misleading, because it erases the position of Lyne and others who actually do care; the second one is more accurate.

I don’t mean to diminish religious or phylosophical notions of oneness. I do imply that oneness - if it’s there - happens at an ontological level which is not appropriate to describing the very real political fractiousness Vinay is describing.

Heart failures, political failures

The reality of today’s world is that all of our lives are entangled. Individualized worldview keeps us stuck in an outdated paradigm that just is not working anymore.

This is currently understood and assimilated by scientists. It’s actually the newest trend in this area. Science is rapidly gaining the capability to explore the nature of consciousness. It is becoming legitimate to talk of invisible forces. A whole new field known as quantum biology has sprung up, based on a true breakthrough - the idea that the total split between the micro world of the quantum and the macro world of everyday things may be a false split. These innovators are working on concepts that will likely be the new standard in 20 years from now. These are revolutionizing areas like health, and will probably contribute to reduce the heavy costs of health services. It is already in use, for example, among patients with serious heart problems. They apply this specific knowledge directly to patients (ex. the community lead by Nicole Goulet).

Heart failure is a chronic and progressive disease often characterized by severe symptoms, frequent hospitalization, and poor prognosis. Here is how progress in cardiovascular nursing contributes to adjustment of advanced heart failure: development of regret regarding past behaviors and lifestyles; search for meaning within the present experience of failure; search for hope for the future and reclaiming of optimism.

If it works well for heart failures, why not consider also testing it on political failures?

Many see that this capability to explore could also be extended to politicians.

Political fractiousness is very real.

Some individuals also perceive that oneness is very real. Many people - other than me - integrate these concepts to effective leadership. Different models of leadership would probably produce less political fractiousness.

‘Not appropriate’?

Hacker Ethic

In one of Daniel Quinn’s books, probably in “Ishmael” (where a telepathy-enabled gorilla socratically teaches a man who wanted to save the world), there’s this idea of a comb and the teeth. The teeth are both separate (and that’s essential for the comb to do its work) and united at the base (also essential). Two ways to look at the same thing, etc. That’s philosophy.

People apparently “feel as one” in certain occasions: with music, working as teams in sports, possibly also in battle. I don’t know about meditation due to almost zero practice. That’s feeling.

In practical everyday muscle movement, what I feel matters more is whether we wait for others or not, and for how long. In this, consensus strategies seem to be at the “wait for others for as long as needed” end of the spectrum. The “show me the code” motto, from the computer hacker [1] ethics, is more at the “wait for others for as little as possible” end of the spectrum.

When you use your fractal microscope, it’s of course a messy world. Alberto, or whoever came up with the idea of EdgeRyders, had to wait for approval of the idea, but didn’t have to wait before taking whatever prior steps. I didn’t have to wait before starting the translation of his video, but I did have to wait (and gladly so) for him to correct my transcription.

The trick, I think, is in hitting many drums (each drum is a different project) in cyclic sequence. At each point, I ask myself: “what can I do without waiting for others?”. “Can I do something that will invite others to add whatever they feel happy and able to contribute?” [2] After trying many “getting things done” approaches, I’ve settled for a simple one: several pieces of paper, each with 1) one visualised goal and 2) one or more first steps that only depend on me.

In general, given the state of the world, I don’t think we have time to wait a lot, and in general I’d rather see more initiative than less. When in conversation with a fellow edge-ryder, and after listening, I think I’d basically say “don’t wait”.

[1] “Hacker” as in creativity, not as in breaking illegally into places, which is called “cracker”.

[2] We have ended up calling it “leave a rough edge”. This is an unfinished sentence, for you to

What if there is lots of potentially profitable technology?

check some of it out at

more inspiration:

TEDxTokyo - Gunter Pauli - Balancing Energy

Find allies or be the second dancer?

First Follower: Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy | Derek Sivers shows what “the second dancer” means.

In the Free Software world, I heard you should think twice about starting a new project (many text editors out there!); rather, you should look at some existing project and put your weight there.

That’s what I do when I help document the hexayurt, and several other things.

Now, maybe this is more a matter of identifying who’s doing stuff already, what blocks them, which muscle fails them, and helping them.

Part of it, undoubtedly, is going all iconoclast and saying Individuals Have No Historic Basis To Trust Governments Will Fix This Mess (that they helped create with our agreement).

I agree with that. (Governance structures are strange beasts - full of leakage and back doors and people with their soul left at the door - populated by people with their own fluid motivations, and the main motivation of the structure itself seems to keep existing.)

For those of us who were already there, what next? Or do you feel not enough people feel it deep inside enough? Do we find the sky through the bottom, or what?

Maybe the master plan is that we abandon all master plans, and that means no more voting, no more TV, no more banking?

But, see, we have no replacement for certain things. Unless we count and other things - but where’s the motivation to change before change is forced on us? (Some say we do first what we feel we must, then what’s easy, then what’s fun.)

Maybe the key to finding allies lies in looking more deeply at motivations and dealing with that? I don’t know. More in