What can we learn from the Internet?

Internet pioneer Danny Hills has a TED talk about the early days of the Internet. On that talk we see that the Internet, on its early days, was essentially an obscure network based on trust.

Today, the Internet is much bigger, and much more important. Despite its massive importance, governments and corporations are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to mess with it, reducing its usefulness for their own profit and power gain. They get away with this because it is technically feasible to do so, and it is in the reach of their power.

The technical reasons behind this vulnerability are not particularly interesting for this post. The interesting part are the responses the Internet community is deploying to this perceived threat of control. These responses seem to fall into the following three categories:

The first kind of response is to fight in the political space to keep the Internet open. This essentially means that, as members of our societies, we get together and complain to those in power and to each other until they change their minds. This has stopped the progress of bad laws such as “SOPA” and “PIPA” in the U.S. We will call this approach “begging.”

The second kind of response is to start designing an alternative to the Internet that would not be controllable. Designing theoretical alternatives, or prototyping these designs, is not really too difficult. The harder part is seeing how these alternatives would grow beyond isolated localities adopting them and into a global mesh that would, eventually, be easily accessible by anyone, like the current Internet. We will call this approach “forking.” Not really “forking,” as these networks would probably end up talking to each other, but it has to be conceived as to stand on its own, as if it were a fork.

The third kind of response is to build a network that’s better than the Internet in some sense, but on “top” of the Internet, that is, an application using the Internet, as opposed to beside it, as a “physical network” like the Internet. That’s what the “peer-to-peer networks” do. They are not “networks” in the same sense that the Internet is a “network.” In academia, you would say that these peer-to-peer systems, such as BitTorrent, FreeNet, Napster, Bitcoin or GNUNet, are “logical networks” or “overlay networks.” They are networks “overlaid” (built on top of) an existing “physical” network such as the Internet. We will call this approach the “overlay” approach (sounds simpler than “if you can’t beat them, add a layer on top of them that makes it do what you want.”)

So, in the case of transforming the system known as the Internet, what is the correct approach? The answer is, of course, all of them. When a system is as important as the Internet, then it is not a matter of “which is the right way,” but which is the right way for you. All of them are valid, and we’re going with whatever works.

I have a hunch that these paths can be translated to the paths we have available to transforming “The Economy” into a “Resource-Based Economy” or “Love Economy” or “Gift Economy” or whatever it is that we would call it. That problem is, similarly, very important and worthy of all kinds of response we can come up with.

We have many people enacting the first response, of “begging” the current governments and corporations to do things differently.

The second response, of “forking” the current systems, is similarly receiving lots of attention. Simple and small-scale designs, such as designs for specific villages or communities, have been working for decades. Some communities even cut economic ties with the rest of the human world, essentially creating a private “world” where they can claim to exercise a “world-wide” and pure resource-based economy — but you still have to at least negotiate land ownership with some existing country, last time I checked. Larger-scale designs, on the other hand, if not deployed, at least are the focus of much discussion and study.

The third path, I think, is where we would start making some interesting progress.

Consider the following: given any criteria for allocation of the existing money tokens in circulation, which one of the following two entities would be more likely to be capable of capturing more of it?

The first entity is a group of people who each live on their own apartment, and drives each day, on their own car, to the same job site where they work. When these people meet, they pay each other for things, and every transaction is taxed by the local government.

The second entity is the same group of people, but now using a gift economy of some sort between them. They not only share things, being more physically efficient, but they also avoid having their internal economy be implemented using taxed government tokens. Whatever government money they hold in total, it disappears slower from each individual’s bank account simply because they are not taxed for circulating it internally.

Yes, money is a fiction, a convention. But so is any economic game. Even if you have a global network of computer processes monitoring all world’s resources, the representation of these resources is still a model, still a game, still a fiction. An error in modelling of the world’s resources would produce sub-optimal allocation, much like the current government money systems produce sub-optimal allocation. A much better model is still a model.

What this means is, instead of abolishing the fiction of money, why not just satisfy it? Get together with some people, and agree to collectively play the game better than those who won’t build their own gift economies and who will live physically inefficiently. Then just watch the cash pile grow. The government will have no rule it can design to not reward the people who actually want to build something different. And the more “money” you have… well, let’s just say that, in the current system, having money is not exactly a bad thing. Want to build Jacque Fresco’s futuristic town? Amassing a few hundred billion dollars couldn’t hurt. It is all fiction anyway. Gather the fiction, then give it to people who still want it. These people will give you access to the land you need to build a town, as well as deliver all the resources, material and mental, that you need to build it for the first time. Since it is a sustainable town, once it is built, you have one place that doesn’t need money.

The “overlay” path is not without its own difficult challenges, however. When you design an overlay, be it for the Internet or for the human environment sharing problem, you have to keep two worlds in your head instead of one, and constantly remember which kind of thinking goes where. If you are not careful while designing your peer-to-peer system, you may end up recreating its supporting layer without intending to. Having money may cause us to exclusively “buy” our way into simply surviving on the fruits of the global unsustainable production machine, instead of taking whatever first step, even if small and feeble, towards freeing ourselves from depending on these unsustainable (destructive and violent, really) systems. I can “have” a million “dollars,” but that shouldn’t stop me from personally spending part of my day trying to grow some tomatoes.

Final note. Becoming a billionaire solving practical problems and then donating it to charities that also solve practical problems, or funding start-ups that want to “innovate,” is not what I’m talking about here. That’s simply trying to do good within the current economic and financial system, and validating and reinforcing it in the short term. This would be simply using the existing network as it is presented, not using it in a way that makes it emulate what a competing network would be. It is certainly possible that this alone — a “correct” application of business as usual — may bring about sufficient “real” transformation that problems disappear on their own through sheer business, technological and scientific ingenuity. That is, the beautiful communities based on trust and gifting that we envision are actually just around the corner — if only we would let the great Capitalist dance finish its performance on this planet, then we would see how wonderful things could and will be. Then again, it is also possible that trying to grow a new system as a mere “product” of the diligent application of the current system will continue to not work.

Original Post : thinking.nfshost.com/wiki/index.php?n=Main.OnResourceBasedEconomies


The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement splitting up

The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement is ‘splitting up’.

Personally, I think this is a good thing. Ever since I heard about The Venus Project (TVP), The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) and a Resource Based Economy (RBE), I thought that TZM should not be “the activist arm” of TVP. Rather, TZM  should be “the activist arm” of a Resource Based Economy.

A resource based economy can be many things, and The Venus Project holds but one of these solutions. The notion of RBE can not be defined by a single organization alone, like TVP or TZM. RBE has to be an ‘open system’, where all the people of this planet has to contribute. And as far as I am concerned, RBE is still a concept that has to be developed and take root deep in the mind of Humanity. Just like the notion of money and ownership is rooted in the mind of humanity now, the notion of a money- and propertyless society has to replace the old notion and become even deeper rooted. And this has to happen through the spreading of information through all possible channels.

TVP has a lot of good drawings and suggestions for new design and technology, but I feel they are lacking somewhat in understanding humans. I agree with many things that Mr. Jacque Fresco says, but I also disagree with a few.

RBE is a concept that has to take root in the mind of humanity, and the main aspect of it is not TVP and its drawings, it is the notion of a money- and propertyless society where we share and give instead of trade, buy and sell. This is the core of RBE. Sharing and giving. No matter how much we automate things or how many machines we have, this has to be and is the core of a resource based economy. Actually, it has nothing to do with technology, but everything to do with our mindset and values, and how we see the world. Any technological development and how we use technology will come as a result of this mindset. Actually, I do think that TVP have the same view. It is only that it tends to get a focus on machines and technology instead of humans and values.

The Venus Project has undoubtedly added valuable designs and thoughts to the pool of the knowledge of Mankind. Knowledge that shall and will be utilized in all ways possible. There is no doubt about that. But Jacque Fresco says outright that ‘we can’t create this new world without TVP’, which is a huge mistake. To rely on one person’s thoughts and designs for the whole planet is not only foolish, but impossible. There are too many creative and intelligent beings on this planet for this to happen. Not to speak of too many different preferences and cultures.

I think it is good that The Zeitgeist Movement is now on it’s own, and realizes that it is a ‘resource based economy’ that is the ‘umbrella term’, not ‘The Venus Project’. RBE can come in many different shapes and forms, not only TVP’s form. We can even have RBE without any new technology, with old wooden houses and horses and carts, which is what we actually had. In old times, there were many societies based on sharing and giving in stead of trading with each other. And the land was not owned by anyone. As said, RBE is not really about technology, but our mindset. Yes, technology will evolve, and we will use it, but technology is not the main point. Sharing, giving and collaborating freely is the point. A money- and propertyless economy is the point. A caring and compassionate society is the point.

TVP think that ‘everything has a technical solution’, and many things do, but then they tend to forget that Humans are not ‘technical solutions’. Well, our bodies are somewhat ‘technical’, but Humans also have feelings, thoughts and aspirations of their own. Humans has to realize for themselves this new world. Humans can not be told ‘this is the way things are, no go and do it!’. No, humans has to get their own experiences, and the mindset they are in has to change gradually. Unless the total mindset of Humanity changes away from trading, ownership and individual power towards sharing, collaboration and common strength, we will not get a resource based economy or anything like it on this planet. No matter how technologically developed we are.

One thing that seem totally absent in TVP is the understanding of consciousness.  How everything is connected, where the Life Force comes from, what thoughts really are, what mind is, what the soul is, why we are here and what our purpose really is. They seem to believe that absolutely everything we do is based on ‘conditioning by society’. Of course we get conditioned by society, but that doesn’t explain everything. One can ask ‘what conditions society’? Where does it all start?

Why does Mr. Fresco do what he does? Is it only conditioning? Then why didn’t his brother, or someone with similar ‘conditioning’ do what Fresco does? He clearly tells us that he went against the current in his young days. He didn’t want to stand up and sing the american national anthem because he believed in the whole world as our common land, not only USA. Now, if everyone around him was conditioned to one thing, why did he go the other way?

So, where did it come from, if not his conditioning? His DNA? It is now shown that also the DNA is not constant, but does change in regards to, yes, conditioning. But still, conditioning doesn’t explain all behavior. Personally, I believe that this ‘third element’, the element that is is not heritage (DNA), and not conditioning, is the element that comes with us when we are born. It is a personality and aspirations we bring with our consciousness from life to life.

Personally, I believe that we are consciousness, that everything is consciousness, that this world is created out of our thoughts, that the fear and the EGO is the basic things that are stopping us from reaching our goals, and that Love, Joy, Bliss and positive feelings will create positive results in this world. And that the search for Fulfillment is what is driving us to do the things we do. And this fulfillment is based on something invisible. Something that is inherent in us when we are born.

To me these questions are CRUCIAL to a Resource Based Economy. Because if we don’t have money or trade or barter, we would have to think totally different in terms of motivation. TVP’s motivation seems to be to eradicate war, pollution, natural disasters, etc. etc., which is all good, of course. But then what? What would be the meaning of life when we have eradicated all of that? TVP doesn’t seem to have an answer for this other than that ‘there will always be new problems to solve’. This might be well and good for TVP, but not all the world’s people, and certainly not me. I need deeper answers and reasons to live.

The struggle we have on this planet today, is not technological or scientific, it is a struggle of the EGO. We have to leave our egos behind to get this new world, RBE or whatever you want to call the ‘system’. In any case, a new ‘system’ alone can not save us, we have to bring with us the realization that ‘we are all one’. I am not saying that we can get rid of our egos completely. No, we only have to be aware of them, understand them and not let our words and actions be guided by them. Being guided by the ego is being guided by fear. Instead we have to look to Love and Peace in our guidance. Sounds like cliche’s, and they are. But there’s a reason why things become cliche’s, and that’s because cliches tend to be true.

I’ve criticized TVP more than TZM here for a reason. TZM was rightly enough initiated by Peter Joseph, but now TZM consists of a conglomerate of chapters and groups all over the planet, with many working diligently to spread awareness about RBE. This is not only the way it should be, but the only way it can be if this information is to reach any significant proportion of the population of this globe. Remember that not many people had heard about TVP before PJ made his films and TZM was started.

TVP, it seems to me, still consists basically of two persons holding the reins tight, not to let anyone interpret any of their information in their own way. They obviously also want the information to be spread across the globe, but seem to be so protective about their work that they won’t let anyone one else touch it without their approval. I understand that when someone has spent their life on designing so much houses, buildings, transportation, cities and more, credit is wanted, and a say in the building as well. But they need to let go of some control if they want their creations to see the light of day. The blueprints can be licensed out to contractors and countries around the world right now, and I am sure many would be interested in TVPs designs if they only let them out. There are many ways to do things, not only one.

I believe that the people of TVP are most sympathetic, intelligent and creative people, and that what they have done is nothing but incredible. And I believe they mean only well. I owe TVP all credit for putting me on the track of a resource based economy. I would like nothing better than to see this world become reality, but I hope and believe that all of us will create it together. That there will be room for many people’s designs and plans, and that we can and will have an open and fruitful communication and collaboration in creating this new society, where The Zeitgeist Movement still works to raise awareness about RBE, get people to think, inform and educate, while The Venus Project does the same, each in their own way, but towards our common goal.

Here are some links about what I think TVP is lacking in their thoughts about this new world:

The Moneyless Manifesto

Peerconomy

The Wealth of Networks

The Commoner

 

 


Money Makes Me Miserable

In my life, and in most people’s life, money has been a motivator of some sorts. Whether you are employed, self employed, a business owner, an investor, or unemployed, money is there in the mix. The question is, does the money element make us happy?

Well, yes and no. Money makes us happy when we get it, and unhappy when we don’t. If you’re anything but employed, with a fixed income, you should know what I’m talking about. The income may go up and down. Sometimes you have money, other times you don’t. And in the times you don’t, you tend to feel miserable.

We all need money. Or do we? More and more people live without money and are just fine with that. And without money, the reasons why you do stuff change. The reason can not be money anymore, at least. Then, what’s the motive for doing anything?

Of course, the motive would be to do what you like doing and what gives you some kind of fulfillment. To me, making movies and doing creative stuff that help other people gives me a great deal of fulfillment and joy.

I am self employed, and I need a monetary income. Still, lately, I have tried to ‘live without money’ in my mind. Instead of interacting with people because I need a job and want their money, I try to base everything I do in what I like doing and in giving service to others. And what I like doing is to create stunning moving images, developing myself as a film maker with all it’s aspects (directing, cutting, sound, etc.), and GIVE this product to the ones I do it for. Thus, my goal is to develop myself to be the best I can for others. And sharing what I do with the ones I do it for is a big fulfillment for me.

I am here now. I do not suffer. I have what I need. I have come to this point living through my whole life. I am not dead. I am alive, and I have always gotten what I needed. I trust that what I need will continue to come to me. And I do what I do because I have an urge to do it. I like doing it, it fulfills me and in helping others I get even more fulfilled. This is my ‘mantra’.

There is no mention of money in this mantra, and to me that feels wonderful. As soon as money becomes a motivation for doing anything of what I do, I get a stressful feeling in my chest, OR I get a cheerful feeling in my chest. All dependent on whether I get a lot or I get a little. In general, though, money as a motivator  makes me miserable. Why? Because money isn’t real. Money is only a made up entity. Money does nothing in the real world. It basically only functions as a filter, blurring the relationship between me and the tasks I perform, the people I interact with and the world at large.

Taking money out of the equation in my mind has changed everything. I feel much freer, more relaxed, much less stressful, happier. Basically, I feel more ME. I can do the things I do for a different reason. A True reason. A reason that truly makes me happy, fulfilled and in peace with myself. I pursue my path, not out of a need for money, but out of an urge to be of service to humanity. A believe me, even if this sounds grand, it is bound to make you feel a hell of a lot better than what money could ever make you feel. THIS feeling is a continuous feeling that only get’s bigger and bigger. Not like with money, where the good feeling comes and goes, depending on your monetary income and your ability to BUY stuff to make you feel better.

When I decided I would not let money run my life anymore, things also started to change, also in terms of money. It is a paradox, but that’s the way it is. When I don’t do things for money, money comes to me anyway. And so far, I have gotten what I need without a problem. I don’t say no to the money, since other people want them from me, like the electrical company, the landlord, the grocery store, and so on. If all the others, though, didn’t want money from me, I would gladly continue to do what I do for ‘free’. Except there would be no such thing as ‘free’ in a world where everything is free. ‘Free’ would be the norm, and we would all BE truly FREE.

Taking money out of the equation in my mind is a good start to train myself on ‘thinking without money’, and thus, a good way to start imagining what a resource based economy would be like, and what I would do in one.

Try it. No matter what you do today, you can try to think about the reason why you do it as one of service. Service to yourself and service to others. Take any monetary gain you have out of the equation and see what you are left with. Of course, if what you are left with is close to nothing, maybe you should think about changing what you do to something that really fulfills you. And, remember, being of service to yourself, your fellow being, and to humanity itself is a truly fulfilling thing. And with this as the guiding principle for living, there will always be ‘jobs’ for everyone.

 


The Moneyless Society – Love As The New Currency

How can it be? The moneyless society. It is very difficult to imagine, but I have been trying to do just that for the last couple of years. Basically, since I heard of The Venus Project and a resource based economy.

No money would really simplify a lot of things. My whole life, basically. Well, not only mine, but everyone’s. No need to set a price on anything. No need to pay for anything.

If there were no money. I could

  • Give my full concentration to what I love doing.
  • Go out and help anyone who needs help without thinking about making any money.
  • Travel anywhere.
  • Live anywhere.
  • Share whatever I want to share, with no regards to if I can ‘afford’ it or not.
  • Cooperate with people wanting to make this world a better place.
  • Working together with anyone who have the same interests as me.
  • Creating music.
  • Making films.

In a moneyless society another currency is demanded, though. And I think we can call this currency ‘Love’. It sounds like a cliche, but that depends on how you define ‘Love’. I define it as ‘the sum of all positive feelings’.

In other words, instead of money, one would get ‘Love’ in return for what one does. This love can be the joy one feels from doing it, the feelings of gratitude one gets from others, the feeling of completion when one finishes a task well done, or the feeling of happiness from being among the plants one has tended and now grows abundantly.

People need something in return from doing anything. And this something can be nothing less than Love in a moneyless society. Of course, one could give each other gifts and such, but what we are all after is that ultimate feeling of fulfillment, joy, happiness, bliss, excitement, or in one word: Love.

The ultimate feeling of Love (fulfillment, joy, happiness, bliss, excitement, etc) is actually what we all seek in money. We think that when we get unlimited access to money, we will feel the bliss we are missing in our lives. So, with a moneyless society it is important to be aware that what we are seeking is Love, and this love is found in all the tasks we are doing and things we are producing and sharing.

For a resource based economy to work we need to have a new currency, and this currency might just as well be Love, since this is the ultimate currency. With Love as the currency we can actually start today already. We don’t need to wait for technology to develop, or leaders to decide.

Of course, for Love to work as a currency we have to snap out of the value system we have in place today. We have to snap out of our egos, that never gives anything for free, but only asks ‘what’s in it for me?’. Well, actually, the ego can still ask ‘what’s in it for me?’ in a Love Based Society, because when one gives and shares with Love, Love will be given in return in abundance. THAT’S what’s in it for you.

Update:

When I talk about getting Love in the article, I do not mean that one gets Love back directly from the person one is giving to. One will get Love (meaning fulfillment, joy, etc…) from the act of doing itself  (giving is also an act of doing), as long as it is something one has a desire to do. And then, where does that Love come from? It can only come from the Creator. And, beware, the Creator in this case, is you, or your ‘higher self’. In other words, you are giving to yourself.

So, doing something one loves doing, something that gives fulfillment and joy, is the same as ‘receiving for the sake of bestowing’. Because when one does something only for the Love of it, what else can be the reason for doing it? One is receiving fulfillment, joy, Love…for what? Of course, for the desire to be fulfilled, for the desire to fulfill the Creator, which is you. And everyone has a conscious or unconscious drive towards this, because this is the basic meaning of Life.

So, everyone is doing this all the time, because this is what brings the most fulfillment to people. But it might also be done unconsciously most of the time. And one thing that stops people from truly being conscious about this is the mindset that the monetary system has created. The mindset that say’s that ‘I have to get something back to give something to you’. It is not only the monetary system that has created this, but also the ‘survival instinct’ we all seem to have. This instinct is produced by forgetting that we are not really our human bodies, but rather eternal consciousness(es) experiencing human life.

When everyone becomes conscious about this, it will be the end of money, because no money would have to change hands anymore. Nothing would be demanded in return for anything, since the Love would be an intrinsic reward in everything. And being conscious about this and ending the monetary system goes hand in hand.