The secret weapon for social transformation

its secretI Hold it lightly.

The more you complain about what is while trying to change it, the more you energize what is, thereby keeping it in place. You give it more sticking power. The same is true with trying to make something—presumably new and better than what is—happen.  The harder you try, the more you energize the absence of the change you want to see.

So profound is this secret, you’ll find it in all master-level pursuits:

Auto racing: Indy car drivers are taught that if their car is out of control and they’re careening toward a wall, they should look in the direction they want to go, not the direction they’re going.  From an edmunds.com article on advanced driving:

“Avoiding accidents: Racing drivers know that if a car spins out in front of them, it’s best to keep looking at where you want to go, not at the car in front of you or even in the direction in which the car is already going. When you look in the right direction, the car goes in the right direction, a reminder of the way in which vision and car control are inextricably intertwined.”

Master-level martial artist: Every master-level martial artist knows resisting an attackers attack energizes the attack, making it more effective. The more you redirect attacker-energy in your favor, i.e. not resisting the attack, the more powerful you become. Nearly all martial arts emphasize mastering this skill.

Personal survival: Riptides are dangerous. What makes them doubly so is if you try to fight your way out of it once you get caught in one. Swim against the force pulling you out and you’ll likely drown from exhaustion. I love this description from the website Art of Manliness:

Don’t try to swim against the rip. Deaths that result from riptides aren’t caused by the current pulling someone under; instead, the person typically panics, starts trying to swim against the rip to get back to shore, becomes exhausted, and drowns. An 8-feet-per-second riptide is so strong that not even Michael Phelps, even when he had that amazing mustache, could swim against it. Don’t kick against the pricks. Swim parallel to the shore. Instead of swimming against the rip current, you want to swim perpendicular to it, in either direction. Rip currents are typically only 20-100 feet wide. Once you leave the rip, swim at an angle away from it towards the shore. Go with the flow. If you don’t have the swimming skills or energy to swim out of the rip, float on your back and go with the current. Just imagine you’re taking a spin on the Lazy River at the water park you went to as a kid. Once the rip current dissipates, you can do the parallel swim thing or try to signal to the lifeguard or someone else that you’re in need of help.

See that part about “go with the flow”?  Exactly.

So what does all this mean regarding creating the world we all know is possible?  Good question.  And here’s where the secret waits patiently for our discovery.  Hold it lightly my friends.  Here’s how I do it:

  1. I pay no attention to the world around me if I feel resistance about it.  What is, is what’s becoming.  Focusing on what is only gives me more of that.  Instead, I pay attention to the world I prefer seeing.  When I do I feel lighter, as you let go of stress you carry around being frustrated and angry about what you see on tv, read online or in print, or hear from your well meaning friends.
  2. Create in your mind what you would prefer to have that would replace what is. Don’t worry about details.  Think instead about how that new world would feel. Would it be fun?  Pleasurable?  Interesting?  Adventurous?  Exciting?  Hold onto this vision, this set of feelings, for as long as you can as often as you can throughout the week.
  3. Hold lightly to that idea, let it percolate.  Be light and easy.  Play around with the vision you created in the previous step.  Let go of any thoughts of “making it happen” or “doing something in the world” that will lead to this vision.  Your holding onto this vision is more powerful.
  4. Be open to inspiration.  Successful with the above steps, you’ll find yourself in short order being compelled to take action.  Follow that instinct/intuition.  See where it leads.  It takes practice learning to pay attention to this feeling.  Take the advice of Yoda and Obi-wan—”Trust your feelings.”
  5. Do less, play more.  Replace all that time you spent reading, talking, and thinking about what is with time spent having fun.  Take up a fun hobby, develop a new skill, meet new people, go out on dates—whatever is fun.  These periods allow your mind and the universe to collaborate, to create opportunities for you to discover pathways to the world you envisioned in step two.

You’ll find yourself through these five steps mastering the power of creation.  In a little time you’ll discover not only pathways leading you to opportunities, people, events, and ideas that support the creation of the world you want to see, you’ll also discover your life becoming more fun, easier, lighter.

When all is said and done, what we want is that last part. We want our lives to be fun, easy and light.  Truth is, you can have that now, without anything changing in the world around you.  But it is oh so much fun creating new realities.

You’ve just learned the secret weapon to creating real, social change.  Have fun with it.  Play.  Create.

 

Every Revolutionary Should Know This

RevolutionI want to change society, the economic system, politics…I want to see everything improved. I think the best way that happens is stigmergy.

Social revolution is not going to happen through the old ways. It’s too easy manipulating through the media old ways previous generations mastered. New ways are needed, ones impervious to infiltration and disruption.

It’s great inspiration draws people to the streets. I’m for that, if that’s what you’re compelled to do.

Technology and the internet, however, create revolution’s new normal. They allow people to operate in independent yet coordinated ways then share their results. Doing so they create momentum faster and more potent than before. Without stigmergy, changes take a long time, get corrupted, and often fail.

What is stigmergy? From Wikipedia

Stigmergy is a mechanism of indirect coordination between agents or actions. The principle is that the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a next action, by the same or a different agent. In that way, subsequent actions tend to reinforce and build on each other, leading to the spontaneous emergence of coherent, apparently systematic activity.

Stigmergy is a form of self-organization. It produces complex, seemingly intelligent structures, without need for any planning, control, or even direct communication between the agents. As such it supports efficient collaboration between extremely simple agents [or complex ones like humans]….

Some common examples of stigmergy in action: A city will design a park with planners deciding where sidewalks will be. But users sometimes will carve better, more efficient pathways. Do the users hold a meeting, analyze the problem, come up with alternative design solutions, rank them, then pick the

A well-worn stigmergic creation.
A well-worn stigmergic creation.

best one? Of course not. Users choose the most efficient path on their own. In time, others do the same. Eventually, a clear, well-worn path results. This path is more efficient, and therefore more frequently used by those who follow.

Ant colonies operate on stigmergic principles. As do bees. Swarms of birds and schools of fish exhibit fast-moving stigmergic behavior. Even swarm drone technology exhibits such behavior: autonomous flying machines, operating independently, yet connected and as a whole, collect data about their surroundings while moving in a self-coordinated fashion.

Stigmergy in Copiosis

Stigmergy is working for Copiosis. For example, our Net Benefit Algorithm emerged in the same way a path gets created through a field. I threw down an admittedly crappy version. Then, one by one, people gave input, making the formula more and more fit. We’re still refining it, even today, but I’m amazed how quickly – just a matter of weeks, we went from nothing, to a nearly-workable formula, to now, a robust, working product.

Our current developing Action Group is forming the same way. Our current developing Action Group is forming the same way. Thanks to people like Simone and Justin, TC and KJ, Shannon and so many more, we’re amplifying out messages across social media. I couldn’t do that alone. But with little trail blazing by me, we now have several picking that trail up where I left off. And the results are promising.

Our core team has gone from just me to a small group of people from around the world with outstanding credentials and expertise. We are moving forward on all cylinders. I’m eager to see how things unfold from here.

The more tangible results we produce, the more team members get active, helping produce more results. As the team grows, better ideas emerge. More team members feel empowered by others’ acts. For example, today I see other team members answering questions about Copiosis in ways that rival in quality answers I give. This is stigmergy in action.

A field criss-crossed with stigmergic paths
A field criss-crossed with stigmergic paths

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violence is so 19th Century

Direct and often violent revolution is what our forefathers used to create social change. Revolutions start well-meaning. A few or even one leading actor can start them. As such movements grow. But if the leadership doesn’t foster fresh perspectives, adopting instead traditional structures, strategies and tactics, such movements weaken or stop moving forward. Those who would dismantle such movements can do so easily: they remove the leader, or infiltrate the organization and create chaos or indecision. These subversive tactics destroy movements from the inside when the movement relies on the old ways.

Violence is a non-starter if the opposition has more guns than you.

Stigmergy benefits from passion, interest and individual focus requiring loose cooperation. You want to create an event to raise money? Go for it. Interested in joining that guy organizing that fundraiser? Have at it! You think you can create a better way to raise funds? Try it out and let’s see.

The 80-20 rule.

Initially, 20 percent of the team often ends up doing most of the early work. However, as those actors achieve more and more tangible results, they gain more and more attention while generating more momentum. Other team members see the successes. They get excited as they are drawn to the pull success creates: everyone wants to be part of something that’s winning. In short order, you have a fully-engaged, active team, rallying around well-worn pathways that began as the small acts of one or two or five people.

In the end, the 80-20 rule works in the organization’s favor. And the bigger the follower numbers get, it’s logical expecting that the 20 percent group gets bigger too, meaning more work gets done.

I want improvement, something I call fundamental change. Sometimes I’m daunted by the task. Stigmergy helps lighten that load. It’s worked so far. I’m happy sticking with that plan.

Let’s really revolutionize education

Education or indoctrinationI understand the case for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. STEM education has powered many of America’s powerful corporations. Hard to counter that, but I’m going to try.

Some would say STEM education is keeping America competitive.   The education revolution I’m talking about is much broader and deeper.  A more daring leap that will work.

The revolution I’m talking about puts any nation that becomes a Copiosis first-adopter so far beyond the reach of others in terms of any factor worth measuring, other nations would have no choice but to follow the first-adopter’s lead.

The education revolution I’m referring to, which inevitably follows closely behind a transition to a Copiosis economy, acknowledges that not every young person wants to be STEM-educated.  The revolution I’m supporting allows a wide variety of educational paths that are bound to cause exciting inflection points—turning points followed by dramatic change.  New opportunities could result for everyone, including teachers, administrators, activists, and parents, not just artists, musicians, poets, and history majors.

The revolution I support allows education to catch up with the new people being born.  They aren’t fit for desks, classrooms, massive class sizes, and programs constrained by costs.  They don’t want to be forced to learn  corporate and national propaganda.  They want to explore, be inspired, be emancipated on their own terms.

For those who want STEM education also would benefit from such an approach.

I’m not talking about changing the way the education system works.  I’m talking about opening the gates to all kinds of educational alternatives, alternatives that may not work, alternatives that may knock our socks off.  It’s not deregulation.  It’s lowering the barriers.  It’s disruptive from the level of teacher up.  From the level of student up.

Rather than locking down education to a certain style consistent with mass-producing worker bees rather than fully functional human beings, I’m talking about changes that allow each person to reach her full potential, whatever that may be, as determined by her.  I mean a style that trusts people to work together in a context free of earning a living, debt, jobs, and compromise.  I don’t know what the new education system will look like, but letting people whose passion is education work with learners in a context where people are rewarded for results holds great promise.  By results I mean what people actually do with their education in the real world and how well what they do makes people and the planet better off.

In Copiosis economies, this is possible.  In traditional systems where hierarchy, corporate mandates, and political pressure—not emancipating human spirits—shape how our young people learn, we can’t achieve what I’m describing.  Too many forces fight to shape the educational system, including that system’s content—what is taught and what is not taught.  The goal is always producing “job seekers” instead of radical independent thinkers capable of creating success on their own terms.  The former are malleable.  The latter are dangerous because they threaten power.

And yet, humanity’s future depends more on radical independent thinkers than ever before.  Creating success on your own terms is soon going to be the only way to success.  It’s our future.

The blessing that is Copiosis promises education on par with that future.  It’s why our innovation is crucial.  It’s why so many resonate with it.

Humanity isn’t waiting for an education overhaul.  It’s already being born.  Many of its young members are prepared to do what Jacob Barnett did—live authentically despite destructive, coercive attempts to squelch that authenticity.

The traditional system is done.  Yes, it works for some.  Meanwhile how many Jacob Barnetts are out there, having to deal with a status quo second in its inadequacy only to the larger system that perpetuates it.  Well, that and maybe our healthcare system.

That’s another story.

 

How to change the world

The secret to changing the worldChanging the world is a big task, so let’s start with the world between your ears.

It’s easier to make a change in your head than to change the world around you.  While that’s true, changing what goes on in your head is by no means easy.  Make change in there though, and you’re most of the way to changing the world out there.  That’s why starting in there is important.

Are you in top condition?

We are all products of conditioning that dictates how we see the world.  Conditioning and habit dictate behavior.  Habit is practiced conditioning.  Some habits you started learning not long after your birth, some you learned later in life. Some were taught to you by parents, teachers, peers; others you learned yourself.  Change these habits, this conditioning, and your world-changing ability increases.

Imagine if you were conditioned at, say, five, developed a habit around that conditioning through practice, then  practiced that habit until you were 40.  Changing that habit would be pretty hard, don’t you think?  You might not even recognize the habit as a habit, or the conditioning that lead to the habit.  It might be an essential part of who you’ve become, especially if you’re surrounded by people sharing that same habit, and who also practiced that habit since they were very young.

Imagine that you developed a belief or a behavior pattern (a habit of thinking or acting) after a particularly intense, emotional experience (conditioning)—a painful end to a relationship early in life, a particularly embarrassing public experience, or a hard, long-term financial struggle, such as surviving the Great Depression.  You might find it impossible to change that way of being.  You may not even want to change it, especially if you feel that habit could protect you from having to face that intense emotional experience again.

Such habits are hard to identify and separate from who we are.  As I’m writing this, I’m accessing my own behavior patterns so I can relate a personal experience of all this.  It’s hard because my habits feel like who I am.  So, seeing them as habits, selecting one, then identifying the conditioning experience that created it in the first place … ah, found one.

I was born in Southern California, and the neighborhood I grew up in was overwhelmingly Caucasian.  Though I look African-American, I never once had a racial incident the whole time I lived in California.  After my parents divorced, I relocated to Virginia, then Atlanta.  There, in mostly African-American neighborhoods, I learned how people use behaviors, appearance, and mannerisms to exclude those different from them.  I was bullied, harassed, robbed, teased—things that didn’t happen in California—by people who looked just like me.

The conclusion I drew, and which still dictates my preferences today, is that I’m more comfortable and accepted around Caucasian people than when I’m around people who look like me.  I have developed the habit of spending time with Caucasians and avoiding people who look like me.  Today it feels like a preference.  That’s all.  Although I now recognize the habitualness of the practiced thought and the conditioning that caused the habit, the energy required to change that preference, or habit, if I had the desire to change it, would require more than just mental energy.  It would require modifying my lifestyle.

Imagine the enormous numbers of preferences and beliefs we all hold in our heads.  Think about how your own beliefs dictate your behavior, including your thoughts about the world around you.  I would go so far as to say most of them are highly beneficial.  Yet, when it comes to becoming a change agent, habits we call culture, belief, morals, and collections of rituals such as religion, especially when shared by millions, or even the majority of the human race, pose a problem.  If you’re wanting to change the global economic system, or the justice system, or the political system, clarifying your own thoughts (habits of belief) is a prerequisite to changing the world.

Do you believe money is evil?  Do you believe people who have a lot of it will resist your efforts?  Do you believe the money system is impossible to change?  Do you believe there are secret cabals working to keep people enslaved through money?  aDo you think life is hard and suffering is just a part of life?  Do you believe things will never change?

Considering these questions can help begin the process of identifying what you believe about the world around you.  The beliefs can point to the conditioning you may need to undo.  Unless you understand your beliefs, you may be unknowingly sabotaging your own efforts to change.

Change agency begins with recognizing your physical existence as a collection of habits and realizing that all habits can change.  The next step is realizing what your own habits are and changing those that work against your efforts to effect change in your head or in the world.