Systemic Integration of Freedom and Respect for Blockchains and Other Crypto Projects
by Wes Bertrand, MA counseling psychology
The company Blockchains in Sparks, NV has been seeking to change the world. Their office displays the “To the crazy ones” poem from Apple’s famous “Think Different” ad campaign. Change in how humans accomplish things and relate to each other (and to the planet) remains the greatest challenge. This treatise examines personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal processes and systems, and it advocates ones with optimal functioning that can hold everyone’s needs with equal care. Win/win, free market interactions honor needs, such as enrichment, respect, freedom, and fun. An integrated vision of human freedom and interpersonal respect accords with intrinsic motivation and openness to change. Humans thrive within an adaptive and dynamic range involving Balance, Resilience, Insight, and Empathy (Dr. Dan Siegel’s BRIE acronym). Neither rigidity nor chaos works well for us for any length of time. Largely due to our present culture of domination and punishment-oriented systems, fixed-oriented mindsets tend to be the norm. Yet, fear of change or, rather, of the uncertainty and vulnerability that might accompany it, can be relieved via compassionate understanding. We can finally make a holistic transition that honors ourselves as precious and resourceful beings, thinking and feeling organisms psychologically adapted to a future of flourishing.
Blockchains’ Mission Statement
Organizational Stages and Systemic Influences
The Unjust Nature of Politics
Reflections on the Origins of Obedience
Reality Mimicking Dystopian Fiction
Expounding on Contentions and Realizations
Blockchains for Community, Instead of Dysfunctional Political Systems
Inner and Systemic Change
Blockchains’ Mission Statement (Sparks, NV, Summer 2019—now outdated)
Promote and demonstrate the ethical use and innovation of technologies and ideas that empower the individual, improve social coordination, and provide sustainable infrastructure.
As noted on the github DCE repository, under conditions of collaborative projects.md:
Individuals should have input in the development and design of systems, technological or otherwise, that affect them…
…Individuals unsatisfied with the systems affecting them have the right to exit them.
Furthermore, in this promotional video – Blockchains | Sandbox City https://youtu.be/sr1lch2Pbh4 – a girl protagonist articulates a societal problem:
You attached yourself to the corporations, the rule-makers, and the status quo.
Attaching ourselves to these things unfortunately seems rather effortless in our modern social and political world. So, it takes some effort to think in other ways and do different things. Yet in changing these patterns of the past, we can attach ourselves to things that more consistently promote our lives and well-being. The various patterns that hinder the above mission tend to reflect our damaged and oftentimes disconnected culture. In this treatise we’ll explore how these hindrances can be overcome and what particular insights and strategies reflect healed systems, on psychological, interpersonal, organizational, and political levels. Let’s investigate.
Organizational Stages and Systemic Influences
Nearly all of our species’ history, over 95% of it, consisted of living in small groups and tribes with various magical and mystical worldviews. While these offered minimal scientific understanding of causal mechanisms in nature (and within persons), various rituals, routines, and rules with word-of-mouth wisdom were used and passed on. Such knowledge and practices helped our species survive in various environments for countless generations, including during harsh glacial periods for some populations. Childhood mortality rates were abysmal by today’s standards (up to half dying before puberty), yet the genes of our species continued to replicate and manifest in new people, giving rise to cultural changes and stages.
Fashioning tools from wood, stone, and bone enabled hunting, fishing, and gathering for sustenance, living from season to season. Though hard to fathom now in our age of relatively astounding technological advances, these primitive tools enabled highly similar cycles of life and death to continue for a couple thousand centuries, roughly ten thousand generations of humans. Yet, in such a survival orientation, not much long-term thinking and forecasting (let alone innovation) were done.
With the Neolithic period came the advent of domestication and agricultural methods, as well as a new, monumental method to transform society and pass on knowledge and technology: written language. As more permanent structures were formed and goods were stockpiled, more values were traded from the wealth that was produced. New aspects of reality were discovered and utilized, leading to many advances in civilization, enabling humans to better take care of themselves and each other.
However, civilization also brought much discontent and disease. On a collective level and in many interpersonal ways, humans were still thinking in terms of win/lose, based on emotions of fear, distrust, and animosity. So, they devised and maintained hierarchical organizations to direct, control, and even enslave people, trying to provide stability with fixed roles and scalable procedures. Central-planning mentalities thought that they could get more done amidst large and complex operations, from constructing huge pyramids to chartering vast ocean voyages.
Commerce began flowing in all directions too, as did swords, shields, bows, arrows, and blood. Expansive realms of authoritarian rule, such as the Achaemenid and Roman Empires, have continued in various forms into our modern times; the list of big empires is lengthy, to say the least. Throughout the history of civilization, humans have been subjected to a myriad of dominions and reigns, in the form of empires, dynasties, kingdoms, and nations, both arising from and resulting in multitudes of wars and conquests. YouTuber Bill Wurtz offers an eccentric portrayal of this and the many human geographical changes over the centuries, which starts at about the following time-stamp, four minutes into his nineteen-minute video.
history of the world, i guess
Coercive strategies have been used in appalling amounts throughout human history and, as we’ll investigate, humans are still using them. Below is a quite informative graphic by author Frederick Laloux, from his profound 2014 book, Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness, and his summary article “The Future of Management Is Teal,” which shows the stages of cultural (and psychological) evolution in human organizations:
We can be thankful for the latest, noncoercive aspects of our cultural evolution in relation to cooperation and value-exchange. Hopefully, the coercive aspects will become less appealing. The stages and colors in the chart are drawn from the Integral Theory work of Ken Wilber as well as Spiral Dynamics Integral work of Clare Graves, Don Beck, Andrew Cohen, and others. Different levels, or stages, are given different colors. Within Integral Theory impulsiveness-oriented organizations are Red, and they use division of labor along with command authority (e.g., tribal militias). Conformity-oriented organizations are Amber, and they use more stable roles and long-term replicable processes, along with familiar top-down, command-and-control methods, which we’ll be investigating (e.g., governments and public schools).
More recent achievement-oriented organizations are Orange, and they value innovation, accountability, and meritocracy to a much greater degree than Amber, while they use pyramidal, goal-oriented management to compete in the marketplace (e.g., Fortune 500 corporations). Much more recent empowerment-oriented organizations are Green; while they still maintain a hierarchical (corporate) model, they beneficially embrace more egalitarian forms of management, delegate more authority to people in their jobs, and take into account more than the company itself (i.e., its explicit goal to maximize shareholder wealth) in order to honor multiple stakeholders.
Green also highly values pluralism and equality, which can give rise to strategies that fail to factor in different levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities in human interaction. In contrast to Orange’s rationality and scientific thinking, Green ventures into postmodernism, with its deconstruction of hierarchies and dogmas as well as explicitly non-objective claims.
The next stage in the organizational process and mindset is given the color of Teal. In addition to including the useful (and non-harmful) aspects of prior colors—thus, achieving integration—Teal finally moves beyond, or transcends, the pyramidal models. It tends to function as a living organism, as it honors self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose.
We can glean a lot from the aspects of stages leading up to Teal. Humans reared in an obedience-to-authority paradigm are prone to trying to control people, or keep them under control. Since time immemorial, these stages have been extensively modeled for children as they mature in society, and they often involve emotions of fear, insecurity, distrust, anger, disgust, resentment, along with thoughts and judgments giving rise to antagonism, involving enemy images. To understand and empathize with these disturbing elements can enable us to free ourselves and others, so we don’t repeat such costly cycles of the past.
Modern, domination-oriented (Amber) institutions are in our midst mostly because nearly all of us experienced distrustful injunctions as children: “Speak only when spoken to.” “You’re to be seen and not heard.” “You should be ashamed of yourself!” Children are typically judged implicitly or explicitly as being clumsy, slobbish, disrespectful, out of control, rough, loud, exhausting, depleting, ungrateful, selfish, needy, and so on. These judgments tend to flow habitually from past action-reaction cycles; they are the self-fulfilling prophecies of previously sacrificed needs (when adults were themselves children).
Of course, in our culture both children and adults are accused of being selfish, which can be used as a catch-all term for anything related to self-interest. The accusation often comes with a desire for a world in which everyone strives to be selfless, or focused mainly on helping others instead of oneself.
Notice how this contrasts with a desire for a world in which everyone strives for self-understanding and self-actualization, thereby allowing everyone’s needs to be considered and held with equal care. After all, a respectful understanding of the self tends to naturally generate consideration and thoughtfulness, which are qualities that serve humanity far more than selflessness. Problems with self-esteem and self-integration cannot be remedied by vilifying or abandoning the self. Yet, self-abandonment is the take-away for children when they’re admonished for being “selfish.”
When compassionate understanding of the self is sacrificed, the developmental wounds of the “ego” continue to be shame-ridden and guilt-ridden, forming protector parts. These parts tend to practice the traditional arts of manipulation and sacrifice among fellow victims of dissociation, or self-disconnection. When scaled up to coercive systems, we witness and experience both dictatorial attitudes and mystical ones, each demanding more sacrifices of mind and body. Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand expressed the grave difficulties of this via her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, in the words of protagonist John Galt:
A mystic is driven by the urge to impress, to cheat, to flatter, to deceive, to force that omnipotent consciousness of others. ‘They’ are his only key to reality, he feels that he cannot exist save by harnessing their mysterious power and extorting their unaccountable consent. ‘They’ are his only means of perception and, like a blind man who depends on the sight of a dog, he feels he must leash them in order to live. To control the consciousness of others becomes his only passion; power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.
Every dictator is a mystic, and every mystic is a potential dictator. A mystic craves obedience from men, not their agreement. He wants them to surrender their consciousness to his assertions, his edicts, his wishes, his whims—as his consciousness is surrendered to theirs. He wants to deal with men by means of faith and force—he finds no satisfaction in their consent if he must earn it by means of facts and reason. Reason is the enemy he dreads and, simultaneously, considers precarious; reason, to him, is a means of deception; he feels that men possess some power more potent than reason—and only their causeless belief or their forced obedience can give him a sense of security, a proof that he has gained control of the mystic endowment he lacked. His lust is to command, not to convince: conviction requires an act of independence and rests on the absolute of an objective reality. What he seeks is power over reality and over men’s means of perceiving it, their mind, the power to interpose his will between existence and consciousness, as if, by agreeing to fake the reality he orders them to fake, men would, in fact, create it.
One might sense a sort of sinister intent being portrayed by Rand. Unfortunately, she did not know a lot about the psychological nature of protector parts that form from childhood trauma, so she didn’t consider such wounds from a compassionate perspective that’s needed for healing.
In such a problematic psychological and societal context, fear of doing things differently can give rise to the thought that institutional alterations are impractical and uncertain, making them even scarier propositions. And this is based on an underlying belief that things will likely go badly if dramatic change is implemented. So, the status quo is preferable and the status-quo bias remains, despite its many seen and unseen costs. Identifying these costs can certainly help us understand more of what we’re truly missing, though fears along with rationalizations can still impede full recognition of many serious downsides of the status quo.
Distrust of fellow human beings tends to be coupled to fears. Being guarded and protected instead of open and vulnerable runs parallel with the tragic elements of human history. Violent clashes between persons and groups represent the fight-for-survival stage of Red (in tooth and claw). Amidst all the vibrant, creative, and friendly commerce happening today, which represent authentic, win/win survival strategies, many institutionalized, coercive survival strategies persist. The military/industrial and prison/industrial complexes stand as ominous testaments to this.
Despite the pervasive distrust throughout society that’s reflected in command-and-control organizations, we humans continue to voluntarily assist each other in countless ways for our survival and flourishing. This represents the soulful life-force of respect, equality of rights, compassion, and love residing in the depths of our minds and hearts, which yearns to be recognized, appreciated, and reciprocated.
With computerization and the Internet, we have a world of knowledge and communication possibilities at our fingertips. No doubt, there can be drawbacks to virtual rather than real-life interactions, as the realm of social media tends to demonstrate on a daily basis. Problems with “walled gardens” and echo chambers of beliefs and attitudes linger. A culture of trust, empathy, and understanding can be harder to foster online when persons don’t really know each other, which is compounded when they remain anonymous, or maintain undisclosed identities. Unheeded emotions and moralistic judgment can transform discussions into hostile arguments. Few judgments are as definitive as “bad” and “wrong,” in opposition to “good” and “right.” These labels commonly serve as shortcuts to expressing dislikes and likes, or describing persons and circumstances as either life-diminishing or life-enriching.
Coercive organizations and systems basically uphold and foster demand-oriented thinking. When humans are viewed fundamentally as untrustworthy, demands become coercive substitutes for requests. A purported request with an implicit threat behind it is still a demand. Requests come with the option to say “No, thanks” without a reaction of hostility or punishment, which meets the need for respect and, just as importantly, the need to respect others.
People who’ve been immersed in Red and Amber (even Orange and Green) stages have been trained to value power-over strategies and to view requests as hindering command-and-control systems, since requests might not be fulfilled, while demands must be fulfilled—or else! These win/lose systems have been devised and used in an attempt to aid in human survival and safety; historically, the in-group must make sacrifices and prevent out-groups from intruding on them or harming them.
So, demands (backed by threats) tend to reflect the fear about one’s wellness or survival being jeopardized, irrespective of the costs of the paradigm of win/lose. This paradigm contains an ethical and political contradiction—that some people’s needs matter more (or less) than other people’s needs, thus rationalizing power-over strategies. It unfortunately begets more of itself, as all self-fulfilling prophecies tend to do.
History has shown that humans are exceedingly capable of generating and perpetuating in-group/out-group dynamics, whereby “the other” is deemed untrustworthy (and “they wouldn’t trust us, even if we trusted them”) and, thus, unworthy of equal rights and respect. This destructive capability seems to emerge directly from imbalances in needs-fulfillment within child/adult relationships, which are reflected in insecure attachment patterns (be they anxious, ambivalent, avoidant, or disorganized). We learn many things as impressionable children, in need of love and security.
Insecurity about one’s capacity to interact in win/win ways, or insecurity about the benefits of such interaction, also gives rise to domination thinking. As psychologist Marshall Rosenberg (founder of Nonviolent Communication, or NVC) noted, age-old “right/wrong” and “good/bad” judgments can be viewed as tragic ways of expressing feelings and needs. Since the central matter as mortal beings remains our feelings and needs, moralistic judgment tends to be a less direct and less accurate way to express them, which can decrease the likelihood of win/win interactions and mutually helpful solutions. When domination systems become viewed as “necessary and proper” to meet needs (implicitly or explicitly) for safety, security, order, and stability, the huge costs to human well-being and flourishing tend to go unnoticed—as if there were no other way.
Despite what we probably initially learned in family and school systems (and then later in governmental systems), needs-fulfillment doesn’t have to be win/lose. Yet, politics always spells win/lose processes and outcomes for everyone, though some of course lose more thoroughly than others who know how to use the system for short-term advantages. When a society has political rulers, their rules (aka, laws and regulations) are imposed on everyone, sacrificing needs for freedom, autonomy, choice, independence (and chosen interdependence), justice, respect, and respect for others. Massive amounts of unnecessary suffering and diminishment of people’s lives are the direct outcomes.
A sentiment expressed in the following document brings us to our present technological circumstances amidst the politics of Amber stage:
Building The Hyperconnected Future On Blockchains
New technology allows government to extend its services in new ways. The original conception inside of Bitcoin and Ethereum (two leading blockchain projects) was that many goverment-type services could be provided without strong reliance on state support. However, as our understanding of the blockchain has matured, it becomes increasingly apparent that the blockchain is a natural fit for the needs of the state.
Notice how an alleged maturation of understanding in blockchain technology is viewed through the unquestioned lens of governmental involvement. This reasoning assumes that technological innovation can be beneficially coupled with government, because it’s an institution that’s assumed to be necessary and proper.
Though cryptocurrencies and blockchains can disrupt coercive, governmental processes (first and foremost in personal banking and commerce), a quite non-disruptive conclusion is being drawn by most people in both sectors presently. Governmental jurisdiction, regulation, and control remain the not-to-be-challenged assumptions. Here again, we encounter a major fear of change—change that can result in a paradigm shift, which doesn’t have to come at the expense of a future of human respect and flourishing.
Essentially, when emotions aren’t fully understood and premises aren’t thoroughly checked, contradictions and costs tend to go unnoticed. In contrast, when feelings are acknowledged and empathized with, inconsistencies and harms can be recognized and remedied; the status quo then can be disrupted in favor of principles that enable life-giving processes.
The Unjust Nature of Politics
“Language creates spooks that get into our heads and hypnotize us.”
—Robert Anton Wilson, Introduction to The Tree of Lies (by Christopher S. Hyatt. Ph.D.)
As individuals, we can immensely value win/win interactions, which come with no demands or threats. Nearly all of us seek to maximize enriching experiences, no matter the size of our society.
However, as noted, human culture has also been immersed in another, non-enriching process that involves compliance with demands, threats, and punishments. Conformity to demands and expectations of the family and community is typically part of our early development, since as children we need to survive in these systems. Then later, as we continue to deal with similar demands and expectations by organizations called governments, we tend to have rationalizations for pragmatic strategies. We might find ourselves tacitly accepting or actively endorsing aspects of taxation, regulation, and centralized control of money (“legal tender”), which enables us to avoid being considered a criminal under statist law and by its many supporters.
For the many supporters of this systemic coercion, the provision of such valuable things as roads, education, health care, and even the Internet is deemed impossible without government. Persons comprising the private sector, or marketplace, are considered incapable of providing such values on their own. So, the belief goes, aspects of their wealth must be expropriated, and their various activities must be regulated by “government” (i.e., other persons choosing to comprise this institution).
After all, this reasoning goes, people are “selfish and greedy,” so they would be unwilling to voluntarily pay for various services that bestow positive externalities on society, such as safe and peaceful communities and an educated populace. Nonetheless, some people already pay both taxes that fund “public” services as well as additional fees for alternative or extra marketplace services, such as “private” schools and security services.
Forcing people to provide for the public sector is the mainstay of a domination system of legalized coercion, a system that ironically is considered necessary to ensure everyone’s well-being and safety. This amounts to assuming the conclusion: Government exists; therefore, we must have government (and further circular arguments). Even though this system’s rights-violating strategies thwart countless choices and desires of people—creating a quite distorted version of a marketplace—they are still viewed as normal, the price we must pay for an institution that allegedly protects us and provides for us.
How tragic that such a spell can be so effectively cast on mature and capable people for untold generations. Most people don’t work directly in the “public sector,” after all, although a sizable minority do. Essentially, everyone has experienced indoctrination during childhood in a confused culture, which is traditionally filled with power-over (instead of power-with) strategies. As children, we are instructed to pledge allegiance to both a flag and a form of government that allegedly upholds “liberty and justice for all.” Our so-called citizenship is supposedly honored in exchange for government protecting us and providing for us. What’s not pointed out is that this purported “social contract,” as outlined in the 17th and 18th centuries by theorists such as Grotius, Pufendorf, Locke, and Rousseau, has no validity—and, further, that it comes at our major expense, at great sacrifice, in a plethora of ways both seen and unseen.
Few if any of us were taught in schools (especially governmental schools) about 19th century legal scholar Lysander Spooner. He threw off the mental shackles of indoctrination and trenchantly refuted the nature of a social contract (as alleged by the U.S. Constitution) in his treatise No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. He published the following in 1867-70:
The number who actually consented to the Constitution of the United States, at the first, was very small. Considered as the act of the whole people, the adoption of the Constitution was the merest farce and imposture, binding upon nobody.
The women, children, and blacks, of course, were not asked to give their consent. In addition to this, there were, in nearly or quite all the States, property qualifications that excluded probable one half, two thirds, or perhaps even three fourths, of the white male adults from the right of suffrage. And of those who were allowed that right, we know not how many exercised it.
Furthermore, those who originally agreed to the Constitution, could thereby bind nobody that should come after them. They could contract for nobody but themselves. They had no more natural right or power to make political contracts, binding upon succeeding generations, than they had to make marriage or business contracts binding upon them.
Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
No doubt, these statements tend to come across as shocking to the average American—and of course, most shocking if you’ve attended law school. Nearly all of us were instructed in school to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which tended to shape our sensibilities and beliefs before we could critically examine its meaning. Such indoctrination makes institutions such as law school seem normal and even needed.
While the Constitution was not a valid and legally binding contract for those in society, including anyone today, abiding by it is commonly taken for granted. From the voices in media, in universities, and seemingly everywhere in between, Americans typically do not question many political processes and the underlying assumptions that drive them. Even though America is typically lauded or criticized for being a bastion of individualism, we Americans have been taught mostly to believe and do what we’re told by teachers, professors, and various other authority figures.
While every child naturally has intrinsic motivation to learn new things and explore uncharted mental terrain, this inquisitiveness is gradually replaced by extrinsic motivators and obedience to the societal and political status quo. Needless to say, we cannot change the world for the better by following these well-worn paths.
Presently, humanity’s philosophical stagnation and ideological entrenchment rest on many unchallenged assumptions. These factors do more than hinder technological achievement of Earthly bliss as a species (e.g., sustainability in sectors of energy, agriculture, waste disposal, and healthy population growth). They also hinder our spiritual—psychological—evolution and comprehension of our amazing potential, both personally and interpersonally. In order to successfully make a cultural transition from a fixed-oriented mindset, which doesn’t challenge assumptions concerning the unsustainable status-quo, to a growth-oriented mindset, which has no loyalty to status-quo assumptions, our curiosity and intrinsic motivation need to be renewed. This means exploring much more of our inner world, the psychological realm that affects our motivations and intentions.
To put this in essential terms, humanity has been suffering from an unprocessed-trauma problem and, thus, a self-perpetuating, domination-system-thinking problem. These problems manifest in widespread, institutionalized use of power-over strategies, along with people habitually yielding to them and even advocating for them. Since threats and punishments have been, and continue to be, mainstays in our culture, widespread capitulation to and ideological support of them persist across the common spectrum of political beliefs.
Respectful requests and win/win interactions need to replace this tragic dynamic. Of course, many behaviors are designed to avoid costly interactions in the political realm. As noted, most of us obey “the law” in order to continue living without much interruption within the status quo, so we don’t find ourselves sitting in courtrooms and cages (i.e., jail and prison cells) or even shot by overwhelmed cops who are consumed by fear, confusion, or anger.
As a result, the injustice of coercion remains the unspoken elephant in the room in political and legal discussions in particular and societal discussions in general. As it’s hardly ever a topic of discussion, it has little or no chance of being productively and compassionately addressed and remedied. Humanity doesn’t have to continue to wear its familiar mental blinders, which have led to the creation of “developed nation-states,” involving astonishing advances in technological and material well-being along with archaic models of hierarchical organization and authoritarian patterns of thinking and interacting.
Given that many so-called nation-states now possess hundreds, even thousands, of nuclear warheads, experts deem the potential for destruction of our species and the biosphere to be approximately two minutes to catastrophic midnight.
This is so evidently not a healthy condition for humanity, and the ongoing SARS CoV-2 pandemic reflects this as well, both in terms of how it started and how it has been dealt with by governmental organizations. We can ensure our safety much more by integrating a change in perspective that authentically resolves the tragic cycles of the past.
Reflections on the Origins of Obedience
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
As noted, the concept of “authority” is rooted in our developmental experiences, since parents and guardians oftentimes model power-over strategies. These involve the whole spectrum of rewards and punishments, which are presented as useful ways to enforce and influence desires and values. Oftentimes, the role of “authority” comes with lots of frustration, distrust, and overwhelm. Such emotions are commonly perceived to be caused by the potentially disfavorable behavior of others—so, demands are made to fix the perceived problems. The psychological price for this can be steep for everyone involved, because the process of authentic relating and connecting becomes short-circuited, and the underlying needs don’t get clarified.
Psychological disconnection might be the most detrimental of all the effects of domination systems. Everyone tends to experience what psychological researcher Alfie Kohn calls “love withdrawal.” Typically, one’s mind and worth are called into question from a very early age, when we are just learning how to esteem ourselves. Repeated patterns of doubting one’s mental efficacy and worth can lead to anxiety and depression (even suicide) and/or trying to “prove” oneself with various ego defenses (what psychologist Nathaniel Branden called “pseudo self-esteem”) and a win/lose orientation of competitiveness and even destructiveness. When love and self-love wane, less nurturing experiences fill the void.
During childhood, we discover that standing up for ourselves or rebelling against those using domination strategies can have unfavorable, even unbearable, consequences. As we come to notice the presumed “bosses” in our lives, we tend to devise ways to protect ourselves. In the face of perceived authority, both deception and appeasement can seem practical. We might not reveal the whole story to those more powerful, and we might curry favor with them, lest they decide not to assist (or spare) us.
Meanwhile, as noted, from an early age we are informed in both implicit and explicit ways that we ought not be “selfish” and “needy,” lest we be further criticized and disparaged. This arises from an age-old ethical system of self-sacrifice that tends to subvert the wonderful win/win processes of human interaction. Very few in our culture attempt to reconcile these contradictory messages and behaviors, lending credence to the belief that other people and institutions declared to be authorities have legitimate power over us; so, we must give in to their demands and structures.
Hence, individuals may come to believe that sitting on their needs is oftentimes more useful than realizing and asserting them. The universal nature of needs—that they are alive in everyone—becomes obscured. As we reflect on the nature of these strategies, we can see how they tend to fit perfectly with the governmental schooling system (and various private schools that model it). After all, it was made from the same tragic processes. Laloux wrote the following in Reinventing Organizations on this vital topic:
Our schools today are probably further away from self-management than most other types of organizations. We have turned schools, almost everywhere, into soulless factories that process students in batches of 25 per class, one year at a time. Children are viewed essentially as interchangeable units that need to be channeled through a pre-defined curriculum. At the end of the cycle, those that fit the mold are graduated; castoffs are discarded along the way. Learning happens best, this system seems to believe, when students sit quietly for hours in front of all-knowing teachers who fill their heads with information. Children can’t be trusted to define their own learning plans and set their own goals; that must be done by the teachers. But, really, teachers cannot be trusted either; they must be tightly supervised by principals and superintendents and school districts and expert commissions and standardized tests and mandatory school programs, to make sure they do at least a somewhat decent job.
Clearly, this old system is ready for change. Perhaps the ongoing pandemic will induce a fundamental shift in the way learning happens and, especially, instill trust in young persons to manage their own learning processes. After all, various educational researchers and psychologists over the years have revealed the many problems stemming from the assumption that humans can’t be trusted and need to be directed, managed, and evaluated by “authorities.” These are tragically enacted in most schools, businesses (especially corporations), and of course all governments (similar to orthodox religious institutions). And even though a recent pedagogical trend encourages teachers to be less a “sage on the stage,” in order for children to have more leeway in their learning, it still takes place within top-down systems.
Self-management entails sensing and responding according to internal and environmental (including interpersonal) conditions. It’s an enduring theme throughout biological systems, in which no centralized control or centralized planning occurs. Humans, due to our traditionally domination-oriented thinking and moralistic judgment, use systems that deprive ourselves of this nourishing and enriching process. When people “in charge” don’t trust learners to naturally sense and respond, to think and feel, everyone tends to grow up assuming that their authentic processes of independence, interdependence, and freedom of choice don’t need to be fully honored.
We can operate naturally and beneficially without top-down control and planning. A society that doesn’t nurture individuals’ decision-making ability simply reflects past generations experiencing the same thing. This is the cycle of intergenerational transfer of distrust in our minds, our capabilities, and our worth. Very few of us have been taught and shown that we can flourish in voluntary ways without coercive systems (composed of other individuals also in need of free choice) designed to command and control us, or “guide” us without our request. As a consequence, age-old hierarchies continue to devise and enforce seemingly endless rules, procedures, and policies, along with threats of fines and punishments for noncompliance. Basically, we find ourselves in the midst of a confusing, disconnected, and self-perpetuating system that maintains unquestioned assumptions of distrust about human functioning.
Hell on Earth in this context entails doing things that you don’t want to do, under duress with threats of punishment. Perhaps this familiar environment explains why most people believe that a heavenly experience is only fully possible after one dies. Death finally brings relief from taxes, after all (but of course, the so-called “death tax” may be imposed on one’s estate). Humans have indeed been immersed in many kinds of sacrificial systems that are supposed to maintain order and security throughout society, irrespective of the costs to actual order and security. Needless to say, these tragic impediments to a society-wide experience of heaven on Earth also detract from people taking responsibility and flourishing. They beget more of the same until either something catastrophic happens or a paradigm shift emerges.
Reality Mimicking Dystopian Fiction
In his classic book Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell coined the terms “thoughtcrime” and “crimestop.” According to current culture, the ideas presented herein about enacting fully distributed and integrated freedom of choice can be considered thoughtcrimes, i.e., views that run counter to accepted ideas and norms. Challenging the very basis of common legal concepts and their harmful effects can be seen as the ultimate thoughtcrime.
Growing up in a culture surrounded by issues of fear and control makes it much more difficult to thoroughly ponder and effectively deal with important philosophical ideas, especially ethical and political ones. Orwell wrote:
Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought…crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity…orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one’s own mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body.
Such control is indeed viewed as protective for both the controllers and the controlled, since dissent through incisive reasoning in the realm of philosophical ideas can be heavily frowned upon, not welcomed by upholders of present systems. Consequently, the status quo tends to remain so, and the various horrors of Orwell’s story are lived by actual humans. Despite all sorts of warning signs and costly consequences, most people unquestioningly support the ideas taught and behaviors modeled by various “authorities” during our development. The waking-up process has barely begun for humanity, and it’s really needed now more than ever.
A significant conceptual part of this process involves recognizing and comprehending “The Anatomy of Slavespeak,” an article written years ago by late freedom advocate Frederick Mann:
Understanding slavespeak can allow us to more clearly see the statist matrix of ideas and behaviors and, more importantly, to foster a world that no longer demands human sacrifices, which is what Mann desired as he authored his lengthy article and many similar ones. Within it, he wrote the following:
What Nietzsche Said
“There are still peoples and herds somewhere, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.
The state? What is that? Well then! Now open your ears, for now I shall speak to you of the death of peoples.
The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth; ‘I, the state, am the people.’
It is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.
It is destroyers who set snares for many and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred desires over them…
…I call it the state where everyone, good and bad, is a poison-drinker: the state where everyone, good and bad, loses himself: the state where universal slow suicide is called—life.”
If you regard another’s noises and scribbles as ‘the law,’ then you position that person as your superior master, and you position yourself as his inferior slave. You subjugate yourself. In effect, you commit a form of intellectual and psychological suicide. That’s why the idea or concept of ‘law’ is so deadly.
In The Crowd, Gustave le Bon wrote: “Civilization is impossible without traditions, and progress impossible without destroying those traditions…no example could better display the power of tradition on the mind of crowds. The most redoubtable idols do not dwell in temples, nor the most despotic tyrants in palaces; both the one and the other could be broken in an instant. But the invisible masters that reign in our innermost selves are safe from every effort at revolt, and only yield to the slow wearing away of centuries…
The precise moment at which a great belief is doomed is easily recognizable; it is the moment when its value begins to be called into question. Every general belief being little else than fiction, it can only survive on the condition that it be not subjected to examination…”
The debilitating ‘law’ concept is an invisible master in the innermost self, a tyrant in the form of a self-forged illusion or hallucination.
…In Bentham’s Theory of Fictions Jeremy Bentham wrote:
“Behold here one of the artifices of lawyers. They refuse to administer justice to you unless you join with them in their fictions; and then their cry is, see how necessary fiction is to justice! Necessary indeed; but too necessary; but how came it so, and who made it so?
As well might the father of a family make it a rule never to let his children have their breakfast till they had uttered, each of them, a certain number of lies, curses, and profane oaths; and then exclaim, ‘You see, my dear children, how necessary, lying, cursing, and swearing are to human sustenance!’”
To drive home his points about the nature of slavespeak, Mann also quoted from Etienne de la Boetie’s Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, which was written nearly 450 years ago:
From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourself if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place your hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but merely that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.
The concept of “law” is so deadly because it’s traditionally served as the preeminent, sacrosanct political rationalization to treat human beings as fodder for sundry desires and demands of people versed in using power-over strategies. Autonomy, choice, equality, fairness, justice, and respect aren’t honored by vague and oftentime spurious notions of the “common good,” “general welfare,” and “public interest.” The political goal of instituting a “law and order” society essentially means ruling over others, which results in disorder and chaos by violating rights and sacrificing needs. No wonder politics remains so out of touch with the people, as it serves both status-hungry politicians and “special interests.”
Statist ideologies sacrifice people on the altar of “law,” which is disconnected from natural law and rights-respecting principles. Governmental law consists of a myriad of opinions along with arbitrary, oftentimes capricious threats, all backed by literal guns of “authority.”
As stated, the perennial problem for humans entails supporting and complying with the demands of domination-oriented, organizational hierarchies called governments. To everyone’s massive misfortune, including of course those comprising government, this organization has persisted since the advent of civilization. Yet, as we’ve explored, due to the enduring nature of unexamined developmental trauma, government’s inherently immense seen and unseen costs are either denied or overlooked by nearly everyone.
Many believe that the purported provision of security by governments justifies its extremely tragic tactics, i.e., coercion, extortion, threats, and punishments, in order for humans to interact “safely” (disregarding the irony). This end-justifies-the-means thinking only makes full sense when we consider how most adults were parented as children. Authoritarian constraints placed on children supposedly enable them to interact without harming each other. Since many family systems lend credence to a Lord-Of-The-Flies scenario, children “must be disciplined properly.” Unsurprisingly, the British culture, in which the children in William Golding’s 1954 novel were reared, had themes of authoritarianism and obedience. These themes don’t foster a psychologically integrated society of persons filled with self-confidence and self-respect (thus having confidence in and respect for others).
Human trust is always crushed by aggression, which (coupled with fraud) is how rights are violated. Governmental systems simply institutionalize and normalize this process for everyone to expect and experience, even promote and perpetuate.
So, here we are in the 21st century, with immediate access to vast, virtually endless amounts of information and entertainment—yet only a tiny aspect of which can disrupt power-over tactics interpersonally and politically. Both education and integration need to happen in order to see and reject the essentially coercive nature of taxation, regulation, jails and prisons, and the legalized monopolies of police, courts, and money. These things continue mainly because people learned similarly tragic, self-sacrificial strategies during their development in families, schools, and religions. In the present political context, “law” remains the religion of the state, which we’ve all been advised and trained to worship, or have hell to pay.
The system of schooling sacrifices people’s intrinsic motivation in favor of extrinsic motivators, various carrots and sticks attempting to get people to do things. Extrinsic motivators replace the process of respecting people’s needs, so they don’t honor responsibility and integrity.
To discover, advocate, and practice win/win, life-enriching strategies is to finally ensure peace in the political realm. This is the next stage in our cultural evolution, the second tier of integrated, Teal functioning, unless we self-destruct as a species.
As the governmental system taxes, regulates, and controls the money supply (and interest rates) of everyone, it directly sacrifices the need to respect others. This generates a decidedly non-peaceful and non-compassionate process. Mental wounds of the past need acknowledgement and a whole lot of healing, which can be both difficult and scary.
Fortunately, we can decide to think differently and extend compassionate understanding to human interaction beyond our immediate relationships. In contrast to the nonsensical and seemingly never-ending spectacle of party politics, we can engage in voluntary trade of ideas, goods, and services, based on principles of freedom, mutual enrichment, and harmony.
Expounding on Contentions and Realizations
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. —H. L. Mencken
Let’s further examine the foundational assumptions, which involve unchecked philosophical premises, that are commonly taken for granted and promoted as truths in our confused and confusing culture. Let’s also realize the helpful and compassionate alternatives in order to enable vital changes in our lifetime, instead of an unsustainable future that consists of more of the same (or much worse), leading to the demise of our species and ecosystem.
Private property, i.e., the concept of ownership, cannot solely ensure a free and just society in the absence of governments, which are institutions of public property. Selfishness, greed, and significant power and wealth accumulation by various persons, groups, and businesses will cause widespread inequalities and unbalanced rights-enforcement throughout society, resulting in unjust monopolies, oligopolies, cartels, and even gang warfare, as well as impoverishment and persecution of minority groups. Private property rights thus need to be overseen and restrained by government, be it a democracy, a democratic republic, or a benevolent dictator (including a proprietary owner/operator of a “free private city”).
Ayn Rand astutely noted that the smallest minority in the world is the individual. She also noted that “private property” is a redundancy, and “public property” is a contradiction in terms (everybody supposedly owns it, yet nobody in particular owns it). Self-ownership, or self-agency, gives rise to property rights, which enable individuals to ascribe value to previously unclaimed and unowned domains and make choices about what to trade and how to use and dispose of aspects of what’s now owned—all voluntarily—without unjust, governmental interference.
Property is a general category of human action that enables freedom to use and to dispose (e.g., trade or transfer) without infringement. Trust in individual decision-making remains at the core of a clear conception of property rights; without such trust, no society can function in a harmonious and respectful way.
Government, as the preeminent symbol of human distrust, has claimed jurisdiction for ascribing and enforcing property rights, in addition to declaring a great deal of “common” domain as its own prerogative. Property rights declared and supported by the state have been a major source of tax money and ultimate control, which has led to innumerable, monstrous injustices toward individuals and groups, even entire populations, throughout history. Horrendously exploitative rights-violations of countless Africans, islanders, and native Americans by European colonialists are tragic examples, which are still echoing across cultures today.
Furthermore, the institution of “public property” comes with immense and atrocious environmental consequences. Its deleterious effects on humans and things we value can’t be overstated. This is especially the case with the U.S. military (the so-called Department of Defense, which is “the largest employer in the world.” These effects are being extensively catalogued:
U.S. Military World’s Largest Polluter – Hundreds Of Bases Gravely Contaminated
The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 100 countries combined
Groundbreaking Report Gives Us a Glimpse of the US Military’s Gigantic Carbon Footprint
So, to free the jurisdiction of property rights from coercive, statist control will finally meet the need for justice, since free market processes reflect a win/win respect for property rights. As individual rights are understood and respected, mutually beneficial interactions can be fostered.
Freedom for humans comes with major constraints, first as a helpless baby and then as an uneducated child. Upon being further schooled as teenagers, each of us is required to constrain our behavior in the adult world, in order to get along with others. This is why we have governments and laws. As Harvard professor Steven Pinker and many other intellectuals note, law enforcement quells people’s tendency to engage in violent conflict, and it administers punishments for criminals according to necessary and just procedures. Criminals must pay their debt to society through fines and incarceration for properly determined lengths of time.
Perhaps some of the above notions have lost more popular appeal after experiencing the politics of law enforcement during a pandemic, as well as the mass protests of police forces following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Freedom is a concept synonymous with rights. It only applies and makes sense within society, when interacting with people. We are indeed born and raised in families first in a condition of utter dependency, and then we grow into various conditions of interdependency, eventually including independence.
As we mature into adulthood, to the extent that we are physically and mentally able, we assume independent responsibility for our own lives and well-being. We are free to develop our independence, psychologically and intellectually (assuming we live in a society that respects free speech and free press). As social creatures, we have interpersonal needs for connection, love, support, meaning, purpose, and play (among many others), so we tend to flourish in various interdependent contexts: families and other close and intimate relationships (friends and lovers); companies and organizations; associations, clubs, and teams; and, online with persons and groups around the world.
Whether in personal relationships, in business, or online, we’re presented with innumerable decisions, which can be assisted by others’ opinions and perspectives in support of our mutual goal to thrive. Throughout all these relations, we manage our individual and relational existence. We can ascribe value (or not) to a plethora of interactions, processes, and things.
Freedom is the process whereby persons make voluntary choices within communities and marketplaces, while respecting that same freedom for others. The key to establishing freedom is applying it equally to everyone, since no double standards can logically exist. No person or group of persons has extra rights. The notion that some are more equal than others in this realm entails a major political contradiction, yet one we’re all-too-familiar with.
As noted, an overtly unfree society has existed since at least the advent of governments—really, any gangs of aggression that emerge from the Red stage of organization (as well as the Infrared and Magenta stages preceding it). As also noted, freedom for individuals is sacrificed by edicts and threats of “authorities,” which rely on rationalizations for using power-over strategies (“You might behave badly, so we don’t trust your free choices.”). In this coercive matrix, the jobs of cops, jailers, judges, attorneys, and politicians are considered normal. Hardly anyone articulates what constitutes an actual rights-violation, and hardly any teachers and professors explain the spectrum of false, state-declared “crimes.” To disrupt this tragic cycle, adults need to fundamentally question the status-quo notions of “law” and “justice.”
Nations, states, counties, cities, and towns are fair, established aspects of governmental jurisdiction, each with valid organizations to make, enforce, and adjudicate laws. They ensure safety, equality, and maintenance of community infrastructure. Basically, since governments are objective determiners and legitimizers of private property rights, they undergird commerce. Without them, the marketplace would hardly exist.
Under the reign of democracies and republics, governments (of, by, and for the people) are authorized to regulate activities in the marketplace, including personal choices (e.g., prohibitions on use of dangerous substances and restrictions on various harmful behaviors). Concerned people vote in communities among constituents and interest groups. A system of checks and balances in representative, democratic government protects minority groups and enables all this social and economic complexity to function properly. Sure, it can be difficult and problematic sometimes, even confusing and quite messy, but it’s the best, time-tested political system.
The power of eminent domain is an important part of the U.S. Constitution, authorizing just takings for public uses, which are necessary sometimes (e.g., roadways). Moreover, regarding movement of products, services, and people, governments have the right to inspect and allow or disallow things being shipped and persons seeking to travel across state and national borders (including private property within those borders), according to the authority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, national sovereignty, and the desires of voting citizens and society.
As an extension of self-ownership, only property rights are valid and legitimate, because only individuals and their choices exist—no matter the size of the society or number of individuals and groups. To reiterate, “public property” is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, no so-called government on Earth has legitimate jurisdiction, since the individuals who are part of this organization do not actually own the property that they claim to rule—nor have they engaged in voluntary association with various property owners to provide legitimate justice services via contractual arrangements, as reputable companies and groups will do in a free marketplace.
Because statist organizations use methods of extortion (all forms of taxation) and monetary inflation (devaluing the currency mandated as “legal tender” (as well as influencing interest rates)) to fund their operations, they operate in an illegitimate fashion. Governmental systems, with their power-over strategies, by definition operate outside the process of actual justice.
We need a transformation to organizations that employ respectful, win/win, restorative strategies. As voluntarist writer Jim Davies notes in his educational program, The Online Freedom Academy, “Accordingly, [statist] borders do not exist in order to facilitate human harmony!” http://www.tolfa.us/L9.htm
As far as a proprietary city or region goes (as explained in the book Free Private Cities by Titus Gebel), the owner/operator’s property rights enable establishing contractual arrangements with people who seek to occupy this private area for purposes of living and commerce. Varying levels of restrictions would be involved, especially regarding movers.
However, an actually free city or region would not come with the monopolistic aspects of a single owner/operator, but rather would honor people’s freedom to contract and not to contract with anyone offering justice services and assorted utilities, and people would be free to come and go as they please, according to their voluntary relations with residents and businesses, thereby maximizing choice and commerce.
Passports and visas are both statist terms and coercive impositions. Being rooted in collectivistic fears and distrust, they have no place in a free world. Here’s an apropos response by John Lee to the argument for visa restrictions based on property rights:
But if I want to host a foreign person in my home, you need a better reason than ‘But they’re not from this country!’ to order my friend deported. What happened to my property rights?
Confusing public and private: the nonsensical private property argument against open borders
If everything were owned, i.e., privately owned, then traveling and transporting goods and services would mostly grind to a halt, due to so many signs saying “Private Property: No Trespassing. Keep Out!” Without public property being maintained and enforced by governments in America and around the world, free movement, trade, and exploration of places would be highly restricted, and the few places that weren’t declared off-limits would have exorbitant, if not prohibitive, prices for entry. Further, the United States and its military necessarily serve as the world’s policeman, ensuring that trade routes abroad don’t get hindered by tyrannical governments and rogue groups.
Concerns and fears about travel and transport can never be alleviated by governmentally imposed borders and “public property”—quite the opposite, as anyone who has traveled or transported things in the governmental era has experienced. Oftentimes, one attempts to travel on policed roads and transport things across statist “borders” with varying degrees of success and hassle, which can include intrusive questioning, cursory or extensive searches, detention, fines, and incarceration (even murder by an overzealous “border” enforcer). Respect for individual rights, including the freedom to contract or not, isn’t a law-enforcement priority, because law-enforcement isn’t in the business of fostering and upholding a marketplace of freedom. While law-enforcement does go by the motto “to protect and serve” (despite being coercively funded and arbitrarily imposed), such protecting and serving mainly involves those in power. So, unsurprisingly, governmental courts (including the Supreme Court) have ruled that police have no duty to protect fellow so-called citizens, as this story reports:
‘Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,’ said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. ‘Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.’
Officers Had No Duty to Protect Students in Parkland Massacre, Judge Rules
What ensures freedom of movement is a free market. Respect for property rights enables people’s decisions—to engage in commerce without any unjust authority intervening and dictating arbitrary rules and penalties. Trust in individuals to interact in life-giving ways to trade ideas, values, goods, and services, is the primary deterrent to a society of arbitrary and illegitimate impositions. Collectivistic notions of governments and their enforcement of imagined borders both generate and reflect fears, animosity, prejudice, and bigotry—essentially, age-old in-group/out-group dynamics. Eliminating such institutionalized coercion will go a long way to meeting everyone’s need for respect.
Similar to today, most individual property owners will want to engage in commerce in the public sphere, not in their own living spaces (though in a free society one’s home can of course be used as one’s chosen place of business), which is everyone’s prerogative. This will be commerce on a whole other level of enrichment. In addition to today’s shopping and business areas, which can be entered and roamed free-of-charge (except of course those with municipal street-parking restrictions, fees, and fines, and city-zoned business districts and downtown garages), in a free marketplace the prices charged for using others’ property would be reasonable (reflecting greater supply) and managed efficiently and effectively for optimal customer service; there will certainly be apps for that!
Regardless of their rationale, governments prevent untold commerce and human movement from happening on a daily basis around the world (https://openborders.info). Misunderstandings coupled with fear and control issues, i.e., lack of trust, no doubt underlie this. Freedom and respect in the realm of ownership not only enable free movement and trade; they also responsibly and effectively resolve the immense seen and unseen costs of “public property.”
We need the accountability of property rights to rectify many dangerous “common-pool” problems happening in governmental and unclaimed domains. Aside from various arguments about climate change these days (the atmospheric common-pool problem), the sea and its thousands of species are arguably suffering the biggest tragedy of the commons today. The oceans and other bodies of water (and sundry places on land) have been inundated with a slew of toxic garbage, much in the form of plastics and, as a consequence, microplastics. They’ve been infiltrating biosystems with disastrous effects, even potentially catastrophic ones for ecosystems.
Industrial chemists, engineers, and managers in Orange organizations have contributed to the unrelenting production of these durable and non-biodegradable synthetic polymers, which have now been used in nearly everything—from miles and miles of ocean fishing nets (called “ghost nets” after they’re abandoned at sea by boat operators) to millions of tons of throw-away products and packaging that ends up in storm drains, tributaries, and then oceans. Typical of Orange-stage thinking, a focus on maximizing shareholder wealth has resulted in scant attention placed on the consumer-disposal and environmental-disaster sides of things. The sheer volume of discarded plastics in the environment already (not to mention a plethora of other harmful chemicals) raises the question of whether humanity has already passed the point of no return, as the following two-part documentary along with a couple recent articles shockingly illustrate:
Drowning in Plastic
The Deep Ocean Harbors a Mountain of Microplastic Pollution
Fight against plastic pollution targets a hidden source: Our clothes
The biggest likely source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Our car tires
Humans can do so much better than this within a free and responsible world, without dysfunctional and corrupting systems. Currently, the corporate culture (again, mostly Orange stage, but also Green) relies heavily on governmentally enforced “legal rights” that again focus on maximizing profits for shareholders at the expense of many other needs, such as safety, order, beauty, and harmony, in a non-polluted world. Teal organizations will not sacrifice responsibility of ownership, sustainability, and environmental stewardship for short-term gains and convenience, nor will they create and promote products that don’t do what they’re supposed to do (allegedly eco-friendly plastics), as noted below:
Ask Our Help Desk: Are bioplastics and biodegradable plastics really better?https://ecologycenter.org/blog/ask-our-help-desk-are-bioplastics-and-biodegradable-plastics-really-better/
Further discussion and some viable alternatives:
The truth about bioplastics
The Truth About Plastic
Ooho: The Eco-Friendly Substitute to Plastic Bottles
We are a sustainable packaging start-up
Nation-states are vitally important for overseeing societies. However, we must also understand that some nations are based on freedom, while others are based on tyranny. One of the duties of the United States government is to protect Americans from being attacked by terrorist groups and from being obliterated by a tyrannical regime’s nuclear weapons. Thus, we need to maintain strong military with a sizable arsenal of nuclear weapons (the USA presently has thousands) capable of deterring potential attacks and destroying enemies. Moreover, the present arsenal needs to be renewed and expanded, as the Trump administration states, so that tactical fission nukes (less powerful than those dropped on WW2 Japan) can be used in new ways outside of strict deterrence. This will enable the military of the United States to continue to be seen as a superpower that ought not be messed with.
As Daniel Ellsberg pointed out in his 2017 book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, the catastrophic effects of a nuclear exchange on humanity itself were never fully calculated by war planners. In addition to forecasting hundreds of millions of deaths from detonations of warheads on their targets (e.g., in Russia or China), more recent research arrives at another beyond-tragic fact: A direct exchange of warheads numbering in the hundreds from each warring side can cast enough debris into the atmosphere to cause a substantial, years-long “nuclear winter,” which would probably destroy humanity’s capacity to feed itself. Much of Earth’s ecosystem would also die.
Daniel Ellsberg on the creation of nuclear doomsday machines, the institutional insanity that maintains them, and a practical plan for dismantling them.
Thus far, on two separate occasions the doomsday scenario almost happened. Single decisions in the minds of two Soviet officers, Vasily Arkhipov in 1962 and Stanislav Petrov in 1983, prevented humanity’s potential annihilation. To their and everyone else’s absolute fortune, each man crucially chose to live rather than die in those tense moments, sparing everyone the catastrophic aftermath:
Mistakes are simply not an option in this realm, and yet, they are bound to happen. The thousands of nuclear weapons devised and maintained by various nation-states throughout the world represent our species’ suicide pact of planetary proportions. They are the end result of cultures immersed in the typically unacknowledged effects of developmental trauma, such as being dominated by fear, control issues, and power-over strategies. Of course, this fosters the opposite of safety and security for people.
What You Should Know About Nuclear Weapons
The World’s Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon Just Rolled Off the Assembly Line
If India and Pakistan have a ‘limited’ nuclear war, scientists say it could wreck Earth’s climate and trigger global famine
Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe
If we have any chance of surviving this century and finally living in fully integrated societies of peace, love, and happiness, we need to come to full terms with the nature of our dysregulated limbic systems. Enemy images and domination thinking arise intergenerationally via traumatic upbringings. Disconnected interactions happen more often than not when caregivers lack inner resourcefulness, intrinsic motivation, and skills to provide secure-attachment as well as (most importantly) repair of attachment ruptures. Of course, such connection and care was rarely modeled for us when we were children, so it doesn’t come easily. When, as adults, we are overwhelmed and resort to moralistic judgments (at ourselves, others, and children), the processes of observing without bias, connecting empathetically to feelings and needs, and making straightforward requests can become extremely difficult; such things might even seem ridiculous in the heat of the moment.
All of us needed—and are still in need of—a sense of secure attachment, which relates to self-esteem, i.e., a conviction that one’s own mind can ascertain facts and cope with life’s challenges, and a feeling that one’s person is worthy of happiness, which includes kind and loving connection. Dysfunctional processes are echoed in a sense of insecure attachment, which can be experienced as quite isolating. A defensive posture (including having a “strong offense”) can also be formed. Power-over systems habitually arise from this and sacrifice needs for autonomy, choice, creativity, respect, empathy, and compassion. They of course manifest in top-down, Amber-stage schooling systems, which continue the traumatizing cycle.
Fortunately, no matter our age, we still can learn how to become Balanced, Resilient, Insightful, and Empathetic (Dan Siegel’s trauma-informed BRIE acronym), so we can foster and experience overarching themes of joy, connection, and love in our lives. Time is of the essence, and our safety and security on Earth depend on it.
Dr. Dan Siegel: What Hearing “Yes” Does to Your Child’s Brain
The governmentally devised and maintained legal profession is legitimate and necessary. Plaintiffs and defendants must have lawyers, which are zealous advocates for their clients in adversarial court proceedings. The scales of Lady Justice depend on her blindness, i.e., impartiality, in publicly funded and operated courtrooms. The purpose of government, after all, is to be the ultimate arbiter of disputes in society, in which fair and equitable adjudication happens and wrongdoers are properly held accountable and punished. This objective legal process can’t happen in a subjectively biased “free-market” system of private, competing, so-called “justice-service” companies.
Services exist in the marketplace to provide for people’s desires and needs. We have needs for security and safety as well as for fairness, peace, and harmony, via equitable ways of resolving conflict and repairing harms. Governmental systems, being stuck in Amber-stage thinking and organizing, coercively impose their array of monopolistic “services” on a population, which are the opposite of accountable (in that anyone would want to pay for them voluntarily). Thus, the desire for justice isn’t served.
In the voluntary marketplace, which admittedly is harder to find in a governmentally controlled economy, services respond to the varying desires and needs of customers. To be viable, services seek profits by satisfying customers, which presupposes that they are offering what those customers want. This is why services (on the non-corporate level at least) are responsive to complaints of distasteful, inefficient, corrupt, costly, and unfair practices—in stark contrast to governmental operations.
When it comes to realizing the grave disparity between what government “provides” and what the marketplace can offer us, the realm of justice remains extraordinarily important. When disputes arise from alleged rights violations, we need justice services in the form of objective, mutually agreed-upon, third-party adjudication. No governmental system can provide such an unbiased service, due to being a coercively funded, legalized monopoly with enduring themes of inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and unfairness. At monumental cost in terms of money, time, and human suffering, the governmental legal system perpetuates injustice by its very design.
Justice services offered and purchased in a free market system can honor and uphold the rights of each individual, in contrast to upholding the monopolized power to have the final say. A legalized monopoly of aggression means being a rights-violator of the highest order, and this conflict of interest precludes due process and the supposed “right to a fair trial.”
Marketplace justice services (including insurance agencies) would simply go out of business if they upheld such contradictions. But, to everyone’s major misfortune, these have been normalized in today’s culture of domination and punishment systems. The late Dutch legal scholar Michael van Notten proposed the following set of voluntary remedies, which were designed to respect individual rights.
Bill of Law by Michael van Notten
As far as the present legal system goes, both the adversarial process and the inquisitorial process operate with flawed assumptions about the ethical and psychological nature of justice. While they can be seen as a definite improvement on the terrible trial by ordeal, these procedures and trial processes remain flawed in principle. Retributive practices do little, if anything, to restore those harmed. The punishment model reflects both archaic Red and Amber stages as well as abusive and neglectful parenting practices (from which those stages arose), so it continues the sacrificial cycle. Neither adults nor children are helped to make amends and fully recover when they’re being judged within distrustful, demeaning, and condemnatory systems.
A foundation of restorative justice can dispense with the retributive perspective that seeks to punish “criminals,” which is a statist category that conflates law-breakers and actual rights-violators. Punishing, jailing, and imprisoning people for violating “the law” disregards the vital matters of making persons and communities whole—and finally free and responsible. Restorative justice services basically enable resolution of disputes by helping all parties come to psychological and existential terms with the harm done and devise reparations, or equitable restitution for rights-violations.
Restorative justice practices recognize that persons who commit rights-violations (especially those in systems of aggression) can once again become part of an interdependent and collaborative community in favor of interacting peacefully. Everyone’s individual growth and recovery can finally take place in a society that’s safe and connected, free and responsible.
Restorative Justice Nonviolent Communication NVC
(note the talk by Dominic Barter linked in the “About” section)
Five-part podcast series on Restorative Justice and Nonviolent-Communication:
Government as a legalized monopoly of force is both useful and important for a whole host of reasons that haven’t been articulated here, with which most people in society agree. It’s really a matter of ensuring more fair distribution of wealth and income, reflected in living standards and economic opportunities. Clearly, the top 1% of income earners and wealth holders could contribute more to a level-playing field, so that people throughout society can be protected, secure, and prosperous. Government, being a time-honored institution, protects us from societal dangers and the basic problems of existence, after all, which includes marketplace imbalances and inequities, as well as environmental destruction. We don’t want the corporate rich to keep getting richer while the middle class and poor can’t keep up financially and just fall behind.
Six facts about wealth in the United States
Are You in the World’s Top 1%?
Like the content of those links above, so much national news focuses on large-scale economic facts and figures (and numbers from Wall Street) that it can lead to feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and dispirited, even apathetic, about the magnitude of such things. How can any person seeking clarity really make sense of the immensely complex patterns of human activity known as macroeconomics? Is all this grandiose mathematical slicing and dicing, comparing and contrasting, even worthwhile, let alone necessary?
By reasoning from first principles, we can realize that the coercion at the foundation of our society (in all the forms we’ve been exploring) is antithetical to win/win, free-market activities. The staggering income and wealth disparities across this nation and around the world (billions of people at subsistence levels) have arisen from very mixed economies—both coerced and voluntary activities. Despite all the non-market-based, coercive processes involved, many today blame “capitalism,” as if the problems with corporations, lobbyists, Wall Street, and a culture of consumerism (or crass materialism) were the only valid things to draw attention to, while the aggression of government is supposed to fix things. This quote by freedom advocate Robert LeFevre is apt: “Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.”
Due to unprocessed developmental trauma and its multifaceted effects, our culture supports lots of dissociation from the genesis of political strategies. This entails not attending to many key philosophical and psychological aspects for healing and growing (recall the fixed- vs growth-oriented mindsets). Avoiding such “elephants in the room” happens no less in the realm of economic matters. The main unspoken elephant remains the nature of domination thinking that gives rise to domination systems.
Instead, imagine a culture in which coercive systems cease, which would be the result of a cessation of reliving trauma in a myriad of ways. From this kind of enlightenment, the provision of goods and services—via fully voluntary trade—grants customers what they want, and what they want reflects meaningful values instead of marketing gimmicks. Rather than forcing things upon people or depriving them of things (as domination systems are prone to do), people’s choices—their volitional capacities—are honored. So, trust and self-respect are bolstered too. We need to survive and flourish on this awesome planet, and political and economic freedom enables us to do so without win/lose (or lose/lose) limits on human creativity and imagination. Essentially, a free market involves enterprising individuals and groups seeing needs and desires and striving to fulfill them, ingeniously.
The profit motive works with the complex, supply-and-demand aspects of the marketplace to ascertain the most cost-effective and useful ways to accomplish things. Thus, people get what they’re willing to pay for, and they only pay for what they want, according to their own values. Individuals are trusted in a free market to responsibly gain and keep their values, which are based on human needs, be they physical, psychological, interpersonal, societal, and spiritual (metaphysical). Marshall Rosenberg’s methodology of Nonviolent Communication details universal human needs.
There’s nothing that any government seeks to provide (with seen and unseen costs to everyone) that cannot be provided by people in a marketplace of voluntary exchange, where rights-respecting (and self-respecting) interactions are the norm. Furthermore, people’s yearnings for economic stability, prosperity, and harmony can finally be realized in a free market. The lifeblood of an advanced economy—money—will no longer be inflated and devalued via coercive, monopolistic control. Instead, various freely offered and chosen universally recognized mediums of exchange, including various cryptocurrencies, will enable many new and wonderful kinds and levels of human flourishing. We can’t overstate the beneficial results of this, which are both the cause and the effect of individual integration and societal integration.
Fiat money created and controlled by governments and chartered banks is necessary for a thriving economy, and claims about its downsides are either erroneous or overblown. Rather, centralized control and oversight of the money supply and interest rates across a nation provide a solid foundation from which capital markets are maintained and provide for people in countless ways. The United States Federal Reserve system and Wall Street are inextricable parts of our vibrant economy of capitalism, and they ensure a beneficial economic future for everyone.
What is money and, more importantly, as the late free-market economist Murray Rothbard queried, what has government done to it? Money is a scarce commodity arising from market requirements for a medium of exchange that’s widely accepted—divisible, durable, fungible, and non-counterfeitable. Governments have traditionally monopolized this commodity, typically gold and silver, and then banned its use in commerce, replacing it with a currency (e.g., the dollar) as “legal tender,” which is no longer redeemable for the original money. Then, true to statist-fiat-currency form, the currency’s supply is inflated over time, via a cronyism-type distribution into the banking system. This devalues its buying power and causes prices to steadily rise. Such an inflation/devaluation cycle can induce economic collapse and a dictatorial resetting of the fiat currency. Zimbabwe and Venezuela are recent examples, but these monetary chickens tend to come home to roost for all nation-states.
Since the advent of the Federal Reserve banking cartel, the U.S. dollar has lost nearly all of its original value (https://smartasset.com/investing/inflation-calculator). The main things preventing the tumultuous experience of hyperinflation (such as in Zimbabwe and Venezuela) are ongoing, top-down monitoring and control via the regulated corporate banking system and—likely more importantly—increases in productivity, particularly in the infotech sector, that serve as a huge economic counterbalance. Without such advances in efficiency, we’d be experiencing more dire effects of centralized, fractional-reserve banking and monetary-planning schemes.
The immense, untold loss of wealth and opportunities for the populace remains extremely hard to calculate and fully comprehend. Suffice it to say that our standard of living would be vastly higher and cost of living would be vastly lower in a free market system, which includes a free market of money. The same can be said for the rest of the world, where billions of people’s livelihoods are being sacrificed by centralized, corrupt monetary controls and other ills of statism. Rothbard’s informative book is free to download, by the way:
What Has Government Done to Our Money?
Corporations, both public or private (no shares traded publicly), are natural parts of capitalism. This widespread organizational framework involves such things as articles of incorporation, shareholders, boards, bylaws, and annual reports (for public corps), which enable businesses to acquire noted credibility, capital funding, tax deductions, limited legal liability, legal personhood, as well as unlimited lifespan. All these aspects are useful to operate in many economic environments, including internationally, so that numerous products and services can be provided to customers at competitive prices. Simply put, without corporations, capitalism could not bestow the enormous benefits of economies of scale, and not nearly as much wealth could be produced, which would result in fewer goods and services to create prosperous, first-class economies.
The corporate structure in America was born out of laws of various “states” and granted “limited liability” and then “legal personhood” by federal statute and Supreme Court rulings. These things simply will not exist in a free market system, because the legal system that coercively created and supported them will be gone—along with the laws that direct or enable corporations to do anything injurious to other people’s property rights. Although it didn’t integrate the methodology of Nonviolent Communication (like Complete Liberty Inside Out did), which I didn’t learn until 2010, the following chapter in Complete Liberty covers the nature of corporatism and regulation in further detail:
The entrepreneurial activities of people and organizations will of course exist in a free market in the form of businesses and companies. These are simply names for groups of persons engaged in purposeful economic activities. In a society that has evolved past the domination system called government, these economic groups naturally follow rights-respecting, free market processes—reflecting a win/win perspective in which persons and groups contribute to each others’ flourishing, instead of win/lose (and lose/lose) scenarios.
Bureaucracy arises primarily on account of legal and regulatory frameworks of government, which operate in ways that undermine rationality and benevolence, basically transforming individuals into “nice dead people” (as Marshall Rosenberg noted) with not-so-nice strategies sometimes. Within this paradigm, we hear phrases such as “I was just doing my job” and “It’s company policy,” as well as “I’m only following my orders.” Bureaucracy drains persons of empathy and, more fundamentally, self-empathy. Attending to oneself in a holistic and nurturing way, involving one’s feelings and vital psychological needs, is typically abandoned. Of course, bureaucracy often thrives in corporations, following from the governmental processes that gave rise to them, which has fostered a host of costly ideas and perverse incentives.
Is the Corporation a Free-Market Institution?
The Origin Of ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’: Milton Friedman
The Infinite Game: How to Lead in the 21st Century
Bureaucracy can also arise within groups and organizations in the form of participatory democratic processes, in which voting serves as a substitute for genuine, collaborative input. Any strategy that diminishes creative decision-making, personal accountability, and responsible ownership (along with the entrepreneurial spirit) will tend to suffer the ills of bureaucracy.
Dissolution of the legal structure of the corporation means a great deal for increasing human well-being and flourishing, as well as the health of this amazing planet. The hierarchical, costly, and deficient organizational stages of command-and-control Amber, shareholder-wealth-focused Orange, and stakeholder-equality-and-culture-focused Green will no longer be viewed as required. The detrimental components of these stages will be let go, while any beneficial aspects will be improved upon with the dynamically creative, fully respectful, individually and socially responsible, free and holistic organizational stage of Teal. When the Teal stage becomes the norm throughout the world, sustainable prosperity and interpersonal flourishing can finally happen—as a familiar rule instead of an overlooked exception. This will reflect communities of healthy, integrated, and connected people.
As Laloux points out in Reinventing Organizations, the transition to Teal involves applying vital free market principles to organizations themselves. A typical central-planning mentality in Orange (and even Green) organizations hinders various natural, individual, and relational sense-and-respond life processes. The age-old psychological dispositions of fear, distrust, and control that have been involved in society for millennia can finally give way to openness, curiosity, trust, vulnerability, acceptance, respect—reflecting dynamic, enriching change. By embodying nonviolent, compassionate, and connected communication processes, Teal organizations and free markets will operate harmoniously, finally enabling all of us to naturally flourish.
Rather than treating an organization like a machine in need of monitoring and control by overseers to keep it running properly, Teal organizations rely on the sensing and responding processes of every person in the company, as they embody its evolutionary purpose. Bringing one’s whole person to this purpose is an invaluable essence of Teal. Colleagues (instead of “workers” or even “employees” and “employers”) all can exercise their own power-with strategies of self-management in order to make decisions via a key practice called the Advice Process. Essentially, this means consulting with those who have expertise in the matter under consideration along with those who will be directly affected by the decision.
Whole persons collaborate in various groups as they express the purpose of their company. No more masks of rank and file are worn, no longer viewed as necessary to try to protect our vulnerability. Persons choose myriad win/win functions for themselves, their colleagues, and the purpose of their organization, which importantly includes societal evolution to enable needs-fulfillment and sustainability on a living planet. These processes crucially involve the personal, emotional realm of humans, and Nonviolent Communication, or NVC, serves as an invaluable guide to a new realm of being—authentic relating internally, with others, and with the world.
An Introduction to Nonviolent Communication
Pathways to Liberation: Matrix of Self-assessment
Intellectual property (IP) is valid and needs legal enforcement, like tangible property. Creators of processes and patterns of information that are legally deemed to be original IP (not too similar to “prior art”) are thereby protected from others in the marketplace who would otherwise steal their IP. Without IP enforcement others in the marketplace would utilize such IP for their own financial gain, thus depriving the original creators of recognition and profits, the fruits of their extensive, creative labor.
The legal concepts of copyrights, patents, and trademarks arise from statutory law, not natural law. Given that the legal profession revolves around the coercive system of government, very few people view IP laws as more made-up opinions backed by threats of aggression. Intellectual property is honored within the U.S. Constitution (specifically, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8), giving rise to legislation, Supreme Court rulings, and of course threats and actual aggression. Like the institution of government itself, such laws consistently violate individual rights; no natural (or customary) law is invoked in their enforcement.
IP advocacy overlooks an important fact: Anything in the marketplace that can be copied or reproduced without conflict very well might be; oftentimes, it will be copied or reproduced in spite of statutory laws against it. This duplication process creates an abundance that honors and satisfies a host of human needs. Rather than complaining or being outraged about this economic situation and marshalling the coercion of government against it, content creators can instead realize their distinct advantages. Anyone who puts information patterns into the marketplace of ideas, goods, and services can benefit via recognition and further business, due to offering novel creations prior to those who might merely copy them. Further, when people recognize the original aspects of creators’ works, they can be voluntarily honored and supported. Of course, this happens widely today in the midst of IP enforcement (and the reactionary culture of “piracy”), though the implications aren’t well-known.
The issue of people valuing and desiring to recognize original creators of information patterns is an important matter today. The present onslaught of legal threats and statist aggression only hinders clarity on this issue. The institution of government violates actual property rights of every person through taxation, regulation, unjust law-enforcement, and control of money and banking. Even as it claims to be a protector of people’s intellectual “property,” it continually lacks valid jurisdiction (as “public property” itself).
The individuals operating command-and-control institutions are as deprived of their freedoms and opportunities as everyone else they presume to govern. Like the rest of us, they have so much more potential than present domination systems are set up to realize. We can all make our lives much more wonderful by enacting the principles of freedom and responsibility, with which interactions are win/win.
Once again, our culture needs to resolve the political and psychological contradictions of control and aggression. This especially pertains to anyone who creates things, from artistic achievements to novel identifications and processes in science, engineering, and business. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, a very governmentally controlled realm, corporations seek special exclusions in the form of “secondary patents” on their already patented drugs, so that two-thirds or even three-quarters are now secondary patents—patents on top patents designed to maintain legalized monopolies and exclude competition.
Robin Feldman on Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes
Such costly strategies hinder vast amounts of thriving in the realms of trade and needs-fulfillment, all stemming from a fear-ridden perspective that duplication by others will not allow original creators to recoup their creation expenditures and profit—as if Marxism and its “labor theory of value” is useful here. In contrast, because of the natural scarcity of tangible property (such as real estate), it cannot be duplicated. It can’t be simultaneously owned and used without some negotiated mutual consent. Any arrangement of multiple owners requires agreements about the nature of their co-ownership.
Further, as individuals, we each possess identities and authorization rights for them. Unfortunately, in our traumatized age, some people choose to commit identity theft, as they try to copy and use passwords, accounts, documents, and thus property without permission. Because identity and authorization are extensions of self-ownership, they are capable of being violated through duplication (impersonation) and unauthorized use. Hence, protection is needed, such as online cryptographic methods.
Full and principled recognition of actual ownership throughout society will be an absolute blessing for creativity and innovation, once again vastly increasing opportunities and abundance for everyone. Imagine persons with a creative bent openly using and collaborating with all the information patterns already available in the marketplace, mashing them up and innovating on them, all without the labyrinth of IP law, lawsuits, countersuits, defensive patenting, and licensing negotiations.
Smart phones alone involve hundreds of thousands of patents presently, based on claimed ownership over sundry designs and processes—once again, trying to uphold the idea that information patterns, particularly ones that are novel or “non-obvious,” ought to be made artificially scarce and legally restricted from duplication and use by others without license agreements.
Too Many Patents
So How Many Patents Are In A Smartphone?
While the patenting process does make innovations publicly known (so that innovators can attempt to steer clear of “prior art”), the legal restrictions placed on such information patterns cause conflict where none would otherwise exist! Notice that the fashion industry doesn’t claim “IP rights” (only trademarks), so anyone is mostly free to duplicate and innovate to their heart’s content in this realm. Things are priced accordingly, be they original and genuine articles or knockoffs. Needless to say, the continuous innovation in the fashion industry would pale in comparison to an actual free market in technological, including biotechnological, products and processes. Everyone would benefit tremendously, probably more than even most freedom lovers can imagine (especially those still wedded to a belief in intellectual property).
Plenty of people, all conceptual beings in fact, can devise similar if not identical designs and processes. Yet, only those who were first to patent (or who can prove that they were the first creators) are granted exclusive “rights” by governmental “law,” thus thwarting many future possibilities for innovation. Unsurprisingly, nearly all corporate IP attorneys believe that this legal predicament is preferable to a free-market system, in which everyone’s needs can get met. Granted, without patents, companies might need to do more reverse engineering of others’ inventions, which would give novel ones a head-start in the marketplace. A world of freedom and, hence, economic abundance will far outweigh the previous profits garnered from IP enforcement. Furthermore, enormous legal conflicts such as the following would cease.
Forget Apple vs Samsung, an even bigger patent war has just begun
Basically, the ever-expanding pie of human productivity in a free market system can ameliorate untold suffering in the world. It can disrupt the status quo in profound ways that Silicon Valley start-ups hardly fathom, because they’re still in mostly Amber-, Orange-, and Green-stage thinking. Most of them don’t realize that IP and its enforcement generate immense opportunity costs throughout the world. Any “legal” support of IP directly involves an arbitrary, legalized monopoly that enforces other artificial monopolies, all of which sacrifice the rights of countless individuals (both potential sellers and buyers) in the vast marketplace of ideas, goods, and services. Ironically, this is purported to be for the “common good” and “progress of science and useful arts.”
IP enforcement attempts to control the minds and actions of people, in their creative endeavors to duplicate and improve upon existing products and services. It diminishes choices and raising prices for everything that’s been copyrighted, patented, and trademarked (and servicemarked). This is ultimately a major losing proposition for everyone. Lastly, a free marketplace continually facilitates ways to recognize and differentiate people’s creations (again, look at the fashion industry). Here is a chapter explaining more:
Blockchains for Community, Instead of Dysfunctional Political Systems
A slightly modified mission statement for Blockchains that seeks to change the world might be as follows:
Utilize blockchain technologies to honor freedom and responsibility, ownership and win/win interactions, in order to constantly flourish via consensual creation and exchange of innovative digital values and sustainable infrastructure.
Voluntary trade has always been the guiding light for those yearning to breathe free. The immediate effect of this mission involves people in a blockchain-connected community demonstrating to the rest of America and the world that true freedom and mutually beneficial relationships are not only possible, but realizable, in tangible form. These strategies both generate and reflect human enrichment.
In their book The Business Blockchain, William Mougayar and Vitalik Buterin offer an acronym to explain various uses of blockchain technology: ATOMIC, which stands for Assets, Trust, Ownership, Money, Identity, and Contracts. In order to ensure a free society, we can use blockchains for these various aspects of our lives, in order to facilitate trade and sharing of (self-selected) information (which can prevent violations of identity and personal authorization). Business and economic communication in the marketplace can be augmented as well. In line with ATOMIC, by recording ownership, usage, and their transfers on a blockchain, ease of cooperation can be maximized and conflict can be minimized.
In such an environment individuals and consenting groups finally become both free from governmental intrusions and responsible for themselves and their chosen interactions. Once again, freedom is the ultimate win for everyone’s happiness, and it’s the ultimate win for the planet in terms of sustainability. For thousands of years, costly systems of domination have squandered and suppressed countless opportunities for creative expression, productive achievement, and interpersonal flourishing. As we recognize this, we need to mourn all the sacrificed needs from strategies of coercion and control, stemming from fear and distrust.
Because Teal organizations reject command-and-control hierarchies and embrace distributed, power-with strategies, they honor each person’s contributions and potential capacities, along with everyone’s combined, synergistic energy. Similarly, blockchain technology rejects centralization of records in favor of decentralized, distributed nodes. Such a peer-to-peer network can assist both privacy and commerce, given the nature of encrypted information residing on an open, permanent (or very hard to change) ledger of verified transactions. Blockchain ledgers are constantly updated as each new block of transactions is timestamped and linked sequentially and cryptographically on the chain of transactions or records.
Another technology that’s used in only a few cyptocurrencies presently, such as Obyte and Nano, is called directed acyclic graph (DAG), which uses a graph of blocks instead of a chain. Blockchain tech that’s decentralized and distributed provides the utmost in censorship resistance from Big Brother. However, it’s also the least efficient way to run a database. Since DAG supposedly comes with much greater scaling capability and no fees, it might prove preferable. Smart contracts (essentially, automated digital tasks that fulfill and record a contractual instruction set) are potentially viable too, so perhaps DAGs will be able to replace blockchains at some point.
Solving Blockchain’s Current Flaws & Enabling Future Mainstream Adoption
A DAG-Based Cryptocurrency Framework
Charles Liu: Smart Contracts in DAG
Essentially, distributed cryptographic ledgers can be used for all the important things that have typically been monopolized by governments, banks, and other corporations, involving documents and records—of personal identity, status of ownership, items for sale, and usage contracts (renting and leasing), insurance policies (from health to dispute resolution), certificates, registrations, titles, deeds, and so forth.
Of course, as this treatise has explored, the main problem that blockchain developers face is not the technical challenge of ensuring security and efficiency on their platforms. Rather, it’s the nature of our present culture that relies on ancient domination institutions that presume to be in charge of all persons and their property within their arbitrarily declared “jurisdictions.” Once we become aware of the nature of power-over strategies and the matrix of threats and punishments that presides over everyone, we can begin to realize how incredibly costly and tragic these strategies have been and continue to be. The next crucial step involves working to dissolve them with compassionate understanding that promotes everyone’s needs as members of a thinking, feeling, and relating species—freedom, independence, trust, choice, respect, safety, security, competence, fairness, equality, effectiveness, clarity, meaning, and peace. Healthy and functional communities really hinge on respect for individuals and their choices, as does human society at large.
The highly regulated and socialized medical system is another major example that, in concert with the corporate insurance industry, contributes to massive confusion, frustration, and suffering. Presently, in concert with the effects of HIPAA, most patients don’t possess always-updated records of their medical history, despite it having been technologically possible for many years and especially convenient with smartphones. For most people today, any of their existing records are kept in clinics and hospitals that they’ve visited, which typically don’t provide records to their patients by default. So, this explains all the unnecessary and time-consuming redundant paperwork to fill out whenever one visits a new health care provider, whether a physician, dentist, or ophthalmologist.
Within a free market, highly useful innovations in this realm would seemingly happen overnight! This is supposed to be the 21st century, after all. Yet, untold numbers of patients suffer and die on account of providers’ incomplete or mistaken records of them, or patients’ omissions and errors about their own histories and conditions. Furthermore, incomplete, mistaken, and downright harmful governmentally approved “nutritional guidelines” and health advice are provided not only to acutely ill patients but also to everyone else (e.g., children in schools). These are reflected in dire obesity rates and a high prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the American population, over half of which are overweight.
The sugar conspiracy
Saturated fats: do they cause heart disease? — The Nutrition Coalition
Why Chicken Could Be Harming You and Saturated Fat is a Health Food, with Nina Teicholz | Carnivore MD
FRAUDULENT Nutrition Guidelines? Nina Teicholz & Dr Berry Reveal
Is Medicine Overrated?
If the status quo remains so, most of us are destined to suffer and die as a result of this backwards, misguided, and distinctly unfree health care system. And, of course, it’s completely unnecessary. Our fate doesn’t have to be succumbing to a hopeless bureaucracy filled with sundry conflicts of interest that mirrors the governmental system.
Blockchain technology, effectively applied, can render all “middlemen” in this process obsolete. The sheer amount of time, money, and energy that’s been wasted dealing with them really staggers the imagination. Frustratingly, though unsurprisingly, things are typically structured to coercively reap continued monopolistic rewards. A gatekeeper status may pay well, but it sacrifices lots of opportunities for enriching alternatives for everyone. Blockchains for cryptocurrencies, identity management, custody (titles, deeds, etc.), and smart contracts (e.g., insurance) can displace any and all present gatekeepers, or what comic Duncan Trussell calls “bridge trolls.”
Needless to say, profound social innovation will happen once domination systems are viewed as intolerable by a sufficient percentage of the population, due to their immensely sacrificial nature. What shall prove sufficient is of course open to speculation. Perhaps when 10% shifts to Teal stage of consciousness and organization, as suggested by philosopher Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory.
However, if domination systems continue to be tolerated, then blockchain tech has the potential to instead deliver us into a world much more like Nineteen Eighty-Four. As noted previously, companies such as Consensys are already working to create governmentally controlled and monitored “smart cities” that run on blockchains. Among other things, governmental “revenue” departments will be able to monitor people’s finances and spending much more easily, and they will be able to collect taxes much more efficiently, which even the head of future-oriented Singularity University, Peter Diamandis (among others), has been applauding.
Blockchain in Government and the Public Sector
Future of Smart Cities – Part 1
Future of Cities Part 2 – Visions of the Future
Inner and Systemic Change
Clearly, the nature of unjust demands made by those in a system called “government” remains the biggest challenge for the process of changing the world in all the ways that deeply matter. Imagine organizations simply not complying with such demands, simply in the name of respectful functioning. This is a psychological journey into our developmental past in relation to dealing with “authority,” with all the shaming and blaming, the threats and punishments, and the sacrificed needs. Few individuals feel comfortable and confident speaking truth to power as a consequence, let alone disobeying, especially when that power is seemingly in charge of our very lives and well-being. It’s no wonder that the status quo persists and vital human change remains the most difficult process. The punishment paradigm, sunk cost fallacy, and negativity bias all loom large here.
Meanwhile, those maintaining positions of power often aren’t aware of their own underlying fears, which concern giving up coercive roles that put others and society itself at an extreme disadvantage. Even though no one has a right to thwart human well-being and flourishing, most parents, teachers, religious leaders, politicians, bureaucrats, judges, cops, and soldiers maintain systems in which it’s done as a way of life. Such is the extremely costly nature of domination systems.
The mentality of command-and-control needs to be compassionately recognized as the developmental result of distrust in people’s choices and lack of respect for healthy boundaries. Self-distrust was formed in childhood, when one was subjected to coercive strategies, such as shaming, blaming, demands, threats, and punishments—sacrificing needs for acceptance, empathy, and respect. Sadly, this made self-distrust and distrust of others seem as natural as the cycles of day and night.
However, trust in self and trust in others can be restored, as can love and compassion. Anything less than love and compassion will keep humanity in a condition of dysfunction, in which we continue to relive our trauma and perhaps totally wreck the biosphere and ecosystem.
One very promising movement that’s been gaining cultural acceptance and scientific understanding involves the use of psychedelics for gaining psychological and interpersonal insights, healing, and growth. Both impressive anecdotal and clinical research (such as at NYU and Johns Hopkins U.) have been demonstrating that trauma-based emotions and patterns can be effectively and empathetically processed with informed use of these substances. Having a therapeutic mindset and a safe setting remain the main keys in this heartfelt inner journey. The various profound insights that the brain tends to generate during these experiences can be integrated throughout a lifetime. Here are two recent informative books that explore these enriching and transformative possibilities:
Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy by Don Lattin
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
To everyone’s misfortune, we presently don’t have a safe societal setting throughout most of the world, because people are subjected to innumerable demands, threats of punishment, and rights-violations by governmental organizations (again, ironically in the name of health and safety). The so-called War on Drugs continues to be a horrendous injustice on people’s choices and lives, denying them responsibility and respect, two needs that enable more life-enriching decisions and actions.
The organization called the US Drug Enforcement Administration represents the epitome of unhealthy ego boundaries, as it sacrifices the need to respect others. All its members are both effects and causes of the punishment paradigm governed by ignorance, fear, and control. Alongside governmental police forces, they engage daily in a futile and extremely costly endeavor to achieve human propriety. To add insult to injury, this Red/Amber organization makes openly false claims that psychedelics are highly addictive and have no medicinal value, as stated at https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling:
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote
To classify heroin alongside LSD is the height of pharmacological absurdity, as is placing THC, MDMA, and mescaline in the same category as quaaludes. This is a prime example of how dysregulated limbic systems can influence grown adults to assert dogmatic biases instead of honoring scientific understanding and reality. Not only does the DEA’s scheduling ignore basic and crucial drug distinctions; it also fails to mention the most potentially harmful and most widely used drug, which of course is legal to both sell and consume: Alcohol.
This is not a mere oversight or mistake. On the contrary, everyone in the DEA knows that alcohol perfectly fits their Schedule 1 description: It has no currently accepted medical use, and it has a high potential for abuse. Extensive research and people’s ubiquitous experiences bear this out.
Alcohol ‘more harmful than heroin’ says Prof David Nutt
Both historians and laypersons in a future society of freedom, respect, and responsibility will undoubtedly look back at this time with utter speechlessness. Of course, alcohol prohibition was a miserable and bloody failure that was rectified in the 1930s (though it’s still regulated and taxed). Despite prohibition proving essentially unenforceable due to desire to use (where there’s a demand, there will be supply), other drugs continue to be demonized apart from alcohol, as if such substances were the actual problem in need of being banned and extirpated (again, always impossible, given the desire to use). Obviously, we need to understand and integrate how to compassionately remedy what ails us, because only this can effectively deal with the deep-rooted cultural and psychological cycles of shame, blame, threats, and punishments.
The opportunity to change in wonderfully healing ways remains available for nearly anyone with curiosity, concern for well-being, and an Internet connection. However, from the vantage point of someone who’s been immersed in costly strategies of trying to get needs met within command-and-control systems, the process of change might seem too difficult, and the downsides might seem too severe. Taking significant steps forward can be scary, after all. This is where the win/win principles of voluntaryism, the mental and organizational stage of Teal, and the enriching methods of Nonviolent Communication are so vital, because they enable and convey so much clarity, empathy, and understanding.
As Marshall Rosenberg used to say, those who are in touch with their needs don’t make very good slaves. When people connect with their feelings and needs, they become more motivated. This can foster a desire to enact a vision of the future that really solves the problems of human suffering. Naturally and logically, optimal human flourishing coincides with living harmoniously and sustainably on this wondrous planet. Free and intrinsically motivated humans can most easily foster these delightful processes. Coerced and fearful humans simply cannot.
Yet, practically the entire world of business operates in a coerced and fearful realm. Asserting one’s right to exist and not favoring sacrifices to governments (in all their facets) entails significant internal transformation. Ayn Rand noted that confidence and courage are practical necessities, and that human sacrifice requires “the sanction of the victim.” So, her protagonists in Atlas Shrugged decided to stop their sanctioning, favoring instead a credo representing a nonsacrificial ethics:
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
The familiar win/lose (ultimately lose/lose) moral code of a sacrificial ethics contributes largely to our loss of freedom (psychologically, intellectually, politically) and various unjust and arbitrary constraints. As we’ve explored, “laws and regulations,” in line with the punishment paradigm, spell massive diminishment of opportunities and seriously hinder creating a world of abundance for everyone.
Most people in America have been reduced economically to living paycheck to paycheck, which has been drastically exacerbated by the SARS CoV-2 pandemic and the problematic ways that governments have tried to deal with it on behalf of everyone. Restricting movement and stopping business activity prevent healthy and effective market-based responses, which would put testing and antiviral medicines as top priorities.
Amidst all this, fortunately a team of scientists at UCSF have focused their knowledge and skills to craft an exceptionally potent antiviral treatment, which consists of “nanobodies” engineered to stop this coronavirus in its tracks, deactivating its surface spikes before it can even enter cells, thus preventing infection. Hopefully, they can bring their product to market before the end of 2020:
‘AeroNabs’ Promise Powerful, Inhalable Protection Against COVID-19
Meanwhile, billions of people in poorer conditions around the world continue to barely get by (many still don’t make it past childhood). As history has shown us, people’s level of resourcefulness influences greatly whether they are able to realize new societal possibilities. Being more well-off financially can certainly assist in having more resourcefulness. However, most of the proffered solutions today by financially resourceful people and groups fall short of speaking truth to power in ways that are fruitful and that steer clear of sacrificial strategies.
Here’s an ironic fact: Cryptography would have no reason to exist in a world in which we had 100% trust in each other. Many people today believe that trusting each other to the fullest extent is impossible and quite ill-advised, because some people will always seek to benefit themselves at the expense of others. Of course, the whole framing of this belief takes place in a world of domination systems that emanate distrust and suspicion, not loving kindness and respect.
As trust pervades society, however, expanding from the personal level to the organizational level, up to and including the political philosophy of freedom, cryptography will prove less useful. In the interim, however, cryptography gives us an opportunity to trust in mathematics, instead of pretending that domination institutions can truly meet our need for trust. Granted, creating and using cryptographic methods is much easier than developing a society of trust, yet only this latter achievement can heal the major systemic wounds. We can enrich our lives without tragic costs. Essentially, everything we want is on the other side of the present paradigm of fear and control.
Sadly, these are now dated headlines, which have been supplanted by a new Orwelian normal in Hong Kong.
Shocked and outraged no more – Hong Kong’s new normal
Speaking of which, the North Korean people probably aren’t at all comfortable with their political and economic circumstances. Still, many greatly fear the consequences of trying to stop the statist propaganda and dictatorial controls. To their grave misfortune, they suffer the effects of a seemingly endless political regime, which tries to keep them in the dark about other ways of being and doing. Meanwhile, nearby, hundreds of millions of state-indoctrinated Chinese aren’t allowed free speech and free press (only via illegal VPNs) in a country dominated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Millions of Hong Kong protesters have feared that their city will be lost to the CCP’s domination tactics, in contradiction to the “One Country, Two Systems” doctrine to 2047.
A new kind of Hong Kong activism emerges as protesters mobilize without any leaders
Hong Kong Leader Suspends Controversial Extradition Bill
Millions of people join Hong Kong protests for democracy
Indeed, China remains a place where independent expressions of contrary ideas and behaviors are continually throttled by those in power. Most Chinese probably don’t quite grasp the costly nature of their sacrificial paradigm, because they grew up within it. This paradigm has traumatizing aspects that bind minds to it, as the Hongkongers have pointed out. Notice that collectivistic thinking, which is constantly promoted via governmental propaganda, disempowers individuals, denying personal responsibility and fostering group-think, such as natives-vs-foreigners thinking, or Us versus Them. Their thoughts about the course of society tend to remain rather amorphous, as those running power-over systems continue to use subterfuge and coercion on everyone.
After the Massacre in Tiananmen Square
Finally, we have America, where the “federal government” has adopted the majority of the ten planks of the The Communist Manifesto, and most people seem either unfazed or in full support of this (even though politicians remain disliked). “The United States” is part and parcel of a collectivistic political enterprise, supposedly upholding the “common good,” or “general welfare,” and other erroneous, slavespeak notions. Tragically, the political process continues with these unrecognized root contradictions, as pointed out in this chapter:
As we’ve explored in depth, new learning and integration really need to happen. These processes entail intrinsic motivation and a courageous desire for a respectful and compassionate society, so that mistaken assumptions can be checked and altered. Mencken’s notion from decades ago is still apt: “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” Here was his assessment of governmental schooling:
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
Of course, those who seem wedded to status quo biases oftentimes view these ideas as hyperbolic, or painting with too broad a brush. As mentioned, Steven Pinker contends in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature that governments have largely served as a civilizing force to mediate disputes in the private sector. In other words, without government overseeing our affairs, we’d be robbing, maiming, and murdering each other, just like throughout the bulk of his book’s gruesome historical portrayal.
Whether or not his dismaying account of violence accords with all the anthropological facts, both historic and prehistoric, it’s clear that he and most other professors believe that the benefits of domination systems far outweigh their costs. And this belief stems from many common assumptions in our culture that involve the unchecked premises of collectivism, distrust, and human sacrifice. Even as Pinker advocates for Enlightenment Now (his latest book’s title), these premises still remain unchecked. All these highly unnecessary and tragic costs can be noticed and rectified with win/win systemic changes on personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal levels.
Freedom and flourishing are our birthrights, after all. We are amazing beings still evolving on a magnificent planet. The choice to change in ways that deeply matter remains within reach for those who desire it, even though their past and present situations can pose big challenges.
The future can come to light in our minds too, in each newly considered realization and every authentic present-moment experience. We are a species able to free ourselves from past problematic patterns. We can heal and grow out of intergenerational and developmental cycles of neglect, abuse, and injustice. This is what changing the world can be about, as our conscious and conscientious purpose.
After I moved to Reno, NV the spring of 2019, I desired to connect with those working at Blockchains. I soon befriended and had many enriching conversations with Alison Berreman, who was their project lead. Then, the summer of 2019, she was dismissed for advocating (in essence) that Blockchains’ Orange-stage model be transformed to something more Green and even Teal. The thoughts she expressed via Twitter about the need for such internal change did not sit well with corporate management (most, if not all, have attended law school). A caring colleague of hers was also dismissed the next day, when she did a silent protest requesting empathic understanding.
Sadly, neither compassionate communication nor restorative justice, two invaluable Teal hallmarks, were practiced with these team members who had been wanting to flourish in a nurturing and dynamic environment. The following link still contains some of what Alison and her team wrote below.
Individuals should have input in the development and design of systems, technological or otherwise, that affect them.
Individuals unsatisfied with the systems affecting them have the right to exit them.
Privacy is a human right.
Individuals have the right to control access to their data.
Those with more power have an obligation to empower those with less.
Freedom is not a scarce resource, nor is prosperity: Winning need not be zero sum.
Unfortunately, Blockchains’ management was also not interested in learning about NVC when I offered to introduce and explore it with them (shortly before Alison’s dismissal). NVC can help greatly in transforming more easily to Teal as well as becoming more integrated. Only time will tell if they decide to change their present corporate course into a new direction of personal and organizational growth, for the benefit of everyone—and the world.
Pathways to Liberation: Matrix of Self-assessment