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In a nutshell: 50 years from now, I would like to see the presence on the world scene of a very strong "spiritual science" that was publicly represented to the world by extremely credible and genuine people, who worked to present an image of human potential that was capable of inspiring any culture on the planet, and which was entirely "trans-sectarian". This work would have emerged through a combination of scientific and spiritual methods, democracy and the process of dialogue, and advanced techniques in information engineering, mathematics and semantics, and which had interreconnected all the major traditions of the world in ways which articulated their common ground, and pointed towards a clearly defined "global ethic" which all these cultures could generally accept. This all-inclusive network-based science would act as a spiritual engine for the refinement of society, including everybody and everything, on an entirely free-will basis -- and "the path" taught by this syncretic (in the best sense of the word) discipline would produce happy and brilliant people, whose greatest pleasure in life it was to bring freedom to this planet and all its people. And of course, this "system" would be utterly nurturing to diversity, would impose nothing, and would flow like lightning, moving with the grace of Krishna...
"I rule the Earth.", he said, "My word is Law.
If I set free all slaves,
if I teach Grecian to the Turks,
if I split all my countries,
if priests would rule instead of me,
if there would be no coins,
if I would melt all swords,
if man would live forever,
and we would be in peace:
Tell me, wise man:
What would we do?
Where would we go?
Tell me! Speak!"
His eyes were fixed on the camp fire, but his spirit was open. I remained silent for a long time and he didn't mind.
"You know how trees bear fruits and nuts. And how a fruit, deep in the ground may grow to be a tree itself one day.", I answered.
"Of course, a peasant is aware of that."
"Then you know, too, of course, that when the earth is dry, the seed will die, and when the river is too high, the seed will drown. And when there is rock instead of earth there is no room to grow, and when it's sand the roots will find no grip."
"As we are living in the dark, striving for insight like a shoot for the light of the sun, this is what I would like to live to see:
Refreshed by knowledge,
warmed by love,
not washed away by war,
all men of clear mind
will break through to the light
like a shoot out of the ground.
What greater feat could you accomplish, ruler of Earth, than to lead the way to a future like this?"
From: 'Logs of JD Flora', an SciFi e-mail sequel. For info,
send the message BODY 'info logs' to LISTSERV@NEWCIV.ORG.
I developed this vision by closing my eyes, breathing deeply for 3 or 4 breaths to center myself and started to list the things most important to me. I saw my family, friends, co-workers and network buddies all there looking at me for something I did not understand. I wanted to build something for them that would have a lasting positive effect on them and the world. The common idea that ran between them all was the relationships. Me to them, them to each other and to those that they knew in their life circles.
I started to paint a picture of each person as a single point of light and then I knew what I wanted with the Wknet and the future. I saw an opportunity to create a space for them to develop their relationships. However, I knew that the most important part of the relationships was the ability for the points of light to share and learn together. The knowledge flow was like a laser beam from one to the other and each one to each other.
That was the start of the Wknet I wanted. I then painted the picture even larger and saw it from horizon to horizon. It was deep and lasted into the darkness of a vast dimension. Then the points of light began connecting and new points appeared ever so slowly at first. as new points emerged, they connected to the other points and this action began to happen so rapidly as to seem to be an atomic explosion. Everyone was connected to everyone in a knowledge flow and the entire spectrum of light was beaming though the painting until it was totally white light.
I now see that to have knowledge flow in that manner, there would need to be more than a connection. There would have to be some focusing mechanism to create the beams of light so accurate that they could be used when needed to find the knowledge that was available. As the light beams are bi-directional, knowledge flows both ways and more knowledge was flowing than I could see from the painting I created.
I think there must be a way for the individual to become a point of knowledge and to share and learn at the same time. This is the interface that is missing. How to get knowledge to flow instead of merely making a connection. That was the piece of the puzzle I was missing. The World Knowledge Network is the beginning of a long journey. The ability for us to connect to those who have or need knowledge is the next step.
When this vision was stated to others, there seemed to be some urge for people to ask, "What will come from all this knowledge sharing?". I think that if we can get people linked to other people using some intelligent interfaces on the existing and future networks, then whatever comes from that will be very important to the world. I don't know what it will be, nor do I want to ponder the issue. Let it happen.
This vision is different from other networks and communities in that there is something missing from them that should be pursued here. True, knowledge is being shared between individuals today. I find it difficult and strange to link with someone on a given topic unless there is an accidental discovery of each other. I know there are many others out there that can contribute to the world knowledge who don't know that other means exist to do so. We need to have a way for people to seek out and find knowledge no matter where it is.
There is a lot of discussions today in many disciplines regarding knowledge repositories. It is my belief that there is no tangible method for us to put our knowledge into a database. We can put information there, retrieve it in intelligent ways, but to assimilate that information into knowledge requires the computer on our shoulders. Knowledge resides in the people. Wisdom is the effective use of that knowledge. Global wisdom is achievable only when we can collaborate with knowledge workers. If I can't store knowledge in a database, then it seems to me that we need to connect our knowledge stores to the network in some way. (I don't mean to have wires running from my head either.) Its the interface that is important.
I have some very high level ideas on how the interface will effect the focusing. It will take time to define it. It is much more that connections. It is almost so simple that it will be missed if we do not look closely. However, it is very difficult to see.
We have the wisdom. How do we spread it around? A few years back the head of the ALA (American Library Association) said so many research projects were being repeated because it took longer to find the data from others work than it took to do the experiments again. What a waste, take this inefficiency out of the system, increase productivity of us all. Write the programs to (a) assess/define/model/translate into code in what's your current situation/dilemma and (b) to search the dataverse for the options discovered by other peoples in other times/cultures that are the most likely to fit your situation. "Wise Counsel" online. Electronic mentoring. A place to begin your search, or to go to when you are stuck. A national/global information utility, open to the public, --as essential and appropriate to us in the Information Age as the creation of electric utilities in the Industrial Age. A service which provides Answers to Questions ("AtQ"); each citizen has the right to so much AtQ per month/week. Publicly funded, upleveling all of us, ready access to the combined wisdom of humanity.
We have the potential to do this. Now to get about sorting through the mass of overload to get just that which makes a significant difference in our lives. I suggest this is doable. As a counselor/consultant, I do this all the time: assessing the client's situation, going into my personal databases of stored knowledge, retrieving that which is most likely to be fit with their particular need, seeing if it feels like a match to them, if so recommending further, if not then retracing my steps, asking them for more particulars, suggesting other avenues. If you don't know and you want to know, you can always find out or at least move a lot further in the direction of clarity.
We used to think doctor's diagnoses were sacrosanct; but for years now there have been expert systems that model if the patient comes in with these symptoms, these are the likely courses of treatment. I suggest we spread this out to the life situations of more and more people. And beyond individuals to communities, organizations, corporations, nations --what is a wise step for someone is *our* situation, whoever "we" are...
Limits: Of course there will always be those people who are truly on the cutting edge of innovation, creativity, inspiration, for whom this service can only provide a base camp from which to launch of onto their journeys of discovery. And this public info utility is no substitute for thinking on your own, developing your own mind [Big Brother tells you what to think and slants all the "answers" to your questions to the state's advantage, keeping you passive, entertained, isolated, powerless...] But just as few of us find it useful to do long division by hand anymore, I suggest we fund/create the mandate for this service which collapses the distance, or lowers the threshold barrier, between what are our current life problems (relationship, job, housing,...) and what is the best thinking of others who have worked through these.
I think we all would gain, that it's worth the investment. And any community, or group of people, who do this for each other would rapidly increase the intelligence and quality of life for all it's members. I suggest we do this now, if only informally: ask each other what is it that we really want? What would really make a difference in our lives if we but had an answer to? And then we keep our antennae out for each other to find what each other lacks. I know this is already done alot on the Internet and is generating a lot of positive gain. Let's consciously replicate the meme further.
Responses, links to colleagues, deeply appreciated.
Paul C. Hoffman, PO Box 7182-AtQ, Berkeley, CA USA 94707. My beginning web site is currently available at http://www.sfo.com/~paulhoffman/
The means for our physical survival and well-being will be provided more and more easily, with less and less physical effort required. Combined with a change in our ways of relating economically with each other, that will provide us more freedom to choose.
We will collectively discover that we are most effective and valuable when we do what we truly enjoy and when we work on improving what we find in front of us. We will work out of our own inspiration and we are motivated by the fruits of our work.
We will not be looking for employers who will give us work. We create work. Our work creates value around us, for ourselves and for those we relate with.
We will no longer distinguish between play and work. Our lives will consist of playfully adding value to our lives and to the planet as a whole.
Send in your visions for a new civilizaton to: firstname.lastname@example.org
o o / \------------------ Flemming A. Funch ------------------/ \ / * \ World Transformation/New Civilization/Whole Systems / * \ / * * \ email@example.com / * * \ o-------o ---------http://newciv.org/worldtrans/----------o-------o