For the past couple of weeks (apart from launching my modest business as an IndieHoster and finally buying that Club System Button Accordion), I talked a lot with people about how we can change the world.
Berlin is a great place for this. I met several very interesting new people who are into things like hacking and meditation, and followed the first half of an online mindfulness course for post-capitalism changemakers.
On Sunday, we had an interesting spontaneous meetup at the Banana House (continued at night at the unMonastery house), discussing how to change the world, and combining the insights from that discussion with what I learned about the concept of mindfulness, I came to a conclusion. It is different from John Lennon's "awaken the power in the people", from Charlie Chaplin's "Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes" and from Buckminster Fuller's "new model that makes the existing model obsolete".
The phrase "We are the system" is what resonated with me, in the sense that, to understand how you can improve the world, you should maybe first accept that war and resource depletion are part of the system we form as humans.
Most people would not choose to have wars and cut rainforests if they were the boss of the world. But since there is no one boss (politicians usually just act as obeying employees of their political party, and even dictators need to keep their allies happy to succeed), we have to consider how the system as a whole acts.
So instead of thinking of humanity as a hierarchy where politicians decide what soldiers and citizens should do, we can think of humanity as if it were one (anthropomorphic) actor. As one "brain" in which we form the 7 billion "neurons".
So I started thinking of wars not as stupid projects of the good ones fighting the bad ones, but rather as the more accidental expression of tensions and conflicts that necessarily exists within humanity. This sounds a bit vague, but let me give an analogy to try and make more precise what I mean.
Compare the tensions that cause wars to the electrostatic tensions that cause lightning strikes. You will not understand lightning by studying the types of trees in which it strikes. Understanding why wars exist is similarly hard as that, wars don't make sense! By themselves, they're as stupid and suboptimal as the lightning strikes that destroy trees.
War in general is still not a good thing of course when you look at how it kills people, but it's part of the system we form, just like lightning is part of the athmosphere's electrostatics household. With that in mind, it's obvious we should work on designing lightning rods and dissipation array systems.
Same insight can be applied to things other than wars I think. Like rainforests and bankers. I came up with some ideas about direct economy in this context, will blog about that here soon.