Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant

We are entering a new age of openness & transparency that is just beginning to drive into the sunlight institutions that have managed to survive until now only by shrouding themselves in darkness, secrecy and authoritarian design.

The Federal Reserve, the White House, the World Bank, the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, private corporations – to name only a few – are all entities systematically losing their relevance & effectiveness as humanity moves into an era of massive borderless interconnectivity & intercommunication where cooperative open models tap into the problem-solving skills of hundreds of millions and soon billions of human beings.

It is no surprise however to see many who pervade our "institutions of old" misguidedly gripping the reigns of power and attempting to thwart humanity's progress by perverting the same technologies that now offer the potential for so much good. Be it legislation like SOPA, PIPA, Citizens United, the NDAA or the NSA's gargantuan surveillance center in Utah, the narrow-minded attempts to prop up outmoded thinking and maintain dominance not only endangers the wellbeing of those on the receiving end of these institutions' activities, but also threatens those within since such rigid top-down "command & control" structures inherently lack the capability of setting loose the creative powers of the masses and thus can only act as doorstops to unlocking the desperately needed solutions to the real & looming challenges we now collectively face here on Earth.

If we are to survive & prosper in the rapidly changing future now upon us every recess of our institutions must be bathed in the light of openness and transparency. Those that grow & bloom in such conditions will serve us well and those we find wither when stripped bare before our eyes, by definition, have no further place left to live except the pages of our history books.

Don Tapscott – Four Principles for the Open World

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Competent Democracy

"A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years." ~ Lysander Spooner

We are told we live in a "Democracy" – pardon to those readers residing within nations which label themselves otherwise – which is often most simply defined as "Government for the people by the people," but what does that really mean in the context of our individual lives and our communities as they exist today?

We are given the choice to "vote" for one set of elected officials or another, but how does this action qualify as a form of government where the people – the masses versus a small elite – are the driving force in the decision-making process? Can we really say that we live in a "Democracy" when the creation of our laws are actually authored & enacted by small highly intertwined groups whom have been delegated this power?

Is this all that Democracy is for the vast majority – simply a periodic & narrowly-defined choice of which elites will rule and nothing more???... OR can we envision more advanced & equitable forms of organization which better embody the ideals of governance "for and by the people"? Can new technologies such as the internet, social networking, "crowdsourcing", "open source" among others work in conjunction to more effectively & fairly distribute decision-making and thus vastly increase the wellbeing of society or would such attempts disintegrate into "mob rule" or "tyrannies of the masses"? Are there methodologies – be them scientific or otherwise – available to us that could stave off the dangers of the latter while strengthening the former?

All difficult question indeed, but in these times of increasing uncertainty and concentration of power, all critical to wrestle with if we expect to turn the tide and build communities which will evolve and thrive like never before.

NOTE: At this time this documentary is not available online. It may be rereleased down the road, so check back later. In the meantime feel free to try this instead.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Crisis of Civilization

"If a problem can't be solved, enlarge it." – Dwight Eisenhower

Climate Change, deforestation, Peak Oil, economic recession, the gulf between the rich & poor, depleting fisheries, top soil erosion, hunger, war, terrorism, foreclosure, sickness, rising tuition, overpopulation, bankruptcy, depression, spiraling debt...

When one tries to take in the vast array of individual issues that we now face us it is no surprise we are often left feeling utterly overwhelmed and powerless. To resolve so many issues seems almost an impossibility – especially considering the short timeline that is required of us to do so to avert disaster – but just perhaps could these issues be merely symptoms of a deeper more simple set of circumstances that if understood might open to us the key insights to tackle all of these issues simultaneously? Could our problems today be a result of our own failure to see ourselves, our communities, nations, institutions as interlocking parts of a synergistic whole?

This next documentary with Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed explores these questions and offers up some amazing insights into the divided, limited and by consequence dangerous manner in which much of the world community currently operates within.

Let's take a step outside of the box...