Quicksilver Manifesto v0.1
Last revised: Thursday, 21 September 17 18:08:51 Europe/London
<this is a first draft for reaction / refinement / addition / development / remixing>
What we will build is a culture where the sphere of human dignity, freedom and empowerment is continuously enlarged and enlivened as the structural and recursive outcome of humans, individually and socially, seeking to satisfy their desires in the most fulfilling possible way.
It is time for human culture to take upon itself the challenge and task of understanding itself and its relation to the world (as best it can, on the clearly realised basis that this is in itself an eternal - and joyful - project), and to initiate a purposeful, dynamic process which continuously develops and refines tools and techniques for enabling, encouraging and empowering humanity in becoming what it wants to become, in conditions of ever increasing dignity, freedom and empowerment.
We do not seek directly to challenge the structures and mechanisms, or the cultures that history has delivered us into - for these are the fountains from which we have sprung.
What we will do, though, is transcend them.
We will do this, not through invoking some image of perfection, of a better version of ourselves, which we will exhort each other to attain, but by providing ever improving tools and techniques which offer to individuals and societies more effective and positive experiences in the satisfaction of their human desires than have hitherto been imaginable, and which offer them greater opportunities for dignity, freedom and empowerment than have hitherto been possible.
Before you throw this aside as an example of magical thinking, let us be clear - this is a vision founded in hard materialism, in the new affordances we have been empowered to imagine, design and implement on the back of developments in digital technologies and recent science. Concrete examples of toolings, technologies and practices are linked to this document.
Quicksilver toolings will offer all humans the possibility of satisfying their desires for:
- individual and collective dignity,
- maximal freedom within a healthy social and environmental setting,
- purposive social engagement - for production, for entertainment, for wealth creation, for decision making, for child-rearing, for cultural production
- in short, for all those human goods which are the fruits of complex societies - where these will be most straightforwardly, most joyfully, most entertainingly, most productively, most satisfying achieved through social and technical means designed to maximise the sustainability and growing cultural capital of all those who are so engaged.
What this is NOT:
- It is not an action programme. It is the inauguration of a dynamic, unending process - the process of engagement with human development.
- It is not a political platform. Political engagement may well flow from those engaged, but this is not about direct engagement with existing political structures, not about left and right, not about rich and poor, not about powerful and weak [we clearly recognise these dichotomies, and seek to render them quaint historical categories: tooling will be consciously designed to address the negative implications of these divides]. It is about using the best understandings we have of human culture, of human needs and desires, and providing the most beautiful, the most social, the simplest, the most dynamic means whereby people can satisfy their desires while simultaneously building a better culture - where individual and small scale social action is maximally free and rewarding, freely choosing mechanisms whose systemic effects are designed to enhance and enlarge that freedom and reward, without disregarding externalities.
- it is not a spiritual or religious platform. No spiritual or religious requirements are needed. It is, of course possible that as a thoroughly materialist conception, some traditions and sensibilities may be challenged. This will be unintentional and innocent. Social engagement which aims to produce spiritual feelings in participants are free to use the tools and mechanisms we will develop.
- It is not a technical platform: although it is possible to imagine this as a practical set of offerings only on the basis of developments in technology and science over the last thirty years, this is first and foremost a cultural platform.
- It is not an ideological platform: no historical inevitability is claimed; no hard-coded view of Right and Wrong is enshrined; no fundamental ethic is embedded beyond human freedom, dignity and empowerment (which terms are deliberately not elaborated upon here - their relevant meaning and interpretation will change over time, just as quicksilver flows).
- It is not a utopian platform: no ‘ideal end-state’ is envisaged; no pretty picture is being presented. What is offered is the chance to build, to use, to be part of a culture that considers that tooling - both cultural and technical - is what underpins human societies, and which is creatively and consciously engaged in designing, refining and optimising those tools; which pays attention to things which don’t change (or which change very slowly) - humans as conscious beings, humans as social animals, the biosphere, understandings of the unavoidable aspects of our best available map of reality (i.e. scientific models of the universe).
Some things that ARE implied:
- Optimism. Otherwise why bother?
- Certainty that individual freedom is meaningless without human society.
- Acceptance that there is such a thing as ‘human nature’, alongside the parallel acceptance that human culture acts on human nature as might a large (and increasingly technically enhanced) hall of mirrors. That humans aren’t going to become something that isn’t there, but that what we start with is all-but-infinitely and recursively malleable and intervenable upon.
- Full recognisance of the implications of the the deep and irreducible complexity present in all the systems that really matter (simultaneously with calm confidence in human ability to produce ever more useful navigation tools).
The tooling we consider crucial. These systems will increasingly interact to maximise capacity and minimise meaningless work while maintaining full transparency, traceability and security.
Individuals and organisations using these tools in an integrated way will find themselves increasingly effective in satisfying their desires with fewer compromises.
The intention is not that there will be some single 'canonical' toolset, but that people inspired by this manifesto will engage with the development of the development of the initial toolset - see bootstrapping below.
Note that these tools originate from many sources - the point is to engage with their development, integration and refinement.
Tools exist, or are in development for:
- development of markets on the basis of money systems designed to maximally facilitate the simultaneous building of human value, social capital and wealth, while minimising social distortion, perverse incentives and unaccountable-for externalities.
- development of well managed, bottom up markets-of-markets which facilitate large-scale social engagement in value creation. These will interact as seamlessly as possible with all sorts of currency systems - which interoperability will foster diversity and thus resilience, empowering individuals and groups to engage in the markets which offer them the greatest satisfaction.
- lightweight inception and governance of organisations and institutions of all kinds and scales, on the basis of sound and appropriate legal frameworks, with a strong emphasis on maximum individual empowerment and concomitant effective and open governance.
- development and maintenance of shared, non-coercive ethical frameworks to enhance individual and social freedom and to foster increasing social capital and trust.
- distributed cultural production, social interaction and engagement of all kinds.
- engaging with and documenting complex systems with the minimal reductionism.
- Trading within credit commons money systems at a number of levels and scales
- Getting used to constituting all sorts of intentional projects as Minimally Viable Institutions
- Distributed, open events