Inspired by possible relationship between Tragedy of the Commons and cascading crises I was reading this article about Energy Efficiency. This in turn inspired me to write this blog. The article states the following about Energy Efficiency: “can benefit all members of society, any member can extract private profit from them, and they can only be achieved collectively” and it mentions the tragedy why it’s not working: “it’s not recognized as a common”.
Now here we come at an interesting point. Probable everyone or most people on earth would be willing to assist in a collectively achieved strategy if there was private profit in return. So it is not as much the fact that something (in this example “Energy Efficiency”) is not recognized as a common, but much more it is the fear of not being able to handle a collective strategy. This fear might however be just an illusion. We recognize Energy Effiency certainly as a common trait, but since we have separated our world in (illusionary!) zones, we don’t recognize it as a common strategy. So it’s all in the wording. Words like City, Province, State, Country, Contintent make us think that we can pinpoint problems limited by these geographic borders. But this is an illusion! Problems don’t end at our illusionary borders. And we invented these “border” illusions ourselves! So what if these illusionary borders just didn’t exist?
Suppose we would only have a single geographic border and we would call it “World”. And from that “border” on we start optimizing our common interests. Could it work? Ofcourse it can. Look at the Internet. It’s a very good example of a borderless infrastructure that behaves more or less as an architecture which:
- was designed with borderlessness in mind
- was designed so that all members of society can collectively benefit from it and any member can extract private profit from it
- crosses geographic and language borders
- is widely recognized as a common
- is easy to understand
- is simple to connect to
- and it works! (proven technology)
So why not extend the principles of this concept into other areas. Think for example of a future Internet of Energy (leading to abundant Energy for everyone at any time and place and creating an overall Energy Effiency that single, localized solutions could never reach on their own). There are probably many other examples where this concept could work. And finally we would benefit very much of having an Internet of Global Trust that helps us building a better world. If we would have a (global) trust that we are both able and willing to repair the tragedy of our current common languages (which is mainly based on local-only optimization strategies), then there will be definitely possibilities for better global commons, leading to a good life for all of us. Instead of focusing on Tragedy of the Commons, let’s start focusing on it’s antonym: the Comedy of the Commons. Good luck with your quest for less tragedy and more comedy!
Our society is becoming increasingly complex and super-integrated. The increasing number of connections could on one hand help solve all kinds of problems we now face together, but on the other hand, the sheer complexity could also lead to increased fear. Fear of not being able to cope with complexity anymore. So what do we need? Simplification seems to be the first answer that comes bubbling up. But simplify what? Make less connections? Seems uncontrollabe. Invent less technologies? This would hinder inventions and innovations, seems not a good idea. Less processes? We need processes and many already work ok, maybe we should accept this as a fact. Less methodologies? Would be nice but could lead hindering evolution by limiting diversity. Less organizations? Let it go. Orgs are already organizing themselves through open market principles. What about just simply Less control? Less control would help in letting things go and allow for some selforganization. This already is happening (experimentally) in certain areas. And there seems to be no hard evidences that limiting control increases problems. Nevertheless, good luck with your search for more or less complexity,whatever works fine for your situation.
We people (not you or me but all the others ofcourse ;)) tend to strive to perfection. But as Marilyn Monroe once said: “Imperfection is beauty” she really struck lightning with that quote. She was ever so right. We have created a society where we frighten each other with perfection targets. And while there is nothing wrong with striving to perfection, it’s starting to get scary if it becomes a goal instead of a means. Let’s give each other room for finding the next perfection level but don’t make it a frightening target because this will in fact create the opposite effect. People will stop their ingenious madness which could lead to new breakthrough ideas (of which we never can have enough in this crisis-led society). So please be forgiving in your attempt to try to control renewal. Or even better: stop trying to control it at all; just wait and see and let innovations happen and learn from them.
Carl Jung once said: “To confront a person with their own shadow is to show them their own light”. He inspired me to make my own variant: “To confront a person with their own light is to show them their own shadow.” By seeing your own shadow, you really start seeing where your own light is (and how beautiful that in fact is). Because of this, you will also start noticing that you (just like any other person) have a shadow side as well as an enlightened side. So there is really nothing to be ashamed about. In fact you will start accepting that both need each other. Without light there can be only darkness. Without darkness there can be only light. Darkness needs light to disappear. Light needs darkness to show it’s beauty.
Every person in the world (not you or me but all the others ofcourse ;)) is unique. We take pride in our uniqueness. But we also have a strong urge to combine our individual uniqeness into something greater. Often with the goal to create synergy together. It is this combined uniqueness which is able to create great things. Only question is: what kind of uniqueness combinations do we need to combine to create this better world? We still don’t have the answers to that question, given the fact we currently seem to be more capable of creating new crises than solving the already existing ones. There is room for improvement in this area. Improvement could come by combining some of our individual uniqueness in another way than we are used to. Maybe the clue is simple: the more we share our uniqueness with eachother the more unique the world will become. And the more unique, the less centralized it is and the better the resource sharing can be. What’s your uniqueness?
In NLP there is a saying ‘change the map and you will change the world”. But changing maps is not that easy. It requires a lot of alignment between stakeholders and will probably not be hassle-free. But there is a more simple way of changing the world. You can do it with your thoughts. It’s really that simple. If you start thinking differently on a certain topic, you will also start acting differently. And the world around you will start changing in reaction to your action, no matter how small but it will change. So you see, your thoughts can be much more powerful than you think. You only need yourself, the power of one is enough to start a change. You don’t need to wait for others. You alone could even make a big change if you wanted to. And ofcourse there are barriers, like the tendency to adapt ourselves to our environment, and let the environment ‘control’ our thoughts. If we accept this as a fact, we will not achieve great beneficial changes for humanity. It’s the fear for changing the current systems that witholds us. So the only thing needed to conquer this fear is to convince yourself that you can make a change. Good luck changing the world towards a better place!
Especially in the Western world we seem to live in a society where being ‘Busy’ is normal. We like to pretend ‘Business’ to our environment because we think relaxing and taking things at a bit slower pace is not good. It’s a kind of taboo. Slowliness is an ugly word, right?
But what if the Western World would take over a bit of the principles from the Eastern World? Would we have less haste? Would we enjoy more every here and now moment? Would we spend less time reflecting on the past (which is an illusion)? Would we spend less time thinking deeply about the future (which is also an illusion)? Would we be able to create another type of society? Where abundance outrules scarcity?
If we looked deep in our hearts, we probably would not object to this type of world. But it is fear that blocks us most. Fear of changing the societal, economic and other systems we have created together. Fear because we don’t know how to change these systems. Fear because we think the change is too complex and interwoven. But there is nothing to fear. If we start by giving each other room for making mistakes while changing the old systems into new ones, we will see it’s actually very easy to change. Improve the world and start by yourself, that’s all there is to it. And don’t think it’s too big a job but instead think about the quote from Anita Roddick: “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”