Fiona Bywaters: Notes on the Open Source Everything Manifesto (World Futures Council Perspective)

Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, Ethics
Fiona Bywaters
Fiona Bywaters

The Open Source Everything Manifesto – Transparency, Truth & Trust
By Robert David Steele (2012)

Notes by Fiona Bywaters of the World Futures Council

DOC (4 Pages): Notes on the OSE Manifesto (Fiona Bywaters)

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• Government is not built to perceive great truths; only people can perceive great truths. Governments specialize in small and intermediate truths. And the particular truth in which they need instructions today is that new means for meeting the largest problems on earth have to be created. (Norman Cousins, The Pathology of Power, 1987)

• A public able to access all information all the time, and the obliteration of secrecy and top-down decision-making, will be among the hallmarks of a new era in our civilization. Both of these require integrity as core attribute. (Integrity is about much more than personal honor. In a system context, it is about truth and completeness. Lies are “friction” and lead to loss. Missing information is a form of friction and also leads to loss).

• What we have learned in the past half century – and in the past decade most painfully – is that a top-down governance has become corrupt and does not work.

• “cognitive dissonance”

• The US government does not study anything holistically. Everything is studied and justified in isolation from all else.

• We lack intelligence as well as integrity in that we are spending $80 billion ( US intelligence budget tops this amount, 2008) a year on secret collection sources and methods, processing virtually none of that…

CHAPTER 1 – Open Sesame

• p. 3: [All Open-Source soft-/hardware is virtually for free]… and not merely free, but a catalyst for the creation of infinite wealth…

• p. 16: Corporations now “own” not just the legislative and executive branches of the US government, but the judiciary as well, …

• Missing information. Bill McKibben (Age of the Missing Information, 2006) did something never done before – he recorded all the Television channels being broadcast in his area in one 24h period and watched them all over the course of time. He then spent 24h alone in the wilderness. Comparing the 2 experiences, he produced a brilliant exposition of ho w much “missing information” there is in our lives.

• p. 19: True-Cost Economics, pioneered by Herman Daly

• public participatory budgeting

• p. 22: Accept the 10 High Level Threats to Humanity as a common starting point for what stands in the way of a prosperous world at peace.

• P. 29: In my view the many spiritual movements that seek to expand human consciousness and foster a sense of community have failed in one vital respect: they have not focused on the urgency of putting humans in touch with real-world information, not just “themselves.”

• P. 31: 1. Requirements definition. Intelligence is decision –support – this means that a decision is required in which trade-offs have to be evaluated. If there are no trade-offs, there is no real decision.

• P. 33: …root problem of human race today: We have forgotten our history, have no idea of our present, and have given up our future.

CHAPTER 2 – Open Source Everything

• p. 36: When we allowed for the “taking” of Earth resources for private profit, without regard to the true cost of the taking to the 99% as well as future generations, we broke the Whole Earth System, literally.

• P.46: Open Access. Generally legal right to view, read, transit.

• Open Access Publishing. Unrestricted public access.

• Open Media. Video, audio, and text that can be shared freely.

• p. 50: Bauwens is touching on what I have long considered the duality of spiritual practice: on the one hand, focusing very successfully on reconnecting individuals to one another; on the other, ignoring the proven process of intelligence, a process that connects minds to facts.

CHAPTER 3 – Manifesto

• p.53: We must rediscover and reintegrate indigenous wisdom in order to come back into harmony with larger whole systems, and do so in a manner that allows for application of appropriate technologies and sciene, open source intelligence gathering and real-time self-governance.

• P.54: We are at the beginning of the Great Awakening.

• P. 55: Sharing, not secrecy is the means by which we realize such a lofty destiny as well as create infinite wealth.

• Economy needs to be re-imagined in terms of a whole-systems approach – the true costs of human action need to be measured holistically, in terms of effects on the regenerative capacity of the biosphere as a whole.

CHAPTER 4 – Philosophical Concepts

• p. 66: EDUCATION: Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy or perhaps both. (US Founding Father James Madison).

CHAPTER 5 – Integrity, Lies and Panarchy

• p. 78: The Executive branch is just as corrupt as the legislators. The Department of Justice has claimed in writing that it has the right to lie to the Court when it deems lying to be necessary

• p. 80: Lies as Treason: “A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either to himself or in anyone else.” (Fyodor Dostoevsksy)

• p. 83: Diversity is the source of agile innovation, and Epoch-B leadership is inherently collective, bottom-up, multicultural, and replete with integrity.

• p.86: Information costs money, Intelligence makes money. Intelligence is tailored actionable information.

CHAPTER 6 – Whole-Systems Thinking

• p. 96: (…) while we fail to practice the precautionary principle (if there is a risk of harm, burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those proposing the action) in our science and technology, leading to unforeseen hazards and negative feedback loops over time.

• p. 97: Book: “The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future” (Tom Wessells, 2006)

• p. 98: In The Collapse of Complex Societies, Joseph Tainter concludes that if we are to achieve sustainability and resilience, we must nurture at all levels across all boundaries a culture that elevates “problem-solving” as well as the ability to think strategically – an understanding that everything is connected and that getting a grip on the facts of the matter across all boundaries is an essential first step toward conceptualizing workable solutions to complex challenges. (Joseph Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies, 1990)

• p. 101: This means applying the precautionary principle and putting the rights of nature ahead of the rights of exploitation maintained by corporations.

• P. 103: (…) for at least 2 centuries in the US (much longer elsewhere) with respect to the indigenous knowledge of our forebears, which is particularly relevant to how humans should respect and co-exist with Mother-Earth and other species. Other forms of oblivion include government censor (re-writing or concealing facts, often by classifying details as secret – in other words history known to a few but not broadly understood), and also the oblivion regarding critical information about the natural world that is simply not observed or reported.

• P. 108: Each of these communities records their findings and speculations in different manner. Most importantly, each of these communities fails to record as much as eighty percent of what they know. This is unpublished knowledge that can only be accessed through direct contact and conversation, with the degree of truth that can be exchanged dependent upon transparency and trust in an evolving cycle.

• P. 110: COMMON VALUES: Regardless of what religion we each may or may not embrace, regardless of our level of sophistication in science or philosophy, we all share the blessing of being human, of being able to seek, sense, and share.

CHAPTER 7: Public Intelligence and the Citizen

• P. 115: (…) all the consciousness and good intention in the world will be irrelevant if we cannot arm the public with intelligence (decision support) on all topics at all levels of governance.

• p. 117: The U.S. government has been controlled by a two-party tyranny that has always been corrupt, but this corruption went nuclear in the 1980s when both parties conspired to start borrowing trillion dollars a year – one third of the federal budget – so as to keep on handling out taxpayer funds (or taxpayer obligations for borrowed funds) to the special interests funding their perpetual grip on power to the exclusion of Independents and the other four accredited but excluded active national political parties (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Reform).

• p. 119: 3. True-Cost Ignorance. Despite decades of irrefutable work by a board combination of academics, civil society activists, corporate whistle-blowers, government employees, investigative journalists, and non-governmental researchers, governments and corporations generally (not just in the U.S.) all refuse to integrate into their decision-making process the total true cost of any good, service, or behaviour. Water, child labor, tax avoidance, and extreme pollution are all examples of externalized costs that should be – but are not – integrated into every calculation.

• p. 124: Water is the “next big thing” and the fastest way to demonstrate the value of public intelligence is the public interest.

• p. 131: Participatory democracy without public intelligence is a charade.

• p. 132: Deliberative dialogue  FOR POLICY MAKERS?

• p. 133: All the above translate into a functional requirements document that I have placed online ( “Memoranda: Policy-Budget Outreach Tool”, 17 December 2003, online at and will not repeat in detail here.

• p. 141: “Control Fraud” is a term new to me, referring to the criminal neglect of legislatively mandated duties by the executive and any given government (Karl Denninger Leverage: How Cheap Money Will Destroy the World, NY, Wiley, 2012)

EPILOGUE – My Conversation Experience

• p. 159: We have been deconstructing community for centuries and separating from nature, only to recognize now that our salvation as a species lies in reconnecting with our natural roots.

• p. 160: Later it was Tom Atlee who connected me to the modern pioneers of co-creation. It took me 20 years to “absorb” what they were saying, as I gradually realized that I was – as Russel Ackoff puts it – striving to do the wrong thing righter (improve government) instead of doing the right thing (help the public self-govern).

Evolver Editions, Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness, by Mayan scholar and visionary José Argülles.

• P. 163: In the Ecological Economics Communit I single out Herman Daly (Ecological Economics, For the Common Good), who developed valuation methods leading to “true cost” economics.

See Also:

Amazon Kindle: The Open Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth & Trust

Amazon Paper: The Open Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth, & Trust

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