Reflections: The New Story — Open Source Everything — The People’s World Brain

All Reflections & Story Boards
Robert Steele
Robert Steele

I've been invited to participate in The New Story Summit in Scotland, and they are paying all expenses, which matters since I have no salary, no pensions, and no savings. The event is closed now to further registration, but open to any who wish to take advantage of the live streaming portions. For myself, with help from Tom Atlee, it is an opportunity to reflect on the past quarter century of failed activism in favor of government intelligence reform, and at the same time to lay down some aspirations for the next quarter century during which I intend to be active in new ways — creating the people's world brain. Although there are those — including Buckminster Fuller (don't fix a broken system, create a new system that displaces the old) and Russell Ackoff (stop doing the wrong things righter, do the right thing instead) that might consider my time and energy wasted these past 25 years, I do not — everything has its time and place. Now is the time for me to take what I have learned from tilting at windmills owned by others, and apply that deep experience to building the people's windmill — what Google and Microsoft and IBM should have been doing all this time.

This is my “New Story.”

01 Machiavelli had it right — those who are entrenched — including non-profits that have been “bought off” by foundation grants and fear biting the hands that feed them — have zero interest in changing. “The system” is biased against education (learning), biased against intelligence (ethical evidence-based decision-support) and biased against research (pork trumps inquiry).

02 It is worse than that, however. They are deaf, dumb, and blind to “weak signals” and they have a strong tendency to kill the canaries in the coal mine — loyal dissenters sounding the alarm are treated as village idiots or traitors depending on the circumstances. It has not escaped me that CIA, which should know better, continues to refer to Open Source Intelligence — and perhaps to me personally — as “Open Sores.” It is precisely that kind of unprofessional immaturity that holds the government back from being effective. Thomas Kuhn in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions had it right, paradigm shifts only happen when something so big happens that it “explodes” the old mind-set and opens the way for a new mind-set.

03 Based on my own observations and experience, twenty five years trying to communicate a message of openness, sharing, transpency, truth, trust, and most recently holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source engineering, I have come to the conclusion that it takes a quarter century for change movements to POSITION THEMSELVES for success, and it will take ANOTHER 25 YEARS to achieve a desired outcome — a prosperous world at peace. 9/11 was the end of the beginning. The Tunisian fruit seller was the beginning of the middle.

04 False prophets abound. From Nelson Mandela to Barack Obama to Ron Paul, these false prophets offer hope but are actually compromise in the ugliest sense of the word.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

05 What has changed is the Internet and the ability of citizens who wish to share information to do so — there is also a very negative aspect to the Internet, it groups and reinforces the crazies and it allows for mass surveillance and defeat of progressive movements in detail. The Internet is a tool — Will Durant is our guide, along with E. O. Wilson and others, in understanding that education is how we address the  challenges of humanity. Top-down education — weapons of mass instruction — has failed us all. We survivors who refuse to be gerbils on a wheel and wage slaves are literally launching a lifeboat for humanity, one that will — if we are fortunate — eventually take us full circle back to the wisdom of our indigenous forebearers. Central to our making the most of the Internet and our new-found ability to engage with one another is the meme and the mind-set of Open Source Everything — this is how we create infinite wealth, a prosperous world at peace, a world that works for all.

06 What is still missing — and has been missing from all progressive movements to date — is the craft of intelligence as decision-support and counter-intelligence as awareness of internal and external threats that render impotent the capacity of society as a whole to feel, think, and act coherently and wisely.. I include in this something I have been taught by Tom Atlee and Jim Rough, among others: the art of deliberative dialog. It's not enough to have good intentions. One must marshal the facts, share the facts, and let no lie go unchallenged — – and then invest  time and energy in thinking creatively and well together about the picture painted by a full-spectrum convergence of all possible facts and perspectives. [This is one reason the faddish discussion of “wisdom of the crowds” is so flawed — Tom has addressed this most ably in Tom Atlee: Factors Supporting Collective Stupidity, Collective Guesstimation, Collective Intelligence, and Collective Wisdom.]

07 In the end, all change really is “glocal” – thinking and acting together at all scales from local to global.  We need people – and if I had my life to do over again I would be one of them – to build the communities they want on the ground where they live — renewable, informed, nullifying all insane and criminal regulations from above.  In addition, though, we also need these folks to be in productive conversations with each other, not just about how to do this job locally, but also how to transform the national and global systems of domination over people and nature into systems of partnership and shared well-being.

08 The BIGGEST positive change I have noticed in the recent past is that the elites themselves are now realizing that getting their way — totally corrupt governments willing to do anything for them — is a self-defeating program that will not stop the pitchforks.  Between the discussion of Redemptive Capitalism (a deeper form of Conscious Capitalism and an immature variation of Mutuality Economics) on the West Coast of the USA, and on Inclusive Capitalism as sponsored by the Rothschilds and the City of London, I am hearing primal screams — there is an opening here for approaching the elites with Truth & Reconciliation, assurances that no one wants their 30 trillion in concentrated wealth, it is mostly digital and mostly useless, what we want is for them to apply 1% of their wealth to helping us create infinite wealth for everybody else, largely through my vision for a School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance and a World Brain Institute, making it possible for everyone, local to global, to integrate holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering — Public Administration as a passive discipline must become Public Governance as a normative discipline.

09 The EDGE is two-fold:  One part of the EDGE is the breakdown of the elite — they are now divided internally, no longer a solid bloc, and some of them are ready to listen.  The other part of the EDGE is the rapidly emerging field of partnership technologies and methodologies – from universal electronic connectivity to powerful new ways of conversing that use our diversity creatively, from partnerships with nature to partnerships with erstwhile adversaries now realizing that their old methods including violence and deception are NOT WORKING.  The BLOCK is our own fragmented unwillingness to come together to actually hear each other and get creative together beyond what we thought and felt before COMBINED WITH our ineptitude — our lack of consciousness about — the sources and methods of the evolving craft of intelligence (decision-support).

10 There is no one SEED CRYSTAL. The assumption that any one person or any one group understands and therefore has “ownership” of the seed crystal is the root of the BLOCK, along with the inevitable selfishness of the “leaders” of any given group that quickly default to seeing to their own interests instead of continuing to aspire on behalf of all of us. This dynamic just breeds more fragmentation and incoherence (as well as a lot of parallel processing of the many parts of complex systemic dysfunctions – which is a plus – but that, too, can be more effectively achieved, for example with Open Space Technology).

Tom Atlee
Tom Atlee

11 TOM ATLEE:  To bring people together, the seed crystal needs to emerge from the collective field so that there is a ready resonance from all parts of the field.  That sometimes happens through the evolution of the Zeitgeist and the emergence of in-tune leaders (some of whom can be very toxic as well as uplifting!).  But we have methodologies now – Dynamic Facilitation, World Cafe, Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry, “35”, deliberative forums, etc., – especially when enhanced and spread through media – through which we can tap the evolving Zeitgeist intentionally, in specific times and places, and find emergent coherence that was missing before.  From my perspective, the biggest block is our addiction to fragmented, adversarial, and (w)egoistic modalities exacerbated by most folks' ignorance of the profoundly better tools available for doing our work, most of which involve sophisticated forms of conversation and/or self-organization.  The addiction makes activists blind – even resistant – to the alternatives.  The resulting obliviousness means the alternatives are seldom tried, deepening the addiction to the unproductive paths as “the only proven way”.  This is what they call “a dilemma”, and I don't have a good answer to it except to keep trying to introduce more people hungry for deep change – “the low-hanging fruit” – to these different ways of approaching each other and our challenges.  Unfortunately that strategy seems to me far too slow to meet the emerging “perfect storm” of merging crises that we face, but I'm always in favor of cheering on those who are working on it, like you.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

12 A concise personal vision of “what do we need to do” will be published in December 2014 in the Spanda Journal. It centers on the implementation of the World Brain as originally conceptualized by H. G. Wells, elaborated upon by many others, and finally “operationalized” by myself leveraging all that I have learned in 40 years as a professional intelligence officer devoted to the public interest. The time has come for Open Source Everything at every level of the academy, economy, governance, and society. I know how to do that, and that is what I will be doing for the next quarter century.

See Especially:

Robert Steele: Online Review Books on Education, Intelligence, Research

The Open Source Everything Home Page

Tom Atlee @ Phi Beta Iota

See Also:

2014 Steele's Open Letter
2014 UN @ Phi Beta Iota
2013 Intelligence Future
2012 World Brain Institute
2012 Academy Briefing
1976+ Intelligence Models 2.1
1957+ Decision Support Story
Book Reviews by Robert Steele
Books by Robert Steele
Way of the Truth
Who Is Robert D. Steele?

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