Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Interdependent Utopias

Utopia's are important. They allow us to dream. As long as they don't distract us from the beauty of the world we are in right now. When we arrive, we will still have our dreams. Our dreams will still be different. We think in contrasts.

I dream of a world full of flavour. A world where we have conquered the restraints of physical scarcity. Where we are able to invest our time in the creation of meaning rather than surviving.

I believe in a combination of Human Rights and the Rule of Law that allows agreement on trade-offs between freedom and compromise. We have lots of things that are important to us. Jonathan Haidt calls them our Moral Foundation - Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Loyalty/Betrayal, Respect/Subversion, Sanctity/Degradation. We also don't know what works. These common ingredients get combined in different proportions in different societies. I believe in the free movement of people, goods, services and ideas between societies, where these smaller societies may have social contracts that differ from each other. The individual societies can have rules for how that assimilation of the free moving parts would work. Human Rights should provide the foundation for that. A world that finds a balance between our tribal instincts and the desire to build a global society where we experience our shared best. Where we can protect the things we love. Where we can learn from each other.


The world is on path to this Utopia. With a step back for perspective, it is getting safer and we are getting richer. We are chipping away at our prejudices - gender, social class, age, religion, race, ethnic group, language, sexuality. There are ideas like a Universal Basic Income and Open Borders which could end poverty. Enough is less than we think. There is enough for all of us to have enough. Then we can dive deep into whatever unique or combined flavours and emotions give us the meaning we seek. We can create stories. We can dance. We can sing. We can find something that challenges us and develop a sense of mastery. We can find flow. We can savour relationships. 

I am a strong believer in a world where we empower each other. We don't need to look towards grand plans. We should be micro-ambitious. If we work on our own basic competence and we build relationships with people outside our bubble, we will chip away at the big problems. Big plans have unintended consequences. The bigger the gap between the plan makers and those the plans affect, the bigger these consequences can be. Instead, we can focus on cooperating and seeing each other. Central Planners can never substitute for real Community. Our path to our Utopia is our Central Plan. 

The heart of my Utopia is community, and that community already exists. I just have to make the time for it. Two years ago today, I declared 'Independence'.  I had got to the point where the engine I had built could finance my own basic income. My money could be the breadwinner while I was a homemaker. By deciding I had enough, I could focus on using my time in ways I wasn't trying to monetise. Capitalism is designed around scarcity. In the specific cases where there is supply and demand, it can shift resources in a way that is astonishingly good at creating wealth. It isn't great at distributing it. It isn't great at community. By creating limits around my Capital's world, I could free my Labour to do what it was designed for. Capital is designed for work. Labour is designed for love.

I want my labour to be directed to helping each other find and share our Interdependent Utopias.
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