Part 1: Observations

The complexity and urgency of the problems faced by us earth-bound humans are increasing much faster than our combined capabilities for understanding and coping with them. This is a very serious problem. Luckily there are strategic actions we can take, collectively.
— Douglas Engelbart, Computer Pioneer

I live a very privileged life. It’s hard to comprehend how privileged, given the fact that I was born and raised in one of the safest and most prosperous countries in the world with a proper functioning democracy, a strong middle class, a great climate and lots of ways to develop my talents and learn new skills. I also was born into a very warm and caring family with zero to no dysfunctionality and a very balanced information and food diet. 

Very lucky indeed. Now, let’s make me feel even luckier. I am part of the human race, a very privileged animal species living on the luckiest planet that came into existence, in most likely, the complete history of the universe. It’s hard to grasp how lucky I am considering the billions of factors that had to play out in just the right way to form a massive rock, located just at the right distance of a relatively young star and compatible with the gravity of other nearby planets and galaxies. That we have this one planet, facilitating our unique life form, is always something that dazzles me. Especially when I think about all the ways we somehow end up destroying it.

Although feeling dizzy, the overarching dilemma has always been crystal clear to me. Most people being born into our world will never get to be part of a solution. Most likely, they will never get to contemplate about how special, complex and beautiful our planet is, let alone get to work protecting her. The uncomfortable truth is there is a big chance they will be occupied their whole life dealing with hunger, natural disasters, poverty, war, violence, misinformation, abuse, discrimination, fear and/or suppression. Most people will never be enabled to contribute with their talent and skills to solve actual problems. Instead they will be occupied living a life getting by day by day, going from pay-check to pay-check and drop two new unlucky kids into the world before they leave it. How many Einsteins and Hawkings did we miss out on do you think? 

So I am here to tell you that whenever people talk about changing the status quo, this should be the status quo they want to change. I believe we should focus our science, economy, technology and politics on creating a reality where all the people who are born into, will be enabled to develop meaningful skills and can contribute to the thousands of solutions that are needed to create a sustainable human civilization that thrives with nature. If that day comes, we created an organic and sustainable system of societies that all work together to keep this planet habitable and humanity humane. It is said that the next big thing is a lot of small things. I’m saying those small things are us, the people of this planet. We are the next big thing. We just have to get the opportunity to start working. 

I propose to not wait any longer on our governments, leaders, and corporations to create that opportunity for us but create it ourselves. Clearly, current applications of technologies, their organizations, and our governing institutions are not designed to empower people and attack our global existential threats together from within our own communities. They divide, demoralize, misinform and distract us. With some exceptions, they corner us individually and tell us that we don’t need each other or change anything, we’ve got it all figured out, just play another episode and please just buy the latest cool gadget! 

In this essay, I’m laying out how we can break free from that corner by listening to our scientists, learning from a computer god and by looking at our media landscape. This way, I’ll take you through the core insights that led me to believe that we, the people, need a new toolset if we have to build a different system. Part 2 and 3, my hypothesis, are about how we could organize ourselves to create one of those new tools.