Saturday, 24 October 2009


In my other BLOGS I take a radical and very critical view of existing society, which, because rooted in man's (largely subconscious) Darwinian nature, I recognise as being inherently unjust, inhumane and unsustainable. In this blog I want to express and develop my ideas on a radical alternative, which I call Open Source Society.

Open Source? Because I believe the spirit of Open Source (of honesty, cooperation, sharing, mutual respect, friendly competitiveness) is what our socioeconomic order as a whole needs to be based on and permeated by. In contrast to the dishonesty, (self)-deception, greed and cut-throat competitiveness which, because of its perverted Darwinian nature, characterizes the existing political and economic order.

When I initially started to develop these ideas a few years ago I called it
nonymous society, which was meant to contrast with the anonymity of existing society. Onymous society would have been linguistically more correct, I believe, but that sounded a bit ominous. Then I learned about the spirit of Open Source (as applied to the development of software), which struck me as being exactly the adjective I was looking for.

My starting point for thinking about an alternative society is the realization that the existing political and socioeconomic order (of state and economy) is very much a product of man's (largely subconscious, rationalized and thus unrecognized) Darwinian nature (see other BLOG), which it developed over the centuries to both serve and exploit, to the advantage of those in positions of power and influence, of course. It is not the "society" we have all been taught to believe it is (a kind of extension of our original tribe, our evolved feelings of loyalty and commitment to which the state now claims for itself), but rather, an ENVIRONMENT, shaped, maintained and managed to the advantage of those in positions of power and privilege.

In the past a state ruler (e.g. king) only had to worry about keeping his vassals (fellow nobles, local rulers and priests) behind him, through a regime of class (family and interest group) solidarity, backed up by rewards, favours and the possible threat of punishment, which is no different to the way that we train and control dogs, and is an illustration of man's self-domestication.

Just as humans domesticated animals to exploit them to their own advantage, so too we domesticated ourselves for the purpose of self-exploitation, in the artificial environment of civilization.

While Greek democracy, which we look to as the antecedent of our own, depended on the ruthless exploitation of slaves, modern democracy depends on the ruthless exploitation of itself (e.g. on wage slaves), and of course, that of the natural environment, to the extent that it is now rapidly degrading and disrupting the very basis of its own existence.

A major obstacle to recognising the above - causing us to rationalize it from sight - is that it requires the concomitant recognition of our own hitherto blindness (which we have very little, if any, conscious control over), including that of those we admire and look to for wisdom and guidance, and of the fact that we are not the "rational" and "conscious" animal we hold ourselves to be, and derive such comfort from. This is because our brains evolved not to grasp reality itself (i.e. its environment), but to interpret it, to serve its own perceived (mainly subconscious and Darwinian) advantage, which includes seeing it the way that authority and majority do. Once you do recognise it, however, in the light of man's evolutionary origins, it is pretty obvious and readily understood.

It follows from this that our civilization, as a consequence of its own ruthless self-exploitation, is doomed. We have the choice between creating a sustainable (and, while we are about it, just and humane) alternative, or perishing with it.