(*people who want to change the world by being the change they seek)
The next revolution will not be violent. There won’t be protests and riots or the oppressive rulers up against a wall. They won’t notice it has happened until it is too late.
Nation states without exception owe their foundation to an act of theft. Theft of all our basic needs – land, food, water, culture, thought, movement, vocation, health, communication – which is then sold back to us as scarce commodities. Democracy is a smoke screen to the tyranny of an economic monoculture that allows money and the flow of money to dictate our lives in every detail. But the screen is lifting, the smoke is clearing, the scales are falling from our eyes. The monster is out in the open for all to see. What is not so clear is our mode of escape.
All the doors marked exit from this crazy world have been taken but none have led to what we really want. Various political philosophies lead to the same dilemma of ownership. What is mine and what is yours. And even shared ownership, when imposed, leads to inevitable state tyranny. This is because no matter what the intention, power corrupts. The three properties of the universe – mater, meaning and energy flow continuously through each other and within each of us manifest as body/embodiment, mind/mindfulness and voice/vocation. We each manifest these properties in different and unique ways, the expression of which is our life purpose. When that expression is limited or inhibited by power structures, a systemic violence pervades our whole existence. We call it society! This is a prevailing infrastructure which, in return for the perceived convenience, comfort and security it provides takes away our capacity to provide this to ourselves through community, sharing and basic human relationship with each other outside of the institutionalised roles.
We need a parallel infrastructure. One based on communitas, that is focused on what each of us has to give, and which enables us to give it freely in a network of relationships that takes care of all our needs. This includes the need in all of us to find out what it is that we have to give.
In the past such communities have existed in small pockets, bubbles which in themselves become isolated and cut off from the world. But now we have, through the world wide web, smartphone technology and gps, the capacity to create a gift economy infrastructure parallel to the prevailing one. A gps map of all the creative citizens who are living the change they seek and are giving what they have to give freely.
The app invites membership from those who desire to give freely their skills, capacities and produce. By liberating energy, meaning emerges from new relationships not only with each other but with the environment, urban or rural. With time and a growing army of creative citizens a map will emerge that overlays that which has dictated our movements previously. This map, this parallel infrastructure, this revolution road will manifest as mater, as pathways by which we traverse the prevailing infrastructure but untouched by its systemic violence. In time, as more people download the app, join the network and live by the growing map of this new world it becomes the prevailing infrastructure and heaven will have prevailed on earth.
The prevailing infrastructure not only steals and controls our natural inheritance. In order to squeeze as much capital from our fecund earth it is poisoning the well from which we all drink.
Slavery, of women in patriarchal societies, of children in sweatshops of us all in neuro-marketing propaganda and education designed to condition us to tolerate fear and mediocracy. So that we are not even aware that we are indeed slaves.
The military and police power in which states have invested to protect property and territory that belongs to no one, but in which through nationalism and the narcissism of petty differences, we all take pride.
The corruption of spirituality so that truth has become a commodity. When meaning becomes fixed and stagnant as it is in organised religion, energy cannot flow freely and is channeled towards the inhibition of our natural and playful creativity, what manifests is the shadow of creativity – destruction. Esoteric and gnostic religions of which there are branches in every religion recognise this, and they are usually the first to be attacked by the fundamentalists in their own religion e.g the cathars by catholics during the inquisition, the sufi in the present day by islamism.
The massive mental health problems in society due to our learned helplessness. We take upon ourselves the shame and guilt of not being all that we can be. We hide in the insatiable satiation of 24 hour stimulation, superficial realities and addictions that eat our souls so that we become hollow and without feeling. We promulgate the psychopathy of society, devaluing empathy and compassion and according status to a spectrum of neural activity which feeds fear and distrust. We consume drama and thrive on disfunction. For some pain becomes the only thing that makes them feel alive.
Poverty excludes the belief that a parallel infrastructure is possible. And yet poverty is the gateway to giving freely. It is the state through which we pass through the eye of the needle. In the gift economy not having money means money is not a problem. What the problem is is the inhibition of vocation, the obstacles to expressing the reason for our existence. The main obstacles are mindlessness – we are distracted by baubles and comforts and accept without question a mediocre life of habitual conditioned responses that we pass on to our children. And the oppression of materialism – the belief that there is something lacking in our lives the answer to which is out there in the material world, or in spiritual materialism.
The aim of the parallel infrastructure is to coexist alongside the prevailing infrastructure, to sail alongside this supertanker aimed for the rocks, like a lifeboat. And to attract people to jump ship, to make a lifestyle choice, to join the gift economy. There will be places where the maps integrate and the aim is always to find the path of least resistance around obstructions to change. But there will be sites of resistance, for instance, the necessity to stop fracking from poisoning our groundwater. The nature of the prevailing infrastructure means that communities of creative citizens will have more integral resilience, less dependency on the prevailing infrastructure and therefore more freedom to mobilise effective protest.
Taking money out of the equation means that energy will flow more freely and materialise workable alternatives in every area of life. Instead of, “I can’t do that, I don’t have the funding.” will be “Who can help me make this happen?” Since the aim of invention and creativity will not be profit but the better functioning of the parallel infrastructure, ownership will belong to the community and the urge to control will be dispelled by the urge and the enjoyment to co-create workable solutions that save the planet and our sanity.
The virtual sandbox, crowd in a cloud approach to development and propagation of ideas, initiatives and tools for transformation are useless while merely notional. Essential is the application of these proposals on the ground. In the gift economy they will touch down in reality in a gentle and unforced way that, rather than being a mass produced one size fits all solution, will be ‘fitting’ for each unique circumstance. This reflects the inherent respect of gifting rather than the selling and purchasing paradigm to which we are accustomed.
An unbridled feedback loop and the kind of sharing and open access that hierarchical systems and the secrecy of capitalism prohibits will ensure that ideas evolve to practical use in a way that is impossible in the prevailing infrastructure. This is because the constant worry about money is like driving the car with the hand-break on. Without this worry, the application of solutions will be fast but precise; flexible but smooth; effective but personable – creating a natural efficiency that no amount of top-down management could achieve.
Human inventiveness being what it is, parallel infrastructures have always existed as ways of surviving wars and economic turmoil. They are usually called the black market, and can be seen in small ways in all societies in boot sales and local lets schemes, or even on ebay and gumtree. However, going down the revolution road is a far more radical proposal.
Some anthropologists equate agriculture as the beginning of our downfall as a species because harvested crops created a surplus and structures of hierarchy were generated to control what happened to that surplus: while previously hunter gatherers took only what was needed. The revolution road app will flag up on a searchable map these surpluses so that they can be redistributed according to need. This surplus needn’t be just food, tools or material objects, they are the surplus of our energy, our vocation – our specialist skills or simply our helping hands.
Such networks already exist. The couch surfing network offers travellers a place to stay; the greeters network a local guide to show you around and volunteering networks of all kind are a cornerstone of civic society. Revolution Road will be an open source or wikimap into which all these networks can be mapped and added to, allowing information that is time and location sensitive to be accessed on a smartphone. Just as this technology has made it easy to find a date or a lover for the night wherever you are, it can also facilitate a long term shift into a gift economy that reflects better the fact society seems to want to obscure – our fundamental interdependence.