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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    The Good, The Surprising and The Quite Amazing
    Project: Polytopia
    I have been wondering lately on the actualization of the web’s nervous system, especially concerning the evolution of the meaning of identity, it’s implications and consequences.

    It appears that a new level of awareness is slowly but surely trailing the emergent reality of the web, a level of awareness previously veiled or simply existing below the threshold of visibility. There seems to emerge a fresh kind of conscious awareness to the overall stream of infodata, a kind of non-localized immediate awareness, operating on the stream of knowledge and information. I write ‘operate’ yet it is definitely not an adequate description; it is something more akin to a floating and nebulous sensation, building itself both top down (via our own intentional behavior) and bottom up (via the info-structure of hyperconnectivity). I realize that it is at present very difficult to pinpoint with accuracy and maybe we shouldn’t at this point aim at this level of clarity and let time tell the story.
    All this is beside the point however, since the main issue to my mind is the overall sensation of a new ‘good’ that is becoming quite obvious.
    Somehow the sheer quantity of infodata flowing in the veins of the net’s infostructure allows a novel perception of the collective consciousness of humanity. That is good.

    What is so surprising is that many issues in this stream of consciousness seem to completely disappear, I realize that some of us might feel frustrated by the immense amount of infodata flowing their way, and yes some of it is spam and some of it is irrelevant (to say the least) nevertheless the bigger picture here is that the quantity of information flowing into our minds via the net does a few important things:
    • It creates a new evolutionary pressure on our minds, demanding of us an upgrade on our capabilities of absorbing/filtering/processing/digesting and outputting
    • It creates a new measure of assessment capability inside our minds concerning trust, reliability, appreciation and pruning
    • It pushes us towards a new dimension of creativity
    • It creates a new kind of de-territorialization

    There are many more aspects to this and in a more elaborated essay I shall try and tackle these issues, here and now however my main interest lies with the fourth point, namely the issue of de-territorialization.
    It is the view I desire to propose here that the flow of infodata in and of itself is the main influence in diminishing and actually softening the silhouette of our very own identities.

    I see myself in a very near future, not knowing who I am exactly, not knowing where I am exactly, not knowing what I am doing exactly, cruising and exploring, minding and emoting, not knowing exactly, not feeling exactly, not sensing exactly, with friends and lovers, colleagues and unknowns *(see note).

    And the word ‘exactly’ is ‘exactly’ the word that needs relinquishing, for if the proposal of a de-territorialization is taken seriously can we start and expand our consciousness beyond the limitations of our conceptual/Neolithic self, that which is bound to our bodies, and thus represents the ultimate in localization.

    A Polytopian in this instance may be said to be a deterritorialized consciousness, or more accurately a non-localized, non-territory minded conscious aware intelligent entity.
    I use the term territory here in the widest sense possible, a meaning relation held together by a floating sense of identity that is continuously morphing and reshaping itself according to the free flow of info data that comes its way.
    A Polytopian mind if so might stand for a style of minding, or a style of mindfulness, a manner of beingness or alternatively a mode of processing sense-thought in a de-territorialized way. This style of minding may fundamentally alter the self-perception of differentiating oneself from the many, for in the infodata stream we are neither one nor many.

    A Polytopia in the sense I speak of here, is a conceptual move from the old reference frame of one or many into a new dimension of description both of self and of others. The move as I see it, is a complex move from a similarity of structure and context into similarity and difference based on a multidimensional phase space of possible intelligences.

    This conceptual move of our minds, both private and as a species, converging with the new technologies just now coming into existence might allow us a fresh perspective of that which constitutes the foundation of human nature; Our very own self-reflectivity capability. And it might, if the circularity of the hyperconnected situation will continue to feed back on itself, adapt to a new level of error correction, both in perception and in understanding. That is a prospect both surprising and desirable.

    In fact the evolution of the hyperconnected system may herald a self correcting, open ended and open source state of affairs in which the de-territorialized mind expands in reflectivity and understanding, interest and intelligence by the sole fact of being enmeshed in the life/mind stream of all other humans. At this point sharing in the life of the knowledge embedded in each and every mind becomes the source of all knowledge. Knowledge that engenders trust, motivation and eventually even love.
    Truly a liberating thought, aesthetically pleasing.
    That is quite amazing.


    I was recently invited to give a presentation of the Polytopia concept at a private venue and was highly impressed by the level of acceptance of the idea. Granted that most attendees were already progressive thinking humans, it nevertheless became clear to me that such a concept has its value not only on the cultural trans-personal level but also on the personal level of the modern individual, living in the 21st century.

    During the presentation it seemed as if the conceptual move demanded by a Polytopian stance/ existence towards life asked of the concerned mind to allow for a level of intelligence and appreciation, which takes its force and vitality from a deep acceptance of personal freedom. This personal freedom, we agreed, will increasingly be manifested via the hyperconnected situation we are evolving into.
    During the presentation a few issues came up which I would like to share here.

    The main, and to my eyes most important, issue that came into discussion following a question from the audience, was the issue of hyperconnectivity, and more specifically how Polytopia is fundamentally a conceptual move that purports to show us the manner in which and by which we could evolve our mindful meaning-relations into a novel superstructure, that both transforms our understanding of personal identity and simultaneously allows us a new space into which to morph that same identity.
    In other words, we may at long last have some breathing room into which we can all expand.
    It is as if the system that we have created and that has brought us until here is no longer adequate to contain our meta-morphing identities. The novel approach presented here may possibly become a new composition of shapes and sense thought in which our intelligence can overcome it's own predisposition.
    I have a good sense about this, for if we could indeed morph our consciousness into this new shape, I strongly believe that we could suddenly see clearly the next step of our evolution,as a species, as minds, as a culture ,as a civilization and as individuals forming part of this universe.

    In the novel infrastructure a Polytopia offers itself to be a shared meaning will retain its fundamental value as the backbone of hyperconnectivity (both under the guise of interest and under the guise of trust) but the framework will be fluid and non formal, open ended and non-demanding, a continuous morphing and metamorphosis. In fact a Polytopia behaves more like a fluid than a stiff structure, more like a flowing event horizon than a predictable system.
    Since a Polytopia does not have a center, or a leader, a Polytopia evolves in a fashion not unlike that of a Rhizome, but a very special kind of rhizome.
    The polytopian view recognizes the shortcomings of the Tree as a descriptive method and accepts the metaphor of the rhizome as a fairer representation of the mind of one as a society of the many.
    Unburdened by its origins, the evolution of a Polytopia may be nothing short of surprising.
    That to me is exciting!

    The Optimystic- A Futuristic Social Insight Machine

    #Note: when I use the term ‘unknowns’ I refer particularly to forms of life and active intelligences that are at present unknown to us, be they cyborgs, androids, AI (embodied or otherwise), hybrids, cybrids, and so on

    Credits for images to The Digital Art World of Chaz Fricke

    Thu, Mar 19, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: collective intelligence, polytopia, superorganism
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    gamma     Sat, Mar 21, 2009  Permanent link
    aeonbeat     Tue, Apr 7, 2009  Permanent link
    i really like how it is actually possible to attend the evolution of/to polytopia real time. very nice reading