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Research, scenario modeling, forecast. Living systems, complexity, geopol, energy. Music, travel, nature, surf.
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    Wiring the Global Heart
    Project: Polytopia
    “I hear a very gentle sound… With your ear down to the ground…”

    Talk of the global mind tends to look primarily at intellectual and cultural endeavors, digitized and uploaded to the cloud. In this conception the hyperconnectivity of humanity provides instant access to all the data we’ve thus far gathered and to all the content we’ve thus far generated. As culture digitizes our individual selves grow closer to one another, unbound by the restraints of locality and empowered by the technologies of connectivity, integrating towards some hypothetical merger or emergence of a global mind.

    But this conception neglects the emotional body of humanity, arguably far stronger and more willful than our ideations. Beneath much of the mind lies a torrent of emotional content often deeply informing (or barely restrained by) the words released to share those nameless currents. While scientific method offers perhaps the apotheosis of restraint most of what we as humans engage in and communicate is driven by psychology, not intellect.

    Witness the very foundation of modern civilization: the global economy. Our economics are radically mathematic and rigorously intellectualized. Most of us have only a basic understanding of how such an enormous interconnected system of numbers actually works, let alone the few capable of articulating the obscene calculus of it’s proactive management. Our markets of commerce are left to the banking and finance wizards whose trust must be infallible to secure their credibility in such an occulted domain upon which our very lives rest.

    Yet it’s clear from current events that no one has more than a tenuous grasp of what this enormous nonlinear system is doing at the moment. It’s completely out of our hands and the world’s governing bodies are scrambling to make sense of it all in time to reel it back from the precipice of total catastrophe. They try bail-outs and capital injections and various other methods only to watch the markets plunge in a downward spiral of fear and panic. The machine of global commerce is gripped in depression, tossed in the great and swelling tides of human emotion.

    By nature of their abstraction and the collective faith required to sustain them, the markets are more a construct of psychology than finance. Panic and fear become self-fulfilling as investors bail-out as fast as possible when the economic indicators falter. Fight-or-flight takes over and the human animal, who so abstracted the biological imperatives of food and shelter into hedge funds and credit-deferred swaps, is seized by adrenalin and sent running in fear. The sound of chambered bullets grows across the land, hunkering down for a long struggle.

    These days I can feel it without even looking at the markets. The Fear grips my gut on mornings of great decline. We’re wiring up very quickly, so engaged by the miracle of communication and content, externalizing our minds for all to witness. We get lost in the news cycle and the blogosphere, and in all the deep and meaningless experiences stuffed into increasingly ineffective syntax. We’re wired to invention and distraction, dimly aware of the currents working their way through our evolution.

    Underneath the global mind is the global heart, tremulous and open, more intent on externalizing the Soul than the Mind. We’re sharing our emotional bodies far more than we realize and it’s at times like these that the herd feels it. Danger is on the air. A great predator is rustling through the brush. The vibe is harshed and global. The very foundations of human behavior are shifting and rewriting themselves. This is no market correction. It is a civilization correction. The Great Work of our Age is underway, unifying Heart and Mind and all opposites, comfort and commodity be damned. If we can’t evolve willfully, then the system will evolve for us.

    Hear the words of the Rastaman say:
    “Babylon throne gone down, gone down.”

    Mon, Nov 16, 2009  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    Wildcat     Tue, Nov 17, 2009  Permanent link
    "If we can’t evolve willfully, then the system will evolve for us."

    remarkable statement (and highly quotable I must say)..
    very well written and yet highly controversial, is it a forewarning?alert? are we not evolving our hearts in tandem?
    no, this is no market correction, we agree, yes the very foundations of human behavior are shifting, the question that comes to mind is this: this rewired human, is he us? to what extent can (and should) the evolution of civilization be directed?
    chris arkenberg     Tue, Nov 17, 2009  Permanent link
    Good questions. I'm not sure I could presume to have the answers, much less suggest how to direct evolution. Indeed, our ability to direct evolution is possibly an illusion. Or at least, evolution is a much stronger force than we acknowledge. Morphologic evolution takes aeons but perhaps evolution within digital constructs happens much more quickly. Do you remember pagers? Who were you then compared to now?

    We are surely becoming the new humans, distributed, networked, interconnected, yet still bearing the cross of apehood within a world of constrained resources & power politics. Nevertheless, we're moving into an era of metadesign, capable of seeing into massive global-scale systems, picking apart their data paths, modeling them and running simulations towards more optimized states. Should we direct the evolution of civilization? This question is rhetorical at best. We can, and will, and are directing it. I think that's just what we do as humans.

    My sense/hope/faith is that the global mind will include the global heart and the two will balance the outcome of our grand tinkerings towards a more balanced path. This sentiment is what I was really teasing at with the article (which, btw, was written much earlier this year but seemed appropriate now.)
    weather     Tue, Nov 17, 2009  Permanent link
    Really interesting.
    I've been feeling this schism in my immersion in current communication technology

    I believe that the pure expression of the 'heart' (emotional, spiritual) is a primarily subjective experience, so the question is, what is possible within the realms of 'technology' in expressing the heart?

    I surmise the answer would lye in your perception of technology. Are we speaking here of the mechanistic processors our generation operates and uses to communicate?
    Or are we speaking here of any tool we can operate and use to communicate?

    Both lead to very differing speculations. With utter excitement I believe in the emergence of a global heart but I question the path of machine technology in its ability to facilitate this merger. I mean how is it possible for a system, absent of emotion or spirit to connect with those who do?

    I believe that in creating computer technology we set out to create a reflection of our own minds, this is why it is such a perfect tool for connecting minds (global mind). I believe that there is divine technology at the core of our spirit, our hearts. It already exists, but:
    "We’re wired to invention and distraction, dimly aware of the currents working their way through our evolution." nicely put.

    i see focus more so on our intellectual growth than cultivating our heart and spirit.

    "Danger is on the air"
    chris arkenberg     Wed, Nov 18, 2009  Permanent link
    Weather, my sense is that the Web2.0 revolution has brought humanity more deeply and actively into the web; that our devices and services and content are increasingly becoming social mediators; and that this social mediation allows us to connect both intellectually and emotionally. As quickly as we can share information, we can share feelings. I think this emotional aspect of the digital age is often overlooked but is actually just as present and possibly more powerful than the rational layer.

    The cloud is becoming a vessel for all it means to be human. Yes, it's a reflection of our minds but the mind is the ultimate domain of the heart's action.
    weather     Sat, Nov 21, 2009  Permanent link
    but the mind is the ultimate domain of the heart's action.

    I agree with this, but I believe we have opposing idea's of emotional expression and the essence in this.
    When we share information online say for example your article, I had the impression that you
    are sharing something that you are passionate about, the way in which you articulate the language indicates this, the topic, ect. I 'feel' (as with many articles I've read on space collective and elsewhere) an honest expression of thought, ei thoughts which are being expressed with emotion or passion (from the realm of heart).

    Now while I agree that this 'channeling' of emotional energy is present in the conception of the article, I don't believe this energy is received or channeled (accurately?) via technological means, as say if you were to express these thoughts to me while sitting across from me in a tea house.

    So many things, physical and more so non-physical contribute to the power and effectiveness of emotional/spiritual expression. The contrast of this expression in the tech and the real is very apparent to me when observing communication.

    i love you.