The time is coming for society to become more lifelike! And by that I mean more like real living things with their biological structure of independent collaborative networking.
Each part of the cell in your body has an independent function that simultaneously works together with the other parts of the cell to help the larger whole grow and procreate. Each element does what it wants to do, and no other element tells it what to do, and yet the whole cell works efficiently and powerfully. The way this works is honest and direct interactive feedback systems that work both ways from the parts to the whole and from the whole to the parts. If the more general information from only the large cell is allowed to be acted upon, the cell will miss out on the more detailed information that only one small part of the cell might be aware of, and valuable resources and threats might go unnoticed until it’s too late to act on them.
Complexity of behavior — the hallmark of intelligence — requires both bottom-up feedback from the individuals within the system as well as top-down feedback from outside the system about the system as a whole. Otherwise it’s just a simple, “dumb” mechanical system.
Humans have obviously tried the top-down authoritarian mechanistic approach of a government/corporate director trying to delegate jobs to individuals, with widely varying results that are clearly not very efficient, except in a few, limited examples, mostly in emergency situations. We have at least understood the general concept of information flow, with it’s feedback systems, but we’ve missed the need for the information flow to be multidirectional, for a well functioning system to be created. In any kind of system, in the long term, authoritarian regulation (one-way information flow) destroys the ability of the system to be flexible and creative enough to grow healthfully and adapt to small, but significant changes to the environment.
Think of the meme “two heads are better than one” and consider that this only works when each head is allowed to think for itself, rather than the second one just copying the thoughts of the first, which would clearly just be a waste of a head! And while the two heads won’t always agree, as long as both heads are sharing the unique data they have with the other head, and as long as there is a shared overall goal, then conflict will be at a minimum and progress will be at a maximum.
So, what I see slowly, but surely, and quite peacefully, developing is small independent groups of individuals organizing in communities with a focus on the specific needs of those communities. These groups will be separate from any government agency, be not-for-profit, and will collaborate with other independent groups, and sometimes with old-style governments, to more directly and effectively provide the highest quality resources that the communities need to keep their members healthy and able to do whatever it is that they are most excited about doing with their lives (rather than relying on large corporations and governments to maybe, hopefully, possibly provide with much bureaucracy, cost, inefficiency, and far too much mediocre one-size-fits-all-ness).
In other words, rather than top down government-ization or middle-man corporate privatization of public services, we will have community localization with global collaboration. The local community groups will become the brains of the regional organism — serving as the overall collection and organization of all the diverse bottom-up information gathered from the various parts of the community regarding what they each need to function well — while the communication technology of social networking websites, regional and topic-centric conferences and workshops, and educational and other solution-oriented wikis will be the sensory organs that bring in the information that the brain needs to understand about how well the larger whole — which is the community organism itself — is functioning within the external world.
Some people think that governments and/or corporations can and/or should do this, but I see that their structures and belief systems have become too rigid and so most of them simply won’t be able to change in time. So more ad hoc organizations will emerge, especially during emergencies and other time-sensitive situations where communities need to respond quickly and efficiently to provide the things their people need right now. Then these independent organizations will become stronger, through the bonds that form during the more intense times, and they will mature into more recognized and respected public service agents for their communities.
This is already happening in most communities, where small groups pop up to do random things like help out neighbors who get sick, or to share overabundences of garden veggies, or to fight against a big box store moving into town, and then some of these groups grow into more permanent, yet still very casual and flexible, long-term service providers. Places like libraries, day care centers, community centers, crafting clubs, and the more open minded churches are now regularly opening their doors up to far more diverse kinds of offerings when their members are in need of them. This is happening in small ways everywhere you look, and this localized approach to problem solving and redirecting/recycling/creating necessary resources will continue to happen more and more as governments and large, for-profit corporations become tragically unstable and more actively anti-social in their approach. People will simply give up relying on these large top-down systems and instead look to the people they already know, trust, and care about to work with on problem solving and getting their resource needs met.
So, for example, you might look forward to going to biking over to your local community coop farm to pick up a large portion of your groceries, for free, while your neighbors come to your house to get a ride in your bio-diesel van that once a week becomes the “community public transit” bus that takes everyone into the city to visit the public library, where they offer free documentary film showings and workshops on solar energy harvesting, permaculture, web-design, and robot building. And then you might go home to discover that some other neighbors from the craft guild have dropped off a gift of a hand-made quilt for your family to keep warm during the cold winter, and before you go to bed, inspired and grateful, you post a free offer on the local community’s resource exchange list for your kid’s outgrown clothes, using your custom made computer that you got for free from the local high-school program that teaches students how to combine recycled coop-factory-made computer parts from the other side of the planet with skillfully handcrafted locally-made parts to turn them into high quality things of beauty that function excellently for several decades, and can be easily be updated with new parts whenever technology advances or your computing needs change. And then when you’re finally ready to climb into bed, you turn off the bedroom light that is powered by the small windmill that was made by the local scouts when they were earning their electronics project badges. The windmill sits on top of your small garage that is used as a tool lending library for your community, which, you remember, will be receiving an old, sturdy sawmill from your grandfather, tomorrow, and as you fall asleep you have dreams of turning some downed trees behind your house into a park bench to put up at the community center, where there’s going to be a public picnic celebrating you and your partner’s anniversary next week…
Sounds good doesn’t it?