Treatise on Community
Grant, T.A. (2020). Treatise on Community as a Type of Society. The System Overview. Auravana Project, Societal Specification Standard, AURA/SSS-SO-001. pp 6-36.
Abstract: Community is a type of configuration of the societal system. It is possible to understand how humans can cooperate for mutual fulfillment at the global level by viewing all resources and needs as common, and by developing an information system useful to mutual human fulfillment. Herein, discursive reasoning is provided for this specific configuration of a societal system, as opposed to the selection and encoding of other configurations. It is possible for humanity to organize its informational and spatial systems to sustain mutual human fulfillment and ecological regeneration. The construction of a sustained community-type society necessitates a systematic exposition and discussion of the facts and principles involved and conclusions necessary to arrive at community. This article describes community by describing what community is, and how society can become and operate like a community. A complete treatise on community must include a discussion of community, that which contrasts community, and that which community is, at an experiential level. Most of the population of a community-type society lives in integrated city systems (a.k.a., total city systems) where a life-space has been intelligently and appropriately designed to meet the needs and highest potential desires the population. A population may contributes openly to the operation of a societal informational and infrastructural system that meets all human needs, optimally. In order to accomplish this, a moneyless and coercionless societal structure is proposed. This is a proposal for a societal system that operates effectively without trade, with the market, and without coercion. Community is capable of this accomplishment.
1. What is community?
What is Community? Generally, when people speak about community, they are referring to an organization of individuals intentionally committed to supporting a shared vision, which includes participation in a shared set of activities – it’s a group of people who have something in common and interact. A community shares information and can be relied upon in times of hardship. Those in community may be said to have a similar direction, or at least orientation, to life. Individuals in community feel friendly and peaceful with one another. Most people, when they hear the word community will imagine the experience of sharing a common set of important relationships while gaining similar enjoyment out of life.
When those of us designing an integrated living system think about community, we think about community as a more complex and enriching concept. Certainly, it involves the idea of commonality in relationship, but under what context are we imagining this commonality to exist? For every type of social organization with individuals intentionally committed to a shared direction, is there community? Is community just a sharing of vision and action, and possibly location, or is there more? A group of people can come together because they have a similar way of perceiving, understanding, and acting in the world, but, ‘community’, in our view, goes beyond just the idea of having a shared direction and orientation in life. It says more about a group of people than that they are connected to each other in some important life-orienting manner. At the scale of our living system, community says something about the specifics of perception, comprehension, and navigation held by those who are sharing information, behaviors, and resources in relationship. In other words, community is a specific type of human organization, not just any human organization.
In the design of a living system (i.e., how we live together on this planet), community doesn’t represent just any group of individuals with a similar worldview and set of behavioral patterns in some similar location or space. The term, instead, refers to a group of individuals who maintain these common relationships, and the relationships are oriented toward intentionally greater fulfillment, well-being, and flourishing for all. Hence, community is the term we use to describe the organizing structure of a societal “living” system where fulfillment and flourishing and all available resources are shared in common.
In fact, the etymological origin of the word ‘community’ comes from the Latin language word “communis”, which means “things shared by all, or held in common by all”. (You see) It has been known for a long time that sharing fosters [strong] community. Traditionally, that which was held in common was land and environmental resources. Today, however, sharing world resources includes information as a resource. Community represents a recognition that sharing resources, and holding the whole earth in common, is necessary for everyone’s flourishing.
The word ‘community’, itself, can be broken-down into “comm”, standing for comm-onality in comm-unication (a common connection), and the second part is “unity”, standing for the harmonious interaction of the whole (an integrated wholeness), which emerges for the individual into the experience of “flow” in daily life and “oneness” in internal life. Hence, as a concept, ‘community’ is characterized by connection and integration. Connection refers to a relationship, and integration refers to the meaning given to a relationship (the merging of context and intention). And so, community, in this very refined sense, is a set of meaningfully integrated relationships. If, however, “connection” means the process of creating and receiving information, and “integration” means the process of re-alignment to a less dense pattern of information, then ‘community’ refers to the socially coordinated process of connecting and integrating information for our own evolution. And further, if the first part of the word stood for “connection”, and the second part meant “cohesion” or “coherence”, then the word ‘community’ might represent a highly connected and coherent model for human living – a model for living where humans accurately perceive environmental signals and construct in alignment with their fulfillment. Of course, similar things have been said about the universe itself, that it is connected and coherent. The universe is a seamless dynamic of motion and information. It is an undivided wholeness of flowing movement, and we can connect up our living systems in harmony with this wholeness so that we too may experience flow in our own movements. We can form and dissolve our creations to more greatly align with a higher potential form of experience. Throughout the uni-verse is a movement of the whole with which we can align, and our information model for community itself represents our most coherent form of that alignment. Hence, if we define communication as the replication of perception into another’s mind, then community (as comm-unication + unity), is the coherent replication of a unified understanding of how we might all experience more optimally fulfilled lives. Fundamentally, the higher the quality of information we are exposed to and share among ourselves, the more effectively and efficiently we will experience fulfillment in our lives, for there is less cognitive processing we have to do to make our experience coherent.
With a conceptual definition of community in mind, when we speak about community, we ask: At what scale are we sharing resources for our mutual fulfillment? At what scale do we feel commonly connected and integrated, and maintain a state of flow and oneness in our lives? At what scale are we experiencing meaningful relationships? At the social scale, the economic, the ecological, the technological, the planetary. You see, in community we understand that we are all individually connected within a more integrated and encompassing whole, we are on this earth together. And with this realization in mind, we further ask, “How do we feel and behave in a space when we realize that everything in that space is commonly connected and integrated, at all scales?”
Community means connection and integration at every scale of influence. And so, to us, community is a type of “living” socio-economic organization that we share among ourselves as a unified specification for fulfillment. Of course, if there is a lack of recognition of one’s existing and experienced socio-economic system, then I could easily see how the idea of community could become degraded and domesticated to mean something akin to “a simple activity group” (e.g., tennis “community”), or, an information sharing network (e.g., an online social “community”). If someone has little awareness of the influence and very construction of their lives within a larger socio-economic context, then it only seems that their idea of a community would be limited and conformed to the box within which their awareness [of what community is, and could be] resides. Community is a crucial (i.e., root) component to the experience of this physical life itself, and so, when our shared potential for fulfillment isn’t recognized, then the notion of “community” will likely show up in a highly distorted, and often divisional, manner. Islands (made up of human beings) competing for resources and attention in a game of scarcity practiced on the field called a market will refer to themselves as “communities”: the business communities; the knowledge communities; the community that has to do with your career field; the racial communities; activity group communities; and also, the idea of corporate neighborhood communities. Some people even feel as if their nation or political camp represent their community. Here, the word “community” is composed into a form that specifically identifies a contrast in social group or human attribute. In other words, it establishes a divisional set of relationships because it has been created to identify differences, instead of integrate commonalities.
We are one humanity, on one earth, and we have all come from the same source. We all have common needs, which we can synergistically fulfill in common. Community is an acknowledgement that there are differences among us, but it doesn’t structure those differences into how we are cooperatively fulfilled on this finite planet. The division of community at the most holistic level (i.e., the level of our socio-economic ecology) into isolated resource and attention seeking groups with their own labeled “-community” separates us from our experience of our humanity on Earth. Labeling a socio-economic position by social group or human attribute is highly divisional, and it is likely to disconnect a group of humans from their existent life-grounded relationships, such as the innate sensing out of nutrition through flavor signals (becomes one fad diet camp versus another), or the innate sense to cooperate for resource efficiency (becomes one political/economic group versus another).
At a personal level, unless we put attention on our own connections and integrations, we are unlikely to understand the unconscious patterning that we are operating with or that we may have internally absorbed from the culture at large, which may be unintentionally reconstructing an environment of lower potential, and possibly great suffering. Here, we come to the realization that when we find a source for our connections and integrations within, we don’t need to take from one another without.
At a social level, community is experienced through the sharing of a unified living system for our fulfillment, involving a perspective that all resources are held in common. Certainly, a life of mutual flourishing is more than feasible when we consider all of Earth’s resources as the common heritage of all the worlds people, and we cooperatively and intelligently coordinate their use for the fulfillment of all. Herein, nature is our common phenomenon, and we can work with nature in the continuous formation of community to optimize our use of resources and the potential of our lived experience. Community is about helping all selves experience [the same] optimized and elevated vitality, health, well-being, and enriched lives with [equal] opportunities for self-development and contribution. Through the cooperative creation and operation of community we maximize everyone’s quality of life.
Community may be said to represent meaningful interconnectivity at all scales. Herein, we recognize that we are (to some relative degree) the totality of all of those life expressions in which we are in an interrelationship. Things in the universe are connected, at the most profound level. The moment we start thinking of other humans as the enemy is the moment we start tearing each other apart, and dividing ourselves into competing “community” camps, and label ours as the exception. Any exception our society makes to our common real-world fulfillment will likely generate division within our society, and open a pathway to “your” fulfillment being violated.
Some people really want to hold to their limited definition of community, for if they were to integrate this more expansive and holistic definition, then they would have to admit to themselves that what they are participating in right now is actually lacking in what they believe it to have — there is the experience of ‘cognitive dissonance’. Participation in an activity group, a support group, or an information sharing network is not equivalent to participation in community at the scale of our living system. To awaken our sensitivities, we ask ourselves, “What does it feel like to have a deeply satisfying set socio-economic relationships?” And here, we come to recognize that real community is more fulfilling than a nutritionally deficient substitute. It is a bit like what early 21st century society has done to food and flavor. Early 21st century society has cultivated the flavor and nutrition out of food (so it has no flavor and little nutrition), while adding it to food that we would not otherwise eat. The feeling that someone might get by participating in their divided “community” is superficial to the fulfilled, flavorful and nutritional experience of community at the scale of our living system. Which, shouldn’t take anything away from the joy currently received from having activity partners and a support group; it is just to say that, to some degree, we are fooling ourselves when it comes to the experience of fulfillment. You see, there is more to community than just the sharing of similarly joyful experiences in a structurally divided and isolated manner.
When we look at how we live together on this planet, do we experience the behaviors we recognize as a life lived through ‘community’ operative at every scale of relationship?
Consider how our use of language can mask an even greater state of fulfillment. Maybe having activity partners and/or a support groups is the greatest way you can be fulfilled in a fundamentally unfulfilling environment, and so you desire to call those activities by the name you give to the greatest form of fulfillment you can imagine. But notice here too how language is concealing a more real state of fulfillment by ignoring the larger living system in which your enjoyable activates and support groups exist.
We realize that community is a connection of individuals continuously integrating and forming a unification of energies directed toward a more expansive and fulfilling purpose. That purpose is to continuously and consciously evolve toward our highest potential for the fulfillment of all life, which involves the experience of greater connection and integration in our own lives, and doesn’t mean the loss of our own individuality. In community, we live with a purposeful desire for a more expansive and fulfilling experience, and we compose that experience in alignment with nature at every scale. This purpose encompasses the self, and is at the same time, beyond the self. To some degree you could even say that the purpose of community is to provide a conducive environment where we all individually awaken to our higher purpose and express our higher potentials. Yet, whether or not we follow our purpose has to do with how much power we have, which has to do with structure, which has to do with consciousness, and the feedback of our actions, as sensed signals, in this common environment of ours. And so, in its operation, community is a set of definable relationships operating together deliberately and forming an evolving whole, which benefits the individual and the whole together.
Essentially, we are saying that social, economic, and other relationships in a living system orient that system in a particular direction. Every socio-economic system has an identifiable direction, and a set of value-standards and routines which replicate through the minds of individuals and orient its continuance. For community, while perceiving all scales of commonality, that direction is one of our own fulfillment as well as the flourishing of all life, which we might then say, is experienced as a lifestyle of optimized flow and oneness.
Flow is the experience of our higher potential capacities for performance in the world, its similar to what we see happen in athletes like snowboarders who become one with the board and the mountain as their awareness expands and their focus narrows into the now. This is why the state is also sometimes known as oneness, for under certain conditions of consciousness these feelings of truly being in the iteration of the moment can become so expansive that it feels like one encompasses all, and is at the same time encompassed by all. Community, like the snowboarder, is in constant motion, and it is an awareness of the totality of the motion that gives it stability, sort of like something spiralling, like a tornado, which doesn’t have permanence, but through its dynamic motion, through its structure, it has great power to restructure an environment for our fulfillment (or lack thereof).
If we simply pursue our own particular path of growth and development, eventually our higher potential capacities for awareness and performance start to come online, and they are so radically connecting and integrating that the experience of them becomes its own drive. And here, we realize, that these higher potential capacities are more easily awakened, entered, and sustained, given a conducive environment – an environment designed to account for connection and integration, for our fulfillment, at all scales. Also, without extensive remembrance (i.e., knowledge) of the symbiotic relationship between humanity and its environment, it would be extremely difficult to develop workable solutions to our many social and economic problems.
People ignore the fact that their misunderstandings, conceptual confusions, and incorrectly integrated environmental signals have an impact on their lives and the lives of those around them. Their limited awareness, reflected by their language, conforms their experience to one of artificial limitation and reduced potential. For many of us our subconscious and behavioral routines have been formed in a state of chaos. And, we have to have a reality and a conversation about that. It really comes down to an accurate sensing of, and response to, our environment; it comes down to knowledge and recognition that we aren’t doomed forever, we can begin integrating with our common reality in real time for our fulfillment.
What we have done to this point isn’t working. Where we focus our intention with repetition is the outcome. There are many now who focus on profit, which is not the organizing principle of community. We are ever so slowly transitioning society to a focus on fulfillment and potential. We are all in an experiment. Yes, we live in an experiment. This, right now, right here, is an experiment in socio-economic design. It’s not like we are going to go to an experimental design, we are already in one. Instead, we are essentially saying, we think this one isn’t working, so we need to change the way it functions, and because of the logic and evidence behind what we propose, we expect this new structural specification to produce better outcomes in terms of ecological regeneration, human well-being, and the experienced fulfillment of all life on this planet. We are already in an experiment, we don’t think it is working all too well, and so, we are going to change it through an updated and testable design that makes the present system obsolete. Societies are experiments, to some, they are even laboratories. We can see by the choices we take, the outcomes we get, and we, can learn from them.
QUESTION: What if there were no artificial limits to what we could share, and how we could cooperate?
2. The specification standards explained
A.k.a., What are is a societal specification standard?
Here on Earth, the human experience cannot be separated from the socio-economic environment, the ecological dynamic in which the experience is occurring. In nature, there are continuous and influential feedback loops between individual organisms and their environment. Today, we have positioned ourselves in spaces and dwellings that have horribly disrupted feedback loops, such that we have lost track of our constructed environments influence on our lives. When we think about living on this planet, and the creation of the organizations, services, and technologies that provide for our needs, wants, and preferences, then we be begin to see the idea of community emerge into a type of socio-economic design, a type of living system, or “society”. In part, a “society” is a dynamic and emergent system in which a population are living and behaving for a purpose, while maintaining a set of relationships that sustain their continued existence. Here, at the societal level, community becomes constructed around the individual’s intention for self-development and mutual life fulfillment. And yet, when we are surrounded with unfulfilling situations it is easy to blame society; it is much more challenging to look at ourselves.
At a societal level, community becomes a structure to help humans make meaning, to facilitate connection and integration, to meet intentions (i.e., “expectations”) for fulfillment, and to provide opportunities for self-growth and contribution. It could be visualized as a social, organizational vehicle for developing human potential and facilitating human fulfillment. It works because we are all connecting and integrating together [in the expression of a unified model for our own and all others highest fulfilled development]. If we desire to maintain our fulfillment, we must maintain a socio-economic organization that facilitates a sensitivity to our needs, as well as the sufficient fulfillment of those needs, which together with our experience of community, are the basis of our well-being.
And so, in community, we are continuously asking ourselves, “What are the best means of addressing our needs, today, and well into the future?” We recognize that our future depends upon relevant information in the now, and how we apply it. We need a space of accuracy and coherency to move into the future intelligently (such that our decisions are fulfilling for ourselves and for others).
Here, it is important to reiterate that the “community” someone may presently know as their local neighborhood, their activity club, their charitable organization, their social platform, their village, their nation, or their ethnic group are not the community we know and are referring to when we speak about community. Each of the aforementioned organizations are actually part of a larger socio-economic system, but neither that perceived [to be] isolated organization, nor its larger socio-economic context, are what we know of as community. We recognize that the division of community into expressly contrasted socio-economic organizations, can easily drive us to hate [one another].
Community is not different things to different people (it is not stratified), it is something we can identify and define in common. Together, we may express our design for community through identification and coherent integration of a common socio-economic living system – a system that logically, verifiably, and experientially orients toward greater mutual fulfillment. Here, designs are communicated through specification – an act of clarifying processes and other relationships (in order to ensure a standard of communication and construction, that is coherent, and unlikely to produce miscommunication and unstable constructions).
And yet, we in community are continuously setting aside our own notions of “community”. We update our information space, which is our unified model for fulfillment, as we learn more about ourselves and the world we live in. Here, we recognize the possibility of unwittingly serving ends we would not otherwise intentionally mean to promote, and so, we remain open, and inquire into, new information.
Now, we ask, if community (or, any given society in fact) were defined within a series of design specifications, how would they be structured and what would they identify?
Presently, our perception of community (as a societal expression) involves designed separation of the living system into four primary and interrelated ‘system specification’ categories. From our perspective, any human society, as a life organizing system with a set of persistent environmental (including social) interactions, can be broken down into these four system categories, or systems structures. Each of the four structures represents a different aspect of society, and for our purposes, of ‘community’. In community, we see these separations as “viewports” (i.e., windows) into our unified information space. In fact, you could look at any society through these four different viewports, and come to more greatly understand it, and its influence on you. And it is here, through system specification, that we can design and test the fulfillment potential of community – like any system, we can define its parameters and how it works. Through specification, we can define our living system’s orientation toward (and not away from) a greater experience of fulfillment.
The four systems of conception that compose the Auravana Project’s specification for community, are, in no particular order and in brief:
The social system specification standard describes the organized structuring of the social environment; the social structuring of community. A social system is a grouping of units of individuation (units of consciousness) forming a cooperative network in which information is shared and integrated through a structure. Essentially, the social system identifies our aligned interests, and that which we have socially in common. It is an organizing system for social navigation that specifies a direction, orientation, and approach to our lives (to our socially coordinated experience). This specification details the purpose for the community’s existence (a direction), its value system (an orientation), and its approach (a methodology and methods). Herein, these concepts, their relationships and understandings, are defined and modeled. Discursive reasoning is provided for their selection, as opposed to the selection and encoding of other concepts; and their consequences are evidenced.
The [economic] decision system specification standard describes the formal structuring of decisions involving a comprehensive information space that resolves into a modification to the state-dynamic of the material environment. In effect, the decision system is designed to structure and coordinate the flow of resources for global accessibility to all goods and services. A decision system is a collection of information-processing components — often involving humans and automation (e.g., computing) — that interact towards a common set of objectives. To navigate in common, we must also decide in common. Herein, we maintain a relationship to resources that focuses on access rather than possession, maximizing the advantages of sharing, and incentivizing cooperative, rather than competitive, interest. All metrics relevant to human fulfillment and ecological well-being are factored in to the allocation of resources, optimizing quality-of-life for all, while ensuring the persistence of the commons. The system’s decision processes produce tasks that are acted upon by an intersystem (a.k.a., “interdisciplinary”) team involving the coordinated planning and operation of projects. Through this comprehensive and transparent decisioning process we know precisely what needs to be accomplished to sustain and evolve our fulfillment. Herein, through formalized decisioning and cooperation we may continuously restructure community toward a higher potential dynamic of life experience for all. Note that the community’s “economic system” is primarily encompassed by its decision system — an economic system is a decision system.
The material system specification standard describes the structures, technologies, and other processes we construct around ourselves and into our material-spatial environment, into our ecological habitat. The material system encodes and expresses our resolved decisions. When a decision resolves into action, that action is specified to occur in the material system. Here, our behavior influences the environment, and in turn, the environment influences our [social] behavior. The coherent integration and open visualization of material systems is important if our creations are to maintain the highest level of fulfillment for all individuals. This specification represents the encoding of our decisions into our environment forming our lifestyles around a unified habitat service system within which exists a network of integrated city systems. The visualization and simulation of our connected material integrations is essential for maintaining a set of complex material constructions designed to remain in alignment with the regeneration of our highest potential state of fulfillment. As such, the material system details what has been, what is, and what could be constructed [from our information model] into our environment. This specification depicts, through language and symbols, visualization, and simulation the materially system (i.e., the network of integrated city systems). For anything that is to be constructed in the material system, there is a written part, a drawing part, and a simulation part, which is also how the material system specification is, itself, divided.
And finally, the lifestyle system specification standard describes the common behavioral orientations and interests of individuals among community, while identifying the cycles to which they entrain that make up the daily motion in their lives. A lifestyle is how we spend our time; it is our pattern of living in the world as expressed by our activities, interests, and understandings. This specification provides a reasoned reflection on our way of life, how we live our values, and the ways in which we express our world view. It logically derives and discursively argues for the life experience that we all have in common: we all participate in communities of practice, we all have interests and needs, we all contribute through our participation, we all seek self-integration and self-development, we are all active sometimes and inactive at other times, we all discover and adapt through our experiences, we all have routine patterns of behavior, and we all entrain to a cycle. Herein, learning is something we do through life experience and something which influences life experience. What would your life be like in community where goods and services are openly coordinated to be accessible without the need for any form of exchange? It is interesting to think about what a lifestyle might be like in a society oriented toward self-development and contribution, and not stratified by age and the power positioning of oneself over others.
Simply put, these standards express the logical derivation and technical operation of a living ‘community’ system. They are the “living” documentation to be used in its definition, reasoning, construction, operation, and shared duplication. And yet, they are not static representations of anything. We adapt and evolve them as we observe and learn more.
To us, there is the emergence of community when these four primary organizing systems exist in harmonious relationship, operating together in a connected and coherent manner for our adaptive, mutual fulfillment. And so, when we use the word ‘community’ we are referring to a specific type of social, decision, material, and lifestyle design. We inquire into a specific type of societal information model. We inquire into a model where feedback is accounted for and relationships are experienced as they are, unified and harmonious. Here, feedback evolves the information space, allowing for the generation of an environment where our behaviors and constructions may become intentionally aligned with our fulfillment.
Together, these systems represent a unified information space depicting the open-source and free “operating system” of a community-type society. We are in, metaphorically speaking, a “digital age” where we can rapidly reprogram the systems around us to optimize for our fulfillment, and to regeneratively distribute prosperity. Consequently, one might view the specifications as the adoption of nature’s operating system applied to our intentional flourishing. It may also be of use to consider the specifications as something similar to that which physicists refer to as a “TOE”, which is an acronym that stands for “theory of everything”. To physicists, a TOE is a unified, coherent description of all of nature. And so, one could also possibly say that the design specifications, as a unified information model depicting community, represent a theory of every form of fulfilled human organization in nature, given what is presently known. Certainly, if it is a theory of an optimal form of human organization, then it has to account for what we experience and know.
Essentially, the specification standards represent our description of community as a set of common and persistent interrelationships and integrations that orient toward fulfillment and are capable of being scaled up to the population of the planet without causing instability (due to inaccuracies in design and lack of alignment with natural processes). The system itself is scalable and efficiently duplicable because it mirrors the way nature works to our best understandings. And yet, it is important to consider, that community develops when we as individuals awaken to our own growth and self-development, having our own experiences and proving to ourselves what is true and real.
A social, decision, material, and lifestyle system are part of humanity’s everyday life experience, and if these systems are not understood or well-designed then the flourishing of humanity will be significantly less than its current potential (i.e., humanity may be left perpetually wanting). Under complex socio-technical conditions, when humanity is deficient in understanding these systems and what it takes to provide for the fulfillment of humanity, then there is naturally going to be suffering, maladaptive behaviors, and dis-eases. A garden analogy may be used here; it could be said that if a garden wasn’t caretaken and cultivated with forethought and knowledge, then there are naturally going to be weeds or mistaken behaviors that damage the garden and lower the quality, aesthetics and production of the garden. In other words, when humanity becomes deficient in understanding what it needs from the systems that make up its society, there are going to be weeds (metaphorically speaking) that lower quality of life and reduce flourishing. Or, said a slightly different way, when an ecosystem that provides for humanity is disturbed, there are going to be weeds (such as: “criminality”, pathology, racism, etc.) that appear among the human population. It is useful here to look to the farmers that are doing regenerative agriculture to discover that the weeds are never the problem; the weeds (metaphorically speaking, harmful thoughts and behaviors) are the symptoms of the collapse of fulfillment, or more precisely, a deficiency in the societal structures that orient toward human fulfillment. When fulfillment is present, the human population may reach a homeostatic (or homeodynamic) state where there is no opportunity for dis-ease and malcontent behavior in that environment, thus allowing for flourishing of the human species at the scale of its global population. If bad social organizations, bad decisions, and/or bad material constructions are dumped into an otherwise healthy natural ecology, then it is naturally going to see an unhealthy or unbalanced ecosystem (and metaphorically, the weeds come up). In regenerative agriculture, weeds are part of nature’s way of regenerating an ecosystem, and in concern to societal systems, harmful behaviors and thoughts are a sign that something extremely important is being missed in societal design. The weeds and bad situations must be acknowledge and understood, and not ignored, if they are to serve and play their important role in regenerating and restoring a healthy ecosystem. There is a stepwise progression of observing and acknowledging feelings, and then, redesigning for more optimal flourishing, which arises naturally under healthy conditions and conditioning. Disease and hurtful behaviors are the manifestation of symptoms that found their niche in a damaged ecosystem. And yet, they are playing a role in facilitating change back to a state of health. However, in the early 21st century, the professions have been taught to kill and ignore essential indicators – police and the justice profession has been taught to kill and jail, physicians have been taught to kill and mask, and the self-help profession has been taught to ignore signs as “negative” and to redirect blame to specific sub-groups of the population. None of these unfortunate reactions help to solve the actual root/systemic problem. So, professionals kill all the weeds, jail all the criminals, ignore all the negativity, and then, wonder why it perpetuates year after year. Further, early 21st century professionals label people and situations in ways that mask what is actually occurring. In many ways it is a lack of intelligence at the societal level that perpetuates this cycle.
Here is where the idea of not fighting the existing system, but facilitating the experience of a different way, becomes relevant; as the saying goes, “Construct a new system that makes the existing one obsolete”. And remember, a system that works for everyone works for us too.
So, that is what we are working on, we are designing the optimal in the now. Who doesn’t want a life of wholeness and meaning, of potential and purpose and play, which are directly motivational and facilitate access to one’s whole and integrated self? And after you have had some time to consider the question, then ask yourself this, “What does it feel like to experience flow in my daily life through the expression of connection and integration at every scale of relationship on up to the larger ecological and socio-economic?” If we flow with natural principles we can even amplify what we are capable of in nature; we can get even better at it, and do it in a way that keeps us harmonious with the natural world, so that we are optimized in our alignment with its flow (i.e., we aren’t fighting the flow of nature).
In community, we have become explorers, creators and caretakers. Our lives and creations have come to involve consideration of natural life cycles in order that we may build stability and resiliency into our systems. Community is a model for living aligned with our natural life cycles, a model of successful communication and integration at every scale of relationship. It involves the construction of a set of relationships in alignment with the nature so that we may regenerate abundance that we don’t pay for [in quality].
If you were to walk around and experience community you might say that it feels open – a sense of how people treat each other in an open way, it’s visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing, and also that there are a lot of opportunities for people to interact, discover, and grow. Simply put, it is an environmental design that uplifts us in every way we know we can be uplifted around a population of others (in a material environment). As such, it is further experienced as seemingly effortless coordination between people for everyone’s fulfillment, a place where the wisdom of all can contribute to all of our well-being. And, it is from this place in the fullness of our lives that we experience creation rather than compensation. When we are full and not insatiable, which is the claim of the starving and suffering, then we can have play and freedom around our fulfillment.
When we don’t feel full in the moment, then we are left continuously wanting…the next purchase…the next form of entertainment…the next system…the next thing to check off…the next place to arrive…the next “community” to join, whatever to fill the void we feel. Among community, however, we structure our fulfillment through unification of our specification standards so we have the time and space to think more carefully about our needs, our wants, our preferences, and certainly, reconsideration of our opinions. Here, our sufficiency means we have no incentive to take without regard for others. If we just take what is in reach without considered coordination [through specification] we may we miss out on the experience of fulfillment through the synergy of our efforts.
If we were to simplify this to the extreme, then we might say, “Life’s long, so let’s all get along”. Instead of exchanging (beliefs and resources) amongst ourselves for some fulfillment, lets design a unified (living) system for our fulfillment.
The unified part, here, bears reiterating. If we just look at the material structure, how are we ever going to build something integral. The experience of community is the integration of external as well as internal elements. Without a holistic approach we can’t build community, let alone ensure that its design is scalable, duplicable, and updatable. There is an entire underlying system of identification, organization, and coordination that makes up the idea that people have in their mind as a set of appealing architecture. The architectural images that may have first attracted you to this direction (such as those published by The Venus Project) are just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg in concern to the construction of community. It is important to be aware that there is socio-decisioning, and a particular lifestyle, behind the emergence of the material structures and technologies that may have initially drawn your attention. We have to go deeper in our thinking than the superficial.
It is important to think not only about the material specification (which includes the buildings, infrastructure, and all other material/technological aspects of the integrated city system), but also the necessity of social organization, decisioning, and lifestyle design. There is a lot more to the designed creation of the system that this direction promotes than just its [material] architectural and technological realization. An iceberg may be useful metaphor here to further illustrate the point. The small amount of iceberg above the surface represents the visible material architecture and technology; the huge mass below the surface, represents the remainder of the community as a living system, from individual lifestyles to social coordination, and decision algorithms (that facilitate economic-resource fulfillment). The material architecture, the part of the iceberg above the water, is just what you see first; and although its specification (i.e., the material specification) is essential, its creation to the neglect of the other specifications (i.e., the social, decision, and lifestyle) will not lead to a safe and stable societal-city design.
Providing access to resources and technology alone will not solve significant social problems; there is also the need for [at least] social re-organization and decision re-design. We need a newly updated and more comprehensive information model for living. More technology and material abundance isn’t necessarily of benefit when a society’s socio-decisioning structure, and lifestyle, verifiably produces suffering. Here, we have to pay attention to suffering, for suffering is a sign that the design of a living societal system is broken.
Now, consider the iceberg metaphor in the context of large scale change throughout history. You get a lot of people, some of whom are very fearful, who decide they want to change the socio-economic system. So they do; they change the system, superficially. And now, possibly after a generation or two, they are right back where they started from — after some time it just returns to the same kind of abuse that it has always been . . . because that is the nature of dis-connection and an insufficiency in self-integrated organization. The system simply turned back into what it was before, under a different name and maybe a different set of technologies. Fear and ignorance created change, and the change did nothing, so no one has really been helped. Had we worked integrally and intelligently, both internally as well as outwardly, likely we would have a more meaningful and higher quality-of-life as a result.
Fear and ignorance [of] cause a focus on symptoms, inhibiting a deeper awareness of root causes and relationships. We can very easily become part of the problem, and not part of the solution when we don’t view the situation from a sufficiently encompassing perspective. The way you become part of the solution is to work on developing yourself into an expression of your highest potential, and also, by reconstructing your environment into one of greater fulfillment of all. Becoming a real part of the solution, not a pretend part of the solution, or worse, a part of the problem by simply introducing more confused information and fear into an already fearful system. Here, it is wise to consider that maybe we need less active-ism, and more activity in personal self-development and co-creating [a specification] for fulfillment.
Importantly, our work isn’t about forcefully taking the creations of others down or setting them on fire; it is about creating something different and sharing it with others so they may experience and possibly realize that they too can re-construct their creations toward one of greater fulfillment for all.
3. Visualization of community
Here, I’ll give you just a brief taste of our life together; a taste of what life could be like right now, in this very moment, if our thinking and actions were to extended far enough toward our own, and all others, highest fulfillment. You see, the future happens through the now. So, when people say that community is something for the future, then they become powerless to the potential for the creation of community in the present, while at the same time reducing the probable emergence of community in the actual future. The Auravana Project exists, in part, to co-create the emergence of a socio-economically integrated city network in which purposefully driven individuals are fulfilled in their development toward a higher potential state of experience for themselves and all others.
What if you had the opportunity to participate in the creation and operation of a living system where the healthiest and most fulfilling choices were also the easiest ones to take? Imagine a city (a living space) where it is more enjoyable to walk or bike, than to drive, thanks to the intelligent and integrated layout of the physical environment. Among community, as we walk through the majority of our beautiful daily life-space, we experience a living socio-economic system structured to coordinate decisions, and the flow of resources, for our fulfillment. Here, we experience intentional design that supports a high quality-of-life for ourselves and all others; it’s an environment where our technology and economy serve us, not the other way around. It is an environment where our creations provide all of us with an abundance of access to life enriching opportunities, maintaining a support structure for living better lives – lives in alignment with the development of our true potential. It is an environment that draws out the best in each individual; it pulls out from us the energy of happiness, well-being, and deeply felt love for one another and our universe. Community is so designed that it provides vast opportunities for outward exploration, as well as the space for us to go inward and experience our universal being. Here, our decisions and actions entangle one another in a direction commensurate to our highest potential. And yet, critically, we still remain cognizant of the possibility of falling into ruts that draw out the worst types of thinking and behavior. In community, we intentionally choose patterns that facilitate greater fulfillment, and we use our intelligence to step aside those ruts that might otherwise cause us to fall into patterns that restrict our empathy and joy in life. As we move through our community, there is love, light, and intelligence in the expressions that we create and the structures to which we entrain. Picture a lifestyle and set of accompanying technological systems that enhance, and do not suppress, our own abilities. Community offers, and I will use a strong word here, a “correct” understanding of how we might all live better lives. And, a lot of contemporary psycho-sociological experiments and epidemiological findings are showing the degree to which they are correct.
Imagine the physical appearance of community as a sustainable and integrated city system designed specifically to function for everyone’s fulfillment. This is a city that is continuously up-to-date with our knowledge about how we could all live more optimally, while drawing upon our inherent and individual strengths. We experience a space where knowledge is applied for the well-being and benefit of all. A lot of the work in this city has been automated to free up time for individuals to pursue their passions and greater interests. Here, automation and technology is intelligently integrated into an overall holistic socio-economic design, which primarily functions to optimize the quality-of-life of every individual.
As we begin our journey through this city, through community, you pass by others and notice that people are smiling and brimming with enthusiastic enjoyment for life. You notice is a strong sense of social cohesion and bonding, even amongst those whom you do not know personally. There is a feeling of togetherness in the atmosphere. Here, we live in ways that help ourselves and others for the better. We have an awareness of what kind of society we are slowly building. Our world view is one that supports our own evolution and helps us become better human beings; it is not a complacent world view. When others in our environment are feeling depressed, or doing nothing constructive with their lives [besides tending to their own property], then we see that as detrimental to everyone. In community, we recognize that we have a richer quality-of-life with healthy, happy, and educated neighbours; we flourish when we have a well-informed population with an abundance of opportunities for discovery, self-development, and contribution.
In community, our thinking about how we may live a more optimized life is similar for each individual, in large part because we all have access to the same unified information space, including details about what resources we have available and what we each individually require. Our unified information model is informed by all entities, informs all entities, and orients all creations toward our greatest fulfillment. Everyone shares a common and coherently unified information model that directs and orients their lives; even though, on a daily basis, we may have very different individual purposes and goals. We may have different interests, but when we come together as community we share a unified direction, orientation, and approach to life (i.e., we navigate in common — we have a common navigational space). We seek to bridge differences and we work cooperatively. Cities in community are developed through the contributions and decisions of individuals themselves. Importantly, we recognize that divergences in how we navigate are likely to create animosity and conflict, and so, we maintain an open, coherent, and well-informed space that we use to structure our lives together. We recognize that our values and understandings precede all technical application, and that the integrity of our values and understandings are only as good as how aligned they are with our lifeground of human need, which is part of the common ground that we all share. Among community, we live and behave in ways that are truly important to us; our understandings, values, and behaviors are consistent[ly emergent]. Here, we recognize that although everything is interconnected, in the moment, not everyone may be working toward the same personal goal, and so, we create structures that are sufficiently flexible to allow for the expression of our individual interests.
Imagine a vision of society that took our understandings of existent relationships to the next level, and is constructed with the understanding that we are interrelated all the way down to our essence. We maintain (one might say) a cultural awareness that is based on a valid recognition of the laws of nature to which we are all bound. We use what nature gives us, which is all we can do. Our decisions are not about who is right and who is wrong, neither are they concerned with profit and loss; instead, they involve a holistic view of the data, and are about what works and doesn’t work toward our survival and flourishing. We perceive the world as malleable, and it is our daily work, our purposeful intention, and our lifestyle that organizes it in a way that makes us all better, or worse, off.
Now, as you watch others go about their daily lives you feel the embrace of a familiar setting; a remembrance of something long forgotten interwoven with the most pleasing architecture, enriching opportunities, and natural surroundings. We are natural beings and we come from that setting. It only makes sense that the more we construct in alignment with natural processes, and spend time in nature, the better off we will be.
So, picture a city in which food cultivation and natural beauty are integrated into all available and desirable spaces. In this city there are no “prime locations”; instead, everyone has access to a prime location. Here, we walk around our living environment and freely pick a variety of flavorful and nutritionally dense foods without worrying about pollution and other toxic residues. Observe that we harvest some of our own food, while we also have automated services that deliver precisely what we require. Similar to the experience of our ancestors in nature, dietary diversity equals dietary sufficiency. In other words, and relatively speaking, the more diverse we eat the more likely we are to pull in the nutrition we need.
As we continue our journey around the city, you look out and notice a sense of spaciousness, as well as the highly efficient, symbiotic use of that space. This experience may be contrasted with early 21st century society, whose constructions are boundary focused, which is very much unlike how a natural landscape is viewed. In early 21st century society, the constant need to evaluate where one can and cannot go has a strong impact upon the psychology of individuals therein, and it changes the way one thinks, about everything. Alternatively, when we come together to share in our fulfillment we dissolve those [artificial] boundaries toward the benefit of all, for if they were to remain, we realize that they would create disharmony for all. We realize that there is a relationship between our conceptual and material structures, and our well-being and lifestyle therein.
Think of a city in which all goods and services are free, as in nature, so that we don’t become constrained (limited) by the abstract intangible known as “money”, and hence, disconnected in our ability to accurately sense and appropriately respond to environmental signals. Here, we share information, products, designs and other resources, freely and without restriction. Consider what life would be like if neither you, nor anyone around you, was worrying about money (which fractures the relationships and cognition of so many people). If people have access to the necessities of life they don’t “steal”, and “crime” (as it is known in early 21st century society) is rendered almost non-existent. Among community, we seek to improve what we have, and we share our improvements with others. Furthermore, we understand that there are limited resources, and that we can optimize the usage of those resources for the benefit of everyone. Consider this: if all the money in the world suddenly disappeared, but topsoil, production facilities, and other resources were left intact, we could build anything we chose to build and fulfill any human need. It is not money that people need, but access to the necessities of life (without having to appeal to an authority figure). Or, think about it this way, there are technical solutions and resources a-plenty to solve all of the [real] world’s needs and problems, but there isn’t enough money (or political will) in the [artificial] world that early 21st century society has created to implement them. It isn’t money that enable us to do things.
The notion that things are “free” in community is something of a misnomer, because there is no money in community. Money is a social construct — there is nothing like it in nature — there is no physical referent. People’s belief in it is the means and the ends. Further, money isn’t anything that you can use on hand. It is the potential (a controlled and limited potential) to get what you need, and so, people want to keep that potential amongst themselves, or only a few very close knit individuals. They will hoard the money itself as a resource (which is widely known to occur when indigenous cultures are forced to use it). Then, they begin hoarding other resources that may have monetary value. When living in a capitalist society, it only makes sense to hoard things that could possibly be converted into cash. Sharing breaks down, and we start noticing a loss of contentedness and a loss of happiness, while a loss of core meaning and identity [in life] starts to emerge, then nepotism and hierarchy. Herein, money itself becomes a claimed resource, and it is not possible to sustain community when some people hoard resources. In fact, community emerges in a world where everything has been coordinated to be accessible without the need for exchange.
In early 21st century society, people are constantly under threat of losing access from a reduction in monetary store or income, which often means a loss of their property and a reduction in their power to purchase access (i.e., their “purchasing power”). Because of the necessity to continuously pay for access, competitors require a continuous store of money and/or source of monetary income. In general, they are in a constant state of fear of losing that which they presently have access to (as a property owners and as consumers). Hence, they are incentivized to collect and hoard resources. Remember, and this is very important, community cannot be sustained when some people hoard resources. In community, as in nature, it doesn’t cost money to live and to thrive. In early 21st century society, humans are the only beings that have pay to live on the planet. Instead, in community, the highest quality goods and services are coordinated to be accessible to everyone without the interference of exchange, money, barter, or servitude of any kind. We want everyone to have access what they need without the burden of having to follow the dictates of an authority, or purchase, maintain, and insure that which they are accessing. Consider a living style where we don’t have to (i.e., are not coerced into) engage in material or behavioral exchange, or worse yet, pander, in order to flourish. Cities in community are populated by people who do not have to keep a career in order to survive and maintain access to all that humanity has to offer. There will never be enough employment for everyone on Earth to “earn” enough money to sufficiently fulfill their needs, but there are enough resources if we plan and coordinate our efforts. Here, our motivation for doing things in life is intrinsic (meaning from the inside out, the fulfillment our needs) and not extrinsic (such as the monetary reward one gets from having a career, or the punishment one avoids from not following orders).
Here in community, we don’t improve ourselves to improve our career; we improve ourselves for ourselves, our significant others, and for everyone in community. Our goals and aspirations are not mediated by money, and so, we have a more direct outlook on life, and on what is important to us.
Maintaining a career means that one has to be “right”, or at least appear to others as being right. If you are right and they are wrong, then they are no longer leaders in the market (i.e. the competitive global game), which is very threatening to people in competition, and certainly, threatening to their careers. Socio-economic competition invites challenge and opens a path for advantage over others. Such a dynamic incites conflict, and conflict brings catastrophe to both sides. In community, since our lifestyle (our “livelihood”) isn’t dependent upon being right and maintaining a competitive advantage, we have more open and active minds, which allows for a greater clarity of thought and the expression of science (i.e., discovery) in its essence. So, ask yourself, “What would a lifestyle look like when unadulterated by the need to gain some kind of market advantage over a competitor, or simply for the sake of profit?”
Jobs are for machines. In community, where the majority of laborious effort is handled by technology, we are free to acquire a deeper knowledge of ourselves and the universe (we have the time and access to verify what others claim), which facilitates a harmonious living situation for all.
When authoritarian and market bias is not present, then science represents a language without ambiguity and with little interpretation. It’s application at the level of our socio-economy represents a technical, referential tool for reducing misinterpretation between people who are in constructive communication. Science gives us a methodical “blueprint” that is similarly interpretable all over the world — the scientific vocabulary works everywhere. In early 21st century society, there is an abundance of misinterpretation and no real-world reference for language. Science gives us a method for solving problems and one possible approach for how we can improve our lives. Imagine what life would be like if we weren’t constantly misunderstanding one another, misinterpreting one another’s intentions and behaviors, and misunderstanding our deeper desires. Without a commonly precise language, it is not possible to build efficient, complex, technical, and socially meaningful structures? Hence, in community, we recognize what we can accomplish when we approached life with similar rigor.
Let’s continue on our journey and now begin to imagine what life would be like if we all didn’t have to compete against one another for access to life serving resources and life enriching opportunities. What is available to us through the synergy of our efforts is greater than what is available when we compete. And, this is something we all understand, it is one of the reasons we have come to participate in community, in the first place. Hence, as you look out over the city you notice the efficiency and effectiveness, the harmony by which we meet all human needs, wants, and preferences. Food, energy, transport, and production, for example, have efficiency as a core priority in their designs, which is a necessity for the sustainability of complex technological systems. Our constructions are designed to meet our requirements in the best possible manner with the least usage of resources and effort. We do as much as possible, with as little as possible, and what we create is highly durable, and yet also, highly updatable. Conversely, in a monetary system, such designs are generally too expensive. The costs of trying to create a sustainable and efficient city inside a for-profit paradigm are simply too high, which is one of the reasons we don’t see a single city optimized for human well-being in early 21st century society. There is very little that is sustainable in how cities in early 21st century society are designed, or the monetary driven social values that have been adopted by their constituents.
Ask yourself, “What does sustainability look like in practice if the goal is to have cities that work well for us in the present without causing problems for ourselves and the rest of the world in the future?”
As a city, community is a place in which all of the tasks (i.e., “jobs”) are actually worth doing. We all know what needs to be done, and we participate in the community’s continuation and evolution whenever so desired. Our time is our own, it is not structured by an authority figure. Here, opportunities for access, self-growth, and contribution are ever present. And, our contributions directly benefit us, as opposed to working for the direct benefit of someone else. All work (as effort applied toward the community’s continuation and evolution) is relevant, and everyone owns their own time. How would it feel to live in a place constructed to express conditions of interest in your well-being as well as facilitate empathic concern for the well-being of others? It may feel like a city that has been designed openly, by all of us, and for all of our well-being. The city you see before you is entirely open source and free shared– anyone can contribute, and can check the work of others to ensure that the most efficient and effective methods (and designs) are being used. The result of our openly sourced way of living is that there is the maximization of our potential quality-of-life, and neither hoarding nor fighting over ownership.
In community, technology is used advance humankind in positive ways. We engineer systems that free our population from all banal labor and human servitude. Further, we design technologies to ensure sustainable and regenerative systems. There is no externalization of the “costs” (i.e., actions) of living onto others of a lower socio-economic class or onto the environment. In part, of course, this is because in community there are no socio-economic classes. We recognize the harm caused by the monetary framework in externalizing structural problems. It rationalizes these problems as sourced from a person, place, or thing, such as unemployment because of “lazy people”, theft and harm as an action by the “corrupt”, and supply and demand imbalances in the market as other than the market itself. In early 21st century society, notice how there is no conversation within the monetary framework that examines itself as the root cause generator of negative social and environmental outcomes.
Visualize the physical appearance of a city in which neither the market nor the State has been encoded, and therefore, there is neither revenue nor taxation. Modern day living involves (and, for most people it requires) property ownership, and there are taxes and other fees that go along with that ownership. In order to have access, that sort of socio-economic arrangement necessitates either having a job to pay for things, or becoming a ward of someone else who pays for those things. Of course, cities in early 21st century society consequently look and feel very different than they do in community. In the market-State, cities are products and the people within them have little choice but to work for a boss, go on the dole, or starve. Oddly, there is a segment of this population that believes they have something they call “freedom of choice”. What they actually have is the illusion of choice, because the options from which they can “choose” have already been decided upon by the structure of the system itself and the “decision makers” higher up in the socio-economic hierarchy; and, these pre-selected options are inescapable if survival is desired.
In community, there is no commerce, no economic trade or exchange of goods, no socio-economic classes or hierarchy, no politics, no bureaucracy, no police, no prisons, no trash, no poverty, no homelessness, and no congestion. When arriving in community from early 21st century society, there is a sense of relief that these things that have held humanity’s potential down for so long are no longer present. And still, community creates a city where children and adults alike play outside safely at any hour. As you consider such a space, feel the absence, again the relief, of not having any advertising or marketing present, in either your physical or digital space. Sense the freedom, here, from the constant promotion of consumption and authoritarian dictates. There is no surveillance or misinformation, which are present almost everywhere in cities in early 21st century society. And yet, the city looks beautifully up kept, it is intelligently laid out, and as you stroll along you don’t have to worry about walking on grass or other surfaces that have been sprayed with various killing substances, such as pesticides and herbicides. Imagine not having to wash industrial pollutants off of your food, or personally filter your water to remove pharmaceuticals, commercial byproducts such as sodium fluoride, and other industrial contaminants. Among community, we have a saying, “Systems are what they produce, not what we wish them to produce.”
Individuals in early 21st century society have become habituated to the constant stimulus of commerce and advertising, which wears down (i.e., wears away) their sensitivities to their own needs and their environment. Imagine the experience of city life without trash, or noise and light pollution. Over time, such pollution causes us to turn off from environmental stimuli. The continuously hostile environment of early 21st century society causes people to not want to feel their sensory inputs. And, that is the weirdest thing to imagine, that you have to stop perceiving your environment to keep yourself sane. Of course, the light pollution in early 21st century society is affects people’s sleep, their circadian rhythms, and it prevents them from seeing the stars, which would otherwise provide them with a nightly connection to the larger universe. Among community, we don’t feel the need to dull our senses. We also don’t intentionally create a hostile environment that continuously berates us to act in ways that are not in our best interests, selling us more than we need, selling us food that causes disease, actively trying to make or otherwise persuade us to be unhealthy, while forcing us to compete against other human beings for that which has been made available. As humans, we have a deep need to believe that the smiling faces on television have our best interest at heart, or the smiling face of a doctor at a hospital who is prescribing treatment is doing so in a holistically informed manner for our best interest, and not overworked and hence under-informed, or simply, trying to paying off debt. Essentially, early 21st century society creates an environment that is psychologically painful [to those with their sensitivities still intact].
In community, the living environment itself almost feels like a single self-regulating and self-healing organism. Community is similar (in this respect) to the human body, which wants to feel well and heal, but needs the correct inputs as well as minimal interference from that which is malignant. It is a society run so efficiently and with organized care that it feels like it takes care of itself. All of those things that are essential for us to survive and thrive are integrated and engineered into a unified habitat service system, which we may otherwise easily refer to as a “city”. A city that mirrors the operation of our natural world, which is itself a collection of integrated systems.
Our community city employs the scientific method, prioritizes efficiency throughout its design, has a cooperative versus competitive social structure, it is very high tech and highly automated, and it is the result of a systems approach in managing its complexity. It is a world benefiting platform for the sustainable advancement of humankind. Here, we might ask ourselves, what would society look like if it inherited those properties of the universe that we see as it’s incredible harmony and mathematics and self-organization? And, what would it look like if our intention for its creation was to be of benefit to the individual, of benefit to the social, and of benefit to the planet (and even, possibly, the very universe itself)?
Now, as we zoom out from one of these integrated city systems, we see a return to nature before a network of such cities appears in geometric formation, stretching far off into the distance. When a city hits a certain size we stop and let everything go back to nature between this and the next city; there is no urban sprawl. Here, each city is part of our unified community system, and connected via mass rapid transportation. Now, consider a network of these cities through which we share the living Earth that perpetually surrounds us. Such a life is more than feasible if we were to consider all of Earth’s resources as the common heritage of all the worlds people, and we intelligently coordinated our use of them through a shared set of [open source and free shared] specifications so that we would all be better off. We continuously see the remarkable amount that we all have in common by virtue of being the same species on the same planet. Imagine community materializing into a network of cities without restriction on travel, and where all of the services and amenities are free to everyone, without any requirement for exchange. Experience yourself traveling within a network of (generally) circular, fully sustainable, access-oriented cities, built for those who are actively engaged in living their life to the fullest.
Inhabitants of all these cities see themselves as one human family. We may visibly, in our outward appearance, look different in size and skin color, and may be positioned geographically on different areas of the earth, but we treat and share and cooperate with one another as a healthy family would do so in early 21st century society. Some cities in the network may be composed solely of individuals of a single race (skin color or ethnic group), but that does not separate us. Among community, we are not mentally nor socio-economically divided by class, nation, gender, skin color, ethnicity, or belief.
Why doesn’t all of humanity deserve access to all the best that humanity has to offer? At any time, we can re-visualize, and then re-construct, our living system. Right now, in this very moment, we could start to reform that templated information model, that operating system, that we share in our minds and encode into our environment through changes to its material, and now digital, structure. What we see around us is an expression of the consciousness of those who live here now. Together, we can re-construct the environment of our present toward a more fulfilling vision. We can help those lost in delusion see that which is reality more clearly. In essence, the creation of community involves re-visualizing and re-constructing the environment around us to better serve us, our well-being, and the health of the ecological environment.
When we look at it this way, we see that society is a representation of all of our perceptions and understandings encoded into our environment, and has no will of its own. Society is dependent upon what we make of it, and why and how we construct it. What’s more, our only avenue to correct any flaws within our society is through our own perceptions and understandings, and our willingness to represent them clearly for all to see. Which is what a team and working group are doing with the standards (i.e., they are seeking to better understand and operate a better society). These specifications are our information model for community that we are sharing with the world and will use to re-construct our environment toward one of greater flourishing for all. Out of many possible models, among community, we select the optimal up till now, given what is known.
We can only re-organize the root structure of our socio-economic living system together. And honestly, it feels good to know we are all in it together; neither one nor the other, but together. We can help each other fulfill our true potential. We can synergize our social and economic efforts toward an abundance in access to opportunities and experiences that facilitate our fulfillment and flourishing on this planet. When we build community, we get that community too. We can do and have nicer things, when we think through our problems to their root and work together toward a commonly beneficial direction. Building community isn’t only about building regenerative services and sustainable technologies, it is also about building togetherness among individuals who are awakening to their own abilities to integrated and connect and adapt to life oriented toward the prosperity of all. Community is of benefit to everyone, and the beauty of that awareness is that it embodies a new incentive structure that facilitates the true progress of humanity.
I would like to leave you with a short mental exercise. Imagine the best and brightest, the most enjoyable and fulfilling life you can? What would your fulfilling version of the present look like? Picture how people interact with one another; picture the architecture and the activities you are now participating in. And, in this fulfilling present, what do you see people doing differently in their lives, especially in their daily lives? Feel the close family friendships you share with so many of those who are also picturing this same or similar, bright and beautiful present, now. Pause, take a moment and ask yourself the following question: What can I do now to create a more fulfilling life for myself and those I love over the next few days, the next week, the next month, and in the years to come?
4. Contrasting types of societies
In order to more greatly clarify what we mean by the word ‘community’, it may be useful to provide some additional contrast between that which is, and is not, community. Through the following discussion the fundamental structuring of community should come more greatly into view, and be seen outlined against the backdrop of the often confusing and highly divisionary structuring of early 21st century society. The Auravana Project exists, in part, to co-create the emergence of a socio-economic structure that facilitates a world where we live in harmony with each other and in balance with the Earth. This is a structure that maintains our desired fulfillment as we develop toward a higher potential dynamic of life experience for ourselves and all others. The result of our integrations and effort applied toward this goal is a series of design specifications to be used in the construction, operation, and continued evolution of that which we refer to as ‘community.’
Consider the following, when you are out walking in nature as an intelligent individual who has explored its universe as much as we have been able to, does that nature communicate to you a design? Through the testing of our experience of events in the probabilistic world we can come to see its organization, its patterning. And one is left with the idea that there is an architecture to [our experience of] this universe. If there is, then we can use evidence – as that which enables or otherwise facilitates the experience of truth by the mind – to iteratively test our living designs, our common information model for our well-being, and adapt it to one of greater fulfillment as we receive and integrate feedback from our environment. Hence, the information model that we represent as ‘community’ can function for a population of 100 or more; or potentially even the given population of this planet. It is capable of doing this because it models the world as it is, and it uses that model as a basis for understanding why certain structures and actions are more likely to lead to greater social and ecological stability, and to a higher potential of fulfillment and well-being, and other structures, less stability and a lesser potential. In community, we recognize that some structures repress human fulfillment and encode values that orient in that direction. Other structures, we have evidenced, facilitate the highest expression of human fulfillment and encode values aligned with that direction.
We know, scientifically speaking, as well as through wisdom passed down from of our ancestors, that we need certain types of environment to develop our full potentials (i.e., to develop “fully”), and in this sense, a community is a group of people who have gathered together to facilitate environmental change toward one of greater developmental fulfillment for all. Versus a business, which is a group of people with a shared set of relationships who have gathered together [in part] to create a product or service for a profit; or the State, which is a group of people who have gathered together [in part] to control and redistribute wealth, and to punish violators of their rules. Notice the difference in intention. The structuring of community represents the sustainment of a more fulfilling way of life where human needs, not rights or profits, are recognized and sufficiently fulfilled. The interests of organisms are different than the interests of businesses and of States. Think about it for a moment, “What if neither price nor authority were variables in the construction and continued operation of our living system?” Someone with a modern societal worldview might imagine that life would be pretty chaotic, or not think it possible. But, what if we had an open, adaptive, and unified information model with an explicitly beneficial direction for all that we could use to cooperatively, synergistically, and iteratively coordinate our lives together on this finite planet — life might look pretty different. Imagine a living environment in which the predictability of science and the wisdom of our past are combined into an ever evolving structure designed by us, for us, and in consideration of all of us. It seems like that is something desirable for everyone, and by construction, is something that works for everyone.
Let’s now provide some rudimentary, initial definitions to heighten the contrast. Early 21st century society is composed of a large group of people that live over an extensive area, compete against one another for the common resources, experience inequality and wealth disparity between social classes and/or genders, cannot operate through a unified decision process due to dissimilar understandings and goals (instead, decision making is by authority, majority, or minority rule), and actions that are taken often benefit a small segment of the people at the expense of others and the ecology. Community is composed of people with a shared sense of purpose who live within the regenerative carrying capacity of their environment, cooperate with one another using common resources, experience an enriched life where there are a multitude of opportunities for self-growth and contribution, operate through a unified decision process due to similar understandings and goals, and actions that are taken often benefit everyone and do not come at the expense of anyone or the ecology. In order to achieve this, in community, we intentionally design our constructed environment to meet human needs, wherein our well-being and the well-being of our ecology is a priority. We are powerfully beings, here on Earth, and the actions we take determine the state of the planet. Hence, when we expend energy, we ask, “Are these efforts that we are expending resulting in an improved design for the well-being of everyone, while accounting for the larger environment?” If not, then we pause those efforts and take a breath to reflect on whether our current way of thinking may be leaving better outcomes behind. There is a common saying, “Never be so sure of what you want that you wouldn’t take something better.”
In order to create something that works for everyone we have to have an understanding that to a large degree we reflect our environment. If we want to share this planet with the type of person who is cooperative, constructive, and creative, then we have to maintain an awareness of our environment, and continuously redesign our constructions within it, to ensure the expression of those values we want to see reflectively expressed by others. Conversely, early 21st century society is structured based upon a centuries old value set primarily oriented toward competition, consumption, market-based wealth, and greater authority over others; and hence, the goals of most people in early 21st century society are constructed around property, profit, and power. One could go so far as to say that the environment that early 21st century society creates is a distortion of human[e] values due to its verifiable orientation away from the fulfillment of human need and an accurate accounting of the environment, both of which become external to the awareness and/or decisioning of those sharing its values. Some systems, due to their structural orientation, are inherently unsustainable and cannot meet the full spectrum of human needs, let alone facilitate a recognition of their existence.
Instead of being defined by artificially imposed limitations, community is engagement with an openly shared model of factually reasoned socio-economic and ecological stability that uses an emergent understanding of nature as a template to generate an abundance of experienced fulfillment for all. Importantly, community not only produces the right kind of abundance, but it requires an abundance of understanding in the individuals that are participating. Once we start unravelling our experiences with this new awareness of what a ‘community’ means, we start to question everything about the nature of the society we have structured around us. That means questioning not just the actions of something, such as a leader, the market, the State, or a democracy, for example, but the very idea of that thing, the very idea of a leader, the market, the State, or even, a community.
Early 21st century society is built upon institutions (including those of an ideological, economic, and regulatory form) that do not, and worse even, cannot properly account for the features of healthy living systems. Therein, regardless of individual intentions, it is not possible for decisioning to account for all information relevant to human fulfillment. The socio-economic structure simply will not allow for it. As such, early 21st century society with it innumerable institutions is reaching the end of its viability. The choice we have now — perhaps the only viable option — is to create new structures with what we now understand is the way nature, the universe, creates healthy and sustainable systems.
The question then arises, what does this idea of ‘community’ actually mean to us, today? It means the discarding of old outdated beliefs and structures. It means recognizing that ‘community’ is not the same as other assemblages of persons. To construct community, we have let go of our attachments to all “–isms”, including the modern day “-isms” of capitalism, socialism, communism, centralism and decentralism, as well as the other socially divisionary left and right -isms. Instead, we observe the world for what it is; we look at how we can construct in alignment with our understandings of nature, and then, we select the optimal re-configuration of our environment oriented toward everyone’s well-being. This up-to-date understanding of community also means that we are going to dramatically change the nature of how we experience our daily life on this planet, for the betterment of everyone, so that our species may have a long-term and optimistic future. Our life together in community is going to be amazing, we just need to change the way we think and behave, and the information we put out there as quickly as possible based on our new understandings.
Constructively speaking, we can put the pieces of our environment together in different ways, wherein our intentions direct our creations toward an integrated evolution of our way of living and our fulfillment. Here, the faster we can acknowledge and adapt the structure of our living system to what is actually happening, given a direction of survival and flourishing, the more resilient a structure it is. A structure that can organize more complexity with more capacity to adapt is more evolved. When a society is built upon a structure of belief, and hence, not sufficiently open to the emergence of new evidence, then that society will have a difficult time adapting to new information. And so, community is not ever established, unlike an institution (or some of the other possible socio-economic arrangement) that has been fixed to past values and beliefs. An established organization, an institution, generally prefers to maintain its structural power base by inhibiting socio-economic changes that have the potential to disrupt that base structure. Notice how institutions are normalized in early 21st century society, and then consider, how that normalization affects our psychological willingness to adopt socio-economic advancements in our understandings, our creations, and ultimately, our fulfillment. Community is living with dynamic complexity, while maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the nature (i.e., origin) of that complexity. Early 21st century society is living so out of alignment with its biology that it is literally degenerating, and then, pretending it doesn’t notice.
Here, we might take pause to consider the relationship between belief and how a society structures itself? If we believe that the price of something affects quality, then we may spend more money on a higher quality product. If, for example, we desire better audio in the market economy, then we would spend more money on a higher quality audio product. But, for us among community, price has no relationship to what we hear. And that realization of a direct experience opens us up to do our own research and investigation, our own self-organization, and our own work toward what is possible.
Community is possible today. It is possible to have a network of sustainable city systems where we have intelligently organized free access to that which we need so that we may thrive; in contrast to an unstable living arrangement where we exchange artificial intangibles that everyone is coerced into acquiring and using for [at least] their mere survival, generating socio-economic inequality and the vast number of public health issues that are causal consequences therefrom. One could go so far as to say that the economy of community is based upon direct access to the source of one’s fulfillment. And hence, it is driven by the synergy of individuals who are cooperating for their fulfillment through a unified information space.
In a scarcity-driven economy, goods and services have a value abstracted from human fulfillment. In general, this value is known as “monetary value” (or price), and it is based to some relative degree on the scarcity of that which is considered of valued. Now, one might stop to question the purpose and validity of putting a price on nature, or human fulfillment, or ecosystems, or any organism at all. When did bees last send you an invoice for pollination? Of course nature has value to us, it is just that it’s not a market-price value; instead, it is the value of a direct experience (of connection) that market-biased, artificial intangibles end up obscuring. Therein, most people brought up in such a society have been conditioned to want to live in scarcity and promote its values (one of which is socio-economic competition, for example). Early 21st century society [in part] maintains scarcity in order to maintain the market and the State, while perpetuating the system(s) that keep those in power with power. There is an inherent power in having resources that others don’t have, but need or want. In community, however, through the use of an open information model that structures the flow of common resources, as well as automation and other appropriate technological application, we can produce abundance without the abuse of resources and establishment power structures. We share resources and apply them intelligently so that we co-create and maintain an abundance of fulfillment, instead of scarcity, for everyone on Earth. We know that when there is scarcity in our fulfillment, then there will be institutions of war and segments of the population in poverty.
If we desire to live among community, then we have to move beyond competition over resources, work for income, exchange for production, and punishment for incentive, and hence, the compromising of our fulfillment. Which means we have to recognize that true wealth is a healthy human in a healthy ecology. It’s not a revolution, it’s a recognition of the evolutionary process of humanity that we share resources freely (without exchange) for the sustainment of our fulfillment. It is not about who is getting what from whom, it is about all of us collaborating for [at least] our own individual sake, which we recognize as existing in a consequential relationship with a larger social and ecological presence.
It has been said before, and bears re-iterating, that we are presently we are a young species, trapped in prejudices and strange-hurtful beliefs, dominated by unconscious forces, and guided blindly by energies we do not understand and have no control over; but we can start from humble beginnings to shape our creations in ways that are of benefit to all. If we work together we can all step out of an environment where we are less than our true potential. In community, we understand and account for socio-economically triggered causality. Hence, our lifestyle is the result integral connections forming conceptual and material structures around which we live our lives in a peak state of fulfillment. And so, instead of reacting to the suffering and confusion out in the world with anger, we take pause to think and orient toward solutions with a meaningful and long-term vision. We design a new model to make the old, less fulfilling model, obsolete. And, this necessitates that we, instead of looking solely at the behaviour of others, we look at how our own behaviour and environmental constructions might be contributing to the behaviour of others. And by understanding the complex dynamic of relationships [“at play”] we can direct our lifestyles toward one of greater fulfillment. Community is a thoughtful creation.
In early 21st century society, there are many people who lack any consciousness about issues and knowledge that should be central to all of our consciousness. They live in a world of illusion crafted by unseen structures and obscure figures. So many of the concerns that occupy the minds and the tasks that fill the calendars of those in early 21st century society arise from unconsciously implanted impulses to become someone or something that they are not. This is no accident, as they are (and I shall use a strong word here) indoctrinated from a young age into the authoritarian, corporate-consumer culture that now dominates the human race. They are assimilated into a collective mentality that espouses untouchable truths and promotes particular ways of being and behaving as required to succeed in their world. And in this context, the word “succeed” means to supplant and replace others along a socio-economic hierarchy. At present, the vast majority of people on our planet are too overwhelmed, too complacent, or too cognitively impaired to peer behind the crafted veil and explore the deeper structure.
Take, for example, the people in early 21st century society who say, “I don’t need community; I prefer living and being by alone,” of course, they don’t actually exist alone. They are in fact highly dependent on a (very transient) network of growers and producers and manufacturers who do most (if not all) of the things that they need. And they do these things, generally, out of sight of their sight, and not always done in ways that are in their best interest. These people who think, “I don’t need community”, are actually living a life with very tenuous connections. They are tenuous connections because as soon as they stop working, for example, they lose the connection with their employer, as soon as they stop paying the shop keeper, the shop keeper no longer wants them, as soon as they stop filing tax returns (i.e., paying their taxes), the government becomes aggressive toward them. The people who say, “I don’t need community, I can live alone”, have exchanged deep and strong connections for a transient set of economic connections that are so fragile that as soon as anything happens to them, all of the people who did what they needed abandon them. The meaning and role they have in the lives of others is based around money, property, and profit.
To some degree community is simply a re-emergence of that which was, quite literally, occulted from us long ago. It is a bit like the modern rediscovery that food could be medicine. Did you know that food could have medicinal qualities? Yes … this has been known for quite a while.
Today in early 21st century society we can’t escape the fact that, right now, we live in a capitalist system. It surrounds and permeates us. Most, if not all, of the things that we need to survive have a price tag on them. Life has been that way for “you”, possibly since birth. And so, we just unconsciously continue to participate in the system. Here, one could say that we are controlled by it through the building of a mental state (of limitation) in each of us from birth onwards, whereby we see ourselves in the terms of the matrix, every part of it a deception, though possible to deconstruct. In part, we need to stop seeing ourselves in terms of its given concepts, language and labels, as delusional branded limitations we adopt as part of our beings and to which we entrain via the television (the aptly named “idiot box”) on a daily basis. It is important to remember that all experiences have a quality of entrainment to them; that we are only human and can miss construe the meaning, and hence, effect of an experience. Experiences can be beautiful and enchanting, even when one is not aware that its true meaning, its effect, is that of darkening fulfillment.
Slowly, people are beginning to awaken and are becoming concerned because they realize that their lifestyle (and the lifestyle of those around them) is unsustainable and directly contributing to outcomes that they do not endorse; and yet, they seem locked into a trajectory in life, pressured to stay the same. Pressured to continue similarly by the prior choices of their life, the structure of the civilization they live in. It is very difficult for a lot of people to change what they do on a daily basis if they have an environment that is basically telling them to do the opposite.
Most people, I think, believe that a whole lot of their life is pre-determined and is not subject to change, and doesn’t have to be considered. This is just how it is and we should get used to it. And yet, it turns out that a lot of those things that most people seek, and believe are pre-determined, just don’t make them fulfilled, maybe comfortable and entertained. A lot of the creations and behaviors we have now are superficial replacements for the more fulfilling experience of community. We may, to some degree, feel as if our needs are getting met through them, but in actual fact our psycho-physiology recognizes that the essential components of physical connection and personal integration are missing. You can connect with people as much as you want over online social networks and through commerce, but you aren’t going to derive (and we know this scientifically) the same hormonal, psycho-physiological benefits as if that connection was heart-felt and physical.
In early 21st century society, we have a lot of illusions around our environment and our behavior. Many people believe that their behavior is separate, uninfluenced by their environment. Yet, the truth of the matter is that our behavior influences the environment just as the environment influences our behavior. One of our dangers as human beings is that we tend to fall into patterns of behavior that we endlessly repeat. And, we live our lives and re-construct our environment, very often, differently than what we claim we are doing. But in practice, we are just playing out the same limiting patterns, and adapting to our limiting environmental constructions, over and over again.
When choices are driven into habit, it’s almost as if there is choice, no longer, but a programmed replay. Instead of pausing to compose our thoughts, resolve our awareness, and take the decision, there is repetition without inquiry. Nothing, in community or in any design specification proposing action along the lines of this direction should be taken without repeat questioning and testing, as well as comprehensive reasoning and evidential explanation. The larger systems of thought and organizations that we participate in, though may be ignorant of, have a dramatic and consequential effect on our daily lives. In early 21st century society, we think we make our decisions consciously; instead, much of our decisioning that we think is conscious is being made by contextual environmental manipulation that we are not thinking about, and may not even be aware of.
And so, we fail to criticize (i.e., critically explore) systems and institutions that enrich some while impoverishing the health and opportunities of others. Such criticisms are looked at as “negative” and unhelpful, which of course they are [unhelpful] to the continuation of pre-existing power structures. And yet, all of that is completely within our power to change, when we begin participating in the critical and constructive redesign of a model representative of community. We must orient toward massively open collaboration and world-centric values representative of our human potential. We must encode these understandings and values into our design processes and material creations through a commonly fulfilling and unified information model.
In early 21st century society, narratives, such as those of conspiracy and of evil taking over people’s minds, turning them into “bad guys” or “bad actors”, is actually comforting in comparison to the idea that maybe there is really nobody in charge, that we have created structures (including systems of governance and production) which run on their own in spite of the moral inclinations and best of intentions of their participants. Perhaps the problem isn’t that we are being ruled by sociopathic monsters, but rather by people who are just as susceptible to structural social and economic forces, institutional and peer pressures, and simplistic narratives as the rest of us.
For the most part people in early 21st century society believe that it is your choice to do what you want with your own time. But, that choice exists within a larger socio-economic context that many people don’t even realize exists, and yet, it shapes their choices, the options between which they may choose on a moment to moment basis. One of the likely reasons for this lack of awareness is the fact that resources therein are hidden under the control of governments and corporations, which obscures visibility, and hence, create a culture where the average person can’t perceive the relationship between their actions and the socio-economic, ecological effects of their actions. Hence, people in early 21st century society (due to a lack of visibility) generally go about their affairs and make socio-economic plans in complete disregard of others and of the ecology. Maybe they purchase some land, a house, they settle into a town or neighborhood, they have become comfortable in their own limited way, and are no longer interested in anything different…that is, until the next market or State shock wave comes through. Sometimes we don’t see the cage we have surrounded ourselves with; we become desensitized to our environment, to our own suffering, and to the suffering of others. But, we can change that. Previously, there was no other specifically defined and meaningful choice that could be shared and duplicated on mass. Now we, as the human population, have an open, free, and living specification standard that provides a structural operating framework for living in intentional fulfillment.
How does someone break out of those patterns that are unhelpful, but seem deeply entrenched, and into a set of more fulfilling relationships when the environment inhibits and de-incentivizes their formation? This is where the re-design of our socio-economic system and surrounding materializations becomes of paramount consideration. We must start asking some very significant questions about how we might optimize our cities and our lives and the hard infrastructure of our environment. Begin to notice that a lot of the systems we have been normalized to (in early 21st century society) and take as a given, exist to perpetuate themselves without regard for our fulfillment. Behaviors that are fundamentally unfulfilling seem normal, due to our habitual entrainment to a reduced state of being. We need to make some tough choices around how we move, how we live, and how we build; what are the priorities, and what is a truly beneficial focus. These are large and complex decisions that will ultimately have a structurally re-orienting effect on our lives. Wouldn’t it be useful to orient that structural effect toward everyone’s fulfillment? Among community, we specify a unified information model that is tested through living it (i.e., through experience), and it intentionally evolves for the benefit of all of us as we all gather more experience.
As humans, it is our psycho-physiological experience that there is perpetual suffering when there is socio-economic stratification, and de-sensitization therein is very real. Socio-economic inequality is the greatest public health issue on earth. It could be said that we are allergic to such conditions; it’s not just our culture, it is built into us as human beings. We don’t want to see stratification. We don’t like that feeling. We might, in that nasty way (because that is what culture has done to us) gravitate toward elevation to feel like we have done something over the capacity of others, but at a root level we strive for equality [in socio-economic access to that which is fulfilling]. Herein, ‘justice’, as the sufficient fulfillment off all, is what we naturally gravitate toward. The media in early 21st century society doesn’t make the fact clear enough that poverty and inequality is the most powerful economic precondition for disease, violence, and social disorder. Anyone that says that class stratification is somehow a motivator, or that those with less should aspire to a different level, and it is because they aren’t motivated or hard working enough that they have less than others, is simply wrong, and don’t understand the structural causality present in the experience. When we don’t critically explore socio-economic structures we are likely to regenerate social dominance and unenlightened, unaware self-interest.
To overcome structural failings, we must begin to collaborate, to share knowledge and efforts freely, so that we can begin building this new living environment, together, which is the only condition under which it can be built. It is through the continuous experience of togetherness that community is re-constructed. In this sense, one could call this direction, and the project we are working on, an experimental approach to living differently, with the recognition that the socio-economic system we have now is also an experimental approach to living. In fact, we have learned a lot about ourselves and the ecological tolerances of the planet over the last several millennia, though particularly in the modern era. And with the knowledge we have acquired it only seems reasonable that we can do better, we can live better for ourselves and we can be better stewards. We can live with greater well-being, while concurrently existing in regenerative harmony with the earth, as that which gives us all life, and is fundamentally the lifeground of all of our beings while we are here.
For those working toward this direction of mutual fulfillment and ecological stability, it is important to recognize that on the road to community there are a lot of persons who have appointed themselves, or been appointed by a disconnected society, to defend the past. For many people, today in early 21st century society, the idea of community scaled up to the level of our global socio-economic system is clearly seen as challenging the status quo, but that is how we make progress. In order to understand what we are proposing someone must be willing to step outside of their conditioned paradigm, which involves a willingness to see and explore beyond their own current limitations. Not everyone is ready and willing to do this. Not everyone is willing to asking better questions of others, and of themselves and their self-identity. Certainly, today, seeing the bigger picture and the structures in which they participate with more clarity can be challenging, and at first, maybe even a little daunting and scary.
We all desire prosperity, and it is unfortunate that some of us have yet to realize that we could all prosper beyond our wildest imaginations if we were to simply restructure our thinking and our socio-economic systems. In part, the dismissal of a structural re-orientation may be due to having a very confused, or possibly no, internal visualization of the operation of things and how life could be different. Emotions and experiences just pop out of nowhere, and people in early 21st century society have, to their detriment, become comfortable with that; so much so that they have forgotten that there is a patterning and unifying experience common to all of us. Instead of structural change, they often suggest the equivalent of patchwork.
We must stop patchworking – applying small fixes to a broken system. Patchworking cannot solve the real, underlying structural problems. When a system (like the one active in early 21st century society) has systemic problems, patchworking any one part, even with the best of intentions, is not only not a solution, but it can cause unintended harm elsewhere in the system. Continuing to participate in a broken structure is taking away opportunities for greater fulfillment. We must start looking at root causes and the network of relationships that are woven outward therefrom. We must stop breaking our natural cycles, and then asking, what can I apply on top of the break to make me feel comfortable. The patchworked and surface-level solutions put out there by those desiring a “conscious” re-orientation of the same fundamentally broken underlying structure simply do not go far enough. Humankind is a problem solving, problem creating entity – we create problems, we solve problems. It would be wise to create less visceral problems and start solving for real problems in our systematic and universal fulfillment through structural re-design. Unfortunately, early 21st century society generates people who “need” problems in order to derive an income, or who create drama in order to conceal the fact that they have little purpose or meaning in their life. To a large extent, the very livelihood of many people in early 21st century society is dependent upon how much they contribute to a broken, planetary and life-harming structure, and even fewer of them are needed as contributors each year due to encroaching automation and the resulting ‘technological unemployment’.
And yet, powerful social and technological changes mean that we can realistically commit to the aspiration that everyone be able to live a fulfilled life of meaning and creativity – a life where we have the structural opportunities to express ourselves as individuals with access to our self-determined power and the resources needed to shape our future toward one of greater flourishing for all beings on this planet. We have to let go of the anchors of our past if we are going to move into the future gracefully and with fulfillment. We have to learn how to expect change and move into the future without pain. Part of the problem here, of course, is that the education system in early 21st century society spends a lot of time studying the past, and very little studying probable futures. We have to begin imagining what could be, instead of redrafting pieces of paper with anachronistic definitions and declarations. A population without a vision of what the future can be is bound to repeat past errors, just as a population without a memory of its past is bound to lose awareness of action-consequence pairing. The decisions of our past are the architects of our present, and if we don’t understand the model applied to our living system and to decisions we are taking, then our present experience is unlikely to be decidedly fulfilling. Clearly, there are a lot of problems in this world, and we need to prioritize our actions and structure our thinking so that we can combine our efforts into a solution (or series of solutions) that benefit us all and that we can all say we deeply appreciate.
Today we can re-architect cities at a rate that was unimaginable 40 or 100 years ago. Humanity is in an age of unprecedented technological breakthrough and previously unimaginable potential for evolutionary progress. Here, science involves discovery into our existent reality, and those discoveries lead to technologies that allow us to engineer and otherwise alter structure within reality. Effectively, through the continuous discovery of knowledge, and technological development, we are entering an increasingly thought-responsive environment. In other words, we can use technology to increase the speed at which our thoughts manifest. For example, I can 3d model something on my pc and then 3d print it, which represents an increase in the thought-responsiveness of the environment over the use of modeling with [a material like] clay or the requirement of re-tooling a machine. However, arriving at technologies that allow the rapid thought-responsive transformation of our environment in an unplanned way is not wise. Today, there are things that a few people can do with technology that risk the lives of many others (such as, feeding antibiotics to farm animals on mass, or developing and deploying biological weapons). As a human population, we can more rapidly than ever before manifest all manner of suffering and pathology; or, we will change the fundamental structure of the way we live life on this planet, and rapidly manifest well-being and fulfillment for all. All the marvels and wonders of technology amount to nothing unless they elevate humans to their highest potential.
Today, most people I meet in early 21st century society do not consider the necessity of restructuring the socio-economic system into which rapid thought-responsive technologies are being integrated. If these technologies are placed onto early 21st century society’s present socio-economic platform, then the next phase of experience for us on Earth may not be so pleasant. Hence, I see the urgency in “designing a new system to make the existing system obsolete”. As human beings acquire more and more power to re-configure their environment, they will create a future that is either more fulfilling for all (because that is the socio-economic orientation); or, they will create more suffering and confusion for all (because property, labor for income, profit, competition, and power-over-others are the socio-economic orientation).
Engineered creations will take on the biases and standards, the directives, of the socio-economic system in which they have been designed and will be utilized. Technologies created and applied in a capitalist system will have a capitalist bias. Industrial control systems are not equivalent to community fulfillment systems. Technologies created and applied in community will maintain standards that orient us all toward greater fulfillment and clarity of perception. When we perceive technologies taking us in “dangerous” directions, consider that maybe it is really our way of life, and our lifestyle, that is taking us in a dangerous direction. We are just using technologies in ways that we couldn’t before (because technology is allowing us to do more of what we are already doing), and that is where there is danger.
In the market-State, often, people cringe and fear technologies that allow humanity to rapidly re-engineer our environment. They ignore or otherwise don’t recognize that it is the socio-economic context to which their attention should be critically and inquisitively drawn. Instead, they argue and debate the technology, and ignore the larger root socio-economic context in which the technology was developed and will be deployed. Unfortunately, and as we have already mentioned, most people in early 21st century society have little awareness of the socio-economic context that shapes their lives, their mentalities, and the technologies therein. And so, their only recourse is to run to authority figures, who have little technical understanding themselves, and will use force and violence as part of their solution. It is wise to remember that, in general, authority figures have three options when it comes to handling new technologies: they can suppress them, ignore them, and weaponized them.
Nevertheless, there are people in positions of authority and power, in early 21st century society, who understand that the world is changing, and they too desire to facilitate responsible change. The question is, can you live with yourself knowing what is possible, seeing the problems in the world, and not trying to change it for the betterment of all? We get what we tolerate. Herein, it matters not only whether you do something, but how you do something. When our thoughts restructure the world around us more quickly we must act with more intelligence and be more careful in our thoughts.
Maybe I can have the sort of life I really want, while (not if, but while) I share a little more access with others. It is the thought that: I am not diluted and I am not less, when I cooperate and share in our fulfillment. When life is fulfilling, then we don’t seek to fill our minds with superficial stuff and our environments with weighty junk. For those working on this direction, it may be useful to ask ourselves, “How do we help re-ignite the flame of inquiry and self-discovery in people who have become emotionally wrapped up in their material acquisitions and financial enterprises?” As an early start, we must inquire into what people really want in life. Essentially, they want access to that which is fulfilling when they want it; and when people get a taste for that sort of society (akin to community), then they will no longer pile junk within and around them as a buffer between their perceived identity and the pain of disconnection. Instead, they will recycle creations and update their expressions, make them better and think them through — take the same materials used in an out-of-date system, and recompose them into one that is updated and updatable, and serves our common fulfillment.
The structures around us aren’t just things thrown on the wall. We chose to put them there, or have inherited them, and they are reflections of us. Here, it is useful to consider our lives in terms of our choices, the events that take place, and that probabilities for consequential outcomes. We become shaped by our society and the structures with which we participate, and we ought to think critically about who and what they serve, and our intentional continuance of them.
It is when we develop a sensitivity for the complexity as well as the simplicity of life that we truly become rich in our experience of community. The living system that most people experience in early 21st century society creates a type of lifestyle that is very separating. It forms a specific set of relationships that produce a number of conditions that make dis-integration within ourselves, and dis-connection from others, likely. And, those people living in a state of dis-connection and dis-integration are likely to create environmental constructions that suck energy and inhibit the free flow of energy, rather than build and restore energy systems.
Still, some people find it difficult to understand that the old fixes don’t work. The system of thought that perpetuates that which we do not want in our lives must be stepped outside of and observed for what it creates, and this is done by taking pause to reflect upon one’s source of life, which is eventually realized to be the point of origin of all of us, together. And from this realization we may return to our creations in this reality with more knowledge, intelligence, and potential than before.
5. Cities in community
This section will provide a general overview of what cities are like in community, and then, provide a brief description of one possible configuration of a city system. This city configuration I will describe would be a part of the global socio-economic community network of integrated city systems. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. And, the number of people moving to cities is increasing daily. With that fact in mind, it is important to recognize that there is a direct correlation between the design of these city systems and the daily happiness, well-being, and fulfillment of everyone on this planet. Humankind will continue to make cities, and it is extremely important to design these city systems in an intelligent manner with our mutual global fulfillment in mind.
Cities in community are designed to function sustainably for our fulfillment. They are openly shaped and updated by us, based upon our evolving understandings of how we are most naturally fulfilled. To the best of our understandings and abilities, community-based cities are designed to incorporate elements from (and otherwise reflect) the natural environment of our species. These community-type cities are created in harmony with nature (and our larger habitat) to obtain the highest possible standard of living for everyone. In order to accomplish this, their designs are coherently integrated into, and formed from, our unified community information model. It is their well-thought-out and intentional social design that allows individuals therein to decide their own lifestyles and personal preferences.
The vast majority of the community’s population would live in these continuously updated, pollution free, energy efficient, and self-sustaining cities. These cities emphasize safety, simplicity of construction, and efficiency in modification. They feature clean air and water, health care, optimized nutrition, recreation and entertainment, personally customized housing, and access to a wide-variety of enriching opportunities for self-development and community contribution. All structures in these cities are designed to be relatively maintenance free, meaningfully fire proof, and virtually impervious to adverse weather and geologic conditions, while maintaining the potential for being continuously updated and customized (as demand arises). Through the application of automation technology, they are significantly self-sustaining in their operation – leaving people the freedom and space to intentionally experience the world around them. And, for those of us that don’t want to live in these cities there are stand-alone modular homes that can be easily built anywhere, even on the sea, and are mostly self-sustaining.
In a community city, buildings are no longer hidden in concrete jungles; instead, they are aesthetic pleasures unto themselves. Additionally, cities in community are immersed in lovely gardens, because that is what people need for their well-being. Instead of having “parks”, the whole city is a “park”. Enjoyable sites and activities, and growth opportunities, are built into our environment. We design our cities to meet human needs, and hence, our cities do not have the social and ecological problems that are prevalent in cities in early 21st century society (due to their poorly thought-out designs). Our cities are simple in their design, elegant in their appearance, and efficient in their operation. When cities are hugely complex, poorly thought out, and inelegant, then they are not likely to operate well for humanity. A city that operates for our fulfillment has to be efficient; an inefficient one would have a difficult time evolving and would likely self-destruct under the weight of its own needs.
Through the use of a common information model, cities in community are quick to plan, easy to assemble and disassemble, efficient to maintain, aesthetic in appearance, and highly durable. They are designed so that they can be disassembled as easily as they were assembled. Construction techniques for this type of living system would be vastly different than those employed in early 21st century society. Most of the elements that comprise the structures of these cities are interchangeable, interlocking, and modular. Our approach envisions, at least in part, assembling entire cities by standardizing basic structural elements, some of which are prefabricated in automated plants and assembled on site. Prefabrication, printing, extrusion, and self-erecting structures ensure an optimized construction process.
Here, we recognize that it is easier (less problematic and more efficient) to build newer cities from the ground up than to attempt to update, restore, and reconfigure old ones. While some people advocate the adaptation of existing cities to community, these efforts fall far short of our capabilities, and are not likely a feasible option (for most cities) due to their layout, and also, seriously complex issues with ownership and jurisdiction. Modifying outmoded cities does not go far enough and will simply delay (or worse, obscure) the appearance of their structural problems, and hence, their inevitable negative social and ecological consequences. Today, we can re-architect and construct cities toward our fulfillment in ways and with speeds that were unimaginable 20, 50, or 100 years ago.
Modern city systems are laid out in an organically un-organized manner and without forethought to human fulfillment or to future modifications. They often appear to be constructed (and sometimes even operated) at random – of course, their operation isn’t random, it is based upon bureaucratic and market-incentivized logic, which only makes their functioning appear random. In these cities, facilities such as hospitals, shops, schools, work spaces, and playgrounds are often not easily accessible, and getting to them can be a less than pleasant experience. Modern cities are polluted concrete jungles with very little greenery, which would otherwise facilitate human health and allow nature to co-exist with us. These cities are overwhelmed with cars, which have a variety of negative consequences, including noise, traffic jams, accidents, pollution, and simply taking up space. Most modern cities have an abundance of poverty stricken families – in fact, they have become centers of poverty. Nearly everywhere you go there is maintenance, or the necessity for maintenance. They are prone to gridlocks and breakdowns. They are dependent on (and sometimes even defined by) the constant inflow of resources, which means they can never be sustainable. Also, highly preferred cities are overburdened by a continuous influx of new residents, which drives up prices for their inhabitants and reduces the space available per inhabitant, making the living situation less pleasant for all inhabitants. Many people in these cities are so busy accumulating wealth as money, property, and power that they have lost an awareness of what it means to be a human being among a community of all beings. They have become disconnected from the source of their fulfillment, and their architectural materializations have adopted similar distortions.
When cities in early 21st century society are engineered (or re-engineered), they are done so in a manner that is better for business[es] and political control. They are essentially the constructions of commercial and State entities, and hence, must remain acquiescent to their dictates. And, as we in community know all too well, the interests of corporations and States do not align with the interests of organisms.
These modern cities have themselves become products in the market, some of the most famous being London, Paris, New York, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Dubai, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. They are products marketed aggressively in order to attract tourists, residents, new industry, and investment. It may be interesting to note that films are an important form of marketing for these cities. Which is, of course, one reason why the production of a film depicting a community-type city is important for our own marketing [of community].
In early 21st century society, when most people think about living in proximity to one another, they think in terms of modern urban cities, their suburbs, and traditional rural environments. Many people have a difficult time imaging an integrated community-city system. Their perception of what a living environment is and could be is contained within a fixed, limited socio-economic and architectural view. And so, that is why the production of a film and a virtual reality experience of our form of city is so important in the facilitation of an understanding of what we are creating. The experience of a city in community is so different than how people have been brought up, and live in early 21st century society, that they have a difficult time perceiving what we are proposing, and hence, must be met at their own level with media that they are attentive to and resonate with.
The Life Radius
Continuing on with our description of cities in community, I would like to introduce the idea of a “life radius”. A city in community is essentially a demarcated architectural “life radius” within which we sustainably control environmental variables and optimize human fulfillment. The term “life radius”, itself, describes the space where we spend the vast majority of our lives (~80 – 90%). Everything we do within that life radius is considered to have an impact on everything else. When we have to drive a car that radius can be quite large. But, the ideal life radius is much smaller than city arrangements where cars are necessary. In community, we design cities at a scale based upon the human being, and not the motorcar. We look at cities and their pathways in a people-oriented way. The average human being walks two kilometers in approximately twenty minutes. What if that two kilometer walk was beautiful, attractive, safe, enjoyable, and you could meet your needs, contribute, and develop yourself, with others who are doing similarly. A bicycle extends the radius, or makes movement in the radius more efficient. But, the point is that you want most of the things you are going to do, for some large percentage of your time, to be inside that radius. Having access to what is needed within a walkable radius is strongly correlated with well-being. Think about your own life for a moment: Where are your friend’s homes, your enriched gathering and relaxation spaces, and the locations that produce and distribute your material necessities? Of those key things that compose your life radius, how many can you access by foot or bicycle, and is the experience safe, comfortable, and enjoyable.
In order to create a life radius that fulfills our needs, cities in community are designed in an integrated manner, and hence, they are often referred to as “integrated city systems”. An integrated city system (a.k.a. total city system) is a city in which every element operates together efficiently as a whole system. In other words, all aspects of the construction and functioning of a community-type city are well integrated. Instead of leaving city functions under the control of isolated organizations, individuals and obscured programs, cities in community integrate their control. All functional aspects of these cities, from food cultivation to sewage and energy production are processed together as one system (i.e., they are ‘integrated’). In community, we think through our ideas and integrate them coherently into our unified information model before encoding and constructing them into our environment, whereupon they are tested to ensure desired alignment. A total city system approach requires systematic design and overall planning to attain a high standard of living for all the occupants.
Now, I think it is important to address an issue here: the notion that intelligent core-systems planning, implies mass uniformity, is not accurate. Cities in community would be uniform only to the degree that they would require far less materials, save time and energy, and be flexible enough to allow for innovative changes (through modularity), while preserving the local ecology. Cities in community are planned so that they are capable of fulfilling the needs, wants and preferences of all community inhabitants. Through planning and testing we are able to produce a pleasant and desirable living space that removes urban sprawl and can effectively account for social, economic, and ecological problems. The integration of function is necessary for the optimization of our fulfillment, as well as an accountable solution-orientation to any problems that may arise.
Herein, information processing and automation systems are combined with sensors and human effort (where necessary and/or desired) to optimize the operating efficiency of the city. The use of up-to-date technological methods, including electronic feedback, digital information processing, and automation, is applied to the entire city system. The use of automation ensures that what we intend to happen, actually does happen, every time we want it to happen. Through the application of computing we are able to process trillions of bits of information per second, which is useful (though not absolutely essential) for the facilitation of complex multi-variate decisioning, and hence, the coordinated operation of these cities. Intelligent coordination keeps a city’s services operating at peak efficiency and uptime, maintaining our materially desired fulfillment, and creating an optimized economy that avoids overruns and shortages. For example, the irrigation and fertilization of a primary food cultivation belt (within one of these cities) is programmatically controlled through an automated irrigation system involving environmental sensors, integrated circuitry, and various mechanical technologies. Hence, the emergence of a service system that frees humans from unnecessary labor, makes the most efficient use of resources (water in particular), while ensuring a sustained healthy landscape. Waste management, energy generation, and other services are managed by these “smart” (i.e., “cybernetic”) methods. This integrated control is openly programmed by us, for us (as a community), and applied throughout these city systems for social and ecological concern.
Additionally, an integrated city system is also defined by the consolidation of as many functions as possible (or desired) into the least amount of material area. For example, most of the outer surfaces of buildings convert solar energy into electricity, and the surfaces are themselves fitted with automated cleansing systems.
A circular walking garden configuration
Generally speaking, at the level of the material architecture of a human community with a sufficiently large population, and access to digital information technology, are circularly configured walking-garden cities. As we zoom out from one of these cities we see a branching network of cities, each separated by nature. Different cities in the network may display different functional configurations and architectural aesthetics, although they are all still based around a unified community information system. While many of the cities in the network would be circular, others may be linear, underground, or constructed as floating cities in the sea.
The proposed circular configuration of many of the cities in community is not a just stylized architectural conceptualization. It is the result of reasoning and evidence into providing an environment that can best serve the needs of the inhabitants and conserve resources. The circular arrangement effectively permits the most sophisticated use of available resources and construction techniques with minimum expenditure of energy. The efficiency of the circular design allows us to make available to all people the most advanced amenities that our knowledge and energy can provide.
A circular city is most practically divided via pathways into areas known as [radial] sectors and circular belts (a.k.a. “circulars” or “rings”). The radial sectors (separated by pathways) are subdivided by circular belts (also separated by pathways), which extend outward from a central point, forming a widening circular grid structure. As the circle widens, more circular belts follow until the perimeter is reached wherein the environment is allowed to return to wild nature without any form of sprawl. In other words, these circular cities are composed of a central area beyond which the geometry takes the form of radial sectors and circular segments. In most configurations, there is a differentiation of primary functioning between belts (and sometimes within segments of a belt itself). In other words, each circular belt (and/or radial segment) maintains a particular set of functions, some of which will be unique to that circular belt and will give the belt its name. Other functions are shared between belts. The core function of the recreation belt, for example, is to provide recreational services and structures. Secondarily, however, the recreational belt maintains permacultural land and aquatic spaces for the growth of food and natural beauty. Although every circular belt will have a core identifying function, all belts are multi-functional.
There are a variety of reasons why a circular city scheme is more efficient than other city layouts. Firstly, when you start at one point on a circle, and move along that point, you eventually come back to the same point. When it’s a linear city within which you are moving, you have to travel back again (i.e., backtrack) over the same area [instead of just going around). Hence, when traveling within a circular city someone could easily return to the same place from where they started without having to take the same route back, as is the case with most linear cities. Secondly, circular designs place frequently used facilities (mass transit, medical, and other common access locations) near the center. This puts most of the residential population very near (in time and space) to the city center, and ensures that travel throughout the city is relatively easy. Hence, no matter where you are in a circular city, you would be within a reasonable distance to access every facility the city has to offer. A circular shaped city ensures that no [access] point on the circle is ever further away than half the circumference of the circle itself, which is an important design consideration for emergency response. Conversely, a squared shape maintains that no point is further from another than the “Manhattan-distance” (i.e., the distance between two points, as 90° horizontal and vertical paths on a square grid; versus an acute diagonal(s) with a circular grid). Fourth, a planned circular design minimizes the length of all transportation and distribution lines (in comparison to a linear design) — less to build, less to maintain, and hence, more efficient. Fifth, consider that a grid inside a circle would combine the advantages of best use of space with a most understandable addressing system. Of course, either a square grid or circular grid are better than a random or disorganized configuration. A circle, however, provides the most efficient form of infrastructural elements required for its outside perimeter. Only 1 shape of interlocking element is required over 2 shapes (straight and right angled) for a square. Sixth, the circular design allows for one “pie-like” sector of the city to be designed, and then replicated around the circle six to eight times (with slight adaptations for functional differentiation) to form the entire city. In the design and production of a circular city we work out 1/6th or 1/8th of the city system, and then we reproduce it around a central point. The replication of a radial sector around a central axis (returning to the original sector itself) uses fewer resources than conventional construction methods for linear cities. In market terminology, these cities are extremely cost efficient because only one radial sector needs to be designed, which can then be duplicated repeatedly and slightly versioned for the completion of an entire city. Seventh, a circular layout is easily replicated at different scales. These cities can be designed for a couple hundred people, or scaled up to population sizes of 100,000 or more. And finally, at least for this discussion, the circular arrangement is also a useful geometric design for mirroring natural symbiotic cultivation cycles. Circular symbiotic farming, for example, is often applied as part of the last circular belt of these cities.
In general, a well-designed and aesthetic circular city tends to feel more harmonious and open than its equivalent as a linear city. We do live on sphere (of sorts), and from a two dimensional perspective the planet upon which we live takes the shape of a circle. It may be further interesting to consider that our eyes, the stars in the sky, including our sun, and the moon are also all circular in shape. Even our galaxy has a circular symmetry. It may be interesting to consider that the motions of nature move in spheres and rings, and all cosmic bodies seem to move in spiralling arcs.
It is true that squares can be more easily compacted than circles, but when designing city systems for community, beyond the perimeter of the city, we allow the environment to return to wild nature. So, whereas a linear or squared city would just continue to add more “blocks” [to itself]; instead, community would allow a return to nature prior to the creation of another [circular] city. A city with square blocks can expand indefinitely by placing another block next to the prior, while a city with a single circular block cannot do so with geometric alignment. A circular city is one circular grid reducing to a central axis. Of course, if a circular city requires expansion for some reason, it is still possible to do so with geometric alignment by extending the city radially, segment by segment. In fact, this is one method by which to assemble the city in the first place. And furthermore, if circular farming was used on the outer segmented belt during the city’s phased construction, the soil base could be built up as the city was assembled (belt by belt) to its planned size. But remember, in community, we don’t want indefinite [city, economic, or otherwise] expansion on our finite planet. In general, when a city reaches carrying capacity, another city will be built, separated by nature some calculated distance away from the prior. Alternatively, some elements of the city could expand vertically to widen its carrying capacity.
Of course, it is also worth noting here that cities aren’t generally built on a flat surface, even planned cities have to work around natural features in the terrain; that is, to the degree to which the site has been appropriately selected and the terrain is capable of being modified. The circular city is simply a theoretically “optimal” design, local topography and geography will, in many cases, change the design slightly.
Now that we are done with our introduction to cities in community, I shall begin to describe a possible configuration of one of these circular walking-garden cities. I will first start with a description of the center of the city and work my way outward through the different circular belts. Take note that the stylized elements of buildings and areas in these cities can be customized to the preferred and traditional cultural aesthetics of the local geographic population. For example, buildings in a community-city in China, Japan, India, Europe, the Americas, Africa, or the Middle East may have stylized design elements traditional to those locales.
- The central area:
The first area of the circular city arrangement I would like to point out is the city’s center; its central access point. Here in the center of one of these circular cities you may find medical care, conference centers, exhibition and art centers, and a whole host of other spaces where social interaction occurs. This central area may also be a transportation hub if the city includes a mass rapid transportation system. Note that if medical facilities are placed in the central hub, then you are never further away from receiving medical care than if you were in the same belt in another sector of the city, which is an important consideration for an active and playful population. And of course, under other city configurations the central area may not have any buildings, but instead it may be a garden for common gathering and natural beauty.
Moving out from the central area, this configuration [we are imagining] has permacultural and aquacultural walking gardens and parks. These are beautiful landscapes organized for food cultivation and aesthetic relaxation. As you walk through them fresh food is available seasonally for harvest, and there is ground for playing and contemplation.
The habitat systems service sector (InterSystems Operations Sector):
The next circular belt out is mostly composed of buildings used for the completion of work relevant to the continuity of the entire city system (it is more commonly known as the InterSystems Operations Sector). These buildings house access hubs, maintenance and operations facilities, as well as research and production spaces. Here, we primarily complete work which updates and cycles services and technologies through the city. All belts are multi-functional, and so within these buildings there are also many common access spaces for a wide variety of technical- and creativity-oriented activities.
As we move away from the service belt we come to the recreational area, which has courts, gyms, and all of the games and recreational activities that people require, amongst beautiful terrain and landscaping. This belt has art centers, theatres, and various spaces for practice and entertainment. There may also dining facilities here, and other amenities.
Low-density house dwelling area:
As we move outward, again, we come to the low-density dwelling and housing area where there are winding streams, ponds, waterfalls, and lovely gardens throughout, giving each dwelling a view of beauty and a feeling of being at restorative peace with the world. The residential area of the city continues the idea of coexisting harmoniously with nature. All of the houses are similar in their modern rounded design, but at the same time are very different. Their uniqueness is a reflection of the owner’s personality and desired functioning of the home. The architectural elements of all dwellings are flexible and coherently arranged to best serve individual preference. The features of all dwellings in the city are selected by the occupants themselves.
In between every home are natural barriers like bushes and trees, isolating one from another with lush landscaping. So, people who prefer to live in houses and maintain gardens may prefer to live in this area.
The next belt we come to primarily functions for high-density dwelling. Its dwellings are for those who prefer apartments. The reason some people may want to live in an apartment is because the apartment buildings themselves have a large number of services built into the tower, providing immediate and close access for those who might want that sort of dwelling placement. People who choose to live in apartments may prefer a more socially dense dwelling arrangement. These dwellings are also above the ground, and so, they provide beautiful views of the city and the surrounding natural environment.
Secondarily, this belt maintains energy production systems, as well as lovely gardens and relaxed common gathering areas.
Water channels and controlled cultivation:
Passing out of the high-density dwelling belt on our way to the outer ring of the city we come to the primary food cultivation belt in-between two water channels. On the food cultivation belt we organically grow a wide-variety of plant and insect species, both outdoor and inside greenhouses. Here, a beautiful walking and bicycling path encircling the entire belt. The primary function of this cultivation belt is to grow sufficient food for all the inhabitants of the city.
When looking at the water channels consider for a moment the wisdom of our ancestors in their choice to developed their living systems around a water source. Here, the waterways provide water storage, harvesting, irrigation, and purification. On the water channels there are water harvesting atmospheric generators with solar distillation units. These evaporative condensation systems are one means by which the city creates clean drinking water. And, at least one channel is always available for swimming. There may be other primary rings closer to the center where water management occurs.
A natural barrier:
Just beyond the final waterway is a ring constructed as a geomorphic vegetation-barrier. It is designed to prevent ecological disruption to the inner city and purify environmental run-off from the next belt outward. The vegetation selected for this natural barrier will have a second purpose, it will be used for harvesting into food, textiles, and many other useful materials.
A circular farming system:
In this configuration the outer perimeter ring is [in part] a “circular farm”, a holistically planned grazing system also known by the names circular symbiotic cultivation, regenerative agriculture, rotational grazing, and syntropy farming. It is a biomimicry process that mirrors what occurs in nature. Here, the “farming” follows natural ecological cycles. This circular area is primarily a combination of pasture and orchard land that we move different animals through in a particular order to mimic natural cycles, which builds our soil base and provides food.
In this area there is grass between trees, and often, when left unchecked, the grass will grow up and choke out the tress (same with shrubs). Early 21st century society generally prevents this consequence by using a lawn mower. But, nature provides an alternative. Imagine running a number of different organisms around this circular ringed area. We send cattle through the orchard and let them mow down all the grass. And, as they go the cattle fertilize the tress. They deposit their waste, and then, trample it into the ground to create fertile, carbon rich soil. A few days after the cattle, we send the goats, who eat the shrubbery that the cattle wouldn’t necessarily eat. The goats also climb up and prune the bottom 6 feet of the trees. They also fertilize. Pigs are run through as left-over waste consumers. Then we send through the chickens in a mobile chicken coup. The chickens also fertilize the soil and eat all the bugs that hatch from the manure of the first two ruminants that went through. Chickens come in after the pigs have dug up big clumps of grass. They “cleaning out” the area and fertilize with their high nitrogen manure. So, at the least, we intentionally run 4 different animal species through this area, and as a result, we get multiple cultivations, we build up our soil base, and we have the opportunity to play a role in the well-being of other symbiotic species, while giving ourselves a picturesque environment to enjoy in a variety of fashions.
Among the circular farm, this ring may also be used for recreational activities such as biking, golfing, hiking and riding. Areas herein may be set aside for renewable, clean sources of energy, such as wind, solar, heat concentrating systems, geothermal, and others. There may also be large activity domes positioned around this ring if that is what the population of a particular city desires. Further, there could be lower-rise apartment type structures close to the outer edge for people who prefer apartments, but would like a more outdoors-type of living, close to where the city returns to wild nature. And finally, this outer perimeter could be considered another natural barrier, designed to prevent ecological disruption to the inner city.
Return to nature with care:
Beyond the outer belt we allow the environment to return to nature, while still caretaking our total habitat. When a city reaches its planned size, we stop, and let everything go back to nature between this and the next city. There is no urban sprawl; mostly, we let everything return to nature between cities — we let the environment return to its natural homeodynamic equilibrium. Out in nature we can wild food forage and re-learn the skills or our ancestors. Here, we ask ourselves, “What is it like to be just another animal in the wild?”
In concern to transportation, these cities generally contain two to four primary transportation gateways (i.e., entrances and exits). Few transportation gateways are needed for the city because of its efficient design. Transportation within the city and between cities is shared between autonomous transveyors, specialized electric motor vehicles, self-powered vehicles (e.g., bicycle), and mass rapid transporters (MRTs) – all in the form of emissions-free transport. The design of these cities removes the need for each individual (or family) to have a personal automobile. Of course, mostly, these cities are designed for walking. Some cities, however, are large enough to necessitate transveyors and/or an MRT system within their limits.
- The central area:
Note: With a population of over 7 billion people on the planet it is essential for us to merge our knowledge of nature with a fulfillment-orientation that can guide the things we do and the cities we create.
6. How does a community-type society operate without the market-State?
What is a moneyless society?
A.k.a., What is a trade-less society? What is a Stateless society? How does a community-type society operate at a high level –what are its primary definitions, organizations, and flows?
In this article, we define the term ‘moneyless society’, and explain the basic functioning of a ‘moneyless’ type of society. Note that the Auravana Project’s design specifications provide the full reasoning and descriptive operation of a society that works without money; this article is a brief introduction to the topic. Note that the term ‘moneyless society’ is, as the remainder of this article highlights, just another term for (i.e., a synonym for) that which has multiple names, including: resource-based economy (RBE), natural law/resource-based economy (NL/RBE), and community-type society (this last term is the one the Auravana Project generally uses to describe the top-level type of society it proposes). A moneyless-type of society may also be known as a ‘cashless society’; although, this term is also used to refer to a society where the money is digital (as in, digital currency), and not physical (as in, “cash”). It is significant to note here that the type of moneyless society being detailed by the Auravana societal standard is not a barter economy. Barter is the exercise of a moneyless exchange transaction between parties. Instead, what is proposed and described herein is a completely tradeless society (i.e., a society without a market for trade/exchange). Exchange is merely the product of scarcity to meet human needs, which has been possible at a global scale for quite some time.
Fundamentally, a ‘moneyless society’ is a type of society where decisioning does not involve money; it is a type of society where relationships and economic fulfillment within the society are not transactional. In other words, a moneyless society is a society that does not use money as part of its socio-economic system — money is not used as the basis for acquiring, developing, and distributing services and goods to the population. A moneyless society is, simply, a society that doesn’t encode market-based mechanisms, such as trade, barter, currency, or any other transactional-type relationship. Said in another way, a moneyless economic system is an economic system that doesn’t include the market mechanism(s) in decisioning (note that ‘economics’ refers to the acquisition and transformation of resources into needed services and goods). More technically speaking, the algorithms that form a moneyless society do not involve (encode or use) market mechanisms, such as, barter and money sequencing.
In a market-based society, price is the measured market mechanism, and trade is the measured market procedure. Conversely, a marketless economy (tradeless economy) should be measured based upon (1) human needs, (2) resources, and (3) the abilities and carry capacity of the environment. It is possible to operate an economy without a price mechanism in that the information required to make the economy work can be performed by computer simulation, extrapolation, and calculation so that the value and demand is represented within a software system. Simply, it is possible to develop a computational system to automate the analysis of human demand and environmental supply (e.g., economic computing).
When the idea of ‘community’ is applied at the societal level, then a type of socio-decisioning system emerges that does not use money. A true societal-level community is a marketless type of operation. A community-type society is a moneyless society, because a community’s economic system does not use money (i.e., a community-type society is a type of society with an economic system that is of a ‘moneyless’ type). In other words, in contrast to a society that uses money, a resource-based economy (RBE) is a moneyless-type of society.
There are, at least, two possible types of societies (as sub-classified by their economic system):
- Societies with a market (and money); and
- Societies that do not have a market, and hence, do not use money.
The earth and solar system provide all that is necessary to meet human needs optimally, allow society to work for the mutual benefit of everyone. Simply, a moneyless economy (MLE) does not have any money in the economy; and, a marketless economy does not have any trade in the economy. Without the market, services and products are free for all people. This means workers must work for free, and get everything they want for free also. Herein, any work that a society benefits from, or otherwise requires to meet needs, is considered legitimate. A moneyless society is a world not characterized by monetary separation from real-world human need fulfillment. In a monetary society, transaction “costs” have both real-world and abstract effects (as in, financial). In a moneyless society there are no abstracted [financial] “costs. Without money, and with appropriate cooperation and integration, informational and spatial transfer (i.e., transactions) would be more simplified over a monetary society (which entails financial cost integration).
Simply, a community-type society (an RBE or NL/RBE) does not have a market (and does not use money), and so, its economic system is sub-classified as ‘moneyless’. It is important to note here that the term ‘money-less’ implies a lack of some thing, and the concept cannot itself be reified (Read: the market and money are abstractions and do not exist, except for in the minds of those who carry the belief). Hence, a moneyless society is a type of society that simply doesn’t encode the additional layer of abstraction known commonly as ‘the market’ (and without the market, there is no emergence of the modern State).
Human beings evolved under moneyless (i.e., family) structures and conditions. In a community-type (moneyless) society, the population relies on systems science and engineering, grounded in life conceptions (i.e., the life ground, life value, life requirements), in order to plan, control, produce, and re-cycle service systems (commonly known as “goods and services”). Take note that the operation of a complexly technological, moneyless society is unlikely to be understood if systems science, systems engineering, and algorithmic decisioning are not understood.
A ‘community’ type of society has a ‘moneyless’ type of economic system (a.k.a., a moneyless socio-decisioning system). The Auravana Project, itself, exists to construct and operate a community-based (moneyless) society through the design and development of an emergent and unified, ‘societal system’ specification. Note that a ‘societal system’ is otherwise known as a ‘socio-economic’ or ‘socio-decisioning’ system (or model), which is documented through a [societal design] specification. This societal system [design] specification explains the operation of a moneyless society in its entirety.
In brief, the Auravana Project’s societal system specification is sub-composed of four societal sub-systems, which are common to every type of society. Simply, every [type of] society is sub-composed of the following four axiomatic societal [information] systems (a.k.a., the four societal sub-systems):
These four systems, together, form the axiomatic conceptual foundation of any given society, and their internal composition reveals and determines the type of society being designed and/or under observation. Every society has a societal-level information set. Part of that set is socially directional (the social system) and feeds into a set of decisional processes (the decision system), resulting in a state change in the material world (the material system) by the InterSystem Team, thus affecting the experienced lives (the lifestyle system) of everyone therein.
A community/moneyless societal system has a specific internal composition of these four systems. Other types of societies (e.g. market-type societies) have a different internal makeup of these four systems. In systems terminology, a market-type society (i.e. moneyed society) is an open system with ‘externalities’ (Read: damage to humans and the environment) as a natural consequence. Further, an open economic system has no ability to control, re-orient, or automate services and goods to the population without externalities, because it is an open system (and does not integrate feedback as a closed/unified system does).
Conversely, a community-type society is one where all human life requirements (i.e., real needs) are sufficiently accounted for, while at the same time, holistically accounting for available resources. Thus, because both life (e.g., human needs) and the environment are accounted for, there is sufficient information for a closed-loop system to emerge where feedback can be accurately integrated and used to intentionally re-orient and safely automate.
As people begin to recognize the earth as one large planetary ecosystem or biosphere, they sympathetically come to recognize the necessity for a commonly fulfilling approach to living and sharing life (and life’s resources) on the planet. In community (i.e., in a moneyless society), everyone’s needs are met, which allows the individuals therein to live in a free, safe and healthy environment, and lead productive and flourishing lives as they discover, learn, grow, and feel valued in collaborative relationship.
Although humans share a common planetary biosphere, their societal systems may (or may not) encode the idea that, “the planet’s resources are the common heritage of all the planet’s people”. Some societal systems recognize the earth as a whole planetary ecosystem (or, biosphere), and others do not. With a recognition of a common environmental heritage comes the awareness that humans have a common set of life needs (a.k.a., life requirements), which are of common interest to all of humankind. In other words, there are a common set of human needs (a.k.a. life requirements) related to all of humanity. That common interest extends beyond the social and into the environmental ecology from which all humans are common fulfilled (or otherwise, satiated in having their needs met). It is possible, now, to use the planet’s resources in an ecologically regenerative and life effective manner, while servicing the whole of humanity.
The Auravana Project presents a new societal paradigm with an emergent systems design model that is necessary in order to provide, sustain, and maintain the health and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants. One of today’s general challenges is helping humankind realize its interconnected nature. Therein, the challenge is that all humans exist in this planetary biosphere, however, most people living today do not see the world’s resources as a common heritage for all the world’s inhabitants. Facilitating a greater connection to and understand of the real world, even if it begins small, will transform human society from what it is currently into a great humane civilization. In a humane civilization, the needs of everyone are met as they live fulfilled and productive lives through cooperation and global access. Therein, when work is transparent (Read: open source) and considers that which is common, it becomes possible to safely engineer a societal system that fulfills all life requirements to the benefit of everyone and the ecology.
In a community-type (moneyless) society, there are two primary types of economic access, instead of the market-based three:
In community, there is:
- InterSystem Team access (i.e., work jobs related to the societal system) – the contributors.
- Community access (i.e., access by everyone to community services produced through by means of the InterSystem Team) – the users.
There are many ways to develop and deliver services to the earth’s human population. Some of these ways (e.g., the market-State) promote inequality, dysfunction, and dis-ease, and others (e.g., a community-type society) promote human flourishing and sustained ecological well-being.
Necessarily, a ‘moneyless society’ is also an ‘open source society’. In an open source environment, there are only users, some of whom are also the designers, developers, and operators of the open source system. In an open source environment, the output of effort maintains the intention of benefiting everyone, even if the individual applying effort is doing it for their own direct benefit. In other words, all individuals in a community-type society are community-accessing ‘users’, some of whom are part of the ‘InterSystem Team’, whereupon they participate in the continued design, development, and operation the whole societal system (which provides access to all users, ‘global access’).
The earth is a planetary ecosystem (a biosphere) with a mesh of habitats that extend from the local through to the global. Humans can “boundary out” areas of the larger global habitat in order to control as their local ‘city’ habitats. In other words, from the larger, ecological-habitat service system, an organism can engineer its own locally controlled habitat, a ‘city’ (of note, the uncontrolled “wild” environment would therein be ‘care-taken’ in order to ensure the health of the overall habitat).
A community-type society necessitates the mutual coordination of dynamic and complex socio-technical activities that sustain the operative fulfillment of all of humanity. Mutual coordination at the societal level necessitates an adaptive and unified information system consisting of the primary system of which every society is composed, with a workable plan for the operation of the informational and material systems.
It is important to understand a community-type societal system’s organization overview in order to discover how a moneyless society could exist, transpire, and evolve. This proposed societal system is composed and configured through the sub-systems common to every type of society (Read: social, decision, material, lifestyle), and each subsystem is a standard[ized] deliverable by the project. Together, these standards form the proposed, unified societal system. To fully understand a complex unified system, the concept of operation of its highest-level subsystems must be understood. In other words, to fully understand this proposed societal system, the high-level conception of all of its supra-system standards must be understood (to some degree), which is a requirement of understanding any significantly complex and dynamic system.
A community-type (moneyless) societal system is materially composed of a network of integrated city systems that operate together to create a unified, global habitat service system (i.e., a single, global economic/access system). In other words, a moneyless societal system materializes as a network of integrated city systems that operate through a unified, global habitat service system consisting of all the cities in the network. The network of city systems is represented by the Global Habitat Service System (a.k.a., a true global access system), followed by the local city systems, represented by the Local Habitat Service Systems. Simply, there is one global conception of a service system for global design and accounting, and then, there are many locally materialized city expressions.
Summarily, a community-type (moneyless) society is composed of a set of interconnected, hierarchical systems that mutually meet the required elements essential to support the survival and flourishing of human within a living ecology.
The total societal system may be briefly sub-composed as follows:
- One solar and planetary system >
- One unified societal system design [specification] >
- Four societal information sub-systems (social, decision, lifestyle, material) >
One global habitat service system (network of city systems, the economic global access system) >
- The local habitat service systems (individual integrated city systems).
Whereupon, every city in the network is sub-composed of three ‘habitat service sub-systems’:
- The Life Support [Service] System (principal in hierarchy) is the priority, and foundations, all other systems (because, it provides for fundamental life existence).
- Therein, the Technology Support [Service] System technology is necessary for societal continuation, for meeting life and facility requirements.
- And then, the Exploratory Support [Service] System provides opportunities for growth, restoration, recreation, and exploration (once life’s requirements are sufficiently fulfilled, humanity’s higher potentials for life functioning become available).
*All the above systems interconnect and work together as one unified system. In order to understand the framework of operation of a moneyless society, the operation and interrelationship of each of these systems must be understood.
A community-type global habitat service system allows for each city system to locally control and engineer its own habitat in accordance with its population’s own local intentions and environment, which is necessary to provide for global human fulfillment and global ecological stability.
The material design of the local and global habitat service systems is a reflection, in part, of the global ecosystem [services] provided by the planet. Humanity exists on earth because of the natural ecosystem services that nature provides. In other words, nature provides a natural ecosystem for humanity to exist on the planet. Thusly, humanity has a common interest in the ecosystem, because it provides services that humankind relies on to survive, thrive, and ultimately, flourish.
It is possible to intelligently design and select the algorithms that compose society (e.g., mental algorithms, software algorithms, and materially encoded hardware “algorithms”). A moneyless, fulfillment-oriented society composes its algorithms openly, together, and exposes them to testing. Whereupon, a common integrating feedback loop discovers a greater understanding of what exists, and what is required, while the societal system as a whole, simultaneously, resolves the socio-decisioning space in alignment with a common, fulfillment-oriented direction. In community, the decisioning process uses objective information to inform (and thus, resolve) every social decision space. Some of that objective information can even become part of the information system itself. And, new situational information informs each new situational decision spaces.
Fundamentally, every society is information-based and has the same four fundamental information systems (social, decision, lifestyle, and material). When a system is said to be information-based, that means that it is computed. Said in a slightly different way, “If society is information based, then it is computed”. A computed system is a system that is based on information that has to be produced. Because every society is information based, every society can be simulated (Read: the iterating visualization of computation). However, not all societies recognize their information basis. A community-type society is a type of society that recognizes its information basis. By recognizing that it is based on information, the societal system can apply information processing to compute the current and future probable states of its materialized expression. In other words, a moneyless society uses computed information within its societal information system to ensure economic access and maintain environmental stability without the use of money. Any technologically complex, moneyless society is a computed society (i.e., a society that has awareness of its information system and uses computation therein); it is a type of society recognizably based upon a unified information system. Information in the information system is computed in order to effectively orient toward some intended direction (e.g., human fulfillment).
In any given society (because all societies are information based), there are two sources of new information:
- The information system, itself, processes information to produce more (useful) information.
- The information system acquires and interprets (inputs) information from the natural (law) environment.
Today, it is now possible to simulate society at both the pure information-level as well as the material operations-level. In other words, it is possible with today’s knowledge and technology to simulate the whole societal system, from its top-level information system through to the material operation of each of its materially extant city systems. Simulation may be used to model, predict, and test information and object flows within any societal system, and it is used in a moneyless society for discovery and design. Through design and simulation, it becomes relatively easy to engineer the next iterative state of a societal system as better (for everyone) than the last. The very idea of ‘societal engineering’ is the idea of working on (and contributing to) the unified societal specification or the operation of some part of its expressed, total habitat service system.
Take note here that just as information systems and human systems can evolve and de-evolve, so too can habitats in their ability to facilitate and sustain more complex life functioning. For any system, at any point in time, there exists a direction of functional capability, from that of evolution through to de-evolution, and the eventual absence of life if de-evolution continues (or, the de-evolved destroy themselves). Information systems evolve by lowering their entropy. Bits in an information system can be random or ordered. If ‘information’ is ordered bits, then entropy is a measure of disorder. If all bits are random, then there is maximum entropy. If bits in the information system become ordered, then entropy is lowered. When a [societal] system creates more information that is more useful, the system evolves. Similarly, coordinating the development of a controlled habitat to sustain more complex life function could be said to represent the evolution of an organism(s) and its habitat.
Working moneyless societies recognize the social nature of the human organism within their [informational] social system. Take note here that ‘optimization’ is a principal attribute of information/computed systems. With this background in mind, the way a social system optimizes itself, is if the individuated units therein are cooperative and work together, as opposed toward opposite ends. Cooperation optimizes a social system, orienting the whole of society toward order and lower entropy (i.e., toward greater fulfillment and functional life complexity). It is, in part, through contribution (which necessitates cooperation) that a moneyless society emerges. The opposite path for the individual, and society (in general), is fear. Those who fear are highly likely to tear down, pull apart, and not cooperate. Those in fear do not cooperate, in part, because of a lack of trust (often due to environmental conditioning environmental variables). Therein, if people can’t trust one another, then it is hard (if not impossible) to build something with more life complexity and lower entropy, together (i.e., to build a community-type ‘moneyless’ society). The fear mentality project the idea that the “others”, who are untrusted, could/will always take advantage of what “you” do. It is this fear response, in part, that places artificial limits on cooperation and generates unnecessary conflict.