I’ve had many people ask or comment about this, so I thought I’d write an article covering my reasons.
In life many people want to identify “goodies & baddies” and I’m guilty of this myself … but what we do with that identification doesn’t necessarily always help, many of our responses are either ineffectual or even downright harmful.
In the case of “empire” (historically speaking): yes we would be correct to conclude that empire has been a detrimental force in the world … and while on the one hand empire is a representative facade of the self-proclaimed “elite”, it is also a representative facade of the apathy, cowardice and compliance of so many citizens of the world.
So … what are our options here?
- We “kill the beast”, and declare empire dead;
- We allow the beast to continue (not an option);
- We transform the beast, and declare it to be forever in remorse and remembrance of its wrong doing.
So I hope some of you will already see where I’m going with this (at least in part), but let me by way of analogy further clarify this first idea.
Have you ever read a book or watched a tv series or movie, where the protagonist of the story was a reformed wrong doer? OR where the protagonist was a leader forced to make choices they didn’t want to make, and as a result of which other people died or came to harm? If the answer is not yes, just follow along anyway … because in such stories, the response of the character will often be to remember the names and details of every single person who suffered or died, because they want a reminder which causes themself enough pain to keep them honest, to remain cautious in their decisions, and to remain respectful of the sacrifices made by others … because otherwise they know, it is a slippery slope to taking this for granted, and becoming a tyrant.
If we take option 1 and kill the beast, where is the remorse? The beast did it not us, we are the heroes … BUT … was it not our past cowardice which allowed the beast to continue unchecked for so long? Was it not our complacency? Our tolerance? Was it not our apathy & acquiescence which enabled this psychopathic system to continue?
I’m not arguing for the forgiveness of the beast in civilisation … I’m arguing for the remmeberance that many of us have been party to that beast … and if it dies entirely, there’s the risk of forgetting … yet the beast is too dangerous to keep alive in its present form, leaving very few alternative option.
So what I’m proposing is neither killing nor forgiving the beast, but (like Neo in The Matrix: Revolutions) we become it, and then we tell it where it is going, what it is doing & why. For that is the only way to transform it.
Think about it like this:
Imagine if an empire existed where the rulers of that empire were everyone & everything, regardless of species, sentience, the lack of sentience, or even the lack of being a living object … ie: a communal empire which represents all on the entire planet, including the planet itself.
Such an empire has evolved out of a purely one sided human empire, and it’s rulers were previously only a very small subset of those humans … but now, it includes everyone and everything.
Such an empire remembers its past, and it regrets its mistakes … using them as motivation for doing better.
This is not an empire of domination … it is an empire of collaboration, sharing, caring, loving … and even fun.
Open Empire is this vision. To take everything we have achieved, and change the motivational basis of civilisation, change the decision making criteria and procedures, such that everyone and everything is considered according to a scientifically valid common ground.
In such an empire, no one gets to say: “my God says I’m more important than you, and that I can do what I like to you”; no one gets to say: “my money allows me to buy and sell you, to manipulate and exploit you without thought of consequences” … and no one gets to say: “my physical or political power gives me the right to do to you whatever I wish without concern for your own needs” … or perhaps more accurately, no one gets to say these things AND force them onto others using physical, economic or political power … and they certainly don’t get to economically profit from doing so.
So … is this just forcing a different set of values onto people?
No. There’s no forcing … there’s simply removal of the systems which motivate, nurture and empower such behaviour, and the replacement of these systems with alternative systems that discourage, disempower & demotivate such behaviour. So technically speaking, you could still go out and attempt such things … but … since the consequences of such behaviour are thermodynamically quantifiable as harmful, the prevention of such things is therefore quantifiably beneficial, and you’d basically be trying to do something against an entire civilisation of people motivated to stop you from doing it. So good luck to you if that’s your choice, you’re going to need it … and even if you succeed in your actions, all someone has to do is prove that you did it, and your personal statistics in the system are utterly wrecked, thus reducing your access to scarce resources.
An example I hear you ask? Ok … try this:
- A person decides they’re going to kidnap someone and turn them into a slave, and get that person to produce lots of resources, so that you can improve your statistics of reducing scarcity and providing commodities of benefit;
- They succeed in their kidnap, and keep this person hidden in servitude and slavery;
- The person has no immediate relatives, and it’s hard to discover they even exist;
- BUT such slavery has a gigantically negative consequence, because you’re robbing that person of their entire life, and robbing the world of their potential, which others would be motivated by the system to helping them reach;
- SO … some people figure out they can gain massive personal benefit by discovering and freeing such slaves, so they set about data mining the blockchain to discover the likely hiding places of such slaves … each one they find and free, provides them with massive boosts to their personal statistics, which enables them to access scarce resources far more easily … and since it can be argued that your own existence is nett quantifiably detrimental to the world, because despite what you claim to produce, you’re not really the producer (you’re just taking credit), and the only thing you’re really responsible for is the damage to your slaves and the loss of their potential from the world …
- THERFORE … these people are not particularly concerned about ruining their statistics by killing you, because IF they can prove conclusively that you’re guilty, THEN a case could be argued that your death is actually a thermodynamic benefit to the world … about the only thing that will save you here, is not fighting them, and the fact that someone else might be motivated to save your life by proving you can be reformed, because this may possibly show a thermodynamic nett gain over killing you.
Now … all that might seem radical and harsh … but I’m not going to personally shed a tear over any slave masters … and it’s an entirely impartial and logical conclusion to draw that such actions may actually be quantifiably beneficial.
So in this regard, do we need a “leadership”? No. We are simply guided by principles and the assessment of their consequences … So if you want to do something which you know is not in someone or something else’s best interests, you’re motivated to find a way which doesn’t interfere with them, or to meet an agreement where you make it up to them in some other way) … and if you can’t find a suitable alternative (or don’t bother looking) and proceed regardless, you’re free to do so, but you’d better be sure the consequences are not so great that you just painted a target on your own back.
ADDITIONALLY … in such a framework, if you really want to do something that might otherwise be harmful … and if many other people want to do this also … THEN it makes sense that someone else will be motivated to find a quantifiably less harmful and more beneficial way for you to go about it, because that’s precisely the kind of thing this system automatically motivates people to do … so your best option at the outset is just to be honest and broadcast your need: “I want to do <this>, can anyone please help me determine how much harm might be caused by such activity, how much benefit could also be generated, and thus help me find a justification for doing it”.
So, you might be wondering: does this mean if I make a mistake, people are going to come and kill me? The answer to which is “of course not” … what it means is simply that IF you’re consistently and repeatedly doing things that cause excessive harm, and which quite obviously shows you’re basically a psychopath or sociopath … THEN it may make more sense to put you out of the world’s misery, not as “punishment”, but simply as pure pragmatism … BUT you’d have to be doing something pretty extreme before that becomes the case, and someone mistakenly killing you would be so detrimental to their own statistics (especially doing so repeatedly), that they could easily bring the same fate down on themselves … AND HENCE no one would be motivated to take any such action without extreme caution, which means doing extensive research, evidential discovery, and analysis of consequences.
Another way of saying it, is that it would no longer be a hierarchically enforceable “crime” to commit a murder, instead we’re looking at a scenario in which the consequences of the death of a person is assessed thermodynamically, and you are responsible for those consequences and the consequences that flow from them … AND IF the consequences of that death (or those deaths) you caused, is far greater than anything you could ever repay (again quantified as ecological and social benefits you’re directly responsible for), THEN you may be approaching a threshold where the value of your redemption simply isn’t worth the effort.
So what does this mean for “empire”? It means that no one is ruler, we are all just governed by principles which can be proven independent of individual philosophical beliefs, values, etc. … and we’re all subject to the consequences of those principles, which everyone is motivated to pursue. This does not require you to behave a certain way, nor believe certain things … it just means you have to spend a little bit of time thinking about your actions, and whether by intention or accident, understand that you are responsible for the consequences of what you do.
So another question that may arise is: what about lions and other predators? Are these creatures not causing thermodynamic loss? Would people not be motivated to pursue and wipe them out?
The short answer is no, they would not be motivated to do so … but allow me to explain.
In a hypothetical wild ecosystem, a carnivorous creature and it’s predatory hunting does not equate to enough damage to cause the extinction of another species, UNLESS that creature is suddenly introduced to an area that had known no such predators previously, for example the case of the extinction of so many flightless birds in New Zealand by cats, possums, stoats, weasels etc.; otherwise a balance is usually found.
So let’s deal first with the case where unlike NZ, there’s no sudden introduction of species.
In such a case, both predator and prey provide different ecological services to the ecosystem, and they have different symbiotic and consumptive relationships with other species … all of which can be quantified. So the thermodynamic loss on the individual prey organism, the loss of its ecological services, the proportional loss of flow on effects, and the probability of other losses over time (such as offspring that will never be born), are all calculated … and the consequences of no predatory species (if this is the only one that exists), or fewer diversity of predatory species, perhaps leading to over population of the prey species, can all be quantified as well in terms of the consequences … the resulting decision is likely that such a predator is very much a part of the ecological balance, without which the ecosystem is less robust, and the probability of other ecological consequences over larger and larger time scales increases, such as to prove the value of the predator … THIS MAY OR MAY NOT TURN OUT TO BE THE CASE (I’m just guessing for now at what I think would be the outcome of such an assessment, and doing so to demonstrate the ideas).
So why is human behaviour different? Well, it is but it isn’t … we certainly do have to consider our own actions on the same non-species-biased basis (a level playing field) … but the reason why our behaviour is not likely to be considered (& quantified) as equally “natural”, is because unlike the lion or tiger, we have extreme technological advantages over all other species and objects … BUT AT LEAST we can change the fundamental economic drivers, from exploitation, growth and consumption, to consideration, contemplation, assessment, appreciation etc. … we can look at the questions of our resource consumption in a completely different light, asking not: “what can I do to maximally exploit this resource without respinsiblility for consequences?”; but instead: “how do I exploit this resource with the greatest respect for what it is, what it would be doing were I not to interfere with it, the minimisation of all harmful consequences, and the innovation of as many beneficial consequences as possible?”
Now … If you think about this in the light of the question of what to do about living parasitic and pathogenic organisms … here’s the natural conclusion we can draw:
- On one hand it may be quantifiably certain that a particular organism causes significant damage to another, but;
- On the other hand, this organism may also provide some kind of valuable genetic or biochemical value, and so;
- While people might be partially motivated to wipe it out based on a simplistic assessment, they’ll know that to do so and retrospectively have it proven to be a decision made in error of judgement, would be bad for them;
- HENCE conservatism and caution (the positive aspects only of such principles) are naturally built in to this motivational framework;
- THEREFORE: we do extensive research of species, gathering immense amounts of data before making serious decisions, BUT we also take interim measures to avoid the other possible dire consequences of inaction … thus, we know when we act, that we’re doing the best we know how at the time, and only to whatever level such action is critically required;
- AND IF such a species is not sentient, and despite its detrimental pathogenic / parasitic nature, it has some beneficial aspect … THEN one likely solution we may arrive at, is that we do want to wipe it out from natural environments, but we also want to breed it for the production & synthesis of some particular hormone.
How does this differ significantly from our present decision making process? Well first of all, everything is driven at least partly by the profit motive, which creates an underlying agenda that is (at the very least to some degree) disengaged from any independent analysis of ecological & social consequences. Then the way in which we go about things having made our decision, is further influenced by this disengaged motivational framework … So the odds we will make an error of judgement as to the real value of things and consequences of our actions, is effectively maximised – ie: we have the highest probability of fucking things up further, because our decision making framework is fundamentally flawed.
Open Empire is about creating a level playing field, where a common set of perspective agnostic principles become the guidelines and motivational basis for all human behaviour … thus allowing for personal freedom in a non-hierarchical (anarchic) society, while still having a framework that requires us to the high probability we will have to be personally subjected to (& thus responsible for) the consequences of our actions.
FINAL QUESTION: is this too complicated for people to grasp and engage with? No … absolutely not. Does a person need to understand combustion reactions, mechanical engineering, electronics, systems theory, or anything else so complicated in order to drive a motor vehicle? No … all they need to do is concern themselves with understanding the interface (the driver cockpit: steering wheel, viewing mirrors, pedals, gear lever etc.; the rules: road rules with other drivers, and; the transport infrastructure: roads, roundabouts, traffic lights, intersections). The same is true with Open Empire … yes there’s complexity in the mechanics, but the interface will be relatively simple.