[This comes from a very old notebook and i do not believe most of it any more, i’m posting it here anyway as to exemplify some of the roads whereby my head has come up with ideas i’m posting shortly…]
At the height of the last financial crisis it was “in” to say the moment heralded the “end of capitalism” and that this, in turn, represents the downfall of the last ideology amongst the 2 we used to have. We are supposed to be the age without options. The people without faith in big plans and big ideals, the guys who will say that business-as-usual is as-good-as-it-gets. The ones who will stop daydreaming and “just do a little better”, go fixing the problems with an ant’s strategy, bit by bit, without looking at the big picture and attempting changes where it really hurts.
I don’t buy it. I don’t buy any of it. Beginning with the stupid claim that there where only two ideologies.
We had aplenty. The only thing we got rid of where the ones based on shouting out louder — and by that I mean the ones who couldn’t accept anything besides themselves.
Thus I have nothing against so-called “only thing that’s left” which also receives one of the stupidest names ever, third way, let me be very clear about that, just to the country, it makes me all proud and stuff. But I am not ready to go with it if there’s even the shadow of a doubt that it means the same-old-same-old “with some improvements”.
My dad used to be very committed to charity, and there’s one thing I learned from it: No works. If you go to another human being and solve his problems, all you get is one more problem scheduled for the future and one less person to help you solve them. And just solving some problems without questioning the big picture is dangerously close to charity.
So, right now, I am proposing the “fourth road”. The name of the game is self-organization — from which you can bet where my sympathies lie. But what I am playing at here a actually another thing. I propose taking this open-source, shared-responsibility, distributed-initiative thing and putting it to work on the nature of our system.
What this really mean is that I feel we may, for likely the first time, stop quibbling about which is the power-structure that will bring the true good to society — and begin figuring out what is true good for society. What ideals are worth of our cherishing?
That’s actually kind a troublesome to me, because, you see, i do not believe in ideals. I do not like morality — «good»s, «bad»s, «in-between»s, those are not my things. I happen to believe that every man has his own standards of what is good and bad and grey, and i also happen to believe that those standards can be negotiated but are never guaranteed to be equal. You can always find someone who thinks that something gruesome to everyone else is actually kinda cool to him. And if we can never guarantee that an ideal is shared, it never actually is ideal!
So I mistrust ideals but want to work at the level of ideals.
How do we escape this paradox?
Basically, finding new ways to understand each other. This means that, while we never truly know what are our ideals, we are always trying to figure them out, which means we are always getting better, and “getting there” does not really matter if we can correct our direction periodically and avoid getting lost.
New ways to figure out each other always have powerful effects in group dynamics. That’s basically what happened in France on 1794 & 1968, that’s the hope that lead to all the Greek’s wada-wada-wada about democracy, and that’s what was great about the World Social Forum.
Indeed, the basic idea behind democracy, way back then, was no more than that people would get together and discuss their issues. In good Portuguese, “conversando a gente se entende”. Let’s talk things out and see what happen.
As all of subsequent history extensively shows, that’s never as easy as it sounds. For one there’s all kinds of logistic problems. It’s pretty neat to get all of the world’s NGO´s together and see what comes out of it, but we must remember that doing that requires a big fat loft of energy. Huge investment.
Not only that, there’s also a learning obstacle: Just being in the same room does not mean you can work with another person. There are issues of language, of world-views, of diverging interests, of emotional maturity, of attention-whoring, and so on.
Finally there’s the almost insurmountable issue of community-building, not only saying everyone is part of the whole, but making people really feel it, personally.
So, what the fourth way proposes to do, concretely, is to build a new level of societal organization, a kind of a meta-state that will work atop the government, albeit in a constant under-work status, in a continuous process of self-revaluation and self-reinvention. This meta-framework will be able to discuss meta-ideology issues, like ”what is good for society”.
This meta-state will play the part of model for the rest of society, just like for instance kings in feudalism where supposed (but almost never too good at) infuse their people with virtue and value. It will be the thing that allows the myriad voices of society to become one chorus. It will be what will allow society to correct it’s own direction, to chose its own path.
Instead of taking control of the state or abolishing it, the fourth way seeks to enhance it’s power while at the same time diminishing it’s importance, for all of society will be continuously becoming more powerful, levelling the field.
In part, this meta-state will come to be through over-taking the various levels of media-entertainment industry, journalism, blogging, et al — that currently face a big crises of focus and purpose.
But the fourth way does not come through tech, but most of all trough meeting people and getting to know them and developing personally the protocols for issue-negotiation and power-applying.
This effort will be led by states and customary power structures, because they will not have any other option but to comply.
The leaders in this new playing field will be numerous but their responsibility will never be to “represent” other people, but instead always to work for the betterment of societies (and the meta-society that is the ecosphere and, in the long view, the cosmos).
The leadership-building, which is a long, delicate, complex process, will honour all that we, as a species, have learned about it in the last 10 millennia of city-dwelling, empire-building, equality-hunting, happiness-loving culture vitality.
And finally, the real root of this process can’t be other than education — but we are talking about a distributed dynamic process, based on one-to-one sharing, experience-diversifying, hierarchy-avoiding, boredom-abhorring and curiosity and exploration. It is the spreading of intelligence throughout and densely.
Which also means spreading and growing power and beauty everywhere.