This anonymous essay was submitted to Open Philanthropy's Cause Exploration Prizes contest and published with the author's permission.
If you're seeing this in summer 2022, we'll be posting many submissions in a short period. If you want to stop seeing them so often, apply a filter for the appropriate tag!
I must caution the reader into an experience of an inner monologue that wants to demonstrate critical thinking creatively. I hope to predicate this essay on a manner of sophistication in which the comprehension remains palpable. I am eager to see a meaningful increase in a wholesome quality of life for the globe, longevity, sustainability and so forth — my perspective ascertains the general unreliability and helplessness one would feel trying to grasp the scope of work within philanthropy and a place in it.
I am surmising a synthesis solution not a cause per se, but rather a direction for philanthropy to curate a project: an interface of gamification, a contemporary think-tank, dedicated as a branch platform with the intent to serve as a vehicle for enabling people to show up and not get lost in the fog of the deeper analysis and required acumen to output effort with precision and return.
Let's start with networks, as in a group of interconnected people or things. Our common denominator between all systems in our inter-connected world is a global inheritance of problems. We see this everywhere in the economy, global health, and education. Industries across the board, governmental, educational and institutional organisations are by person-to-work ratio, overwhelmed by informational oversight and unable to mediate blindspots.
The existing communication pipelines don't have enough human input to reciprocate and accommodate a diverse pool of people, nor is there a process tailored to identify their possible contribution beyond a capacity for intellect. To put it simply, how ought mass participation gain traction at the level of problem-solving alongside those who dedicate their effort where it counts? Because in regards to traction, it isn't anywhere near as effective as the revolving door and virtual power vacuum oversaturated by those with the means to generate the most rapid-firing content in our dopamine-driven virtual spaces.
On a personal note, my life is an observation that one's proximity, use and grasp of the English language determines one's mobility, representation and contribution. The treacherous path to a global lingua franca has been tremendously beneficial despite it. The sense of inadequacy to contribute to effective altruism is something I know first-hand. I've fought hard to speak English this well and still seem to fall short to make a contribution where it counts. We ought to curate an alternative for those without the predisposition and confront the pompously structured hierarchy that misses out a lot on the stagnating energy focused on mere survival or distraction. Although an in-depth analysis before any effort is imperative, I merely wish to highlight that there are bodies of work worth championing as a priority that are actionable and justified for immediate application.
After all, what's stopping the mass movements into crypto from moving full speed ahead, plundering resources and encouraging consumption rates that will further exhaust the planet? It isn't the experiment worth all our attention. That velocity is uncommon for organisations of such stature, but why? Of all the entities with such magnitude and conviction to demand attention, why don't you have people flocking to your aid?
The World Wide Web:
I wonder whether there is an encompassing metric for a waste of human attention not properly harnessed to actionable remedies provided by people in all strata. Anyone with self-awareness in the modern world can tell that there is a disproportionate and insufferable amount of entertainment and distractions that dominate. We can assume that a sizeable number of us are somewhat on the same page regarding a way to contribute to something other than wasteful behaviour.
Although the internet is our first conception of a network that diversifies our experience and understanding across the globe, we have yet to go past the trial and error phase and consequently continue to move towards innovation and destruction simultaneously. To collectively respond to the plethora of challenges we face, we ought to promulgate shared focus and anticipation for diversification of individuals to engage in an interface amongst competent people, and those eager to undergo a process of accomplishing competence is an imminent platform to facilitate.
I will postulate three considerations and lead you to the crucible of my essay — a prerequisite to making sense of my ITN and my proposed cause exploration, that a globally standardised simplification process for high-level organisations would lead to more retention.
"Provisions For The Future Beyond Our Lifespans."
- How ought I explain my idea to the anxiously young and aware?
If you have the internet or adults around you who do, you're probably aware of the many things we've got wrong and right in the collective path of human development. As kids, you can only work with whatever you have at your expense to continue making sense of your place in the world.
There is no sugarcoating that the Earth's resources and way of life are mostly very poorly treated, and fixing people's health and the planet's health at the same time is an alarm ringing no one can afford to ignore. The first conception of the world wide web remains out of anyone's control. The young and old alike can explore the many areas of opportunity to build ourselves within communities that allow people from around the world a virtual place that makes sense and does more nurturing than harm.
In our history, the hands dealt to generations before you were heavy, but none as complex as the future you face. To equip you with an intelligent interface modelled for solution-based action is perhaps our best case scenario for you to look after the generation after you.
In the meantime, I'd introduce you to organic technology and an idea for a game that could enable us the proper channels to cooperate regardless of your ability or background.
What Could Bind A Global Network Of Communities
- What is a pre-existing community that all ages, across all circumstantial variables, can engage and contribute to their livelihoods and well-being?
I was first exposed to Paul Stamets by a character in Star Trek Discovery, a fictional scientist named after him, who cracks the use of the mycelium network to power interplanetary federation ships through space. The online streaming service Netflix aired Fantastic Fungi in 2019. When I realised Star Trek referred to an actual person as a character central to the survival of the plot, I allowed my curiosity and determination to see the documentary through.
In the documentary, a scientist described fungi as the living digestive system of the Earth and proceeds to showcase how it is being explored in continuity by a growing phenomenon of citizen scientists, the terminology often associated with pseudo-scientific communities such as Flat Earth. A community where an increasing number of legitimate citizen scientists work with accredited ones leads me to ask, what makes their community significantly relevant to us all? (https://fantasticfungi.com/)
It's not for me to articulate how mushrooms diversify our gut biome or the potential consequences if used to decompose garbage, nor can I separate the poetic appreciation from the empirical truth. I’m simply determined to co-curate a global emphasis on the importance of such communities that localise and provide autonomy for people to take care of themselves. The orchestration needs the expertise that often flocks to the wrong places.
We intuitively understand the need for global cooperation, but as we continue to tire of dealing with one another's dogma and unbeknownst exploitation, can't we develop the gall to match the audacity of corporations and religion to shape the global order? Don't we need a binding agent for both left and right-centric thinkers, young and old and of any life circumstances that ought to have a shared cause? Will organisations continue to exhaust themselves without regard to layman retention? If an open-source education in the format of play enables us to contribute to science that we directly engage with, especially one that will nurture us into independence with communities we want to form.
The work of Paul Stamets is a major catalyst and initiator, containing the qualities needed to make configurations across cultures into a mode of cooperation. This leads to the second consideration, tackling how to depersonalise personal interests without neglecting them altogether.
A Philosophy that Binds Everything?
- Is there a theory that integrates human complexity?
I will first acknowledge that I am not a naturalist nor enough of a nature enthusiast to be an eloquent advocate of Fungi Culture or formally educated in the matters of Philosophy. The division between ourselves and others happening rapidly and randomly is enough motivation for me to bypass and write anyway.
People with varying degrees of individual, generational, and cultural trauma that continues to accumulate is quite the obstacle: too heavy to intellectualise, too delicate to get involved with, and too exhausting to buffer -- diversification entails access to creative solutions and more human input, and yet is the same recipe for complication and tension. I am tired of witnessing humans keep in proximity amongst ourselves with those experiencing a similar level of struggle whilst others drown.
Philosophy has found itself within the limitations of merely an academic pursuit that has no significance as an authority to scientific and societal endeavours -- the point seems to be that there should not be a consensus, just an emphasis on what one may deem more important. This never-ending dive into the personal mind should not override a societal direction and the clarity that takes precedence for generations facing the early 21st century while we have the world's post-colonial aftermath to deal with, To continue to let people play in this awful ‘Pain Olympics' of what deserves more effort and attention is madness.
What I'm suggesting takes from the framework of Ken Wilbur's Integral Theory. It is somewhat a metric of consciousness, which I suppose is the catalyst for its part in its controversy: a meta-theory that claims to make sense of neurological structures. Dare I say it would be dangerous for a global philosophical set of principles not to at least accept that these fundamental differences must learn to coexist? The majority of the world has a multitude of unique practices and beliefs about the nature of our existence. Can we agree to de-escalate the emphasis on personal interests without neglecting them altogether?
The global community needs a framework to identify the exemplary groups formed under the categorisation in which it falls. We don't celebrate competence like the masses do celebrities. It isn't sustainable as a species in the long run. It begins with the premise for conversations to self-organise their sense of importance to global significance.
- The individual perspective and identity: gender, sexual maturity, age, interests) The Arts/Media/Entertainment, Businesses, counsel, age-appropriate spaces and camaraderie that happen from this level of relatability are transient and deeply personal.
- The perspective of groups: those who look like me, those with the same culture as me: tribes, race, nations, diaspora. Heritage preservation, cultural education, and historic investigation ought to encourage the returning agency to the people in question. The structure in which the different ethnocentric entities share discourse and exchange views is presented and equipped with equal regard.
- The world views (think tanks, institutions, NGOs, religion, and entities like UN, NATO, EU, ASEAN, etc.) My hypothesis is until the above categories have course corrected, the fate of such organisations depends on the younger generation. How fast can they innovate structures that facilitate world views, and can these entities adapt to work with these innovations that they don't find that the systems in place have suddenly replaced?
- Endeavours for our future as a species: frontiers in science, innovation, education, philosophy, philanthropy and exceptional visionaries and inventors with contributions that may alter the course of Earth space federations. The highest order of human competence, and how the public can come to understand the significance of their respective contributions without having to dig.
(Terminologies borrowed from Ken Wilbur’s Integral Theory)
An interface with the above framework and its reckless format of examples I have provided — a mission to advance science that is low cost and tremendously beneficial, if done at mass with the supplemented inspiration of continuity and longevity in our place in the world, is my synthesis. There is no peer reviewed philosophy that binds everything, but consider whatever binds conglomerates that they are willing to self-organise themselves around dominion, conquest and funnel conviction in the wrong thing. The building and engagement in a virtual space where an interface is in congruence to real life is an ordinary perspective often portrayed and amplified in fiction. The premise to unify the people of Earth is a flowery and impractical vote on reality with the Fungi movement and whatever interface leads to the prerequisite to the Galactic Federation modelled after Star Trek. I suppose we are all counting miracles generated from a shift of perspective given enough times, with enough people.
At best, a renewed sense of focus to equip Fungi scientists to build those communities. I suppose the impact is surmountable to the level of conviction behind it. The communities to embrace a possible culture, economy and contribution of this nature are more likely to escalate to the transference from plastic to hemp, of exhaustion of medical resources and personnel, to better general community health. The formidable groups or individuals could add revelations to the overall understanding, and as far as I can tell is already happening within the existing ones.
What all people have in common today:
- They would like to look after their health.
- They would like more time and agency to support their family
- and community and tend to their independence or interdependence.
- They would like to grieve and enjoy life comfortably.
Referencing my first paragraph of The World Wide Web segment: Anyone with self-awareness in the modern world can tell that there is a disproportionate and insufferable amount of entertainment and distractions that dominate. We can assume that a sizeable number of us are somewhat on the same page regarding a way to contribute to something other than wasteful behaviour.