Tag: cooperating (page 1 of 1)

The Number 1 Challenge for Humanity – Cooperating at Scale (part 2 of 2)

green plant

First published to the AKASHA Foundation blog.

In the first of this two-part blog post I described why cooperating-at-scale is humanity's primary challenge. Here I outline some candidate concepts and pre-architectural principles to inform the necessary and sufficient 'sociotechnological primitives'.

First I'd like to qualify pre-architectural. It's not oxymoronic despite arche meaning origin or beginning. Both physical and software architecture originate structure and structural relationships, and we're not yet at the stage to prescribe such things. Structure is ossified pattern and our purpose at this early stage demands instead that we offer just a little structure to open up the space to explore and nurture multiple patterns in preparation for the emergence of multiple structural forms. If pre-architectural doesn't do it for you, then perhaps think of it as a parsimony of design.

A means to our purpose is the encouragement of multi-disciplinary cooperation towards ever-improving multi-disciplinary cooperation. At scale.

Nuclear physicists refer to the smallest amount of fissile material needed for a sustained nuclear chain reaction as the critical mass. No-one can know the variety or volume or patterns or structures of the methods, materials and mindsets required to constitute a critical mass for cooperation-at-scale, but perhaps your spidey senses are similar to our own ... maybe, just maybe, assembling such critical mass is a possibility nearer, rather than further away.

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The Number 1 Challenge for Humanity – Cooperating at Scale (part 1 of 2)

First published to the AKASHA Foundation blog.

Despite the over-emphasis of competition in Darwin's theory of evolution, the great man himself sensed the importance of cooperation.

I should premise that I use the term Struggle for Existence in a large and metaphorical sense, including dependence of one being on another ...

[On the Origin of Species, Darwin, 1859]

Modern day scientists know that any investment of resources by individuals — of the same species or different — in acts of cooperation could in fact make those individuals vulnerable to non-cooperators, and yet cooperating proves to be a continuing strength rather than a weakness. We see cooperation everywhere we look.

[We have] a new view of continual cooperation, strong interaction, and mutual dependence among life forms. Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.

[Microcosmos, Margulis & Sagan, 1997]

Cooperation confers an irrefutable advantage and we're still grappling with understanding the qualities of the mechanisms that make this the case.

Human beings are brilliant same-species cooperators — hence our parasitic success — and yet a quick scan of typical news headlines would suggest quite the opposite. Without dwelling too deeply on international relations or indeed media theory, the reported character of interactions between the likes of the United States and China and Russia and India and Europe might be said to be more fractious than cooperative. And national news headlines compound the gloom.


Why can't we just work together for mutual advantage on our little blue marble? As co-pilots of Spaceship Earth?

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