Three Fabrics that are Bigger than you and me & Growing

Mijn HoloPort

My HoloPort arrived

Please RT.

Yes, a lot of people are unhappy right now how the Internet and the Web are evolving the last decade. From practical connections between people and between documents to exchange info, cooperate and construct new knowledge and value; these two fabrics have turned into advertising & sales media and monopoly greedy shark dominated personal profile gathering marketplaces and  governmental controlaholic social tools to surveil and suppress. Both Business and Nation States have now at last understood how important Internet and WWW are, and are on the offensive to dominate and even fight wars in these “networks” and tell us what we should do and how to behave in Cyberspace. When you are online, many sharks lurk at your data to see if they can make money at your expense and without your explicit consent.

I am however happy to report that in response to this pollution and extraction, there are right now at least three (3) worldwide structures growing, alive, powerful and kicking based on voluntary activities, not dominated by making money or fighting over power. And they grow and expand as if they are living beings. 🙂

 

map-of-the-internet

I. Let us first take a good look at what THE INTERNET was and is, see its definition https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/what-is-internet/ :

” An internet is a voluntary agreement among network operators (private or public digital network owners)  to exchange and transit datatraffic for their mutual benefit”.   That’s all — it’s an agreement. You can not regulate or control that !!

In other words: “The Internet of Connectivity” is a Commons.

(Side remark. I often ask nation state politicians and their international busybodies who want to regulate the Internet [while they often mean the web and/or certain service providers] if they can tell me and the conference audience what the Internet is. And I nearly always am answered by a blank stare or remarks that that is “too technical”. In fact they have no clue and no jurisdiction on the Internet. The ISOC.org and its groups (like IETF, IAB and ICANN) of dedicated engineers DO know, thank heavens)

Based on the above definition the Internet of Connectivity can be regarded as an INFRASTRUCTURE where resources are interconnected and shared, and it includes:

  • Optic Fiber cables aka FTTH/ FTTB access networks , on land in trenches and on/in the bottom of the seas
  • Internet Exchanges (neutral place for peering and transit)
  • Wi-Fi in-house and in-office wireless networks
  • Wireless 3G, 4G and 5G mobile networks provided by commercial operators
  • Private / corporate networks with safe internet access and for service provision of for instance Google, Facebook, Alibaba and a number of E-Commerce companies
  • Access networks to and in datacenters where Cloud services are provided
  • Networks for streaming video services like Netflix, Apple+, Disney

All these old and recent “networks” use their own and the shared internet infrastructure which should be kept as open for new entrants and as agnostic (neutral) of the actual traffic running over it, as possible. That way the internet grows exponentially and absorbs new technology at an amazing rate: 1 to 10 Gbit/second symmetric access links are becoming ‘normal’.

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Holo vignet

II. The second coming up is “The Internet of Distributed Hosting”, and is about Hosting applications on millions of computers, connected with by the internet. In 2007 the members of the HOLO HOSTING team https://holo.host/ began thinking about

how to construct a connected distributed infrastructure to provide Holo hosting services using idle personal computers connected to the internet that where offered by volunteers for processing and storage, located all over the world“.

To achieve this they implemented an accounting system called HoloChain that keeps track of the usage of the computers and using an internal “currency” called HoloFuel which at a later stage be used to compensate the volunteers for their offered resources.

Now, at the end of 2019, the first series of HoloPort computers (loaded with software and instructions how to operate such special and powerful PC’s bought by volunteers, are going to be shipped and delivered, at first for a large scale alpha test phase. Curious as I am, I ordered one, for sure :-)). In a number of countries HoloChain developer groups meet to experiment and learn from each other to improve on the open source software available. I am sure that this distributed resource sharing system and “commons community” for hosting will scale up fast and will grow exponentially on top of the Internet. See explanation of HoloChain : youtu.be/iU070qs84Ho

Eager to regulate this by nation states? How? It consists of idle computers offered by volunteers. Sure, the commons of Holo will only exist and survive if everybody sticks to the strict rules of the Commons. See what Mrs Ostrom, Nobel Prize winner Economics, wrote about those. And it remains to be seen if these dolphins can keep the business sharks outside. Yes the new society will consist of States& Cities and Businesses and Commons cooperating with each other in the Trias Internetica I defined and presented since 1988, see https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/transition-from-crisis-1-the-digitized-civil-society-as-a-force/

Yes I suggest to take a good look at Holo and what those smart boys and girls are doing. This will be huge and unstoppable.

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Redgrid logo

III The third swarm is “The INTERNET OF ENERGY” (IoE) coming up, orchestrated by RedGrid1

That Australian software developer company is building a commons for people that can be more conscious and sovereign in their energy use. Organisations, universities, real-estate owners, companies and homeowners can volunteer to let the equipment (smart power plugs) of RedGrid1 switch off some of their installations or electrical equipment for a limited time in order to shave the peaks of power demands of high voltage grid power transport networks. These grids are facing growth in demand AND large fluctuations from renewable power like wind turbines and large numbers of solar panels. If we want to fight climate change, fossil fuel use must be diminished and renewable solar and wind expanded. But then we must tackle the fluctuation problem, since wind can decrease suddenly and sunlight blocked by clouds in specific area’s.

At the same time electric cars, busses, planes, trains and lories must be loaded, if possible in a controlled sequence. Natural gas must be replaced by electricity, and the hundreds of thousands of IoT devices/ km^2 must be powered. All this requires power switching and transport networks which where not build for all these things and to enlarge them will take decades of city planning/permits and construction. The direction in which the RedGrid1 network solution can help decrease the overloading & congestion and avoid outages and blackouts (& fires)  like in California, Australia and South Africa; is to construct a network of many the mentioned interconnected smartplugs and orchestrate them to decide together what devices/installations should be switched off or on. This is done in a distributed way with “Internet of Energy” protocols on top of an the accounting system of HoloChain (see II) which is connected by way of Wi-Fi or LTE Internet (see I) links. Incentive for the volunteers is that their energy bill will be much lower, and they will get a premium for the lowering/ raising of the peak, payable in virtual “kWatts”.

At he same time local communities or neighborhoods can generate and deliver + account renewable energy to each other, which also decreases the total load of fossil fuel use.

Crucial is the notion that instead of controlling electricity grids up to the local transformers from a central point, fluctuating supply and demand can be balanced by smart grids between smart devices on a large scale INSIDE the premises of the customers. This smart system is being tested right now in Australia and will be gradually upscaled in number of plugs and verified to fulfill strong quality criteria. And soon my company Go-Consulting.com , in the #ElektroMesh project, will do tests and field trials with this technology, in close cooperation with RedGrid1, in The Netherlands and Germany.

Fighting climate change is urgent for, cities, governments and the EU, and they start to realize that this “Internet of Energy” stuff will DO have practical effects, instead of only producing good intentions and promises.

To sum up the above, please notice that:

  • III: The Internet of Energy runs on top of II: The Internet of Distributed Hosting and that works on top of  I: The Internet of Connectivity.
  • All three work with commons that consist of volunteers contributing equipment for shared use.
  • What in each case does result is an unstoppable “Collective Intelligence” which uses AI and exhibits “Emergent Behaviour” like many groups of beings and even trees in Nature do too. Which turned out to be successful since it is based on value creation by interconnection, cooperation and SYNERGY. Together we are strong.

Last but not least I have noticed that engineers, software developers and organizers who work in I, II and III and who really know what they are doing are driven by a certain urge. The want to be part of something bigger than they themselves. I am proud and grateful to be in their midst !!

jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

PS1 This article in Forbes confirms what we are doing in Australia and Europe, but also shows that the Americans and Chinese are way behind 🙂

https://www.forbes.com/sites/darrynpollock/2018/12/13/merging-internet-of-things-and-blockchain-in-preparation-for-the-future/#d6f00da41fcf

definities

(blog updated on January 19, 2020)

 

 

 

Posted in AI, blockchain, Climate Crisis, Collective Intelligence, Collective Intelligence with Distributed Authority, Commons, ElektroMesh, Energists, Holo, HoloChain, HoloNauts, Internet of Energy, Internet of Things, IoE, IoT, Local Energy Communities, micro grids, P2P Collective Intelligence, P2P Commons, The Internet of Connectivity, The Internet of Distributed Hosting, The Internet of Hosting, Uncategorized, volunteers | Leave a comment

My new Credo

Credo

Based on the above quote from the brilliant network dynamics scientist Alessandro Vespignani. All my efforts on every level of OSI and on every scale can be traced back to this IDEA.

It gives me energy to proceed and help to interconnect and WEAVE things together and interconnect people for cooperation and value creation.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Global Protests- updated nov 12

global protests

Drawing by Tjeerd Royaards in NRC Handelsblad (quality paper in The Netherlands)

See also my other recent blog about this :  https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2019/10/23/chile/

Including the countries of the Warm Arabian Winter ! Marokko, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Irak, Turkey. 

Below is the article I had intended to write but Oscar Rickett did a much better job. 🙂

My advice is to organise city by city and around new ways to Create Value together by connecting and combining different skills and talents: which when put together create Synergy !

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

=============== reposted from Middle East Eye =============

From Iraq to Chile, the people are rising up against neoliberalism

In the Arab world and beyond, protesters are raising their voices in search of employment, democracy and dignity
Iraqis take part in anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad on 8 November (AFP)

Across the Middle East, people are protesting. They are tired and angry. They want to see something change.

“All of them means all of them,” protesters chant in Lebanon, calling for the removal of the political and economic elite. Central Beirut, an area that had been taken over by luxury stores, has been reclaimed by the people.

In Algeria, the power brokers known as “le pouvoir” are being resisted, even after the removal of longtime autocrat Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Sudan’s revolution, which began in the northern city of Atbara, a cradle of labour activism, also continues, as the end of Omar al-Bashir’s three-decade rule was not enough. Protesters want to see the dismantling of a violent and ruthless elite, now spearheaded by the militia leader and accused war criminal Hemeti.

Brink of collapse

In Iraq, as oil production hits record levels, citizens are out on the streets risking their lives, with more than 300 killed and 6,000 wounded as the army and paramilitaries cracked down on demonstrations since early October.

The money from the oil goes nowhere near them, of course: according to the UN, seven million Iraqis live below the poverty line, and one-fifth of Iraqi youth are unemployed, in a country whose majority is under the age of 24. Protesters in Iraq are described as being mostly young and unemployed, calling for jobs, electricity and water.

Elsewhere, young people who have grown up in the shadow of the financial crisis of 2007-8 have also come to the fore, often with the same demands: better public services, employment, housing, and some semblance of dignity and democracy.

These global protests have the same root causes. Thus far, sectarianism is being resisted, as the people hold to their common set of grievances

The similarities between these protests are striking, despite national variations. The conditions driving protests in the Middle East are the same not just throughout the region, but across the world, where people are rising up against decades of neoliberalism, from Chile to Haiti to France.

Their demands are universal – employment, housing, democracy, freedom from poverty – and are driven by a political and economic system that has brought this world to the brink of political and environmental collapse.

This is important because of how the Middle East is so often viewed in the western media. It is a place apart, a benighted territory riven by sectarian conflict, barely comprehensible to outsiders without the help of well-paid analysts sitting in offices in Washington and London.

A game of divide-and-conquer can be played, in which the universal interests of the global majority can be twisted by the powerful few into a bewildering set of local grievances, relayed by analysts as if they were talking about a group of primates deep in the jungle or a school of fish in the outer reaches of the ocean.

Neoliberal consensus

This kind of reasoning has often been deployed in the name of getting the peoples of the Middle East to accept the neoliberal consensus of the past four decades.

“You don’t understand,” they are told. “The market will set you free, these IMF-backed austerity measures are for your own good, the arrival of this large company paying subsistence wages is actually a great honour to your community. What do you mean, you don’t love the West? You love football, don’t you? You want to leave the ruined place you come from to arrive in the glittering towers of Europe and the US, surely?”

Migrants seeking a better life are often propelled to do so by neoliberalism, by the collaboration of international and local elites, which keeps them far from anything that could be called a good life.

A Chilean demonstrator runs during a protest in Santiago on 6 November (AFP)
A Chilean demonstrator runs during a protest in Santiago on 6 November (AFP)

The seductive facade of today’s capitalism – the flashing images of wealth, sex and fulfilment that fill the media – adds to this, providing the carrot, where the destruction of local economies is the stick. Yet, when migrants leave for Europe or North America, they encounter barbed-wire fences, hostile politicians and a climate of racism and exclusion.

This facade might finally be crumbling.

In Chile, a slogan has begun to define the protests: “Neoliberalism was born in Chile and will die in Chile.” Just as in Iraq, neoliberalism came to Chileans at the barrel of a gun, arriving with the CIA-backed coup that removed Salvador Allende from power in 1973. “The miracle of Chile” was the term used by Milton Friedman, the godfather of neoliberalism, to describe what dictator Augusto Pinochet did to his country’s economy.

Stark choices ahead

The Middle East, particularly Iraq, knows this kind of story all too well. The 2003 US invasion of Iraq came with the expressed blessing of a raft of multinational companies. Iraq and its oil were there to be taken, and its people would be collateral. People are always collateral.

From Lebanon to Iraq, the Arab Spring never ended, it just gets bigger

Read More »

 

These global protests have the same root causes. Thus far, sectarianism is being resisted, as the people hold to their common set of grievances. In the West, in Britain and the US, crucial elections are on the horizon.

The choices people face are stark as politics becomes more polarised. “Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads; either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism,” Polish Marxist Rosa Luxemburg wrote in 1916. The phrase “socialism or barbarism” has come back into use as a way to describe the choice we face, not just as citizens of one particular nation but as people across a world facing political and environmental collapse.

A great deal of time, money and effort will be spent fighting this, but as resistance grows across the Middle East, we should know that this is not just the region’s fight – it is the world’s fight.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Oscar Rickett
Oscar Rickett is a journalist who has written and worked for Middle East Eye, VICE, The Guardian, BBC, Channel 4, Africa Confidential and various others.
=============================================
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

the Mindfuck book is out!

mindfuck

Really “must read” book from Christopher Wylie, one of the witnesses of the crime of the century: the one that not only fucked us but destroyed DEMOCRACY in the process, on behalf of the power hungry companies, advertising media and ruling classes in society.

And these marketing techniques where discovered years ago in governments-led elections all around the world by scientists like prof. Dirk Helbing and prof. Jeroen van den Hoven. And they published these findings widely without any belief or action from our public servants or politicians. However the brave UK journalist Carole Cadwalladr discovered what had happened, unfortunately still without criminal prosecution of the perpetrators.

And yes the criminals have announced they will employ these techniques again before and during the upcoming UK ELECTIONS.

And, expect them to use these profiling and targeting techniques in the upcoming USA elections.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Posted in Angry voters, authoritarianism, behavioral manipulation, Brainwashing, Cambridge Analytica, Crown of Freedom, democracy, election meddling, elections, Facebook, influencing peoples perception, mindfucking, Russian mass manipulation of foreign elections, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Chile and Lebanon vs. the Parasites of Colonialism

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-26 at 23.48.45

Photo by Gabriel Di Giorgi @gabrieldigiorgi

And then it started. Sudden huge demonstrations in: Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon, London, The Hague, Berlin, etc. etc.   “Coordinated Communities” in Cities/ City regions.

is about ORDINARY Chilean people fighting off lack of opportunities, and socio-economic inequality.

What do they have in common? What have they learned, and what are learning they fast, from each other?

 

2. I hope to soon write here a short essay, and disclose only what is already well known in the press. But nevertheless you will be able to see the patterns, right?!

3. One of the patterns I noticed is that each of those rebellions is building an effective “Collective Intelligence” group structure.

Definition:

Collective Intelligence is a helpful way to frame the space where [groups of] humans (or living systems) and machines will [interconnect and] co-evolve together”  ~ @CassieRobinson

In other words: the next step in evolution of this #1Planet

Hong Kong is not the last to be bought under central control, but the first to evolve into a community with a new collective conscience.

4. In my humble opinion (IMHO) all of these revolutions (about 20 of them, all at the same time, can you send me the map which recently shown on TV in NL??) have something much deeper and more historic in common than just protests against super inequality (super rich ruling class vs poverty), failing NeoLiberal economics and lack of work. They all want to get rid of the visible or hidden entrenched COLONIALISM:  very rigid,  outdated and unable to cope with fast change and complexity.

Colonialism can be defined as a society structure in which a small elite/ ruling class of rich families extract value from the lands: nature and subsoil resources with the help of masses of cheap labor workers. Such workers can merely survive on the wages and are often trapped by growing debts, which makes them de-facto into slaves.

To give you a picture of what Colonialism meant:

Colonialism

On a jug to dispense warm chocolate drink.

So the present wave of revolutions are not only violent or non-violent outbursts of anger against the parasites: oppressors, dictators  and their military and police forces; they also show that the oligarchs hidden behind them will be attacked in a process of DE-COLONISATION. The dividing clashes of extremists, terrorists, religious fanatics, nationalism and fossil fuel fights are all diversion/ blaming/ media attention grabbing smoke screens to hide the real fight: Civil Society democracy vs colonists.

For example The UK, the country who had the biggest set of colonies (after they tested that extraction system on Ireland) is now in a process of de-colonisation themselves. The English Tories still try to hang on to that outdated and destructive system and mindset  by proposing to keep the world outside the UK isolated by Brexit. But Ireland is out and Scotland and Wales will follow. De-colonisation is unstoppable.

The brave and clever people of Hong Kong resist to be colonized by the Republic of China. And they organise themselves to “react fast and flexible like water”. Act in small groups and coordinate with handsigns and use of smartphones. Participants have common goals, share info and act without need for central leadership.

In order to win this inevitable fight all of these revolutionary communities need to establish quickly an alternative to the once successful colonialist-capitalism. IMHO that can be found in concentrating on groups of people who CREATE VALUE together by interconnecting, cooperating and combining skills across old boundaries and learning fast to innovate and improve P2P knowledge and solution to problems. In that way , mainly in cities they will form “holon collective intelligence with distributed authority”.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

PS Very wonderful and heart moving act: singing of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” sung in Arabic in Lebanon.

link:  https://twitter.com/jenanmoussa/status/1187797354268844032?s=20

This Beethoven’s Ode is also the Anthem for the European Union !! And some people say it has become the Connectivity Anthem 🙂

 

Chile:

 

Chile

And….. London

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 12.39.50

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Collective Intelligence with Distributed Authority, colonialism, coordinated communities, de-colonisation, Elite, P2P Collective Intelligence, Parasites, Ruling class, The Connectivity Anthem, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What can WE do: 10 WE are a Force, Find The Others, connect and cooperate

This is a remarkable book, and timely! It shows what WE should do on the right side of History. “Team Human” (Norton & Company, inc 2019) by the famous Douglas Rushkoff, has the following subtitle:

[ Our Technologies, markets and cultural institutions – once forces for human connection and expression- now ISOLATE and REPRESS us. #

Johnson

#  It is time to remake society together, not as individual players but as the team WE actually are: TEAM HUMAN ]

Rushkoff has very finely tuned antenna’s for what young people are motivated by and are doing. His book is a well designed guide for those young.

Yes, it means ALL the people on this planet Earth and in connection with Nature. Let us start building a “Collective Intelligence with Distributed Authority“#CollIntellDA . Is the Hong Kong #umbrellaMovement the Revival of Democracy by the Demos? Are they the FIRST to organise that distributed way, instead of the Last part of China to be under central control?

Voor Rushkoff blog

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

============Brilliant article in Medium.Com=====permission asked==

[[Excerpt from the book ]]

Evolution Is Not the Cause of Selfish Capitalism

Cooperation is imprinted in our genes just as unmistakably as competition

Douglas Rushkoff
Jan 14 2019· 9 min read

Nature is a collaborative act. If humans are the most evolved species, it is only because we have developed the most advanced ways of working and playing together.

We’ve been conditioned to believe in the myth that evolution is about competition: the survival of the fittest. In this view, each creature struggles against all the others for scarce resources. Only the strongest ones survive to pass on their superior genes, while the weak deserve to lose and die out.

But evolution is every bit as much about cooperation as competition. Our very cells are the result of an alliance billions of years ago between mitochondria and their hosts. Individuals and species flourish by evolving ways of supporting mutual survival. A bird develops a beak which lets it feed on some part of a plant that other birds can’t reach. This introduces diversity into the population’s diet, reducing the strain on a particular food supply, and leading to more for all. What of the poor plant, you ask? The birds, much like bees, are helping the plant by spreading its seeds after eating its fruit.

Survival of the fittest is a convenient way to justify the cut-throat ethos of a competitive marketplace, political landscape, and culture. But this perspective misconstrues the theories of Darwin as well as his successors. By viewing evolution through a strictly competitive lens, we miss the bigger story of our own social development and have trouble understanding humanity as one big, interconnected team.

The most direct benefit of more neurons and connections in our brains is an increase in the size of the social networks we can form.

The most successful of biology’s creatures coexist in mutually beneficial ecosystems. It’s hard for us to recognize such widespread cooperation. We tend to look at life forms as isolated from one another: a tree is a tree and a cow is a cow. But a tree is not a singular tree at all; it is the tip of a forest. Pull back far enough to see the whole, and one tree’s struggle for survival merges with the more relevant story of its role in sustaining the larger system.

We also tend to miss nature’s interconnections because they happen subtly, beneath the surface. We can’t readily see or hear the way trees communicate. For instance, there’s an invisible landscape of mushrooms and other fungi connecting the root systems of trees in a healthy forest. The underground network allows the trees to interact with one another and even exchange resources. In the summer, shorter evergreens are shaded by the canopies of taller trees. Incapable of reaching the light and photosynthesizing, they call through the fungus for the sun-drenched nutrients they need. The taller trees have plenty to spare, and send it to their shaded peers. The taller trees lose their leaves in the winter and themselves become incapable of photosynthesizing. At that point, the evergreens, now exposed to the sun, send their extra nutrients to their leafless community members. For their part, the underground fungi charge a small service fee, taking the nutrients they need in return for facilitating the exchange.

So the story we are taught in school about how trees of the forest compete to reach the sunlight isn’t really true. They collaborate to reach the sunlight, by varying their strategies and sharing the fruits of their labor.

Trees protect one another as well. When the leaves of acacia trees come in contact with the saliva of a giraffe, they release a warning chemical into the air, triggering nearby acacias to release repellents specific to giraffes. Evolution has raised them to behave as if they were part of the same, self-preserving being.


Animals cooperate as well. Their mutually beneficial behaviors are not an exception to natural selection, but the rule.

Darwin observed how wild cattle could tolerate only a brief separation from their herd, and slavishly followed their leaders. “Individualists” who challenged the leader’s authority or wandered away from the group were picked off by hungry lions. Darwin generalized that social bonding was a “product of selection.” In other words, teamwork was a better strategy for everyone’s survival than competition.

Darwin saw what he believed were the origins of human moral capabilities in the cooperative behavior of animals. He marveled at how species from pelicans to wolves have learned to hunt in groups and share the bounty, and how baboons expose insect nests by cooperating to lift heavy rocks.

Even when they are competing, many animals employ social strategies to avoid life-threatening conflicts over food or territory. Like breakdancers challenging one another in a ritualized battle, the combatants assume threatening poses or inflate their chests. They calculate their relative probability of winning an all-out conflict and then choose a winner without actually fighting.

The virtual combat benefits not just the one who would be killed, but also the victor, who could still be injured. The loser is free to go look for something else to eat, rather than wasting time or losing limbs in a futile fight.


Evolution may have less to do with rising above one’s peers than learning to get along with more of them.

We used to believe that human beings developed larger brains than chimpanzees in order to do better spatial mapping of our environment or to make more advanced tools and weapons. From a simplistic survival-of-the-fittest perspective, this makes sense. Primates with better tools and mental maps would hunt and fight better, too. But it turns out there are only slight genetic variations between hominids and chimpanzees, and they relate almost exclusively to the number of neurons that our brains are allowed to make. It’s not a qualitative difference but a quantitative one. The most direct benefit of more neurons and connections in our brains is an increase in the size of the social networks we can form. Complicated brains make for more complex societies.

Threats to our relationships are processed by the same part of the brain that processes physical pain.

Think of it this way: a quarterback, point guard, or midfielder, no matter their skills, is only as valuable as their ability to coordinate with the other players; a great athlete is one who can predict the movements of the most players at the same time. Similarly, developing primates were held back less by their size or skills than by their social intelligence. Bigger groups of primates survived better, but required an increase in their ability to remember everyone, manage relationships, and coordinate activities. Developing bigger brains allowed human beings to maintain a whopping 150 stable relationships at a time.

The more advanced the primate, the bigger its social groups. That’s the easiest and most accurate way to understand evolution’s trajectory, and the relationship of humans to it. Even if we don’t agree that social organization is evolution’s master plan, we must accept that it is — at the very least — a large part of what makes humans human.


Human social cohesion is supported by subtle biological processes and feedback mechanisms. Like trees that communicate through their root systems, human beings have developed elaborate mechanisms to connect and share with one another.

Our nervous systems learned to treat our social connections as existentially important — life or death. Threats to our relationships are processed by the same part of the brain that processes physical pain. Social losses, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or expulsion from a social group, are experienced as acutely as a broken leg.

Managing social relationships also required humans to develop what anthropologists call a “theory of mind” — the ability to understand and identify with the thinking and motivations of other people. From an evolutionary perspective, the concept of self came after our ability to evaluate and remember the intentions and tactics of others. Unlike the relatively recent cultural changes that encouraged ideas of personal identity or achievement, our social adaptations occurred over hundreds of thousands of years of biological evolution. Enduring social bonds increase a group’s ability to work together, as well as its chances for procreation. Our eyes, brains, skin, and breathing are all optimized to enhance our connection to other people.

Prosocial behaviors such as simple imitation — what’s known as mimesis — make people feel more accepted and included, which sustains a group’s cohesion over time. In one experiment, people who were subtly imitated by a group produced less stress hormone than those who were not imitated. Our bodies are adapted to seek and enjoy being mimicked. When human beings are engaged in mimesis, they learn from one another and advance their community’s skill set.

The physical cues we use to establish rapport are preverbal. We used them to bond before we ever learned to speak — both as babies and as early humans many millennia ago. We flash our eyebrows when we want someone to pay attention to us. We pace someone else’s breathing when we want them to know we empathize. The pupils of our eyes dilate when we feel open to what another person is offering. In turn, when we see someone breathing with us, their eyes opening to accept us, their head subtly nodding, we feel we are being understood and accepted. Our mirror neurons activate, releasing oxytocin — the bonding hormone — into our bloodstream.

Human beings connect so easily, it’s as if we share the same brains. Limbic consonance, as it’s called, is our ability to attune to one another’s emotional states. The brain states of mothers and their babies mirror each other; you can see this in an MRI scan. Limbic consonance is the little-known process through which the mood of a room changes when a happy or nervous person walks in, or the way a person listening to a story acquires the same brain state as the storyteller. Multiple nervous systems sync and respond together, as if they were one thing. We long for such consonance, as well as the happy hormones and neural regulation that come with it. It’s why our kids want to sleep with us — their nervous systems learn how to sleep and wake by mirroring ours. It’s why television comedies have laugh tracks — so that we are coaxed to imitate the laughter of an audience of peers watching along. We naturally try to resonate with the brain state of the crowd.

These painstakingly evolved, real-world physical and chemical processes are what enable and reinforce our social connection and coherence, and form the foundations for the societies that we eventually built.


Thanks to organic social mechanisms, humans became capable of pair bonding, food sharing, and even collective childcare. Our survivability increased as we learned how to orchestrate simple divisions of labor, and trusted one another enough to carry them out.

The more spectacular achievement was not the division of labor but the development of group sharing. This distinguished true humans from other hominids: we waited to eat until we got the bounty back home. Humans are defined not by our superior hunting ability so much as by our capacity to communicate, trust, and share.

Biologists and economists alike have long rejected social or moral justifications for this sort of behavior. They chalk it up instead to what they call “reciprocal altruism.” One person does a nice thing for another person in the hope of getting something back in the future. You take a risk to rescue someone else’s child from a dangerous predator because you trust the other parent to do the same for your kid. In this view, people aren’t so nice at all; they’re just acting on their own behalf in a more complicated way.

But contemporary research strongly supports more generous motives in altruism, which have nothing to do with self-interest. Early humans had a strong disposition to cooperate with one another, at great personal cost, even when there could be no expectation of payback in the future. Members of a group who violated the norms of cooperation were punished. Solidarity and community were prized in their own right.

Evolution’s crowning achievement, in this respect, was the emergence of spoken language. It was a dangerous adaptation that involved crossing the airway with the foodway, making us vulnerable to choking. But it also gave us the ability to modify the sounds that came from our vocal folds and make the variety of mouth noises required for language.

While language may have been driven by the need for larger, more complicated social structures, think of the immense collaborative act that developing a language required from its speakers. That multigenerational exercise alone would change the fabric of society and its faith in a cooperative enterprise.


From TEAM HUMAN by Douglas Rushkoff. Copyright © 2019 by Douglas Rushkoff. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved
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What can WE do: 9 Stop Obeying the NeoLib Gang

Neolib 9

The following article in the Guardian by George Monbiot explains where the shit we have to face nowadays is coming from and who is blocking democracy: the NeoLib Gang.

They are on the wrong side of history. All over the world young people are showing their anger at the big and small NeoLib dicktators (and behind them the billionaire oligarchs). My advice is: STOP obeying them and stop asking for permission to work together on new wealth creation and jobs that are interconnected with Nature.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

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Yes, some people will benefit. To judge by recent donations to the Conservative party, some very rich people approve of Boris Johnson’s policies. A no-deal Brexit might favour hedge funds that thrive on uncertainty, financiers seeking to short the pound, vulture capitalists hoping to mop up cheap property if markets collapse. But the winners are likely to be greatly outnumbered by the losers, among whom are many powerful commercial interests.

This, I believe, is the key to understanding what is happening today. The Brexit ultras in government are not just Brexit ultras. They are neoliberal ultras, and Brexit is a highly effective means of promoting this failed ideology. It’s the ultimate shock doctrine, using a public emergency to justify the imposition of policies that wouldn’t be accepted in ordinary times. Whether they really want no deal or not, the threat of it creates the political space in which they can apply their ideas.

Economist Milton Friedman
 Economist Milton Friedman, one of the fathers of neoliberalism. Photograph: George Rose/Getty Images

Neoliberalism is the ideology developed by people such as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. It is not just a set of free-market ideas, but a focused discipline, deliberately applied around the world. It treats competition as humanity’s defining characteristic, sees citizens as consumers and “the market” as society’s organising principle. The market, it claims, sorts us into a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Any attempt by politics to intervene disrupts the discovery of this natural order.

It was embraced by Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and most subsequent governments. They sought to implement the doctrine by cutting taxes, privatising and outsourcing public services, slashing public protections, crushing trade unions and creating markets where markets did not exist before. The doctrine was imposed by central banks, the IMF, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organization. By shutting down political choice, governments and international bodies created a kind of totalitarian capitalism.

It has failed on its own terms, and in many other ways. Far from creating general prosperity, growth has been slower in the neoliberal era than it was in preceding decades, and most of its fruits have been gathered by the rich. Far from stimulating an enterprise economy, it has created a gilded age for rent-seekers. Far from eliminating bureaucracy, it has created a Kafkaesque system of mad diktats and stifling control. It has fomented ecological, social, political, economic and financial crises, culminating in the 2008 crash. Yet, perhaps because its opponents have not produced a new, compelling story of their own, it still dominates our lives.

Unsurprisingly, people have reacted to the closure of political choice and the multiple disasters it caused. But because neoliberalism, in broad terms, was adopted not only by the right, but also by the Democrats, New Labour and similar parties, there were few places to turn. Many people responded with nationalism and nativism. The new politics that Boris Johnson’s government represents incorporates both neoliberalism and the reaction to it. The glitter-eyed essentialists on the frontbenches – such as Dominic Raab, Liz Truss and Sajid Javid – still seek to implement the ideology in its most extreme form. The opportunists, such as Johnson, Michael Gove and Priti Patel, appeal to those who seek scapegoats for the disasters it has created.

Johnson uses neoliberal framing to justify his attacks on public safety. He wants to pull down environmental standards, create free ports in which businesses can avoid tax and regulation, and strike a rapid trade deal with the United States that is likely to rip up animal welfare rules and threaten the survival of the NHS.

He rages against red tape, but the real red tape is created by the international trade treaties he favours, that render democratic change almost impossible, through rules that protect capital against popular challenge, and shift decision-making away from parliaments and into unaccountable offshore courts (“investor-state dispute settlement”). This explains the enthusiasm among some on the left for Brexit: a belief that escaping from the EU means escaping from coercive trade instruments. In reality, it exposes us to something even worse, as the UK enters negotiations with the US, holding a begging bowl.

Now, as the professor of political economy Abby Innes argues, neoliberalism has reached its Brezhnev phase: “ossification, self-dealing, and directionless political churn”. Like Leninism, neoliberalism claims to be an infallible science. Its collision with the complexities of the real world has caused political sclerosis of the kind that characterised the decline of Soviet communism. As a result, “the only way to complete this revolution today is under cover of other projects: Brexit is ideal”.

The creation of emergency is the inevitable destination of an absolutist, failed system. But emergency also provides the last means by which the failed system can be defended and extended.

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