Dialog re/ memes & transformation of consciousness…

2002-03-10

Richard Moore


Jay Fenello wrote to rkm:
  In order to fix our system, we'll need a new consciousness
  among the people -- one that can see through the illusion as
  presented by the corporate media.

rkm responded:
  I suggest that the ~process~ by which such a consciousness
  propagates will be every bit as much part of the revolution
  as the ~content~ of the consciousness.  And I don't mean
  Internet.

Jay:
  Would you share your current thinking on this topic? For
  myself, here's a scenario I can envision ... At the edges of
  chaos, within the many groups who are under attack, an
  infectious idea is waiting to be born. It's an idea ("meme")
  that will change the world. The meme will explain the common
  problem we all face, and give us an empowering way of
  working together to address it. It's a meme that will
  resonate so profoundly, that all of the subjugated people of
  the world will cease hostilities, and unite to address the
  current Earth crisis. (while the Internet may not be
  required for any of this to happen, I do believe it will
  help speed up the process.)

rkm:
  I have come to some conclusions on this topic.  And where I
  ended up is not at all where I began.  My best attempt to
  write about this can be found at:
     http://cyberjournal.org/cj/guide/manifesto.shtml
  
  Basically, my conclusion is that the needed meme is not
  about content but about process.  That is, it is about
  politics.  How does society make decisions, and how does it
  run itself?
  
  For the past 10,000 years, political history has had one
  central theme - the evolution of hierarchical control
  systems.  From chiefs, to kings, to national governments,
  and finally we've reached the ultimate centralized global
  regime.  'Representative democracy' is simply a refined
  method of centralized control.  Not that refined, actually,
  since it hasn't changed in its essence since the Roman
  Republic.
  
  Our model of representation is to select people who are then
  empowered to make decisions on our behalf.  It doesn't work.
  It is an abdication of responsibility.  We need to first
  decide locally what we want, and it is our agenda that needs
  to be represented, by whom is important but only secondarily.
  
  The central problem, as I see it, is that of achieving
  consensus at the local level.  How can a community pool its
  common sense and knowledge in a synergistic, collaborative
  way.  This isn't easy, but there are methods that work. 
  It's not rocket science.  An interesting source:
      http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-dynamicfacilitation.html
  
  One of the myths that needs to be overcome is the myth that
  it takes experts to solve problems, or even that experts are
  capable of solving problems.  The real problems of the world
  are common-sense problems.  Must we be sustainable? 
  Obviously we do.  What's the issue?  Can we do it under an
  economic growth imperative?  Of course not, that's obvious
  as well.
  
  That's all very sketchy and incomplete, but it shows you the
  flavor of where I've come to.  I think we need many memes,
  each of which dispels one of the myths that enslaves us.  
  In addition to the myth about experts, there's the myth that
  people can never agree, that ideological differences
  prevent consensus, that wide-scale decisions need to be
  made centrally, that common people lack wisdom, and many
  others.
  
  The one big meme, the one that will actually begin the
  electrifying process of change, is one of action.  It's when
  communities actually begin to come together and find a
  common voice, a voice that expresses their own collective
  wisdom.  The actual words of that voice are secondary, the
  problem is not one of correct ideology.  The world is wide
  and there will be many solutions to problems. Viva la
  cultural difference!
  
  This one big meme, as I see it, can only take the form of a
  movement.  That's really what a movement is - a meme in
  action.  Sometimes it can't be reduced to simple words, and
  in that sense isn't a meme in the sense you were using the term. 
  The anti-globalization movement, for example, is a 'social
  meme' that is only cheapened by any small set of slogans.
  
  But the anti-globalization movement is far too
  inside-the-box.  It lives within the paradigm of 'noisy
  activists can eventually influence decision makers by
  swaying public opinion'.  Acceptance of 'decision makers' is
  a fatal flaw, and 'public' as ~separate~ from the movement
  is a fatal flaw.  The movement must be the public.  The
  activist role must be a community-building role, not an
  "I'll lead the way" role.  The answers must come from the
  people, and most activists are quite aware that they don't
  have all the answers.
  
  I'm impressed by an initiative that recently crossed my
  path:
     http://www.earley.org/Transformation/conscious_action_proposal.htm
  
  best regards,
  rkm

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