Sunday, May 4, 2008

A vague sense of malaise

I want to spend a minute ranting about Hierarchy vs. Decentralization. I've been pushing a concept of what I call SOVEREIGN INDIVIDUALISM, which requires 'distributed authority', where each individual will be free, even required, to take the initiative to make life's choices, and will reap the benefits, yet will also be accountable and responsible for the consequences of those choices.

All in all, we do not know what a truly decentralized society would look like over a long period of time since it has never been permitted to exist. The closest we have come is this republic, our Jeffersonian Representative Democracy based upon an ideal of the self-sufficient landowning farmer.
In an artificial world, only extremists live naturally.

Most of us, I speak generally, work for someone else, that is, not for ourselves. Unfortunately, the systems of power have been arranged in a hierarchy of cascading infrastructure that divides our collective freedom into microscopic fractions of what human liberty would be in a state of nature. The problems that face us now require new thinking. At every level we are faced with mortal threats due to human greed and competitive zero-sum mentalities. Thus, the restriction of our freedom under centralized controls has become a plague that threatens our very survival.
If you're not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them.

How do we avoid extinction? How are we to live in such a way as to preserve our natural liberty and sacred freedoms without imposing our ambitions on others? How are we to maximize our individual potential without suppressing the collective potential of our society, or our species?
A large organization could only avoid slowing down if they avoided tree structure. And since human nature limits the size of group that can work together, the only way I can imagine for larger groups to avoid tree structure would be to have no structure: to have each group actually be independent, and to work together the way components of a market economy do.

Is the only solution then a form of ANARCHISM? I think there is a better solution. I think that once educated to the mistakes of our history, any literate group of individuals will come to the conclusions that complete anarchy is untenable and yet any collective control stifles individual potential. As groups, or tribes, come together for mutual safety, and nations are built of tribes, we find ourselves sunk deep in a morass of control systems, but there is a way out. In forming a federation of small groups of people, all committed to the same ideals, yet independent and free to choose the best path to success, we can avoid the overlord mentality of military hierarchy, and its potential stiffening effects on the individual.
it's doubly important to hire the best people. Mediocre hires hurt you twice: they get less done, but they also make you big, because you need more of them to solve a given problem.

In maximizing our potential, and encouraging self-sufficiency, within small groups, and rejecting authoritarian control while taking responsibility for our choices, we gain liberty, the combination of independence and accountability.
For individuals the upshot is the same: aim small. It will always suck to work for large organizations, and the larger the organization, the more it will suck.

I'm not sure if anyone actually reads these rants, but I know I'm not the only one with these ideas of freedom. If we have free-will it is our destiny to strive for some balance of rational self-interest.
Having seen that happen so many times is one of the things that convinces me that working for oneself, or at least for a small group, is the natural way for [people] to live.

The state of nature, absolute freedom, does not maximize our individual potential because only in social groups can we produce the strength of diversity needed to survive ever changing environments. But the weight of our massive population is crushing individual potential because the hierarchy has taken on a life of its own. We must break the chains of control, end this slavery of 'security', and accept the risk of failure and insecurity. That is the kind of world our wild ancestors evolved to survive and prosper within.
[Potential] Founders arriving at [Entrepreneur's Workshop] often have the downtrodden air of refugees. Three months later they're transformed: they have so much more confidence that they seem as if they've grown several inches taller. Strange as this sounds, they seem both more worried and happier at the same time. Which is exactly how I'd describe the way lions seem in the wild.

The courage to adapt to new environments, to accept the anxiety that comes with change, and reject the paralyzing worry and fear of 'security', is what sets free men apart from the slaves of conformity. If we are to be happy, we must be free.
Watching employees [slaves] get transformed into founders [free men] makes it clear that the difference between the two is due mostly to environment—and in particular that the environment in big companies [organizations] is toxic to programmers [people]. In the first couple weeks of working on their own startup [for themselves] they seem to come to life, because finally they're working the way people are meant to.

Never Forget

Building 7 WTC 2001

Events - The San Diego County Community Coalition