Manifesto

(aka a stripped-down version of the theory of change)


The problem is the solution.– Bill Mollison, founder of permaculture

The absurdly high signal-to-noise ratio of today’s dominant media spaces degrades awareness, thought, and creativity with a preponderance of low-resolution interactions that avoid vertical tension and transformational depth.

These platforms are optimized to extract maximum time, energy, and attention for centralized economic gain. Our cognitive powers are sapped and intelligence squandered the more we feed the beast.

There’s a failure of the imagination when the very systems we depend on to conduct our social and intellectual life are designed (and operate, by default) to perpetuate an underlying logic we decry.

Moreover, in an age of rising fascism, it’s at the very least imprudent to entrust key relationships and valuable data to corporate networks that we know to be compromised.

Today’s media platforms are centralized, not distributed: ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few.

They are extractive, not generative: one is ultimately drained rather than invigorated by their use.

They are authoritarian, not democratic: they control the algorithms–we are merely eyeballs.

The battleground is our attention. Our attention is one of the last forms of natural capital that is renewable and available daily–for exploitation by concentrated, unaccountable powers.

What is at stake is the integrity, autonomy and health of your heart, your mind, and your body. What is at stake is the living capital, in all its accumulated intelligence, of all of Earth.

Mindful application of attention in a mutually-empowering framework can transform our situation–and reshape what is possible. Whether person-to-person or AI-to-person, the utmost respect, care and generative challenge must be offered to the application of one’s attention.

Cosmos may never build an all-purpose social network to compete with existing platforms. What Cosmos aspires to is providing collaborative digital spaces where we can practice participatory co-creation–with deep conversations, thoughtful experimentation, creative production and collective storymaking as the primary activities. This will best be realized through a cooperative organization, owned, controlled by, and benefitting the people who utilize it.

We seek high-resolution experiences in communities of integrity and trust.

The need to see and be seen by our peers, supported and challenged when appropriate—and even championed as individuals—runs deep.

The experience of solidarity and friendship that comes from working together for common benefit is also critical.

Moreover, by withdrawing (even a portion) of our time, energy, and attention from legacy systems, we weaken them, and, slowly but surely, empower better alternatives.

We acknowledge that being smart, connected, and even relatively conscious in the face of planetary crisis is not going to be enough to solve the problems we face. We need to develop the praxis (intersection of theory and action) to reshape the world with mindful, generative intent. We need to gain skills, capacities, support and practices to delve to the roots of our persistent issues and radically rework reality, to rethink and reconstruct our social and cultural lives from the ground up, starting locally, in our own networks, combining our strengths and talents, acting with visionary design and bold intent—and for that, we need to activate collective genius. Cosmos Cooperative’s social and cultural norms, organizational practices, and technological architecture will be coordinated for generative patterns that can realize our aims.

Cosmos intends to address the burning need for creative minds to make common cause in the deep work/play of reimagining our world.

Whereas the status quo (dying systems) co-opt, subjugate or suppress the immanent power and magic of brilliant, sensitive and forward-thinking people

COSMOS embraces, cherishes and advances the works, the humans, and the social-cultural influence of visionary creatives (artists, thinkers, writers, organizers, etc.) We see these people as essential to the crafting a world we want to live in, aka, “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.” (Charles Eisenstein)

We aim to harness our magic, through elegant structural design and radical artful play simultaneously. Cosmos includes the best of people, and itself manifests as a massive undulating tension-process, life-striving body.

As we empower ourselves through cooperative yet critical/generative collaborations, conversations, and spaces, wherein we are challenged to show up with our whole intellects, imaginations, and selves—

We effect a process of shifting and reshaping the stories in which we live and participate in the broader world. Thus, we recover our taste and our skill for participating directly in reality, in order to bring our highest purposes into being.

We create art because art remakes the future. We co-create ourselves through discourse and jointly weave, through praxis, an epic story of real transformation, skillfully working with both signal and space to weave an elegant, resilient mesh. We co-develop our community, its culture and its tools as a form of meta-art: a symphonic testament to life potential—channeled effectively and at high integrity.

We seek transformation of reality. We creatively experiment with and model ways of being (or becoming) that transcend the limitations and failures of the status quo. We aim to engage dynamically with the problems of our times, applying our utmost intellectual, cultural, social and creative capital to workshopping alternatives (modeled, at a meta level, in the participatory equitable cooperative structures of Cosmos as an organization). Our power and solidarity emerge from an awareness of our sacred role and the urgency of our collective liberation. We stretch and embrace one another’s edges, we celebrate one another’s offerings, we collectively build skills and resilience, we care for one another, and we integrate our best ideas and selves. When we follow different rules, we naturally change the game.

At the pattern level:

Self-actualization is the main game of Cosmos, with each member playing it like a musical instrument, striving for self-organizing harmony, embedded in an symphony of peers.

The self-actualization (or, learning) game fuels the growth of:

Qi/prana

Which circulates intensifyingly –

We must protect this flow.

Putting even flexible boundaries around it enables the harnessing of it

Effectuating a spiral of abundance, a cone of power. Virtuous/amplifying feedback loop.

We acknowledge this and we are a container/vehicle for the energy to circulate.

“You can tell when something is dead or alive (including an organization) by how the energy is flowing. To keep it alive!..” - Marco

The magical is integrated with the practical is integrated with systems thinking.

The platform game is designed to enable the regenerative circulation of capital. Designed to spread and multiply wealth. Designed to revere human intelligence, heart, and contributions. Designed to simultaneously develop humans and the collective system–in a loop of self-awareness and responsively modified behaviors, attitudes, and processes.

Communion, insight, “sangha,” art as church, life as art. Cosmos is a sacred container: flexible and broad enough to hold a theory of everybody, deep enough to provoke outrageous, generative insights, wild enough to embrace the resulting complexity. Cosmos’ space is for opening. The space allows you to talk about it in many ways–not religio-dogmatic ways. For experiential experimentation, for meaningful challenges, for strengthening relationship with inner wisdom guide, for deepening one’s tolerance of discomfort and love of the world.

We promote trance (and other subtle, skillful means) for the people. Through self-awareness practice at all levels, we strive to be a vehicle for the non-dogmatic, non-cultish utilization and realization of skillful means (i.e., how best to be alive and engaging).

Spinoff blog: An Economy of Attention, and Consensual Attention as Love [COMING SOON]

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I am mostly loving this. However, it is also important to me not to only be inspired by the aesthetics of the language, but also to ensure I understand the distinctions, i.e. truth value. Thus, what do “signal and space” mean in the context you are using them?

Many of the thought-snippets here are a year or two old, and it feels like the landscape has changed. For example, a couple years ago, people grumbled about the addictiveness or shallowness of social media, but it hadn’t dawned on many what a profound dystopia we were actually dealing with. I feel we can afford now to back off the critical stance—since now it’s become obvious (with the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal, etc.) and many are already working on alternatives—and put a more positive vision front and center, from the top.

To be clear, I do still think the critique is important: I just wouldn’t lead from the “problem/solution” perspective, if I were writing this in today’s climate. I would go more directly with our positive vision, which is brought forth in the second half of the piece. I think these snippets can be synthesized into a more compact and efficient expression. As my buddy @MarkBinet wrote, “Joy is a critique.”

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While reading this one, I was thinking about it as a stand alone document. As such, it kinda starts in the middle of the story. It occurred to me that moving the following or something like it to the top might be helpful:

“Cosmos may never build an all-purpose social network to compete with existing platforms. What Cosmos aspires to is providing collaborative digital spaces where we can practice participatory co-creation–with deep conversations, thoughtful experimentation, creative production and collective storymaking as the primary activities. This will best be realized through a cooperative organization, owned, controlled by, and benefitting the people who utilize it.

We seek high-resolution experiences in communities of integrity and trust.”

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Thanks @DurwinFoster! It’s a poetic phrase, and I could see how the terms could be confusing, and maybe should be changed. I believe it’s referring to the idea that both stimulating media and conversations should be blended with accommodations (that many artists often need) for spaciousness–quiet, reflective, nurturing time. It’s like the yin and yang between speaking (“taking up space”) and listening (“offering space”)–becoming adept in both are essential to being fully human. The platform would accommodate both “modes” and user configuration thereof, and thus best support artists’ growth.

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