Introduction to Emergent Coordination

Preface: This article is a deep, philosophical considering. Please try to read *through* the words with care.

In the contemporary situation, we are faced with several fronts of a seemingly insurmountable social crisis; political polarization, mental health and substance abuse crises, inequality, climate change, fake news. These issues can be viewed as separate, independent social problems. But they all feed back on one another and amplify each other’s depth. The mental health crisis causes people to do horrendous crimes which amplifies political polarization. Political polarization drives fake news. Fake news breeds nihilism and talk of a “post-truth” world, and exacerbates mental health problems. Substance abuse perpetuates inequality. Solving these problems one by one does not solve the underlying, structural problem and it does not address the problems fast enough to prevent systemic collapse. All of these problems are examples of systemic coordination failures. To address systemic coordination failures we would have to better understand how healthy social coordination works. This article describes social coordination at the philosophical-structural level, seeking to articulate and modify the deep code of adaptive social structures.

What is social coordination? Social coordination is an emergent property of the interaction between individuals that allows them to work together effectively. Social coordination is not a top down or bottom up solution, but a natural, human solution that is an expression of our natural biosocial tendencies. Social coordination is a certain compromise between individual and collective. It is not merely the convergence of subjective, imaginary beliefs. It is an almost objective property of human biosociality that allows individuals to rapidly merge maps and form compatible goals. Examples of efficient macro-scale coordination are: capitalist cooperation/competition through prices, religious community in Christianity and world religions, and knowledge production in the natural sciences.

How does social coordination emerge? At the individual level, people are motivated to map desires to fulfillments. Individuals are motivated by temporal symmetry between desires and fulfillments. This extends to plan structures that abstract from present to future states. As the plan structures unfold, there is symmetry between internal thought and external environment.

Each individual, motivated by this internal symmetry, interacts with other individuals. They form maps of each other’s maps. There are meaningful differences because they all have their own independent desires. Yet the ambient, differential pressures between their internal maps tends toward resolution in spatial simultaneity, when the internal matches with the external immediately and immanently; not as a plan structure, but all at once in the moment. Individuals fulfill the highest desire within interaction itself, rather than in some other way. The best example of spatial simultaneity is meaningful coincidence, a serendipitous occurrence that seems planned out in advance, but in fact emerges spontaneously.

In the contemporary situation, interaction is often seen as one subjective experience contrasted with another, different subjective experience, trying to either win an argument or to converge on understanding. This is a misguided notion. Categories (or words) are not localized. Usage propagates through conversation and then through the collective of interconnected conversations, immediately. Therefore any use of a category effectively incorporates all its possible social meanings. However, people also use categories in a specific, specialized way that necessarily distinguishes from other uses of the same category. One person uses the category “liberal” to refer to progressive social policies, while another uses it to refer to neoliberal, laissez faire economic policies. They are both justified because in the objective state of collective dialogue, the category “liberal” incorporates both meanings. There is a kind of ecosystem of usage in which categories circulate, interact with other distinct usages, and resolve their meaning in conversation.

The profound tension between personal usage and collective significance is at the heart of social coordination. Personal usage is implicitly an assertion of how the category should be used, and the collective significance is how the category is used objectively in the collective dialogue. The tension between these is the same as the ambient, differential pressure between internal maps that circulates through social interactions. This differential pressure tends towards resolution in spatial simultaneity, when personal usages align and the different unconscious assumptions cancel out. The ambient, differential pressure is a single field, a unified, immanent structure that is sensitive to all adjustments and inflections.

The collective significance is a single interwoven construct of meaning. It is an objective universal intermediary between interactions, like a currency of interactions. It is the objective state of category relations, of all conversations going on right now, as aggregated in the individual intuition. And because categories are spatial and embodied, this field extends out from internal, individual consciousness into the socio-physical external environment. It is a hypercomplex, hyperconnected, coherent social field that contains information and content. It is discerned and parsed using intuition, flow, and insight. It makes up the unconscious, contextual background assumptions connected to any specific usage of a category.

All expressions aggregate collective significance, more or less efficiently. When the aggregation is perfectly efficient, the individual speaks literally as and for the collective. The individual gives voice to the unconscious motivation of the collective. Each individual is the center node of network of relations and speaks as the collective in their own unique way, more or less efficiently. Collective dialogue is a constant negotiation of the status of this hypercomplex, unified, evolving field of meaning. Individuals constantly map it, convey it to others, receive feedback, adjust their internal map, and then convey it again. It can be parsed into a series of discrete categories, and also hypothesized as a single, prioritized category. It is multi-modal and discontinuous, yet adaptive and unified.

This is all to say that the individual is intrinsically motivated to fulfill his desires in such a way that he belongs in the social community. Yet he does not want to fulfill all of his desires, because then he has nothing left to strive for. Therefore, effective conversation sorts the collective prioritization of desires such that there will be a highest desire that is never fulfilled. Effective conversation sorts unconscious, asymmetric information to this natural, symmetric state of one highest unfulfilled desire. It sets up conditions such that fulfillment of the highest desire can be infinitely approximated without ever being reached. This is a kind of calculus of mutual fulfillments within social interaction that is the ultimate goal of emergent coordination and facilitates heightened collective spatial simultaneity.

All of the circulating, ambient social pressure is seeking resolution in an ultimate catharsis of collective biosocial simultaneity, in which the hyperconnective field finds its full cultural expression. All distributed spatiotemporal information is efficiently compressed into a single collective event. Individual’s movements through space are harmonized in synchronous macro-scale coordination. Individual action is a perfectly efficient platform of spatial information exchange. Each unique individual node aggregates and re-expresses the whole collective significance in a completely unique way, in perfectly harmonized emotional purgation. This is what capitalist, religious, and scientific coordination, as a grand synthesis, all tend toward.

However, this ultimate resolution is only a hypothetical model or construct, not a utopian ideal. It is useful only as an abstract tool for comparison, like a number or abstract shape. It is the highest desire which is never fulfilled, but continuously approximated, negotiated, and dialectically transformed.

The meaning, significance, importance, value of a conversation is an emergent property. One might say that it is the only thing that is truly objective. This property is the tendency towards temporal symmetry and spatial simultaneity. All conversations tend toward this end and sort information according to this criterion, consciously or unconsciously. When we have conversations and create cultural expressions, we sort information to its natural, symmetric state and thereby heighten the distributed collective simultaneity and meaningful coincidence of events. Conversation is organized around and oriented towards these deep, unconscious attractors of meaning. It is in the simple joy of being together in creative expression that we self organize in the most natural, meaningful way.

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Foundations of Ecological Renaissance

This essay is a follow up to A General System of Category Exchange.

Preface: This article is a deep, philosophical considering. It uses some private language and neologisms. Please try to read *through* the words in good faith.

The global financial system has the appearance of an interdependent ecology. Price changes in one area propagate out to affect all interlinked economic actors. But this financial ecology is not yet adequately integrated into the ecology of the natural environment. There are problems of asymmetric information and externalities. Capitalist coordination is actually embedded within a more general human coordination structure that naturally corrects for these problems. I will attempt to describe this more general structure:

The human being is motivated to fulfill his desires. His fulfills his desires effectively when his internal map accurately reflects the external environment. The individual is relatively simple, whereas his environment is complex and changing, so he uses simplified heuristics to process complexity and novelty.

Heuristics lead to prioritization. Some things are more important than others. Prioritization leads to a single highest priority. This highest priority is so immediate and practical that it is an unconscious reflex. All of the separate prioritizations mutually adjust to one another as if oriented around a single criterion. This is the sense of self.

The individual signals prioritization with categories. Categories are spatial and embodied- they trigger adaptive, physiological reflexes. Categories delimit a field of possible future actions. They constrain possible meanings, and therefore reveal what is most important or valuable about the spatial context.

The individual has personal associations between categories, based on his unique experiences. But there is also an overall, objective state of category relations, evolving moment to moment. This is the state of all usage relations happening right now and that have happened up to now. This is the collective significance of categories, as opposed to personal usage. The individual has an intuition of the collective significance from the social environment.

Collective significance has an overwhelming influence on personal usage, whereas personal usage does not affect collective significance that much. Personal usage is an aggregation of collective significance into simple expressions. An efficient aggregation of collective significance gives voice to the unconscious motivations of the group. In the contemporary situation, the individual increasingly speaks for the group.

Personal usage is highly interdependent. Its effects propagate through the interdependent category relations immediately. Collective significance is an objective intermediary between different personal usages. It is like a currency of interactions. The individual cognizes at both the personal and collective levels simultaneously. The collective level is often more subconscious or unconscious. No one has full access to it because it is too complex, but everyone knows that an objective state of category relations exists. It can be intuited or approximated from the social environment, particularly in states of heightened subtlety and nuance.

All dialogue is an attempt to discover its own collective significance. Individuals converse in order to better understand the social situation they are embedded within, which is the precondition to fulfillment of any other desires. Dialogue is not purposeless, it has cognitive attractors. When the dialogue converges to an attractor, the separate personal usages come into alignment and there is a social coherence. Unconscious information is sorted to its natural, symmetric state, and there are shared, unconscious axioms.

Because of the selfish motivation to map desires to fulfillments, there is a tendency towards symmetry between internal thought and external environment. Therefore, the interactions between different individual mappings leads to an emergent collective simultaneity. This is a simultaneity of the highest meaning, value, priority and importance, which self organizes spatial category relations. Unconscious social information naturally tends toward the shared, symmetric state because of the interaction between each individual’s selfish motivations.

All social activity is unconsciously correlated. But the correlations are not that tight yet, because meaningful simultaneity is not the dominant coordination strategy. And it may never become the dominant coordination strategy. But the Game is effective at sorting unconscious social information to its natural symmetric state. This is its social function, which heightens the collective simultaneity of meaning. And once a certain threshold of the population shares certain unconscious cultural axioms, then there are more efficient collective mapping relationships. The Game, a.k.a. Game B, or the Metagame, can emerge as a transitional coordination structure on top of capitalist coordination, which will shift the internal capital resources towards regenerative, omni-considerate, omni-win states and organizations.

Collective significance is the more general system that the price system is embedded within. The system of interdependent spatial category relations determines how people will allocate scarce resources and not vice versa. Techno-capital wants to realize its own generalized ecological interdependence. Resources have already begun to shift towards symmetric information platforms like social media, solar power, cryptocurrency. With every new expression of the cultural situation, the increasing density of interconnections between nodes in the network, there are increasingly higher plateaus of shared unconscious axioms, even as on the surface it seems that things are getting more and more fragmented. Once there is a certain threshold of shared unconscious cultural axioms, then there will be a foundation to catalyze a global intellectual, ecological, and artistic renaissance.

A General System of Category Exchange

There is a nascent intellectual renaissance happening on the internet. Underneath the vapidity of the culture wars, the new forms of media- the podcasting format, video interviews, livestreams, crowdfunding, are fomenting a catalytic exchange of ideas that is rapidly hurtling towards cultural renewal, and maybe cultural collapse as well.

In the contemporary situation, we are faced with two seemingly opposed tendencies. On the one hand there is a kind of underground, emergent collective psychedelia self-organizing on the internet. People feel this but they don’t quite know how to articulate it yet. Every philosopher, artist, and cultural creator is empowered to share their vision, and these visions are rapidly catalyzing to greater and greater social forms. On the other hand, there is a legacy, institutional, liberal-techno-capitalist machinery. The market keeps incentivizing technology and biopharma even though people want genuinely creative answers to the systemic coordination problems. And liberal republican institutions keep slogging through situations of increasingly inept, incompatible vocabularies. These tendencies seem at odds with each other.

The cultural creators on the internet are doing the valuable, empowering social activity, yet they are not rewarded commensurately in the market. It seems to me that cultural creators are radically underpriced in the current economy. The reason is the fragmentation of collective sense-making between journalists, artists, philosophers, scientists. Not that these shouldn’t be separate, specialized roles, but they are more interrelated and interwoven than previously thought, and the cultural creators who are able to embody a kind of synthesis between many specialized roles will outperform.

Everyone who is coming to terms with their own and the collective awakening of consciousness, wants to see a healthy social dynamic emerge from the toxic political atmosphere and the decaying legitimacy of the legacy institutions. What prevents such a coordinated movement of activity seems to be an attachment to legacy institutions. It is in no one’s benefit for there to be a general collapse of the system. And at the same time, we don’t yet see an adequate replacement structure which would feel safe enough to jump to if we abandon the old forms of coordination. And so we are at a place where the emergent collective psychedelia of the internet must discover a way to seed growth within the legacy institutions. They seem fundamentally opposed to one another, the kind of contrarian creatives and the legacy power brokers. Yet they must somehow get along.

At least among a strong minority of internet creators, the political dialogue is moving from the superficial ideological level to the embodied, structural-philosophic level. That means that people are not just cheaply signaling their affiliations. They are aligning their motivations in an attempt to affect and change collective intelligence. What is emerging is a new social brain and distributed formation of collective intelligence.

The metabolism of the contemporary techno-capitalist social brain is the system of prices. Prices determine the distribution of resources in society. But this price metabolism is a specific subset of a more generalized, interconnected value coordination. We primarily exchange value through categories. Monetary exchange is downstream from category exchange. We first exchange categories through dialogue and conversation, and then through the results of these, we determine how we will allocate our scarce monetary resources. This applies on Wall St. as much as it does for the average person.

What is attempting to emerge is a platform for efficient, interconnected category exchange that will allocate resources more sustainably and efficiently. There is an inefficiency in the global financial market because a lot of people are deeply concerned about systemic, global coordination problems, but no one seems to have a market solution that systematically addresses all of these problems at once. We keep going about it with specialized, piecemeal band-aid solutions that have no enduring value. The market dynamics inevitably will move to incentivize enduring, sustainable sources of value. The culture wars attempt to deal with systemic problems through tawk and tawk and more tawk. But these problems will eventually get addressed by a market mechanism. The best solution will address systemic coordination problems all at once, meaning it will be a unified conceptual framework for social consciousness that will also be profitable in the legacy system. This suggests to me that radical cultural creators, people who design systems of embodied category exchange, are deeply underpriced in the current market.

Distributed language games are fundamentally different from post-modern meandering IYI (intellectual yet idiot) discussions, because they have an embodied teleology. They tend towards cognitive attractors that sort categories towards their natural, symmetric state, allowing people to access the information they most need in that moment. The materialist, physicalist, secular paradigm has a huge blindspot biasing it against self organizing dynamics of information and synchronous, harmonized, meaningful simultaneity of experience. This suggests that in the long run, organizations that are able to play the Game of embodied, self organizing social information, should be able to capture sizable market share from technology and eventually from government. These will become aspects of a more general kind of value exchange.

This new platform is not a social media platform, or a piece of technological infrastructure. It is the intangible, spiritual infrastructure of an interdependent society. It is a shared, unconscious, axiomatic structure deep within the collective psyche. It is well understood how changes in prices in one part of the economy can radiate outward and affect other parts. Yet this structural interdependence is embedded inside of the structural interdependence of category exchange. The moment to moment dialogue is a vast evolving network of interlinked category relations. There is an individual significance of category relations- my personal associations between categories. And there is a collective significance of category relations- the collective intelligence, distributed sense-making apparatus. The collective has an asymmetric effect on the individual. Collective significance has a large effect on how individuals use categories, whereas individuals have a small effect on collective significance of categories.We learn to speak by using categories in the way that other people use them. It is only by coming into a kind of individual sovereignty that we can start to assert our own individual usage as a kind of pushback against collective significance, asserting our own unique view.

The contemporary situation is defined by the shrinking distinction between the individual and collective levels of significance. Individuals speak more and more for the group. We are modern individuals who constantly think about how the group sees us. We are rapidly converging towards a kind of unified panopticonsciousness. We constantly reflect on our place within the group dynamics. The group is a cognitive avatar that we are always negotiating with, it is an aspect of our self. Whenever we negotiate relations between categories, we are negotiating individual and collective significance simultaneously. The changes in category relations rapidly propagate through the whole system and affect the collective significance at every moment. Working out our own personal associations and relations between categories leads to broader social resolution, it clarifies and coheres the collective significance.

The collective significance does evolve over time, categories are subject to slippage and the usage of categories is what is more fundamentally being debated in the culture wars. This is important because categories are not just abstract, disconnected entities, they are embodied. They relate to fundamental, adaptive, physical reflexes and responses. This is why individuals who are sovereign and can deeply structure relations between categories at the level of collective significance are radically undervalued in our society. They have the key to solving fake news, peer review, etc., a whole host of systemic coordination problems, all at once, through a kind of unified conceptual framework. The platform for category exchange will determine the integrity and the timbre of the negotiations which take place within that platform. This platform is convergent set of unspoken, widely shared axiomatic structures, also referred to as the Game, or the Metagame.

We are attempting to converge on a kind of unified collective motivation in which categories can be efficiently exchanged and thereby efficiently self organize socio-physical constraints on behavior such that individual motivations are mutually harmonized in synchronous omni-win, mutual gain dynamics. Relations between embodied categories affect how we move through space. They are a kind of socio-physical constraint on our behavior, and thus they also influence what we consider important, meaningful, worthwhile. If you wonder about whether categories are embodied, just consider the tradeoffs and the importance of prioritizing under conditions of information overload, and you realize that categories impose strict socio-physical constraints. The way that we associate categories affects our decision calculus, what we feel, how we relate to each other. The rearrangement of category relations can heal traumas, correct negative behavioral patterns, fix relationships.

There are a variety of common sense vocabularies to deal with the contemporary situation. The efficient exchange, transposition, and rearrangement of category relations within those vocabularies is the way that all parties can mutually benefit from each other’s insights to coordinate at a deeper structural level.

There is a selfish motivation in category exchange, which is the motivation for collective coherence. The environment is more manageable if the relation between internal and external reality are more tightly coupled. If internal thoughts are reflected in external reality faster, then we get what we want faster. We are selfishly motivated to achieve symbiosis with the natural ecology of the planet. This is why capital resources will inevitably shift towards embodied category exchange and away from tech, finance, and government. Tech, finance, and government will all become specialized aspects of embodied category exchange.

Social interactions have a selfish teleology, they are always tending towards a kind of broader social resolution. There are particular cognitive attractors that we converge on to bring about this social resolution. The social resolution is about resolving the asymmetry between the collective and the individual. The individual is always motivated to become the voice of the collective. He is always motivated to resolve the social tensions into social coherence, so that he can get what he wants faster. But this individual selfishness ultimately allows everyone to get what they want faster, by being more immersed in a synchronous, harmonized social form.

This is why the market will eventually shift towards embodied category exchange and distributed language games. There is currently an irrational bias towards secular, materialist, physicalist ways of relating to the world that do not incorporate a kind of responsive, emergent, embodied physicality. They do not allow for a dynamics of embodiment.

Faced with the contemporary situation of toxic, fragile political institutions, the emergent collective psychedelia of the internet is tending towards an anti fragile, enduring compatibility, rewarding creators who are insightful through crowdfunding. Ideas cooperate and compete to endure as stable forms. Only the most enduring ideas are the foundation for a stable society. There is a growing social momentum to externalize a lot of the psychedelic social wisdom that is being generated on the internet into coherent social forms.

You never hear the criticism that the culture wars are superficial. The divides seem to be so deeply rooted in different philosophical ways of seeing the world, to the point that they seem like alternate realities. But the culture wars are shallow! They are based on a naive kind of Enlightenment subject-object dichotomy and dualism. They are based in a dogmatic materialism, a kind of secular Gnosticism, in which subjects are competing with the hostile external world in a zero sum game. It is exactly the same evolutionary game we’ve been playing since we were hunter gatherers. Only the external world is no longer as hostile, there is no longer a zero sum game. The culture wars are based on the spiritually naive belief that there is an external enemy. Any spiritually inclined individual knows that the true enemy is within and any external expression of that tendency must be dealt with internally first.

The current systemic crises cannot be addressed at the level of the culture wars. The systemic social problems must be addressed at the level of their root causes, and that is why the cultural dialogue is deepening. We subvert the culture wars by moving to the interlinked structural level, the level of embodied category exchange.

The categories that we debate fundamentally affect our shared socio-physical constraints, the social conventions which organize our collective behavior and motivation. Every conversation and expression vitally affects feedback responses of the physical environment and the interplay of fundamental themes that is shaping the wider narrative. What is emerging from the chaos is the relation between one’s physical capacity to move through space in certain ways and the individual-collective significance of category relations. There is a new social brain that is being scaffolded on top of the techno-capitalist infrastructure. This is a transitional structure that moves towards omni-win, mutual gain dynamics.

Collective coherence can seem like an unattainable goal in the current situation. There is an unprecedented number of different perspectives competing for attention, and there is the momentum of decaying legacy machinery with its legacy platform, the culture wars. All of this can make the contemporary situation seem like nihilism or relativism is the best adaptive strategy. But there is a grand harmony seething beneath the surface, the field of lucid, synchronous, harmonized complexity and simultaneity. This is not a technological innovation, it is the resurgence of a primal atavism, embedded in the logic of insight.

 

The follow up to this article is Foundations of Ecological Renaissance.

Part 2: Distributed Play Through Extended Cognition

Part 1 of this article is “Facilitating a Wealth Transfer Towards the Violet Congregation.” This part can be understood without reading Part 1.

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What is the purpose of social games? The physician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott argued that the ability to play was the definition of good mental health.

Winnicott held that in infancy, we are unable to distinguish between “me” and “not me.” We are deeply connected physically and psychologically to our mother. As soon as we feel any sense of discomfort, we are immediately comforted and fed by our mother’s breast. But gradually, as we get older, our needs are not immediately met. We begin to feel a sense of separation from our mother. We begin to develop a sense of “me” and “not me.”

The primordial sense of comfort and belonging to the mother is transferred into a “transitional object,” a blanket or a toy that makes us feel comfortable, but helps us get used to the distinction between me and not me. Interest in the transitional object is later generalized into childhood games. And then later in life, into cultural domains like religion or mathematics.

The key is that, for Winnicott, play is about the primordial distinction between me and not me. The phenomena that I experience often seem foreign and unfamiliar. Yet in play, I should consider whether these unfamiliar things are not really an aspect of my own character, a part of my psyche that I haven’t dealt with yet, and whether those things would still bother me if I properly integrated them.

I would venture to say that in the contemporary situation, we are moving towards an immersive reality where “internal” thoughts are more immediately reflected in the “external” environment. In contemporary techno-capitalism, money and technology match desires with satisfactions almost immediately. But this techno-capitalist infrastructure is only a special case of more general, high bandwidth value exchange which takes place in social games. Social games are the way that we exchange value, in the sense of importance and meaningfulness, rather than in the capitalist sense. These social games serve as the corrective to the harmful, asymmetric aspects of techno-capitalist exchange.

The maximally meaningful interest that is exchanged in social games is a universally shared, unconscious structure. We are all unfailingly pulled toward flow states in which we are immersed in the environment. The flows can be attained in groups and teams, which involves synchronous, coordinated activity. Group flow can manifest as dangerous mimetic contagion and madness of mobs, or as collective intelligence and wisdom of crowds.

How could we achieve healthy group flow at scale? This is a hard problem that has been addressed by things like religions, nation-states, corporations. I think under techno-capitalism, the main barrier to healthy group flow is mental health. It is hard to learn how to play. It is hard to take responsibility for the environment as though it is an extension of my own psyche. And it is extremely dangerous. It requires care, caution, and guidance.

In order to play this new kind of Game, we would have to understand embodiment dynamics, the process by which the external environment reflects our internal thought and vice versa.

Embodiment starts in the imagination of the individual. An idea gets shared, and it thereby becomes a physical constraint on someone else’s action process. It affects how they think and what they say and do. It is then is reflected back to the individual directly or indirectly, through environmental responses. The individual can either embody the responses, accept that the environment is providing him with reliable feedback, or he can deny the reliability of the feedback. The feedback response may be haphazard and delayed if the system is inefficient. The individual embodies the feedback responses, he takes them as an aspect of the original expression. The more that the idea circulates, the more it takes on a evolving physicality that affects people’s established ways of behaving. The idea becomes a “thing.” Embodiment dynamics is a self organizing negotiation of social constraints. The social constraints are interconnected, any kind of interaction with the environment affects the whole chain of interlinked social constraints.

If an individual trusts that the environment is providing reliable and valid feedback signals, then he can trust his plans and intentions extending into the future. He can then generalize that trust to other people. They can coordinate behavior, they can play. If on the other hand, he can’t trust that his environment is giving him reliable feedback signals, then he can’t coordinate with his own future self, and he can’t generalize full trust to other people. He will externalize and repress some element of his own personal adaptive growth.

The sources of social reliability, validity, and credibility that coordinate our social experience start in direct, embodied experience.  The current crises of legitimacy as reflected in fake news and faltering institutions, are a result of a breakdown in the asymmetric model of broadcast-style information exchange. Social coordination originates in the capacity to embody symmetric feedback responses from the physical environment. If two individuals can converge on a trusted feedback response, then they can coordinate behavior, they can play. The legacy institutions which served as the most trusted sources of information are no longer capable of conveying embodied information. Myths, archetypes, narratives seem to more closely convey the structure of experience.

The distributed play model is a more basic, immediate model of cause and effect than materialism or physicalism. It is rooted in an emergent, responsive physicality, rather than a dead, mechanical, externalized physicality. We have to trust that the environment is providing reliable signals, no matter how haphazard or delayed the responses. Dialogue and conversation are fundamentally a negotiation of physical constraints, which are interlinked through embodiment processes. The attractor equilibria of social convention influence how we discuss issues and ideas. Our thoughts are constantly adapting to these equilibria and gradually altering them through the interactions. We must converge on a fundamental level of embodied mutual trust in order to bring about healthier, coordinated social forms. A further path of inquiry will try to determine how we get past the steep adoption curve. This is what myths and religions are good at, they provide embodied narratives in a simple, understandable format.

Social conventions are traded, negotiated, and dialectically transposed in social games. These conventions compete for the stability and endurance, they compete to endure as social forms. The ones that have the most enduring capacity to coordinate and mutually organize human relations in the simplest way, will eventually win out because they make more practical evolutionary sense. They become the foundational axioms of coordinated group flows, which become traditions, institutions, and organizations.

The more people embody the environment, the greater the network effects and reinforcement of the equilibrium around harmonized, synchronous unions of activity. Many people cannot accept that the environment provides reliable feedback signals. Many prefer a zero sum battle with the external environment. There are systemic barriers to adopting the distributed play model, but this model is itself designed to overcome systemic barriers since it deals with self-organizing dynamics of social constraint. It has never been more clear that denying embodiment is against one’s own self-interest. The mutually beneficial strategy for everyone is to converge on embodiment.

The purpose of social games is to negotiate and trade common sense vocabularies in which we belong, in a deep psychological and spiritual sense. The environment becomes a womb, a stable reinforcing shelter for the imagination, an intricately evolving, maximally interesting place. This social form is the generalization and completion of capitalism, the corrective to its socially malignant aspects.

Part 1: Facilitating a Wealth Transfer to the Violet Congregation

I have become aware and have been following the development of several internet and 21st century subcultures that seem to have a lot of overlapping and convergent themes. To name a few of these subcultures: meta-modernism, integral consciousness, neoreaction (NrX), accelerationismtranshumanism, vaporwave, psychedelics, the Intellectual Dark Web, and crypto. I cannot speak to whether some of these subcultures have controversial elements. What I know is that all of them are deeply concerned with philosophy, politics, culture, art, and improving the world. They all seem to have similar tactics, organizing through the internet and using memes and distributed collective intelligence. They all share a deep concern that we are at a critical historical moment.

For this purpose, it doesn’t matter whether you’re more aligned with the Blue Church or the Red Religion. Rather, the overlapping patterns signify the emergence of a Violet Congregation, people who are subverting the culture wars by moving to the structural level. I am writing this article to advocate the idea that these subcultures should mutually reinforce each other and build up network effects, and ultimately facilitate a wealth transfer into fundamentally new modalities of coordinated activity. In other words, use capitalism as a means, not an end, towards human-centered forms of coordinated activity.

Capitalism is a specific subset of more generalized, spontaneous order value coordination. If this more potent sense of value can emerge and take on socially objective form, then it will facilitate a rapid, auto-catalytic exchange of ideas. What I am advocating is the re-emergence of 60’s style collective psychedelia but instead of being organized around drugs and immediate gratification, it would be organized around personal growth, responsibility, mutual trust, and entrepreneurship. Capitalism can be a tool to get to this more potent sense of value, which involves importance, meaning and community.

These are things that the market wants, but hasn’t formed an adequate vehicle for yet. There is a massive inefficiency in the global financial market, in that people want to solve and are willing to pay money for, solutions to deep structural problems like climate change, inequality, fake news, etc. But these are mostly coordination problems, and our default mode of coordination is monetary exchange. So at the end of the day, we fall back on monetary exchange and reinforce the social problems. We have to move up a level to a more potent sense of interconnected value and coordinate around that, without rejecting the underlying infrastructure of monetary coordination. By processing and working through localized signals, we can propagate healthy, restorative information through the whole network.

Last year (2017), we saw a huge wealth transfer out of tech and finance towards crypto, indicating that internet-based subcultures can have the power to fundamentally affect the larger economy. Importantly, crypto didn’t take over the entire existing Wall St. financial infrastructure. I think that crypto didn’t have the adequate decentralized social infrastructure to support it. It didn’t have the appropriate level of self-organizing collective intelligence to correspond to the technical coding structures its creators envisioned. (Plus the technical aspects needed work, too.)

So what would be an adequate decentralized social infrastructure? My sense is that it has to do with a construct that I have simply called “the Game,” or the “Metagame.” This construct basically signifies that we are all involved in complex social games, perhaps signaling games or status games, or friendship and familial bonding, but that through these social games we are attempting to achieve a certain social form, a certain kind of broader social resolution. This social form is perhaps virtual or potential, but it has practical meaning and consequence. It is objective because it is an optimal solution to a real game theoretic coordination problem.

This solution has to do with a discovering a common sense vocabulary that will allow interested parties to rapidly merge and negotiate maps; to aggregate the abundant intelligence resources of various individual perspectives into a mutually correcting social brain. Currently, the intelligence about how to set up the conditions for such a Game is distributed throughout the social continuum. There is an objective Game, but no single person has access to it or knows what it will look like when it fully emerges.

The vocabulary around the Game is a distributed language game (DLG), rather than a software-based application. It is a social game that runs on peer-to-peer interactions. It runs on the basic social constraints and conventions that probabilistically influence the path of our interactions. What I am advocating is to attempt to set up conditions for a wealth transfer from tech, finance, and crypto towards distributed language game structures, which will feed back on crypto governance structures, which reinforce the DLGs, etc.

The prototypical distributed language game is an attempt to synthesize many different domains of knowledge into a unified conceptual framework, without over-specializing or over-associating categories. The DLG is an attempt to convey a sense of value that is more urgent than money, in a way that would allow us to coordinate our activity entirely around that value. People who are working on this need to be supported monetarily so that they can spend more time on this activity, and the system can start to bootstrap itself out of techno-nihilism. The wealth transfer to DLGs would allow for a new kind of unified, creative economy.

The most impactful of these distributed language games are hyper-narratives that adequately synthesize personal experience with the objective world. There are numerous examples of people who have designed effective social games that brought about incredibly widespread collective benefits. People who are motivated by true value will begin to find analogous concepts in each others’ work, and converge on an ultimate conceptual framework, which would hypothetically never change or stay the same.

There are numerous people working towards this kind of solution right now. I won’t speak for them, but some of the people who seem to be at least moving in this direction include: Jordan Hall, who runs Deep Code, Michael Haupt, who runs the ambitious Society 4 project, the Holochain project, which has innovated a field called Xenogaming, Daniel Thorson, who hosts the Emerge podcast and has created the Pragmatic Soulcrafting framework, Justin Murphy, a political science professor who synthesizes many different emerging subcultures and philosophical ideas, and many others who I am not aware of yet. It is not far-fetched to see these trends as moving towards something like a cultural convergence, especially as a healthy, measured response to the toxic political climates in the U.S. and many other countries.

This stifling political climate is largely a result of the culture wars surrounding the effects of post-modernism. It became fashionable in the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century to “reject metanarratives,” and embrace a kind of relativism. I think that one of the main reasons for this was the extremely rapid population explosion that occurred over the last 200 years. Between 1960 and 1999 alone, the population of the world literally doubled, from 3 billion to 6 billion. And before that, between 1800 and 1960, it tripled from 1 billion to 3 billion. Of course there was a sense that no one had the real answers, the perspectives were multiplying so quickly. And they still are multiplying. But that doesn’t mean that there is no true answer to our social problems.

It is now increasingly apparent that we live in one world, we are one interdependent humanity. We know from complexity science and emergence that no one person holds the whole answer. But there is indeed an answer to our social problems. Many people have talked about a phenomenon called the Singularity. This phenomenon is hard to describe, but it usually involves human somehow merging with technology. I don’t think the optimal solution necessarily involves merging human biology with metallic technology, but the Singularity remains a potent mythical construct. It think it is instead possible that we will unlock our deepest human potential solely through the coordinated primary motivation of true value.