Interconnected Decentralization: Interbeing and the Blockchain
“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “ Thich Nhat Hanh on Interbeing
Does this quotation read to you like a fundamental truth, a new way of looking at the universe, or an irrelevant abstraction?
Rooted in the Buddhist teaching of pratitya-samutpada (Dependent Origination), the concept of “interbeing” will to some sound like wishful thinking or simply impractical. That it does not reflect our perception of the real world, the tangible thing in front of us — that piece of paper as it is right now, its past and future not visible and therefore not pertinent.
We often find it difficult to see that which is not obviously apparent.
Then too, a disconnectedness pervades modern thinking, isolating us each in our heads and in our moments. Cutting us off from feeling interwoven and interconnected. For some, there will always be an overarching sensation that perhaps we are all “in this thing alone”, that our world is one of rugged individualism, and not one in which there is a much more pertinent shared existence. It’s a perfectly understandable reaction, given that all of us are trapped by the egocentric predicament (we are all, always, the center of our own universe) … a lonely individualist viewpoint that many westerners will default to under duress. When faced with our own survival or mortality, we feel the self is all there to cling to.
However, the good news is that the truth has no regard for our reactions or our narrow mindedness.
The fact of the matter is we ARE interconnected.
We are interwoven. We think we act in isolation and out of single-mindedness, but instead we are subject to diverse influences we cannot perceive. We consider that our actions occur within the blinkered silos in which we view them, but instead they have an impact beyond ourselves, beyond our knowledge.
This is not a philosophical viewpoint but rather observable, physical reality. The rules of causality intrinsically link us in very real, very tangible ways. Newtonian physics ensures that our actions impact on other physical objects and forces around us, while there is also ample evidence to suggest a shared psychic space that networks all humans — making us more of a large-macro organism than individual, unique, little emperors and snowflakes.
Whether or not you share this macro view of the human experience of interbeing, adopting it is a sound business strategy.
The most ruggedly individual and independent entrepreneur still operates within an interrelated ecosystem of trends, activities and external forces, which will directly impact on every horizon — from political shifts to technological advances to economic advances. Many have failed by ignoring or defying such factors, or simply failing to acknowledge their potential impact. How things shift through time is the easiest thing to overlook in any given moment, to fail to see the rain cloud in the sheet of paper… but the sheets of paper which once conveyed the majority of our global communications have now been supplanted by cloud data of a different kind, and those who clung stubbornly to the analogue technologies of the past have simply been left behind.
Even if you do believe we live in a world dominated by competitive individualism then it is still in your best interest to recognize how we are genuinely interwoven, while working towards maximizing your own individual interests by serving and honoring the world to which you are intrinsically linked. Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you success always follows a dedication of service to others — whether seen from the point of view of service, or a purely “self”ish identification of an unmet need wherein a profit might be made.
Interbeing is the simple recognition that our existence is one of incredible interconnectedness and shared experience. Not simply with one another, but with the entirety of our natural surroundings and indeed the cosmos. “We are the universe looking it back upon itself”, as cliché as that is to say, it is also true.
We must, then, design our systems and our civilizations to more accurately mirror reality. In the same way that a cell phone antenna receives a better signal when folded into a fractal, so too must our civilizations, our technologies, our systems design, our thinking mirror the shape of the natural world: one of fractal geometry, natural efficiency, harmonic relationships and toroidal resource flow.
A robust system of interbeing in the digital world; a network of networks, all independently secured but fully interoperable and fluid. A global mesh in which users would move fluidly through an entire eco-system of distributed applications, currencies, payment systems, marketplaces, communications channels and other use cases we haven’t even dreamt of yet. All via a consistent user experience that can be accessed from any device you own.
The fractal interbeing has no center, no beginning and no end.
Cycles may deceive us in the short term, stasis may manifest… but everything keeps shifting and evolving dynamically.
Most importantly, systems which nurture human interests and human needs will rise, above all else. Not simply because that is the “right” thing to do but also because it is the most economically wise and efficient world we can create.
Imagine a world in which 100% of our fellow humans were fully self-actualized. How tremendous a market opportunity would that create for us as a species and for us as individuals? A future in which each person could fulfill their personal potential, deliver their unique gift to the world. Where each person can feel and sense their place within the mesh, their influence on every other node to which they are connected directly or indirectly… where the power is distributed and acknowledged and borne by all, not centralized in an unbalanced locus of domination.
What could humanity evolve toward, under these conditions?
This is of course a future that has not yet been built, as evidenced by the fact that nearly half of the world’s population currently lives on 2.50 USD per day, while at the same time global wealth has grown consistently for our entire lifetimes. Globally we have a supply distribution problem as well as an entire series of resource allocation issues that we can talk about for 100 lifetimes… or, we could commit to fix it in the span of a single lifetime and make poverty a disease we USED to get.
We have become farmers that only bother watering half our crops, while storing a tremendous surplus of water. It’s simply not rational nor efficient to waste so much resource — and this is before we even attempt forming a cogent moral or ethical response to the reality of living in a world in which over 700 million people are suffering from water and food scarcity, even as you read this.
The wealthiest individual in the world is diminished, exists in a state of spiritual poverty, so long as inequality and despair are commonplace.
Honoring the spirit of cooperation, designing for interoperability, and using the philosophy of interbeing as our guiding light we can begin to imagine a world in which we can finally undo the gross inefficiencies and economic barriers that fuel structural violence the world over. We can drive power and decision-making and reward to the edges, instead of the center. We can distribute the resources, the responsibility, the authority, within a fluid democracy such that we can all delegate consciously to those we trust to act in the way we hold dear.
We can choose to build this future but it starts with making the choice to only support systems that align with the shared future we genuinely want to work towards.
While each node, each cell, each being within the network is an autonomous individual, the rules of the network itself reinforce the fact that each acts on and within the whole. Orphan or disputed blocks can exit the system, but they cannot exist as rogue data within it. Consensus is ensured within each pulse of the block reward, harmonizing and strengthening the whole, as it amplifies each individual.
No node is superior to, or holds greater authority than any other.
Transparency reveals this interwoven connectedness to the entire network, and censorship-resistance ensures the action of any individual cannot disrupt the congruence of the whole.
This is the pattern, for the new paradigm of business and economics.
For the first time, a future of egalitarian interbeing is within humanity’s grasp. We simply have to commit to it and create it… the rest will flow from there.
Join us at Anatha, as we build the networked distributed economy of the future.