Parabolic Intentions

4585915584_8cb079376dMystical traditions depict a singularity in consciousness occurring when all of humanity is united in the same state of mind. Our choices will determine if we will arrive at this state by achieving global peace, or take a detour through the another World War. In the limit, our shared reflective awareness is a possible consequence of globalization and has been linked to the promise of world peace.

Meanwhile, Princeton University’s all-but-unheard of Noosphere project has begun tracking meaningful correlations in random data that suggest an awakening of global consciousness. The project has distributed physical networked “eggs” which generate a steady stream of random numbers. Upon the occurrence of events of global significance the streams suddenly become a lot less random  (actually immediately before these events, but that’s another mystery).  Unprepared to even postulate the mechanism for the correlations they have established, the project minimally suggests that our collective intentions and emotions have the power to influence and affect our physical reality.

A wise mentor of mine thinks we might be able to accelerate this transformation if we all took the simple step of pausing, contemplating, and reflecting every day at noon.  Similar to the Play As Being practice I sampled a while back, the personal potency of such a discipline is dramatic. Noon is a convenient time to sync up, but the coarseness time zones introduces a margin of error. Imagine if large numbers of people welcomed the sun every morning – a wave of transcendence would (en)circle the globe. Some kind of psychic beacon?

The idea that our technologies mirror our realities is common, though contemplating our reflection within these mirrors is less so. Our global communications system is not only the planet’s nervous system, but through computation and representation, it is becoming a 2-way mirror into our collective psyche.

In the past I have appreciated how distributed research has given way to tools which help aggregate many snowflakes of data into a meaningful snowbank. Flickr and Delicious taught us how to conduct distributed research on photos and hyperlinks, but Twitter has helped popularize aggregation around arbitrary structured data.  We are monitoring elections, and each other’s sexual habits. And the data doesn’t even need to be particularly well structured, as this research on the pulse of the nation’s mood demonstrates.

Now that we have glimpsed own collective moods, can we design the biofeedback loops for us to become collectively-aware (in addition to self-aware)? To put this another way, could be learn to actually control the coordinated output of the Noosphere eggs, instead of merely tracking their correlations with our global state.

If we could collectively broadcast one syllable into the universe, what would it be?

Pick a world… any world…

abandon_despairLast week I attended the second half of the US Social Forum – not exactly a conference, but more of a convergence or a process, where 20,000 people gathered in Detroit to build coalitions, alliances, and movements. The World Social Forum began as a response to the World Economic Forum – Why should the power elite be the only ones planning humanity’s future?!?

The USSF web site and the People’s Media Center (made possible by some righteous radical techies, the Design Action Collective,, and May First/People Link) should give you a flavor of what the event was all about. But, be aware that the streaming video and social media barely scratches the surface of the experience.

The forum is organized around 2-hour long workshops, and over 100, 4-hour long People’s Movement Assembly’s.  The sessions were in depth and quite intensive. The format is designed to encourage small group interactions and for people to connect and get to know each other.

The assemblies were geared around crafting resolutions and actions – I attended parts of the transformative justice and healing PMA, and it was really well facilitated. During the closing ceremony the assemblies synthesized their resolutions, scheduled actions, and asked for commitments of solidarity around their issues.  I don’t think that this forum represents the Left’s answer to the Tea Party, but I did gain a much better appreciation for the scope of issues comprising The Agenda(s). And, considering that anyone passionate about an issue was welcome to participate, the assemblies offered an authentic glimpse into everyone’s priorities. It felt like a determined effort to take things into account, and put them in order.

Here are some of the resolutions that emerged from the Progressive Techie Congress Principles and the Transformative Justice and Healing assembly.

Collective Liberation and Radical Mental Health

The main draw for me to the conference were the Icarus Project workshops and the convergence of Icaristas, in person. We took over and transformed a house in a Detroit suburb, and mad dreaming and plotting ensued. The place was quickly transformed into a safe space for people to brilliantly  navigate the madness of the forums, and it was quite amazing to spend quality time, face to face, with friends and allies. I gravitated to the heath tracks, taking up issue of self-care, mutual aid, and wellness.  I also caught some great music, ate some amazing homemade food (and not bombs), visited some incredible collective living spaces, and was pretty inspired by everyone who cared and showed up.

This Icarus workshop I attended (there was another that I missed, plus a screening of Crooked Beauty) was eagerly anticipated and well attended – the participants were open and receptive to the core messages, and there was a palpable desire to embrace these issues locally. The session leaders shared their personal stories and modeled peer-support as we broke into groups (photos, highlight reel to be posted shortly). People shared details of their individual and organizational neuro-diversity and how dysfunctional feedback loops undermine many organizing efforts. The relationship between personal and collective liberation emerged from the workshop and will travel far beyond Detroit’s (shrinking) city limits.

Detroit is pretty beat up – we stayed two blocks away from a refinery that belched flames into the night sky – but there are some wonderful people and projects that were really cool to experience. It’s also the only city I have ever been to that has a monument to organized labor.

If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolutionEmma Goldman, Radical Feminist

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