Voices of Humanity
Collective Communication

It's worth a look.

InterMix is community software designed to promote a gentle human solidarity. We are now open source at github under the AGPL license.  The intention is to progress to a collective intelligence capability, but we begin with the more doable collective communication function.  Sometime down the line, probably in 2013, InterMix will be integrated with the Individual Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament (ii4nd) website and facebook page.  We are also aiming to integrate InterMix with the Wiser Community Nuclear Disarmament group.  

Independent Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament
by Roger Eaton, September 2012

Outreach on the Web using InterMix Voices of Humanity Software
InterMix is designed to work in conjunction with Facebook and Twitter and also as an email list / online forum / blog to give groups a bottom up collective voice.  InterMix is of my own design being put together with the advice and expertise of Flemming Funch, a seasoned web developer and online community builder. 

We will reach out via Facebook to build an InterMix email list for nuclear disarmament using the "Smile/Scowl" motif of ii4nd to get us started.  We will be targeting university students though of course open to all.  Our email list will have two notable features.  First, there will be an online forum connected directly with the email list.  That is, if you write a message to the email list, it will also be accessible online in the forum, and the other way about, if you post a message in the forum, it goes out via the email list.  

Second, in the online forum, participants will be able to rate each other's messages, and to specify that they want to receive only messages that have been highly rated by the other members of the list.  In other words, the email list can be filtered so only messages that are considered to be interesting and highly approved by the group show up in your email.  These highly rated messages become doubly important - for themselves and because these are the messages that the entire group is likely to have read, so they are shared and as such become part of the group's consciousness.

The next step is to set up an ii4nd Twitter account.  Short and highly approved messages from the email list will be automatically tweeted through the group account.  People who sign up to follow us on Twitter will be invited to join the email list and participate. The Twitter account will be the "collective voice" of the group.  Similarly, we will automatically post our highly rated messages on our Facebook page and blog, and we will attract even more participants there. 

Expanding the Horizon
InterMix can handle multiple groups, each with its own Twitter account, Facebook page and email list -- i.e., its own collective voice.  These email lists will be under the control of the various organizations that are participating.  If a group decides to pull out, it can do that, taking its email list with it. 

The online partnership between the Individual Initiatives network and other groups that we might persuade to join us will take the form of a collective voice of all participating organizations combined into one.  A notable property of groups is that they can be combined and divided.  Once we get the ball rolling, all the nuclear disarmament groups will want to participate - with one huge proviso:  they will not want to upload their email rosters onto someone else's system.  Therefore InterMix will have to be recoded as a peer-to-peer (p2p) network, which is not easy but doable.  With a p2p InterMix, large nuclear disarmament groups will each run their own "instance" of InterMix and all the instances will cooperate with each other over the net.  The end result will be the same as if we had a single centralized system except the emails will not be massively shared.  Each nuclear disarmament group will have its own individual voice and there will also be a common global voice for nuclear disarmament.  If we just get this far we will be hugely ahead of where we are now.

The next step will be to enable individual participants to self-organize into groups first by gender and breaking out youth, and then by metropolitan area, faith tradition, political party, state or province, nation and interest.  This emergence of wider collective identities from the organizational email lists is, as they say, fraught.  What makes the exercise worthwhile is that there will always be the collective voice of all the participants together to represent their common humanity.  This inclusive umbrella voice can evolve to become a credible bottom up collective voice of humanity.  I don't see why not. 

A New Route to Nuclear Disarmament
 We need a helicopter alternative to slogging up the foothills until we at last spy the mountain top of nuclear disarmament, which we then spend another 50 or 60 years scaling.  This voices of humanity proposal is that helicopter alternative.  It is massively ambitious, but doable.  We can use the InterMix technology to create a heartfelt global consciousness.  From the global perspective, nuclear disarmament is the only way to go, so if we can persuade (or trick) the nations and religions into adopting that perspective, we are more than halfway to our goal.  Most people would love to demonstrate our human unity, and those who do not will be marginalized.

The Big Picture
The growth of the human population and the increased power of our technology is pushing up against the natural limits of the earth.  These limits by their nature require a coordinated global response, something the nation-states appear unable to deliver, just as they appear unable to disarm.  On its current trajectory, civilization seems to be headed for full-scale catastrophe, a nuclear exchange being one of the likelihoods.  At the least, things look very dicey indeed.

The world has to wake up to both its peril and its promise.  This is a cliche, but not less true for that.  We love our nations but there has to be a new "we" that includes everyone.  It is not enough that billions of us already recognize our common humanity.  There must be the recognition of the recognition of that recognition.  Knowing that we know that we know that we are all in the same boat -- that is the global consciousness which will underpin the transcendence of the nation-state system.  That plus a heartfelt sense of solidarity.  One thing we have going for us is that we are in fact in the same boat.  Necessity is our ally.

The Voice of Humanity
We do love our nations, and InterMix will give our nations each its own voice as a guarantee of its immortal identity, and the same for the cities and faith traditions.  Imagine, for example, the ummah with its own voice, uniting Islam as it has not been united since the days of Mohammed.  Christianity, likewise, and all the other traditions.  The nations, too, each with a bottom up voice, China, India, Europe and so forth, and of course not forgetting America.  From the point of view of nuclear disarmament, we will want the three great blocs of nations each to have a voice - the nuclear weapons states, those under the American nuclear umbrella, and all the rest.  Such a system of collective voices is certainly a game changer, and fraught indeed.  This transition will need to be handled carefully, but we have a huge built in advantage.  Wherever two or more powers are engaged in collective conversation, there will be an additional voice, that of the common humanity of the groups combined into one.

In such a system of collective voices, the national and religious hard-liners will be marginalized.  Their choice will be to avoid participation and not be heard at all, or to participate in a system that includes the voice of humanity, but in this case they will be implicitly giving their assent to the notion of humanity as a whole rising above all the other powers.  We will use the energy of those hardliners who choose to participate to bolster our common human identity -- nonviolent jujitsu!  This is what I mean when I say "tricking" the nations and religions.

The gender divide cross-cuts the national and religious identities.  Any Voice of Women will be global to begin with and will have already transcended the nations and faiths.  When women organize, they are naturally global and hence interfaith, intercultural and international. A collective Voice of Women will therefore not simply promote Women's Issues, though that will be a welcome outcome, but also foster the global perspective generally and ease the transition from an international community to a global community.

On a global scale, with millions of participants, we will need something beyond the bottom up Facebook page, blog or email list.  Even if the Voice of Humanity posts only a single message per day to its blog, that is far too much information for most people to keep up with.  To really make an impact, we need to have a formal annual election of a message from humanity.  The content of this message will not be controlled by the principalities of the nation-state system, so it will be a big wild card in the considerations of those powers, and its publication will be a dramatic moment each year.  This message will be important not just for itself, but because everyone will know that everyone knows that everyone has read it.  The voice of humanity will create the global consciousness that we need, and the good news doesn't stop there.  Year after year, humanity will have something intelligent and kindly to say.  Wit and love are what people everywhere appreciate, and therefore we will elect messages of wit and love over and over again.  Experiments with small groups have borne out this thesis so far.  A Jewish-Muslim dialog in 2005 had a particularly wonderful result.  As people realize, one by one, the good nature of their brothers and sisters planet-wide, they will be shocked and energized.  The result will be a heart felt solidarity, just what the doctor ordered.

My proposal is for a step by step implementation of software which will build a gentle human solidarity.  All indications to date are that the proposed process is benign, but we will do well to proceed carefully. 
Last changed September 21, 2012.
page maintained by Roger Eaton
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