The Concept

Collective communication is voting on messages, an idea that seems simple enough at first, but which on closer examination is seen to have several important aspects. At its farthest reach collective communication raises the possibility of a non-bureaucratic world government that will have the assent of the nations.

For example: the L.A. Shares '99 project is planned to involve some 500 to 1000 L.A. residents in a collective dialog with the Mayor by 1999. Using our InterMix BBS software for the web, participants will write messages to the Mayor on any topic of concern and then rate each other's messages for interest and agreement. That one message rated highest overall will be forwarded to the Mayor for his reply, and so forth a couple or three times around. The hope is to create a recognized center for a city that has none and needs one very much.

Collective communication has its own dynamics. Because groups can be merged and divided to form new groups, collective communication is not like communication between individuals. When two groups exchange messages, the union of the groups may have something to add, and if that union has a second natural division, then there will be five collective voices involved. Imagine, for instance, a dialog between Catholics and Lutherans on the topic of abortion. The ecumenically minded would try to moderate. The women in both churches might feel the need to speak as one, and that might in turn produce a reaction from the men. Catholics, Lutherans, the ecumenically minded, women and men -- five viewpoints where we started with two.

A group can send a collective message to an individual as well as to another group. This means that a group can maintain a dialog with its leaders. There are other possibilities, too. By collective message, a group can seek advice from an individual outside the group or try to influence someone. In a startling development, it appears that a group can use collective messages to direct the activities of volunteer or hired agents.

Collective communication should be a strong integrating mechanism. Where several groups are exchanging messages, the voice of the union of the groups will gradually accumulate power until it has de facto control of the situation. It is the logical ascendancy of the common viewpoint, once admitted, that makes the difference over time.

Collective communication on a global scale will foster systems of cross-cutting loyalties. Of course the nations will each have a voice, but so, too, will men and women collectively, the generations, the rich and the poor. The major political trends and religions will divide humanity in their own way, and the great cities of the world will develop alliances in disregard of national boundaries. Thus collective communication operates as a differentiating mechanism at the same time that it integrates.

Humanity and the individual should prove allies against the tyrannies of mankind's divisions. Standing above every particular system of loyalties, humanity may be expected to champion human rights against all regimentation, torture and killing.

Though humanity can gain power only at the expense of the nation state system, the Humanity 2001 project is not anti-nationalist. Far from it! The glue that binds the nations will also hold the world together. That glue is the sense that we are all in the same opportunity / predicament together. We must build on that sense, not turn against it. Collective communication will actually confirm the nations, assuring them an exalted position in the affairs of mankind.

How strange and wonderful will be the world then! The picture is really very alien to our way of thinking and takes some getting used to. As each major collective voice establishes its history, it will come to be recognized as a distinct personality with an immortal destiny of its own. Above all will be humanity, a collective person representing the common interests of the individuals of the world. Just below humanity we would expect to find the nations, but the mind boggling probability is that we will find instead men and women collectively holding court together as king and queen of some strange new age. The great religious, educational, economic and political institutions will be the councillors of this new realm, the cities will be the barons and knights, and the nations will be the peers.

These collective personages will form a superhuman society. Whether conceived as a medieval realm, or as the inhabitants of a global village, or as the fulfillment of prophecy (a new heaven), through their personal interactions they will determine general directions for the evolution of the world. All important political matters will take on personal overtones.

Thus collective communication sets the stage for a form of world government that is personal at heart instead of bureaucratic, a world government which will involve the people instead of alienating them. There is matter for debate here, of course. Can we survive a government in which an important decision might depend on how Womankind takes a snub from China? On the other hand, it is unlikely that the nation state system can provide the coordination needed for ten billion plus to live decently and in harmony with the natural systems of the earth. And the alternative, a world government modeled after one of the national governments, would be so remote that it seems scarcely worth having.

drawing "Concepcion" © 1996 by Sandy Chaves

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last changed January 1, 1997