Below is an organic passage of text that I've used to guide and inform my thinking, or 'house my crazy'. This has been written as a very lean hypothesis, an evolving philosophy that lets my outcomes-driven mind be at ease with the ebb and flow of daily life and the need to pay the bills in a more directly-relevant fashion.
How to Save the World
(Or: The Supersystem and the Meaning of Life)
I truly believe that, globally, there is both the intent and means to have a sustainable, just, and prosperous global society. It appears to me that one of the major factors holding us back is our lack of coherence or coordination - (in the sense that an athlete is coordinated, rather than the hierarchical sense).
We appear to have strong global consensus via e.g. the Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA) that everyone deserves the chance to be their best them. Alongside this is the idea that whilst you can lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink.
My current struggle has been identifying what "the best use of me" is. I suspect that I mistake opportunity for responsibility quite effectively, as I feel deeply compelled to passionately pursue a raft of different things multiple times per week. There are lots of things I want to do. There are lots of things I could probably do and while I'm increasingly patient enough to chip away at each, there's an ongoing need to generate enough income to feed the beast. Plus, as a person, I'm terrified of failure.
Mostly, I can't stop thinking about the design of a hypothetical model of a perfect supersystem - the required conditions of societal operating systems that enable us to:
- a) decide what common 'desired state' we want to be in (currently loosely delivered by UN and SDA), and
- b) intentionally orient ourselves into this state (currently not really happening).
Part of the real challenge is that we need to be able to do both of these things as a) continues to grow and evolve (the big unknown future). Some practical examples of why this matters: Imagine finding abundance of energy, what do we do? Imagine learning earth was going to explode in x decades, what do we do?
By this brief, the supersystem should be whatever we make it, or 'need it to be'. If we take the SDA as the current 'desired state', the supersystem should enable and maximise each of our collective individual capability to build/maintain/be it. The supersystem would encompass and inform everything from global/national governance to education and personal/professional development, health and nutrition, international aid to space exploration. We might decide at a later stage that computers should do everything for us (i.e. WALL-E / Elysium-style society), hence the supersystem would exist in service of us having, perhaps, lives of leisure and pleasure until we decide we need otherwise. We might figure out how to implant knowledge/wisdom/capability into our brains, hence empowering any individual to be anything - subject to any biological constraints that remain unresolved. What happens then? Does this become the organic equivalent of Artificial Intelligence? Do we want to be sentient computers? On what basis do we make these decisions?
This is the role of the supersystem: to enable and uphold coherence across immediate- and hyper-long-term decisions that influence individuals and the whole of society.
At this end of things, I believe the supersystem needs to account for or otherwise be informed by the meaning of life. So, what is the meaning of life? Moving along the path towards whatever it is we decide to do, based on what we know and what we want? The supersystem could be seen, in a way, as the collective operating system of all of the individual manifestations of the meaning of life.
Knowing that I truly believe everyone deserves to have a life that fills them with life, I'm trying to know myself better - strengths, skills, personality, preferences, time bias, 'black spots', 'blind spots' etc etc.. From a human development perspective I theorise that we can exist, function and be happy in multiple different forms. The concept of a tree can be useful here - it can grow wildly and sprout lots of fruit; it can be pruned and trained and optimised for less, larger fruit. You can graft other plants onto it; it can be pruned to just a stump and carved and sculpted; you can dry the timber and build other things. All can be productive and all can be valuable, depending on what you want to achieve. This feels to me like an approach to questioning the meaning of life in the present moment. Extending the metaphor, perhaps the meaning of life is to figure out what type of tree you are, and then take the form of that tree that best suits the place and time in which you have arrived. This highlights the (very simplified) process of society: what we KNOW informs what we WANT, which informs what we DO, which informs what we KNOW... and so goes the cycle, backwards and forwards in various states of function and dysfunction.
I'm unashamedly fairly excellent at seeing things from many perspectives. Communicating these perspectives has even more room for growth. Incidentally, this makes me excellent at deriving commonality from seemingly disparate things and designing user experiences. I see patterns, rules, parallels, dischordant matters in everything. Everything is systems, processes, cycles... Derive the abstract from the observed, then inform the present and future from the abstract. This gives me the capacity to make exceptional decisions (different from the capability to do so), and tells me it's theoretically possible to do almost anything within society.
So where I get stuck is here.
I want to live the personal-level operating system of the supersystem - embody it and make whatever contributions I am designed to make to contribute to it's existence.
So what do I do?
What is the model in behind this, and where else is it found? What can I learn from elsewhere?
And how can I do so whilst still live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life now? That's the current point of the Supersystem, isn't it?