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Why Open Source Civilisation?

September 27, 2012

Welcome to this blog.

I’ve been searching for a metaphor that might be able to hold the complexity of our current circumstances and act as a theoretical frame for my own observations and activities.

Some of the dynamics I observe include:

  • A species coming to terms with the fact that it can destroy the conditions that have enabled its existence; 
  • Systems of governance built on expressions of authority that appear incapable of addressing the interests of the whole; 
  • Growing technological capacity to tap crowd dynamics that vastly overshadows previous modes of dealing with collective perspective; 
  • A re-imagining and reformation of the three sector divides and modalities of contribution to the public and private good; 
  • A breaking down in the stability of the social contract that has provided the framing and narrative for many people’s lives across the global north in the 20th century – (study hard, find a job, acquire property, produce offspring and grow old amidst economic stability); 
  • The seeming limits of current forms of nation-state democracy to translate formal modes of citizen participation into changes that effectively address issues of fundamental concern and consequence; 
  • New models of sharing, peer to peer learning and culture, access over ownership, the gift economy and global commons; 

Open Source in digital software production involved opening and making accessible the source code for multi-nodal input in the development, adaptation, extension and evolution of software. The ‘peers’ of peer to peer (P2P) production are often separated by vast geographical and time differences and may have no contact or knowledge of each other in the analog world. The movement began to dissolve the boundaries between users and producers and broke the bottleneck limitations of linear production models that had dominated since Ford and Taylor championed them so effectively.

So my inquiry is – what would it look like if our civilisational code was made open and freely accessible – the boundaries between producers and users blurred? What are the underlying constraints on power necessary to enable such a model to flourish and thrive?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I simply like the words open and source.

What is at the heart of our civilisational ethic?

Where does the fountain spring from and where does it flow to?

As individuals what are the ways we can participate in and align our own contributions to the greater whole? What is the power of individual action in an open source world?

And what lies at the source of our own motivations?

What is this awareness in which these thoughts arise?

As an individual member of a population exceeding seven billion I smile at the audacity of the pondering and take heart in connecting to a community around the world that shares such questions and concerns.

Consider this a personal invitation 🙂

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