Book - Questions
Doing important things begins with asking important questions about what is important to do.
Book starts with these questions - ones that are critical to human prosperity, and whose answers are at best elusive. These are simple questions woth asking.
These questions are not asked theoretically.
They are asked within the framework of what open source ecology, the movement, is working on - and intends to execute over the next 5, 10, 20, and 40, and 60 year horizons - up to 3 generations from now.
Is it possible to attain a modern standard of living with a civilization that has only 150 people? Just from 150 acres - or 1 acre per person. These people would invariably be pioneers - as this has never happened before. This includes providing up to producing integrated circuits, and more mundane needs such as food, shelter, and water - all from local, on-site resources. This seems far fetched, granted. Where do you get diborane or acetone on your farm, not to mention plastic or steel? Doesn't it take millions of people to attain this level of technology? It did historically, but now we are in the internet age. We can now make optical fiber and silicon chips from sand. The devil's in the details. But we are not missing the materials or energy that would enable this to happen. We are missing the rapid knowledge transfer - open source knowledge - that could transform abundant resources into the lifestuff of modern civilization.
That is somewhat un-replicable by definition - as the world is made up of average people - by definition.
However, the idea is to raise the bar on the human index of possiblity. Exceptional people are still people - and if exceptional people can pioneer the way - then it may be possible for others to follow the example.
Can we really get VLSI ICs with 150 people? You will need a farmer, builder, metal fabricator, chemist, miner, metallulgist, psychologist, doctor, and power electronics person to provide your infrastructure. But that leaves 141 people to run your semiconductor and microprocessor production. There is hope...
Is it possible to attain a modern standard of living solely from abundant resources that are widely distributed and non-strategic, therefore not contributing to resource conflicts? If we have water, sand, wood, rock, and clay - we get hydrogen, oxygen, and ozone. We get aluminum, to make motors or windmills. So we have pumps, made of bioplastic. We have concrete - from lime. We have glass. Very useful - as this solves our energy, cleaning, water, housing, and industrial oxygen needs. But then we need electrolyzers, for which nickel is necessary so it doesn't corrode in potassium hydroxide from burned wood.
Is it possible to create a rich and stable social structure for 150 people living in a community with a high level of local production and modern appropriate technology , which guarantees a sense of community, excitement, friendship - which integrates livelihood with world change? Can such a community be created with open innovation (open source product development, cultural and scientific advancement) as the binding force? Many experiments have been carried out, and these were typically highly idealogical, such as the Amish, intentional communities, or cults. Can a secular movement be created based on an open source collaboration ideology, where an integrated lifestyle of lifelong learning, regenerative development, and open source appropriate technology forms the economic baseline?
Is freedom possible? Freedom from material constraints, freedom of time, freedom of relationship, freedom of self-determination, freedom from hurting others. What is the required responsibility? Open source economic development, efficient production, ethical approach, interdisciplinary outlook, lifelong learning and growth. Drive and action to be an integrated human.
- Can freedom to pursue self-determination, including freedom from war, be created within a 150 person community?