My Story

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My Passion

by Marcin Jakubowski, 9.19.2012


Hello. It's Marcin Jakuubowski. I'm hoping you can help me find someone who's perfect for a job we're currently recruiting for. Our plan for the next few years is shown at Strategic Plan 2 Ambitious. But, first let me tell you why it's so important.

Growing up in Poland, and having a grandparent in the concentration camps, I was aware even at an early age what happens when materials are scarce, and people fight over opportunity. It's what drove me to identify the 50 machines that are necessary to build a modern economy. 50 machines, from cement mixers to 3D printers to moving vehicles, that will allow a working society to be created. My goal, and my daily life, is dedicated to open source these tools, so that anyone - from the remote villages in Third World countries to the rural farms of Missouri, can have access to these meaningful tools to create a better life for themselves. EVERYONE needs access to these tools - it's why we're creating them with an open source model, and with the most advanced digital and physical technology known to us today. The intended outcome for these tools is for 12 people working for a mere 2 hours per day, purely from local resources, are able to sustain themselves, and take advantage of a modern economy. The goal is to build cities from the ground up, allowing for normal thriving life, while living in harmony with each other, and in harmony with the very nature of the planet we inhabit. With these tools, and with this outcome, I hope to decrease the barriers to human potential - freeing up human capital to achieve their higher goals of awareness and actualization, with an ultimate benefit of freedom for all humanity - for themselves, and for the continued growth of their spirit. And hopefully, the very planet itself.

So, you see...this isn't any job. This is an opportunity to change the very future...and the society we live in. I don't need just anyone. This isn't easy, but it's the best job, and the most important mission I personally have ever worked on. I need the right person...the BEST person the world has to offer. This needs more than simply someone with the skills. The person I'm looking for takes ownership and initiative -- and is someone who is both integrated AND humble. The reward? Being a key part of a working team that living in the future - today. Proving this can be done, and laying the groundwork for others to do so as well.

So, assuming you're still reading...I have a big ask. If you, or if anyone you know wants to be part of this exciting future with us, can you pass their names on to me ASAP? The future is waiting.

My Story

by Marcin Jakubowski, 12.24.2011

I have been asked a number of times – what experiences led me to start OSE? I am sharing my story here to shed some light on the formative experiences influencing this work, with the hope that they may help to clarify the approach.

Ever since I was a little child I wanted to apply science to creating human prosperity. Wow – with all the Amazing technology around us – life should be good. My father is a molecular biologist, and ushered me to go high in academia. But the further I went the more useless I felt, while noticing that there were pressing global ills to solve. It was during my Ph.D. Program in Madison, WI, that I got radicalized. I discovered first hand the myth of technology – with ever improving technology, people are still working harder and harder, missing out on the finer things in life. This troubled me greatly.

In Madison, there was a string of events that led me to formulate the Open Source Ecology concept. It actually started at Princeton U, where I went for my undergraduate studies. I found Princeton to be a shocking wake-up call – more a breeding place for the power structure of the world – less a playground for ideologues improving the human condition. I vowed after this never to go to another Ivy League, and found myself at U. Wisconsin, Madison, for grad school - a progressive, rabble-rousing environment. Soon enough, I became totally disillusioned with my studies – I was becoming more specialized and useless every day – and I was learning theory about things that didn't exist. I felt that was a great abnegation of human responsibility – given that there are pressing issues in the world to solve.

So I started getting involved in the student community to remain sane. I started the Polish Club to bring the Polish crowds together, then Global Connections, to get all the internationals together. Then I moved on to organize interdepartmental grad student socials – since we never had a chance to interact with anyone outside of our department. Since I was interested in energy, I started a Global Energy Forum, and then Sustainability Forum to immerse intellectually in sustainability issues, then Gandhi Network to get some hands-on experience beyond the mind, such as building a solar dehydrator.

Through all of these events, I learned 2 things. First, people rarely collaborate or cross disciplines in their work. Second – people did not have time to do cool things any more. Lectures and workshops were all fun and games – but they were really brief sessions of escapism - as nobody really had the time to pursue any of the topics discussed more deeply. People go to the talks and workshops - then they go back to work for the man on Monday. What was needed was a different lifestyle, a new economy – where people were not so alienated from their work, where they could pursue the things that they really care about. It is then that I thought that civilization needed a thorough reboot in terms of right livelihood and meaning in peoples' lives. The economy and environment and social justice were all in havoc all over the world – yet everybody was going about business as usual.

Then it became crystal clear to me – only if we collaborate truly openly – as in creating an open source economy where people actually build freely on each other's progress – only then can we achieve a sound economy – and spare time. This became clear to me when I could not discuss my PhD research openly with other university groups – because we had hot stuff and competitive advantage for funding. Thus, my learning process was hampered. That frustrated me to the point that I decided I would work wholeheartedly to change this aspect of modern civilization.

In my last year of the Ph.D. Program, I coined the Open Source Ecology concept. It was about creating an open source economy – based on the principles of collaboration that came from the open source software movement. I claimed that if we operate openly, we learn more, we become more responsible, which includes responsibility for taking care of nature – as it is the source of all of our material well-being. Therefore, open source ecology refers to the integration of human and natural ecosystem into a harmonious system of interactions, based on open source principles of cooperation.

Any civilization starts with access to land – so in my own civilization reboot experiment, land was the first thing I secured after my PhD. In the initial phases, with little money and big dreams, voluntary simplicity was my only option, and I explored the limits of how little one could do with. But that got old after some time. I was living like a hippie in the woods with a pocket knife, and it occurred to me quickly that a firm economic foundation and powerful tools were necessary if one is to face nature and ask her to provide directly for one's needs. I also learned quickly that use of nature does not have to mean abuse of nature. I also learned that we have the technology to do things right – in harmony with nature – and it is only greed and myths that dictate that human prosperity should be at odds with nature. I learned first hand from the land - that nature is abundant – and that general human prosperity is a matter of distribution – not production.

So with this, my tractor broke, and the rest is history as you see in my GVCS TED Talk of 2011. Point is: we can create open source equivalents to industry standards – AND take care of the environment, AND in fact, we can do much better all together by eliminating the inefficiencies of competitive waste in all its forms. Globalization is a simple manifestation of competitive waste – competing for strategic resources because we refuse to learn how to use local resources more cunningly to achieve the same ends.

I also come from Poland, with its long history of war, surrounded by powerful neighbors. My grandfather was in the Polish underground engaging sabotage actions against Nazis during WWII, and he was a horseback soldier in WWI. My grandmother was in a concentration camp. I read all types of books on these troubling topics, as they are fascinating – regarding the nature of the human spirit under extremes of conditions – playing out the good old fight of good versus evil. I pictured myself living in those times, and still have bad dreams from time to time - and put myself in the place of the people in these books - and consider how I would act myself. And today, I grasp to understand why we are still so un-evolved as humans, still killing one another. The most fascinating explanation I have yet read on the topic – and interestingly – from a survivor of turbulent political times of post-WWII Poland himself – is Political Ponerology: a Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes. That is the most important book on the topic of achieving general human prosperity that I have read. It is a psychological study that explains why psychopaths tend to move up in corporate boardrooms and in positions of power – and how all of us support them - in getting there.

Today I do my part in the open source 'underground' – a fringe movement still, waiting to be the next trillion dollar industry. Except this time, it will not be a centralist phenomenon – but a movement created by many independent players. If we open source a few critical yet sufficient technologies for survival as a species – then a shining example can be set, and a solid economic foundation can be laid – for human progress. My role is to seed a kernel, in the form of the GVCS 50 tools – and the economic power created will take care of the rest.

What is the rest? When people address basic material scarcity – a new economy, and new politics, will follow. It will be a new paradigm. What do I see myself doing then? I will be spending my full attention on how to become a better human, and helping others to do the same. This depends on material scarcity being removed as one of the stresses affecting humanity, as mastering material security is a prerequisite if we want to have a fair chance – of evolving to freedom.

New education, new communities, new politics – they are all around the corner. Even when the world is cracking at the seams, the human spirit will never die.

How are you doing your part to play this out?

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