“We need a new declaration of independence together with a new declaration of interdependence. Not only are all human beings created equal; all human beings are born creative and all human beings are irreducibly unique. In that precise sense, the unique creativity of every human being for her own sake and the sake of the whole is the purpose and joy of a human life. This realization moves us from the democratization of governance to the democratization of enlightenment.”
A Note to the Reader
This series is a spontaneous live talk given by Dr. Marc Gafni on the weekly broadcast One Mountain: Many Paths, founded by Gafni and his evolutionary partner Barbara Marx Hubbard.
This is an almost unedited and unplugged version of Dr. Gafni’s talk. Thus, the style of the piece is the spoken word and not a formal essay. In this series of short excerpts from Dr. Gafni’s talk we explore the deeper meaning of Independence Day.
Declaration of Interdependence Part 1-6 will be published in the upcoming days - stay tuned!
News is an Entertainment Business
We’ve structured our society to celebrate destruction. If it bleeds, it leads. News is an entertainment business, it’s been that way for several decades. News is driven by ratings. Then, news got translated into the internet, in which everything is driven by clickbait and the hijacking of attention. We all know that attention is more instantly focused by negativity, jealousy, and fear. So the structure of our interconnected global nervous system — which is what the internet is — is naturally militating towards the depths of fear and contraction. Towards the lowest common denominator of humans acting and interacting. That’s a tragedy that doesn’t lead to freedom. It’s a tragedy that doesn’t lead to the celebration of democracy.
Celebrating the Good, the True and the Beautiful
So first, let us celebrate the good. We have to always start with celebration. We have got to celebrate freedom by focussing on the Good, the True and the Beautiful.
There’s so much happening in the world and there’s so much joy. There’s billions of times more people committing acts of goodness now than there are people committing acts, which are ego driven, and causing pain in egregious ways.
We’ve got to celebrate the gorgeousness that human beings are being and doing across the planet. We celebrate the Outrageous Love that’s unfolding in billions of interactions across the planet.
Attention Hijacking Structure of the Internet
These billion acts of kindness are not however driving the digitized environment. The digitized world is structured for negativity, because the systemic economic goal of every site demands attention-hijacking. Attention hijacking demands deploying addiction strategies, to create long‑term customers. Long term customers with maximal attention is the purpose. The profit from this vast system goes to a tiny elite of billionaires. The larger good of all of the end users is ignored. The end users of the internet are not considered legitimate stakeholders whose deeper well being must be honored. A plethora of studies shows us — what our grandmothers already knew — that you can hijack attention much more effectively through negativity, fear, hate, and polarization than you can through love and depth. Because love and depth need to be cultivated while negativity is the default mechanism of the superficial. And the opposite of the holy is the superficial.
Moreover, the end users of the internet are not end users. They’re instruments. They are objects who are fed into machine intelligence to garner data and develop a personality profile. And, more particularly to garner predictive analysis about how you will react to specific sets of stimuli in terms of buying and other key decision-making moments including voting. That personality profile is then sold to third‑party customers. This is the structure of the internet.
The structure of the internet is not the town hall that the Founding Fathers were thinking about. There is no genuine face to face. It’s not the township. It’s not the citizens that know each other. It is rather an imitation of the face to face to garner attention.
We’re in a new world and we need to think deeply about this new world. How do we cultivate Goodness, Truth and Beauty in this new world..
The 4th of July is a radical invitation to receive the baton from the Founding Fathers. Let’s be the Founding Fathers and Founding Mothers and re-vision what democracy means.
Because that’s what the Founding Fathers did. The Founding Fathers were highly educated. They had read most of the books available in their day and they tried to think forward. They tried not just to solve the local issues, but to re-vision what it would mean to create a reality that was Good, True, and Beautiful. The Founding Fathers were a great expression of the Evolution of Love in a thousand different ways. They were wildly important, but now we’ve got to pick up the baton.
The world we live in today is fundamentally different from the world that they envisioned. We have to receive the best and the most beautiful that they offered us, and we have to take it to the next level.
It’s not enough to have a Declaration of Independence. It’s not enough that all human beings are created equal. We need to take the next step.
What does it mean to recreate freedom in the digital age? How do we avoid the existential risk of digital dictatorship? How do we avoid the insidious process in which we are manipulated by online structures? Our attention stolen and our opinion formed by polarized broken information ecologies. All of it happening beyond the pale of our conscious awareness. How do we move towards true freedom in the digital age? How do we avoid a kind of numbing digital instrumentarian totalitarianism that views us as nanobots in the larger system of data?
We must revision freedom. And revision what we actually mean by independence. We must revision our core identities and see how those play out in the digitized spaces. We must realize that we are not objects to each other but subjects. We are interconnected and intimate with each other. We must realize that we all need each other, that no one lives separate from the whole. That we are not nanobots, but irreducible unique selves. We are nodes in the great system of immeasurable value, in a world ruthlessly seeking to reduce everything to measurement and commodification.
Let’s declare not just a Declaration of Independence, but a Declaration of Interdependence.
This is a very different kind of freedom than being free to do whatever you want. It is more like the freedom to be your most authentic and gorgeous Unique Self that reality willed into existence in you, as you and through you. To know that you do not exist independent of everyone and everything. That you are needed by All-That-Is. Everyone and everything literally needs you.
The freedom of interdependence. The freedom of being our deepest expression of unique authenticity. The freedom of radical, ecstatic joy. The freedom of loving each other and caring for each other in the most deep and poignant and powerful way. The freedom of staking our lives for each other. The freedom of looking in each other’s eyes and being face-to-face and re-engaging friendship the way it needs to be.
Are You Ready to Play a Larger Game?
The first question we need to ask ourselves is:
Are we ready to play a larger game?
We need to commit to playing a larger game. And to play it in a particular way that we have never played before. We need to revision democracy today. To do that we need to revision what it means to be a human being.
Are we ready to play a larger game? Are we ready to reinclude everyone who was left out of the original democratic vision? Are we ready to be the Founding Fathers and the Founding Mothers today? Are we ready to vision again, and write the new texts of freedom and humanity? To reclaim freedom, reclaim independence, and reclaim interdependence. Are we ready to take responsibility to evolve the source code itself?
Are we ready to do what the Founding Fathers did, as the Founding Fathers and Mothers, and participate together in the Evolution of Love?
Because that’s what the Fourth of July is. Celebrating 4th of July means that we are willing and ready to step in for real. To step into our digitized world. Step into our world that doesn’t have town halls. And we recreate friendship and we recreate town halls in person and online. We recreate democracy at a different level of consciousness, in an entirely new way. In a way that meets the reality of today, which is wholly different then the reality of the Founding Fathers.
Can we love that much? Can we be that audacious? Can we be that tender? Can we be that fierce together? Are we ready to do this for real? Fierce and tender. Taking responsibility for the revisioning of the story. To tell this New Story for a New Humanity together?
Now is the time.
This is the hour.
We are the people.
In the fall we will be publishing a book, which is part of the Great Library that unpacked these themes of CosmoErotic Humanism in depth. Together with dear friend and colleague Zak Stein and the entire gang of thinkers, scholars, creators, and ontological activists, each more profound and wondrous then the next, the men and women that form the Office for the Future, and it’s sister structures, One Mountain, The Center for Integral Wisdom and Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Foundation for Conscious Evolution, we are deep in this conversation together. Join us please. Here is how you do it.
[This blogpost is almost all direct quotes from Dr. Marc Gafni collected from the raw transcript of the featured clip below, which is created from the free weekly broadcast of One Mountain, Many Paths, happening live every Sunday at 10 am PT]
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