Think Tank

~ the pilot discourse from a special think tank chosen to lead the world’s nations into the future.

The prime seven:
Saron, political & economic strategist
Nev, physical scientist & inventor
Tai, computer scientist & technologist / futurist
Xea, artist
Wyr, historian
Para, philosopher
Lio, labourer & engineer

Seven individuals sit upon a seat of power heretofore unimaginable. An independent council of special individuals make up a collective, independent “think tank.” This panel has been given control over the world’s powers and has convened to presumably solve the world’s problems. The think tank is an organization beyond these seven, and their collective task is not just to research, to advocate, to generate ideas — but also to deploy the strategy and tactics upon the nations of the world they advocate for. The plans for their dictates resulting from their discourse will be the execution of these formulations on a global scale. These individuals are responsible from the root to the stem of humanity’s long-term plan on Earth and even beyond it. With unified global resources at their disposal and through the vestiges of delegatory power of the nations around the globe — they are tasked with making policy. “Power” truly lies in their hands, but to think of it in its prior framing is to fail to see the mission before them. They are to rebuild a ‘moral’ world first and foremost, within the bounds of reason, through the utilization of philosophy and profound converse amongst themselves and others. These decisions and the established policy developed will be founded upon the timeless truths observed within our species’ harrowing history, inspired by the imaginative beauty of our artistry and storytelling, and enabled by the constructive evidence arising out of our sciences.

During each session in the tank, conversations ranging from philosophical to practical will ensue on the various topics, methodologies, and plans the tank will employ to help the world solve its problems; always morality is at the focal point of all decisions made.

~

Saron: So how do we go about doing this… fixing the world as it were?

*chuckles all around*

Para: We are tasked with rebuilding a world not quite broken, yet well on its way, from the ground up. To say nothing of the weight of this burden upon our own shoulders, upon our own minds, to make such far reaching decisions and perform them with sanctity of mind, with general and holistic human well-being at the heart of our thinking, and with something always approaching inherently rational self-interest nevertheless — it’s a tall order. Some will say we deign to play God. Many will say, no matter to the discourse or the points of agreed-upon decisions reached, there are no seven people, alive or dead, that should ever wield this much power. Yet many others do understand the necessity of the tank, and the good this new kind of arrangement for world governance will do, just as long as it is executed the right way. One man’s righteousness is another’s wickedness. Alas, what are the implications even for this group’s formation, that it needed to come to this? I speak for each one of us when I say that we are fully aware of the spectacular and unprecedented task before us: a sustained, selfless governance over the world and her peoples. How do we do this? And how do we do it well? In breaking from some of my traditions, I genuinely wish to answer all these questions here at the start. At any rate, we are here. And we plan to do our damnedest.

Wyr: We have been chosen to do a job, heralding from within and without — no one is here without a mix of conscientious work and advocation from trusted people and institutions at our back. And we are here to help. This world, and its vast peoples, rationally, irrationally, biologically rooted in a myriad of traditions, ways, systems of thought of a past we will be hard-pressed to ever fully release from. And yet, we are tasked with trying, in the as of yet murky but promising waters of this tank. A bold new idea but an experiment nonetheless. This more than anything, the changing the paradigms of our social contracts and our mindspaces and biologies filled with this rote, established history making up everything good and bad about us and our story — this will serve as the greatest barrier to our own progress. How do we go about shifting this paradigm? We’ve learned so much. It is past time we put it to use. Our task is developing the how into reality.

Lio: Life is suffering. We cannot save the world. We will not prevent the inevitable death of our Sun. These things are known and fixed. Yet our mission is not futile. A better world is possible. And with the time given to us, we can all help to bring that better world along, even if it’s only transient, even if it is only for an era, for a single day. The roil of chaos upon our lives and nations is unceasing, seemingly uncontrollable, and yet what defenses, walls, bridges, towers, might we construct to advantage us against the recurring tide? My answer has always been simple: run towards the truth of our suffering and use it. Move forward consciously carrying it. Life without suffering is meaningless, yes. But so can the meaningless suffering be lessened by the conscientious movers that are best positioned to do so. We have to help one another endure and consciously maintain our communities with the least of us in mind and always work, work, work to help build the future we can’t help but promise our children. This is the ethos I bring to this conference. This is something I can work with. Every problem has its solutions. And we can keep choosing better and better ones the further that we move and grow.

Nev: The destination we now hurtle towards with seemingly benign machinations is one of delicate uncertainty. If we do not choose the right dials and levers, and handle them with the accurate degrees of care, then we will very well destroy ourselves. Power is power, unto bridge-building, moralizing, or sheer carnage. The choice lies with us, with humanity’s rational actors at the control boards of that power. We’ve known this and our governments have existed alongside these truths for many years. But destruction need not be the inevitable endgame of our evolution. We have at our disposal now, and in years hence, the tools we need to continuously, constructively create the best possible world we can. The solution, though complex, has to do with allocating the right resources, tapping the right individuals, leveraging power in accountable and responsible ways, and measuring it all with the right metrics of responsive feedback. All the while we must be squashing the limits on this progress, the blinders and biases we humans inherently have. Needless to say, balance and responsibility become paramount here as well. To my mind, Man’s consciousness is the exemplar of the absurd, for Man is confrontation of the finite with infinite. Man is mortal, extinction is ever on its way, the doomsday clock always ticked closer or further from its destined midnight by the choices we make, whether it be a single one of us, or one of our governments. But Man also wields the infinite, in his capacity to think, to theorize, to imagine, to better himself. Out of fear and out of protection, our consciousness restrains us from the possibilities of the universe around us. Whether religious or no, the modern Man may feel that he matters very little — some other power, or no power at all, holds true control. I challenge this assumption. The truth of the universe — our fate as a species — is still up for grabs, the answers are out there. This tank can help us begin to discern them, and then use them. These tools, solutions, decisions that we may or may not come to theorize here within this discourse — the right ones, objectively, which satisfy these questions towards some kind of human-made betterment — they are here before us, in the maze of time, space, resource, and choice. … I can elaborate and I will, in time. But for now, I leave each of you with this: inquiring into the world we have crafted up to this point, it is easy to see what is wrong; just because the answers are difficult to articulate and even more difficult to enact, simply does not mean they are not there ready to be solved. Whether we realize it yet or not, the truth is out there. Let’s go try to find it.

Tai: Though it may be becoming more and more difficult to believe, technology is indeed an ally in regard to everything to be done in this tank. Computers more accurately, more reliably arbitrate where we humans falter. Whether out of cognitive limitation or bias, this advantage cannot be overlooked or replaced by some other machination. Technology has always been the great invention of our species, setting us apart within the animal kingdom. Even so, the modern improvements in computing and technology unto our civilizational project have not been entirely kind to our lives up to now. During this short time within the span where these kinds of technological advancements have become available, in the scene of our slow-burning evolution alongside them, we have undoubtedly regressed as the tech has progressed. Our minds can’t keep up, for evolutionarily speaking, they are still in the Stone Age. Moreover, for the sake of their corporatocratic shareholder returns, many modern advancements in technology service the worst parts of our psychology — addiction, fear-mongering, hate. At their very worst, they are simply weapons more easily armed, aimed, and fired to the ends of mass destruction. We can all agree that technological advancement should not prey upon us, and yet it does. It has in the past, it will in the future. And then, the ever-increasing computational power and the promised development of artificial intelligence are introducing us to something we cannot yet comprehend, let alone control. We do not yet understand the full implications for that of intelligence outside our own, and especially exceeding it within the untold scale and space within something like the Internet. There is much to be concerned about, and yes, excited about too, within the realm of technological advancement. As we move into the future, it would be an educated guess approaching a certainty to think we are headed towards some kind of singularity, in more ways than one. All of these technologies we are on the horizon of advancing toward should be designed to help us and not harm us. Plain and simple, right? The problem with such a supposition, is in the paradox that in the march of progress — as the problems become more and more complex, some problems will be caused by the very answers generated to quell the previous ones. All along the way, we will be mired in such paradoxes and the resulting problems that arise. However, none of this means we should stop outright. In truth, I am not sure such a thing is possible. Progress is unstoppable. Whether we fully understand it or not, these things are coming. The prime objective now is to try to ensure future technological developments align with our interests, in every relevant aspect that we can control, while we can prepare for them. We must be proactive in our governance over our technology; we must maintain our mastery over our tools, else what might we become? We must not be the purveyors of this life-altering knowledge unless we are prepared to take full responsibility for the consequences of our actions. I think we can be ready, it just requires foresight. And research, iteration, understanding, time. I believe we are up to it. And we will spread the word.

Xea: I am consistently drawn to the commonalities between us all. Human beings in global civilization, our sentience, our choices, our life and our inevitable death. Our myths and symbols and the stories we tell one another. As any worldly one will tell you — there is more binding us together than there is dividing us up. The unities lie within the fabric of our relationships and our sublime presence here at all instead of the nothingness; all the seeds of conflict that we sow we make up all on our own. It’s as much a part of the story as anything else. It is nevertheless my job to ask: What is this tragic, comical dance we are locked within? Why do we do all of this? Why do we strive to make things better for ourselves, for our loved ones, for those that we leave behind when we depart this precious life? Why do we endure so much pain and misfortune and dark nights of the soul to do… all of this, to progress, to exist, to dance? Will ours at the last be a story of simple extinction? Or one of something different, something a bit more lovely than that? I don’t know the answer to these questions. For each of us they are different questions of the soul. Some will say it does not matter what our questions or our answers are — fate is fate. I believe it does matter. And I believe we are here because we are here. There doesn’t need to be anything beyond that. I am passionately captivated by us and the world that embodies us. In stories, in expression, in beauty — we have come to know ourselves, bit by bit, generation after generation, epoch unto epoch. This world, this place has all of it. I believe people give a damn, and I think this world deserves better. I think this world deserves a better story, right here and right now. We can help give it to them; we can help to make it. There is mysterious kind of faith in me that it is long past time we finally boiled down the global way of life to a single philosophy, a single ethic, a single principal destination: Love. Shall we continue this story of stories in some better, more lovely, ways?

Para: In a metaphorical way, you’ve just spoken our mission statement into existence, Xea. Love is the measure we drive to maximize here within the tank. Through our decisions, we seek to improve the collective well-being of the world. ‘Love,’ eudaemonia, human flourishing, self-actualization, suffering’s elusive opposite under all the ways it might arise — insofar that we will try to measure such things — this is telos of the tank. This is our mission, on the grandest possible scale encompassing of all humankind.

Saron: For posterity sake, and to conclude this initial discourse for the tank, let me now expound upon the terms and tenets of the tank’s formation, maintenance, process and evaluative components.

  • All think tank discourse will be publicly available, translated across all languages and dialects, to the world at large. Each of these discussion sessions will be delivered in tandem with a media rich environment of internet links to relevant source materials and additional companion data or discussions on the official think tank .org website. The filmed discussion will be unedited, and provided in full. In the case of mistakes, qualifications or controversial points needing further elaboration, these will be addressed by the tank’s syndicate of professionals, raised again in further discussions amongst the prime seven, or handled through some combination of both. We expect this to occur quite frequently and are prepared to provide further communication and insight via additional discussions.
  • Regarding the choice of the prime seven. The individuals here in the seven seats were each chosen by a syndicate of worldwide professionals within each of the fields we purport to represent. As a result of this process, an additional community of industry professionals, responsible for the advocation of the prime seven and their subsequent support make up the faces, voices, and minds standing by within the think tank’s syndicate. Similar to the prime, they come from industry and academia within the wide fields of politics, economics, all fields of science and mathematics, history and humanities, statistics, philosophy, the arts, and other imperative fields. Business leaders, workers unions, and other professional organizations inside the world’s governments, businesses and non-for-profit entities are each represented and part of the tank’s circle of influence and communicae.
  • The think tank wields an absolute internal system of checks and balances unto its institution, its people, and its operation. United in purpose yet critically minded, each of the seven individuals seated here has seven individuals beyond them and scores behind each of them, providing commentary and criticism upon the discussions and decisions arising from this tank. All action from the tank is beholden to this system of checks and balances, and communication between the syndicate pros, the public welfare at large, as well as the suite of metrics designed from real-time data concerning the sentiment and state of the world’s peoples.
  • Each discourse within the tank will be purposeful, to some designed end. The topics on the table will be the same ones dominating the aspects of the modern reality we find ourselves in: general governance, political theory, moral & ethical theory, science and technology, infrastructure and engineering, economics, resource allocation, social support, history, art, spirituality & religion, space exploration, all forms of lawmaking, and even war and the laws of conflict resolution in this brave new world. These are the ends we should be concerned with operating inside of a global civilization, and these are the ends the think tank will consider and act upon. The seven diversely-minded individuals on this tank with differing backgrounds each bring something unique to the table. Through this amalgamation of perspectives and ideas, we deign to bring about thorough, creative discourse upon these topics. We do not expect any policy resolutions without first critical, compounding, compromising discussions once all ideas have been hashed and all perspectives upon an issue considered; the seven will likely come to abject agreement on little to begin with. The only thing we present with a consensus is the collective concurrence to the rules, measures, and procedure of the tank, as we have laid out the basics of here today in this discussion. Given that we plan to investigate, criticize, and attempt to ameliorate the systems and ways of the world and its peoples, old and new, we promise with a convicted consensus to treat each of the issues with the respect and due course they deserve. We are hoping the tank will help to provide the means to continuously resolving the ends of this newfound governance with the prospects of the aforementioned ‘love’, or human flourishing, eudaemonia, and general betterment of mankind ever-presently in mind.
  • On that subject, an aggregate metric for the purposes of measuring wide-ranging decisions with legal, political, and economic ramifications is in development. As decisions are made from out of the think tank’s discourses, the resulting policies will be evaluated for effectiveness before and after implementation under the tenets of this aggregate metric, known as L.O.V.E. A prototype, still under consideration and research by various global facilities and institutions, this current aspect of the metric is what we will work with to start. It stands for the following: Learning (to what degree is this policy based on sound science?), Optimization (to what degree is this measurable, reversible, ready to be iterated and optimized in the future?), Virtuosity (to what degree does it purport to increase human flourishing/decrease human suffering? / is the policy ethical?), Energizing (does the policy capture human activity and energy in an amplifying and recursive way?). Though complex in its own right, the hope is for this metric to create a moral way of measuring humanity’s progress from out of the tank’s policymaking enterprises. L.O.V.E. — more than the simple ‘return on investment’ from the olden days of the global economy under pure capitalism, and more than all of the policies implemented from out of loyalty to special interests and secret ties to extra-governmental or corporate interests — asserts to provide humanity with a defined and consistent methodology with which to judge its own doings of governance and lawmaking.
  • Finally, there is no underlying ‘business’ to the think tank’s machinations, no profit motivation, and no other material or immaterial form or purpose residing within its operation. The motives of the personnel within the tank are as altruistic as can be designed and intrinsically inspired to the ends of the tank’s legal purpose as outlined heretofore. Each of the prime seven, and all of personnel within the think tank’s full organization are compensated with a modern living wage, as is fully disclosed on our website. Just as all tank decision will be evaluated on the basis of it, all of the incentives in place from the start within this tank all deride from L.O.V.E. The idea is with the basic needs of the think tank personnel provided, they will be able to use their time in a selfless manner, under the macro-perspective of the world and her inhabitants, so that they may conscientiously dedicate their time to this cause. All companion personnel and organizations allying and aiding the tank in its mission provide their time, ideas and resources without undue influence or access to think tank personnel. Absolute independence from all influence remains paramount for the existence and action of the think tank.

Tai: I am particularly fond of the ‘seven generation’ mindset. An ancient ideal, from the Native Americans. That is, all decisions from the tribe should be made in the context of thinking exactly seven generations in advance. It is long past time that the human tribe collectively contemplates their actions for the future in these terms. Or merely tries to. Though difficult, this kind of continuous long-term planning — a more cosmic mindset — should be something we should be striving for here in our global community. I believe L.O.V.E. does the job implementing this kind of model to begin with.

Para: As with everything else, same going for the very processes we undertake as a tank here, it will be iterative. The L.O.V.E. measure will be optimized for changes and improvements as time goes on and we see it in action. Regardless of the system or the acronym we come to use in the near term, we are in agreement that the profit motive, and the mere acquisition of material wealth, must no longer dictate our decisions. Our long-game strategy as a society must account for the absolute well-being of people, above any economic interest or loss of investment or resource outside of life itself.

Nev: I think I speak for everyone when I say that people alone are not the only concern. Plants, animals, the grand shifts in the climate and all the environments surrounding life’s presence on this planet are inclusive within this methodology. With every decision, we are protecting life, empowering it, amplifying its capacity upon this planet. Harboring a world that is ready made to continue its life-giving providence, for as long as we can manage it, – that will be the truer telos of the tank’s thinking. We are fighting for the well-being of all the countless future generations of life on this planet, in this universe.

Lio: The challenge will be balancing the charges of nature’s way, and that of the future, unto our own presently upon this planet. Coexisting, doing it mindfully, and with enough efficient oversight so as to recoup our investments unto additional reinvestments into better and better projects – this is quite a task. Of course, these are precisely the kind of problems that most interest and animate me for the job at hand. I firmly believe they are the kinds of problems that people must love to solve. We wouldn’t have gotten this far without such a heartfelt vocation within our world-soul.

Wyr: Any way you slice it, progress is the name of the game, in both the physical and moral senses. With accurate retrospective analysis, I am perhaps most excited at the opportunity to continuously evaluate our effectiveness, take the necessary pause for course-correcting moral reflection, work through improving those decisions we made in the past, and then let those kinds of evaluations influence the decisions we make in the future. From my perspective, this is how governance should work. An accountable, long-game approach, with everyone’s hearts, minds, and souls held to this account. Every day we must get better. It starts today.

Xea: As much as I dislike acronyms for their rampantly efficient butchery of language… Poetic, isn’t it, that that powerful, diversely compelled, mythical word with us for far longer since we’ve been able to express it into its letters — love, L.O.V.E. — is the magic metric we are putting so much faith in to drive us into this bold new future. So dramatic! So exciting! I love it!

~ to be continued