Presidential elections: who’s the next captain of the Titanic?
You get it: everything, almost, is in the title.
It seems that most people have a hard time making the distinction between the captain of a ship, and the ship itself. If the ship has structural issues in the way it’s been conceived, it matters little who the captain is: structural issues will strike someday or another. The Titanic, by design, was made to sink, no matter its captain. By design too, it was made to be lead by a precise form of collective intelligence: pyramidal collective intelligence. Indeed, the Titanic was conceived, from its architecture up to its very details, to obey an omnipotent and omniscient captain, with a chain of command made to respond at his beck and call. What’s next, we know. A scenario that happened in an identical way to the drama of Costa Concordia in Italy, Jan. 2012.
Our large pyramidal CI organizations work exactly like these big ocean liners. Governments, administrations, large corporations, armies, churches… It doesn’t matter very much which captain is at the top, elected or self-proclaimed, these large collective vessels are structurally no longer well adapted anymore to navigate today’s waters. They are not made to deal with social questions, to surf on the incredible systemic global complexity, to face current economic, environmental and ecological challenges. To be more precise: pyramidal collective intelligence is today the systemic cause of the pains we face. This may look like a personal opinion, but really this point is something we prove in the discipline of collective intelligence.
Therefore, in the same way ships like the Titanic or the Costa Concordia “attract” omnipotent captains, our institutional vessels attract omnipotent chiefs. In the best case, they make mistakes that are sometimes fatal for all on board. In the worst case — which is unfortunately the most common case — the captains to just make mistakes, they conciously abuse the power they have been given. It is the infrastructure that calls for it.
We find ourselves castigating a Sarkozy, condemning a Gaddafi, or hating a George W. Bush, but by doing so we forget that it is the very nature of these institutional vessels that brings such men to the helm. Their electoral promises consist in changing small things here and there, certainly not building radically different ships in which neither they would have a power position, nor a reason to exist.
With the lenses of collective intelligence, the next presidential elections, no matter in which country they take place, look pathetic to me. How could they be otherwise?
But everything that dies fertilizes the life that comes after. The bad news is that the leverage points of change are not in the ballot box anymore (have they ever been there anyway?). The good news is I can vote every day, every hour, every second.
In fact, each time I decide to buy or not buy something, I vote for or against the value system that produced that thing. Do I buy organic or not? Do I eat meat or not? Do I invest in my health and other’s health or not? Am I paying attention to environmental, social and health informations that are made available to me in real time for each product? GoodGuide, a smartphone and Internet app that provides these ratings, is a good example.
That’s not all. Every moment I can improve my skills as a user, even as a designer or coder, of socialware and communityware. These online softwares allow communities, local or global, small or big, to self-organize, self-actualize, without the need for them to abandon their sovereignty to pyramidal CI. Project management, idea cross-fertilization, decision making processes, conflict management, capitalization of experiences, collective memory, dialog spaces, digital self… these are some of the aspects that socialware offer today. They are mainly available through social media, opening the path towards holomidal CI.
And soon? The coming of free currencies / MetaCurrencies, of course! Then holomidal CI communities will become able to organize their economy in an integral way, without the money of pyramidal CI. That’s a whole journey, too long to explain here.
I think that it is in these horizons that our citizenship can reach its full creativity. Let’s abandon the Titanic, let’s build many small, agile, interoperable vessels, and let’s leave today’s political candidates to their pathetic brawls. Power, today, is in the code.