A Pragmatic view on the Evolution of Life

ARTICLE | | BY Robert van Harten

Robert van Harten

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Is the evolution of life and society outpacing our theoretical research? Do we need a pragmatic view to be open to a future of paradigm shifts and even to new laws of life? This article attempts such a pragmatic view by looking through possible windows on our future. A paradigm shift from centralised to decentralised power in life seems to be part of an evolutionary movement, away from a world of division and conflict towards a world of cooperation, harmony and unity. On the macro level it is observed in the movement of decentralisation of energy and money towards free energy and a free basic income for all. On the micro level we observe the growing independence of the individual from physical ownership and experts in so many areas of life. A wider perspective presents a possible new law of life based on balance and equality rather than shortages. This then opens a perspective where freedom is the basic ingredient in a new law of life for the individual. The evolutionary movement has to prepare us and the world for a future where true freedom, equality and abundance for all will become the normal character of life. When we look dispassionately and curiously at the world and search for the powers that move the world today, one of the first things we see is the changing nature of power in our world. Power used to be characterized by principles of monopoly and centralization, power of one over the other, of a minority over a majority. An even distribution of power is not part of our experience, not horizontally nor vertically. The changing nature of power we observe can be crystalized in a movement: a decentralizing movement of power. It appears that the nature of decentralized power is characterized by an even distribution of power in innumerable points. It virtually means that power grows (only) powerful at the point and moves away from former centers of power.

1. Towards a World of Harmony and Unity

A world in which centers of power lose their power progressively, and well in favor of the individual, is a world on its way of becoming a world based on and ruled by movements that organize harmony and unity. And this movement to decentralize power, as we will see, is increasing in power and speed by the day.

2. An Evolutionary Movement

One of the most interesting aspects of this movement is that it is not man-made or man-powered or man-directed. The reason being that it is an evolutionary movement. This movement and other evolutionary movements carry in them an awakening of higher principles and values in ourselves and in our societies. The resulting new world will be one world that will free itself from all shackles of imperfection and falsehood.

3. Macro Level

"'Free' money is part of the move­ ment of decen­ tralizing power and resisting it is resisting an evo­ lutionary power that pushes for equality."

The movement of decentralization of power can be seen on the macro level and on micro levels. But first we have to mention that this movement of decentralization was seen and described by former WAAS President Harlan Cleveland when he wrote an article about VISA, an innovating decentralized international company, some 20 years ago.

The movement can best be observed at the macro level in the movement of decentralization of energy and money. Only 10 years ago, energy, in the form of oil, gas, coal and nuclear power, dominated international corporate power and played a determining role in world politics. Today solar and wind energy are pushing the old sources of energy from their throne. The former darlings of the exchange, the large power-houses of old energy, are afraid to meet their insecure future. At present companies, businesses and families can free themselves from the grid and drive their cars on ‘free’ solar electricity. Interestingly, Norway will ban the sales of old energy cars in 2025 and we are moving to a reality where all self-driving cars will be electric. The decentralization of power in energy-matters will take no more than a generation to finalize itself.

The decentralization of money though, is a younger movement. But the signs are impressive. Zero interest and negative interest rates on borrowed money are shocking the financial world. ‘Low interest rates stimulate the economy’ is what all of us have learned. Maybe in the past but not anymore! Money is free and that phenomena is not growing the economy as expected. Economic laws have to be rewritten, but nobody seems to have ideas as to what the new laws are, let alone understand them. On a parallel with ‘free’ money, we see in Western countries the growing necessity to provide each person with a free basic income. The present system of welfare is breaking at so many points and is not supportable anymore. The rise of popular voting on one side and robotization on the other side make a fundamental overhaul of the system necessary and indispensable. Free basic income is a short-cut to solve most of the problems the Western societies are facing. Studies have found that the prejudices towards free basic income for all, like inducing laziness and it being too expensive for the economy, are prejudices. Freedom from authority proves to be a boost to personal life and to the economy. The growing popularity of ‘tiny houses’ fits perfectly with free basic income. A mortgage binds one to the bank for 30 years, but the loan or mortgage on a tiny house can free one in 5 years and leaves 25 years to enjoy financial freedom. We can pragmatically say that ‘free’ money is part of the movement of decentralizing power and resisting it is resisting an evolutionary power that pushes for equality.

Another expression at the macro level is the shifting of central government power and budgets to the cities. Large cities in West-European countries are virtually becoming ‘city-states’. The idea behind it is pragmatic. Local decision-making can be tailor-made and voters in the cities are dreading the-one-size-fits-all mentality of the central government. The cities are in close contact and can copy and implement successful ideas and strategies of fellow cities. The increase of (local) details makes adaptation much more effective and faster, while the learning curve becomes sensitive to paradigm shifts. At the same time, we see that moving budgets to specific neighborhoods brings self-determining power to its people. In other words: the town hall understands that it is very advantageous to no longer know everything better than its citizens. The balancing of power is an admirable characteristic and result of the movement of decentralization.

4. Micro Level

"Our thinking has so far been grounded in the reality of shortages."

At the micro or personal level, we can see multitudinous examples of movements that decentralize power and increase independence. Internet and mainly Wikipedia make information, previously concentrated in encyclopedia, libraries and universities, freely available to every single person. The Social Media brings a voice to everyone, to connect with every other one and freely exchange ideas and interests. Virtual Reality brings new possibilities of ‘freely’ experiencing life and even the whole world while staying at home, overcoming in the process a multitude of physical and psychological disabilities. Sharing your possessions and your work-skills—‘sharing is the new owning’—is an exploding movement all over the world of which Uber, Airbnb, local people’s owned energy and Wi-Fi networks, volunteer work, sharing meals and equipment in the neighborhood, are examples. Even local, alternative or complementary currencies can be seen as a method to promote local sharing.

An interesting part of the said movement is the growing independence of the individual from experts and expertise. Blockchain technology is on its way to make experts like notaries, lawyers, bank experts, insurance experts, in many areas of expertise superfluous. Similarly, gadgets are developed that can measure everything in our food and environment, removing our present dependence on information and knowledge from companies, authorities and the media. Gadgets measuring our well-being and products that restore our well-being offer solutions that therapeutic experts, psychologists and psychiatrists can only dream of. Psychological ‘defects’ and disabilities are presently treated chemically and via therapy of all sorts. A harmonizing product that restores the harmony that was broken in time, without the interference or necessity of an expert doctor, is a reborn ‘power to the people’ worthy. The growing robotization and development of robots for our daily life can also be seen as a movement towards more freedom and more ‘free’ enjoyable time.

5. Larger Perspectives

"Real or imag­ined personal 'shortages' are the source and basis of con­flicts."

But is all this ‘free’ energy, money, products, services, affordable and realizable in economic terms?’, is a rational question. Enlarging our starting perspective should show logical and reasonable answers. The larger perspective points immediately at the reality that feeds the movement of decentralized power. Our thinking has so far been grounded in the reality of shortages. Shortages move the world we know and live in. But as we know that old energy is limited, we understand that new energy is unlimited in time. Money is changing its nature in the same way. Crowdfunding, micro-loans, people cooperatives, bitcoin technology, local currencies, are all examples of new uses of money and money moving away from points of money-power. Once the points of concentration of money-power release themselves, shortage of money will be a thing of the past. It virtually means all present shortages will ‘soon’ be a thing of the past. There are more developments that point at the removal of shortages. The ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’ concept and applications are conquering the hearts of the world. 3D printing changes our thinking in manufacturing. The nanotechnology innovations make futuristic ideas possible, but also unbelievably smaller and cheaper.

In a still wider perspective we see that the decentralization of power and the actual removal of shortages point us to a most interesting phenomena: falsehood in all its aspects losing its overwhelming hold and power over the world in favor of simple truth. Falsehood and power are twins and so are falsehood and shortages. The evaporation of both power and shortages will mean the disappearance of the use and need of societal falsehood. For personal falsehood there is already a fine solution in the form of a ‘new’ type of education where children can grow to their full potential independent from social class or parental genes. Real or imagined personal ‘shortages’ are the source and basis of conflicts. A child that is a stranger to competition and bullying, who does not see or experience limits within himself or his/her life, will grow into a really free person. World implementation of this type of education will—by itself alone—remove aggression and violence from our world within two generations.

At the next wider perspective, we see we need these free children for we are moving to a state where death can be postponed and move towards a state of immortality, physical immortality. Present day humanity is hardly prepared for the challenges that are created when time becomes ‘free’ and eternal.

WAAS seems to be a perfect platform to develop ideas, even guidelines, for the future world that is being born before our eyes.

About the Author(s)

Robert van Harten
President & Founder, De Moeder’s Geuren Foundation, The Netherlands; Member, WAAS Standing Committee on Peace & Development