Thursday, April 7, 2016

An Open, Sustainable, and Free World – the “dot(Us)” Manifesto

Information is not power. Information far exceeds the possibilities of power. Power is limited to the underlying presumptions of exclusivity: protection or exploitation. Some keen observers do tell us that with great power comes great responsibility, but not many are open minded like that and we have yet to explore the possibilities that come with those great responsibilities.

Power also makes the average person hungry and fearful. It leads our demise because it limits our possibilities in a model of scarcity and hierarchy. While we await for the overman, the philosopher king, we missed our opportunities to do something more productive together—in a common human experience.

So stop saying “information is power.”

For those who are open to rethinking: power in the form of information is capable of great things, but information in the form of power leads to control and misdirection. In fact, information in the form of power has led us to our current unsustainable human experience: from media to therapeutics, from politics to business, from the way we learn to the way we live, everything seems to be under lock and key. And we are at the mercy of mercenary conduits carrying what information is meant for us to see, directed at goals we are not meant to know, and retaining power in the hands of the few, the rich and powerful, to maintain the status quo.

Well, Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same hoping for a different result. So stop repeating “information is power” because it repeats the same vicious cycle of separation, isolation, and unchecked self-delusion and destruction.

Information is “open, sustainable, and free.”

There is a global awakening to this paradigm and with this awakening, there is a fundamental shift occurring in our generation. The free society of netizens are entering the shared information economy and the global community is beginning to understand the whole is in fact greater than the sum of its parts. Our collective consciousness is transitioning from assets to knowledge, from scarcity to abundance, from hierarchy to network. This shift from the traditional functional, hierarchical economic and social orientation to a process-centric orientation is driven by a demand for efficiency and effectiveness in light of our unsustainable trajectory. Enabled by the Internet of Everything, we are connecting dots and drawing up resource nodes on the digital map of our human capacity. As our collective human experience transitions, we are seeing an increase in information access and transparency, and a reinvention in institutional philanthropy and an emergence of distributed and disruptive social enterprises—Open Data, Access, Research, Development, and Innovation; all of which are becoming measurably impact driven.

The alternative is a price too high to pay: power for the rich, exploitation the de facto economic model, and we are blinded, poisoned, and slowly separated and removed from the common human experience. To be human under these conditions becomes a privilege few can afford; more and more are increasingly ignorant of what it truly means to be human and are herded into barns built for sheeple awaiting their expiration dates.

Stop living like this.

What can we do? Information is under lock and key after all. Companies hold rights to information and charge for access. It's legal and the laws are drafted to favor their disposition. “There is nothing we can do,” someone once stated candidly to me.

But there is something we can do, together. Isn't there?

We can begin by believing that information is open, sustainable, and free. The right to access information is universal and inalienable right to our common human experience. But the open, sustainable and free information is also a responsibility. It is something we have to demand and fight to achieve and protect. Do this in light of unjust laws, become morally upstanding pirates, share your wealth in knowledge as it is your moral imperative to give information freely, openly, towards our common goals of sustainable future together.

Only those blinded by greed and misdirected to power will refuse to make information open, sustainable, and free. In the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare you opposition to those with the locks and keys.

This is dot(Us) – a call to civic hackers, legions of advocates, believers of new frontiers and brave worlds; this is a guerrilla movement to open, sustain, and free information from power, greed, and corruption. This is our story, in the digital age of everything—a story in the making. The future generations are counting on our participation, here and now, to make a difference.

CC-BY-SA Jin Kong

2016 Cincinnati

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