"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Meade

In summary:

  • I want to live in a world where everyone has the freedom to self-actualize within a peaceful, egalitarian socioeconomic system that prioritizes sustainable, long-term collaboration over short-term competition.
  • We can build that world gradually, together, from the ground-up.
  • If we don't build that world, a corporatocratic, oppressive, cyberpunk dystopia will slowly unfold. We probably won't see that in our lifetimes, but it'll sneak up on our children (and their children) if we don't do something about it. 
  • I think we can avert dystopia with some society-scale behavioral therapy. 
  • If we avert dystopia, then we'll have some kind of pragmatic utopia. To achieve this, I think we each need to take personal responsibility for our remedial self-education and experimentation. Cyberpunk Therapy is an ever-expanding body of research that I'm building in pursuit of positive social impact.
  • I think we need to activate international grassroots machinery under a unified ideology that clearly paves the way from here to there together. To do that, I think we need to double-down on education and democratic business. To understand why I believe this, check out my notes on What Then Must We Do.
  • I think we should start by democratizing software businesses with innovative business models and tools. Software is a very cost-effective distribution channel compared to brick-and-mortar bureaucracy. It's cheap to build and easy to share. We could democratize software first and leverage those economies of scale to then rapidly iterate towards democratized wealth and innovation in general. I think we can use software to pull this off very efficiently via the internet (think of how socially powerful a collectively-owned Facebook or Twitter could be.)
  • As we replace old, for-profit software with new, for-people, collectively owned software, capital can (somehow...) be democratically deployed towards remedial education, continued experimentation, and progressive political campaigns. I want to outcompete for-profit software with collectively owned, decentralized alternatives that are free for coops, unions, labor, progressive politicians, and other vectors of social progress. Software without ads, where you own your data, where user experience is the one and only priority... etc. The internet's emancipating potential, realized.
  • I'm building Karma and Tickler to learn and engage with others who care about these types of things.  These tools are part of a system that helps me innovate towards having some kind of impact.
  • If you'd like to work together, consider me interested. Feel free to say hello - I can be texted at 508.250.0607‬.

What I Want: Universal Self-Actualization

Here's what I want to see in the future, in order of strategic priority:

  1. Quality education systems designed to motivate compassion, continuous self-education, civic participation, and cultural / economic / political activism. (Psst. Karma is an attempt at this.)
  2. Democratic, decentralized business so that institutions evolve thoughtfully and sustainability in service of everyone, and so that collectively owned institutions can empower local + state representatives to outcompete "old money".
  3. Universal unionization to bring everyone together into an economic organ that can carefully check-and-balance institutions at a global scale. Nonviolent resistance and direct action will emerge from this body.
  4. A unified, multinational people's political party to outcompete and obsolete the two-party circus we have in the US and elsewhere. This will be funded by universal unionization. I'm thinking a unified political party can share assets and insights across borders to become far more powerful and consistent than a pendulum swinging between broken fragments. Imagine if the people and representatives of the US were continuously coordinating with the people and representatives of Hong Kong, Iran, Ecuador, Mexico, Australia, etc. Economies of scale don't just apply to business.
  5. Universal internet access offered for free to everyone. Democratically managed and collectively owned, of course.
  6. Wealth redistribution targeted initially at those with the sharpest needs, gradually expanded to equalize everyone from the bottom-up, rolled out with aggressive corporate taxation that's enforced by universal unionization and executed by the people's political party.
  7. Renewable energy so we can stop destroying each other and our environment, rolled out with aggressive carbon taxation that's enforced by universal unionization and executed by the people's political party.
  8. Automation running on that renewable energy so we can minimize our dependency on compelled labor, rolled out with aggressive "human labor" taxation (to incentivize automation) that's enforced by universal unionization and executed by the people's political party. This gives us free everything: manufacturing, distribution, services etc.
  9. Crowdsourced governing documents. Open-source authorship of constitutions at local, state, and national levels that are authored in an idea-meritocratic fashion, with the intent to eventually unify all national constitutions in pursuit of a borderless, classless society.
  10. Universal self-actualization. This is the north star. It's pragmatic utopia - the ultimate equalization, brought to you by green automation and dismantled oligarchies. To become all that we can be, we need the time, mobility, and freedom to explore and love ourselves - and the people and places around us. This is the point at which labor is 100% voluntary. We can spend our time building meaningful relationships and doing meaningful work without ever being forced to work for someone else. If you don't want to work on anything, that's fine. You do you. If you want to work on something, pick a project and see what happens. Or just explore, seek out inspiration, and work when you find something worth working on.
Each of these are what I call Vectors of Revolution. They're the ideas we need to empower together as quickly as possible.

How We Can Get There: Systems That Address Root Causes

To pull this off, we have to build simple tools and systems that help us convert our time, money, and energy into accelerated progress towards each of the above vectors.

"I've found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.

Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference." - James Clear, Atomic Habits

In order to build these systems, we need a breadth of socially valuable skills. Since our education system didn't give them to us, we have to acquire them ourselves. These are the skills that will help us thoughtfully experiment our way towards some kind of pragmatic utopia - Vector #10.

Only a small percentage of experiments will have any real impact, but the more experiments there are, the higher the impact will be. Your efforts are not in vain.

So if you're pissed - cool. Your anger is an asset that you can strategically leverage.

I want to emphasize the importance of a strategic approach: it's incredibly important to direct negative emotions towards the systemic solutions, and not only towards institutions and the people within them. Every layer of this onion needs our attention, and at the end of the day, it's the system that needs revision. Toxic people and institutions are the arbitrary pawns of a game that needs to be fundamentally redesigned. They're symptoms of a much deeper, darker, insidious problem.

Symptoms need to be relieved, but there is a point of diminishing returns. We need to balance symptomatic relief with systemic revision.

This is why the most destructive propaganda - whether or not it's intelligently designed - is propaganda that floods information channels with noise that keeps us focused on people and events... the symptoms. 

The most constructive propaganda is propaganda that keeps our focus united towards the north star - the idea that systemic solutions exist, and that we can build them ourselves, from the ground-up.

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt

And this is why - again - we need to maintain a balanced approach between symptoms and root causes.

I wonder how you can contribute your natural strengths and ambitions to this balance. Can you design an experiment that teaches us something? Maybe read a book and share some knowledge? Study the root causes and generate some hypotheses?

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do." - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

There are many people who would LOVE to hear and build upon your ideas, and who believe in your ability to have an impact. I believe in you, so you've already got at least one cheerleader.

What I'm Building: Karma, Cyberpunk Therapy, Tickler

I think a prerequisite to systemic change is consolidated ideology. We all need to be on the same page. I think there's a page that works well for everyone. I don't know what that looks like, but it's there, waiting to be clarified.

There are probably a lot of people who are already on that page, and then there are people who are near that page, and then there are people who are far away from that page.

I think we need to figure out what that page looks like, and then pull everyone who's on that page together into an ongoing conversation. Then, we flip one page forward and one page back, and pull those people on board, refining the contents of the page as we learn from them. Then we keep flipping forward and backwards, one page at a time, incrementally reeling people into a unified ideology that prioritizes sustainable life and equality over all else.

I'm using Karma to harvest the raw materials that might help us draft up that first page. I know this sounds ridiculously naive, but whatever. We have to start somewhere, and I don't know where else to channel my love. So fuck it. 

I'm using Cyberpunk Therapy to manufacture the components of that page - the substrate of a unified ideology. 

I'm using Tickler to connect to my ideological neighbors so we can improve the substrate together.

Karma: Study

I'm building Karma to bring optimistic hustlers together so that you can study, brainstorm, and experiment within a culture that encourages experimentation and celebrates failure. It's where we can get weird and brainstorm together about anything in a judgment-free zone (as long as you're not a jerk). I decided to spend my time on this because I think our highest priorities are education and democratic business.

"It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government..." - Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America
"It is possible, quite simply, that we may lay the groundwork for a truly American form of community-sustaining and wealth-democratizing transformative change—and thereby also the reconstitution of genuine democracy, step by step, from the ground up." - Gar Alperovitz, What Then Must We Do

You can experiment with democratic business in traditional brick-and-mortar organizations, but that's slow. Software is much cheaper to prototype and scale. With the right software, you can capture the world's attention very quickly. This is why I think it's incredibly important to focus on democratic software innovation right now as a means of redirecting the flow of capital towards social progress.

If we can build a suite of software with the reach of Wikipedia or Facebook that's democratically managed, I think we can activate some unified grassroots machinery across borders. That's incredibly exciting to me, so I've been wondering, "what software should we build first?" If you have any ideas, feel free to drop a comment below.

Cyberpunk Therapy: Synthesize

I built Karma to help us explore that question (and many others) together. I'm using it to write Cyberpunk Therapy. Just as Musk wrote his Master Plans for sustainable energy before bringing them to life, I'm thinking we all need to come together and articulate a Master Plan for Society. I'm using Cyberpunk Therapy to organize and share my research as I slowly chip away at that ambition. I'm hoping this body of research might help accelerate our learning and brainstorming.

Whether or not you're interested in collaborating around CT, please feel free to develop, share, and organize your own thinking and research on Karma. Articulation even for its own sake is healthy exercise. Maybe your vision will overlap with mine, and then the principle of emergence will kick in and carry us further, together.

Each chapter of Cyberpunk Therapy is dedicated to one component of the Karma Curriculum, a self-education curriculum that I'm using (and continuously tweaking) to organize the knowledge that our tax dollars should have given us in school. It begins by exploring the spirit of life, and then individual needs, and then tribal needs, and then species needs, and finally - life's needs:

  1. Practical Philosophy, Relative MoralitySpirituality, Positive Psychology: First, we quickly review the philosophies that I've internalized so you know what I'm motivated by - and whether or not our motivations are aligned. [1]
  2. Symbolics and Metaphysics: Then, we learn about how to efficiently learn and remember new things while synthesizing knowledge into insight. [2]
  3. Identity, Lifestyle, and Individual Health: Then we learn about the importance of aligning your identity with your overall lifestyle, your career, your hobbies, your friends, and your partner(s). Because the more you're aligned, the stronger your spirit will become, and the more energy you'll have to innovate. [3]
  4. Personal Finance and Career Strategy: Then we learn about strategic career choices that give you a high ROI, stability, work-life balance, and assets you can leverage for society. Because with the right career, you could spend most of your time working on something you truly believe in. [4]
  5. Communication and Leadership: Then we learn about effective communication and leadership, because we need to be able to connect to others, and to inspire. [5]
  6. Romance, Dating, Intimacy, Sexuality, and Evolution: Then we learn about sexuality. Because it's fun. [6]
  7. Software Engineering, Design, and Social Entrepreneurship: Then we learn how to design and develop socially useful software. [7]
  8. Anthropology, Sociology, Culture, History, and Geography: Then we learn about our overall historical and cultural context because we can't build a theory of change without deeply incorporating the history of change. [8]
  9. Self-Limiting Society, Sustainability, and Contemporary Issues: Then we learn about the current challenges we face because this will help us perform root-cause analysis. [9]
  10. Government, Oligarchy, and Geopolitics: Then we learn about our current institutions because the root cause lies within them and between them. [10]
  11. Game Theory, Complex Systems, Social Engineering, and Mechanism Design: Then we learn about modifying human behavior with design and engineering, because if we don't do it ourselves, a mindless system will. [11]  [12]
  12. Anarchism, Decentralization, Automation Economics, and Futuristic Business Models: Then we learn about thoughtfully and professionally focusing our efforts on the root cause. [13]
  13. Activism, Nonviolent Resistance, and Unionization: Then we learn about strategy and tactics. [14]
  14. Guerilla Marketing, Branding, PsyOps, and Propaganda: Then we learn about deploying and defending your ideas. Our battleground is ideological and these are our weapons. [15]
  15. Designing the Future, Pragmatic Utopia, and Revolution: Then we talk about short-term dreams. [16]
  16. The Cosmos and Inorganic Intelligence: Then we talk about long-term dreams.

This is a lot to cover, which is why every chapter focuses on weaving high-level principles and concepts together without spending too much time in the weeds. References to primary sources and supporting materials are included so that you can dive into the details whenever you feel a tug.

These chapters aren't as arbitrary as they may seem. To build a better future, I think we need to begin at the individual level. We need to ensure that you are healthy and happy before anyone can expect you to focus on everyone else's health and happiness. Put your own mask on first, you know? Then expand scope.

I want you to achieve alignment between your identity, your career, your relationships, and your overall lifestyle so that you have the spiritual energy to build your dreams. I suspect that deep down inside of us, we all have the same dreams. And that's what Cyberpunk Therapy is all about.

Tickler: Engage

I'm going to be using Tickler to try and connect valuable knowledge to people who might want that knowledge. It's like Google Alerts, but specialized to surface keywords being used in real-time on popular social media platforms. Here's my Tickler:

I then get emails on the reg that look like this:

This helps us learn cool new things from others and then thoughtfully engage in real-time.

What I Plan To Do: Study, Synthesize, Engage, Build

So I'm using Karma in the following ways:

  • It's my second, digitized brain. My brain is RAM - Karma's my SSD. It's a tool of transformative thought.
  • I'm using it to periodically review things I've studied to continuously refine my mental models
  • As I review stuff in random order, new ideas might emerge via randomized synthesis.
  • I'm using it to continuously exercise my articulation, sort of like a gym for my brain.
  • I'm using it as a source of valuable knowledge that I can share with others when the opportunities present themselves - directly or via content creation based upon this primary research. Cyberpunk Therapy is where I'm organizing that research and (often horrifying) ideation.

And I'm using Tickler in the following ways:

  • It helps me efficiently understand current events from a few different sources in a single feed that pops up in my email.
  • It helps me identify just-in-time information needs that I can satisfy for other people.
  • Instead of depending on standard social media feeds, I can instantly filter the noise for signals I'm looking for.
  • I engage with the people who are generating signals and let this drive my relationship-building efforts.

This is my system, for now. Feel free to take whatever bits work for you and build your own system out of them.

My short-term plan is to:

  • Learn from people and try to identify the sharpest pains that software may be able to alleviate.
  • Build this software within the Karma ecosystem so we can reuse assets and rapidly prototype towards democratic business.
  • Offer this software for free to anyone in the fold while charging for-profit institutions.


What I'm wondering about most:

What software can we build now that:

  • Aligns with this overall strategy / vision
  • Empowers forward-thinking people / orgs / coops / unions / labor / politicians / local businesses / nonprofits / B-corps
  • Is high ROI - easy to prototype, provides lots of value
  • Can be built to be viral
  • Has an accessible target demographic
  • Alleviates a sharp pain
  • Can extract capital away from for-profits

Got any ideas?


Note: This is an experiment in open-source authorship. If you have any feedback on my approach, mindset, strategy, tools, anything, feel free to drop a comment below! The research for this eBook is being noted throughout Karma's collections.