Note: This is linked from the Welcome to Karma post that is pinned to new users' collections.






Brainstorming below this line


Karma's vision is built on a foundation of beliefs.  Articulating my belief system isn't easy to do without sounding like a political weirdo, but I'll give it a shot:


  • Our perception of reality is influenced primarily by biology and ideology: genes and neurons.  These two forces are the puppets of our lives that give us the feeling of free will.  Both compete for survival through technology and bodies, although the only difference between those two things is carbon.  Our bodies are instruments of these forces.  This lens allows me to see human weakness not as the fault of individual people, but as symptoms of systems that inadequately manage the complex forces of biological and ideological competition.
  • Whoever controls technology determines our future through the will of their inherited genes and ideas.  When a company like Facebook profits upon the power it has over election outcomes [1], our society is likely to suffer.  I believe this because I believe that this represents a systemic imbalance - one that originates from the concentration of power that has accumulated within the confines of a private enterprise run by people who can only understand so much.  I do not believe that big tech executives are evil conspirators.  I believe they are fighting for their tribes in whatever way they can.  They're playing a winner-take-all game.  In my opinion, we should try as hard as we can to distribute power as equally as possible to mitigate the risk of systemic imbalance - and catastrophic failures originating from that imbalance.  One example of a catastrophic failure resulting from a systemic imbalance is The Great Recession.
  • Technology is currently controlled by economic dictators.  I love democracy because it facilitates the balance of power that I believe in.  I also feel a sense of civic duty to preserve the democratic ideals of our founding fathers through both my voting and my economic participation.  I believe that a society cannot be truly democratic unless its economy operates under principles of democracy.  This is not how things currently operate in the United States.  While the structure of our political system was architected at least partially in favor of democratic ideals, our economy operates upon principles of hierarchy and authority.  Our time and energy are being exploited by someone else's legacy.  While there's no doubt that we're lucky to live in an era where we can choose our employer, in reality, this choice isn't what defines economic democracy.  Our ability to collectively and democratically determine how our institutions evolve is what defines economic democracy.  Currently, a very small percentage of executives wield this power - some more gracefully than others.  I do not want to have faith in the grace of a minority; I would prefer to have faith in an educated population of collaborators because a minority simply cannot possess the breadth of perspective necessary to ensure broader systemic stability.
  • Citizens of other nations are not very different from me or you.  We all want our tribe's hierarchy of needs to be satisfied far into the future.  Most of us don't want anyone to be hurt.  Yet those with power are occasionally incentivized to render suffering unto others.  Politicians and executives alike are motivated by the preservation of their status, which is ensured by behaviors that often hurt others - sometimes at large scales.  The decision to cut corners and pollute our environment may be seen as a competitive advantage through the lens of a shareholder, but the systemic consequences of this selfish decision-making compound over time towards systemic illness and catastrophic failures.  The desire to manufacture more weapons - and the market demand for those weapons - is another example of how the concentration of power can result in conflict that makes it seem as if large groups of people are evil, while in reality, small groups of people are making poor decisions with judgment that has been impaired by unhealthy incentive structures.
  • Sustainable life depends on genetic and ideological democracy.  One species accumulating power and ignoring the needs of others will disrupt homeostasis and result in catastrophic failure.  One group accumulating power and ignoring the needs of others will, too.  Life requires balance; balance requires every voice to be heard.  I don't believe this from a position of lofty idealism; I believe this because life is a complex system built upon many individual components that have needs.  If we ignore the needs of the majority of the individual components, then the system's ability to self-regulate is handicapped.  In other words - everyone's voice matters because they are part of the broader organism of life.  We can ignore the pains of an overburdened organ for some time, but those pains are signals that we ought to listen to if we want to live a long and healthy life.
  • We can democratically determine the security of our future if we democratically direct the evolution of technology.  
  • Our industries are incentivized to innovate only as much as they need to in order to survive.  We could have pragmatic utopia NOW if our industries prioritized social value over "profits".  "Profit" is a convenient metric that we can use to measure economic growth, and that convenience is what we use to rationalize its authority.  In my opinion, using profit to measure health is like using body fat percentage to measure health.  The organism of society is multidimensional and its health is often more subjective than it is measurable.  In my opinion, the subjective aspect of society should be taken into account through economic democracy.  I believe that economic democracy would shift our collective economic output immediately towards renewable energy, automation, distributed wealth, peace, and sustainable production.  I believe this because war is usually a matter of policy, and policy is influenced primarily by cash flow that originates from private enterprise.  If private enterprises become democratically managed, the cash flow that directs our democracy will become democratically managed, and I do not believe that there will ever be a case where the majority of people in any educated country desire bloodshed.
  • War and pollution are symptoms of capitalism.  If you incentivize people to manufacture conflict and take shortcuts, they will.
  • We could have renewable energy independence today if we shed our feet of clay.  Selfish politicians and executives are motivated to tread water upon hierarchies of power and profit.  Our institutional intelligence is incentivized to perceive social and technological progress as risks that they must mitigate against through clever policy and propaganda.
  • We're not up against some secret cabal of highly coordinated power-hungry architects.  The hazard of authority has emerged from complex systems and is dispersed and obfuscated throughout complex incentives.  These complex systems have effectively weaponized human agents in service of their preservation.  Corporate and political evil quietly emerges through this systematized ambiguity moreso than it emerges from willful and coordinated diabolism, although coordination does occur.
  • I do believe that Gates, Bezos, Trump, Zuck, Dorsey, and other powerful figures are enabling evil.  But I don't believe that they are evil.  Through one lens, people in positions of ultra authority are victims of a system that has overwhelmed them with decision-making power that exceeds their cognitive capacity.  These individuals are not immune to filter bubbles and echo chambers, and their responsibility to their legacy and shareholders limits the reach of their vision to the immediate time horizon.  
  • The dynamics of economic power are not dissimilar from Stanford / Milgram experiments.  We've just scaled up and obfuscated to the point where our neurons need a LOT of exercise to develop the kind of abstract thinking and imagination that the duty of life calls for.  Our drives are wiped after 70 years while the force of our selfish genes carries on, so we have a heavy dependency upon high-quality digital knowledge transfer.
  • Human beings are the frontal cortex of life at large.  We're just another form-factor of life with a particularly high ratio of brain cells : other cells that allows us to think more abstractly than other lifeforms.
  • Human beings are responsible for life at large.
  • We're doing a bad job.  Contemporary economic systems incentivize self-destructive behavior.  The world's governments are being increasingly weaponized by selfish genes and ideas.
  • The world is currently in the middle of a large-scale Stanford Prison Experiment.  Some people have been given power; some people have taken power; some people were simply born powerless.
  • Anarchy is the process of flattening any hierarchies of power that cannot justify their own existence.  We shouldn't have to trust individuals to resist temptation; we should build systems that use technology to render temptation obsolete.  Technology gives us the power to eliminate the need for faith.
  • Socialism is an economic system that prioritizes psychosocial and ecological sustainability over profits and growth.  It does this by expanding the scope of democracy from politics to economics through collective ownership of production.  Including the tech that determines election outcomes and cultural evolution.
  • Building a better future for our children necessitates the introduction of socialism through anarchy, ideally through nonviolent means.  Universal labor unionization would allow us to direct economic power towards visions that serve the interests of us all.  Union-busting is democracy-busting.
  • Corporations have been conditioned to expect that they can socialize their risk while privatizing reward.  Operant conditioning teaches us that rewards can be used to reinforce behavior.  This applies to chickens, dogs, people, and institutions alike.  Institutional abuse of power has been repeatedly rewarded by a political system that directs taxpayer money towards corporate gambles while those very same corporations then reward politicians for enabling the unhealthy behavior.  This is a vicious cycle that has yielded socially destructive incentive structures that reinforce and elevate hierarchies.  Hierarchies are prone to prioritizing short-term legacy over sustainability because as power becomes more concentrated into a smaller space, the vision of its instrument (an executive or politician) becomes more constrained.  This is not a purely political perspective; this is a cognitive-behavioral perspective.
  • When a hierarchy of power is flattened, its progress slows to a steady jog - but with crowdsourced vision.  Blindly sprinting with faith may give us higher GDP and even higher quality of life in the short-term, but attaching "health" to "GDP" strikes me as arbitrary and incentivizes unhealthy behavior.  Steroids may give me a higher quality of life for a long while... until they don't.
  • To effectively flatten hierarchies, we need to work together to build compelling, sustainable alternatives to for-profit business models.  In my opinion, we need to incentivize competitive altruism and redistribute income to nonprofit, democratically managed engineering efforts.  Nobody knows what the solution looks like, but it's likely to be a highly complex, intricate system of interwoven experiments that can only ever begin to blossom if we start experimenting from the grassroots level, immediately.
  • Consumers must be motivated to rationalize their way towards sustainable alternatives.  Tesla is doing this by leveraging capital to develop sexy vehicles that also serve a broader vision of sustainable manufacturing and distribution.  Attaching "idealism" to "pragmatic psychological motivators" must be a core component of our engineering efforts.
  • For any consumer to become motivated to elevate their rationality from the micro to the macro, they must be educated.  Sex appeal can't be our only weapon.  We need to engineer this vision such that its ideology spreads.  This is the domain of marketing, persuasion, storytelling, education, learning, and cognitive science.  Expertise in these domains will enable us to disseminate the ideology that then enables intrinsic forward-thinking consumer choice.
  • Collaborative self-education is one of the most important things we can focus on right now.
  • We must make collaborative self-education more rewarding than alternative activities.
  • Regardless of what we study, the same truths are bound to emerge over time.  Parallel emergence of technologies and religions can be attributed to logic.
  • If we want to permeate The Great Filter, we have to acknowledge the power of our selfish genes and then build a symbiotic relationship with them.  They motivate us to build hierarchies as a form of short-term genetic insurance, but they haven't evolved the biochemical mechanisms needed to contend with modern industry.  Our bodies have evolved a frontal cortex to manage this.  Our biological legacy depends the checks and balances of our ideology.  Our genes are threatened by education in the same way that kings are threatened by revolutionaries.  Our current OS is biased heavily towards unsustainable genetic insurance because our current OS is running in the minds of a minority of individual cognitive instruments that do not possess the physical capacity to expand the scope of their decision-making across time and space.  This cognitive load must be distributed more effectively across available hardware through a series of incremental OS updates.  I believe that realistically, these updates can only ever emerge slowly through the efforts of many, many social entrepreneurs working closely with one another to align their vision, efforts, and resources in the name of focus-fire collaborative education and innovation.
  • While going RAID-1 with multiplanetary humanity gives life redundancy, building a better OS is just as important. Without a better OS, all drives will fail. Our current OS is drunken capitalism. A better OS is technosocialism.
  • Technosocialism is the OS that gives us sustainable wealth equality through green automation, decentralization, and cryptocurrency. 
  • Blockchain is an anarchist's tool.
  • Developing vision takes time; developing power takes time.  It's very hard for one brain to develop both.  Those with power and without vision are victims of selfish genes and the self-serving, self-destructive, short-sighted systems that have emerged from their influence.  Unbridled capitalism and fascism are examples of such systems.
  • We have the brains to build better systems; the alternatives have already been envisioned.  We just need the power to bring those visions to life in the face of brutish, belligerent alternatives.  This power will come from redirected cash flow.  That cash flow will be redirected with better business models that prioritize consumers over profits.  These better business models will stem from consolidated ideology.  This consolidation will come from accelerated education pointed in any direction.  We need to defrag.
  • We defrag through education.  
  • We need to redirect cash flow towards education.
  • We need to efficiently utilize that cash flow.  Every dollar must be converted to truth as efficiently as possible.
  • To efficiently accelerate education, we should treat knowledge and experience like a network of nodes.  This allows us to understand who is in possession of what nodes, which allows us to identify the shortest path from "where we are" to "where we could be" as efficiently as possible.
  • We must also liberate time and energy on the individual scale so that it can be directed towards efficient and enjoyable self-education.  The liberation of time and energy can be facilitated with education.
  • Simplicity is key.  Because people are short on time and energy, complex solutions must be distilled into simple, "ah-ha" experiences that motivate the type of consumer behavior we need.  We must assume that consumers have seconds to thin-slice our experiments, and we must out-compete the likes of sexualized, click-baited social media feeds.  Complexity is the enemy during first impressions.

The hazy vision for Karma is thus:


  • Accelerate the transition towards sustainable economics through remedial / strategic education.
  • Build a tool that helps us develop and internalize socially valuable knowledge as efficiently as possible while making a shit-ton of democratically managed money.
  • Lead by example with a collectively owned digital asset built upon radical transparency, data rights, decentralized architecture, centralized social power, and socially healthy behavior.
  • Use this tool to facilitate universal unionization and social innovation as means of developing and wielding economic power for social good.
  • Use this power to form a people's political party that obsoletes the two-party joke we have now.  Imagine if Facebook pivoted towards education and then galvanized its international userbase towards political activation to pass legislation that limits profits, regulates advertising, and funds thoughtfully engineered, automated, cost-effective social programs with excess cash flow. Yum.

The short-term, concrete goals are:


  • Provide value: Build a tool that helps us build a curriculum that helps anyone walk up Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  Liberate time and energy with content.  Help people make more money, live longer lives, and enjoy more leisure time via compelling content.
  • Build a community: Figure out how to attract a small cluster of like-minded individuals to continue brainstorming and building.  Karma can serve as a metaphysical manufacturing facility - warm ideas, energy, and intent as inputs, better ideas and tools as outputs.
  • Experiment: TBD