The Zero State (ZS) community and movement was officially founded with the release of the Social Futurist Principles on 1st May 12011. It started energetically, but soon encountered a problem common across the internet, which we will briefly examine below. That problem led to a fallow period, and subsequent “reboot” announced at the end of December 12017.
The ZS reboot was intended to span this year (12018), and this article series aims to identify some key ideas related to that process, with a particular emphasis on our transition from theory to action. This is the last article series clarifying ZS ideas that I will be posting for the foreseeable future, so I can focus on developing our events, releases, and project teams.
100 Reboot Redux
101 The ZS “Reboot”
The common internet problem mentioned above is that members of online groups often only want to talk and criticize the efforts of others, rather than doing anything of consequence themselves. The internet is usually seen as a place to sound off, rather than getting things done. That only became a particular problem for ZS when taken in combination with our good-faith response to calls for radical transparency, and full group discussion of every decision with all comers, despite the most opinionated people holding no stake.
The simple situation we found ourselves in was that the people least likely to actually help were the loudest in demanding that others conform to their ideals, and when we did try to meet those standards those people still weren’t satisfied, and they still didn’t get involved with practical projects themselves.
Clearly that model is unsustainable for any community, movement, or organization, so I took time away from the old ZS model to re-think, while helping to establish Transhumanist Party affiliated groups around the world. Now my own personal sense of direction and a major change in circumstances has called me back to ZS.
102 A Personal Note
Without going into private details here, I do feel the need to note that all of these changes have occurred against the backdrop of major personal changes for me, greatly affecting my career path and family life, all of which have been very difficult. The main point I want to make here is that I have been reminded of and deeply impressed by the great power of community, mutual aid, and friendship. This has greatly strengthened my Social Futurist views, and my commitment to use ZS to help others as soon, and as effectively as possible. Now that I am coming out the other side of that personal situation, I intend to work on behalf of those who would actively support each other as part of ZS and its wider circle of friends.
103 Success Criteria for the new ZS membership
ZS has been defined since its inception by its commitment to Principle (as we’ll discuss in Part 2), and that is part of a broader commitment to functional balance, or a kind of “middle way” that avoids dysfunctional extremes. One such balance is between rights and responsibilities, e.g. between a ZSer’s freedom to air opinions on the one hand, and their responsibility to actually work to help the community on the other.
In a similar attempt at functional balance, with ZS2.0 we are aiming to develop a small, dedicated group of only a few hundred project-volunteers at most, which uses the tools developed in those projects to reach out and help others. So we intend to reach out to very large audiences in the future, but for now our success criteria are based on building small effective teams rather than mass volunteer recruitment. In time, our technological tools will effectively handle all ‘recruitment’ of ZS citizens.
201 Metameme & Movement
I mentioned above that ZS2.0 is now transitioning from a period of establishing and consolidating its core ideas and ideology, to developing project teams to get serious work started. That distinction between (1) “metameme” (or highest, most core idea) and (2) the movement itself (or its organizational aspects) is one that we will revisit periodically, alternating between emphases on theory and practice to ensure that we remain true to the original ZS vision and best practice.
202 Singularity & Solidarity
The original ZS vision (something I’ve recently written about) is summed up in the phrase “Singularity & Solidarity”, which is to say that we live in a time of accelerating technological and social change, and that our ability to survive and thrive as global trends accelerate and converge depends upon our ability to live and work together in unity as an effective community.
203 Autonomy & Accord
In one last note on this theoretical level, let’s look at another idea which addresses a common concern within the early ZS, again involving a question of balance. That concern was a split between ZSers inclined toward Libertarian or Social Justice political positions, which could often be vitriolic. Arguments often focussed on individualism-versus-community, when any person not overly invested in an ideological position (e.g. Right-wing “Anarcho-Capitalism” or Left-wing Socialism) could plainly see that an intelligent, nuanced balance between such extremes is the best way forward.
The label I have developed to encapsulate that ‘Third Way’ is “Autonomy & Accord”, referring to an ideal system in which different entities (people, groups, organizations, communities, nations) are simultaneously recognised as autonomous, having certain rights defining that independence, and expected to cooperate according to certain standard shared rules in a cooperative network (i.e. to be in Accord).
Part 2 will continue this series with a brief recap of ZS2.0 ideas involving ZS’ commitment to Social Futurism, and (in turn) our personal commitment to ZS’ ideals & goals.