Does human nature need to change for a p2p transformation to occur?

Someone asked me recently, if it was not naïve to expect such a major change as the one predicted and/or wished for by the P2P Foundation, as human nature does not change, and so we will have capitalism for another 50 generations.

A good question, which generates a number of responses from my side.

First of all, human nature has not, and will never be, a static given, it is rather a biological and social construct which is differentiated over time and space, and slowly evolves over time.
Certainly, human nature is not, and will never be, that construct of ideological capitalism which presumes a rational actor that is only acting out of self-interest. 30 years of social studies, have profoundly challenged any such claims. (see the cooperation commons of Howard Rheingold and friends, as one of the projects monitoring this shift)

The human being has always been paradoxical, and a combination of contradictory traits.

Human nature is furthermore strongly conditioned by social structures, and of course, this is the basis of the truthiness of the rational actor ideology, we now do have a society which is geared on promoting and developing a particular combination of traits, at the expense of others.

But there are several reasons to be hopeful.

The first is that, if “being determines consciousness”, then indeed, the proliferation of open infrastructures and practices based on sharing and collaboration, does affect human attitudes, both in the virtual and physical worlds (which in any case, cannot in practice be usually separated).

The second is that the mainstream system has reached the limits of its long-term survival, it is now actively destroying the biosphere we all depend on. So expecting 50 generations of this system is sheer lunacy.

Third, there is evidence that human attitudes are changing. I’m thinking of the human development studies of people like Susan-Cook Greuter, and the world values surveys by people like Ronald Inglehart. Most striking was a 2008 (or 2007), Edelman Trust Barometer report, which showed that in a mere four years, a majority of people had shifted their allegiances from instutitions to peers.

All the evidence that we are collecting via the P2P Foundation, and other initiatives such as Shareable, suggest that sharing and peer to peer practices, and the social demand for openness, transparency, and a commons-orientation, while still minoritarian, are proliferating and growing.

In conclusion, I would say that an active minority is constructing a new type of social infrastructure, which however causes changes in a much larger group of users, and that this combined effect is instrumental in creating deeper social shifts.

Undoubtedly, there are counter-trends, and in no way should we predict change on the basis of knowing how human nature is evolving, but nothing says we cannot be active actors ourselves, and be an active minority with real world influence. I remember reading that only a few thousand people were involved with the Renaissance, and yet it changed the whole course of European civilization.
So, even though ‘human nature’ evolves slowly and as a result of complex factors, nevertheless, the particular p2p sensibility is growing and important enough to cause a mid and long-term re-orientation of social values.

It’s a active bet on the future, and may be wrong, but neither is it naive, and neither can the other side claim that the present system is the result of a static and god-given human nature.

1 Comment Does human nature need to change for a p2p transformation to occur?

  1. AvatarNaturalist

    Dear People of the World,

    Introducing the true faith of Naturism.

    Naturism is the only way for man to become one with the world. Let the heavens witness this oath of Naturism and our fullest wish to be at harmony chemically, electronically with the world.

    To preserve future generations of humanity in their original genetic form, this association will be for the purposes of parents of un-vaccinated children to marry and procreate without the mutative effects of vaccines. Form your own communities to the right to not be vaccinated, though expect to be made to comply with quarantine laws as well for the health of communities outside and inside your own newly formed un-vaccinated one. You will represent a genetic elite in time.

    Parents of un-vaccinated children please set up your own Marriage Arrangement Association, so that your generation of children will have life partners free from mutation to populate this world with natural human beings.

    To reach naturalization of the human being, we hope this movement, alongside natural organic food, herbs in place of pharmaceuticals and or breastfeeding or other similar naturalist movements gains popularity and displaced the unnatural systems of government we face and unnatural life paradigms we are forced to live.

    Buy land, grow natural crops, live by subsistence methods, renew and compost your own waste, abide by laws, vote for parliamentarians that will ensure laws protect you. Be familiar with local authorities and let local authorities know you well also.

    We are aware that this movement may not be viable in non-Amish form societies and for all religions, races and cultures, to set up your very own, electromagnetic free, artificial pesticide and artificial fertilizer free and vaccine free, mutation free people.

    Be aware of the risks one takes in joining this faith. Sudden infections (measles, small pox, diptheria, cholera etc.) deaths of entire communitys may occur from time to time if immune systems are weak, so keep well rested, healthy and clean my Naturalist brethren.

    Such sad events hopefully will be natural and not ‘outside world’ inspired attacks with the same diseases and viruses wil not occur to prove the point of fascist

    GMO companies, transhumanist or vaccine company fanatics. And in this I bid all who seek purity and natural coexistence with Mother Nature to be firm and polite with all unfriendly governments, detractors and potential attackers, to appeal to what remains of their human side in peace and respect, even while they disrespect or are abusive to you.

    Seek to alter legislation to allow yourselves to be one with nature, meanwhile all friendly men with conscience, do try to ensure your fellow citizens inw whatever nation on this great planet called Earth have the opportunity to live in this fully Natural manner as well.

    There are many Patriarchs as I though, not all have evaded the legalized onslaught of vaccines and had access to nothing but unnatural foods. I hope that they will enable mankind to one day live as pure and unaltered as Mother Nature intended. The faith of the Naturalists grows and everyone followers abound.

    Wish only well, and don’t be addicted to anything including computer games and electronics!

    Kindest wishes to all Mankind,

    An Atriarch of Naturalism

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