We believe in trust more than we believe in the truth. 

We trust in the ways things used to be, so we keep on trampling over blooming flowers while chasing dying leaves to get us there. Innovations to provide for everyone, arrives exponentially everyday, yet they are less and less accessible to a frustrated population of embarrassed future millionaires betting their lunch money on the next lottery ticket out! Maybe that’s why we seem to revert back to 19th century political promises, protecting their 12th century economic premises.

The truth, however, is more difficult to ignore.

Sure, we can choose to ignore the technical truths of distributed and regenerative abundant energy generation systems, DAOs or decentralized autonomous organizations, co-operative sharing networks, and disruptive breakthroughs in every aspect of our lives. Although, as long as we are in denial, the outcomes that we want, our real intentions like feeling loved, feeling secure and feeling satisfied, will hardly come from the old economic instruments we’ve agreed to get us there. Fiat money, for example is only as good as its ability deliver on its promise to convert our intentions into reality, and if our political and economic systems cannot make good on those promises, maybe we are asking the wrong questions.

When broken promises are the norm, and not the exception, we might want to ask new questions to reframe the next planetary prosperous reality we could be living in now!

First, observing the obvious:

Earth Day: People with homes make up signs to complain about how our elected leaders are destroying the world, while homeless people are told to move out of the way for the parade. Then there is lots of plastic trash we have to clean up.

Conscious Festivals: Everybody buys expensive tickets to gather in harsh environments to feel one with nature and the cosmos. We all talk about our enlightenment, then go back to work afterwards as some form of slave labor. The organizers walk away with millions.

Innovation Hubs and Investors: Super creative, hard working people bust their asses designing solutions to make our lives easier. They are persuaded to work in a noisy and crowded “co-working” environment, getting ready for their 5 minutes in front of “successful” people who might offer them some bio-survival tickets. That is only if those people think that someone’s life’s work, supported by all of our taxes which paid for their education and support, can make their collection of IOUs grow larger without doing any real work.

Sharing Economy: Some smart people designed some clever software to make the supply and demand networks of services super efficient. A salesperson sees that as a way to get goods and services for way cheaper, and takes out a huge loan to aggregate those services and promote it. Everyone who works for the network complains about doing more and getting less, or paying more and getting less, and the salesperson still owes money to the lenders, so they have to sell us the story of why they are still going to change the world.

Retail and Real Estate: Buying and collecting stuff has been fundamental to our existence. Except now, we made so much nice stuff, that no one cares where you got it from and how much you paid for it. Where we live depends on where we have to work, and when that’s everywhere, its a hard sell to keep pumping prices that no one could ever pay back in their lifetimes. So now we have retail and residential ghost towns, waiting for people to buy into the dream of being tethered down so investors don’t lose their shirt. On the commercial side, the high yield captive renter businesses like hospitals still keep building, although we are wising up to their game, and looking for health and wellness elsewhere. Business can’t work without customers to pay for their services, and now business as usual is losing customers while waiting for a time machine to take them back to the 80s when no one knew better.

Banking, Insurance and the Stock Market: We trust people who think like us, and we work with those we trust. When we feel people can’t be trusted, we trust our common agreements. Mind you, the agreements are only the instruments and not the intentions behind them. They are the best we could do with what we could understand. So now we seem to understand a system of promises expressed in arbitrary numbers that might deliver on those promises if we can still trust the people that manage them to deliver.

Unfortunately, “those people” don’t seem to care much about anyone other than themselves, and keep breaking their promises. It’s not their fault of course, the stuff they thought they could sell us about how the future will be, we already know now, because the people who make and buy the stuff we are selling are known in the present. Oh well, there goes that idea!

Please understand that this is not some open source idealist rant.
It is a simple realization of the technical reality that we all feel, and all I’m doing is just putting some words to it. Most of us are not beyond self-interest and self-preservation. We do not act according to our ideologies, we act according to our survival instincts. We do what we do, to make sure we will have our insecurities made secure, our distrust of uncertainty made certain and trusted, and be seen and appreciated for who are, relative to what we feel our value should be in the world. At the core, we just want to love and be loved in return.

In other words, we want Returns on Our Intentions.

That is, and has always been the real ROI (Return On Intention). It’s just that the instruments we’ve agreed to get us there no longer make sense in a world where markets die and networks rule. We now have the digital tools to make agreements between each other accountable, trust each other relative to context and deliver on those promises without a proxy. Plus, we can now be rewarded for adding value to the network, rather than the network sucking the value from us to pay off some imaginary ideal for undeliverable IOUs.

This is the age of instant ability to manifest our intentions. We really don’t have to work so hard to get there. It’s right in front of we when we pause and see what is, versus what we want to believe it is. We are living in the 21st century. Let’s get out of our 12th century economic mindset.

So how do we do that?

1. Networks are natural:Nature needs fewer inputs per outputs and reuses waste as feedstock, as do networks. As we feed networks with data that satisfies its needs for matching input, output and waste, we enable it to feed us in new ways. It’s like farming, only better. For every unit of energy used to work the farm, the farm rewards us with more units of energy as food. Networks do exactly that, yet, we now use network efficiencies to make stuff cheaper and sell it for higher margins, not realizing that we are bankrupting its original purpose. We’re foraging like hunters now, when we’ve already invented farming. We don’t have to. Some networksalready get this, and are starting use the sharing economy for good, as in, recirculating the value created back to its participants.

2. Feedback is fundamental: Understanding our local actions relative to global impact directly relates to the quality of our lives. When you look up the history of automotive safety before and after the invention of traffic signs, traffic rules and dashboards, the stats are astounding! 1917, Detroit had 65,000 cars on the road, resulting in 7,171 accidents, 168 of them fatal. That’s approximately 10% per year. Compare that to today, with autonomous cars on the way, and the percentage of accidents relative to the 1.2 billion cars on the road is less than 0.004%. The parallels to automotive safety stats are all around us. The more we understand the impact of our action relative to others, our behavior shifts, and we use less energy to do more work.

3. Values are Contextual: What is the value of a toilet when nature calls? Priceless. The value of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it, so where we spend it, is of prime importance. We know that intuitively, although our tendency is to trust the value metrics of our predecessors that did not, and could not understand the world we see now. Today, networks are showing us a new framework and new contexts for where value is created and relative to our goals. Just as water has a different value in the desert than in the tropics, our contributions have contextual value that cannot be captured within the existing economic paradigm we’ve chosen to satisfy our intentions. Money can’t buy me love is more than a hit song, it can’t even buy me the satisfaction of status once reserved for people who could buy $90,000 watches and $800 shirts, because no one really cares anymore.

Optimizing the Observed : When we see our world relative to Return On Intention, the things that once looked like problems we had to live with suddenly become irrelevant cultural relics.

Consider our previous list after this realization:

Earth Day: Protests to shame politicians and policymakers are less about the planet, and more about the economic paradigm that pillages the earth for profit. When input, output and waste are matched based on network efficiencies, real value is rewarded for the benefit it can guarantee in the present, not a future value best guess that robs us of our survival.

Conscious Festivals: Each of us want to be relevant in the world. Our intention is to be acknowledged, deemed significant, and feel wanted and needed. When our economic paradigm cannot deliver on that promise, we go looking wherever we can find it. Gathering and ritual is integral to society. A network economic model that rewards both patrons and producers relative to contribution changes what celebration is all about.

Innovation Hubs and Investors: The Intention of investors, whether its slow money R&D, or fast money venture markets, is ultimately to motivate the creation of innovation that we can all benefit from. The intention of innovators is delivering on that promise and be appreciated for doing so. The disconnect today is about reconciling two separate agendas, when beneath the instruments, the intention is the same. When we chose to operate in a paradigm that supports intentions over instruments, we quickly realize that investors, innovators, and the rest of us benefiting from their creation are all part of the same ecosystem. That allows for lenders and borrowers to both benefit from network equity, to be transparent, and to include their customers in sharing that surplus, instead of extracting future value from them.

Sharing Economy: Share the wealth. It’s really that simple.

Retail and Real Estate: What is the intention behind a purchase? How does our technical reality satisfy that intention? As we understand and measure consumption in satisfying intention terms, how we buy what we buy shifts. The same is true for the best use of land, including the deciding not to misuse it, because it makes much more sense in resource regeneration terms. Focusing on our intention of creating a higher quality of life now, rather than the fuzzy promise of it, shifts how we solve for the solutions that will actually guarantee future access, rather than just sell us the dream of it.

Banking, Insurance and the Stock Market: Trust is about context relative to intention. The instruments we had trusted to deliver on the intention of producing material baseline for survival, have already performed their task in the 20th century. Our future values are not determined by further capacity for production and consumption, rather, it is to answer the intention of how much more satisfaction we can expect. Markets were apropos for that purpose, then. Now, we have peer to peer networks that can directly guarantee that with pre-sales, sourcing, off-takes, and allocations in advance of production. In effect, we now have the ability to become our own stock tickers, relative to the social value our networks believe we can produce. So maybe it’s time to realize that market economic paradigm has already shifted to real-time network value creation.

RUN : Regenerative Unified Networks delivering ROI,

Return On Intention

No one can predict the future, though the signs for a future full of prosperous possibilities are all around us, when we are willing to reframe reality for the rest of us. Search and social networks signaled the start to the sharing economy, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and the evolution of blockchains, holochains, smart contracts, DAOsOVNs, AR, VR, AI and whole host of emergent acronym ready ideas are showing us something previously unseen.

We are no longer in a market driven reality.

Our exchanges now are on ubiquitous, asynchronous, autonomous networks, a whole system of networked interdependencies. Sure, most of them now look like walled garden platforms like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Uber, AirBnB, etc. though their longevity will be determined by whether or not they share data and transform their models to serve their ecosystems instead of extracting from them. This recent article on Google’s cash cow drying up with Amazon searches may be an early indicator of the fate of profit driven networked platforms, still accounting for value using an industrial era market paradigm of transactions instead of transformation.

Regardless of where you stand on the evolution of our socioeconomic reality, our technologies today can deliver something, never before possible at this global scale. They can instantly close the gap between intention and outcome, matching resources for inputs, outputs and waste dynamically with demand. Delivering real ROI, our Returns On Intention.

Of course we don’t know if those who fear losing control of their current power position will see what’s here now as a threat, or the transition to greater prosperity for all that it represents. However, one thing is certain, and that is, our current systems were born out of seeking out Returns On Intentions, and the next systems will be no different. Because ultimately, intention is intelligent. It points to our deepest desires. In other words, it points to love, the driving force of our living existence here on Earth.

As the mystic poet Rumi wrote:

“Love is the whole thing. We are only pieces.”

I hope for the sake of our survival as a species, we realize the profundity of that, and focus on getting the returns we really want. The real ROI, instead of the instruments from a bygone era we believe will get us there.

Sure, we believe in trust more than the truth, however, in this time of great transition, trusting our intentions will surely lead us to the truth that is.

1 Comment ROI: Return On Intention

  1. AvatarThe Garden Chair

    A frank purposeful article that pivots on the integrity and value of networks.

    Living still in an age of transaction over transformation, it begs the question about how and who can organise such a transformative network, and in so doing, in its early days have sufficient ‘capital’ (not necessarily monetary), integrity and ethics to successfully generate such transformative networks.

    A promising day awaits us, but in what year and at what cost or loss in the interim, particularly when you see the growing overarching power of transnational data specialists now publicly enabling a lime light on their vote and democracy shaping powers both sides of the Atlantic – the Cambridge Analytics, SCL, The Schmidt Family (Google).

    Will this form of super transactional power win over the benign ROI transformational power so warmly presented in this piece. Surely, in this form of journalism, we need more bite rather than just ‘pointing to’? That is not to say, one is not grateful for the ‘point’

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