If the aspects of cooperation we have explored so far sound distant, it’s because they are. But that’s only because we haven’t yet chosen an alternative direction. The present structures of spirituality and law support the inequitable organization of society into distinct hierarchies of class and caste. Birth lottery plays a significant role in our individual access and agency within the world because the systems surrounding us make it so. They uplift one group and actively deny another, reinforcing otherness instead of oneness. These philosophies of power maintenance by exclusion misalign with our knowledge of the single truth and the relational universe. Like many hurdles we must overcome to transcend the age of crisis, it is a question of meaning. When we consider and contrast the values baked into our current systems against those necessary to transcend the crisis, we understand the need for a change in direction. A significant component of self-actualization is the process of infusing our cooperative individuality into the systems we create and participate in. By doing so, we lay the groundwork for realizing systemic actualization.
All laws reinforce specific ways of being. Our foundational laws embody a precise vision of humanity. We are entering an era where it is within our means and capacity to create abundance. Yet the institutions we operate within resist transformation. We remain trapped by legal, economic, and social systems that force our humanity into a single form. Artifacts of our own creation cannot transform the human condition to the degree necessary to transcend the crisis. When we consider the revision of systems and the values they inject into societies, we observe that inadequacy is rarely enough to act as a catalyst for change. We refuse to act until a crisis occurs but can’t figure out why. It is our time sense, and cooperative systems transform it. Our journey toward self-actualization is a process of developing the values, beliefs, and systems necessary to expand access and agency for all individuals. We seek to realize the extent of divinity the collective human imagination possesses. To do that, we embed the ability to change seamlessly within the structure of the cooperative system.
Cooperative systems matter because structural limitations on innovation are the primary constraint of economic growth in the knowledge economy. We force this constraint upon ourselves by funneling creation through a single framework of organization. The challenge of developing a culture of cooperative innovation is the same humanity has faced throughout history. New innovations always threaten our existing institutions because they undermine established ideas, systems, and individual values. The established systems represent the past exerting dominion over the present. Our arrangements support the governing of social verticals by small unelected groups, who, when confronted with threats to their dominion, go on the offensive to stifle change. Technological innovations are often acquired by the powers they threaten before their benefits are fully realized. In some instances, these new ideas are invested in and cultivated. In others, they are tucked away safely and out of sight in order to maintain the status quo. All of our creations are artifacts of our own makings, able to be altered and changed at our discretion. The hierarchical, competition-centric organization of present-day society has brought the crisis to our doorstep and opened the door. Choosing to prioritize cooperative systems is the choice to shut the door.
Technological progress includes organizational innovation. Alternative legal constructs will reinforce our reimagined frameworks of meaning and value. Consider how much active resistance from the state we observe when the injustices embedded in our economic, legal, and social institutions are called into question by the masses. The hierarchical organization of systems is not intended to support collective stakeholders, so why bother with the charade that it can be a viable vehicle for change? It offers no alternative to transformation outside of large-scale protest, which is often met with militant aggression. This isn’t to say that all private organizations are bad or need to be abolished, but rather that this model is inadequate to support the development of the core collective systems necessary for systemic actualization. Change always threatens the established order, but we inhabit a universe of perpetual change. We cannot resist it and therefore must change our individual and shared approaches toward it. The age of crisis demonstrates that our scope of systemic innovation—good so long as it maintains existing power structures, bad otherwise—is inadequate for human transcendence.
So, what is a cooperative system? We can examine it from two perspectives. It is simultaneously a flexible set of legal innovations that allow for self-transformation and a global public good. Cooperative systems may exist in a variety of forms but at the very least serve to elevate the human condition through global public works. A cooperative system is flexible and may be centralized or decentralized in its implementation. Cooperative systems serve the collective and are structured in ways that prioritize shared greatness over individual accumulation. Cooperative systems can be created directly through decentralized autonomous organizations, or we can augment existing institutions with creative elements through legal modules that we’ll dive deeper into during our exploration of systemic actualization.
The cooperative system addresses the gap between the values we embrace through our acknowledgment of the single truth and the relational universe and those the present systems project onto us through our interactions with them. Another foundational aspect of the cooperative system is the elimination of dogmas surrounding them. Infusing cooperation into the institutions governing society is an effort that will never be enough for humanity. Future moments will demand more. Where the cooperative system shines in comparison to our present arrangements is in its ability to evolve. Public works encompass the primary purpose of cooperative systems within our immediate present, addressing the individual and collective needs necessary to empower individual actualization for all. They are stakeholder owned and operated, and while they may be arranged with a variety of voting and authority schemes, they all provide a direct stakeholdership to participants.
Cooperative systems, as seen through the lens of spiritual philosophy, serve each person with individual elevation through the guarantee of basic material security as a human birthright. They are the direct path toward transitioning individual inheritance from dynastic wealth to societal wealth. Social inheritance as a birthright empowers the collective to significantly reduce the power that birth lottery possesses over our individual destinies and strikes at the heart of the hierarchical organization of society. When considered through our sources of meaning and value, cooperative systems and the social inheritance they support diminish the priority of maintaining the status quo as a source of power maintenance—especially for those who seek to do so despite not reaping the benefits. Through the transition to cooperative systems, we eliminate the idea that the purpose of life is to build wealth to pass on after death, reframing the power of capital to dominate others. Removing human security from work and money is a profound transformation of the human condition, a healthy and holistic step toward the creation of a self-actualizing society.
Cooperative systems are an embrace of individual infinity, a recognition that the universe is ours to manipulate in the direction of our choosing. We develop networks of cooperative systems at the local, state, national, and global levels as direct paths toward strengthening all. Removing our reliance on labor as a requirement of basic material security ensures that the benefits of existing in an era of abundance are not tied to specific forms of work. We also reject any form of tenure or earning of these social protections. They are ours as a birthright, determined as such because we deem it so. Like every other law and philosophy that argues otherwise, our creations are ours to manipulate as we see fit. To maximize individual actualization and lay the foundation for systemic actualization, the expansion of human rights must become universal and independent of personal circumstances. We establish the systems supporting these protections beyond specific places and spaces, including frameworks to eliminate the risk of loss due to frequent bouts of social, technological, and political change we will continue to undergo. Additionally, when the need arises, we expand the scope of what qualifies as a right to meet the needs of the moment. Our crisis of productivity and participation is fueled by the expanding division between individuals that is primarily determined by birth lottery. The expansion of cooperative systems in the form of social protections is a solution to the crisis of productivity and production, one that aligns the individual’s efforts with their creative powers within the moment.
Embedding cooperative systems into the values that we hold sacred is an act of resistance against the extreme concentration of resources by the few. An encroaching agenda is being pushed for a future where individuals will own nothing and be happy. Now we can imagine a scenario within a systemically actualized society where this is real and immensely beneficial to the population. Through the spread of cooperative systems, individuals are born into a world where they own nothing while at the same time owning everything. Each possesses a variety of fractional ownership and governance based on the focus and energy they contribute to specific social and productive verticals, ensuring access and agency for all. In this scenario, the demand for personal ownership significantly decreases because everything is accessible to the individual.
However, this is not the intended interpretation of this narrative. We can see the hyper-accumulation of large multinational corporations' traditional starter assets such as homes. Their efforts do not push for cooperative humanity but attempt to lock us into an inescapable competitive landscape, where the few have legal rights to the vast majority of property and perpetually seek rent from the majority. The self-actualizer rejects this vision of humanity entirely and seeks to eliminate its proliferation through a variety of means. It is a human narrative in complete alignment with the hierarchical systems of meaning and value presently guiding society toward the crisis, but one incompatible with the single truth and the relational universe.
Expansive programs like the ones we will explore are not improbable, feel-good narratives. They are achievable within the immediate present and necessary to transcend the age of crisis. Still, we should consider the unintended consequences. What happens if expanding our vital protections and rights calcifies specific forms of living that resist the changing nature of the universe? Could the establishment of global social programs and more flexible legal institutions lead to a counterculture that attempts to leverage these change-rooted arrangements to isolate or oppress others? It depends on how far we are willing to go to guarantee individual rights. Global systems with public stakeholdership will be complicated, if not impossible to revoke, given the consensus mechanisms built into them. They are designed from the ground up to be governed and directed by individual stakeholders, not specific nation-states or oligarchic cliques. However, there will be no way to stop individuals or small groups from opting out of the benefits.
The challenge is not that the individual chooses not to engage with global systems of security, but rather their denial of the other’s ability to do so. Specifically, if an individual opts out, do they also possess the right to deny their children access to these networks? Our traditional hierarchical vision of the universe supports the idea of children as property, but the single truth and the relational universe extend to them divinity and value equal to all others. Universal rights are not free of responsibility. The group that seeks to selectively deny members access to aspects of these protections risks alienating themselves from other benefits. We can imagine this being common within fanatical or orthodox religious sects attempting to enforce a single, static view of the world within their communities. Ultimately, our ability to ensure access and agency to the individual will never be perfect in its scope and reach, but by ensuring pathways of escape and security, we eliminate many of the fears and struggles that escaping isolationist groups present to individuals.
The counterargument against cooperative systems is that they may impact the power and influence of the few who hold the most. People whose survival is independent of any specific occupation will not be bound to their agendas and will. It is an uninspiring and unfounded critique of our transcendent vision of humanity, but one we should expect to hear in various iterations. At its foundation, our objective in separating security from productivity is to create individuals who are unafraid. Unafraid of their doubts and desires, unafraid to question and challenge their dogmas—individuals who are unafraid of death because they fully embody life within the moment.
When the high costs of failure no longer burden our paths, we become more alive, more human. Belief in and support of cooperative systems is fundamental to progressing human alignment toward the single truth, both because the crisis demands it and because it is the most logical form of individual and collective organization in a universe where the nature of time is changing. We must give ourselves permission to experiment and fail, then encode those values into sets of legal, economic, and social arrangements. We hear so much about innovation and knowledge economies, but what about knowledge individuals? It begins with us being unafraid to take more active roles in the individual and collective direction of our soulcraft. We believe cooperative systems to be moral, just, and right because they are devices of our creation whose sole purpose is to elevate the individual and collective alike.