As observers within an informational universe, the inputs we receive shape our understanding of the world and others. When the individual perceives information, it changes them, altering perceptions in various directions and to different degrees. Better information leads to better decision-making for individuals and groups alike. Although we can never comprehend all possible alternative futures within a moment, information allows us to connect the dots between what is and what is yet to be. Information as one of the eight dignities focuses on expanding and protecting individual and group access to the world’s collective knowledge. It is a pathway to overcoming our crisis of information, truth, and trust while empowering the individual to fully express their being.
Information is one of the eight dignities because even the most capable individual is powerless to act according to their vision within inaccurate frameworks of information. Therefore, it is a call to expand access to and clarity within the information sources available to us. The merging of individual and system into a single self requires thinking critically about information to utilize what is necessary and discard the rest. Therefore, we seek to form a global cooperative of well-organized and easily accessible information, where anyone seeking knowledge can find the most advanced documentation available at any time in a unified and easy-to-digest format, free from cost or restriction. Wikipedia is perhaps one of the best examples of a global public work and fulfills the vital function of encyclopedic information. However, many forms of information are presently unavailable to the majority. By establishing the curation and proliferation of information as a component of human dignity, we commit to aligning ourselves with the single truth and the relational universe.
Throughout history, exclusive access to information has been a source of power and advantage. In a world of global systems prioritizing hierarchy and competition, information is a weapon, something to be used to create advantages over another. This is accurate through the lens of the corporation, government, university, religious organization, and the individual. Self-actualization in the age of crisis demands more of us than directing our imaginative powers toward the generation of competitive advantage. Information is the fundamental element of the universe. Our intentional direction of its flow is a cornerstone of systemic actualization and is in high alignment with the single truth. Moving toward a collaborative approach to information access and dissemination reduces its power over us. It provides a foundation for imagination to develop, for divinity to turn into creativity. It is another effort to free humanity from the stranglehold of our own creations.
Consider some of the real-world applications of economized and weaponized information. Today, most of our academic research requires payment for access. Both individuals and universities must pay to access publicly funded research. For added inequity, the fee remains identical for researchers outside of the United States despite differences in currency exchange rates—an unacceptable arrangement in a universe governed by the single truth. To actively deny those seeking knowledge based on economic status conflicts with our core values of relation and equity. Before his persecution, the activist Aaron Schwartz said, “It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.” There is a growing resistance within the academic community and by universities against the privatization of knowledge. Systemic actualization expands the sanctity of information access much further, of these efforts even further. Knowledge is a global public good, and all must be able to access it in all available formats.
The human time experience is assaulted by for-profit propaganda systems daily. Fake news of all categories proliferates our media. Depending on our individual political ideologies, the phrase likely conjures up some specific examples, but it comes in a wide variety of equally terrible shapes and sizes. The business model of all private media is manufactured consent. In theory, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A journalist seeking to shed light on corruption or highlight public inequities seeks to drive change by shifting public opinion. In practice, a small but extremely wealthy number of “news” conglomerates have forsaken analysis and commentary on factual happenings, shifting their efforts toward loose interpretations of events and unrelated conclusions designed to incite fear and anger. Sensationalism as a revenue source requires a consistent push toward more extreme rhetoric. It is a process that progressively desensitizes the individual and drives them toward fringe beliefs. It also encourages fierce tribalism, demonizing and dehumanizing fellow citizens because they dare imagine more.
Decades of deliberately misleading and misinforming people has compounded into a disturbing impact on the general populace. People are angry about things they don’t understand, which only upsets them more. These propaganda systems turn individuals against one another. Manufacturing division is an easy way to divide a population against itself, drawing their focus away from the root cause of the crisis. The primary purpose of weaponized propaganda systems is to distract individuals from the hierarchical division of meaning and value embedded into legal, economic, and social systems. As the revolutionary has said for centuries, if the majority understood the depths of depravity exercised by those in power, there would be no alternative to violent revolution.
The most impactful action any individual may take to proactively prune the information influencing their time experience is to avoid reading or listening to large for-profit media conglomerates. Engaging with them in any form is like smoking a cigarette; it may provide some temporary euphoria but in the end, you’re poisoning yourself little by little. Alternatives exist. Many local news sources and niche content creators are available. Plenty of podcasts offer academic approaches to evaluating and understanding the world. Applying stricter standards of information sourcing and commentary to large media corporations is one potential solution, but unlikely given their direct partnership with global political leadership. Consider also that censorship will be met with resistance, and rightfully so. Our objective in incorporating information into the eight dignities is not to develop some sort of ministry of truth; there is only a single truth. It’s also not an attempt to legitimize the cancellation of dissenting voices. Our commitment to the core values of flexibility and courage forces any individual actualizer to seriously consider and evaluate the merit of arguments out of alignment with their own, the exception being arguments in favor of the subjection of others, which shall not be tolerated. However, this doesn’t discount the need for more clarity in information sources and the rejection of those who sow discord for profit.
The information DAO presents an alternative. There are a variety of directions it may evolve into over time. If journalists believe there is a need, the information DAO might serve as the global public news standard, where participants opt into a strict set of professional standards with a focus on non-bias reporting of happenings. Another avenue might be the development of media literacy resources and collaboration with the education DAO to help proliferate the ability to identify and evaluate information sources. The information DAO may serve to primarily reinforce public efforts, such as the aforementioned Wikipedia and other information libraries independent of state control. It might also serve to legally support efforts toward a more cooperative competition, cataloging and disseminating technological progress. We seek a world of open technology, where every individual has access to the most advanced technologies of the moment to explore and tinker with their design. Presently, many of our greatest advancements are trapped within single organizations, hindering our shared progress and only serving to stagnate innovation and creativity. Our present arrangements create roadblocks to the free flow of experimentation and creativity. We can imagine a scenario where new technology is developed, patented, and brought to market. Patents now take the form of smart contracts, each customized with rights regarding the specific creation.
As the product or process enters a market, the patent spins off allowances for information DAO participants to begin work toward a public version. We can incorporate a variety of variables such as minimum guaranteed exclusivity time lengths, compensation structures, temporary access rights for outsiders, and many others into the design of the specific patents. With smart contracts, the release and dissemination of this information can be automated. These information access frameworks incentivize innovation while accelerating collective progress toward the public domain. Eventually, systemic actualization will cross a threshold where the majority will seek to create and innovate for no other reason than to express their divinity within the moment. Everything will immediately enter the public domain, and all will be better for it.
Whatever shape the DAO takes, we must cultivate systems of information that are free, open, and unbiased so that the individual can express a greater agency in their informational experience. Available technology and the collective pursuit of greatness empower rapid pathways to self-actualization in the age of crisis, breaking down hierarchies and barriers to access to information so that all may benefit from humanity’s collective progress. Embracing information as one of the eight dignities reflects our core values of equity, flexibility, awareness, enthusiasm, and courage. It is a pathway to ensuring that all possess access to the knowledge resources necessary to effectively direct their focus and energy. Providing access for all is vital to protect the individual who might struggle to escape their birth lottery. Information is a dignity all must possess so that we may most expansively unleash ourselves upon the universe.