TED Conversations

Tor Vegard Aksnes

Music Producer/Graphic Designer, Tor Ninja

TEDCRED 10+

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If we were to build a new society from scratch, how can we find the best designs to do so - and what are they?

- Open source information/collaboration technology
- Green tech designs with little to zero ecological footprints
- Scientifically optimised products for sustainable solutions
- Internet, robots, augmented reality, microorganisms, etc.
- Massive reductions in excessive consumption
- Well earned headroom to conduct desirable human affair

As a species with such vast technological insight, we have the opportunity to appreciate our planet, our conception, our consciousness and extraordinary cognitive abilities.

I'm not talking about being lifeless machines. Let's rejoice and laugh about our errors and mistakes. And for those with a biological disposition to worship, why not worship the sun, the planet, the body and the mind? In essence it is about better allowing ourselves to be human by improving society, with every colourful palette and diversity that may imply.

And here comes the real question:

Who are the thinkers and doers with brilliant ideas? How do we collectively extract their most important lessons, and how do we collectively puzzle them together to create the blueprint for a new society? How do we put the blueprint into practise without being regulated, taxed or sabotaged by preexisting governments?

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    Jan 5 2012: If you know about anything or anyone who might bring some light to this question, don't be afraid to speak up! Any information would be much appreciated.
  • Dec 28 2011: We reside in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and are a part of the Occupy Movement in the U.S. We are one of the last camps standing at this point and are in court to try and keep our space. You can find more information on occupypittsburgh.org that's our website. We have lived solely on donations the entire time and anyone is welcame. We have a guest tent, media tent, arts tent, library, childrens tent and kitchen. We rent portajohns for the bathrooms and run our lights off of batteries. Although it's cold out we have no heat but really don't miss it, we also have no electricity. We have 14,000 supporters in the city who bring us food and water and others who think we are in the wrong. Our goal is to get the corperations out of our government and vice versa, we are tired of having our lives run by these two entities. We are but a few among the many but will stand our ground and hopefully bring about some social justice and gain back some freedoms lost.
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      Dec 28 2011: I see, though your community doesn't truly reflect the vision I had in mind in my question, I support the Occupy Movement with all my heart. I think you have shown exeptional endurance and you inspire everyone who rejects the monetary system. Thank you!
      • Jan 10 2012: The occupy movement is artificial. It's made up of political groups who you referred to in your introduction when you said, "How do we put the blueprint into practise without being regulated, taxed or sabotaged by preexisting governments?"

        It's the governments that are behind the occupy movement. The problem with the economies today aren't the banks or the 1%, it's the governments. They have caused the problems in the first place. Most occupiers are sheeple doing the governments work. Unbind your mind, There is no time, to like the stamps, and paste them in, Discorporate and then, you can begin.

        The money is being financed through socialist, communist and control organizations. Don't kid yourself. Maybe read the book, "Road to Serfdom".

        The "monetary system" is all created by Government, not business.
        • Jan 13 2012: We rely on donations from the community and not organizations. We are not made up of political groups we are made up of a variety of people who want to see change. The sheeple are the people walking around thinking nothing is wrong. As for the government being behind the Occupy movement, if that's true then why have we had national security trucks monitor our every move. I suggest you read senate bill 1867 which we came out publicly about. Don't confuse Pittsburgh with New York, we are not the same.
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      Jan 13 2012: I hope you continue to hold out, it would be good propaganda to last thru the winter in an area that can claim historic ties to the valley forge stories of Americain Revolution, if you hold then in the spring I think the occupy DC event couild be huge.
      • Jan 13 2012: It has yet to go below 25 but I plan on staying all winter if the courts don't interfere.
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          Jan 13 2012: Occupy has a lot of details to work out I think but Its to be commended as a great begining. The fact that you all of you have done so much for so long is humbling to me. I am hoping to bring my six yearold son to DC to join in what I hope to be the pivitol events of the begining of the new century.
  • Dec 28 2011: What you are speaking of is an intentional community. I am part of one and everyone in the community figures things out by concensus and we all get along. We have been living together for 74 days and so far so good. We are all different with different opinions but we find common ground and run with it. Nobody is in charge or leads we dicide everything as a group.
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      Dec 28 2011: Where does your community reside? What you are doing is very relevant, at least psychologically. Are you publishing any official records regarding your challenges and experiences as a community?
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        Jan 21 2012: Tor, I believe these self-reliant, mutually-dependent coagulations of people figuring out how to live are popping up all over the place. The thing is, it's all quite a messy process and for the dozen that vanished yesterday, two dozen appear today. So trying to capture this general evolution in adopting the modes of operation you specify will be quite a challenge. There is the virtual canvas like this, then there is the agricultural canvas, the urban canvas, the political canvas--systemically, we are undergoing an overhaul of every corner of our lives by people with vision. It's just simply not a single narrative and certainly not a linear one. Nevertheless, it is breath-taking to watch renaissance in the midst of colossal decay.
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    Dec 28 2011: Tor Ninja,
    The "headroom to conduct desirable human affair(s)" will become a reality IF you can populate the new society with genuine followers of this philosophy :
    "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
    Luk 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
    Luk 6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also.
    Luk 6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again.
    Luk 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
    Luk 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
    Luk 6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
    Luk 6:34 And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
    Luk 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.
    Luk 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
    Luk 6:37 ¶ Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: " (Jesus Christ, circa 31 A.D.)
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      Dec 28 2011: As much as I personally despise the Bible, the passages you have chosen reflects something I call "Constructive Selv Conservation", which is crucial to understand in any truly civilized society.

      Constructive selv conservation is about investing in your surroundings and fellow sentient beings, in order to be regarded as a resource and therefore become externally conserved. If you help others, others help you.
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        Dec 28 2011: Constructive Self-Conservation. Am I correct to assume the constructive aspect is in reference to not being destructive to others in the process of being constructive in pursuing one's own wants and needs?
        If your goal is to start a (successful) new society from scratch I suggest you rethink your statement that "If you help others, others help you." It is an unfortunate fact of human society that some will hate you even when you do good to them. Some will curse you even though you bless them. Some will despitefully use you even though you pray for them. If humans are in the equation there is no such thing as "from scratch". Your society will have to deal with strife and misconduct. Remember that, Mr. Aksnes as you screen applicants for your new society.
      • Jan 10 2012: Have to basically agree with; "Remember that, Mr. Aksnes as you screen applicants for your new society."

        If you want to pick and choose, it will only reflect the mindset of the Picker and Chooser. Following the natural way of letting the cream rise to the top, is the only way to get true diversity and progress. Everything else is artificial. Why do people seem to think, CONTROL needs to be done to improve ones life.

        We think the poor only needs money and that will lift them up and solve the poverty problem. Nothing is solved until they solve it for themselves. The Government who wants to control, has spent trillions of dollars over the past 50 years to "save the poor". After all that money, after all of that control, our poverty level has gone up. Not down. Same thing in Europe, Same thing in Asia.

        If you want to start a new and exciting society, change yourself first. Become a person of virtues, character and truth. It begins with you. If you can't be that person, then how do you believe someone else will follow your lead?
  • Jan 27 2012: There is a technical solution out there! It is not simply about better houses or independent energy sources but about better government. Such a government should engineer the economy (having previously designed it better than it is today), so that certain presently ignored criteria are met. The most obvious of these criteria is about sustaining our lives at roughly equal levels so that the big differences between the rich and the poor cease to exist.
    The equality of opportunity or level playing-field has not been taken seriously although it was first proposed more than 130 years ago by Henry George (in his seminal book of 1879, titled "Progress and Poverty"). George claimed that the reason for the loss of dignity of the worker compared to the pride and detachment of his employer is due to the control of the natural resources and in particular (though not only) in the rights of access to land.
    Ownership of a useful site of land allows its access to be controlled. Whoever manages the right of access to that site, be it on arible land or on an industrial complex, this person controls and lmits who works there. The land owner does not even need to use his land, but its value is growing due to the effect of population growth. Speculation and monopolization of land values means that the competition for what is available and the amount of rent that its owner can charge, drives up the cost of its produce. Goods become more costly, demand for these goods shrinks and unemployment follows.
    So my ideally engineered government is one which makes land ownership a taxable necessity for a land owner, regardless of whether or not the site is being used. This tax is useful as an incentive to stop unused land being wasted. Other kinds of tax can cease. Such a society based on this principle will be much more prosperous as are the few places where the land is leased from the government. Hong Kong is an example, which has prospered because the level of opportunity has been made equal
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    Jan 25 2012: Excellent list Tor. Without trying to think in way out sci fi terms for a new society, i will try something that could be implementable. SO i visualize a new society within our current world, perhaps by inducting a new group that has the same intent of a free society and freedom into a NEW LARGE ISLAND NATION. This new society is not an alien being and like us just wants a better society than today. Since we start with the assumption that democracy will remain; one identifies just ONE error that needs to be corrected. In this new society EACH individual must be evaluated to establish IF he/she is qualified and willing to become an integrated part of this NEW society. So no one becomes a citizen because of birth or number of years or level of investment. A CITIZEN is one who is accepted by society (atleast as thorough as a popular golf club membership and this does not imply elitist). The NEW society has just one rule.
    THE SMALLER component (in this case the individual) DOES NOT have greater rights than the society.
    What we have learnt from this vurrent world is that trickle down does not work. It failed in economics and in democracy
    Today the world follows a charter written almost 250 years ago when the focus was to abolish slavery. The assumption and intent was that A FREE individual would result in a FREE society.
    What has happened is similar to economics where 2% control 80% of all wealth and will not push for a sustainable environment or allow society to become equal.
    Today a fringe minority does influence the lifestyle of the majority. The extreme opinion creates the most conflict. The biggest criminal can walk around free based on fear and terror to prevent any witness.
    The one that can afford the best lawyer can escape justice and so on.
    So i believe a NEW society with just an ENLARGEMENT in interpretation of todays democracy will change the world and solve almost all dilemma type problems because today special interest will not allow society to become equal
  • Jan 24 2012: Whatever the consensus, it will be despised within a very few generations. Every system will have trade offs; more of this, less of that, let's do this but avoid doing that, let's go there but stay away from the other place. In very short order our taboos will come to be seen as idiotic superstitions that must be done away with and rightly so. Change is the constant. All choices should either be made to serve our immediate, short term needs or have planned obsolescence built in so that transitions, no matter how extreme, are expected and welcomed.
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    Jan 21 2012: This is a very interesting question. In the film adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel, About A Boy, the film ends with the boy, Marcus, making an observation about modern life being too difficult - “even two parents are not enough, we need way more than that to get by“, he says.

    Perhaps “families” need to get bigger… to bring up children… care for the elderly… pay the mortgage/rent... stave off isolation and depression… share duties and to allow people “time off” to rest and recuperate.

    Perhaps Marcus is right - we need to redefine family life beyond the basic nuclear family, to include friendship groups - perhaps two couples plus their children living with a number of single parent families or single people.

    The Institute for Public Policy Research states that England is facing a "growing housing crisis", estimating a shortfall of 750,000 homes by 2025. Most of these units will be 2, 3, or 4 bedroom properties with no, or little, outside space. However, we could reduce this number considerably, perhaps down to 300,000 units, by building larger living units of 10 or 12 bedrooms with en suite shower / toilet rooms - three or four double bedrooms with 6 - 8 single bedrooms sharing one large kitchen, dining, living area and garden space.

    We need our homes to be responsive to changing circumstances so people don’t have to move home so often. Are modular prefabricated homes the answer? Could more bedrooms / shared space be added as "family" units grow?
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    Jan 13 2012: Perhaps the only way to begin a truly new society is to move ourselves physically outside the socities we have around us today. Maybe a place to start is by sending tele operatable robot construction machines to the far side of the moon(I am opposed to ever allowing development on the nearside)
    and having the infer structure for a new society slowly be built by time shared operators.
    The physical form of human buildings helps define and guide the type of society that we have, as much as the buildings are driven by our societies traits.
  • Jan 10 2012: Guess what we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Yes being brand new has it's charm. But if I were to start a new society, I would go back to the Federalist Papers and read them. Then I would adapt the constitution. Most people haven't even ventured with one of the Federalist Papers, let alone over 80 of them. Liberty and Freedom are the two basics to start any society. It's the foundation on which everything else can be built on.

    Now to address the authors questions.

    Who are the thinkers and doers with brilliant ideas?

    Everyone has the potential to be brilliant. To start to sort people out is not the best way to accomplish getting the best ideas. When one wants to separate or clarify the "Who's", it will be that person who selects these people. Let the people rise to the top on their own.

    How do we collectively extract their most important lessons, and how do we collectively puzzle them together to create the blueprint for a new society?

    We don't. Who is we. The socialist? The TEA Party? The politicians? The bureaucracy? Once again, let the cream rise to the top, naturally. When you put someone in charge of choosing, you'll just get a liked mined person.

    How do we put the blueprint into practise without being regulated, taxed or sabotaged by preexisting governments?

    This is a great question. The only way is to make sure the Government is them self restricted. Read the Federalist papers. The Constitution was designed to RESTRICT Government and not the people. Without this foundation, none of these ideas will ever work.

    Remember to build anything, one needs a good foundation. A good foundation promotes people and not the government. Government only gets into the way, reduces your freedom and restricts your life. Why would anyone want that?
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    Jan 4 2012: complex problems generally require complex, multi faceted solutions.
    A noticeable exception is “Grace”. Simple, undeserved, forgiveness Is the single most amazing gift we can give our fellow man. Forget the sins of the past; start fresh every morning with love in your heart. If you look back to the roots of animosity you will find insignificant (relative) wrongs responded to with hate and perpetuated by emotional memories that take on a life of their own.
    Enemies are manifestations of hate. Grace is the true wisdom of Christ; his gift to a self centered race that does not understand itself. Imagine a new society based on a mutually understood and practiced concept of Love and forgiveness. 7 Billion People working together for the common good. This may be what “heaven” is.
    The more we give the richer we get.
    One race: Human
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    Dec 30 2011: Hi Eduard
    Have you read "Lord of the Flies?"
    "Scratch" can lead to all kinds of mistakes. We must use the wisdom we have acquired over the ages to plan a society which can be successful and happy. I am sure it can be done. Efforts to make utopian societies have been tried, and are still being tried. We are still learning how to do it. Probably the greatest gift we get from the Internet is the ability to practice the creation of new societies.
    In the future, we will probably live in a world full of designed societies, some on the large cruise liner condominiums, some on floating islands, some in virtual self supporting but wide spread societies, some in undersea societies. Each will have advantages and disadvantages. Some people will feel that their comfort zone will be better served in one or another of these "utopioids" and the ones that work will survive and prosper. "Getting off the grid" will have a much more attractive sound when self sustaining societies of a variety of kinds are available. There is no way that a one-size-fits-all model will be the preferred one.
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      Dec 30 2011: Hi Joe:
      If you talk with me and if you don't:
      1)I'm not against making efforts to build the actual society . This is the basis of democracy.
      2)I'm not against of building a new society somewhere , where it's needed but unlike my first , to build a new society, a really new one , isn't possible in my opinion because : -as you said we are bound of our past ("We must use the wisdom we have acquired over the ages") , it causes us , it means that we are where we are due to all our past and in this case if 'new' means just a more developed stage of our actual society I agree with you , we have to make efforts for this society (this is my first from above) but if 'new' means for you something totally new (=from scratch) , I don't see how it is possible.
      3)according to my knowledge there is no better way of government than democracy .
      4)even in that new society there would be people who was educated in the old societies and will behave consequently in other words you won't have a so new society.
      5)you used the word 'utopian' and it according to what I know means an ideal society and not an new one : a)ideal societies aren't possible because are ideal , it doesn't mean that we don't have to make efforts for a better society
      b)ideal society may mean a society which had a not ideal past and reached a perfect/ideal form later and have this ideal form now. I don't know how old are you and on what part of the globe you lived in before the fall of Soviet Unions but then at that time it was said that the communist society has reached the ideal state after an history of fight and cruelty , it have been just propaganda, of course, and at it's beginnings many people believed that . The history proved my view , learn from it .

      So as a conclusion :don't confuse the idea of an ideal society and the idea of making efforts for a better society.
      Best
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    Dec 29 2011: "If we were to build a new society from scratch, how can we find the best designs to do so - and what are they?"
    From scratch or having all these :
    "Open source information/collaboration technology
    - Green tech designs with little to zero ecological footprints
    - Scientifically optimised products for sustainable solutions
    - Internet, robots, augmented reality, microorganisms, etc.
    - Massive reductions in excessive consumption
    - Well earned headroom to conduct desirable human affair "

    "Let's rejoice and laugh about our errors and mistakes." I really do man................. LOL LOL LOL .