About Brett


I was born at the center of North America to a Metis mother and average Canadian father. School was difficult in many ways, less mentally then conceptual but in the end it lead my to dear friendships that have ended up defined myself and my ideals. One friendship in particular that lead to my love of philosophy and science and another that help me believe in my self. With good fortune I was sent to a private high school by the school division. Someone in knew enough to look out for me and get me in the right place. I am eternally grateful for this act of kindness.
This school was was instrumental in my intellectual development, although I ended up skipping class to debate with my professors and classmates. Most notably the Dean who had a tremendous impact on me.
After graduation I took the first job available it was at a paint store. Although soul crunching it taught me allot about myself and allowed me to focus on philosophy and martial arts. At this point I was a disciple of a lineage disciple of the Shaolin Temple and I stared to learn Chan Buddhism. This man was an ex-solider and I learn more about violence. Then it came to a point were I could simply not get myself out of bed to go to work anymore and I decided to attend the University of Manitoba.
Although I had originally started out in Religious studies fascinated different ideas and worldview that I had never considered an odd circumstance lead me towards politics. While I was raised with man element of Cree/Metis culture and with many Ojibway friends being a big part of my life, the University introduced me to the deeper philosophical elements of my cultures.
I was given the opportunity to study with many wise Elders/Professors at the University even a Yogi. One in particular was a Dene Elder. His family had been able to live traditionally having escaped the direct effects of the residential school. Old enough to remember when Aboriginal ceremonies where illegal and race was reason enough to deny someone voice. He taught me the heart of the warrior, the heart of the Okichitaw. But I misunderstood.
Learning about Aboriginal culture lead me to Politics and I ended up getting involved with the Liberal Party of Canada eventually being nominated as the Director of Aboriginal Affairs on the Young Liberals of Canada Manitoba Executive. I learn that it is easier to gain power then make changes. While I ended up in a position of power ashamed at engaging in the kind of politics I had always deplored. The price was too high and I walked away.
My failure at handling power taught me something. That I lacked the ability to be steeled in my resolve that I was not enough of a disciplined warrior. That I had not sacrificed for freedom and justice. That I had not been on the ground doing the dirty jobs created by the stroke of a pen. I needed to feel the effects of decisions.
So I joined the Canadian Forces. I wanted to be a hero nobly defending the innocent. I wanted the discipline of a solider and I found it, however along with the pitfalls. I would love to speak endlessly about my experiences here however I believe according that to my contract I cannot write about my experiences for at least another two years.
It is during my experiences with the Canadian Forces that I finally put the pieces together and found true clarity of purpose leading me here where I can finally accomplish my original intent.
For this I feel gratitude greater then I had ever imagined possible.


English, French

Areas of Expertise

Political Science, Physchology, Open Goverment, organization development

An idea worth spreading

A web based global collaborative coordination point and knowledge base that facilitates high-quality content, innovation, coordination, content development, access to information, skill development/education and community creation, connects and optimize the development of projects, provide standardization that does not require centralized authority or coercion, increase the efficiency and reach of existing institutions, advancing the development/adoption of new industrial/economic models. The system it self would continual facilitating the development of tools for navigating and collating Information/opportunities within the system. Main governing structure would be a Per Task Liquid Democratic governing structure to delegate duties necessary for the maintenance and upgrade of the site. The entire system is designed to ensure to avoid exploitation. It allows for all structures to challenged and quickly replaced as necessary. Think Sun Tzu meets standardized digital Lego.

I'm passionate about

Ethics, Philosophy, Aboriginal culture, Science, Math, Psychology, Neuropsychology, Organizational Efficiency, Peace, Personal Development


University of Manitoba

Talk to me about

Open Government, Social Innovation, New Media, Wikis, Psychology, Innovation, Creativity, Art

My TED story

I really have no defining TED story but that it has been an oasis of rationality in my Prairie capital at the center of North America.

Comments & conversations

Brett McDowell
Posted about 4 years ago
Wealth and power have been our conventional measures of success. What definition will better sustain us now and how can we move into it?
Simple, society as a whole suffers from filter failure. Wealth and power are easily recognizable indicators of successful environmental adaptation. However a diversity of adaptation is not presented efficiently to society as a whole. For example: The majority of people would assign higher status and success to Brad Pit over Clay Shirky. We elevate what we wish to emulate. If people are given a wider spectrum of emulation there will be a more diverse definition of success as a society. Cree society had many elevated status that were very diverse and there was an emphasis on finding your gift. A person who had understood their gift and gained a level of mastery was seen as high status. Of course this was naturally tempered by its relevance to the society as a whole.
Brett McDowell
Posted about 4 years ago
Do you think nations ought to/need to rebrand occasionally? If so, how, how often and why?
Interesting, I wonder if the issue is that nation states are simply too fixed. If we had more flexible means of social advocation, collaberation and organization that played itself out on a global scale that the nation state would simply become less of a relevant as an institution. However Canada went through a period of re-branding with the adoption of the Maple Leaf and the Canadian Charter of Rights. I would say re brand when the current branding no longer serves the interests and reflects the realties/priorities of the nation.
Brett McDowell
Posted about 4 years ago
Reinventing government - what would it look like?
IMO I think democracy does not adapt as quick as society and technology. Therefore it creates developmental lag. Secondly democracy should occur in real time and be decided through being able to support or revoke your trust in a decision maker or project, since if we are frank with our current situation a real time assessment of campaign promises requires more research, time and impartial media then we currently have. It would provide an open knowledge base that would allow continual discussion and transparency down to the last detail. It would assist in provided and developing detailed standardized academic information for citizens to consult, along with the means to gain recognition for the knowledge they have acquired. Also I think it is important that there is structural competition for government departments as bureaucratic society has tendency to stagnate. Arguments would be presented tagged with logical aspects with references so they that we could accurately target illogical or fallacious information that is being presented. Citizens with an idea could formalize into governmental structure and then dissipate as necessary.
Brett McDowell
Posted about 4 years ago
What about doing away with politicians and voting online for all issues?
I tend to lean more towards liquid democratic voting system that would allow groups of users to place trust in individuals users or groups to accomplish those tasks. Additionally I think that would allow for speedier functioning and greater efficiency. It would be a terrible pit fall if now letting the system get bogged down by a lack of users willing to attend to a specific issue. I think there are allot of other systems that could be incorporated online as well such as municipal knowledge bases and various other social media could systems like task prioritization could be implemented. Though I can agree the conventional politician is no longer optimally serving the peoples interests.
Brett McDowell
Posted about 4 years ago
Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong
When we are presented with the scenario of the three options, ignorance of information, impaired cognitive ability and malicious intension. Does social conditioning from youth play a more significant role then the maintenance of social standing?