What are we really trying to do at the P2P Foundation, along with many other similar movements ?

One of the best ways to express our underlying philosophy is here very well expressed by John Ringland, who, using complexity theory insights, distinguishes ‘generative cooperative networks’ from ‘generative adversarial networks’.

We recommend reading the following text carefully, for an understanding of these dynamics.

From GAN’s, via GHN’s, to GCN’s?

John Ringland: It is no accident that as a civilisation the sophistication of our adversarial capacities far exceeds the sophistication of our cooperative capacities. Our historical path and current situation have made it this way, but the balance is changing.

There are two main generative processes underlying biological and cultural evolution and more broadly the evolution of any population of interacting adaptive agents.

A GAN (generative adversarial network) generates more sophisticated means of coercing and exploiting each other; based on the capacity to control. E.g. a nationalist arms race generating advanced military-industrial-media complexes, and all that comes with these.

A GCN (generative cooperative network) generates more sophisticated means of understanding and supporting each other; based on the capacity to nurture. E.g. a peaceful society generating harmonious networks of unified groups aligned around common needs and goals, and all that comes with these.

  • GAN → power over, held together by competitive interactions.
  • GCN → power with, held together by common needs and goals.

Real world systems are a complex mixture of these two principles. For instance, in a forest each multi-cellular organism is a highly refined GCN comprised of trillions of cells. Advanced organisms also live in complex family or social groups which are also GCNs but less tightly integrated. There may also be weak inter-species cooperative networks.

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