Democracy is a fraud. Capitalism is a time-bomb. Corporations are cancer. As a result of these and other collective failures, the planet’s life support systems are in peril. Now what? How do we mitigate collapse and build toward a regenerative human society that coexists harmoniously with the rest of life on Earth?
The challenges we face are too complex to overcome from within any single status quo paradigm. No President, no CEO, no religious figure, no committee, no think tank, no brilliant radical can possibly imagine or orchestrate what needs to be done. As Nora Bateson put it, the kind of leadership needed now is liminal, distributed in mutual learning and in the relationships between things.
In the early days of the Internet, there were many who saw its potential to become a global nervous system, connecting us like cells in a brain, bringing distributed flows of information into a coherent yet unimaginable whole, so that together we could evolve into a wiser, more resilient collective organism. Would this kind of organism be smart enough to finally recognize its interdependence with the rest of nature?
That question was never answered, because instead of decentralized intelligence, we got centralized corporate greed. The Internet now is dominated by a few tech giants who operate within the stock market operating system, designing their products to be indispensable, addictive, insidious tools for advertising and mind control. One former Facebook executive said “the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.”
As an antidote to these centralized powers, Holochain (a small part of the larger projects Ceptr and Metacurrency) is creating the infrastructure for a truly peer to peer Internet. Unlike blockchain dApps, in a Holochain application, users own and control their own data while retaining their unique perspective. There is no monolithic ledger holding the single, universal Truth, but a fully distributed network of participants, each one sovereign, yet accountable to their communities.
Their intention is to enable new patterns of social coordination: new forms of distributed governance, and a rich ecosystem of current-sees, because true wealth is not quantifiable. The oceans are not worth $24 trillion. They recognize that money as we know it must change fundamentally, issued as mutual-credit by humans in their communities, not by banks as interest-bearing debt, nor by miners on the blockchain.
We need to fundamentally rethink our most basic institutions — the institutions that determine how we define and reward “productive” work, how we use our resources, and how we organize, communicate, and make decisions. For institutions (or decentralized collectives) to be sustainable, they must recognize that there are limits to growth. They must recognize that viable ecosystems cycle nutrients, creating zero waste. They must recognize that humanity is not an exception to the laws of nature, but part of a complex living system of interdependent beings.
My hope is that, one day, nations as we know them will become obsolete. The term “globalization” will be re-appropriated, taken away from the neo-liberal, planet-eating machine, given instead to the increasing awareness of our collective interdependence.
Will Holochain be a step toward this “globalized,” regenerative society? I don’t know. The odds are long. The powers are entrenched. The cancer is metastatic. And maybe I’m misguided, ignorant of the blind spots that prevent me from seeing how their vision is inherently flawed in some way. I have moments of doubt, but the obsession persists. The philosophy and intentions behind their work have given me hope for the future I’ve never felt before.
So I decided to start this blog, to report on news and document my evolving views on what Holochain and others are doing as the technology develops.
If you want to learn more about them, here are some resources to get you started:
Short intro videos
- How Holochain works, contrasted with blockchain.
- Asset-backed, value-stable currencies.
- Holochain explained in more detail by core developer Nicolas Luck.
- Clip of a conversation with Jim Cook, Mozilla CFO.
- Summary of Holo, the hosting application being built on Holochain.
Third-party projects in development
- Junto.love, a social network
- Core.Network, also a social network
- Producer’s Market, removing intermediaries in the food supply chain
- JustOne Organics, a dehydrated food producer.
- Bridgit browser, “quantum search.”
- ULEX, open source legal system
12 thoughts on “Why Holochain Gives Me Hope”
Thank you so much for this! It is so nice to hear someone else thinking what I have been thinking. This project has given me hope as well. I just keep looking around thinking… I think this is going to change everything. Is this going to change EVERYTHING?!? Is anyone else seeing what I am seeing?! I will be following. Keep posting pls!! ❤
Thank you for the encouragement! Nice to know I’m not the only one 🙂 ❤
I really really hope that this beautiful project gets off the ground as it really has the potential to change our world fundamentally. I would like, however to share with you a video I saw yesterday, just so that you know (if you don’t already) what we are up against. It is not a comprehensive video, but just gives a broad outline of the powers that are currently in tight control of this world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHbrOg092GA If the link doesn’t show for some reason, then the video’s name is: ‘CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government’
Thanks for sharing the video. Looks like a long one but I’ll try to take a look at it later.
Part of their intention, and what I hope will happen, is that the alternatives they are building will be so clearly better than the status quo, that it won’t play out like a “battle” with entrenched powers, but a kind of circumvention, then winning over of those who initially disbelieved because they see how powerful and useful it is. We’ll see 🙂
I hope you do get a chance to see it and take in the info (regardless of the style of presentation. It’s not exactly my style either).
I know and understand that the plan is not to do battle with the entrenched powers, but if this gains momentum and start being influential, then this intention won’t really matter much anymore because the entrenched powers will almost certainly see it as a threat to their tight control, and will almost certainly do EVERYTHING in their power to take you down (and they have pretty much unlimited power and resources at their disposal).
So all I am saying is please be ready for such a scenario, don’t let it take you by surprise.
My heart is with you and I deeply hope you succeed (and i’m sure millions and millions of others do as well), but I think you must be prepared that they won’t just go silently into the night. They will almost certainly come after you with everything they got. Not to scare you or anything, but just please be aware what you’re up against and be ready for that.
I really appreciate the word of warning, Daniel. I hope that the collective movement towards mutual care is stronger than the inertia towards mutual destruction. xoxo
You are indeed voicing the thoughts many of us have. Until Holochain, the challenges our world faces have seemed unsurmountable.
Then along came a technology that ticks all the boxes on such a fundamental level, that it actually might work…
Well written post. I am looking forward to your next one!
Thank you, happy to hear it resonated with you!
Hi again! I just approved your other post and saw it was posted again under a different name. I’ll delete this one so they aren’t redundant. Thanks again for your support!
Please make Telegram Channel and post news from your site here))
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been posting announcements of new articles in the official Holo Telegram, as well as on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. I guess if the site gets really popular it might justify having its own TG channel, but for the moment I don’t see the need.