Ten Points to Introduce a New Public Mind

  1. The informed public mind that democracy depends upon can no longer be achieved through public news and discourse produced through contentious economic, political, and social interests. 
  1. In the 21st century—in the Anthropocene—humanity is united for the first time by a public need to know physical, biological, and cultural realities as creator-drivers of those realities (who are also created by them). This position is a new position. With it comes a new need to know.
  1. A new philosophy of public mind is called for as design of the next internet/web3 takes off. Recapitulating old paradigm ideas of public mind—where a logic of human harm-benefit dominates—would be a grave misstep.
  1. Changing the news is humanity’s #1 imperative, the trim-tab of our time. Turning public attention and curiosity to physical, biological, and cultural realities, frees the public mind to ask questions essential to learning, essential to ethically-charged discourse, and essential to wise action. 
  1. While some argue that humanity already knows or seeks to know physical, biological, and cultural realities, such an argument ignores the default nature of questioning produced through economic, political, and social interests. In truth, the science that gets done is the science that gets funded, which is almost exclusively driven by financial, commercial, and military interests. In truth, the primary public interest in the earth’s atmosphere, oceans, rivers, landmasses, and biota—the fundaments of planetary life—remains fixed on losses and damages to human life, jobs, and property. In truth, indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing remain off-radar unless useful to natural resource management or human rights campaigns. Assumptions that humanity is freely pursuing scientific inquiry, is free of blinding self-interest, or freely engages extant ways of knowing, are wrong in every way that counts to an informed and self-informing public mind in today’s world.
  1. How could a public mind look at physical, biological, and cultural realities in their own terms and conditions? What questions would be conceived and pursued? What ethical yield would arise? To all such queries, the answer is surprisingly simple. As simple as asking what one will see, objectively and subjectively, when attention is turned to realities under one’s nose that were previously ignored, dismissed, backgrounded, or simply unimagined. The full reality of a child, a mountain, an ocean, a gut biome, internal and external electromagnetic energies, and so forth, emerges in the present moment. Human curiosity—legitimized and magnified by a shared need to know—takes off. Who is this being? What is this ecology in its soundscapes and species, weathers and chemistries, perhaps its exchange of ions? What is going on in the middle ground between observer and observed? What emotional conditioning obstructs or distorts perception? What kinds of perception are possible? Which tools are useful? The significance of such learning is nearly inestimable. Ethical capacities surpass the ethics of human harm-benefit. Human-centrism is replaced by relational intelligence. Discernment for wise action flows in all directions, bottom-up, horizontally and vertically, free of crippling resistance. Wise action becomes common sense. 
  1. The question of how We, the People, will choose to mediate the world to ourselves, is a question of evolutionary consequence. What We, the People, determine to be the most important news and discourse of our time is determinative of what We, the People will pay attention to, think about, support through consensual action, and expect representatives to represent. Starkly put, the aims and goals of today’s public mind stand at an evolutionary crossroad. Either the public mind remains passively informed by contentious economic, political, and social interests, or the public mind equips itself through internet/web3 with a new level and kind of learning key to the enlightenment of creator-drivers of physical, biological, and cultural realities. 
  1. Today’s economic, political, and social chaos worldwide—much-exploited and over-determined by powerful parties—is precisely what can be expected at the end of a paradigm that no longer functions. The paradigmatic aims and goals of an economic, political, and social worldview no longer serve. In philosophical terms, the ‘know-what’ and the ‘know-how’ crucial to ethical life, the life of the mind, the informed public mind of a democracy—all of which organize and govern—are being and will continue to be mis-identified. 
  1. A new paradigm—a physical, biological, and cultural worldview—is not just an idea, it’s an idea that can be birthed. Designing the next internet/web3 to equip every person with the capacity to question (or join in questioning) what is going on within physical, biological, and cultural realities, is, one could say, the greatest and most urgent design-work that can be imagined.  
  1. As social media crashes and burns, reduced in many ways to a cacophony of old paradigm voices, a new and acute hunger is rising. People want to come into alignment with the questions that matter, that inform action, that recognize the creativity possible between humans and earth. Building a mind media that mediates physical, biological, and cultural realities, is exactly what needs to be built. 

Casey S. Walker, November 2022

Copyright 2022—current, Casey S. Walker All Rights Reserved.

September 3, 2020

Opening Salvo:

Today, I feel a searing tenderness for all the grief I’ve lived through over 64 years, and savor the somewhat improbable fact that I am rancor-free. During last week’s fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains, it occurred to me that if I were a tree, I’d be a redwood. Fire-resistant, many-storied—eyeing the ashy, mulchy ground down below and seeing a nursery.

But, I drive a hard bargain. As do many who’ve lived and worked with the creeping sense that the center of our worlds as we’ve known them—the whole of economic, political, and social life, the collective histories of humans on earth—cannot hold much longer. No institution, expertise, or display of human decency can fix what isn’t working. No amount of exposure, accountability, or reform can get down into or reverse the tsunami of precarity upon precarity already too long in motion.

Which brings me to the intellectual vein I’ve been working for years: As an editor, I could see from the get-go that determining content meant having a strong handle on what the public mind needs to be thinking about. Get that wrong, and not much else can be gotten right. In literary terms: ask the wrong question—or fail to ask the right one—and the plotline of human action will move inexorably toward tragedy. Obliviousness is fatal.

Which brings me to the point of this letter: In every way that counts, obliviousness is where we’re at in America, and obliviousness is where humans are at on earth. It’s 2020, and the vast majority of us are stuck asking questions of vanishingly small yield in a world that is burning, flooding, fighting, and dying before our eyes.

What does the public mind need to be thinking about? What questions ought we be asking? The prevailing idea has remained the same since the inception of news journalism. An informed public mind—one that can achieve democracy—is a public mind exposed to the best, most penetrating investigations, debates, and analyses that can be mustered from the goings-on in the public square: economic, political, and social life. Hold abuses of power to public account and uses of power will be improved.

Here’s the snag: The event horizon of today’s physical, living planet and of human cultural existence, is an event horizon that can’t be found in such a public square. It doesn’t exist there. It exists elsewhere—and is certainly not the focus of news editors’ attention. The questions that would and could be conceived there cannot begin to form or self-assemble.

Here’s where I’m going: Now’s the time to shift event horizons. Now’s the time to see that humanity’s event horizon has, indeed, already shifted. It shifted the moment we saw that nature isn’t so much happening to us, as we are happening to nature. Climate change, biome change, viral change, cognitive change—all of it—are changes occurring downstream from human actions that are, from the start, uninformed.

Radical shift: The time for a new idea of public news media is here, now. Despite everything humans know about the physical, living world, we cannot see what’s going on there. We’re flying blind. Reeling from crisis to crisis. Daily changes taking place in the earth’s atmosphere—and in oceans, on land, through migrations—are, at best, seen as problems that can be managed through markets, laws, and labor policies.

It’s not the worst of public news media that’s our problem, it’s the best. It’s not fake news that drives obliviousness, it’s so-called real news. We are in a public news paradigm crisis. Our eyes are on the wrong event horizon. We fail to ask questions that need forming. We persist in the paradigmatic assumption that events of greatest significance—and the greatest abuses of power—occur in economic, political, and social realities.

None of our old paradigm assumptions holds true. The most significant events occur in the physical, living world. The greatest abuses of power occur each time a person—an editor, a writer, reader, viewer, or listener—abdicates the questioning that’s called for.

In a world more nonsensical with each passing day, the trick is to avoid meltdown. The trick is to see that non-negotiable shocks may be waking us up, even slamming us against the wall, but are not the point. The point is we’ve reached end-paradigm.

Persevere, of course. But each of us lives, now, in the real world of the Anthropocene (or Aquarian Age, Moment of Evolutionary Pivot). It’s time to radically reinform economic, political, and social life with knowledge that cannot be seen or imagined there. It’s time to see the fate of earth and the fate of democracy as one and same. The enemy is not authoritarianism, it’s an uninformed public mind.

Which brings me to the single greatest opportunity I see at this precise moment: The design and construction of an online platform—public mind media—tuned to physical, biological, cultural existence as the event horizon of greatest public importance.

Innovators commonly say it’s easy to overestimate what can be done in two years, and easier still to underestimate what can be done in ten. Once a creation is set in motion, it can easily gain a life of its own. By this I mean to say: The timetable for ecological collapse need not be daunting. The timetable for democratic collapse need not be daunting. What could be achieved in ten years is downright dazzling.

I am here to serve. Offer guidance. Lead as necessary. One thing is certain: we need to get to work, and not in a small way. Early angel investment is called for—investment equal to the scale of building a news media platform. And early intellectual investment is called for—intelligence equal to the challenge of birthing a new paradigm.

Join me in creating such a platform. Ask how you can contribute intellectually or financially.

Casey S. Walker
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