The following is a rough transcript which has not been revised by The Jim Rutt Show or by Peter Limberg. Please check with us before using any quotations from this transcript. Thank you.
Jim: Howdy. This is Jim Rutt, and this is The Jim Rutt Show. This is a special episode of the Jim Rutt Show. I appear on Peter Limbourg’s Stoa Show, and I asked him some questions, he asked me some questions and his audience gets involved. Hope you’ll enjoy it.
Peter: Everyone, welcome to The Stoa. I am Peter Limberg, the steward of The Stoa. I’m viewing this as a place, not just to practice and talk about stoicism, but a place for anyone to come and cohere in dialogue, but what matters most at the knife’s edge of this moment. Today, Jim Rutt is here, the lovable Jim Rutt, who currently is running the excellent Jim Rutt Podcast or The Jim Rutt Show Podcast. How today came about is I was talking to Jared Janes, who is the producer of The Jim Rutt Show, and we were talking about cultural stuff and how it’s heating up in interesting ways. Jared was mentioning this let’s goes back to normal narrative that has been occurring that he’s been seeing on Twitter and whatnot, and a term just came to my mind, game A fundamentalism or game A fundamentalists.
Peter: So Jim, I tweeted that out, and Jim reached out to me and said that he’d like me to come on his podcasts to do one of his extra shorts. And I said, “Hey, let’s do some game B collaboration. I’m full-time doing this Stoa thing right now, so how about we just combined the two and then you come here and we have a chat about it?” And then he agreed. So how today is going to work is that Jim mentioned his thoughts about this game A fundamentalism and COVID. We might have a brief exchange, and then we’re going to open up to Q&A to the group. How that’s going to work, if you have a question for Jim or even me, just write it in the chat box and then I will call you and you just unmute yourself and ask it to Jim. If you want me to read it on your behalf, just indicate that in the chat as well.
Peter: There’s one thing, with that tweet… I’m going to see if I can share this in the file. With that tweet, I sent this meme, it’s in the chat box, and I think it’s some graffiti from China. It basically says, “We can’t return to normal because the normal that we had was precisely the problem.” So with that, I’ll hand it over to Jim for some opening thoughts.
Jim: Hey, thanks Peter. Thanks for asking me to be on The Stoa. It’s been great work that you’re doing, as we talked earlier. There are so many people who are physically isolated, particularly those isolated by themselves for whom these kinds of fora are unbelievably valuable. Myself, I’m very fortunate that I’m with my beloved wife and my daughter and her husband, and four of us are having, frankly, too good a time together up here in the mountains. But I know a lot of people are struggling, and so any kind of social interaction, the conviviality that can be brought together over the internets is that wonderful thing. So thank you for your good work.
Jim: Yes, I was quite taken with your quote, and it fit in fairly well with a conceptual framework which I’m developing for the back side of COVID. When we think about complex dynamic networks, particularly social networks, we can think about two ways they respond to a probe or a shock. In network theory, dynamic network theory, we can think of those two as homeostasis, which is the tendency to return to the state that you’re in. Consider the human body. Life itself, I would argue [inaudible 00:03:47] argued, is measured by its homeostasis, particularly on the couple of seconds or minute level of gases, oxygen, CO2, nutrients, toxins that circulate real time. Most shocks to the human body result in homeostasis. So for instance, you get a cold, your immune system reacts, defeats the cold, you return to where you were.
Jim: On the other hand, a bullet through the heart is a hysteresis event. The cycles break down, the oxygen and CO2 no longer circulate, the toxins and the nutrients, and you transform from being a living organism to a pile of rotten meat. So that’s a hysteresis event. There are things in between. A cold you’re fully recover from, you get your leg cut off in a farming accident, well, you’re not going to grow that one back. That’s a hysteresis event, and you will have a very different life trajectory afterwards. Now, we can apply the same thinking to our social economic operating system.
Jim: This COVID-19 event is a major shock, certainly the most major shocks since World War II, at least in the West. To what degree will the response be homeostasis, the tendency for the network to re-weave itself back together the way it was, and to what degree will it be hysteresis, that is, the tendency be knocked into a new trajectory that is not predetermined by the gestalt of what we call a game A. When I saw your quote, I said, “Ah, this is very interesting,” because as we know, Peter has done this extraordinarily interesting piece of work. I don’t know what was it, a year and a half ago where he delineated the tribes. I refer people to that document all the time. It is such an illuminating document, makes you think about the world in a really, truly different way. It’s really a profound and important document and we’ll put a link to that document up on the podcast version of this conversation. I was thinking, “Ah.”
Jim: When we think about society… While these tribes are artificial, they’re not real, people don’t really live in these tribes, they are a very useful way to think about it. One of the big forces for homeostasis, i.e, the world going back to where it was, will be aptly named group coined by Peter, game A fundamentalist. I guess I should take a moment here to put my cards on the table. I’ve been working along with a number of other people, large number of other people, on something called game B since 2013 where we are attempting to craft a alternative narrative and alternative socioeconomic political operating system that is not game A, that is designed to help people live a life of self actualization that’s based on radical transparency, self-organization, decentralization, network centricity and longterm meta-stability, unlike our game A, which we’d argue is headed towards the cliff sometime this century if we don’t change.
Jim: So, count me as about as anti game A fundamentalist as possible. I’m a person who would prefer that this shock be used constructively to move our socioeconomic operating system towards a new basin of attraction, which is distinctly not game A, and let’s call it game B. However, it’s important to acknowledge that probably 90% of the people, at least, would prefer… at least they think they prefer, if they have not been shown an alternative, that we survive this shock and that game A returns to a business as usual, and we spent all of our time collecting shiny objects and living a life of a status through materialism and positional goods.
Jim: So I think it’s very, very useful to make explicit this concept of game A fundamentalists. At least for my purposes, and I would encourage other people who think like we do, the game B people, to think about, how do we help convert game A fundamentalists to game B radicals? So those are my reactions to Peter’s provocative coining.
Peter: So here’s what’s coming to mind. So I think I have a decent sensitivity to the narratives that are at play, the ideologies or the philosophies in the wild, not in the textbooks, but are happening on the Twitter, on the internet and stuff like that, and also kind of leaning into the emotions and then the states surrounding those narratives and fueling them. I like that distinction you made of the homeostasis versus the hysteresis. It’s almost like two narratives are emerging from this kind of like uncertain, liminal space that we’re in. It’s like team homeostasis and team hysteresis. I haven’t been tracking in the last couple of days, but I’m curious if you’re seeing these teams come to head.
Jim: Truthfully, I haven’t seen shit the last couple of days. As I mentioned, I take a two day internet sabbatical over the weekend, and I’m going to recommend that as an unbelievably powerful practice. Used to do it, been doing it for a year and a half, but then probably starting in early February, I’ve been wallowing in this stuff on the internet. Truthfully, if I look at the incidents of cases in Bangladesh, what the hell can I do about it? What does it tell me? Not much. But I shouldn’t have wasted a lot of time on it. But prior to that, I could look back and say the people in the game B world and in the broader, what we call the big change movement, the people regenerative ecology, the world in crisis people, they all see this as a real opportunity. Both a tragedy and an opportunity. However, what I would say, people, the average person who follows their nose through life, which is most people, are fervently hoping that this is just a blip and that life goes back to normal.
Peter: I’m curious to the closing thought that you had about, how do we come into dialogue with the game B fundamentalists or the people that are being influenced by them? Do you have any thoughts on how we might be able to do that?
Jim: This is, unfortunately, where game B is a little behind the curve. We did not expect this crisis to occur so rapidly. We expected a crisis, but of course, being a complex adaptive system, the predictability such crisis are almost zero. We don’t know when or where they came, but they came a little before it would have been nice. Because unfortunately, we do not yet have the kind of popular narrative about game B that would’ve been really good to be able to point out that, here’s our six minute video that explains what an alternative way of organizing society looks like. So the best we can do is kind of freelance it.
Jim: So unfortunately, probably we can’t, right now, use this as the transition event. But what we can do is grow the cadre, find people who are proximate, who are not game A fundamentalist. I think that’s a distinction, that are game A fundamentalists who are not reachable right now. But there are other people who are following game A through inertia. This is an opportunity to point out that this is just another manifestation of how broken game A is. A society organized in the game B’s way so that things are modular and localized would have been very easy to stop this. If a hotspot occurs in a game B world, we would say, “All right, shut down module New Rochelle,” and New Rochelle would have been evolved to be very self sufficient, had stockpiled plenty of material and food to get by for six months and would’ve been in no a great hardship to just snip the connections to New Rochelle and to internalize it.
Jim: Unfortunately, a world defined only by money and money return efficiency, which is the nature of game A, inevitably builds all these highly complex cross-links, which are, in nominal money-on-money return, efficient, but they are not either robust or resilient. Communicating that concept, frankly, we’re not ready to communicate it to the masses yet, but we are ready to communicate it to the ears who will hear. So I see this as an opportunity to grow the contrary from few tens of thousands of people to maybe a few hundreds of thousands of people over the next 90 days.
Peter: Yeah, I like that a lot. Like you said, the game A fundamentalists, some of them might be… we can’t reach them or like we’d put [inaudible 00:12:42] and blue church priests. That’s not the audience that we want to reach. But there’s this term… In The Stoa, someone was talking about how much of the apocalypse memes are happening right now, and the etymology of the word apocalypse is to uncover, to reveal, and we’re hitting contact with reality quite hard right now and lot of the bullshit’s being revealed just like… case in point, my wife, she gets to work from home, she works at a university and then she’s loving it. She’s getting more work done, she’s enjoying life more instead of driving like an hour to work, all these useless meetings just to work like two to three hours a day type thing. So just little things, little scripts are being revealed as not necessarily as a lie. I think this is an opportunity to kind of lean on that.
Jim: Absolutely. I’ve been predicting it, and frankly, in doing things like adjusting my investment portfolio, because I believe there will be a series of mini hysteresis. For instance, business travel, what a fucking waste of time, energy and depletion of our atmosphere, flying from New York to San Francisco for a one hour meeting, which I have done countless times in my life, though typically not New York, either Boston or Washington. We should have stopped doing as much business travel as we’ve been doing eight or 10 years ago once the internet got really fast and stable and we got good tools. Now that everybody is using Zoom or Skype or WebEx or what have you, they’re going, “What the hell were you doing zipping around the country? How annoying is it to go from a horrible airport to a beige hotel, to an Uber, to a generic conference room and back, spend 36 hours and $3,000? Fuck that shit.” Right?
Jim: I’ve been doing five to 20 Zooms a week now for the last year, and I think that habit will be spreading exponentially. So that mini hysteresis will certainly occur. The other thing, which… As I was thinking about this, this morning, I wish I’d said it earlier, but I’ll say it now, which is this uncovering. I love that. I did not know that was the root of apocalypse. But think about the fact that we are having ourselves personally evolved by the shock. The analogy I came up with… It may or may not be true, but seems true, so what the hell? Think of the ’60s, which really started rolling in about 1965 slowly, then exponentially by ’67, then went crazy into the early ’70s. There were two huge shocks to, especially, American society where the ’60s really took off. The first was the Cuban missile crisis. The Cuban missile crisis outline the absurdity, the literal insanity of the nature of game A at that time, two super powers were 30,000 nuclear missiles pointed at each other’s big cities.
Jim: And then the second one was the Kennedy assassination. Here it was, the hope of change suddenly cut down and then co-opted by a classic political operator, Lyndon Johnson, who did do some good, but was certainly not a JFK. I have long believed that those two events shook the soul of many Americans, not all Americans, not even a majority, and that that was the seed which sprouted a couple of years later into the ’60s. So if we think of the shocks that are happening to our souls… And these are the biggest shocks that have happened to the souls of individuals since World War II. I’m going to say they’re bigger than either the Cuban missile crisis or the Kennedy assassination or 9/11.
Jim: Even if they don’t produce the game A to game B transition right now, they are opening people’s eyes. They’re giving them ears to hear in ways that they had never heard before. Not only can we recruit a cadre of maybe 10X more in the next three months, but maybe 10 or 15% of the people have had their cognitive apparatus primed for bigger challenges to game A.
Peter: Right, right. So I’ll make one more a statement or question and then… So if anyone has a question for Jim, just write it in the chat box and then I will either call on you or I’ll read it on your behalf if you’d like me to read it on your behalf. So the last thing I’ll share, I want to see how this lands for you. John Vervaeke, my friend John Vervaeke was on The Stoa last week, and he said something boldly. I never heard him talk like this. He says he wants to steal the culture away from those who have been abusing us for so long. And I was like, “Ooh.” Just that phrase, steal the culture. Because we can’t win by playing the previous game. That Joe Montana quote comes to mind, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” So why try to win a crap game or kind of like a pathologically designed game? So I’m curious, how does that phrase land for you, steal the culture?
Jim: I absolutely love it. I think that’s exactly right. It’s what we’ve been trying to figure out how to do slowly but surely in the game B world. We’re not going to go head to head with the blue church and start the green church or anything like that, we’re going to instead operate in a decentralized, self-organizing, network centric fashion. If we can grow, I would say grow the alternative culture, maybe it’s a little bit better than steal the culture. Though, though, I’m going to stop and say maybe the events of this magnitude may allow us to steal the culture, and may that may be that we call the short journey to game B.
Jim: I recently wrote an essay in Medium called A Journey to Game B, which laid out the non-apocalyptic road to gain be over 60 years. I promised in that essay to also write the short road to game B, which is around an apocalypse. While this may not be quite extreme enough apocalypse, it might be. So it’s worth thinking about. But I would say growing the alternative to the culture may be a little bit more accurate, but the end result is the same, that the trajectory, the world line of culture has to move to a new basin of attraction.
Peter: Right, right. Okay. So Greg Walsh, you have a question. Would you like to go off mute and ask it to Jim?
Questioner : [inaudible 00:19:17]. All right. I’ll read the question then see if I can expand. So how does the stratification of cultures’ development affect our strategy or what we can expect implement in game B principles? And then so must the culture have at least sort of their center of gravity in a modern framework? So this group is like pretty meta, I would say. We’re just thinking big, big questions here, but… For us to sort of pass through into game B, we have to be in this place as opposed to people just trying to keep the lights on and feed themselves, maybe in like third world countries. Is there an opportunity then for some of these like decentralized technologies of just maybe 3D printing or all these things that even though they’re not sort of in a meta-framework, there are these opportunities to implement things that are decentralized?
Jim: Absolutely. I would say that it would probably have been a fool’s errand to try to build game B in 1935 or 1955 at the high… probably 1955 was the high water mark of centralized commodity mass production. Something like game B would not even have been on the table at that time. So it is the prerequisites that game A created that have allowed game B to emerge. For instance, the internet, for instance, the neo, the smart, the 21st century version of back to the land, which we see here in rural Virginia a whole lot, young people in particular building quite innovative and very capable local agriculture. Unlike the fairly hilarious hippie attempts in the 1970s, which were almost all incompetent and almost all went bust, these are much more well thought out cause there’s a much stronger learning curve that’s occurred.
Jim: So the prerequisites are absolutely important, and as you mentioned, an important one will be decentralized energy. That will change a lot of thinking when you’re no longer dependent fully on the grid. You may have used the grid as a backup and there’s some important mathematical and network topology, reasons why you still want a grid, but if you have, say 50% of your electricity, which is enough to get by in a crisis, created locally, that changes a whole lot of things. Did I answer your question.
Questioner : Yeah, sure. And then I guess… So we have to pass through that then. And then in other, I guess, [inaudible 00:21:48] is that what other opportunities do we see then for cultures who haven’t even passed through that? Again, I keep thinking of like third world countries that haven’t even passed through that yet.
Jim: Well, some ways, they have some advantages. For instance, even not exactly third world countries, like even Japan, which had relatively rudimentary wire line telephony. They just leaped over all that in the 90s and went directly to cell technology. I have a good friend, Thor Mueller, who was actually one of the co-founders of game B who has been very active with his company in selling totally localized sort of hut level solar energy in East Africa, for instance. They may not build out a national grid in East Africa. So they can follow with these prerequisites and stitch together their own appropriate society.
Questioner : Right, right. Okay. Beautiful.
Peter: Cool. So Amy has a question, and she actually might have a better coinage than game A fundamentalist, and she said game A reactionaries. I like that. So, Amy, would you like to go off mute and ask your question to Jim?
Questioner : Sure. Hi everyone, hi Jim. So basically, I was wondering if game B is just kind of a natural evolution that will be occurring from game A. So instead of seeing game B as a reaction to game A, it’s more like an evolution, and the people that are involved in game B now are sort of more early adopters than gay A reactionaries. Does that make sense?
Jim: It makes perfect sense, and it’s almost exactly how we’ve long thought about it. The original game B team included two evolutionary scientists, Eric Weinstein and John Wilkins, and so evolutionary thinking was fundamental to the ethos of game B. And then we also had in our startup team several successful business executives who had essentially marketing backgrounds, myself, Jordan Hall, Mike Needham, a couple others, and we always used the language of innovator, early adopter, early majority, late majority and laggards. So I think it’s absolutely appropriate to think of game B as a natural evolution from game A.
Jim: Unfortunately, it’s not the only one. I have written an essay called In Search of the Fifth Attractor on Medium where I lay out other alternatives. You can see that game B is not the only alternative. Other alternatives that seem like they could also evolve out of it are neo-fascism. I would give China as the example of neo-fascism. I could easily see game a transitioning to Chinese style state capitalism plus militarism plus nationalism. Neo feudalism, to my mind, extreme libertarianism of the Peter Teal or the Koch brothers variety is really a form of feudalism where there’s a few at the top who build a hierarchy of control via money of the people underneath them. I can actually see our society going that way. I could see us transitioning to a neo dark ages if somehow the religious fundamentalists use this moment to mobilize and move us from a game A operating system to something like the dark ages where religion was everything.
Jim: Of course, our anti friend, chaos, is always an alternative. If the infrastructure breaks down, we could end up in a chaotic regime, which would not be good. So game A to game B is an evolutionary potential pathway, but one we have to fight for to land in this right fifth attractor, which we believe makes for a much better world for us and for our descendants.
Peter: Cool. Sai Donovan Smith, you had a question for Jim?
Questioner : Yeah. Hi. Hi Jim. Thanks Peter. Jim, I heard you mentioned on one of your podcasts with, I think, either Jordan Holler or Daniel [inaudible 00:25:54], the specific idea of building redundancy into the electrical grid, like a second set of transformers next to everyone we’ve got in the event of a Carrington event, that sort of catastrophe. I liked what you said about this being more a moment for building the cadre and not for… maybe not a transition point for such big moves like that. But I wonder what you think that the possibility might be for this being maybe an event to spark some infrastructural type change within game A on the shorter term.
Jim: Great question. In fact, it is the topic, mostly, of the Brief Extra Podcast I did with Jordan Hall last week. It’s mostly what we talked about, that we hope even within the game A context, let’s call it enlightened game A-ism, that we’ve got to find a way to deflect our social allocations away from the rigors of pure economic money-on-money returned efficiency, and investing in the Carrington event is a perfect example. For those who don’t know, there was a major solar flare, was it 1857, something like that, during the era before electricity was at all a thing. But the telegraph was a thing, and the solar flare basically hit the telegraph lines and was… telegraph lines worked as antennas, which concentrated the solar flare and produced fires and actually killed a couple of telegraph operators.
Jim: It’s now thought that if we had a solar flare of that intensity today, it would utterly destroy the grid, or at least it would destroy enough of the key components that it could be a year or two before the grid came up. I should add, the astronomers believe a Carrington event, solar flare hitting the earth, is about a one in 500 chance. So essentially two tenths of a percent per year, and that’s a big fucking percent. If someone were to say we had a two tenths of a percent per year of having a nuclear war, we’d be shitting ourselves pretty much. Though I will say that’s how we thought of it in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis, probably thought it was more like 5% a year.
Jim: But it’s insane that we have not taken the relatively inexpensive preparatory events to be able to recover much more rapidly from a Carrington event, for instance, storing replacement for the transformers in caves. You don’t want them sitting right next to the other transformers, you want them in places where they won’t be hit by the solar flare. Further having physical breaks in the wiring. There could be literally 10 foot of wire taken out in many places. Because the nice thing about a solar flare, you have two or three days warning, which is an unusual kind of event. So yeah, absolutely. I hope, I hope that this priming… We think of the cognitive science concept of priming. You see one thing and then you see other things that fit the same pattern.
Jim: Especially in the United States and in much of Western Europe, we were grossly under invested. Why didn’t we have stockpiles of ventilators? Why didn’t we have stockpiles of N95 and N99 masks? Very inexpensive hedge for what everybody knew was going to happen. These virus pandemics have been happening about every eight to 10 years for several years, and anyone who studies statistical variation knows that sooner or later, a strong one was going to hit. This is by no means the strongest one that could have hit. So hopefully, this is a gigantic wake-up lesson that will help us prepare not only for pandemics, but for other exogenous events such as solar flares, EMPs by terrorists, cyber attacks on our financial and communications infrastructure, cetera. So, excellent question. Thank you.
Peter: Okay. We have a lot of good questions. We might not get to all of them, and I’m not reading them in order, so I’m using my discernment here. But let’s go next with Benjamin.
Questioner : Thanks Peter and [inaudible 00:29:56]. I’m going to ask the question from my personal place. I’m a student teachers’ in college right now, and I can’t speak for all of teachers colleges, but I can say is very much like a game A world where there’s a lot of busy work, a lot of work that is really unnecessary to make good teachers. They’re holding onto me and my friends in other colleges also. I’m in Israel, by the way. Pretty tightly and giving us a lot of work to do now. As this is in some ways a shakeup period between game A and game B, I want to know, going off of what John Vervaeke said about stealing the culture [inaudible 00:30:34] growing the culture, is this a time to rebel in a certain sense where people who are in this place where they can afford somewhat sacrificing parts of game A and getting good grades or whatever it would be in order to throw themselves at things like end coronavirus or other projects that are much more game B oriented, or do you think that that would be a mistake by going too early and really part of developing game B requires people on top of game A kind of and climbing up that ladder would be a better long term investment?
Jim: That’s a damn good question, to tell you the truth. Let me think about that a second before I answer. Okay. Here’s the answer, and it’s probably not a surprise. It depends. If you have a obvious move to a game B alternative, say for instance to build a game B venture… One of the things I talk about in A Journey to Game B is the idea of game B ventures. We would expect them to be operated as co-ops or community owned or funded, but in non-predatory financial means such as good enough rate of return. If you have such a thing either proximal to you or that you could create… In Israel, you have the very interesting example of Kibbutz, which while it has its issues, also has some great learnings on how to have a… I would say a game B proximate style of business. If you have an alternative, take it but don’t cut your own throat.
Jim: I think we don’t want game B people who are getting ready for game B to bail from their game A senators too early. So don’t be a fool, be wise. Be thinking about creating a game B alternative. I will say, my business career was mostly being an entrepreneur and helping entrepreneurs. When people came to me with a business plan, one of the first things I say, “How long have you been working on this?” If the answer was two weeks, I’d say, “I want you go back and do some more work.” I seldom found a good business idea that didn’t take nine months of study and research and development before it was ready to launch, about the same time as it takes to grow a baby. So move when you have a place to move to, but don’t cut your throat in the interim. Be thinking about the move, be organizing with people to create the move that you want to make. Does that answer your question?
Questioner : Well, yeah. The best that you could, right? Because it depends.
Jim: It depends.
Questioner : But thank you. Thank you for the [inaudible 00:33:11]. Yeah, that definitely helps a lot. Thank you very much.
Jim: Thanks for the question.
Peter: Alright Drew Buckmiller.
Questioner : I was just wondering… So, a lot of the talk about game B is about allowing people to do go for the projects that are not necessarily the money-on-money returns. Longterm universal basic income makes a lot of sense, but I’m wondering in a transitionary period… and I’m recalling the talk that the neuro hacker founders did call the transition and the three groups of stopping immediate bad things from happening, an interface, transitionary period that can interact with game A and then a future game B. Even that transitionary period, is there a role for people who have been successful in game A to fund basic income for some people? It wouldn’t be a universal basic income, but a basic income for people who maybe are in a position to really contribute to a future that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to if they had to work to survive.
Jim: Well, certainly be part of it and is already part of it to a very small degree. There are people who are working a little bit on the background of game B, who had been funded by some of the game A successful people. On the other hand, even… unless they’re Bill Gates level, then the amount they can realistically fund is relatively small. So game B has to be smart at parasitizing game A. We can capitalize with a little bit of founder money, if you want to call it that. But game B can’t be a bunch of hippies living in mud huts. Game B has to be able to create value to sell back to game, and it’s at least our operating hypothesis. Again, I point you to my long essay, A Journey to Game B, on Medium, which lays this out in some detail. It is our working hypothesis that a group of people operating in honesty and good faith, with high coherence, with high sovereignty, not only ought to build a better society, a place that we’d be proud to live in, but ought to be able to compete the hell out of game A in its own game.
Jim: From the very beginning, in fact, Jordan Hall’s very original concept of game A in January, 2013 was that this new way of being would not only be a better way of being, but could actively parasitize game A. So the idea of game B ventures is absolutely critical to this. This is where some founder money could be useful in the same way that seed capital is useful in the game A world. I should add, one of the projects that we’re actively working on in game B is to set up an extended crowdfunding platform, so that people of all levels of capital accumulation can invest either out of donation basis or in non exploitive finance basis in these early game B ventures.
Jim: However, if they’re going to scale, the game B ventures have to be able to win in game A terms, which seems like a contradiction. How do you beat game A by playing the game of honesty and good faith? But I say their answer to that is by having higher coherence, higher sovereignty, self-organization and network centricity built deeply into your DNA.
Peter: That’s really good. Nicholas, you had a similar question. Do you want to piggyback on what was just said?
Questioner : Sure. So we have a startup, we’ve been working on it for five years, and we’ve consciously skewed traditional forms of investment. It’s been very, very difficult for us, so we’ve been bootstrapping, and we want to get in… We consider ourselves a game B venture, but we have very few means at our disposal. So we’ve considered crowdfunding and are at a loss as to where to go in order to tap into the supposedly impact game B investor network, if there is one at that.
Jim: A lot of people are in the same place you are, frankly. Because today, there is no such mechanism, as you have discovered, right? Once in a while, you find a good hearted person who is in your extended social network and they help you out. But there’s no way to make your project visible to a lot of people, nor is there a trusted intermediary to aggregate the funds. We believe that is one of the earliest things that game B needs, and in fact, it is my number one a game B project, that and a honorable and game B gig economy platform. Those are my two short term goals. If we could have a gig economy platform that was owned by the talent, and if we could have a quite sophisticated crowd funding that went everywhere from donations to the equivalent of securities on a non-rapacious financial basis, and we had social reputation networks around those to vet both ventures and employees, I think we’d have three of the most important things necessary to do what you’re saying. But unfortunately, they don’t exist today, but they’re very high on my list of priorities and on other people’s list of priorities to get done.
Questioner : Thank you. That answered-
Jim: By the way, if you’d like, I’d be happy to chat with you at a video conference to give you whatever thoughts I have that may or may not help, but it’d be worth every penny you pay for it, which it’ll be free.
Questioner : I would love that. Thanks.
Peter: Dino, you had a question for Jim?
Questioner : Hi Jim. Hi everyone. Yeah. This is a little bit metaphysical maybe, but I was listening a lot to your show, a lot from Daniel and Jordan, and there’s a lot of framing around how we make better sense of plan A to then step into plan B, and a little bit around the framework and maybe logical steps we can take to action it. And then I got listening to Nora Bateson and a more feminine approach to it, and she was basically saying we can’t really make a logical step-to-step framework for plan B, but more so meet complexity with complexity. Even though that’s very metaphysical, I thought, what is your thoughts around that? Because I’m seeing a lot of masculine, a lot of men in this space, but these are complex times and I noticed the intuition of a woman and translating that into a maybe actionable process is important. I was just wondering your thoughts around that.
Jim: Okay. Thank you for the question. If you’ve listened to my show, you know that one of my famous statements is when I hear the word metaphysics, I reach for my pistol. Here’s my pistol. But nonetheless, your question is not a metaphysical one, so I will entertain it. It is actually a core question and one that I think most game B people agree with. Complexity science has informed game B from the beginning. In fact, the very root of what became the Emancipation Party, which by the way, the website still exists, if not the party, emancipationparty.org. You can read the work that we did in 2012. Originally, Jordan Hall and I met after a Santa Fe Institute board meeting. We were both on the board of trustees, we had a meeting in 2008, and we talked for like six hours, and we were like, “Holy shit, here’s the other person that sees the world like we do.” I talk about it perhaps more than Jordan [inaudible 00:40:56] we both do.
Jim: Complexity is deep, deep, deep in the game A tool kit, and we strongly believe that the unfair advantage game B will have a against game A is game A doesn’t understand complexity. What it understands is complicated. A factory that builds Toyotas is complicated, it’s not really complex. It’s more complex than a jet general motors factory from 1975, but it is not truly complex. So we believe that understanding the complicated in the context of the complex is going to be an important game B advantage and allow us, over time, to literally out-compete game A. By the way, I did an episode with Nora on my podcast, and I truly respect her as a thinker, and she is one of the important in the game B movement.
Jim: It is interesting, this masculine, feminine… I don’t know, I don’t worry about that shit too much. I’m what I call an equality feminist. I believe men and women, at the end of the day, are more similar than they are different. There are some differences, but not something I spend too much time thinking about. But I do wish there were more women’s voices in the game B movement. It’s about 25% today. It would be nice if it was 35% or 45%.
Peter: Dan Feldman, you had a question?
Questioner : With respect to meta-narratives, what do you see as the deep archetypes, deep attractors and memes that are “pulling us into a just and regenerative future”?
Jim: Okay. Meta-narratives. I think the first one, this is the one Daniel [inaudible 00:42:46] has emphasized, and I think he’s correct, and why something like game B better win. Game A is by no means all bad. I had another podcast with Jordan back in July, Jordan Hall, mostly about the history of game A. You can argue that goes back 12,000 years or it goes back to, my favorite, 1694 with the invention of The Bank of England. But if we really want to think about its fully modern form, let’s start with 1800, and that is when fossil fuels became the underpinning or started to become the underpinning of society, and humanity got this bonus where we were able to finally transcend the limits of animal power and a little bit of wind and water to very rapidly, at an insane rate build the energetic intensity of our society between 1800 and, let’s call it, today maybe we peeked around… well, we still haven’t peaked.
Jim: We liberated humanity from the drudgery it had been in since 12,000 years ago when we accidentally fell into agriculture. In 1800, 90 plus percent of humans, 95% of humans were peasants working the land at the verge of starvation, physical drudgery, rife with superstition, et cetera. This game A explosion of energy and science and technology has brought us to a world where we can be self-actualized. Hardly anyone was self-actualized in 1800. A few noble, maybe almost no noble women, because the patriarchy was at its fullest power. However, this is the key insight, game A is a game out of control. Its operating system, money-on-money return, empowered all this amazing shit over the last 200 plus years, but it doesn’t know how to turn itself off. If it doesn’t turn itself off, we’re going to go right over the cliff. We’re going to overpopulate, though that finally seems to be turning down. But more importantly, we’re going to fry the world. We’re going to deplete the resources, we’re going to kill all the natural life, we’re going to lose our soils. Game A does not know how to think about the longterm because it’s…
Jim: Money-on-money return, for those who studied finance, is literally an exponential. It discounts the future exponentially. It doesn’t give a shit about the future. If you take a 6% rate of return, which is a fairly low one in risk finance, 100 years out, it is worth almost nothing. That is immoral and intolerable from our perspective of the longterm success of the human race. So the first meta-narrative is while game A brought us here, to a not bad place… The cards we have today are pretty good. We have photovoltaics, we have advanced wind, we have distributed grid, we have artificial intelligence, which can be either our servant or our master depending on how we deal with it. But if we’d let game A run in its exponential fashion, it’ll destroy it all. So that’s the number one meta-narrative.
Jim: The number two meta-narrative is that game A has programmed us through its messaging, particularly the mass messaging of TV and then the kind of surrogate of TV, which is Facebook, to think in terms of material possessions and positional goods as the meaning of one’s status in life. That meta-narrative also has to be broken. In fact, the two go together. To the degree that status and positional goods are what defines yourself worth, then of course, more and more and more growth, growth, growth is what you want. So the two need to be broken together. We need to develop a new meta-narrative about meaning. The one I’ve been pushing for since 2012 has been, not he who dies with the most toys wins, but he or she who dies with the most skills, accomplishments and insights wins. The self-actualized person is the one with the highest status. If we can have that as what motivates the person, then we have the ability to turn off the insane exponential growth of this machine, which is within 100 years of destroying us all. Sorry for the rant, but I feel passionate about this.
Peter: It’s a treat hearing a Jim Rutt rant, by the way. So we’ll end with this question from Adam Robert, he asked me to read it on his behalf. Jim, how do you see the emerging dynamic exemplified vividly during COVID-19 news reporting between citizen reporting in orthogonal voices on one hand and mainstream media and expert reporting on the other? The good advice seems to be coming from minor voices. What are the risks and benefits of the new media landscape? Does this conversation map onto game A and game B at all?
Jim: Ah, very, very important question. This is one that is in flux right now. Game B strongly believes in the collective intelligence network. I think the foundational document is Jordan Hall Situational Assessment 2017, which is on Medium in his Deep Code collection where he talks a lot about the decentralized network versus what he calls the blue church, which we can think of as mainstream media and the establishment. However, and this is important, so far, we don’t have the right tools for the collective intelligence network to do, uniformly, high quality sense-making. There is not only a lot of good material out in the peer-to-peer information world, but there’s also a lot of real horse horseshit. I would say 90% of people don’t have the discernment powers to tell one from the other.
Jim: In a pre-COVID world, an example is some scary ass thing called QAnon, which is a classic decentralized grassroots conspiracy theory, which to my mind, is an example of a peer-to-peer distributed network having a schizophrenic event that resonates with a number of the equivalent of neurons, meaning humans, and has produced very bad garbage, which has filled the minds of many millions of people with worse than useless horseshit. We don’t yet have the tools for mass discernment that could have down-regulated QAnon to, all right, there’s a few freaks over there, let them freak, but let’s, not many of us, pay too much attention to it.
Jim: In the COIVD world, we are, in an ad hoc fashion, finding these ways to filter. I believe one of the learnings that will come out of the COVID-19 crisis is, how does one do a group peer-to-peer discernment to separate the shit from the Shinola, the wheat from the chaff. On Rally Point Alpha, one of the Facebook groups that’s in some ways related to game A, there’s a pretty good topic that is well filtered for sense. I’m also a member of a private chat messaging thing, Facebook Message, whatever the hell they call their goofy ass messenger service, which is self-organized, and it is quite good. It uses both mainstream media and peer-to-peer media, but because it is by invitation only and people who are not crazy, the collective discernment is way better than our individual discernment.
Jim: So that’s a long answer to perhaps a brisker question, which is longer term peer-to-peer is going to be very important. Experts will also be important, but we also need to challenge experts. Experts have their vested interests. But peer-to-peer needs group discernment tools to be truly effective, and we are developing them in an ad hoc fashion in this crisis, and I would strongly encourage people who want to make sense to not listen to the infinite chatter. It’s just too much noise. It’s too hard to try and signal to noise, but to self-organize into groups of people who… groups, I’d say no more than a few… 1,000 maybe at the most, of high quality people who can use group discernment to figure out what makes sense from the peer-to-peer world, what makes sense from the experts, and to synthesize a view for action.
Peter: Right. Right. So we’ll end here. There were some excellent questions today. This is why I love outsourcing the questions to the collective intelligence, because you get some goodies that I would have never thought of. Jim, would you like to have any closing thoughts?
Jim: Closing thoughts? Be brave, be hopeful, despair is useless. Have a bias towards action. Don’t sit on your fucking ass. If you see something to be done, do it. Reach out to other people. Events like this are huge. Remember the poor people who are locked down by themselves, which has got to be a horrible thing, reach out to them. I’m daily calling old friends from as far back as high school, just because I’m a natural fucking extrovert and I love to chat and I have some extra time and energy. So I’m literally going to call a friend who I haven’t seen since junior high school. I’ll call him later today and we’re going to chat. So don’t despair. There is hope in future on the other side of this, hysteresis works in our favor, be ready to join the cadre, recruit others to the contrary. This is probably not quite yet the revolutionary moment, but it may be relatively soon.
Peter: Beautiful, beautiful.
Production services and audio editing by Jared Janes Consulting. Music by TomMueller@modernspacemusic.com.