Plans for The People Create Project
Whereas Social Sculpture for Individual Goals is designed to support individuals as they work towards their own personal goals, I would also like to create something which facilitates people all around the world uniting together to create better societies and a better world community. I envision this beginning as a website. I would like this website to have some elements of sites such as Reddit and Facebook, with the main goal of bringing people together to discuss social issues and to decide together on actions the group can initiate together to change our laws and our government so that our society is a happier, safer, better, and more beautiful place for everyone. The goal would be to organize the site in such a way that people can unite at micro and macro levels of community, create connections with others who share their community interests and values, and engage in a user-guided process that makes it easy for anyone who uses the site to see what other members of their communities care about most. Corrupt governments thrive on keeping us disconnected from one other so that we will just get used to things as they are and fail to unite over the things we want to be different from how they currently are.
A main goal of the People Create website is to remove the kinds of hierarchies that prevent everyone from having the ability to contribute to meaningful ongoing conversations about social change, and to make it easy for anyone who is ready to take action to step forward into an effective leadership role, in collaboration with other community members. One aspect of Reddit that I would like to include in People Create is the ability for people to ‘upvote’ and ‘downvote’ items, so that everyone can be a part of the conversation and contribute to decisions about what is important and what we will focus on together in our communities. One important element of this website would be to make sure that those who participate are required to verify and show their true identities, so that corrupt groups will not be able to infiltrate the site with bots and fake profiles. The main goal of People Create is to create a way for ‘the people’ to collaborate together to proactively create a society that truly serves the interests of the people.
As with the Social Sculpture for Individual Goals website, I would want People Create to be a resource for organizing in-person meetings, not just for the purpose of changing laws and governments, but also simply to create community and build bridges of understanding. For example, I would like the site to support users in organizing Community Dinners in which members of communities get together for fun, potluck-style dinners in which everyone gets to try different foods from various cultures around the world, and most importantly to build bridges of connection and community.
I think it would also be nice for communities to organize Community Meetings, which have been an important component on inpatient psychiatric units for the past several years (they were implemented as a way to support the autonomy of patients, to make it easier for patients to voice their concerns and desires to each other and to hospital staff, so that everyone can work together to make inpatient units safer places, where patients can actually heal and recover from mental illness). Community Meetings are powerful agents of change on inpatient units, and I believe they could also be powerful agents of change in all types of communities around the world.
My vision for the People Create project is to bring people together, to help all of us to get to know our neighbors, both locally and around the world, and to facilitate cultural interchange and appreciation. I have always loved the idea of the ‘melting pot’, and I am committed to creating something that will help all of us to unite together to create a better world together.
Plans for the Utopia Prototype Project
This is a ‘down the line’ project that I anticipate initiating after the People Create website and community is strong and functioning effectively. Within a specified space of land (most likely in the Las Vegas valley), I would like to conduct a project in which a group of individuals develops a way for individuals who are challenged in various ways (e.g., homeless, disabled, uneducated, mentally ill, etc.) to live peaceably together, to assure that everyone’s basic needs are continually met on an ongoing basis, while at the same time assuring that each individual who is participating in the project is making whatever contributions they are capable of making to benefit the group as a whole.
I think it is important that various human rights organizations are nowadays arguing that every human has a ‘right to housing’, but what I feel often gets missed in this conversation is that the hardworking taxpayers who are expected to slave away at their jobs (with very little vacation time) to pay for free housing for others (many of whom end up not working at all) should also have a say in how this actually plays out. As I see it, the hardworking taxpayers who are actually paying to satisfy the ‘right to housing’ of others should be able to require that the challenged individuals who are receiving this benefit are at the same time making whatever contribution they are able to make to benefit the society that is supporting them. Obviously these contributions may be limited, but often nowadays there is a tendency to label a person as ‘disabled’, and to then refuse to even consider the possibility that that person may actually have a lot to offer to the rest of us. In my work as a psychologist, I have found that nothing is more healing than a job (of any sort), a responsibility, a sense of purpose. Through the Utopia Prototype project, I would like to assemble a team of creative collaborators that works together to develop new ideas and techniques for creating cooperative societies in which both (a) everyone’s basic needs are met and (b) the society as a whole receives whatever contributions each and every person is able to make to the greater good.
The underlying question I want this project to address is: How do we as a society provide housing and other basic resources to those who either can’t or won’t provide it for themselves, and how do we do so in a way that minimizes burden on the resource-providing taxpayers, and assures that taxpayers are benefiting from this exchange just as much as the recipients of the ‘free’ resources. In other words, how can we change from a culture of handouts to a culture of true collaboration? The idea of a ‘right to housing’ and to other basic resources is one that is very appealing to me, but I think it is impossible and entirely unfair to suggest that we can guarantee this right to all unless we can find a way to minimize the burden on hardworking taxpayers and assure that ‘housed’ individuals are making a fair contribution to society.
My hope is that the Utopia Prototype would be a creative learning experience that would help us to create happier, healthier societies all around the world, to truly raise people up out of poverty, and to better serve the interests of all. My idea is that it would be organized by individuals who are demonstrated leaders within the People Create community, and that these leaders would work in consultation and collaboration with social reform experts from around the world.
I would like to explore the idea of streaming the Utopia Prototype online, either on an ongoing 24/7 basis, or during selected times (e.g., during Community Meetings that occur within the prototype).