This is Gien, I’m on OSCEDays Board of Stewards. I’ll make an attempt to answer from my perspective.
What are the biggest challenges you see in the society today?
We are like the frog in warm water and temp is rising. We’re still too comfortable with the small incremental levels of harm and are not mobilizing at the scale required of us. Our response is far too small for the problem we are dealing with. As Prof Kevin Anderson of Tyndall Centre says, we need to peak emissions in a few years then drop at unheard of rate of approx. 10% per annum. This can only be done by rapid demand side reduction because supply side changes cannot scale rapidly to replace fossil fuel infrastructure.
Society needs a nonlinear, outside-the-box jolt to kick demand side reductions into high gear. It will come from efforts like OSCEDays and others to compliment the inside-the-box solutions.
We have to be very conscious of our own perceived comfort,… just like the frog that just feels the water getting slightly warmer.
Where does your personal motivation come from to work with open source?
Open source is a new word for an old concept. If there was no open source, science would not be possible. Corporate science, at the scale that it exists today is a fairly recent phenomena. If we did not share knowledge, human beings could not progress as far as we have. It’s only through an OS attitude that we generate the best quality knowledge. If you and I are cooperating on a project, but I don’t trust you, then I will hold back my full knowledge. Maybe I’ll share the lower quality or more ordinary ideas, but keep the good ones a secret. If there is low social capital between us, that is the opposite of Open Source and in this kind of space, a competitive space, we withhold valuable knowledge from each other. This is the normal competitive, what I call ME-centric space. This is the normal space of the world where we are afraid to share with others because we are afraid they will predate and steal our idea. Then we cannot create a livelihood out of it. Because everyone does it, then it has a strong tendency to suck you into the same competitive mindset.
On the other hand, if we can co-create a space of authentic trust, then we have great enthusiasm to share freely, and in such a space, really amazing things can happen. Have you experienced this before? I have, many times. In such a space, you are in a dance with the other co-creators, each one stimulating new ideas from the other in an ever increasing crescendo of creativity. That is when truly novel ideas are born. Without a collective space that holds this kind of trust, we cannot bring out the best ideas. This then becomes a co-creative process that brings the best out of people and also naturally brings out the bliss in people. It is this kind of co-creative dance that brings out the best of human beings and makes creating together a deeply joyous experience. Open Source is, then a WE-centric worldview, in which we help each other to succeed. We are on a journey together.
OS can even power the entire economy but that requires people to see beyond deeply enrenched capitalist, ME-centric behavior. This is not easy to do because so many people have had things and ideas stolen from them and this makes people defensive and protective. A totally OS society is possible but it requires everyone to trust and participate. Fear holds people back but I believe that there are ways to develop pilot projects of small WE-centric communities that can prove that OS economy can work.
How would you explain circularity, and what does it mean to you?
Take the head of the arrow, twist it around 180 degrees until it points back to the start of the arrow, and you’ve got circularity! Material flows that have a start point and an end point, usually start = raw resource and end = garbage are linear material flows. Circularity or circular material flows mean garbage = resource. You’ve loop the garbage back to the resource. In other words Garbage IS resource. It’s just that when it’s transformed after usage and reaches end of life, it no longer looks valuable. So the forms appear different, but circular design is when you insert a stage between garbage and resource that turns garbage back into resource. It removes the masquerade and says “AHA! I recognize you! You aren’t garbage after all! but instead, you are resource in disguise!” The other thing to make it truly circular is redesign so that what is considered garbage can be easily transformed through simple low energy, low carbon processes back into resource. So there is a new definition of “Garbage”. It just means a product that has reached the end of its life.
What advice would you give a young soul working with open source?
Don’t be naive about open source but also don’t fall for the status quo and simplistic understanding that traps you into thinking that there’s no way to sustain a livelihood with it. Think about it from a systems perspective. Get to the root of what it really means so you can see the potential it offers to transform society. If your mind is lazy, you won’t see it. You have to make some effort because there is a lot of misconception you have to power through and filter out. Becaue it is not mainstream, your brain has to work harder to understand its potential.
The simplistic understanding is: It’s free, how do you make money with it? Even a lot of people who participate in Open Source don’t get its full potential either. The potential of Open Source to transform society is enormous, and largely untapped at this point. To see how it can lead to a compassionate, efficient and truly democratic society, you have to think outside the box. Through my own experiences, I feel it is very promising as a powerful way to transform society. We can all be living in an uplifiting world powered by open source systems that can support the livelihood of many more people. Hope that helps!