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- Duncan and Benjamin discuss why the two-party system will never provide us with solutions.
- Learn about the upcoming Independent National Convention
- Find out why Benjamin thinks electing politicians to represent millions of people is absurd.
- Discover how we can jumpstart evolution.
- Learn about harnessing the tension between left and right
- Understand the importance of getting our core principles right.
- Benjamin explains how we need to relearn the skills of being in community with each other.
- Uncover why it’s important to know that you matter.
- Duncan illustrates why we need to be responsible for the solution.
- Learn why we need to get to the root of the symptoms.
Click here to download the transcript
Duncan Autrey: Benjamin welcome so much to the Omni Win Project podcast. I have been waiting for this for a long time.
Benjamin Life: It’s a pleasure to be here. I love that. It’s called the Omni Win Podcast. It’s just the depth of alignment that we share is really special to me, so I’m, I’m grateful to be here.
Duncan Autrey: Yeah, we had a conversation, you know, like beginning of 2021 and it stuck with me so much.
And that alignment has been like a really big deal. There’s a way that we’re looking at the world right now and we’re seeing kind of similar issues and similar concerns and similar possibilities about going forward. And so, yeah, totally excited to talk with you about this and You know, different than what we would’ve talked about if we just talked a year ago or in a couple months.
One of the things in particular that we’ll talk about today is the upcoming independent national convention. And we’re gonna talk about what that is and how that happened and what that means, and maybe how people can get involved. We’ll also talk about like civic innovation and what it means to sort of unite all the different voices that want to see a change in this world, and who are these people.
So I wonder if you would be willing to just like, kick us off by talking about the INC and INU and what, what are these tell us about this independent gathering and, you know, movement building that you’re, you and your folk working on. .
Benjamin Life: Yeah. I think I’m imagining that the audience of this podcast may already have a sense of our, the importance of our interrelatedness and our relationship to the earth and our relationship to each other.
And what I found in having conversations with that particular group of people is that sometimes the notion of independent can throw people off because people might imagine this kind of rugged libertarian rancher who just wants to be left alone. And there’s actually a new meaning of independent that is coming online through the people who are gravitating towards this event.
And what I’m noticing in that is that there’s a real sense of needing to break away from. the boundaries of our previous systems and even our previous ideologies so that we can come back into relationship with each other as human beings first. And so the independent sector by its very nature, isn’t really defined.
And I think that’s one of the core strengths of it as a convening place, is that it doesn’t prescribe that you need to have this belief or that belief, but it’s actually the space in between where we come together to improve the quality of life of our communities, to create systemic changes to our democracy that make it more equitable and fair for everyone.
Because I think as we’ve seen since 2016, the two party system has only gotten more and more extreme in its polarization to the point where the conversations about civil War are now kind of in the popular culture and. So I think people are increasingly aware that continuing to play inside of that game isn’t going to get us to the outcome that we all want.
And so everyone who’s waking up to that realization is coming to this event or is invited to this event. Yeah, that’s the intention.
Duncan Autrey: Yeah. Thank you. And I know that we can, we’ll probably just keep on unpacking this concept for a while because you know, there’s a way that. Being independent, you know, like, I mean, oftentimes, you know, I, I would even notice like my some members of my family, they’re kind of conservative, but they’re calling themselves independent because they’re frustrated with the system.
But one of the things that I’m really noticing is like a, like this core idea here is not only is it frustration and kind of I’m done with this two party system that’s gonna either destroy us or is just at, at best just totally ineffective . But then there’s also like this, there must be a better way.
Right? We must have, there must be some other way of doing this. If someone was gonna be, you know, just, I don’t really care what happens to everyone. I’m just gonna do whatever’s best for me. That’s fine. Then it doesn’t need to be a political identity.
You don’t even have to care about politics. Right. like, but the combination of like, Oh, I really, there’s something, there’s belonging, right? So there’s like this purpose, there’s some sort of desire and especially when it comes to being this United States, this, you know, from many one , you know, Ebu Unum Place, you know, like we are a team, but we, it’s, so it’s really this emphasis on like, I really wanna think for myself and I wanna be with other people who are thinking for themselves.
And there’s of course this interesting like, dynamic tension between like, independence. And being in community or having agency versus, you know, being part of a collective or, you know, having freedom versus like having the restrictions that come with relationships and and that’s just like this always self in others, if it’s infinitely that complex tension that we’re always having.
So there’s this independent national union. So, I dunno, I’m curious your thoughts about like, that tension between like, we’re united in our independence, you know, like that, and, and how are you thinking about bringing together all these different people’s perspectives? Cuz that’s a, you know, probably a motley crew, Right?
Benjamin Life: It really is. Yeah. And I, I want to get to that and I wanna also go back to one of the other things that you said just before that because I, I think it plays in wells. There’s a way in which we have. Those of us who’ve woken up to how dysfunctional the system is. I know that I personally went through a process of opting out entirely.
And I think there is that kind of thread of, okay, let’s just go start the eco village and we’ll weather the storm of systems collapse or even maybe less intense than that. Just I’m gonna just not care and go on my life. And I think that as things intensify, it’s clear that because of globalization, because of the extent of the extraction and, and the harm to our environment, there’s no wearer to opt out to.
And so I think this is a, a movement for people who are realizing that there’s actually nowhere to opt out to. And part of opting out means actually like opting into a new system and actually bringing your leadership to making a system that is inspiring to engage in politically. So then what is that thing that we’re opting in for?
And this is the answer to the, the question that you just asked, which is, what are the kind of transcendent signifiers or messages or ideas that are not ideological? And that’s, there’s actually a kind of narrow band of things that are inherently intersubjective. And I’m using some academic E language and I can unpack what each of those things mean.
But intersubjective has to do with, I’m having my experience, you’re having your experience. What you think is beautiful might be different from what I think is beautiful. But the notion of beauty itself is inter subjective. We can both find the thing that we find to be beautiful. And one of those things for the independent movement, I think is quality of life.
So, Each one of us will have different things that will make our lives rich. For some people, it’s gonna be like the depth of the study that they can do, like exposure to new ideas and, and pushing their, their edges intellectually. For some people it’s gonna be the, the depth of their relationships is how well is their family doing?
Do they have a sense of belonging and community that’s really nourishing to them? For most people, it’s gonna be a combination of all of these different factors. And the beautiful thing about us, what makes us independent is that we’re all unique. What makes a quality life for each one of us is gonna be different.
But if as a movement we’re collectively oriented around improving quality of life for all, then I’m bought into what will improve your quality of life. And you’re bought into what will improve my quality of life. And then it, instead of arguing about really narrow policy positions, we can actually find the people who are aligned to improve the aspect of quality of life that matters most to us, and then bring our participation there.
And I was just talking to my friend Adam Apollo, who uses the term sinchy. This idea that there’s like a, a synergistic integrative potential when each one of us is. Playing our note in the symphony or being drawn towards what we are most inspired by. And so I think the independent movement, what unites it is that collective effort to move towards what each of us is inspired by and what each of us feels will improve our quality of life.
And that when we do that together and we find groups of affinity that share that interest then everyone’s quality of life improves. And that can be actually like the north star of this new kind of politics.
Duncan Autrey: Kind of what I’m noticing is that it’s like once I’m trying to pay attention to my quality of life and I’m willing to. You know, put an emphasis there, then it kind of naturally makes me wonder about what’s going on with your quality of life. Or when I’m like, want the value of my freethinking to be important, then your freethinking becomes important.
That’s some sort of like golden rule or platinum rule or something. How do I make sure that what’s important for me is something that’s also something that you’re getting as well. And, and it’s interesting because there is a way that there’s something very kind of inherent in this like kind of American experience of the individuals kind of taking care of themselves together and holding again that tension.
Then there’s like, Oh, how can I make sure that you’re able to take care of yourself? And there’s like an up-leveling of this conversation, right? It’s not just about being selfish, it’s not just about being unified. It’s about doing the both at the same time. A previous guess, Bill Shireman has a cool analysis about, he’s like, this is people in the middle.
They are actually the people who want to have solutions more than they want to win some fight, right? So I also imagine that there’s people who are just like in this sense of like, this isn’t working. They’re also wondering how can we actually solve these problems, right? Like, I mean, I don’t really care what party is gonna do it for me.
What, who’s gonna like, what’s the group? Come on, let’s just actually find some solutions here. People . And there’s probably a lot of different people who have a lot of different ideas, like what kind of solutions they think are the, their thing that’s most important.
So again, we have that kind of unifying of various perspectives.
Benjamin Life: Well, so one of the things I’m fascinated by is incentives and game dynamics, because I think sometimes when we’re in an individual perspective, we can kind of apply or anthropomorphize and create a story where I’m the good guy and someone else is a bad guy.
And when we can look at how systems operate, we can see that these are just actors who are on kind of predefined trails of what’s possible. And there’s some variation of what they can choose, but the structure of the system is actually what constrains what those people can ultimately do. And so it’s not the banker or the ceo, maybe they have.
Had to dissociate from parts of their humanity to play that role, but in some ways they’re as much the victim as they are the perpetrator. And so when we kind of pop out of that us and them frame, and we look at the Democrat, Republican parties and the way that money and power work in our current system, it’s actually no surprise that the, the Democrat and Republican party are incapable of solutions because the way that they got to power in the first place was through the donations of the large corporations that themselves had to consolidate power through extractive means that took advantage of people and then reinforce that advantage through their emphasis in the political system.
And so the Republican and Democrat parties, as far as I see them, are basically like the executors of. This broken economic system that we have, they’re just the ones keeping the lights on and passing the bills that ensure that that system remains intact. And so the solutions I don’t feel are actually ever going to come from those two parties because they have no incentive to do anything other than what they’re doing.
Cuz they’re the only game in town. And every four years they point the finger at the other guy and they say, That’s why this is broken and wrong. Not realizing, most people not realizing that it’s actually the entrenchment of the two against each other that keeps the whole thing intact. And so at some point, , we’re gonna need to look for solutions outside of that system and stop hoping that okay, if we just get the Senate, the House and the executive, then something different will happen.
We’ve seen. Doesn’t actually produce those outcomes. And even really well intentioned people, like I was really excited when AOC got elected. I was like, This is a millennial who’s really into social justice. She’s gonna assert that value system into the Democratic party. And what we saw was that almost immediately she was kind of subsumed by the infrastructure of the Democratic Party, which has very clear stipulations around how money is raised and used.
And if you want to continue to rise up inside of that system, you have to play by the rules of that system. And so even someone with really incredible intentions can go into the Democrat or Republican parties and not even be able to affect the change that they as an individual want. And so I’ve looked at all these game pieces.
People can check my math and, and see if they wanna continue to try to reform inside of these two parties all they want. And I would support people who feel inspired to do that, but from my best analysis, the actual solutions are never gonna be able to come from the Democratic Republican parties.
Duncan Autrey: Yeah, I totally agree. And, and what’s interesting is to think about this game dynamics part and, it also reminds me that right now, the incentive, you know, in this two party system is to try to beat the other side, prove that they’re wrong, or show how they’re the problem, which means that the whole thing right now is dependent on the problem.
Right? Like, if, if they actually solved anything, they wouldn’t. Have a campaign platform anymore. And that’s an interesting challenge. We see that, right? and I always think about like, there’s this weird thing that happens in our politics where people think that like, okay, once we win the house and the Senate and the Supreme Court and the presidency, then we will win.
And they like as though they’re gonna win politics or just like, but that’s not how it works. Cuz guess what? We have two more years we’re gonna be doing this again. And in sports we know this, right? You win the, the football game or the basketball game and, and you don’t get the illusion that you just won football.
You’re just actually, we just won this game and now we gotta get training cuz we have another one coming up next week. And that’s, you know, back, back to work and then of course in the sense that we’re all unified or we’re all connected, you know, it’s like we all win or we all lose.
There’s not a, this win lose thing is really gonna get us. And so as we try to shift from like being in this like against win lose kind of thinking, which is like built into this dually system, what does the game dynamics look like for how do we come up with the best solutions or, you know, the, it’s like the shifting from against to four and the shifting from like win lose to win win, you know, how, how do you see, what are the new rules of the game that make that kind of thing play out?
Benjamin Life: Yeah, it’s a great question and. It gives me a perfect opportunity to affirm that I’m not undermining the value of the progressive perspective, nor am I undermining the value of the conservative perspective. And the, the game dynamics of all win is all about synergy and integration. That we actually need these two different aspects or modes of perceiving in order to actually see the world in greater depth.
So it’s like we have two eyes. We don’t just cover one eye and make one eye wrong. We’re actually using the triangulation of those two different perspectives to gain insight about reality in a way that allows us to take effective action. And so, We’ve described as this notion of a political rise, and that’s sort of the upward spiral that’s created by the dance between what has yet to be the progressive and conserving the best of what is.
And this is evolution itself. Evolution is constantly experimenting, constantly conserving the innovations that it’s come up with that help it do a really incredible thing. It’s why we have the majority of our DNA we share with trees because there’s some fundamental things that life just got right. And then the variations just got finer and finer, but we’re, we’re still very different organisms, but it, it was the preservation of what was working that created the foundation for that next iteration to emerge.
And so I think a lot of it comes down to collective imagination. It’s. About coming together as one human family and creatively envisioning maybe pluralistically, probably definitely plural, pluralistically, different possible visions of where we could go and then running different experiments in different places.
I mean, this was the idea of America in the first place. The states were supposed to be the laboratory of democracy. I would say we can localize that with blockchain and certain decentralized protocols. We could localize that down to the individual community where people that are values aligned can experiment.
And, and use that same dialectic that I just described to keep innovating and conserving, innovating and conserving. And there’s this notion of a Cosmo local movement, which is hyper localization connected to a global context. So if you have all of these hyper local civic organizations, experimenting, refining, experimenting, refining, and then sharing that with the world, suddenly you’ve actually jumped, started and accelerated the process of evolution.
Because normally it, it’s actually through natural selection that these would propagate, like whoever produces the most thriving, the most ability to reproduce themselves would eventually. That would be a, the, the path that life selects for. Now, with some things like the internet, we can accelerate that learning and developmental process where, We might be able to have really innovative new approaches that bubble up to the surface once we have this distributed network of people experimenting with how to self organize together.
Duncan Autrey: Oh, wow. Yeah, it makes total sense to me that it’s, it’s like harnessing the tension between the, the left and the right or the focus on like how we preserve what’s great about what already exist and how do we open ourselves to what’s new or, and or, and this, we have that kind of like tension and, and I think about also like a battery or something, right?
I mean, you gotta, you get the energy from the two poles, right? It has to, that’s how the flow happens. So we’re harnessing this flow. And then similarly, like there’s this other tension of like the individual and the collective and. And then I also appreciate, and I want to hear more about this, this like hyper local versus this national, right?
I mean like this large, you know because, you know, one of the things I think that can really be a mistake when we think about our politics is to, and this is why everyone focuses on the presidency so much, that like as if this one person is able to move this like ship of like 380 million people, right?
It’s like slightly, I mean more than anyone, but smaller than you could ever possibly imagine. Right? You know, so it’s like instead of just like also putting our energy into this like national government kind of thing that we can remember that we have increasing amount of agency, the closer we bring it into home.
Cause I know that you think about this, and this is something that you all are thinking about around the building a union of Independence, there’s like a big conversation with the local work. Can you just unpack some of like, what some of that vision looks like right now or?
Benjamin Life: Yeah, I do think it is interesting to look at Jordan Hall’s description of, of Gregory Batson’s writings on Alcoholics Anonymous. Because what Gregory Batson was noticing about AA was that they got a core set of principles, right, that allowed for that process to scale. And I think we need to be looking at a similar kind of orientation to process and protocol for the independent sector, because no one size is going to fit all.
And so in order for them to be unified, we have to get the principles right so that every group can be completely autonomous and completely self organizing, but connected to a larger movement through a set of core principles. And so, The first step of that that we’re gonna be rolling out after the convention is a series of education initiatives for local civic leaders.
And that’s one of the things I’m really excited to work on with you, developing a curriculum to learn to teach people how to do mediation, facilitation, conflict resolution dialogue but there’s other, there’s other skills as well that will help people to be more effective in holding that space of neutrality for other people to bring their perspectives into.
There kind of needs to be new social capacities online in order for that to work. And so that’s where we’re going to start. And then the second step of that process will be, A deep sensing into place. So once those people are, are trained their first mission is going to be local reconnaissance.
Figuring out what, what are the gaps in my community? What are the real needs? What are the points of pain? What are the desires that people have of, of aspiration? You know, if we had just had this green space, if we spent some money to turn this like dump into a park, or if we had, you know, an afterschool program our, that are taught kids music, you know, there’s gonna be emergent things that are gonna be unique for each community.
But one of the principles is that deep listening, so that. The collective will kind of emerges from where there’s already consensus in the community so that we’re not, our starting point isn’t resolving all of the collective trauma of our history. We’ll get to that like I know that’s where we’re headed, but first, let’s start with the really simple things that we can do that will save lives.
I think suicide prevention and, and peer to peer mental health is a huge thing that we could be doing right now that doesn’t require a big federal budget, but just requires us actually like looking out for each other and, and, and there are some important skills to be able to do that effectively and not make, make things worse.
But these are the kinds of, of really accessible solutions that I think any community could apply, and it’s gonna be up to them based on their sense of what their community needs are and where the consensus. What they wanna self-organize into. And that will lead us into the third phase where we’ll focus a lot more on something like holocracy governance patterns, shared budgeting community currencies.
But we’re not gonna start there because the, that’s a lot to learn for people. I think the first is just relearning the skills of how do we be in community with each other so that, you know, when these organizations are formed, they don’t kind of collapse under their own weight of all the things that are so easily to come to the surface when you bring any group of people together.
Cuz you know, if you look around, there’s a lot of trauma out there. So yeah, that’s the, that’s the plan.
Duncan Autrey: I love this, but let me, let me see if I’m, I’m getting it. This might touch a little bit more a question that I was, you know, thinking about, asking about why would someone want to get involved with independent national Union or to go to the, the, the in c and by the way, October 29th and 30th, Austin, Texas, just come check it out.
But the one is like someone who’s like, I want to get involved in my local politics. I don’t wanna play into the party system. I don’t necessarily even know if I wanna even run for office, but I wanna be someone who is a positive influence in my community, is the kind of thing. And then in this, that there’ll be, you’re creating space one for training for this person to learn skills, conflict management, but an organizing skills.
And then two, like getting clear, what do we need here and like helping their community and themselves. Figure out what do I need? And it doesn’t matter if the next town over is doing something different or the people over there are doing something different. What are my local like values and needs and stuff.
And and then, you know, in the future, potentially, inevitably in coming forward as there’s various people all different around, there’s a way to sort of connect them and have them become like a much larger movement. And I am excited to look at this query Bates in work because and you know, based off the 12 step thing, because having participated in various kinds of like 12 step, you know, work.
The traditions are so amazing. I mean, it’s like this anarchist group, you know, that has no government, no leadership, no positions on anything that has grown to be millions, millions of people around the world, and every country and every town and is proliferated into helping people with all sorts of different things.
And no one is in charge. You know? It’s so incredible. And I think that that, yeah, so that’s a really powerful engine. the another thing that kind of came to my mind is, so I was in the Peace Corps after college and I went to Paraguay and it was interesting because as a Peace Corps volunteer, you know, working for the US government, I’m going around and, the cool thing and the hard thing is that no one’s telling me what to do, right? Like, no, I, I am working on environmental sanitation, but the first exercise we do is we get the community together and have ’em figured out what’s going on here, what kind of resources do we have? And we did these like community maps and kind of gave them a sense of like, we are all part of a community.
We are responsible for our own thing. We helped them figure out what they needed and how they could do it themselves. Now that’s one thing, and like the edge of civilization, rural paray. But doing that in my neighborhood here in Oakland, or, you know, in Boulder or in, you know rural Wyoming, there’s something really cool about that because there’s gonna be a lot of resources and a lot of different ideas.
There’s a lot of huge potential for people to do their own, you know, organizing in their own communities. And to be, have a supportive network of people to do it with. That’s really great.
Benjamin Life: Yeah. I was, I was noticing some emotion coming up for me as you were speaking because I could feel, I can feel how many people are suffering because they don’t feel like they belong and they may actually be having the lived experience of no one actually caring about them.
And what was bringing that emotion to the surface was just the feeling of everyone knowing that they belong and everyone knowing that there actually is someone out there that cares about them. Like even if it’s just one person. That can change the trajectory of a person’s life. So we’re talking about systems, we’re talking about systems change.
I feel like people knowing that someone cares about them, the the second and third order effects that that can have on who a person can become. Cause if, if no one, if I don’t feel like anyone believes in me, I, it’s gonna be really hard for me to believe in myself because I’m gonna have so much external man manifestation or a reminder that I don’t matter and that I, I’m not enough.
And so what I feel with this movement and with the kinds of organizations that I would love to see emerge through this movement is really returning to that sense of belonging together. And, and it’s hard to imagine a political culture where that’s true, that like politics and that could be the same thing, but to me that’s, that’s where I’m bringing my leadership to, inspire us towards that.
That’s possible. And I see these kind of like block parties of the future of politics and civics. It’s like once we can belong to each other again, then and we do, and we do the healing to come back into that belonging, then we’re just celebrating each other’s difference. We’re celebrating each other’s contribution.
And I wanna see a political movement that proliferates that experience for every human being so that everyone knows that they matter and they belong and that people care about them.
Duncan Autrey: There’s something that happens. There’s like three rules of conflict and the second rule of conflict is that everyone who’s involved in the problem is gonna have to be involved in the solution. Hmm. Otherwise, there, you know, it’s just not gonna work.
I was watching Christopher’s video about what does it mean to be American and, you know, and to be proud of this place or to be concerned about it, but there’s something to touch me about taking responsibility for it, right?
And so so insofar as we’re concerned, and I think that people who are independent are probably gonna be concerned maybe we’re saying there’s a problem here, right? And, and everyone who’s involved in the problem, that’s all of us need to get involved with finding the solution. And so I’m picturing this organizing element of who’s not in the conversation right now?
That person who’s maybe without a home right now, they’re not in the conversation. Oh, cool. Can we invite them? What about that person who lives in the house down the street we haven’t seen that maybe doesn’t know? Almost just like that sense of belonging and that there’s this organizing element of being like, let’s make sure that we’re building something where we know that everyone belongs.
We’re not excluding anyone based off of their anything. Right? And we’re gonna, cuz they’re part of this and if we don’t include them, then we’re not gonna be able to figure it all out and. So, you know, it’s, it’s actually just looking at like, data on like the different political perspectives. And then there’s like, a good percent of the population is totally disengaged from politics.
They don’t care actually, , you know, And, and it’s interesting to think about what happens if you knock on that person’s door and say, what’s important to you? What do you want to see? I’m not trying to sell anything to you because it’s actually your opinion that matters here right now.
So we’ve been talking about this, you know, this kind of movement and building this thing and how do we connect people outside of the, the current system. But let’s just talk a little bit about what’s going on in the system here.
I’m curious like what your thoughts are on, like, when you look at our larger country maybe locally too, what are you paying attention to? Like, how, how do you know like, okay, this is going well, or is this not going well? Like, what’s your assessment of what’s going on and what are you looking at?
Benjamin Life: Yeah, I, I used to be, I used to watch Democracy now every day, and man, that was hard to be a, a live feeling, human being and spend an hour every day just in the muck of it and. There was a point in time, I can’t remember exactly when it was. 2020 probably where I stopped listening to democracy now. And it wasn’t because I stopped caring, it was because we’re talking about the symptoms, but we’re not actually going to the root of them.
And I wanted to go to the root, and that wasn’t in the mainstream media in any kind, even on the alternative media. And it would come up in little bits and pieces and, and so it’s hard to pay attention to the kind of political circus that gets put on as the kind of front of house entertainment to keep people distracted from what’s really going on.
Because it’s, it’s almost like being in a surreal waking dream of like, How much of this is for show? How much of this is real? How much of this is affecting real people’s lives and how much of it isn’t? And without really being able to discern that, it creates this kind of hall of mirrors effect of like, I can’t, I know that I can’t just take it at face value because I know that I’m being lied and manipulated and I can’t just ignore it entirely because there is real stuff happening behind the curtain there.
And so I try to bring, I try to not see things through any kind of dominant narrative because I’ve been, I know for my own lived experience how painful it is to realize you’ve been manipulated. And so there is that kind of independent spirit that’s like, I’m not gonna let that happen again. I’m not gonna just consume those narratives blindly.
But you can’t just opt out entirely, as said before. So the way that I approach it is, I look for the, the drivers of certain patterns and
I kind of outlined sort of the, the corporate republican, corporate democrat system before. There’s some more that could be said about that, around how both parties are using their power to prevent other parties from accessing the ballot. There’s deep systemic changes that could create different gaming dynamics.
So rank choice voting, for example, creates a totally different set of game dynamics and can actually increase collaboration between candidates that are similar in perspective, but, To be honest, I’m, I’m focused on what happens after, because I see that the emperor is wearing no clothes. I have done my research on existential risk and there’s a thousand different ways that this whole system, economic and political can come crumbling down.
And so at this point, I’m not even worried about forcing it to crumble. I don’t actually think we’re gonna need to do that. I think it’s gonna crumble under its own weight. And so kind of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, kind of a vibe, Let’s actually start building the lifeboats. And that’s how I’m orienting to this kind of civic operating system is if global supply chains can no longer supply the things that people need for their everyday survival, there will be an actual evolutionary imperative.
And human imperative to meet more of people’s needs locally, because that’s what’s going to be available. And regardless of whether or not things get that bad, that’s the kind of orientation that I’m bringing to what matters to focus my energy on right now is developing the, the movement and the technology and the, the culture that will allow those lifeboats to function so that people can survive and eventually thrive.
And I feel like the, the fundamental principles of the next civilization will be rolled out by being embedded in the things that we use for our survival as this current system collapses.
Duncan Autrey: Oh wow. The system’s collapses. It’s a recurring theme on this podcast, . And. . Yeah. And I, this is part of where we have a lot of alignment and no one’s asked me my question that I love asking about, What are you paying attention to? But for me it’s that narrative, right? Like, what, what are the patterns?
What’s the narrative? What are people saying about things? And it always looks dark for me when people are focusing on like, well, we beat them, or they’re gonna lose, or they’re the problem. And, and it’s like, okay, that’s not actually the issue here. And, and as long as we’re pointing our fingers at each other, we’re, we’re not actually dealing with the serious issues that we have.
And there are so many, as you say, like we have multiple existential threats, you know, coming down the pike, Medic Rises is here. And it’s like, as long as we keep on plane into the approach that there’s so many things that are Beneficial to do in the short term, right?
Like, you, you will get benefits from doing this now, right? If, if you focus all of your political campaign on like, telling, talking about how bad the other people are, and then you’re gonna win. It’s like, you know, But if that’s all you ever do, then you’re not actually gonna become a productive government, you know?
And so and and then there’s long term implications. So there’s like, it’s, you know, evolutionarily non-viable to keep on doing these approaches that are in the human lifetime beneficial, right? So we have all these pieces and I like that. You, you mean, you answer to kind of my next question, which is like, you know, what do you see as the possibility or where would you like to see things go?
And, and it’s like building the civic culture, the infrastructure that helps us survive and thrive now, like, You know, and really what I’m hearing here is just like building a local and networked, you know, community that helps us now and it helps us in the future regardless of what happens. You know, I know specifically with the IMC or the independent national convention, you’re, you’re organizing a delegate group of people who are thinking about different kind of civic innovations and I’m part of that group. And what are some of the civic innovations you see in the future? You know, like what are some of the things that help us survive and thrive, you know, now and beyond?
Benjamin Life: Yeah, there’s a few that I’m really excited about. One is community currencies. I think if we go really deep into what is causing some of the myriad of interconnected crises that we’re facing, she called the meta crisis. Our debt based financial system is one of those things. The way that money is created is it creates an inherent debt when it’s created, and the interest rate determines the rate of extraction and growth that is required by the very existence of that money.
So you can see how on a finite planet, if we keep creating money that way, we will end up killing ourselves. And so with things like blockchain, communities can create. Economic entire economic systems that have the value systems of those communities connected to the money that they use. And this doesn’t even have to be one currency.
You might have one currency that’s a means of exchange, and you might have another currency that’s just a show appreciation and it, And that just becomes a social signaling mechanism where instead of me being able to cash in my gratitude points, it’s a way of me having a way to track the contributions that everyone is making.
And so when we take money and we break it apart into all of the different flows of value that are in a community, it’s a lot easier for us to track where are there not enough nutrients going? Where do we need to actually direct more resource? And then it enables us to function more as like a multicellular organism that’s signaling to itself where the needs are and that.
Money just kind of flattens all of that out. And it brings the agency back to the communities of like, what is the value system that we want to encourage? So maybe we wanna subsidize certain activities or ways of doing business or core needs that we’ve decided as a community we all want to support.
So that’s one of them. I, I’m also really interested in the role of artificial intelligence. I, I have a friend who goes by speaker John Ash, who has created an AI that uses open AI’s algorithm to. Train on different data sets and I, what I can see as a potential in some of these really hard, intractable differences of perspective.
Having an AI that can help reflect back a potential synthesis or maybe even in the language of another perspective. So there’s this kind of ability to use AI as a tool to translate and integrate perspectives that I, I’m also really interested in. And then, and that can also be applied to deliberative decision making where people can input their preferences into something like ello And an AI can actually look for combinations of outcome scenarios that would meet the most needs of the most people.
Ways of popping out of this kind of first pass, the post very rudimentary voting system. It actually, I’m noticing the pattern in all of these solutions that they’re the same in that they’re all trying to provide a higher degree of granularity and complexity of signal so that we can use that signal , We were talking just before about how absurd is that we elect candidates, like individual people to represent tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people.
And that I have to proxy my agency to that individual. Like they don’t even know me. They don’t know what my value system is or what I care about. But with some of these civic innovations, I can actually express the, like really granular. Perspective that I hold and we can use technology to actually have not just representative people, but representative outcomes that are able to have represented inside of them the needs and perspectives and interests of all of those constituents.
Duncan Autrey: well, I, I’m really appreciating that that’s like recognition of like, oh, the, the common thread. You know, because the issues we’re facing and are complex wicked problems that are super and they’re gonna need nuanced perspectives and they’re gonna need a lot of perspectives in it.
And you know, as you were saying, it’s like the left eye and the right eye. But we need not just the left and the right, but we need all the different perspectives looking at whatever the issue is. And so we need to have, so the issues that we have are, , they’re not yes or no binary choices. And they are gonna require very nuanced thinking.
And our system right now is just like being like black or white, you know? It’s just like, No, no, no, we, it’s not even just like that. We need gray, but we just need a lot more pixelation in here. Right. You know? There’s one of my favorite pieces called The Story of Us.
It’s by Tim, Tim Urban who does Wait, But Why? And it’s like really amazing. But the story of us is just like, what’s going on with the world? And he just does this like 10 chapter analysis of like the problems with the world. And it is so good. And it’s, I think it’s gonna become a book eventually, soon, cuz it’s when you start realizing that it’s a blog with like CU comics and stuff, then you’re like, Oh, this is fine.
And then you’re like, You know, 15 hours later read one and you’re like, Oh my God, this, this is gonna be a hundred hours of reading. You know? But anyways, in this, he talks about what he calls the Disneyfication of politics and, and that, and, and he makes this like digital metaphor. So it’s like we have the resolution, you know, like a high resolution, there’s like a lot of pixels.
We can see really clear picture of something. But when you get to lower and lower and lower and lower resolution, if you try to like, take a picture and organize it into eight pixels, you can’t tell what we’re looking at anymore. If you try to resolve it down to just two, you’re really, you can’t see anything.
And that’s what we’re doing right now is like do I have this candidate that represents this a hundred thousand people or this candidate that represents a hundred thousand people or this candidate that represents a million people or this candidate? Like that’s, that level of resolution is so inadequate for what we’re doing doing with right now.
So having there be some sort of like blockchain community currency, that’s also like measuring like what the needs are.
But I mean, really what I hear is like if you can get the individuals in the system that are on the ground, being able to say, We need energy right here. We need something to happen right here. Like that is how you’re going to get that out there. And it’s the same thing with like any corporation that’s trying to have like the CEO make all the decisions.
Corporations that are super nimble are the ones where the people who are on the front lines know what’s going on. And if we can get our democracy such that the people who are on the front lines of things, being able to move each little part forward without needing to move the whole thing, you know, or pull the holding back.
Benjamin Life: it reminds me of, you know that creepy thing where you talk about something and then it shows up on an Instagram or Facebook ad? Yeah, yeah. And I’ve looked into it cuz it, my conspiratorial mind was like, they’re listening. And I looked into it and I don’t actually think they’re listening, but I think that’s actually even creepier because it means that through all the other data that they were able to collect about me, they were able to successfully predict what I was talking about, even if what I was talking about was kind of relatively random relative to all the other things that I talk about.
And what that says to me is that with all the data that’s being collected about us, without our consent and being sold to advertisers, these AI are actually able to really attune to what our needs are. But they’re using it to just sell us stuff. And that’s why I’m so excited about AI is because I feel like it’s just this tool that we either use to keep going on an even more exponentially accelerated version of what we’re already doing, or we actually change the value system that we’re using it for and we actually look for, for the all win.
And that’s why we’re, we’re such good friends. This is cuz we like had that aha moment individually. And then we found each other of like, oh yeah, it’s actually possible for everyone to feel like they have won. And it’s almost like you just have to know that that’s possible to them be like, Okay, let’s turn the wheel of this massive apparatus to actually look for what those wins are.
And I feel like it’s just that it’s actually that simple because the tools are out there, the technologies are out there. You know, everyone who knows how to mediate dialogue. Like, we got this. We just need to have a shift in perspective and values to realize we got this like.
Duncan Autrey: There’s a couple like influences on this project.
I mean but one of the things that kicked me into gear was listening to Christopher your brother on Daniel and Thons Emerge podcast. And, you know, he is talking about like, what is it gonna take to create an all win kind of thing? And in Daniel’s, like, what, I don’t know, how is that gonna look?
And what’s interesting is that like, here’s just making the point that like, once we like lock in to like, we wanna make sure that everyone wins, then all the cascading and benefits out of that are just untold, right? Because, because it’s like, wait, hold on, this person’s falling behind, this person’s falling through the cracks.
Wow. We just excluded this person. Like, well, oh shit. Well, we’re trying to create the all win. So where do they need? Miki Kashton, who was a previous guest on the podcast, and talks about it in the process of convergent facilitation is like, you have to integrate the dissenters. The dissenters are a gift, right?
So any person who is like, I don’t think this is gonna work. All right, everyone, pause. What do you got? Okay. Huh. Yeah, it looks like we didn’t think about that. You know, like the, whoops, You know? And then what’s also interesting is that when we start trying to figure out the win-win solutions of things, then.
The way we look at things really changes, or even what’s important has to change. What do we actually mean here? ? Like, like hold on, why are we talking about this? Because this isn’t even the issue. Right. One of the people you just introduced me to is this Scott Feinberg and who’s also gonna be at the convention and these guy’s dedicating his life to find life super solutions.
And we, we are bonding about one of the Subaru solutions. Collective intelligence, like how can we lever, leverage the collective intelligence? How can we get large groups of people to think together in a deliberative, thoughtful way about what to do about anything? If we can get that to happen, if we can get a bunch of people being like, Okay, we all have to find a solution that’s gonna work for all of us.
Benjamin Life: Yeah and I, I think one of the important things with collective intelligence is that
we still want to preserve our heterogeneity, we, our uniqueness, our diversity, and that the goal doesn’t have to be that we all think the same thing or we all like have the same aha moment and we’re like, Okay, great. That’s the perfect synthesis of all the perspectives, but it’s about the process by which our perspective is changed by coming into the encounter with the other, and that it’s through that, that something new is created.
And we may not actually get to like the super solution, but through the process of being in dialogue with each other, more novelties gonna be produced, more insight and clarity, and then to have the sovereignty to self organize based on affinity. So we don’t have to create some group thing that’s like, okay, we came up with the solution, now everyone has to do that, but have this kind of interoperable and interconnected, but sovereign.
Network of participants that can then say, Okay, of all those options that were laid out, I think that one’s the one that’s most gonna work. And then everyone else who puts up their hand for that one, you go and, and run that experiment and see what you learn and then bring that back into the dialogue space.
And if we just keep running that process then life will decide. Yeah. That’s what I love about evolution and why I changed my last name to life, because ultimately thriving is, its, is self indicat. If I’m experiencing thriving, I can’t, That’s not a construct. That’s the lived experience that I’m having and I’m gonna want to have more of that lived experience.
And so whatever produces thriving is what life will select for. And I think we can trust that and just be participants in that journey with life.
Duncan Autrey: Oh yes. Self-selecting for thriving. I love that. It’s such a good variation of this. What is everyone need or what’s good? What’s gonna improve my quality of life? What’s gonna improve your quality of life? Okay, cool, this is thrivings happening.
Great. Let’s do more of that. And I think this, in this, and you’re kind of the collective intelligence and just like, two things I just wanna capture is like one that it’s the sovereignty of all the different individuals with all the different perspectives and all their lived experiences that is actually necessary for us to actually see the bigger picture.
Right? I mean, it has to be a bunch of different colored pixels, otherwise it’s not gonna work. The other sort of lesson in that world of convergent facilitations, we’re not trying to get to consensus of like the one thing that we’re all think is the awesomeness.
We’re actually just trying to figure out like, okay, I’m willing to do this. You know, like what’s the thing that we’re all willing to do with the understanding that we can’t leave anyone behind, right? Cause I don’t wanna be left behind. I don’t wanna leave you behind. So what’s the thing that I’m willing to do?
But then that next piece that you were saying there is the fact that this is an iterative, experimental process, and I think this is necessary as we like try to face these like big, complex, wicked problems, is that like there isn’t gonna be like a one time solution that is the old school binary yes or no thinking that is gonna kill us all.
Instead, we have to come up with like, this is a potential solution that we’re willing to try. And if’s anyone willing to actually do it. And then let’s try it. And then, okay, back to the drawing board. You know, like, Okay, cool, that worked. Let’s do a little bit more. Or that didn’t work, you know, shoot, try something new.
And so this is the part where it’s like the value system that says we all need to keep on thinking it out together. And we’re still trying to find a solution where everyone wins and that it’s gonna be an ongoing process. It’s funny cuz that’s the fourth of the three rules of conflict.
Just quickly, first rule of conflict. It’s not about what it’s about. There’s something deeper going on. Second rule of conflict, everyone has to be involved in the process. Very rule of conflict. The process for solving the problem and the outcome are actually the same thing.
As soon as you start trying to change the future, you’re actually building the new future. And so you can’t do the ins means switcheroo there. You know, if you want a peaceful future, you gotta have a peaceful process to get there. You can’t be violent and then switch to peace, or, you know, you can’t exclude some people and then include ’em at the last minute, you know, whatever.
Benjamin Life: Yeah. Just what you said, and I think this is really critical for this movement, is that we not take any shortcuts or you have any of that ends justified the means. Thinking in the way that we’re approaching it because I think the most effective tool that we have is showing people that another way of doing things is possible.
And I believe that when people are touched at the level of their heart by the lived experience of that, that that’s more than any argument that we could make about why they should or shouldn’t be part of something is because we don’t have to make the argument if they’re having the direct lived experience of it just being more life affirming.
You go home from a political event, you don’t feel tired or spent, you feel like so alive and inspired and connected to people who care about you and want to see you thriving. And that’s totally not like most of the other place mean I go into work in the morning. Like I don’t really feel like those people give two shits about me.
But, and so that’s what I’m really committed to creating with this movement is to give people the lived experience of the future that we want to create.
Duncan Autrey: Yeah, my old podcast. It was like this conversation that, like this Cuban woman who made the point that like, you have to, you know, make whatever your revolution or your transformation look better than whatever it is that people are doing now, Right? Like, all change happens because we’re showing them something that’s gonna be it’s more attractive.
You know? It’s like, Oh, that looks better. I wanna try that. I just want to commend like you and your crew and the efforts here to say, to really, let’s just start creating the world that we wanna live in because I think this is the way that we can really lap, you know, the, the other parties is in the sense that, you know, they’re in that, like, we’re just being against something.
We’re being against the Democrats, we’re being against the Republicans, we’re being against the progressives, we’re being against the mag people, whatever. Like, fine, like, but You can’t build something off of that. You actually have to build something by like, actually building something.
You gotta say, Hey, this is something that could be better. This is something we can do. This actually better and more attractive, and I can tell you really dialed into that
Benjamin Life: Yeah, it was bringing up a lot for me. Just over time I’ve become increasingly less partisan. I went from being like very died in the wool Democrat, left to then being like progressive anarchist, then an Arco socialist and all the way down that spectrum. I still had an other that I felt superior to, and I actually felt like I went down that path because, I was trying to wake up and I thought the path to waking up was becoming more and more identified with more and more
particularly progressive politics and it’s not that I don’t wanna progress now I’m like really standing for a future where all can win. But what I feel like I saw was the end game of that us and them thinking and process. If you just take a moment to pause and think through like where does that get us?
How could that resolve itself unless it is transformed into a truly all win perspective. And to me it’s like, are you gonna deport all the mega people from California and create like a purely woke republic? Do you. Like, what’s the end game? How do you actually resolve that paradox? And, and so for, for any partisan, it’s gonna take an act of courage to let go of the us and them because so much mental bandwidth has been spent making that other into something to be really afraid of it.
It’s gonna take real courage to be like, Actually no, that’s my brother and sister. I refuse to label them as other. Even if they have views that I disagree with or I think are violent or horrific, I will not abandon them as a fellow human being and I will call them in instead of casting them out. And you might get canceled for doing that.
You might not belong in certain circles that have built identities around us and them, but I’m directly asking every person listening to this to consider where that us and them lives inside of you. And to meet. Our relatives, again for the first time to lay that down and to come into that deeper human connection with each other and to find the courage that it’s gonna take to do that.
Because I think our future generations actually depend on us being able to do that.
Duncan Autrey: that’s so real, thanks for naming the courage that that takes, It’s like the us them good guys, bad guys approach. . Yeah, I’ve thought about this before. It’s like the logical conclusion is genocide. It’s not a pretty situation. Right? Where like, just gonna get rid of them or what is that gonna look like?
Benjamin Life: Or reeducate them And reeducation. Yeah,
Duncan Autrey: exactly. It’s really not. It’s not pretty. And you know, and so for those who are thinking about that courage a little bit, John Paul Letter Act, who’s a really great conflict transformation leader, is, has this concept of the moral imagination. And one of the elements of the moral imagination is to imagine your web of relationships.
That includes your enemies, right? You’re in a web, relationships, it includes even the people you really don’t like. And I actually just was listening to Umbra Max Kennedy. One of the head, you know, leader in anti-racism, the, like, probably, I don’t know if you coined the term, but you know, was really there with Malcolm Gladwell and they were talking about kindy is like, we have to believe that people can change, you know, And he even gets worried about getting canceled sometimes because he’s like, No, we gotta support these people all the way to the end.
And even, and Malcolm Gladwell’s like, yeah, even if it doesn’t happen at the rate that you would like them to change, we have to believe in each other. And, and so, you know, even if you’re worried about, you know, what about those people? Even Max Candy says, Don’t worry, people can change . So just in case you needed a little affirmation there to make it easier.
Benjamin Life: And I just wanna add to that. It’s not, I’m not creating some sort of like moral or ethical equivocation of like, yeah, that racist person’s racism is just as valid as this person’s anti-racism. I’m not saying that what I’m saying is that that racism is rooted in the same intergenerational trauma that produces the system of violence, and that we all have a role to play in healing that underlying trauma that creates those perspectives.
And we only can do that in connection. And so people who have gone through the healing that’s needed to face their internalized racism, like we need those people to lean into connection with people who haven’t healed that part of themselves. And not from a moral superiority, but from like, Man, I know what that’s like because I was born into that system too, and I didn’t choose it either.
And we can either heal this together or perpetuate it, but let’s together, make that courageous choice to heal it together. And I feel like the independent movement, because it is the, that third space that doesn’t have a predefined political ideology, it’s the, it’s the space where the melting pot of America can actually engage in the kind of pluralistic healing that’s needed in order for us to actually come back into relationship again.
Duncan Autrey: If this is exciting for people how do they find out about this independent crew here? How do, how do they get involved with the independent national?
Benjamin Life: Yeah, so you can go to inc22.us to register for the live stream or get tickets if you want to come to Austin. And if you want to listen to the podcast that I’ve been doing that I’m looking forward to having Duncan on and has really been an incredible opportunity to tell the story of this movement as well as specific innovators that are part of it.
You can go to anchor.fm/together. We rise it’s The Rise podcast.
Duncan Autrey: There’ll be all the links for just like everything we’ve been talking about and for you and stuff.
You’d go to those show notes, come to the episode page. There’s a whole ton of information, all, everything that we talked about.
Benjamin Life: Yes. And if you’re listening to this after the convention, which is October 29th and 30th, 2022 in Austin, Texas but you still wanna be involved in this larger movement context, you can go to the Independent National Union website. That’s the organization that is putting on the event, and it’s gonna be the hub for the local organizing that rolls out afterwards.
And that is inu.one and you can tune in there for ways to get involved.
Duncan Autrey: Excellent. Benjamin, thank you so much for being here and for your friendship and for being an ally and, and helping create the all win.
Benjamin Life: I am so grateful for this project and this podcast and our friendship, and I’ve been inspired by getting to know you, and I feel like we have a long lifetime of collaboration ahead of us.
I look forward to it.
About this episode’s guest
Benjamin Life is an integral political organizer and civic innovator. He is an organizer of the upcoming Independent National Convention and host of RISE: The United Independent Podcast.
He considers himself an evolutionary alchemist, and he’s always looking for latent potential and synergy throughout the world. Benjamin believes we can develop and evolve through visionary leadership, relational healing, strategic consulting, and storytelling. Not only this, but he is also a friend and special ally of the Omni-Win Project.
Independent National Convention
Here is a selection of episodes from the podcast:
Benjamin Life – Omniharmonic & Civic Innovation
Benjamin is dedicated to helping develop and evolve our civic culture and civilization. Here are some of my favorite examples of his work:
Here are some podcast episodes related to the conversation in today’s episode:
- “Liberating our Capacity for Thinking and Collaboration” with Jordan Hall (Omni-Win Project Podcast)
- “Overcoming Political and Media Manipulation Together” with Bill Shireman (Omni-Win Project Podcast)
- “Evolving Democracy with Cultural Intelligence” with Steve McIntosh (Fractal Friends Podcast)
Topics Discussed in Episode
Christopher Life – OneNation: An Omni-Win US Political Party
Daniel Schmachtenberger – Utopia or Bust: Designing a Non Self-Terminating Civilization
The Moral Imagination
In his book The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, John Paul Lederach explains that the goal of transcending violence is advanced by the capacity to generate, mobilize, and build the moral imagination.
The moral imagination is based on four capacities:
- Moral imagination requires the capacity to imagine ourselves in a web of relationships, one that includes even our enemies.
- It requires the ability to embrace complexity without getting caught up in social schism.
- It requires a commitment to the creative act.
- It requires an acceptance of the risk that necessarily goes along with attempts to transcend violence.
Beyond Intractibilty offers an excellent summary of The Moral Imagination here.
Online Collaboration Platforms
“We provide best-in-class engagement technology, coupled with expert services that make big decisions easy. We combine fairness and collective intelligence to unlock the answers to hard, contentious problems.”
“we seek a world in which political agenda-setting power rests in the hands of the most inclusive possible set of engaged citizens and independent public servants…
…to enable novel processes of citizen driven decision making, public deliberation and participatory self governance.”
Ranked Choice Voting vs. STAR Voting
Ranked choice voting (RCV) — also known as instant runoff voting (IRV) — improves fairness in elections by allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference.
STAR Voting is a smart and innovative voting method for all types of elections. From single-winner, to multi-member, proportional representation, primaries, and general elections, STAR Voting is a great solution that levels the playing field and gives voters the freedom to vote with their heart.
These articles provide a good review of the meta crisis:
- “We Can No Longer Save The World By Playing By The Rules”by Tomas Björkman
- “How To Think About The Meta-Crisis Without Getting Too Excited” by Jonathan Rowson
- “Understanding the Meta Crisis” by Andrew Sweeny
- “Comparing Approaches to Addressing the Meta-Crisis” by Brandon Norgaard
Daniel Schmachtenberger frames the meta-crisis as a three-part crisis:
- Rivalrous dynamics: We’re all competing to win and beat other people.
- Subsuming of our substrate: We’re all gobbling up the environment to beat others.
- Exponential technology: We’re getting better at gobbling up this world.
About The Omni-Win Project
The Omni-Win Project is a multimedia effort to raise awareness of the myriad existing and emergent opportunities to improve our democracy and heal our political culture.
Our mission: facilitating the healing and evolution of our democratic systems and political culture, so that we can co-create a future that works for everyone.
Meet The Host
I am omnipartial: I am biased in favor of the success of everyone and the whole. I believe it is possible to improve systems of communication and interaction in ways that will allow humanity to thrive and evolve through our complexity and diversity.
My purpose in life is to support an omnipartial revolution. How? By helping the world understand the fractal nature of conflict and how we can transform conflict into a positive and inspiring experience. We are all in this together. I firmly believe we can do this complex dance through life with much more grace and beauty.
I am specifically committed to transforming how we work together in teams and organizations and how we experience conflict and collaboration in our democracy.
Fans of the Omni-Win project podcast will enjoy this collection of episodes: https://www.fractalfriends.us/transforming-politics about Transforming Politics and Healing Democracy