Thoughts on Democratising

Nathan Cravens
4 min readJun 27, 2019

What if you had to choose between remaining as you are, only capable of interacting with small aspects of the world, not even scratching the surface of what is physically possible, or instead, observe the workings of the universe, but unable to change anything, like watching a movie, but with all possibilities? This in a sense is the dilemma of post-scarcity: on the one hand having the burden of shared hardship as a social bond, while on the other having the ability to live in a world unrestrained from the current bedrock of civilizations.

So what is post-scarcity? Maybe let’s rapidly misdefine scarcity: something identified as being useful, but lacks infinite availability. Real estate will be an interesting issue, as there are limited areas located along fair weather coastal areas and other bodies of water. One solution would be to create artificial islands, where everyone has the same luxury view and feels. Each island would maintain the challenge of desalinating water, cultivating soil for biodiversity, and be spacious enough not to evoke a gilded prison.

Like a good parent to ourselves, we might conclude that if everyone cannot have the ability to live on a particular coastal region — no one should. But unrestrained from needing to work in a particular location, post-international travel will likely be more frequent, and luxury palaces can act as timeshares as we all travel the Earth enriching ourselves with local ideas, hopefully without gentrifying the source, although that is the cost of popularity (or capitalism).

There is a certain human flaw preventing us thus far from achieving the condition of abundance, as Buckminster Fuller often mentioned: When first recognizing something, there is an instant tendency to take it for granted, as if you yourself know every complete detail instantaneously as the concept is introduced. This vanity breaks down when confronted with: How do you make the parts and put them together to make what is interfaced? For the purposes of flow and survival, just like we don’t need to know in much detail how our own body works to remain alive, we the same take for granted a computational device able to view this page, or if these scratch marks were read on a seemingly more primitive surface, most of us could hardly go about constructing a printing press, let alone paper itself.

Another abundance preventative is behaving in a socially acceptable way — people pleasing. A certain amount of uniformity and stability is necessary to make sense of things and gain bearing, but without looking to the horizon or imaging what could be beyond it, without that sort of approach to life being socially acceptable, (as when not trying you fail 100% of the time) we can be stuck in a grim and uninspired state, synth-and-vapor-waving ourselves to death in an insidious rehistorical laden neurosis grasping for tropes, the current vibe by my estimation experienced during this writing as it approaches the 2020s. And rightly so, if a generation of adults are deeply in debt, consider avocados a luxury, and cannot even dream of home ownership, Utopia reads exactly as it appears on the cereal box of other disposable commodities.

Technological improvement in information technology is roughly doubling every two years, and costs for renewable power are decreasing in a similar manner, but at present these technologies are basically used to repaint in ever more higher resolutions the same thing we’ve had since radio or the newspapers before that — a veneer of bullshit — that distracts as much as it informs.

Sure, the platforms on the web are interactive, information is exponentialized, but behavior is mostly passive, with dank memes being the highest vicissitudes presently achieved on the Internet. And, remember, we’ve had the Internet for decades! We remain in the broadcast mindset and the school systems that founded it. We continue to create ever more complex means of resentment without rendering the system we are accustomed, obsolete.

Web activity needs to affect more than a server farm that displays what an individual had for dinner. It needs to go further and engage with reality itself: What elements brought the dinner to the table — from the constitution and exact location of the soil a plant was raised, to where the materials were sourced to construct the knife and fork. And more importantly, everyone should have input into how things are made and delivered, made observable and actuatable in near-realtime on or from the web, democratising industrial operations first before approaching the trickier negotiations of lived and public space in a borderless world struggling for cultural dominance or preservation.

This way of engaging the world may not be because hegemony (the grand artifact of security) does not want to be challenged, and therefore distractions, either intentionally or unintentionally, keep attention away from what is behind the curtain, obscuring knowledge of how a particular thing is made, while ensuring a reliance on and prosperity for the increasingly lesser minority that is doubling down its increases, ultimately controlling more vertically who-gets-what.

We must all become that minority, comfort zones will need crossing, certain radical thoughts and actions need mainstreaming, or risk being funneled into smaller and smaller compartments until we are all truely dead.



Nathan Cravens

First comes the telepresence, then comes the telerobotics, then comes the autobotics, then you win.