A Pinch of Good Intention to Patch the Shards Back Together

I’m flooded with earnest hope for this world, due in large part to meeting so many amazing people who believe decentralization can transform broken societal structures.

I felt really alone for a long time, gripped by a polar paradox of deep idealism about humanity and despair about society. Over the past few years, disruptive technological innovations have convinced me that the idealism is justified, and the despair can be gradually mitigated. It’s not just the ideas within the decentralization revolution that inspire me — it’s also the communicative, thoughtful, and deeply ethical community at the wheel.

When I reference decentralization I don’t mean “put a blockchain on it.” I am talking about an umbrella movement which goes beyond technology alone, expanding to address how we communicate with one another, how we govern our communities, and how we control our identities.

The medium, the message, the senders and receivers, are all purely peer-to-peer.

There’s no such thing as being unfixable, used up, broken.

The internet taught me about kintsugi: mending broken ceramics with lacquer laced with precious metals.

Don’t try to hide the cracks in the vessel: honour them.

Don’t cringe at the indicators of its frailty: embrace them.

Realize, eventually, that this is an entirely new object, rather than an attempt to replicate the old one.

Trace its lines softly, remembering. Give it a new home.

And finally see that the carefully patched fractures can start to resemble the links between decentralized nodes — the pieces still intact are indelible markers of instances of survival. The whole object, the entire network, didn’t crumble. Its structure just shifted, but it survived.

2017 has transmogrified me via metaphysical kintsugi. I just hit 30 years old with utter bliss, shedding the fear of falling.

I’m on fire, my dudes. Filled for the first time with faith.

Never in my adult life have I felt more comfortable with the incredible imperfection of being a human being. I’ll freeze up in terror and I’ll fail to show up on time and I’ll fall short of expectations. But I’ll also laugh — a whole goddamn lot — and I’ll try to take care of the people I love, and I’ll do my best — whatever that may be, fluctuating from time to time.

I spent too long mourning my oceanic-scale failures, the ego’s death by a thousand cuts.

I was convinced it would be some form of betrayal — an unearned pass — to forgive myself for mistakes. I didn’t understand till recently: you don’t forget. That’s not what it’s about. You see the people around you who are amazing and successful and you think, I fall short. I can’t contribute to this world. There’s something in me that’s not quite enough.

But we all feel like that sometimes. And it’s the strength in our communal collaboration, and the fair and open distribution of expectations and contributions, that allows us each to thrive, contributing our particular strengths while compensating for our weaknesses.

We cannot expect to survive as islands, human communities themselves are inherently decentralized networks with complex and constantly shifting relationships.

So when my node fails at understanding finance, there are four connections that I trust to back me up with good advice. When other nodes are lacking in setting up organized communication structures, I know I can come through. And when any of us “just can’t today,” when energy lags or depression hits, a larger support network is there to pick up the slack. Holding that network together, including you, until you can power up again.

Within this framework you let yourself start over, and after each and every cringing failure you patch the fractures carefully with gold. You hold on to hope. You Don’t Stop Believin. And you find some kick-ass people who Also Won’t Stop Believin and see what new worlds you can build together.

  • Picture 1 source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jason_benjamin/12795733984
  • Picture 2 source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8770/16859301360_8449cb2892_b.jpg
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