How to we get there from here? (building the new within the shell of the old)

The following is a transcript from my podcast / youtube entity, the Lifestyle Design Show featuring me, the author, Court Reinland.

Hello everyone, this is Court Reinland and welcome to the Lifestyle Design Show. I’m the author of the book, Aquarius — The Book of Lifestyle Design, which is out now and in this show I talk about all the principles in that book and what lifestyle design is and what it can do for you.

So in today’s episode we’re going to talk about what I call the “How do we get there from here,” problem. So how do we get from the society we’re in now, the kind of world and framework that we’re in now, regardless of what country you’re living in but especially if you’re living in the United States, that’s what I’m familiar with, and we look at, you know, without changing anything, assuming the government itself doesn’t change or we’re unable to affect political change in the government, how do we get there from here?

As I’ve talked about in the past, and people who follow me you might know, democracy is is broken, right?

You don’t have to follow me to know that. People all over the world are coming to realize that.

Democracy itself, in the present incarnation anyways, as you know, democratic republicanism, like we have in the U.S., or democratic socialism like we have in parts of Europe — it’s not working properly. It’s basically broken to the extent that people are very apathetic about voting because they’ve realized that money has crept in, to a grave degree and these other factors have crept in, to where they just aren’t inspired to vote because they feel it doesn’t do much.

Now some people might say, you know, that’s a pretty low position, right? You know, “You should be still active and vote in your democracy, even so,” and people do, you know. Some people still do. I still vote, for what it’s worth. I don’t feel it does that much, but I do still vote.

And it’s like you have to get — you have to understand it’s not necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition, right? Voting can do some things but not everything, and some other things you just have to take action on yourself, in your own life, and lifestyle design is designed to help people do that. It’s designed to help people take action in their own life and effect change in the community around them and with the people that are near them that they can work with and it can be something enormously enjoyable and enormously empowering for a person to do — to do that kind of work in their community to help people.

And to really put their lives into action, not just talking about it, not just talking about on social media.

So without further ado — How do we get there from here? Okay. How do we build the society? We want to see the harmonious society we think can be without, you know, having to change the government as a whole, which is a very, very hard to do anyways, right?

It’s very hard to get people to agree on what that change should be. But you can do it on a local scale. You can effect change yourself, within yourself, and to some extent with the people around you, right?

So I started with that, and one of the models that I came up with, and I’m sure brilliant minds out there, you know, more brilliant than me will be able to come up with even better models. But the model that I came up with is — or one of the models I came up with, I actually came up with several — but one of them is called the simple fixed basis model (SFBM), and by simple, it really is simple.

So in this model, it’s a typical division of labor model like you have in a capitalist corporation — she does one job. He does another job and a third person does a third job and so on.

So in a community like what are the inputs you need? What are the skills you need? So you need all your basic sustenance — food, clothing, shelter. Beyond that you have — teachers become very important, medicine, of course — Doctors. Probably some resources towards security of the community — security guards, or what have you.

You need people who run the software or the infrastructure, administrators. There’s a bunch of other skills we’re not getting into — chefs, mechanics, people who make toys, right? You would need all of these things in your community and obviously farmers would still be a huge part of it, people who work the land, right?

So in your community, you’d have all of these people, right — and each one would essentially be a freelancer or a soloist, as it were, and they would all hypothetically agree to work with the others, in the sense of buying from and selling to each other.

So on the Aquarius app, you would choose, “I want to create a new community.” You would choose Simple Fixed Basis Model from the template dropdown list, and you would create your constitution. You could call your constitution a charter if wanted.

You’d ask, “Why are we here, why have we come together?”

This could just be a one-page document. You could announce to yourself or to the greater Aquarius community if you choose to set your community as open.

Then you would list the next steps, you would list the positions you think you need. These would be all the people that you think you need to run a successful community. And again, this community doesn’t have to provide every single thing in your life.

And again, this community doesn’t have to provide every single thing in your life. It doesn’t have to replace everything that you’re getting, or buying or doing now, but if it replaces some of it, if it replaces some of it harmoniously, you can essentially have stability in those areas of your life. You can have stability in a certain part of your life, that’s always there for you on the basis that you have mutually agreed amongst your peers.

And again, the idea is that you’re creating a common currency. You’re creating a fiat, a cryptocurrency token amongst yourselves that you are using to exchange amongst yourselves the various goods and services that each person makes or does or provides — and then you are trading amongst yourselves. Or you’re trading amongst yourselves at least to a certain defined limit, so you’re saying, okay — you know, like a hypothetical agreement would be like, “Okay let’s say I’m a baker and I make pies and I agree to make ten pies a day and I agree to sell those pies for one and a half tokens each and I agree to take a salary from the bank of the community of fifteen hundred tokens a month or whatever…

And this is where a person’s skill at community management comes in, a lifestyle designer’s skill at community management comes in. It’s almost like a philosopher’s skill — what do you set those values at, right? How do you pay people fairly and harmoniously, but still take into account how skilled the job is, how much effort it takes, and how hard it is to get a person for that job, right?

I mean you could make all jobs have the same pay, right? But, you might not get many doctors at that point, right?

Because you have to, kind of, pay people based on their — essentially their value, their ability to contribute to your community, right?

But you could try it with everyone being paid the same if you felt really egalitarian and you wanted to do it that way, but you could also not do it that way, you could do it in a kind of meritocratic way. You could rank it based on average salaries for that position. You could do all kinds of things.

But with the simple fixed basis model you just have a list, basically, like a hiring list, like a solicitation, “We need this many people doing these kinds of things; we need a person to fish, we need a person to farm the land, maybe ten people to farm the land, and we need people to do maintenance work on the apartment building.”

So part of the plan could be, you’re going to buy a derelict apartment building somewhere — buy the whole building — and we’re gonna occupy it and everyone in the community gets an apartment as part of their package. You’re essentially signing up for a package, just like your job compensation package — here’s your salary, here’s your benefits, or whatever, right?

But instead of being for an employer, in a totally top down, capitalistic legacy corporation kind of model, you’d have essentially a circle, and you’d say, “Okay, we all get an apartment in this building and we all have a job and each job, you’d list them out, and here’s what they pay. And here’s what we agreed to sell our goods or services for and here’s how much we agree to work each year.”

It could be very minimal. It could be people just agreeing to put in, you know, 10 days of work a year, right? It doesn’t have to take over your whole life. You don’t want it to necessarily be like a repeat of how people are stuck in their normal, legacy capitalism jobs now, where you’re like every day, you know — just working like a dog for very little pay or whatever, right?

Or maybe you’re working for very low pay and you have no road up, or you have no way to advance in your company — you’re just gonna be working in that position foreseeably, maybe, forever — until you die. It’s very bleak for a lot of people right now, right?

So, you don’t have to make it something like that. You can make it a full time job if you want to, if everyone is that dedicated or you can have some part-time jobs or you can have some let’s not call them jobs, but positions in the community, right? Then you’re going to have some people who work more, obviously being paid more, if you want.

You can stagger it, you can have a hierarchy of different positions and whatever, right and so let’s say, you know, you just want to do it simply and everyone works ten days a year and they provide their skill. And whatever they can output in that amount of time — it’s all agreed on. It’s all spelled out right there in the contract inside the Aquarius software which is then living on the Ethereum blockchain.

So everyone has a record of it, and people can’t just go and change it however they want. You can change it, of course, but that would be spelled out in the rules of your constitution, how and in what ways that could be changed. For example in the charter it would say, “It can only be changed by a vote of the founders plus 2/3 of the members,” or “a vote of the founders only,” or “a vote of all the members only,” just as a pure democracy, or a “vote of just one person.” You could do that, if you wanted to, right?

It’s just a tool.

So you have people and they all agree, and this thing that they agree to — this the smart contract, if you will, this contract — it just becomes a contract in the eyes of the law as well, right?

So in the eyes of, you know, whatever country you’re in, provided they have any kind of normal legal framework for commerce, which pretty much every country does, you would just output from the software, the contract. You could just print it out, right? And say “Here’s the contract we’ve agreed to,” and that would typically be enforceable, you know, in a court of law as well. You may not have to take it there. You may just agree to binding arbitration amongst your community members — but you could, you hypothetically could make it just like any other contract, right?

And then what you would do is just form. You hit that magic button to form the community and you could set up the basis on which your bank works and allocates currencies, right?

So, you know, you would say, “Start with how many initial tokens and give to each member so many tokens.” This is an arbitrary setting. You could literally set it with whatever you want. It’s like monopoly money, you set how much people start with, and then you play, right?

And so then everyone would have a login, right? You could create your own, you know public:private key which would be your login and you would go in and you’d see a screen, like a stats screen, every time you’re logged in, similar to like an RPG role-playing game. You would see how many tokens you had in your personal account you’d see what job you were responsible for. How many pies you had to output that day and how many days you had worked, out of your total pledge of work.

So you’d have just a little screen there and it would show you, you know, that your apartment was number 12H or whatever and that’s where you live in the community, and this is what you had agreed to do, and this is the rate of pay that you could expect from the bank, and this how much you charge other members for your services, and it all being defined right there in like one or two little stat screens, just as easy as that.

And you can see it right there — that’s my pledge, that’s my life, at least as far as this community is concerned. It could be very simple, like you just wake up every day, do the thing. Or you go in 30 days of the year until you’ve finished doing your thing, and then, the money, the tokens you had, you could use on any of the other services from people who had pledged into your community.

So if you had a doctor who pledged in and your child was sick, you could go to that doctor and pay some tokens to her and she would perform her amount of service for you up to whatever amount was promised, for whatever the rate was and that would be that. And you could go to the teacher, and you could learn, you know — learn a programming language or something, right? And you could go to the mechanic and you could get your car fixed.

So you could just do it in a very simple way. It’s so simple and I know I’ve talked about a lot, but I hope I’ve been able to simplify it to an extent that people can easily understand how simple it could be.

And when the software is released into the full public beta and everything, you will be able to see just how easy it is because it’s literally as easy as playing a video game or something. You just go in, you decide what you’re going to do, you agree to do it and you do it, you fulfill your promise, you build what you said you were going to build under the contract and all the other members of the community hopefully do the same.

And there would be, in the charter, hypothetically, rules for forfeiture of contract, like if you don’t fulfill your obligation, there might be legal rules on top of that, depending what country you’re in, but there could be also rules within the community itself like if you do not fulfill your contract, you lose your tokens or you can be removed from the community by a vote of the members or whatever and that would be clearly defined.

The way by which a person could join and the way by which a person could be, essentially, exiled should also be, spelled out so that people know what they’re getting into.

Maybe a person can’t perform their duties or whatever, you will run into different reasons why people would have to leave, just like a normal job, sometimes you have to move on, right? And you could have a way by which a person could leave normally and sell their shares back to the community for example, so they’d be compensated for whatever they put in. So that would be like a normal case.

And then you’d have, you know, a kind of — what amounts to like a dishonorable discharge or something where someone is essentially trying to game the system or trying to take advantage of others or whatever, and they were kicked out and maybe that penalty is a little bit harsher, right?

But you could define all that, and it could have legal basis, as well as basis within your community. You can and probably should invite a lawyer as a member of your community so that you can get advice on all these matters in the area that you live.

You get the idea right? So the rules by which someone can join, and the rules by which someone can leave or be kicked out are defined.

But other than that, it’s just a simple basis — very simple and there’s another aspect which is also not too hard to understand, which is how to recruit people.

So I envision something like crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is this phenomenon where people put together money or a pledge of money, or in the case of what it’s called crowdsourcing, they put together a pledge of their labor and they just say, essentially, if all these other people also put in money, or put in labor and the thing reaches its cap or it’s minimum, then it goes forward. If it does not, it doesn’t go forward, right?

So if you say, “Okay, my community needs 30 members to function at all properly,” and if the person founding it doesn’t reach that level — if they don’t get thirty members to say yes, it doesn’t form. Like, the formation just does not go ahead.

You can just say, “Okay, if it reaches this limit or this amount of funding — maybe sometimes you have people, but you don’t have the funding you need — you don’t have the funding you would need to buy, like, a common galley for everyone to set up their shop in, or to buy a piece of arable land that you intend to farm or whatever, right?”

If you don’t have that money, then also that’s a block, right? So you need to know, kind of — you need to set out, like what are the criteria, first of all? And then if I get it, through people coming together and all of them agreeing with each other and all making that contract together with each other.

It either will or won’t go through.

The app allows you to do this kind of automatically so you would even post in the community now forming and it would go live on the entire network of other Aquarius apps. You can make it secret, you could make it not do that. But you can also make it do that, so that other little Aquarians, Aquarius app users around the world could see that your community is forming and they could say, “Oh I might check that out. You know, I might check out this community that’s forming,” right?

And they might think that’s interesting and vibe with whatever your charter says, and want to do that. So that’s yet another way to recruit people. You could recruit people on any platform you have access to. Maybe there’s members amongst your friends. Most of you are members of a forum on whatever, but you could also do it directly through the software and in those cases, people would just go on the software and say, “I’m a doctor,” or “I’m a farmer,” or whatever and you could even have a resume submission process, right?

Or just have people fill out a form, or however you wanted to handle that, and/or however the founders — assuming there’s more than one person making decisions — however the founders of the initial community wanted to handle that. And or you could even vote, the entire community could vote on if that person should join or not, kind of like some condo communities do now, you know — you have to get everyone’s approval for a person to join.

You could set that up in a variety of ways, so you’d have people joining and then you would — once you have all the members you thought you needed, you would press commit and form community and you’d see a little fireworks on screen and it would be a celebration, everyone would then have a new community in their stat screens that they are a member of.

Star Ecotopia
Member: Ada 
Position: Farmer (Agricultural Attendant, First Class :D)
Work Commitment: 50 days per anum
Provided with: seeds, arable land, farm machines, stall in the common galley, personal lodging
Agrees to provide: Yield of crops at the farmers market table in common galley
Prices set as follows:
Turnips: 10 tokens each
Lettuce: 5 tokens each
Carrots: 7 tokens each
Star Ecotopia
Member: Elizabeth
Position: Teacher 
Work Commitment: 60 days a year
Subjects taught: Mathematics, English
Student cap: 25 pupils
Salary: 5,000 star tokens, monthly
Provided with: Classroom, personal lodging

You can make it detailed or not. You can leave people more room in that or you can make it pretty spelled out what you expect of people, right? So that’s up to the magic of the lifestyle designer themselves.

This has been just a little introductory talk. Again this is the Lifestyle Design Show. I hope you can understand the idea simply enough from this episode and you can check out the book: Aquarius — The Book of Lifestyle Design by myself, Court Reinland. And I hope I’ve helped you understand what lifestyle design is all about a little bit.