CoGov Presents: A Digital Protocol for Scaling Loving Kindness

Raymond D. Powell
15 min readMar 17, 2020


It seems to be a fundamental truth that what we call “Love” is actually the underlying field that holds space for the evolution of the Universe to happen. Therefore, Love shows up in all aspects of our reality where there is the ability for evolution to occur. When we Love something, we set it free— we hold space for its own natural, self-determined evolution. Control, on the other hand, is resistance to the natural flow of evolution. Control is when we attempt to mold evolution with our will. It seems that a dichotomy between Love and Control exists at all levels of conscious experience.

  • Listen to a mantra to set the mood for your read: I Release Control, by Alexa Sunshine Rose.
  • See the bottom of this article for a personal note. Consider reading it first.
  • If you want to skip the philosophy, and get to the meat of the proposal, skip to the section headed with “A Game”

Love vs. Control: In the Psycho-Spiritual Realm

It seems there may be a core underlying truth that all religions and spiritual traditions seem to have in common. According to The Samadhi Center:

Samadhi is an ancient Sanskrit word which points toward the mystical or transcendent union that is at the root of all spirituality and self-inquiry. The saints, sages and awakened beings throughout history have all learned the wisdom of self-surrender.

According to these teachings, in our spiritual lives, we Love ourselves (set ourselves free to evolve) the most when we stop our minds from constantly attempting to define and categorize its inputs and confabulations. But since our minds are meaning-making machines, when things happen, our minds insist on understanding why. This is a good thing. Our survival depends on this ability. But somewhere along the way in our human cultural development, it seems we have gotten in the habit of putting far too much energy into this task.

When the mind gets involved in spirituality, and when we experience synchronicity or feel as if we have witnessed something beyond our mind’s ability to understand, we often fall into the traps of attempting to Control those experiences by letting the mind manufacture meaning. Sometimes we invent Gods or angels. Sometimes we invent stories of our own importance or metaphysical capacities. It’s not that these stories are necessarily untrue. The problem is that when we are “in our head” and allow our mind to Control our experience by means of defining it, we inadvertently pull ourselves away from our most natural evolutionary path— you know, that most natural evolutionary path of the Universe itself? This is the opposite of Love.

Love vs. Control: In the Emotional Realm

Similarly, these teachings of self-surrender lead us to consider how sometimes when we feel a strong emotion, we have a tendency to desire greater Control of our lives. In doing so, we attempt to create more or less of the experience that our mind calculates led us to feeling that emotion. So again, then, we set ourselves free (Love ourselves the most) when instead, we simply allow ourselves to experience emotions as they arise, and tap into our higher awareness that is a witness to those emotions, rather than staying more in our monkey brain that is in reaction to the events that led to them.

Love vs. Control: At the Interpersonal Level

In our personal relationships, we often find ourselves in power struggles— whether overt or covert. Without having mastered sovereignty (the ultimate self-love), many folks subtly give away their power in relationship with others. Then there are those other folks, who have a tendency to take that power that is being so freely given. When either of these dynamics are present in interpersonal relationships, they take on Control dynamics, and are not based fully in Love.

When we scale interpersonal relationships, we see how these same dynamics apply in our social lives and work lives. Groups of people sharing time and resources find themselves in situations where subtle power differentials can lead to Control dynamics, and power tends to centralize into the hands of the takers— those are glad to “take charge” or “take leadership”. These terms usually really mean “power over”, and “in Control”. These things are the opposite of Love.

From a Loving space, we gladly “give power” to those who inspire us with their clear channel of truth and goodness which seeks the win for all (omni-win) in all situations. These ways of being are the hallmarks of humility. They can be exercised by all beings at any stage of life— they are Loving Kindness in action. We gladly, and wisely, share our power with those who renounce ambition, who have learned to gracefully surrender Control, and who seek to hold space for the empowered evolution of all beings. When we give and receive power in this way, we could be said to be “leading from the heart”.

Love vs. Control: In Socioeconomics

Martin Luther King said, “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”

Similarly, those who desire Loving Kindness must learn to organize as effectively as those who desire Control. Social coordination systems and standards play a key role in scaling Loving Kindness.

Bringing Loving Kindness into our socioeconomic interactions requires a deep transformation of the systemic means by which we coordinate socially at scale. If those systems are not inherently imbued with Loving Kindness at their core, how can they allow us to coordinate with Loving Kindness? Systems and standards designed for Control are simple (and relatively easy), and because of the simplicity of systems having such entrenched Control dynamics, in a sense, they become inherently more efficient and effective as they scale.

On the other hand, while it may be a simple undertaking to learn, teach, and master Loving Kindness within ourselves, and in 1-to-1 relationships, it is definitely not easy. And there are many layers of complexity and complications that begin to happen as we attempt to scale Loving Kindness. More people means exponentially more interactions. Exponentially more interactions seems to require us to have digital tools– at least, at this stage in our evolution as a species. And, it is possible that digital technology is only a temporary stepping stone to realizing the technology already encoded in our DNA. Maybe something like organizing into tribes and federations of tribes is actually a fundamental pattern of scaling Loving Kindness that is already fully within us, and we just forgot.

The Feedback Loop of Love

To give Love is to hold other beings in Loving Kindness. To receive Love is to operate from Vulnerable Transparency. Loving Kindness begets Vulnerable Transparency. Vulnerable Transparency trusts in Loving Kindness.

Vulnerable Transparency is the key to scaling Loving Kindness. It is a commitment– and a habit. Building a new socioeconomic system requires a commitment to the embodiment of the habits of Vulnerable Transparency in the means by which we steward shared assets. And in the end, what asset isn’t actually shared? We can talk about “ownership” all we want, but at the end of the conversation, we should realize that no matter how we look at it, ownership is really just temporal stewardship. Stewardship matters. Transparency of stewards is critical. The more assets an individual is stewarding, the more effect they have within the socioeconomic system. And with Loving, Kind stewardship comes both rights and responsibilities.

Rights of stewards come in the form of influence over how assets are stewarded. Responsibilities come in the form of always seeking the greatest level of holopticism (the ability to see the whole). After all, how can we know our actions are the most Loving and Kind if we are not willing to look ever more deeply? Stewards who take care to ensure the lowest levels of rivalrous behavior, and maximize Loving Kindness are important players, and deserve attention and praise. And we should remember, anything we perceive as Loving Kindness is just the least worst perception of Loving Kindness available to us at that moment in time. A commitment to holopticism requires us to remain continually open to a more complex perception.

Perception is a result of our level of consciousness. “Higher consciousness” is not some woo-woo term born from some false new-age religion. Consciousness is the ability of a being to recognize its participation in the patterns in which it exists. A “higher” consciousness being is one who is able to identify its participation at greater levels of complexity.

As we are able to perceive greater levels of complexity in the systems in which we participate, we are better able to ensure that our choices are creating ever deeper embodiments of Loving Kindness (anti-rivalry).

Knowing Loving Kindness

In order to embody Loving Kindness, one has to have some concept of what it is. For many on planet Earth at this time, the experience of Loving Kindness can be elusive. It seems that it is critical to have a deep experience with Loving Kindness in our formative years, so that by 6 or 7 years of age, we have received some conception of the possibility of the existence of unconditional Love. Having caregivers during this time of life that embody Loving Kindness, and create secure attachment behavior patterns, go a long way to us being able to have deep sense of self-Love (sovereignty) as we gradually gain independence in the world.

From deep sense of sovereignty (self-Love), we will naturally be drawn to situations and relationships that embody Loving Kindness, and be repelled from situations that do not. Those for whom Loving Kindness was not strongly present in the formative years, or for whom a sense of sovereignty and self-Love was not fully developed will likely need community support to actually experience being safely held in Loving Kindness. Supporting the ability for all people to have this direct experience could prove to be critical in a scalable transition to a world of Loving Kindness.

The Deep Work of Loving Kindness

Perhaps the biggest challenge for an individual in truly embracing Loving Kindness, is how to relate to other beings who aren’t in a reciprocal state of being. For any number of reasons, other beings may not be feeling that Loving Kindness is the way for them in general, or even in just a particular moment of interaction, or perhaps they are acting out from a wound they carry. This phenomenon is inherent in nature in the ways that a wild animal may see us as a meal, rather than a friend. One way this plays out in humans is when a person may not even believe in the value of Loving Kindness or believe that it would never be reciprocated even if they did. To embody Loving Kindness towards even those who are incapable of reciprocating is perhaps the highest form of Love. Firm boundaries from our own self-Love (sovereignty) ensures we are also honoring ourselves.

Let us also remember that the level of Loving Kindness one is experiencing from others is completely subjective. One other big challenge for folks engaging in this conversation is to remember that our interpretations of others intentions are going through our own lenses of perception based on our past experiences. Perhaps the most Loving Kind thing we can do is to empathize with others expressions first– before considering the level of Loving Kindness that may or may not be present. This is, indeed, deep work.

There is another challenge for those of us who offer our gifts in the world through the use of our brilliant, calculating minds. Since we may often allow our minds to run amok in honor of it’s fabulous abilities, there is a rule to remember: Lead with the heart– and only from that place, allow the mind to shine in it’s brilliance by calculating the most optimal path towards Loving Kindness. We are all necessary. Everyone gets to play. Optimizing Loving Kindness is still very much an engineering task.

A Game

The dichotomy between Love and Control is not a new concept. It is a slightly different twist on the same dichotomy that we explain to children by asking them to be “nice” instead of “selfish”. In fact, it has even been made into a computer simulation.

In 1980 there was a famous tournament organized by Professor Robert Axelrod. It was a simple two player game where in each round, players had to choose to be nice … or selfish ... They would make their decision before the round started, then the decision of both players would be revealed. There were three possible outcomes.

1: Cooperation: If both players were nice, they both gained a small number of points.

2: Predator/Prey: If one player was nice but the other was selfish, then the selfish player gained a lot of points but the nice player received none.

3: Tit for tat: If both players were selfish, neither got any points.

The players played for several rounds, each having a chance to play every other opponent, then the points were tallied and a winner was announced. What made this interesting was that this was a computer tournament. It was computer programs playing against computer programs.

Some programmers programmed their computers always to be nice, others, always to be selfish but more advanced programs varied their behavior depending on the behavior of their opponent.

If a computer program was always nice, and it played a computer that was also always nice it did well but when it played against selfish programs it always lost. Always being nice was not the winning program.

If a computer program was always selfish, it would only win when it played with programs that were always nice. When it played programs that were also selfish, neither program gained any points. Always being selfish was not the winning program.

So, which program won the tournament? It wasn’t even close. One program beat all the others. What was the winning strategy? The program’s strategy could be simplified to five rules:

1- Start with being nice.

2- If the other player is nice back, continue being nice.

3- If the other player is selfish, be selfish back in the next round.

4- If a selfish player becomes nice, be nice again the next round.

5- If both players are selfish for 3 rounds in a row, be nice the next round. This can be further simplified to three rules: Start nice. Be provokable. Be forgiving.

~ The Four Gifts, S. Feldman, 2016

Being “nice” and being “forgiving” are two approaches to Loving Kindness. Being provokable gives us some insight into ways to step into the deep work of setting firm boundaries from our own sovereignty (self-Love) while maintaining a state of Loving Kindness.

Game A

If you look at our global socioeconomic system as a finite game, it becomes pretty clear that we are not playing using the winning strategy described above. We play a game where “being nice” is the rare exception. Let’s call this Game A. This is the game of Control. It is not a game based in Loving Kindness.

Even people who tend to be very Loving and Kind in their personal life can have a habit of playing Game A in their professional/business life. And the sad truth of it seems to be, the more sociopathic a person is, the better they are at playing Game A, and perhaps conversely, the more one plays Game A, the more sociopathic they become? In an interview between Daniel Schmachtenberger and Charles Eisenstein, Game A is described as being akin to a runaway artificial intelligence tasked with making paperclips. This AI is so good at optimizing the process of making paperclips that eventually, it turns the entire Earth, and life on it, into paperclips. But in reality, instead of paperclips, this current Game A machine is optimizing for the biggest numbers at the bottom of balance sheets. As we can see, machinery designed to optimize these kinds of metrics generally fail to create or enhance Loving Kindness.

Game A could be argued to have served mankind well by supporting our ability to build scalable coordination systems, introducing a whole new level of empowerment and conscious understanding for us all. But Game A can only go so far in its attempts to Control the evolution of humanity before it brings us to a major devolution into chaos and violence. We are getting close to that tipping point now. But there is a clear way to avoid this outcome.

Tech Talk: The Control Paradigm

The Internet– this beautiful, distributed, global network sprang forth into public usage in the late 90s. But it immediately began centralizing with giant (and very expensive) data centers with capital investments to build them flowing through behemoth service providers like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. In order to maintain a working business model to reward these capital investments, the market forces of consumerism that have been present in “first world” cultures for decades took hold. In this model for providing digital services, the users are not the customer. They are the product. The actual customers are advertisers, and they are the ones being catered to by these tech giants. The users are just the product that consumes their offering for a profit. Winning Game A!

As the Internet grew, fueled by this paradigm, traditional database structures in giant data centers were required. The centralized data storage model requires a correlating centralized monetary mechanism to allow profits to be realized. Pyramidal Control structures are easier to design because they can be reduced to absolute minimum metrics required for big numbers on balance sheets. The Game A collective intelligence is inherently a sort of limited artificial intelligence, because it does not even attempt to comprehend all the various metrics that are important for conscious life to thrive.

Playing Game A in the tech sector is an example of the use of our collective willpower to Control the most natural evolution of society. This is the opposite of Love.

Tech Talk: The Love Paradigm

Some digital tech is coming forth that is tailored perfectly to embody Vulnerable Transparency at scale. Holochain is pretty much like the new Internet that runs on the existing network and embodies more closely what it was actually designed to be all along.

Holochain does this by allowing application data (not just HTML text) to be stored in a peer-to-peer fashion, rather than in traditional database modalities. This allows costs to be distributed across the network as well, opening the door to a whole new paradigm of regenerative business models to emerge. Holochain changes the business of software, and when software changes, everything that uses software changes. We now have the opportunity to replace one of the core engines that is powering and optimizing our human socioeconomic game.

Algorithmically Identifying Loving Kindness in a Socioeconomic System

The big question: How do we build an engine that optimizes a game with something as esoteric as Loving Kindness as the core metric? The answer: we don’t. The best we can do is build a Vulnerably Transparent socioeconomic framework within which all players can decide for themselves what is Loving and Kind, and how they choose to interact with other players based on where they fall on the scale by their own, personal determination.

Nothing to see here. This is the most natural of human behaviors. When we have stable relationships with others, we know exactly how Loving and Kind we think they are or not. It’s just that according to Dunbar, we can only maintain stable relationships with about 150 people. So like everything else at this time in human evolution on Earth, we turn to digital tech to help us scale. So what do we need to know about other players and their behavior in order to draw informed conclusions? proposes exactly what we need to know, and proposes a standard means of recording those things.

The Right Level of Abstraction and Complexity for This Moment in Earthly Evolution

There are many groups of brilliant software/systems architects who are envisioning the kind of collaborative tools that take us towards scaling coordinative capacity in new ways. The trick is to pick the right level of abstraction and complexity that is right for this time.

Let this message serve as a strong recommendation to the tech community to heed whatever wisdom may be found in this article and in the specifications. We can agree on these basics for sharing OUR OWN DEVELOPMENT WORK and we can begin embodying principles of transparency now.

And really, it just might become increasingly more apparent over time that choosing against Vulnerable Transparency is actually inherently rivalrous behavior.

Now is the Time! Steps Towards Actualization…

We begin implementing into our socioeconomic system quite simply (but not necessarily easily) by operating with Vulnerable Transparency in the stewardship of shared assets. This means a commitment to new habits in business operations and government. You can read about the technical specifications as well as attend workshops and request consultations to help you and your team get started. If you are ready to commit to what it takes to embody Loving Kindness and Vulnerable Transparency in seeking the omni-win for all beings, and you are ready to join an ecosystem of other committed people, please visit CoGov.Tech.

A Personal Note About Writing This Article

In writing this article, I was caught between two polarities in my approach. On one hand, the structure and reliability of academic/scientific rigorousness, and on the other, the emergent (and somewhat urgent) flow of information that was channeled to me during my life-altering sit with Quepasana Foundation. So you will find a mix here.

For those more inclined to be impressed with references for each assertion, please bear with me as I find (or even help me find) the well-researched sources that I know are out there. Please also trust that as a programmer since 1980, my assertions and recommendations about technology are well-founded from decades of experience in software architecture and engineering.

For those who tend to be more impressed with a moving, conversational, heart-centered call to action, please bear with some the technical details, and long and sometimes complex sentences. My sincere belief is that a sentence or two that requires a second or third reading in order to have it land, will be well worth your time.



Raymond D. Powell

Lead Fellow, Foundation for the Protocols of Love