“The state of mind of the photographer creating is a blank. I might add that this condition exists only at special times, namely when looking for pictures. (Something keeps him from falling off curbs, down open manholes, into bumpers of skidding trucks while in this condition but goes off duty at other times.) ... This is a very special kind of blank. A very active state of mind really, it is a very receptive state ...”
Minor White

Paul Krafel: Sunset

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“One evening I saw the Earth turning. Before that night, I had always seen the sun setting toward a stationary horizon. But when I saw the sun ,instead, as stationary, then I saw my horizon rising toward the sun … My mind must make an assumption. Shifting that assumption changes the world I see.

… the word ‘sunset’ channeled my perception … We become what we practice and I began to practice living  on an unmoving, passive world with change happening ‘out there’ beyond my world …

How would our culture change if we practiced watching our Earth turn so that each ‘sunrise’ or ‘sunset’ reminded us daily that we live on a spinning, round, and therefore finite world?

… what other surprises fill this ‘known’ world, hiding behind unconscious assumptions at this very moment?”

Paul Krafel – Seeing Nature

Posted in Enjoy, Expanding, inside | Tagged | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

What is Ceptr Part 2: Receptors

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The biology I lean on in this post is inspired by the work of Bruce Lipton. His famous talk Bruce Lipton’s The New Biology is still the most inspired presentation I’ve encountered about biology. Then there is this meeting of Bruce Lipton and Rupert Sheldrake where I got the fundamental idea for this post.

I also want to mention that I am deeply inspired by Rupert Sheldrake’s work (even more than Bruce Lipton’s) however I am less inclined to point to it directly. On the one hand his work underpins much of my world view. On the other hand, his work is theoretical (mostly because his core ideas tend to ask tough questions of science itself, causing the scientific community to keep at a safe distance from his propositions) and so it is not yet grounded like Bruce Lipton’s work. If you want to get a taste of Rupert Sheldrake I recommend his fairly recent conversation with Charles Eisenstein.

Cells: Nucleus and Membrane

If you were indoctrinated by a basic biology education similar to mine then you were taught something about the structure of a cell that looks like this:

And, like it was to me, it may have been insinuated to you that the nucleus, where the DNA is, is like “the brain” of the cell. When I ingest it, the brain metaphor creates two echos:

  1. The first is like an echo across scales: that there is subtle and profound underlying pattern which manifests both in a single-cell organism and in a complex organism like a human being that is made up of trillions of cells.
  2. The second is an assumption of center-ism: just as the brain is the center and controller of the body, so is the nucleus the center and controller of a cell.

Well, it seems that that there indeed may be an underlying pattern here, and that there are parallels between the nucleus-membrane & brain-skin BUT that the center-ism is not as straightforward as we may think it is, neither in the cell nor in a human body.

According to Bruce Lipton it is possible to remove the nucleus from a cell and the cell will continue to function as it normally does. It won’t be able to regenerate and it won’t be able to multiply. How is this possible? The answer seems to lie in the little poop-chutes (titled “vesicles”) you see in the diagram above. Let’s look at another diagram:

This diagram focuses on the membrane of the cell (I chose it because it doesn’t even mention the nucleus). For me this diagram has two prominent features:

  1. The membrane is no longer a thin line but a thicker area … it is a place not just an edge. It seems to be made of at least 3 distinct layers: an inner surface, an outer surface, and an insulating layer in between.
  2. The membrane has openings in it. These acts as ports that can let molecules into and out of the cell.

This diagram starts to pull attention outwards and away from the center. In a nucleus-centered view the cell can be seen as that which is encoded in the DNA. In a membrane-centered view the cell is the sum of its interactions with the world around it, it is defined by what it takes in and what it puts out. This diagram (probably a bit out of context because I borrowed it) suggests that these ports exist but does not explain how they open and close. It needs another piece … and I could not find a good diagram to demonstrate this in a whole way… so I settled on this one:

The missing element is the receptor. The receptor acts as a sensor that protrudes from the inside of the cell and reaches out like a biological antenna. It will respond only to a specific molecule. The receptor activates a lock, and the molecule that activates it acts as a key. When a matching key is inserted into the receptor-lock, the receptor responds by unlocking the port associated with it and allowing something into the cell.

What really defines a cell is therefore not its nucleus nor its ports but its receptors. Without receptors nothing can get in. Without receptors the cell cannot sense and respond to its environment. It may as well not exist. It can live without a nucleus, it cannot live without receptors.

Receptors and the chemical signals to which they are sensitized are the communication infrastructure the trillions of cells in your body use to coordinate and become you. What can our cells teach us about organization?

Co-operation

How then do cells “communicate”? I’d like to propose that they don’t. Consider this diagram:

There are two narratives in this supposedly scientific diagram, one is empirical, the other imaginary. It may be (I can’t authenticate this information, only refer to it metaphorically) empirically true that a secretory cell emits a hormone that is absorbed into the blood stream and reaches another cell who’s receptor responds to it.

What isn’t true is the path of arrows that lead from the secretory cell, through the blood vessel and into the cell labeled as “target”. There is no path and there is no target cell. The cells do not have a direct awareness of each other. They cannot, unlike us, look into each others eyes and address each other. Each cell is functioning autonomously:

  1. The secretory cell is sensing its own environment and responding to what it senses by producing and excreting a hormone. If the cell’s environment changes (certain signals cease reach it or new signals arrive) it may cease to produce the hormone or may produce more of it.
  2. The hormone enters the blood stream without a destination address. It is carried with the flow of blood. It does not press a button or pull a cord to get the stream to stop so it can get off at its destination station. It flows.
  3. When the blood flows past a cell that has receptors keyed to that particular hormone, those cells are activated and the hormone is “received”.

There is no higher power coordinating all this (it may be a whole other fascinating conversation how this came to be!). If each individual cell does what its supposed to do … co-operation emerges. There is no central processor or controller that directs hormones along a specific path. This is an imaginary construct that we create.

True to form, this is also how we modern humans shape most of out existence, our own collaborations. We pretend that there are paths and processes and structures that if we follow will lead to predictable outcomes. We do that KNOWING that it rarely works (in a world of living human beings, it works to some degree, with a lot of effort, in mechanical constructs such as physical machines or software).

What if we could tap into the wisdom that is built into the organic world WE ARE, where there is superior coordination without any direct communication lines?
What would relationships looks like, how would communication work, how would we coordinate?
What would we become if we embraced the wisdom of individual cells wrapped in the wisdom of their receptors, sending out signals and responding to others signals?

Ceptr is modeled after receptors. So, though we still don’t understand what Ceptr is, we do have some sense of its origins.

Posted in Ceptr, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

My Father, in body for 70 Years

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and, turs out his original Hungrian name Gyurika means farmer … I thought I was born to an engineer, turns out I was born to a “tsaran” – a peasant – a man of the earth

Posted in About, Myself | You are welcome to add your comment

What is Ceptr Part1: Being Together

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This is an attempt on my part to try to assimilate and internalize the Ceptr narrative. It is my wish to be able to grap Ceptr well enough to share with others who are asking me about it. It does not necessarily represent Ceptr.

In order to keep my own writing energy flowing I am going to adopt open and organic expression:

  • I am not going to wait for contents to mature to “perfection”.
  • I am going to publish posts as soon as I can so that I don’t get bogged down … I am trying to stay connected to an inspiring flow of expression.
  • Early publication will make it possible for others inside and outside Ceptr to relate … suggest, correct, ask …
  • I am going to freely update and change them … I will add an indication at the beginning of each post of when it was last updated.

This is a work game in progress.

Being Together

Ceptr addresses what is, in my mind, one of the most systemic challenges of our time: how can we, human beings, better coordinate and collaborate? How can we act more as an integrated being?It is tempting to believe that we have figured out something so fundamental, otherwise how do you explain this rich world we’ve built?

I have been in very few situations where I witnessed / experienced or participated in a group where people were able to have a coherent, pleasant, focused conversation that lead to better understanding and decision making. Yet there is a world out there and somehow … I can own a car that I can fill with fuel and  drive safely … into the city and park in a shopping mall where I can use a small plastic card with embedded electronics in it to buy things that were made all over the world … it is quite an achievement.

I can also, with a tiny device I can hold in my hand access a vast communication network where I can access to an infinite amount of information in which I can find in seconds what it is that I am looking for. What I’ve discovered doing that is that behind the world of unparalleled convenience, lies another world full of inconvenient truths. We are paying a dear price for living the privileged life we have. I don’t want to give up the privileged life I live and so I am left asking myself: can we do better?

Can we have everything that we have (and more) without the downsides? I realize it may sound like a naive question, but I don’t think it is. In the past the downsides were isolated to places in the world that were far enough away for me to ignore (places I may have never heard about if it wasn’t for that vast communication network), but that is no longer possible. Climate change and wealth concentration (to name a couple) seem to know no borders. Challenges are becoming more shared and connected and so it is reasonable to expect that if there are solutions, they too will be of a more shared and connected nature.

So how do we do this? How can we connect and collaborate better then we’ve been able to do so far? I don’t know and I don’t think anyone knows. I have witnessed it a very few times within small and tightly knit groups – and I have it disintegrate when those groups tried to grow. Ceptr doesn’t know either. Ceptr is a strong intuition (with a lot of vested research and work in it) about what may be possible if we were to change some core assumptions.

To give you a idea of what Ceptr is asking, take a look at the leading edge of one of your finger-nails … seriously … look … closely … and consider this: if biological cells were beholden to Dunbar’s number (a widely cited and accepted limit for the effective size of a group of people) that edge of your fingernail could not exist! But there it is, and there you are … looking at it.

What can we learn from that?

Technology & Currency

Ceptr assumes that technology is a key ingredient because of the potential it has to connect us. For many of us this is already obvious – we have and rely on technology in so many ways already. But the kind of connectivity that Ceptr envisions goes (potentially) way beyond what we currently have. Imagine going back 100 years when “fast communication” was a written paper carried on train or horseback and explaining communication via sms or email. That is what its like to describe Ceptr today.

Ceptr is coming into being at a time when a certain kind of technology has surfaced and is getting a lot of attention. I am referring to blockchain and the systems built on top of it, the two notable ones being Bitcoin and Ethereum. It is inevitable that if you hang out around Ceptr you will come across references to blockchain and alt-coins. I am going to hold off on touching on these subjects because:

  1. The Ceptr view on these subjects is very different and comparisons can be misleading and detrimental to understanding.
  2. Alt-coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum portray distributed/decentralized computing AND currency as joined at the hip. This is not a god-given truth nor even a necessity, but rather a choice, possibly a poor choice. Regardless, that choice is not helpful for understanding distributed computing nor for understanding currency.
  3. A faulty understanding of currency is at the heart of many of the problems we are facing and a good understanding of currency is at the heart of possible solutions. So it is critical to be able to focus on money without the added burden of its relationship with blockchain (and it is critical to understand that decentralized computing does not have a direct relationship with currency).

Inspiration: Nature

Ceptr is  inspired by nature. How is the growth of a pasture or a forest coordinated? Or even better, how are you possible? A human body has way more cells (trillions) then there are humans on the planet (billions)? How do those cells (a primitive and simple form of life compared to a human being) coordinate to become you? If the cells that make up your body coordinated like human beings cordinate, you would at best be a very sick creature.

It is worth noting that the underlying metaphor there hints at what Ceptr is trying to do: to create a means for groups of people to become social organisms that are able to coordinate and collaborate as effectively as the cells in our bodies have been doing for millions of years.

As I reflect on this metaphor, which profoundly informs the making of Ceptr, I realize it may also become a trap. It assumes that our understanding of nature is shared and mature. I have a feeling that as I try to unfold this metaphor we may arrive at some unconventional ideas about nature itself. I believe this is not a coincidence. So while I do look forward to leaning on nature as a crutch in explaining certain ideas, I also expect that crutch may need some reinforcement before we can put our full weight on it.

Do cells communicate? collaborate? organize? make decisions? Do trees? Do bacteria? Do fungi? What is communication? What is organization?

Where do we begin? Maybe brains and skins?

 

Posted in Ceptr, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Ceptr: Do-Ops as Centers

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This is a proposal for a do-op formation process. It is aimed at creating the do-op as a living center within Ceptr.

Emergent Scenarios

  1. A do-op is most likely to form as a seed within an existing do-op. That seed may emerge as a signal: a question, an idea or a side discussion. Most such signals will merge with the stream of collective consciousness of the host do-op itself. Some signals will fade into the background. Some may gain energy until they’ve reached some kind of critical mass. Such a critical mass will affect the flow of the host do-op. The host do-op may meet this with different strategies. One of these strategies is to spawn a new do-op. This will alllow the host do-op to stay focused and aligned with its purpose, while a new do-op is free to explore its place in the world. Is is natural that the two will stay connected and that signals will travel between them (and with other do-ops). MetaCurrency spawned Ceptr. Ceptr spawned Holochain (and we are now discovering the nature of the relationship between the two).
  2. Though less likely, bu tnot impossible, a do-op may form as a more spontaneous response to an outside agent. As Ceptr membranes become more permeable, new agents (people, ideas … ) may appear in Ceptr’s collective consciousness. It is better for new agents to be first embedded in one of Ceptrs existing Do-op’s, even if for only a short period. However we should stay open to “miracles” … unexpected forces and opportunities for change. We can achieve this by providing a containing nursery / incubation do-op. This can be a place for wildcards to gestate until they are ready to join Ceptr.

In both of these scenarios a new do-op emerges from within an existing do-op. A do-op should never be added as an external piece that is attached to the Ceptr body (that will most likely lead to a parastic relationship that will consume Ceptr instead of nourishing it).

Process: Do-Op Inception

The purpose of this process is to present a new do-op to the Ceptr team and to give the team an opportunity to intentionally relate to the possibility of a new do-op. A new do-op should be formed with a sense that it enhances and increases the coherence of Ceptr as a whole.

  1. A group of at least 3 people have come together with a clear sense of a shared interest. At least one of them is at least a Ceptr Member (see Spheres of Engagement).
  2. The group publishes a written proposal describing the new do-op. (see process: New Do-Op Proposal)
  3. Everyone of the existing do-op coherence holders publishes a response to the proposal. (see process: New Do-Op Proposal Commentary)
  4. If at least half of the coherence holders express a position of “passionately support” and none of them express a position of “object” then the new do-op can be created.
  5. Otherwise schedule a meeting with the coherence holders. At least 75% of the coherence holders need to present in the meeting. All of the coherence holders who objected need to be present.
  6. If during the meeting consent is given (all of the objections are removed), the new do-op can be created.
  7. If consent is not given the proposing team will publish a summary of the process and what was learned from it.  (see process: Rejected Do-Op Report)
  8. Decide who is the coherence holder for the new do-op.
  9. Write a brief description of the new do-op.
  10. Write a more extensive (though still brief) introduction to the do-op. Describe its purpose and how you expect it to contribute to Ceptr.
  11. Create a home-space for the new do-op.
  12. Announce the new do-op in the existing do-ops.

Process: New Do-Op Proposal

The purpose of this process is to help you formulate a proposal that is relevant and grounded in Ceptr’s current state of being and its needs. Following it will increase the odds that your proposal will resonate with the existing do-ops and that the new do-op will be able to contribute to Ceptr.

  1. Take time to reflect on what a do-op is and what it isn’t. A do-op IS a means to focus existing attention and resources towards a clear purpose. A new do-op is a quiet space within the busy-ness of Ceptr where new ideas can be explored. A do-op is not a means to allocate resources. Ceptr has no free-floating resources that a do-op can apply-for or capture. A do-op is a means for injecting new resources, primarily your passion, attention, skills and time to contributing and evolving Ceptr. A vital do-op may be able to capture Ceptr resources by being relevant and attractive.
  2. List the people who are proposing the new do-op.
  3. Describe what in Ceptr (as it currently is) caught your attention.
  4. Describe where you identified a desire to intervene and introduce change.
  5. Describe the change that you would like to see and how you feel it may benefit Ceptr.
  6. Describe what actions you would like to take as first steps if your do-op is formed.

Process: New Do-Op Proposal Commentary

The purpose of this process is to help you (an existing coherence holder) respond concisely and effectively to a proposal for a new do-op. It is intended to help you assess if and how the proposed do-op would contribute and enhance your do-op and Ceptr as a whole.

  1. Read the new do-op proposal.
  2. Ask yourself if the proposal is clear and coherent.
  3. Ask yourself if the proposal resonates with your active do-op and with Ceptr as whole in its current state-of-being. What you are looking or at this stage is a feeling rather than an intellectual undertanding.
  4. If the proposal does not resonate with you ask yourself if you want to invest energy in getting to understand it better.
  5. If you are interested, contact the authoring team and inquire about the proposal to get a better understanding of it.
  6. If you are not interested, ask yourself if that means that you object to this proposal?
  7. If you do obect to this do-op see process: Rejected Do-Op Report
  8. Otherwise, ask yourself how does the new do-op relate to your do-op (the one for which you are the coherency holder).
  9. Ask yourself to in what ways you think that this new do-op can relate to your do-op.
  10. Ask yourself if you would like to see this do-op come to life right now.
  11. Determine your position: support passionately, on-the-fence, need more information or object.
  12. Respond in writing to the proposal. Include in your response your feelings about it, feedback you would like to offer, reservations you may have and your position on it.

Process: Rejected Do-Op Report

The purpose of this process is to get better at working together by giving attention to differences in our perceptions and valuations.

  1. Re-read the written proposal.
  2. Reconnect with your original motivation in proposing the do-op.
  3. Re-read the commentaries published in response to your proposal and if available a summary of the meeting with the coherence holder.
  4. Ask yourself if you are able to see something now that you were not able to see before.
  5. Ask yourself if you feel that you encountered a blockage that arises from some kind of group-think residue.
  6. Take time to observe how you feel at the end of this process.
  7. Assemble your thoughts and reflections into a summary that you feel may contribute to a future version of yourself or Ceptr.
  8. Publish your summary as a reponse to the original proposal thread.
  9. Close the proposal thread to further comments.
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