If you'd like to learn more about the Roote Paradigm, please check out Roote and apply to be a Roote Fellow by July 21.
The goal of this article is to show how frontier movements relate to the Roote Paradigm. We'll fill out the table below with the movements: Effective Altruism, GameB, Progress Studies, Doughnut Economics, RadicalXChange, and the Long Now.
Why is this helpful? The idea maze of future movements is complicated. This framework will help you place new movements in the context of existing other movements.
I. What is the Roote Paradigm?
First, a reminder on what exactly paradigms are. A paradigm is set of orthogonal default assumptions about:
- Ontology: What is true?
- Epistemology: How do we know?
- Ethics: Is it good?
The image above shows a paradigm in the abstract. But what is society's current paradigm? We're transitioning from an old paradigm (that I'll call Capitalism) and a new paradigm (that I've previously called Post-Capitalism, but will call Roote Paradigm now).
The Capitalist paradigm (from 1500-2000) was Broadcast Factory Liberalism.
- Its epistemology was Broadcast as top-down 1D narratives to create coherence.
- Its ontology was Factoryism—A self-organizing + reinforcing system that fed itself by turning the atom frontier into valuable goods.
- And its ethics was Liberalism—An "othering individualism" that says what's best for you is best for the collective.
But that paradigm is nearing its end. The new Roote Paradigm is Coherently Plural Networked Bentoism.
- Its epistemology is Coherent Pluralism—Individuals taking many perspectives into account, while still striving for clarity.
- Its ontology is Networkism—A self-organizing + reinforcing system that feeds itself by turning the bits frontier into valuable knowledge.
- Its ethics is Bentoism—Zooming out to an active awareness of your impact on others and the future.
Now that we've reminded ourselves of the Roote Paradigm, we can now look at how existing movements fit into this paradigm.
II. How Does Effective Altruism Fit Into The Roote Paradigm?
Epistemology: How Does EA Think About Coherent Pluralism?
EA has roots in philosophy and rationalism, which give it a strong emphasis on logical debate. EA/rationalist folks use a variety of tactics to "be curious first" and be plural about their perspective. Examples:
- Epistemic Humility is a mindset that says "I might be the wrong one here!"
- Double Crux is a conversational method used to surface shared disagreements.
- Steelmanning is the practice of viewing the opposing argument in its most powerful/charitable form.
- Erisology is the study of disagreement.
So yes, EA does engage in Coherent Pluralism in the form of rationalist debate tactics.
However, EA's use of Coherent Pluralism doesn't give it a "full" epistemology. EAs generally see the world in quantifiable QALYs, RCTs, etc. They miss a lot of unmeasurable metis.
Ontology: How Does EA Think About Networkism?
EA's are quite focused on Networkism and the power of self-organizing + reinforcing systems. For example, EA's are quite worried about the risk of new technology like AI, nuclear, bio, and fossil fuels. In fact, long-termist EA's primarily focus on x-risk as a result of new technologies.
Ethics: How Does EA Think About Bentoism?
As philosophers, EA thinks a lot about ethics. EA's ethical perspective can be framed in terms Bentoist language. There are three main ethical perspectives of EA:
- Minimize Human Suffering: These EA's are focused on the 750M people in extreme poverty. In Bentoist language, we'd say: "they care about Now Us, with 'Us' defined as 'other humans.'"
- Minimize Animal Suffering: These EAs are focused on the 70B animals factory farmed every year. In Bentoist language, we'd say: "they care about Now Us, with 'Us' defined as 'animals.'"
- Maximize Chance of Future Life: These EAs are focused on all of the future humans. We have 7.5B humans alive today, have had 100B total, and will have trillions more. These EA's are focused on those future people. In Bentoist language, we'd say: "they care about Future Us."
Bentoism is a language to understand EA's ethical foci. 1) Now Us Humans 2) Now Us Animals 3) Future Us.
A final note: EA has significant overlap with the bonus 4th pillar of the Roote Paradigm—Generosity and Abundance. EA's know that money has diminishing returns on happiness and have developed the concept of earning to give.
III. How Does ~GameB Fit Into The Roote Paradigm?
Epistemology: How Does ~GameB Think About Coherent Pluralism?
GameB has a strong emphasis on Coherent Pluralism. This has two primary memes (which are 2 out of the 5 rules on the GameB Facebook page):
- Rule Omega: This is a conversational rule that says "assume intelligence and build on any coherence you find." It's an active attempt to empathize/steelman/build coherence with your conversational partner.
- Sovereignty: This meme says: "I take full responsibility for my own sensemaking and decision making." It's aligned with a crucial part of Coherent Pluralism—that the individual needs to take responsibility for their own sensemaking (given the abundance of info in a networked information environment).
Also, metamodernism is very much in the same lineage as Coherent Pluralism. Modernism optimizes for 1D Coherence, Post-Modernism optimizes for the irony/skepticism/non-truth of many narratives, and metamodernism recognizes the need for Coherence among many Pluralistic perspectives.
Ontology: How Does ~GameB Think About Networkism?
~GameB primarily thinks about networks from a complex systems sense—how do these new decentralized networks act like biological organisms? Two primary concepts here:
- Self-Organizing Collective Intelligence (SOCI): These are attractive generator functions that gather attention and use that attention to build more capacity towards something real and self-sustaining. See Bitcoin and QAnon.
- Networked State: This is a line of thinking about the Networked _____ (Networked State, Networked Tribes, etc.). And how these networks co-evolve with existing institutions.
- Meta X-Risk: If EA is concerned about specific manifestations of exponential curves (AI, bio, nuclear, climate), ~GameB is concerned about the generator function behind those curves.
Ethics: How Does ~GameB Think About Bentoism?
Funnily enough, it doesn't look like ~GameB has an ethical frame. Correct me if I'm wrong?
IV. How Does Progress Studies Fit Into The Roote Paradigm?
Epistemology: How Does Progress Studies Think About Coherent Pluralism?
AFAICT, Progress Studies doesn't engage much with Coherent Pluralism. It mostly takes a historical economics perspective (i.e. a lot of graphs) to examine sets of sigmoids and how to make them less flat.
Ontology: How Does Progress Studies Think About Networkism?
Progress Studies engages deeply with the shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. It is worried about graphs like this that show lots of progress in the Industrial Age and much less progress in the Information Age.
Ethics: How Does Progress Studies Think About Bentoism?
Progress Studies is focused on Future Us. On making sure we keep high rates of progress so that future generations will be able to live in abundance.
Indeed, Progress Studies is highly connected to the bonus 4th pillar of the Roote Paradigm—Generosity and Abundance. Progress Studies is concentrated on expanding the pie—on growth and abundance. It is less focused on Generosity and redistribution.
V. How Does Doughnut Economics Fit Into The Roote Paradigm?
Epistemology: How Does Doughnut Economics Think About Coherent Pluralism?
Doughnut Economics (DE) doesn't have a strong epistemological stance, nor one that is specifically aligned with Coherent Pluralism.
Ontology: How Does Doughnut Economics Think About Networkism?
Doughtnut Economics doesn't have a strong focus on Networkism. It mostly focuses on the ignored externalities of the Industrial Age (climate change).
Ethics: How Does Doughnut Economics Think About Bentoism?
The Doughnut is broken into two areas, which represent needs that can be expressed in Bento language.
- Inside the Doughnut are "social foundations", which are Now Me basic needs.
- Outside the Doughnut is the "ecological ceiling", which are Future Us needs for sustainability of our planet.
Filling in that row of the table:
VI. How Does RadicalXChange (RXC) Fit Into The Roote Paradigm?
Epistemology: How Does RXC Think About Coherent Pluralism?
As an organization/movement, RXC has been dancing with Coherent Pluralism since its inception. As a specific example of this, Quadratic Financing is pluralistic in its signaling, but coherent in its allocation mechanism.
(Usually we think about Coherent Pluralism for information, but Quadratic Financing is Coherent Pluralism for value.)
Ontology: How Does RXC Think About Networkism?
First, Quadratic Financing is a "network-first" approach to funding public goods.
In addition to that, RXC is thinking a lot about Data Dignity and Radical Antitrust. In Roote Paradigm language, these are both explorations of how to more equitably distribute the gains from the bits frontier.
Ethics: How Does RXC Think About Bentoism?
RXC's COST is aligned with Bentoism's push for thinking collectively. COST breaks the idea of private property and explores collective ownership. RXC is primarily interested in expanding our scope from Now Me to Now Us.
I gave a talk about RXC + the Roote Paradigm at RadicalXChange. You can see the video here and the slides here.
VII. How Does The Long Now Fit Into The Roote Paradigm?
Epistemology: How Does The Long Now Think About Coherent Pluralism?
AFAICT, The Long Now doesn't have a strong epistemological stance, nor one that is tied specifically to Coherent Pluralism.
Ontology: How Does The Long Now Think About Networkism?
The Long Now's ontology is deeply informed by systems thinking. They don't speak to the specific Networkism shift between the Industrial Age and the Information Age, but Brand's Pace Layers examines the speed of underlying processes:
Ethics: How Does The Long Now Think About Bentoism?
Through their 0-prefixed dates (e.g. 02020), The Long Now hopes to make us think more about Future Us.
So our final table looks like this:
I hope this has helped you place existing movements into the Roote Paradigm.
As you can see, movements can be categorized based on their epistemology, ontology, and ethics.
Many of them are even aligned with the specifics of the Roote Paradigm: Coherent Pluralism, Networkism, and Bentoism.
I'm especially curious—do you know of other movements that are aligned with the Roote Paradigm?
If you'd like to learn more about this, please check out Roote and apply to be a Roote Fellow by July 21.
- Meta: Writing goes in loops. 1) Defining a framework. 2) Applying it to the world. The last articles defined the Roote Paradigm lens/framework. This article applies it.
- I chose these 6 movements relatively randomly. You can imagine trying to fit others into the Roote Paradigm. e.g. 1) SJA does CP through the empathy of lived experience and intersectionality/LGBTQ+. SJAs don't focus on Networks but do think about systems of power. SJAs are focused on Now Us (in the Global North generally). e.g. 2) Buddhism does CP by perceiving perception. Vajrayana Buddhism is especially CP. Buddhism doesn't think much about Networkism. It's primary mindset towards Ethics and Bentoism is of dissolving the ego and queering the binary between Me and Us.
- I tried to treat each movement charitably. I also understand that these movements are not a monolith, but I had to collapse them in order to discuss them so briefly.
- I believe that there are many other problems that are "solved" if the Roote Paradigm comes to fruition. e.g. If everyone has their basic needs met, there's an abundance of trust, and humanity sees ourself as a Networked Human Organism, then I am less worried about AI alignment.
- This is a great thread of intellectual trends that have informed Progress Studies: Stagnation, The Enlightenment, OurWorldInData, EA, Institutions and Governance, Renewed Optimism in the Future.
- I love Daniel's description of Rule Omega here: "I'm saying that all perspectives have some signal, some noise, and that perspective itself is a reduction of information on the reality being perceived." So good. It's very Lacanian. (Our Symbolic descriptions of the Real necessarily entail a loss of information.)
- I love this Metamodern Manifesto: 1) We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world. 2) We must liberate ourselves from the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child. 3) Metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons.
- In Effective Altruist lingo, "Who is Us?" falls under "moral patienthood". i.e. Who should we "count" as a moral patient (worthy of our concern).
My piece 5 Mindsets of Late Stage Capitalism is pretty similar to the 3 pillars of the Roote Paradigm. In fact, they map super well onto each other:
- Goal : EA :: Ethics : Bentoism
- Rules : Loopists :: Ontology : Networkism
- Context : SJA/Optimists :: Abundance
- Strategy : Transition Tithers :: Generosity
- Metagamers :: Epistemology : Coherent Pluralism