Level 5 Research Center
—The Next Big Thing
Welcome to the Level 5 Research Center, where researchers are exploring the question:
How can we best shape the emergence of Level 5?
We welcome your participation as spectators, enthusiasts, learners, researchers, or advocates.
If you have comments, questions, suggestions, or issues and wish to contact the secretary, please click here to send me an email or leave a comment or question on the discussion page.
Research is conducted according to the Wikiversity research guidelines.
The following sections suggest the evolving research agenda.
Complexity Levels[edit | edit source]
The big history of the universe can be characterized as emerging in several levels of complexity. The tree of knowledge system identifies four levels as:
- Matter—The set of material objects and their behaviors through time.
- Life—Organisms and their behaviors through time
- Mind—The set of mental behaviors of animals mediated by the nervous system that produce a functional effect on the animal-environment relationship.
- Culture—The set of sociolinguistic behaviors, which range from large scale nation states to individual human justifications for particular actions.
These levels represent metasystem transitions—the emergence, through evolution, of a higher level of organization or control.
Many future studies theorists are predicting the emergence of a next level, related to what we are calling level 5, that can bring us into the next plane of existence. These conjectures, prototypes, life styles, and social movements include the technological singularity, wisdom research, skeptical movement, occupy wall street, effective altruism, simple living, meditation, post-scarcity economy, Modern Monetary Theory, circular economy, Plan B, GameB, Rebel Wisdom, intellectual dark web, the long now foundation, virtual nations, ultimate knowledge, and others.
Capability Infrastructure[edit | edit source]
Several developing trends are creating the capability infrastructure that is increasing the collective intelligence for global problem solving and preparing us to emerge into the next level of existence.
Some of these trends are briefly described here:
- Interconnections—People can connect in person, via phone, email, text, video, or other communications technologies.
- Digitalization—As more information become available digitally, it can be transmitted, stored, searched, retrieved, and shared quickly and economically. Digitalization enables virtual reality and augmented reality.
- Collaboration—Interconnections allow collaborations in a variety of forms including project teams, discussion groups, user groups, shared documents, and collaborative editing such as Wikis, and email threads. Open platforms, open source models, Creative Commons licensing, and crowdsourcing intensify collaborations.
- Information sharing—Information is shared via our various interconnections, through collaboration, and by accessing knowledge sources and repositories such as books, news outlets, publications, open-access journals, public libraries, Wikipedia, blogs, podcasts, and web pages.
- Open Access Learning—including massive open online courses such as the Khan academy, Wikiversity, edX, coursera, accessible materials such as The Great Courses and instructional videos on platforms such as YouTube.
- Global Reach—Global communications platforms allow interconnections, collaborations, information sharing and open access learning regardless of geographic location. Social gatherings, discussion, collaboration, and project teams including many geographically distant participants are commonplace. Modern transportation systems allow rapid and economical world-wide travel, transport, and commerce. We experience a variety of world cultures. Our compassion extends to include many geographically distant people.
- Global Perspective—Our global reach encourages us to adopt a global perspective for understanding, defining, and solving problems.
- Intellectual Honesty—We consistently combine good faith—fully honest communications—with a primary motivation toward seeking true beliefs.
- Systems thinking—We recognize how changing one part of a system may affect other parts or the whole system.
- Accelerating Technological Innovation—Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and brain-computer interfaces are accelerating. Other technology innovations are emerging rapidly.
- Advancing Human Rights—We uphold the inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being” and which are "inherent in all human beings", regardless of their age, ethnic origin, location, language, religion, ethnicity, or any other status.
- Embracing reality—Recognizing that reality exists, we are developing increasingly reliable methods for examining reality, and we use reality as the arbiter in disputes over matters of fact. We recognize that reality as our common ground, and we have a responsibility to align our worldviews with reality.
- Improving epistemologies—We take care to know how we know and to carefully and deliberately choose our beliefs using a reliable epistemology. We continuously improve our epistemology to make it more reliable.
- Increasing productivity—Productivity-improving technologies have vastly increased workforce productivity and enable fewer people to create more useful outputs in less time often requiring fewer raw materials. This allows people to enjoy more time to devote to creative pursuits, public service, or leisure activities.
- Abundance—Because increasing productivity creates more goods and services with less human effort, we can enjoy abundance in many areas rather than coping with scarcity. Abundance creates opportunities for philanthropy, volunteer work, and programs such as Universal Basic Income.
- Dematerialization—Reduction in the quantity of materials required to serve economic functions in society continues.
- Concern for the future—systems thinking and increasing productivity allow us to consider the implications of our decisions on timeframes extending far into the future, including the impacts on future generations.
- Environmental protection—concern for the future, and our desire to enjoy the abundance of our natural environment increases our concern for protecting the environment.
- Continuously improving economic theory—by continually comparing the effects predicted by various economic theories to the resulting well-being, correcting economic faults, and by prioritizing well-being ahead of a narrow focus on GDP growth, we continuously improve our economic models. Various schools of economic thought, such as behavioral economics, steady-state economics, modern monetary theory, and post-scarcity economics are providing many new ideas and policies for increasing well-being.
- Continuously improving moral reasoning—we developed our own moral tool kits based on fundamental human values including dignity, well-being, flourishing, fairness, compassion, human rights, empathy, symmetry, the golden rule, and solving grand challenges. Although no fundamental objective foundation for morality has yet been discovered in the universe, our empirical experiences of being human converged on these simple and nearly universal moral principles.
- Continuously improving criminal justice systems—concepts of justice; procedures for obtaining and evaluating evidence, resolving questions of law, resolving questions of fact, our understanding of the purposes of judiciary; procedures for identifying, apprehending, interviewing, and trying suspects; investigating crime scenes, and the purpose and procedures of law enforcement continue to improve.
- Continually improving governance systems—State governments now recognize they exist only to promote well-being. National governments use a variety of well-being indicators to establish, evaluate, and improve public policy. Global measures of well-being are used to direct increasingly effective world governance agreements. In addition, governance of corporations, organizations, project teams, communities, and social units are increasingly inclusive, collaborative, distributed, effective, and efficient.
- Concern for the Grand Challenges—Global reach makes us aware of the grand challenges—the greatest, most pervasive and persistent problems facing humanity—so many people face. The uneven distribution of abundance and scarcity, combined with a concern for human rights and our improving moral reasoning, makes it imperative that we address the grand challenges. Programs like the sustainable development goals, organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and effective altruism organizations like GiveWell are beginning to address the grand challenges. We have opportunities to use the grand challenges as a basis for establishing policy priorities.
- The Search for Meaning—As curiosity motivates us to explore question such as “Why are we here?”, “Is that all there is?”, and “What is the meaning of life?” our imaginations are set free and we are called to adventure. New age religious movements, conspiracy theories, quackery, pseudoscience, psychedelic drugs, spiritual retreats, and the search for ultimate wisdom continue. Events such as Burning Man and projects such as SETI invite our participation, stimulate our imagination, and indulge our hopes. Although encounters with reality will ultimately bring the end to many of these explorations, it is possible that encounters with ultimate reality will provide profound new insights. Discovery is fueled by exploration. With unrestrained exploration, anything can happen. Caveat emptor.
Values[edit | edit source]
As we envision the next level we have come to value:
- Intellectual honesty over dissembling, ideology, and mythology,
- Reason over power,
- Reality over delusion,
- Expertise over authority,
- Curiosity over fear,
- Flourishing over malaise, stagnation, lethargy, or opulence,
- Moral virtue over amoral behavior,
- Intellectual virtue over ignorance,
- Wisdom over knowledge,
- Open platforms over proprietary interests,
- Consilience over anecdotes, or inconsistency,
- Earned trust over cheats, charlatans, frauds, confidence tricks, or exploitation,
- Personal responsibility over irresponsibility, and selfishness,
- Emotional competency over emotional reactivity,
- Transcending conflict over fomenting, suppressing, or ignoring conflict,
- Cooperation over selfishness, mischief, or sabotage,
- Autonomy over dependency,
- Resilience over reliance,
- Transparency over secrecy or censorship,
- Global perspective over parochial perspective or local interests,
- Systems thinking over linear thinking or local optimizations.
- Dignity over disgrace,
- Human rights over tradition, honor, or tyranny,
- Well-being over toil, suffering, retribution, or loyalty,
- Dialogue over dogma, diatribe, dismissal, or debate,
- What matters over trivialities,
- Beauty over ordinary, plain, dull, or ugly,
- Fun over toil, suffering, tedium, or boredom,
- Reliable epistemologies over whimsey or gullibility,
- Observation over interpretation,
- Evidence over ideologies,
- Real good over fake good or real bad.
Possibilities[edit | edit source]
(Contributors are encouraged to provide content describing possible manifestations of the 5th joint point and level 5 experience.)
- Living the level 5 values prepares us for the transition to level 5.
- We can choose level 5 living.
- These level 5 phrases can be helpful during level 4 encounters.
- We can choose level 5 living.
- Aligning worldviews prepares us for the transition to level 5.
- Annealing and healing can allow Culture crystals to emerge at level 5.
- Intentional Evolution is the recognition that our role in the next evolutionary transformation has the potential to transform the nature of human existence.
- Evolving Governments are working to unleash collaboration.
- Several visionaries are working to escape discontent.
Aligned Work[edit | edit source]
Many futurists are working to envision, describe, prototype, and build elements of our future. Below is a growing list of concepts, organization, and projects that appear to be aligned with Level 5 concepts. This list includes several external links that may migrate to the Wikimedia address space as they evolve.
Production Systems—obtaining tangible goods
- A circular economy is "a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible" that aims at tackling global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.
- A steady-state economy is an economy made up of a constant stock of physical wealth (capital) and a constant population size. In effect, such an economy does not grow in the course of time.
- Post-scarcity is a theoretical economic situation in which most goods can be produced in great abundance with minimal human labor needed, so that they become available to all very cheaply or even freely.
- Universal basic income is a sociopolitical financial transfer concept in which all citizens of a given population regularly receive a legally stipulated and equal financial grant paid by the government without a means test.
Information Systems—learning what is
- Seeking True Beliefs — Excellence in the quest for Knowledge.
- Finding common ground — Aligning concepts with reality.
- Aligning worldviews — Aligning our worldviews with the real world.
- StopResetGo is a growing collective of change agents who seek your support to co-create an open, digital framework for the commons, enabling citizens, entrepreneurs, activists, communities, and distributed initiatives around the world to come out of their silos, converge and effectively share resources to build the future of humanity.
Wisdom—deciding what ought to be
- Living wisely, a path of study through the applied wisdom curriculum.
- The Wisdom and the Future Research Center—Where researchers are exploring the question: How can we wisely create our future?
- Moral Reasoning Carefully deciding what we ought to do.
- The Relevant Education Project — What you need to know to consciously participate in the most consequential 25 years in Humanity’s history
- Bildung describes a culture where philosophy and education are linked to encourage both personal and cultural maturation.
- The Enlightened Worldview Project is a quest to promote peace through societal understanding and inner awareness.
Governance—ensuring community safety
- Good governance is a way of measuring how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in a preferred way.
- Advancing human rights, worldwide.
- Evolving Governments are working to unleash collaboration.
- How can we improve our social operating systems?
- Perspectiva is a community of expert generalists working on an urgent one-hundred-year project to improve the relationships between systems, souls, and society in theory and practice.
- The city of Telosa is a proposed utopian planned US city.
- The concept of a virtual nation uncouples the traditional binding of geographic location to the associated government and its policies. People born anywhere would be free to choose the virtual nation they want to become citizens of.
- Moral reasoning — Knowing what to do.
- Transcending conflict — Resolving contradictory goals.
- Intentional Evolution is the recognition that our role in the next evolutionary transformation has the potential to transform the nature of human existence. 
- Commons Policy is a collection of policy proposals that are specifically oriented around commons.
- The canonizer is an innovative consensus building tool.
- Game B is a community trying to figure out what a viable, better civilization could look like and how to reach it.
- The metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets.
- Metamodernism refers to a broad range of developments in culture and society that appear after and gesture beyond postmodernism, and at the same time attempts to characterize post-postmodernism.
- This essay A movement with no name collects several resources that seem aligned with this work.
- The Long Now Foundation is working to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.
- The Santa Fe Institute is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of the fundamental principles of complex adaptive systems.
Recommended Reading[edit | edit source]
Researchers wanting to learn more about emergence of the next big thing may be interested in reading the following books:
- Strogatz, Steven H. (Feb 14, 2012). Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life. Hachette Books. pp. 353. ISBN 978-0141007632.
- Ridley, Matt (May 18, 2021). How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom. Harper Perennial. pp. 432. ISBN 978-0062916600.
- Ridley, Matt (October 25, 2016). The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge. Harper Perennial. pp. 368. ISBN 978-0062296016.
- Christakis, Nicholas A. (March 26, 2019). Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. Little, Brown Spark. pp. 441. ISBN 978-0316230032.
- Carroll, Sean M (May 4, 2017). The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Oneworld Publications. pp. 480. ISBN 978-1786071033.
- Pinker, Steven (February 13, 2018). Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Viking. pp. 576. ISBN 978-0525427575.
- Henriques, Gregg (September 19, 2014). A New Unified Theory Of Psychology. Springer. pp. 307. ISBN 978-1489996619. https://www.gregghenriques.com/unified-theory-book.html.
- Wilczek, Frank (January 12, 2021). Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality. Penguin Press. pp. 272. ISBN 978-0735223790.
I have not yet read the following books, but they seem interesting and relevant. They are listed here to invite further research.
- Evolution's Arrow: the direction of evolution and the future of humanity, by John Stewart
References[edit | edit source]
- ↑ Within the ToK System/PTB language system, Matter, Life, Mind, and Culture are “dimensions” or planes of existence and levels are the levels of analysis that occur at the part, whole, group “level”. However more generally in physics and mathematics, the dimension of a mathematical space (or object) is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify any point within it. Instead of using dimension as it is used within ToK, the word level is used here as it is often used with systems of biological organization and other complex systems. It is intended to refer to the complexity present at each of the distinct planes of existence.
- ↑ Henriques, Gregg (September 19, 2014). A New Unified Theory Of Psychology. Springer. pp. 307. ISBN 978-1489996619. https://www.gregghenriques.com/unified-theory-book.html. Chapter 9, The Fifth Joint Point.
- ↑ A useful analogy can be made with the excellent mural illustrating the “capability infrastructure” that enabled the mother of all demos.
- ↑ Stewart Brand’s Pace Layer Thinking influenced this concept.
- ↑ We are grateful for the life-long work of Nicholas Maxwell in advocating for a transition from knowledge-inquiry to wisdom-inquiry.
- ↑ The importance of expanding cooperation is emphasized in The Evolutionary Manifesto, by John Stewart
- ↑ Genuine privacy concerns need to be accommodated. The book The Circle explores the limits of transparency and its relationships with privacy.
- ↑ The importance of systems thinking is emphasized in Strategies for Advancing Evolution, by John Stewart
- ↑ Intentional evolution is described in The Evolutionary Manifesto, by John Stewart
|Educational level: this is a research resource.|