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This is an entry in The Future We Deserve - a collaborative book project about the future. See all the entries or talk about this entry.



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Social Tech is a system that is often dismissed in the re-pioneering of communities or society. Social tech tackles the challenge of developing integrated solutions to the social systems that affect our ability to live well together in healthy, resilient, life-embracing community settings. Social Tech is based on the Convertible Community work of LaRahna Hughes

The future deserves convertible communities based on a foundation of positive social tech. That simple statement while seemingly harmless has far reaching implications for the ones who would dare consider implementing such a novel shift in social paradigm.

  • What is a convertible community?
  • What is social tech?
  • What is the picture of our future with both?
  • What is the picture our future without both?
  • Can we afford to risk our future by refusing to prepare the new paradigm today?


ESSAY: Convertible Communities: An Essential in Your Preparation Toolbox for the Future

Many could repeat the adage that begins "If you continue to do the same thing expecting different results..." As our social paradigm shifts, the horizon of our future depends on someone(s) breaking from the insanity of our declining and increasingly unsustainable cultures. This is not simply an American plight but one that impacts all of humanity. I shall venture to make a bold statement. If we do not become a people concerned with socially sustainable living we will self-destruct. Convertible Communities in concept, by why whatever name you choose to use must be an integral part of the rapidly emerging paradigm.

Convertible Communities are envisioned as both places and a paradigm of living sustainable lives. The foundation of a Convertible Community is a philosophy called "Social Tech" which is a philosophy of sustainable value-based living (or the commitment to the journey of change in that direction). Beyond taking on physical projects of sustainability (food, water, housing, power, etc.) we must first fundamentally revise...or rather replace our value set. We must live values that promote not just food or water sustainability but more importantly social sustainability. For use to emerge into a paradigm that does not follow the trek of insanity and decline like our current paradigm we must drastically unlearn such unsustainable values like greed, hate and hording. We must learn to minimize the egotistical behavior that fuels current social status and decline and we must do this for the proper motives not fear (of an economic collapse, civil war or WWIII). We must change because we agree that life should, can and must be lived more fully for us to reach the pinnacle of the existence promised by a slowly (but hastening) coming paradigm shift.

For some, a picture of what this might look like is necessary to grasp the concept. A Convertible Community during this phase of social transition might look like specifically designed or intentional communities where great emphasis was invested in intentionally analyzing behavior and modifying the underlying values in practice - learning how to live sustainable values. The learning would include the physical components of sustainability - water, housing, power, fuel. The changes would usher in a shift in the way of "doing life together" and evolve into networks of others also committed to truly sustainable social living. The resulting impact would yield communities that were resilient to many anticipated threats and which could be robust in lean and fat times, in crisis or peace time.

Paradigm shifts do not happen overnight or in isolation. Now becomes the critical time for consideration. There must be paradigm shifters and front runners that are brave enough who tackle the challenges associated with a life changing shift of values and behaviors. But do we must; or not. As the paradigm shifts all of the physical tech, gardens or water collection systems will be of little use if the people controlling them refuse to live by sustainable values and if they continue to model non-sustainable behavior.

There is an alternative. We can improve on the wonderful tech available. We can build cheaper, more energy efficient houses. We can collect seeds and water and have forums talking about our collections and then self-destruct as a society because we refuse to change our values and behavior. We can repeat the errors of this society again and hope for a different outcome. And we can follow insanely into a repeat of the old dying paradigm hoping instead for utopia as the outcome. It could happen...or we can courageously and vigilantly change. We can suffer the pain of change and work out the bugs of Version 1.0 of sustainable value and behavior based living so that there will be guides as the tipping point occurs and the wave of the new paradigm crests around our lives. We can volunteer for the job. Or we WILL be swept into the emerging paradigm full of tech knowledge but unprepared to create a sustainable society for the tech to be used in.

It is our choice at this point in the shift. So i end with a thought: prepare for the shift or be shifted unprepared.

LaRahna Hughes