On Fundamental Assumptions

Musings on currency design, economy design, sovereignty, agency and purpose.

As we continue to forge ahead on designing and coding the humm product, we find ourselves more and more grappling with deeper (or higher) orders of thought and purpose. What are we trying to accomplish not just on a simple "if you press THIS button, then THAT happens" level, but on a wider and deeper level? What are we trying to bring into the world?

Are we trying to right this ship before it sinks? Are we trying to bring joy into more people's everyday lives? Are we trying to facilitate the emergence of truth and trust in our fragmented society? Are we trying to affect consciousness itself?

The simple answer is "yes."

By simply posing these questions, we are alluding to foundational assumptions: that the ship is damaged and sinking, that there is suffering in the world, that there is a lack of trust and a lack of consensus on what truth is or even what "truth" means, that our communities are fragmented, that consciousness is malleable β€” or has an evolutionary capacity for change and self-transcendence.

Do I think these things? I do. Do I think we can do something about them? I do.

I'm not proposing that humm (or any single thing) can right our ship. Simple answers rarely exist. There are no silver bullets. But what humm can be is a catalyst for change in the world, a new lens through which to see information and a new means by which information can self-organize into a higher level of collective intelligence - an intelligence that brings light into the world via trust, collaboration and generosity.

Ok. Enough with the big words and abstract statements. What does this mean in real life? Which button do I press?

The simple pieces we're putting together include ways for creators to get paid (so they can eat and pay rent) as well as value indicators that represent trustworthiness, verifiability of sources, and transparency and resilience to manipulation. We're also creating tools for authors and supporters to provide more context than is currently the norm, and ways for communities to self-police and self-organize content into streams instead of through centralized editorial staff.

The reason I'm laying out the philosophical considerations behind these seemingly straightforward pieces is that there are many ways to assemble the same parts. As a web-facilitated culture, the energy and intention behind engineering and design becomes increasingly (and vitally) important.

Information structure and narrative in and about our world is quite literally life and death. I know we all feel this fundamental truth more strongly with every passing mass media freak out, polarized shouting match on Twitter, obvious lie espoused by (insert ideological enemy here), or marginalization of (insert your strongly held value here).

β€œIn any polarized debate, the most important thing is what neither side is saying but both sides unconsciously agree on.”

- Charles Eisenstein

Instead of encoding (and reinforcing) invisible assumptions that simply route us back to old behaviors regardless of our intent or in spite of our amazing new technological solutions, it's essential that we identify and question everything we hold true.

Are the fundamental assumptions I pose at the beginning of this story true? Probably. Are they the entirety of what we need to consider when embarking on a project to reshape how we communicate complex ideas via text and other media? Certainly not.

This is all a long way to say that what we're currently working on besides completing our beta UI are all the "Whys."

We're doing some deep reflection on what we're trying to bring into the world in terms of our base social reality, and then working backwards. What kind of deep wealth do humans and our communities innately want to co-create? How do we unlock that, make it visible and feed its growth?

Sounds easy right? Wish us luck! And if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below. :)


  • vanarchist 1 year ago

    Do you have a repository somewhere with the new rust stuff? Any documentation on your currency design ideas?

  • NickMitchell humm team 1 year ago

    Hey @vanarchist we don't currently have an open repository with Rust stuff. We are in a bit of a holding pattern with regards to backend Holochain engineering. There are some interesting developments happening right now behind the scenes making a more modular and approachable way for hApp developers to re-use components such as posts, comments, chat, etc. We are currently going full speed coding our humm UI in React/GraphQL/Apollo while we wait to see how some 3rd party Holochain backend component development shakes out. Expect a new post soon about this. As for currency design, we are so deep into this process that anything I could give you would be very low resolution and unintelligible without writing a two thousand word post to accompany it as explanation and context. Look for that one after we get our feet firmly on the ground with a fully fleshed out currency plan.