Decentralisation & Cooperation


Decentralisation and Cooperation

– A Blueprint for Social Evolution

Contents/list of headings:
Introduction: fundamentals; the challenge.
Human Scale Organisation: individual v group; real community; politics; elections.
Livelihood and Finance: feudalism and enclosure; an inspiration; basic income grants; trial results; dignity; community capitalism; setting up a B.I.G.
Investment and Innovation: investment objectives; sharing and stewardship; cognition and stewardship.
Legal and Financial Administration: mesh technology; decentralised currencies; blockchain potential; clarity.
Educating for Evolution: transcendental meditation; mindfulness.
Other Governance Topics: defence; law and order; food security, population and health; demographic transition; more efficiency required; health benefits.
Appendix: constituency software; toward a human scale community; the software; beginning to act in community.


For thousands of years, human beings have fought each other in all-out war, often led by those who either wished to become, or remain as, the controlling elite. Thankfully, nowadays, people who are willing to wreck havoc for their own selfish gain are recognised as sociopaths. They have an antisocial personality, a disorder characterised by selfishness and disregard for other people’s rights. Unfortunately, we have inherited a social infrastructure that is based upon their acquisitive and suppressive behaviour. This social structure was designed and developed for their benefit and, in order to guarantee income and control for the elite, over the centuries, layer upon layer of legislation has led to a system of unmanageable complexity.

Although we now live in the 21st century, 19th century elitist concepts, such as “the survival of the fittest” and man as conqueror of nature, still drive the complex systems that sustain society. These systems are dependent on non-sustainable resources, vulnerable supply chains and levels of competition that lead to the withholding of knowledge and result in international aggression when resources become scarce. Withholding knowledge is a key component in this social order, where a high percentage of the population is educated solely to fulfill basic work roles. As a result, attributes such as creativity, organising skills and the entrepreneurial spirit are quashed or merely put into service for the continuity of systems that are too complex to succeed.

However, the 21st century mentality is opening up to fresh concepts that are being fed by technologies which distribute information freely to all and encourage simpler systems that are decentralised, equitable and cooperative. These systems have proved successful and are thriving. It seems that the tide is turning; we are in phase transition. Society is evolving away from suppressive centralisation and into a more cooperative and enlightened era. A phase transition is an exciting time, full of potential but vulnerable to error. That is why attending to fundamentals is essential.


We must identify the fundamental basis of social order. As is so often the case, the answer is in the word itself: fundamental. This word means ‘the founding principle’ but its constituent parts tell the real story. ‘Fund’ comes from the Latin fundus and through to us from the middle English meaning foundation or basis. And, mental comes from the Latin mentalis meaning mind. This word is telling us that mind is the basis. That should not be a surprise, but we can go further and refer to pure consciousness. This reference will not be news to any natural philosopher or long-term meditator; the fact that pure consciousness is the basis of all creation becomes self-evident to those who practice subjective science. That claim opens up a vast subject that is handled elsewhere within my work but for the purpose of this piece, the social ramifications are relatively easy to show.

 From the sports field to the boardroom; from the operating theatre to the dance floor, whether the demands of life are mental or physical, in every field, the fundamental is clarity of mind. Not only do you have to be conscious of what you are doing but you also need to be able to respond swiftly and correctly to anything that comes up. Mental ability is universally recognized as the key to success and mental ability depends upon clarity of mind. This clarity can support self-regulation for every individual in a spontaneous and flexible manner. The ultimate in clarity of mind is pure consciousness, the experience of which has been shown to increase empathy, the key to cooperation.i

This document offers a plan for social evolution in a range of interlinked, progressive changes which recognises that all evolutionary steps are developed and supported by clarity of mind.

The Challenge

In 2002, over 1,000 scientists signed The Amsterdam Convention. It stated that, “The Earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components.” The challenge for humanity is to get its component working harmoniously with the Earth system. This requires a careful dismantling of the vast systems that humankind has erroneously developed that are based upon the survival of the fittest as a guiding philosophy and the conquering of nature as a goal. As noted, those who think and act in this way are dysfunctional, they lack the clarity of mind and the resultant empathy to be of service to the world. It is therefore no surprise that our systems are in disorder and need replacing. But what should come in their place?

1. Human Scale Organisation

A society is a collection of individuals and so there are two major aspects to a coherent social organisation: the coherence of the individual (internal) and the coherence of the group structure (external). The state of mind of each member of society is the most important element. The clarity of mind of every individual is the basis of coherence for society. If society is to evolve, its structures must support the clarity of mind that leads to right action.

Individual v Group

Regardless of what form of organization a society might take, to work well, it must be a human-scale organisation. That is, in the name of mental clarity, its structure should reflect human cognitive limits as regards successful relationships within groups, otherwise coherence breaks down. The structure must work to the advantage of both the individual and the group in a balanced manner. Therefore the organisation must facilitate the capacity of the group and any one member in a way that empowers both.

In that regard, there are two sayings that spring to mind: “Strength in numbers” and “Knowledge is power”. Regarding human scale society, these two sayings come together in the question, “How many people can the average individual know well?” There has been some research into this interesting question.

In 1992, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar studied stable social populations and their relationships in primate societies and then, theorising on cognitive limits and brain size, scaled up the figures in relation to the human brain. This work led researchers to estimate that humans can comfortably maintain between 100 and 230 stable social relationships. ‘Dunbar’s number’ was set at 150 and it soon became a popularized reference.ii  However, in the 1980s, anthropologists including H. Russell Bernard and Peter Killworth had already done fieldwork within human communities in the USA.iii They estimated 290 as the mean number of sustained social ties. As this research was done directly with humans rather than primates, the figures seem more credible than the lower, Dunbar number. Regarding the high end, I find it significant that the population of medieval villages rarely exceeded 300. Self sufficient settlements would be unlikely to breach the recognized workable numbers.

Bearing this in mind, I suggest that self-organising communities of between 200 and 300 individuals, including children, should be encouraged and that these should be the basis of local organisation and democracy. Small, self-organising communities will be able to empower individuals far more than big government and well-run communities will save national government huge sums of money. This savings potential is also reflected in the suggested basic income grant level suggested in chapter two.

Real Community

Being part of a real community can be both a challenge and a therapy; getting along requires friendliness, kindness, humility and flexibility. But the rewards are huge. A great deal of non-sense would be removed. This happens quickly when communities are open, honest and adaptable. Through harmonious living each of us can regain our inherent dignity and joy of life. Knowing all of your neighbours to the extent that any misunderstandings can be peacefully resolved is a powerful aid to social cohesion. Trust ensues. It reduces anxieties about the motives of others, security, and basic law and order issues. Also, knowledge of others’ needs and skills helps ensure that appropriate and timely assistance is available for all, as and when needed.

 Crime rates will drop and health and education will improve as individuals act more responsibly in community. The development of empathy within human-scale community would also act as security against sociopathic schemes. Every community would see the benefit in training members the right skills to be of service. Training for high levels of service would also help inspire entrepreneurs, for every start-up thrives because of the quality of service it provides.
The essentials for life are food, water, homes, heat etc., and each community would equip itself with the required knowledge for those physical needs and beyond. Food growers, hydrologists, soil specialists, nutritionalists, ‘green’ builders, doctors, complementary practitioners, yoga/fitness coaches, counselors, midwifes, musicians, poets, artists, visionaries, legal advisors and more. All would be valuable to each community and knowledge sharing would quickly ease the pressure on these people.

Knowledge distribution would become equitable. For example, a community would not only ensure that it included members of the healing profession but also that these people trained the other members in health matters, particularly prevention. An emphasis on prevention of illness through education is long overdue.


Trust is essential in politics, otherwise the system breaks down. For reasons already explained, the basic political constituency should be based upon human scale community. Each local community would form the voting basis. The voters would be the adults amongst the 200 to 300 people. That is because the real nature of any prospective political candidate would already be known to the voters. There, politics would not be done through speeches, think-tanks and proclamations, it would be done simply by knowing, working with, and being a part of one’s own community. As a result, politicians would be people who are there to serve the public rather than have an allegiance to a political party and submit to the army of lobbyists whose aim is to seduce party members.

One thing is for sure about political parties, they do not serve democracy, they serve themselves. The vast majority of party politicians prioritise service to the party over service to the public. For without the party, they would have no platform and no ready made, mass-marketed, ideology. The future of society is far too important to have only two or three slightly different options available to the voter. But that is how party-based democracy has turned out.
Through the party system, corrupt politicians can easily be foisted upon an unknowing constituency. However, within a small community constituency, from the very earliest stage, politicians would be vetted by those who know them best. From then on, as the political infrastructure develops, it will be populated by trustworthy people. The funding, cronyism and ideological institutionalism of political parties would quickly be found to be unnecessary. Of course, power can corrupt and so the community would be wise to educate every member in the aims and processes of politics. They should also ensure that no single representative has a long tenure.

Of course, this scheme would add an additional level to national politics with grassroots politicians being further elected to join in regional and national administration. However, with clarity of mind guiding communities, fewer and fewer national laws would be required.


Voting at the community level would best be done as openly as possible, in person, by whatever non-digital means that the constituency decides. That is because a coherent society requires a level of openness and integrity that seeds debate and leads to understanding and trust.

In a human scale community it should be quite easy to gather all of the voters together for a series of meetings. They would listen to presentations and debates, and also have question and answer sessions with candidates. The final meeting of the series would close with the vote itself. The outcome could be known almost immediately, without the possibility of any external interference. Whatever the result, together, everyone in the community could celebrate a diligent and successful process.

Elections to the regional and national levels can be done through digital means. To check against cyber-fraud, the digital voting ‘click’ would be recorded on the government site and on the blockchain simultaneously (see chapter four).

 Every adult should vote but beyond the official candidates’ names, every election form should also include fields for, 1) a written-in name. (This is for those who favour someone who is not an official candidate); 2) ‘None of the above’ (for where the voter has no faith in the candidates nor in any one else); and 3) ‘I am dissatisfied with the electoral process’, (for where the voter wants the system to be reviewed).
In modern democracies, political parties often to come to power when less than 50% of the electorate has voted for them. Indeed, there has been less than a 66% turnout in each of the three general elections that the UK has experienced in the 21st century.iv Fortunately, the development of community constituencies with savvy voters will bring an end to this travesty. For notes on the creation of community constituencies, see the Appendix.

Let us now turn to changes that clear-headed governance could bring in and, if not, that local, self-organising communities could bring in for themselves.

2. Livelihood and Finance

I was born and raised in a town called Nantwich in Cheshire, England. People who are born there and continue to live there benefit from annual payments known as ‘the Beam Heath’. Beam Heath had been a large plot of land close to the town centre. It was a common amenity for the townsfolk, facilitating grazing, hunting, firewood, house-building materials and other resources. This plot was part of the millions of acres of land in Great Britain that had been a common resource for thousands of years, originally held under the stewardship of local tribes.

Feudalism and Enclosure

 Over a long period, stewardship became formal ownership but not for the benefit of the majority. The process of ownership moved forward as a result of conflict. It was through conflict that the power of kings really arose. In order to be protected by a ruling and, largely, military elite, the population gave up many of their rights.

During the English feudal system (8th to 17thc.) kings appointed lords to oversee local resources and the general population was bonded to that lord. This was a modified form of slavery called serfdom where serfs pledged their labour to the lord in return for protection and for the administration of justice so that they could continue to live off the land. Later, these lands became known as ‘the commons’ and those who depended upon them were called ‘commoners’. Despite being controlled by members of the elite, these lands continued to be available as a resource for all.

As the feudal system declined, land was fenced and privatised in what was known as the enclosure movement. This privatization did not necessarily make the land more productive but it did make it more profitable for the owners. Commoners were pushed off the land and those who had depended upon that land to keep their families fed, lost their self-sufficiency. Those who, through hunger, became poachers on the land that had formerly been a legally available resource, risked the death penalty or ‘transportation’ to distant penal colonies,.

In the last wave of enclosure (1750-1870), around seven million acres of common land became enclosed when in the region of four thousand acts of parliament were passed to set out the terms. The acts recognized that livelihood was being taken from the commoners.

The creation of the Beam Heath Trust was due to one of these acts. It allowed the land to be sold for development subject to an equivalent piece of rural land being purchased from out of the proceeds. As Nantwich has expanded, this process has repeated itself and income from the land continues to be paid to the townspeople.

An Inspiration

The story of ‘the Beam Heath’ is a pointer to the theft of livelihood from the commoners but it also gave inspiration to my father, Walter Gill Ellson (1918 – 1987). He was a recipient of the annual payout and although the small sum hardly put food on his table, it did provide him with food for thought.

One day, in the early 1960s, my father told me that, inspired by ‘the Beam Heath’, he had calculated that it would be economically feasible for everyone in the UK to be paid a guaranteed basic income whatever their circumstances. He felt that this living wage would create employment because it would allow time for people to be innovative. I remember saying that a lot of people would simply not bother to work (I was a young teenager at the time and happy to laze about). He explained that the vast majority of people want to be busy and purposeful, adding that, for the few that don’t, laws or other persuasive methods make little difference. My father ran a successful business that employed around 100 people and so I accepted his assessment.

He said that as a result of this universal payment the benefits system could be greatly simplified and that stigmas against so called ‘scroungers’, would fade away. My father felt that the new system would truly acknowledge the large number of people doing essential work each day, for example, parents and carers who are not recognized financially for their efforts. He added that, in his scheme, people would pay taxes on earnings above the basic income grant (B.I.G.).

Basic Income Grants

Clearly, my father was not the only person capable of figuring this out because there have been a number of basic income initiatives over recent decades. For instance, a proposal for a B.I.G. was considered by the Irish government in 1998.

Here are the core principles of a basic income grant system.

    1. Universality: This follows natural law, in that nature and its resources are for the benefit of all and are given freely to all.
    2. Adequacy: Self-sufficiency and the associated dignity of life was removed by enclosure. In lieu, a basic income grant should be adequate to enable all to live a life with dignity. Therefore it should be set above the poverty line as a living wage.
    3. Guarantee: This income should be guaranteed on a statutory basis.
    4. Penalty-free: The sum should not be taxed nor encumber any penalty.
    5. Equity: Every individual would be treated equally regardless of gender or financial circumstances.
    6. Simplicity: The system should be simple to understand and to administer.
    7. Efficiency: Besides the improved efficiency of the benefits and tax system, basic income will have a positive impact on the worst-off in society as well as the overall socio-economic situation.
    8. Freedom: A basic income grant will promote autonomy and reduce dependency. It will avoid situations where a benefit claimant is forced to do nothing in order to receive benefit. The concept of freedom with responsibility will promote the involvement of everyone in the social, economic, political and cultural life of society. [*this list is based upon that given in the CORI organisation’s proposal to the Irish government.]

Trial Results

In 2007, a group of charities trialed a B.I.G. scheme in Namibia, Africa. Namibia was chosen because of the low sums required for a living wage. The scheme was trialed in the town of Omitara and the nearby settlement of Otjivero. All inhabitants were provided with 100 Namibian dollars per month, with money for those aged under 21 given to their prime carer. Prior to the scheme’s commencement in November 2007, the organisers undertook a benchmark survey that enabled them to conduct meaningful comparative surveys at regular intervals.v

The July 2008 survey showed that, rather than encouraging indolence, the income grant enabled people to avoid spending time scrabbling for necessities. Instead, the grant had allowed them to invest time and money in setting up their own businesses. These, and business start-ups that had failed previously, were now flourishing. As a result, income increased significantly beyond that of the basic grant. This is good evidence that basic income grants can foster economic growth and development. The survey also reported that the percentage of malnourished children dropped form 42% to 17% and that school attendance had risen considerably. There was also reduced child mortality, improved maternal health and a general empowerment of women.

Implementing basic income grants in developed countries would be more complex than in Namibia. Not because the system need be more complicated but because an overhaul of the existing tax and benefit practices would be necessary. One may wonder if an economic downturn would be a good time to begin this process. As ever, there is no time like the present. Looking at the results from the Namibia experiment and at the research of groups such as CORI in Ireland, the resulting creativity and innovation that would emerge from the public would make any nation a powerhouse of positive activity. The government of Switzerland seems to recognize this and may hold a referendum on a basic income scheme in the future.


Everyone wishes to live a happy, dignified and purposeful life. The enclosure movement removed the ability to be self-sufficient and, at the same time, removed the dignity, sense of purpose and accomplishment that goes with it. Accordingly, enclosure brought sorrow, impoverishment, lack of confidence and also decimated the arts of environmental stewardship and community living.

In the 21st century we are faced with the bitter harvest: we have failed in our stewardship of the environment with the result that the natural cycle of global warming is perilously exacerbated. Furthermore, the stressful breakdown of community cohesion gives us huge challenges in education, crime, health and general welfare. Basic income grants are a way of removing unnecessary stresses, boosting financial security, reinstating dignity and allowing time for creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit. When a B.I.G. is applied, although financial disparities may remain between rich and poor, there will be equity in respect to the self-sufficiency of every individual, so long as people do not live wastefully.

Furthermore, every citizen should understand that, currently, from an economic point of view, they are bonded – literally. When their birth is registered, they become part of the nation’s assets. They will join the workforce and will have a value that is traded in global exchanges through government bonds. So, we are all bonded and an automatic financial value is attached to every person. In effect, other people are deciding what you are worth so that they may profit. Currently, the majority of the population do not benefit in any way close to their own valuation, whether directly, as wages, or indirectly through the spending of public finances. That is because the vast bulk of the nation’s capital is in the hands of a controlling few.

Community Capitalism

One cannot have capitalism without a fair distribution of capital, otherwise, as we have noted, when the capital is in the hands of a few, the system gives way to centralized control and the suppression of individual creativity and expression. Such levels of control were the hallmark of the 20th century’s failed communism.

Although at first glance, the universality of a national basic income grant system may seem to be a form of communism, this notion springs from a misunderstanding of both communism and capitalism. The communism that came to the fore in the 20th century was an experiment that favoured the few rather than the many. The community that really benefited from communism were the elite; those at the top of the governing pyramid. Similarly, the capitalism that came to the fore in the 20th century was an experiment that came to favour the few rather than the many. The only individuals that really benefited from capitalism were, again, the elite; those at the top of the governing pyramid. By ‘governing’, I mean those who control the capital.

The 1980s saw the collapse of communism in the USSR and 2008 ushered in a breakdown of Western capitalism, which is now on life-support. Both systems had been ill for some time and were bound to fail because they were over-complex, unbalanced and unrepresentative of the masses who are the essential stakeholders.

Whilst the mass media presents communism and capitalism as opposites, they are very similar. However, the ‘cold war’ between the two served the elite of both sides well; just as with the kings of old, it benefits rulers to have conflict from time to time in order to strengthen their hold on the populace.

Basic income grants will serve capitalism well. The whole population will have the opportunity to be capitalists. That universality will make the system more equitable. Think of the level of support for entrepreneurship when the whole community has the power to invest. We can call this community capitalism.

Setting Up A B.I.G.

An excellent time to have set up a basic income scheme would have been in the wake of the 2008 crash. Instead of bailing out the banks, funds could have been given to every citizen. There are a number of ways that funds can be provided for a B.I.G., they could be conjured out of nothing like the majority of the funds in circulation in the UK and other Western But, for the purposes of this exercise, in an effort to get people to understand that a B.I.G. is feasible even within an existing, accountable, system, I have chosen to derive funds from within the UK’s existing system.

This model funds a permanent benefit and, at the same time, ‘bails out’ banks because the weekly payments are based upon the interest on guaranteed funds deposited in the banks. The deposits are allocated to each citizen based upon the fact that their labour, time and energy, backs up the national debt. Therefore, as is their birthright, the public get a guaranteed benefit from their value to the nation. The public is the ultimate guarantee of a nation’s value and this scheme honours that. Moreover, the weekly funds are set at a level and in a social context that will also encourage a healthier, happier and more creative and efficient society. Therefore the valuation of the nation is likely to rise significantly.

Here is my suggestion in more detail: The current UK outlay on the bank bail-outs is around £1.162 trillionvii and that is likely to rise considerably. If we divide that figure by 63.2 million (the approximate number of people in the UK), this amounts to £18,386 per person. Not much. However, the B.I.G. will replace all of the benefits available to citizens. Currently, the total benefit spending is £370 billion per year.viii Now, we can get an average lifetime benefit figure per person. The average life span of each citizen is around 80 years. £370 billion multiplied by 80 amounts to £29.6 trillion. If we divide that figure by 63.2 million, the total comes to £46,835 per person. Add the two ‘per person’ figures together and we have 18,386 + 46,835 = £65,221 and that amount can be placed in a bank account for every citizen. Then an interest rate can be set to supply each citizen with funds every week. I suggest that the rate be set at 8% to give £100.32p. That sum is not far from the current (2014), standard UK state pension of around £110 per week.

This is a low guaranteed income, however, due to the introduction of human scale organization, community members will be more able and willing to support one another and to cooperate and innovate for the good of all. When communities are organised in the most natural and efficient manner, new ways of doing will emerge quickly. Community capitalism should figure strongly in the school curriculum for, if you look at the figures, you will realise that a 16 year old may have in excess of £80,000 to invest. A basic income grant is for life and it is particularly important that the funds received by young people should be managed to ensure that the B.I.G. goes a long way.

By the way, the interest rate need not be attached to other, commercial interest rates. It is an acknowledgement, and a priming, of the potential of every member of society. As a primer, the rate should to be set to benefit citizens in a way that stimulates innovation and creativity. By analogy, the interest represents a harvest while the deposit represents the land. You cannot discard the land. However, the deposit could be moved to another bank if the individual so wished. This possibility would help to keep the banks user friendly. If the big banks do not gain and maintain trust, then communities could found their own credit unions to manage their wealth. However, it should be remembered that the deposit that generates the basic income cannot be spent and when a recipient dies, that deposit will no longer exist.

3. Investment and Innovation

In 2002, the WWF (World Wide Fund) looked at the Earth’s productive area (about 25% of the surface) and estimated that humans were overusing resources by approximately 20%.ix At that stage, the average eco-footprint, per person, was about 5.7 acres whereas the area available was around 4.7 acres per person. Since then, with an increase in population and rising eco-footprints in the emerging economies, ‘eco-indebtedness’ has continued to grow. Currently, the WWF estimates that, by 2050, humanity will need the equivalent of three planet Earths to supply it’s needs.x Obviously, the continued insistence on economic growth by national governments is untenable. With our current approach to resources, the planet cannot supply enough. Innovations that bring efficiency are where humanity’s attentions need to be focused. (Also see ‘Food security and population’ within chapter six.)

Investment Objectives

Innovation and efficiency must be the response aimed at safeguarding life’s necessities. It is important to realize that if we do not become efficient and flexible about our needs voluntarily and quickly, that efficiency will be forced upon us in the coming years as a result of climate change. If we wait until then, there will be insecurity and chaos; if we act now, our security can be facilitated.

A community’s prime investment objectives should match the prime objectives of every community: provision of necessities. Necessities offer a guaranteed market and therefore the deposited funds that generate B.I.G. would be invested in markets such as food, drink, homes, heat, clothing etc. Again, any companies formed should fit the human scale model with a maximum of around 250 employees. This scale means that such companies would resemble a family business where everyone has the opportunity to know everyone else. This scale will reduce anonymity within the workforce and assist the smooth running of the business because anonymity is an enabler of crime. However, where businesses are concerned, there is a further key to help ensure that sociopaths are not supported and therefore do not dominate. Because company employees will also receive B.I.G., they can more easily choose not to work for a sociopath.

Sharing and Stewardship

Innovation will be assisted through changes in intellectual property (IP) law. Where do ideas come from? Good ideas come from clarity of mind. They are the result of a state of consciousness. But this leads us to ‘the hard problem’ as Dr David Chalmers famously put it.xi Science cannot explain what consciousness is. It cannot be identified or measured. Science cannot tell us why we experience anything at all. This undermines the legal basis of IP. Note that it is often the case that the same idea emerges in the minds of many people at around the same time. The best ideas come from the clarity of mind called pure consciousness. That state is full of potential; it is boundless and from that state the thought arises; the idea is born.

An idea can appear anywhere that is primed to receive it. Inventors are aware of this possibility. This means that there is often a race to register a patent first so that the ‘winner’ of that race can control all developments from then on. An analogy would be that of a tree spreading its seeds around but the first seed to sprout demands that all the other seeds are banned. But if ideas are like seeds, where is the tree? Is it you? Is it me? It is pure consciousness, the non-relative field of all possibilities. That field of full potential is where ideas come from. Although Einstein did not believe in a personal god, by way of metaphor, he said that “Ideas come from god”.xii I cannot argue with Einstein but I will challenge anyone to find a distinction between pure consciousness and god.

Of course, an idea cannot realise value until it is put into practice. But IP law should not be repressive; permissions should not be withheld when a technique or product relating to a prior I.P. is required as part of a new innovation. We all know that life is transitory and ever changing, so the idea that a corporation or individual can block anyone from using and further developing an idea is ludicrous because, in effect, it is a demand that time stands still. This is where cognitive stewardship comes in.

Cognitive Stewardship

Given that climate change threatens our very existence, humanity must move away from its addiction to ownership of numerous unnecessary items that use up unsustainable resources and end up as landfill. We must wake up to the wisdom of stewardship. Remember “The Earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components.” and so, it is obvious that we do not own the world and that, as an advanced species, stewardship is our natural role. So too with ideas: we do not own ideas either and, given that ideas drive the human world, it is important that we acknowledge that we are stewards of ideas too.

Ideas arise because an individual is primed to receive them. But an individual can only be primed because of his or her environment and, unless society is ready for the idea, it is hardly relevant. In short, the idea does not belong to the individual; its existence and its whole potential depends upon the environment and society.

The idea of cognitive stewardship recognises that the individual receives the idea as a steward and, cognising its potential, is inspired to move the idea forward for the good of all. When society follows this blueprint for social evolution or something similar, it should be quite easy for a good idea to gain community investment. Having said that, large scale ideas can be expensive to set up and can take some time to prove useful, therefore, in addition to the B.I.G., a steward may require funds to cover those costs for quite some time. This is where the banking sector comes into its own. However, the fact that, when they invest, banks or wealthy individuals want a controlling, majority share, could lead to elitist interference, that is why the development of local credit unions is to be encouraged. Credit unions set in local communities are more likely to understand that, along with other social endeavors, cognitive stewardship is more about service than profit.

Initially, I felt that cognitive stewardship would be associated with a more open IP system that would give inventors a business income and recognition without restricting further development by others. However, it soon became clear that similar ideas were already available in cyberspace. More importantly, due to the fact that ideas can now spread in ways that defy centralised control, it is evident that, in the not too distant future, the idea of intellectual property will become obsolete and other forms of recompense will be required. I believe that ideas in this document can supply both recompense and increased support for development.

4. Legal and Financial Administration

This document has already championed human scale organisation through communities of up to 300 individuals. But this is not a call for tribalism or introspection. Whilst regional and national government can work to facilitate transport and general communication systems, it is important that the internet remains free from the control and manipulation of elite groups. Over the past twenty years, the freedom of the internet has led to the population being better informed than previous generations. Knowledge is power but recent years have seen government attempts to pass laws that would give corporations legal powers to undermine internet freedom. Not only that, revelations from Edward Snowden show that large internet service providers are under intense pressure from spy agencies to hand over the public’s personal data. However, the worst threat to internet integrity would be a large coronal discharge.

In 1859, a coronal discharge known as the Carrington Event hit the Earth. At that time, high technology was restricted to telegraph systems and when the coronal power surge hit, systems throughout Europe and North America failed. In 1989, a smaller discharge knocked out power systems in Great Britain, the USA and Canada. Since that time our use of electronics and technology in general have increased exponentially. If another large coronal discharge were to hit the Earth, the chaos would be widespread and long lasting.

Mesh Technology

Once again, decentralisation and cooperation would be the best policy against these threats. Decentralised networks that are based upon harnessing numerous wifi nodes as mini-servers in a mesh, could see the end of our dependence upon centralised servers. There is safety in numbers and the innumerable nodes of a mesh will be much less vulnerable to attempts at gathering masses of personal data, elite control and the effects of coronal discharges. As mesh technology develops and spreads, its success will depend upon the cooperation of millions of computer and mobile phone users across the planet. We can all play a part in conserving internet freedom and undoubtedly, continued internet freedom will deliver higher levels of knowledge and social cohesion.

Decentralised Currencies

Earlier I mentioned that crypto-currencies are springing up at a fast rate. These are internet-based, decentralised currencies and, so far, the most successful is bitcoin, a peer-to-peer payment system launched in 2009. At its core, the bitcoin system has a ledger called the blockchain where all of the transactions are recorded. The blockchain is a transparent ledger so that all transfers and holdings of the crypto-currency can be verified by any member of the public. If someone offers to make a purchase in bitcoin, the seller can check that the buyer has the funds before the deal is done. Also, as peer-to-peer currency transfers take less than ten minutes, so, if need be, the seller can check that the funds have arrived in their digital wallet before delivery takes place.

Blockchain Potential

With the invention of the digital blockchain, humankind now has the means of presenting every transaction in a transparent and yet secure manner. The blockchain already operates as a means of tracking encrypted digital currencies on the internet and because it is so well encrypted, it has proved itself to be immune from attack by hackers. This decentralised, peer to peer ledger, does away with third parties, particularly commercial banks and specialist money transferees. But the blockchain ledger has far greater potential. It could also be used to record numerous transfers and holdings including the B.I.G. (And whilst we are on the subject, there is no reason why a B.I.G. cannot be paid in crypto-currency form.)

In theory, the blockchain could be used to host every proof of transaction and ownership. Certainly, an open register of land and property deals could be facilitated, with all of the property deeds on view. If the blockchain hosts legal transactions, many of the services offered by solicitors, including searches and transfer of deeds, would be redundant. One can imagine that a change such as this might be resisted, but the results of the freedom of the internet would be hard to resist. Fortunately, legal professionals would not mind losing some business to the blockchain if they received a basic income grant. Indeed, the ensuing loss of income for many solicitors could provide enough pressure for lawmakers to legislate for a B.I.G. We live in tumultuous, rapidly changing, times where the reassurance of a basic income grant would be welcomed by the vast majority of the population.


We know that those of dubious intent seek to hide their dealings and in our complex world they can come up with many excuses for their failure to divulge. However, I feel that there is no limit to the amount of information that could remain secure and yet be accessible for the public to view on the blockchain. This means that the openness and clarity of mind that is the basis of social coherence could be fully reflected in the clarity of presentation offered by the blockchain.

5. Educating for Evolution

To get this section started, here’s a great quote from Bucky Fuller: “We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. . . . The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”xiii

With the establishment of human scale organisation and the basic income grant, positive, lasting, changes can occur in education. In chapter one I covered knowledge sharing in the community. Further to that, those who do not want to merely be educated for the workplace, and instead, wish to be educated for the sake of knowledge, may now afford it. This will open up a well-spring of potential and ensuing benefit for the whole of humanity. The key to good education is the cultivation of clarity of mind. A clear mind is a peaceful mind. This peace is the ultimate antidote to chaos in the self and in society. Meditation is the proven fast-track way to cultivate it.

In the 1980s I was the founding chairperson of a schoolxiv that, whilst adhering to the UK’s national curriculum, also enabled the students to meditate and study the common threads that link every subject.xv Although set in an underprivileged area, the school became one of the top scoring schools in the UK. It continues to thrive today, delivering the clarity of consciousness required for deep understanding of the world we inhabit.

Transcendental Meditation

The benefits of meditation have been highlighted in numerous research papers. There are over 350 peer reviewed studies on the TM (Transcendental Meditation) technique alone. Studies also abound for the technique known as mindfulness.

Firstly, here are a few of the outcomes highlighted by research into the use of TM in the classroom:

  1. 21% increase in high school graduation rate. xvi

  2. 10% improvement in test scores and grade point average.xvii

  3. Increased attendance and decreased suspensions.xviii

  4. Reduced AHDH symptoms and symptoms of other learning disorders.xix

  5. Increased Intelligence and Creativity.xx

  6. 40% reduction in psychological distress, including stress, anxiety and depression.xxi

  7. Reduction in teacher burnout and perceived stress.xxii

Other TM related studies include research into brain functioning, creativity, intelligence, learning ability, educational performance and behaviour, special and remedial education, cardiovascular and other medical issues, anxiety and stress, aging and longevity, criminal rehabilitation, preventing conflict and crime.


In 2005, the American Society for Neuroscience invited the Delai Lama to open proceedings. Findings presented at the conference backed up his claims that meditation can not only effect brain activity but also its structure.xxiii

Dr Sara Lazar of Harvard Medical School revealed that a study of twenty western meditators found that the brain region associated with emotions, thought and the senses (the insula) and the region associated with higher thought and planning (the pre-frontal layer) were notably more developed in the meditators than in the control group and that longer term meditators showd more development than novices. Such research indicates that the practice of meditation actually modifies the brain structure. Through its influence on the pre-frontal layer, meditation can enable the appreciation of the ‘bigger picture’ and through its influence on the insula, the increased harmonisation of emotions, thoughts and the senses, can bring great peace of mind.xxiv

Given the proven advantages of meditation in education, it is good to know that its use is on the increase in the classroom. Meditation increases clarity of mind. As noted in the introduction, clarity of mind can support self-regulation for every individual in a spontaneous and flexible manner. The ultimate in clarity of mind is pure consciousness, the experience of which has been shown to increase empathy, the key to cooperation. This document recognises that all evolutionary steps are developed and supported by clarity of mind.

6. Other Governance Topics

a) Defence

Defence is required when one suffers attack. Unfortunately, so called defence forces are often used for attack with a false premise being told to the public. The Iraq war was a good example of this. How would a true Ministry of Defence differ from what we have now? The emphasis would be on gaining and maintaining peace.

The chaos of war results from sociopathic thinking. These can be eradicated quite simply. The opposite of chaos is calm and the antidote to sociopathic thinking is empathy. Calm and empathy have both been shown to thrive through the practice of meditation. Here we are back to clarity of mind. I have been part of a number of experiments that demonstrate the power of meditation in lessening conflict. These are World Peace Assemblies devised around the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and associated techniques know as ‘sidhis’ where practitioners numbering the square root of 1% of the region served, come together with the aim of increasing world peace and coherence. The effect has been shown a number of timesxxv and it works because, basically, calm and empathy are contagious. Whilst the effects have been measured, the mechanics of the process have yet to be figured out by mainstream science because the technique is consciousness based. I feel sure that further research into quantum entanglement will show the way. Meanwhile, there is no reason to delay implementation; world peace is too important!

Of course, it would be unwise to disband defence forces whilst conflict abounds, so the idea would be to teach existing military personnel to meditate. They would undertake a programme specifically designed to eradicate conflict. Each member of the forces would attend regular peace studies and the main goal would be to generate and sustain peace through peaceful means, the most peaceful and effective of which is meditation. Note that an increasing number of serving military and veterans are taking up TM in order to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to good effect and that this is encouraging the military to take the power of meditation seriously.xxvi

As far as physical activity is concerned, noting the strong relationship between mindfulness and the martial arts, their combat skills would be improved. However, rather than being sent overseas to fight wars that turn out to benefit a handful of elite corporate predators,xxvii military forces would help deal with disasters both at home and abroad and also be used to assist the nation in precautionary activities regarding such threats as flooding due to climate change.

b) Law and Order

A caring, community-based democracy, backed by B.I.G. would eradicate the vast majority of crime because neediness and the accompanying stress are strong motivators to a life of crime. However, in an enlightened democracy, every citizen would be taught how the law works; why it is necessary, its history and its terms and conditions.

Currently, when entering a court in the UK people are told what to do and how to react to the judge etc., but no one is informed of their full rights and the terms and conditions that apply. It is ironic that whilst lawmakers ensure that any citizen signing a contract with a corporation must agree to the terms and conditions, no such requirement is made of the courts. As mentioned in chapter two, every individual in the nation is bonded as a part of the nation’s financial system. This is done without the individuals’ permission and many people are waking up to that fact.

In legal terms there is a fuzzy line between a citizen being bonded and a citizen being sovereign. The problem needs to be addressed but lawmakers are not responding. One wonders, are they loath to act because they believe that people do not have the sense of responsibility required of sovereign individuals, where the desires of the individual must be balanced with the needs of the community. Our standards of education have led to this because, unfortunately, the majority of the populace are simply educated to fill the jobs within our unbalanced and failing system. Suggestions already made in this document will help to right this.

c) Food Security, Population and Health

The mainstream media often catastrophise about food security and population growth. They ask, “How will we feed the world’s population?” I have noticed that his question appears when the public opposes genetically modified foods. The fear is unfounded. The population will not reach unmanageable levels and we already have the knowledge and the land to fulfil our needs. Again, efficiency is the key.

Demographic Transition

The tendency is that as a society moves away from survival mode towards abundance, the birth rate drops. Fertility rates are high in poor countries (where there is a history of inadequate health infrastructure), but when a nation becomes wealthy, there is a demographic transition and that rate drops.xxviii In fact, virtually every nation classed as wealthy by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has a fertility rate below replacement levels. It is expected that as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) become wealthier, the world population will stabalise. That population is expected to be around 10 billion in 2060 and then it will level off.xxix

More Efficiency Required

From production to the table, the wastefulness of western food practices and sytems are alarming. In a paper entitled ‘Climate benefits of changing diet’ by Elke Stehfest et al.,xxx there is a table entitled ‘Number of people whose food energy needs can be met by the food produced on 2.5 acres of land.’ This table highlights the waste of resources in feeding crops to creatures so that, in turn, humans can eat those creatures; in effect, obtaining second-hand nutrition. For example, if we were to seek our human food energy needs through eating beef, it takes 2.5 acres to produce just one person’s needs; for eggs, again, 2.5 acres serves one person’s needs; but, for wheat, 2.5 acres serves 15 people; and for potatoes 22 people. Meat production is a very inefficient way to feed a human being and also, as noted below, a plant-based diet is much healthier.

If the crops that are fed to livestock are included, Europeans have over three times the amount of food that they need and the USA has approximately four times more. A change to a vegetarian diet would erase hunger from the world.xxxi The strain on global water resources would also be greatly eased. Up to 12,009 gallons of water is required to produce just one pound of beefxxxii and research has shown that, globally, the irrigation water used for the production of wasted food is enough for the needs of 9 billion people. (Domestic needs assessed at 200 litres per person per day.)xxxiii

Meat production also has a negative effect regarding CO2 emissions. In the tropical regions of South America, ranchers deforest the land to provide pasture for their herds. When these trees are cut down, much of the carbon they store enters the atmosphere. In fact, tropical deforestation accounts for around 15% of the planet’s CO2 emissions.xxxiv On the other hand, a vegetarian diet enables such efficient land use, that arable land could be returned to forest. In his book,xxxv Tristram Stuart suggests that “If we planted trees on land currently used to grow unnecessary surplus and wasted food, this would offset a theoretical maximum of 100% of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion.”

Health Benefits

During the 1980s, Oxford University took dietary information from me as part of their Oxford Vegetarian Study. This study concluded that ischemic heart disease is likely to be 24% lower in lifelong vegetarians and 57% lower in lifelong vegans than in meat eaters.xxxvi

Running alongside that research was the China, Cornell, Oxford Project which examined the diets, lifestyle, and disease characteristics of thousands of individuals in 65 rural Chinese districts. The project revealed that people who had the most animal-based diet also developed the most chronic disease and that even small intakes of animal-based foods could generate adverse effects.xxxvii The project leader, Professor T Colin Campbell, set out on his research career with the idea of demonstrating the value of a high protien, meat-based diet but, due to the research results, he became a vegan.xxxviii

Given the strength of the research, it is no surprise that meat eating has huge costs in terms of health care, animal welfare and environmental impacts. Western governments spend huge amounts on these challenges with the USA alone, spending around $414 billion a year.xxxix

Research to date strongly suggests that a change in eating habits and agricultural strategies can solve humanity’s current and future food security challenges. Good education within a community atmosphere would no doubt aid in these changes and a focus upon health education aimed at prevention of illness would be essential.

In Conclusion

I would remind you of the reasons why a new approach to social evolution is necessary. From the introduction:

“For thousands of years, human beings have fought each other in all-out war, often led by those who either wished to become, or remain as, the controlling elite. Thankfully, nowadays, people who are willing to wreck havoc for their own selfish gain are recognised as sociopaths. They have an antisocial personality, a disorder characterised by selfishness and disregard for other people’s rights. Unfortunately, we have inherited a social infrastructure that is based upon their acquisitive and suppressive behaviour. This social structure was designed and developed for their benefit and, in order to guarantee income and control for the elite, over the centuries, layer upon layer of legislation has led to a system of unmanageable complexity.

Although we now live in the 21st century, 19th century elitist concepts, such as “the survival of the fittest” and man as conqueror of nature, still drive the complex systems that sustain society. These systems are dependent on non-sustainable resources, vulnerable supply chains and levels of competition that lead to the withholding of knowledge and result in international aggression when resources become scarce. Withholding knowledge is a key component in this social order, where a high percentage of the population is educated solely to fulfill basic work roles. As a result, attributes such as creativity, organising skills and the entrepreneurial spirit are quashed or merely put into service for the continuity of systems that are too complex to succeed.”

In response to this dillema, the ideas that I have outlined in this document are offered as a recipe for individual and social evolution. The basis is a clarity of mind that is reflected in the social organisation. Everything moves forward from that. Clarity brings coherence, empathy and increased mutual aid, efficiency in action, joy in fulfillment and numerous other benefits. What’s not to like?

It is time for things to change, not for the sake of change but for the sake of humanity and planet.

Paul Howard Ellson, August 2014.


Constituency Software – an outline.

Toward Human Scale Community

A move toward human scale community would be relatively easy for national government to arrange. In the UK, local electoral registers, known as ‘wards’, could be subdivided into smaller geographical areas comprising of up to 300 individuals.* Their details could be entered into software developed to adapt constituencies as the demographic changes (see below). Ideally, any move toward human scale community should be government led, but often, government takes on ideas that have been proven elsewhere. With or without government assistance, constituency software could be developed and proven at a grassroots level.

The Software

Constituency software would be hosted on a secure website and made available to all who lived in a nation. Upon accessing the site, the prospective community member would see a map of the nation. They would ‘zoom in’ on their area and click on their home or very close vicinity. They would not necessarily give their home address but would give an email address. Application would be on a family unit basis and a form would be filled in to establish the number of people in the dwelling, their relationship, gender and age. At the initial stage, the boundaries of the constituency would be the national borders and it would remain that way until over 300 people signed up. Then, the software would automatically shrink the original boundaries as more constituencies developed.

As participation accelerated, the software would continue to shrink boundaries of constituencies and create new ones so that those who were on the periphery of one constituency may find themselves in an adjoining one. All changes would be notified by email. Any ties that had been developed within a constituency need not be lost when, for human scale purposes, shrinking boundaries ‘move’ people from one constituency to another. Links with other local constituencies are to be encouraged, for whilst a change in boundary is there to give more coherence to local electoral and social processes, personal connections in other constituencies will help bring coherence in the wider context.

Beginning to Act in Community

During the early, developmental, stage of what would likely be a grassroots experiment, participants would be encouraged to meet, face to face, in neutral, public, venues with a minimum of five individuals meeting. This arrangement would be for the security of the vulnerable, first time, attendees. Members would be encouraged to bring a CV showing what they have to offer and, also, to be open to question and answer sessions to help establish their true strengths. The process of development would be greatly aided by honesty and openness of mind and a humble, grounded, manner from all participants. Such attributes are fundamental to the success of any community and to society as a whole. When members feel comfortable with their fellows, the setting up of community-based benefits such as knowledge sharing, person-to-person assistance and trade, bulk buying, etc., will progress more smoothly.

Local community volunteers can deliver many services that would otherwise cost local and national government money. Community activities help develop responsible, self-governed individuals, can make many government services unnecessary and diminish the need for heavy taxation and ‘big’ government. By that time, the proven grassroots initiative may well have been taken up by government – hopefully, with the intent of promoting it rather than undermining it. One has to remember that the wealthy few who make money from big government may not be supportive of human scale communities.

* The current national average of a UK ward is about 5.500 voters, and so, for human scale community, subject to the number of non-voting dependants, each ward would be subdivided many times.


Endnotes and References

i Compassion meditation enhances empathic accuracy and related neural activity, Jennifer S Mascaro et al. The Oxford Journal of Social, cognitive and affective Neuroscience, online pub. 5th Sept 2012. And also, Engendering Empathy in Baccalaureate Nursing Students, Caryn A Sheehan, DNP. International Journal of Caring Sciences, vol. 6, issue 3, 2013.

ii Dunbar, R. I. M. (1992). Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of Human Evolution 22 (6): 469–493. doi:10.1016/0047-2484(92)90081-J

iii Bernard, H. R.; Shelley, G. A.; Killworth, P. (1987). “How much of a network does the GSS and RSW dredge up?” Social Networks 9: 49. doi:10.1016/03788733(87)900177 (Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32601, U.S.A., and the Hooke Institute for Atmospheric Research, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford, U.K.) 

iv Source:


vi This is called fiat money. It has no intrinsic value in that it is not backed by a commodity such as gold. It is accepted as a means of payment simply because government deems it. Fiat is Latin for ‘It shall be’.

vii £1.029 trillion in guarantees and £133 billion in cash. Source: UK National Audit Office website 19th March 2014


ix WWF Living Planet Report 2002

x WWF Living Planet Report 2012.

xi Dr David J Chalmers, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Cruz, Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness,  Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3): 200–219. (1995).

xii Einstein – a life, Denis Brian, pub. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1996. p60-61.

xiii Buckminster Fuller quoted in The New York Magazine Environmental Teach-In by Elizabeth Barlow, p30, New York Magazine 30th March 1970.

xiv New Beacon School, Skelmersdale, Lancashire – now known as Maharishi School.

xv The meditation technique is TM and the extra studies are called the Science of Creative Intelligence.

xvi pub. Education 133 (4): 495-500, 2013.

xvii pub. Education 131: 556-565, 2011.

xviii pub. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 1:10, 2003.

xix pub. Mind and Brain: The Journal of Psychiatry 2 (1): 73-81, 2011.

xx pub. Intelligence 29: 419-440, 2001.

xxi pub. American Jourmal of Hypertension 22 (12): 1326-1331, 2009.

xxii pub. Permanente Journal 18 (1): 19-23, 2014.

xxiii Health and Science, morning edition 11th November 2005: The Links Between the Dalai Lama and Neuroscience by Jan Hamilton.

xxiv The Society for Neuroscience, press release 13th November 2005 and New Scientist Magazine, Conference Report: Neuroscience by Helen Phillips, 26th November 2005. Also see p146 of The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion, by Paul Ellson.

xxv International peace project in the Middle East: The effect of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field, D W Orme-Johnson et al. Journal of Conflict Resolution 32: 776-812, 1988 (This and a large number of researches are found on


xxvii For example, the highly lucrative contracts handed out to large corporations in the 2nd Gulf War.

xxviii CIA – The World Factbook. Population (June 2009 est.); Total fertility rate (2009 est.); GDP per capita (2009).

xxix Population projection variants and contribution of demographic components to future population growth, the world, 2010-2100. From Demographic Components of Future Population Growth, Kirill Andreev, Vladimíra Kantorová and John Bongaarts. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Technical Paper 2013/3.

xxx PBL. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency 2009.

xxxi The statistics involved in here are detailed in Tristram Stuart, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal by Tristram Stuart pub.Penguin, 2009.

xxxii This is the figure issued by David Pimental, Ph.D., Professor of Ecology and Agricultural Science, Cornell University, New York, USA.

xxxiii Tristram Stuart ibid.

xxxiv “Grade A Choice? Solutions for Deforestation-Free Meat. A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), June 30 2012.

xxxv Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Tristram Stuart ibid.

xxxvi The Oxford Vegetarian Study. P N Appleby, M Thorogood, J I Mann, T J Key, 1999.

xxxvii> T Colin Campbell; Junshi, Chen; Junyao, Li et al., eds. (1990). Diet, lifestyle and mortality in China: a study of the characteristics of 65 Chinese counties. Oxford University Press.

xxxviii The China Study, T Colin Campbell Ph.D., Thomas M Campbell II, M.D., BenBella Books 2005.

xxxix Source: Meatonomics: The bizarre economics of meat and dairy by David Robinson Simon. Conan Press, 2003.

* My apologies to readers for the unwieldy roman numerals on the references. When this document transferred from Word, the numerals appeared and refused to go away!