Social theory


Throughout the 21st century the social world has been characterized by the emergence of new antagonisms and problems. These antagonisms and problems are a paradoxical result of higher levels of connectivity and intelligence which force us to consider others who were once outside of our sphere of recognition. Thus, spacetime is no longer a strong barrier to communication and interaction, but emotional resonance with and reciprocity towards others, is.

Towards an understanding of the social we believe that the primary barrier to communication and interaction is the meaning space of trust, emotional resonance and reciprocity. Information in the human world does not flow like information in the physical realm of information processing devices. In order to build stable meaningful relations of trust we believe that one must first be able to relate emotionally to the other, to see the other's beliefs, desires and intentions.

Consequently, we believe that by better understanding the space of emotional resonance and reciprocity we can harness the collective connectivity and intelligence of the modern internet for the betterment of collective consciousness. The world has its nervous system: a global brain integrating all minds into a single medium; but now it is time for its integration: a global heart allowing all minds to see the other as an individuated reflection of one self.

If we are so well connected by the internet, why is our collective impact so low...?
— The paradox that got us started

A social architecture to scale trust

By Gael Van Weyenbergh, Ben Werner

Our basic claim is that - in the age of complexity - human society can be organized on the model of ecosystems.

Abstract: Social technologies have allowed anyone to connect with almost everyone else on the globe, eliminating geographical location as a strong barrier to interaction and cooperation. Yet, trust - or lack thereof - remains an issue. Indeed, trusting others is a fragile experience that is - by necessity - restricted to a limited set of peers. In contrast to the “many-to-many” networks that provide limited tools for users to build trust and confidence among themselves, our “few-to-few” architecture aims to bring those qualitative relationships observed in cohesive social clusters to scale. Inspired by the dynamics of complex adaptive systems, this social architecture would be defined by the subjective and direct experience of trust, emotional resonance, and reciprocity. Such a new set of online relational dynamics is expected to be more conducive to social trust and can provide the first steps toward a social ecosystem that is more responsive to adapt in a dynamic environment where change is the only constant.

Transformative Social Ecosystem Dynamics: A psychological architecture of emotional trust

By Cadell Last, Gael Van Weyenbergh, Ben Werner

We believe that by better understanding the space of emotional resonance and reciprocity we can harness the collective connectivity and intelligence of the modern internet for the betterment of collective consciousness.

Abstract: This paper aims to develop an understanding of a new trust architecture for social system dynamics. Modern social systems have been structured by top-down hierarchies that prevent fluid realization of individuation and lack the ability of navigating the pragmatic dynamics of a complexifying world. Furthermore, there is a seeming impossibility or at least an extreme difficulty in utilizing the logic of complex adaptive systems to aid in restructuring social systems capable of embodying authentic values of individuation and navigating the dynamics of the information age. Thus, here we propose to add to the contemporary literature by supplementing the basic principles of complex adaptive systems with the logic of human emotional drives in order to define an emergent dynamical and robust trust architecture stabilized by resonance and reciprocity. The aim of this model is to start to build out the social architecture for the emerging information age based on a deeper sense of emotional resonance and reciprocity capable of reflecting authentic individuation.


Banner image credit: Dolores park, San Francisco, CA.