Originally written on February 19th 2020

The abundance of information around us creates a scarcity of attention. Attention is not just the surface layer, but in a sense the whole stack of capacities we use to navigate life.

This scarcity frustrates our need for personal transformation, and is central to the meta-crisis of our time.

What does it mean to live in a world of attention scarcity?

I suggest that we need to change how we look at information and choose carefully what we give our attention to.

We evolved in environments where information was scarce

Imagine standing on a wide, open field. It’s a sunny, calm day.

You hear birds chirping. You smell the fresh air of a nearby forest. Every now and then, you mumble something to your fellow humans, but you mostly keep quiet. You’re all paying attention to small signals in your environment. What’s that movement in the grass? Is it a snake or the wind? …


Recently, Victor Piper asked me what criteria I’d choose and what questions I’d ask for high sovereignty individuals to self-select into a community.

Good question. Stumbling on my reply while cleaning up my email made me think it’s worth sharing.

Let’s take a step back and ask: What are the dimensions of sovereignty?

What are the markers that point to someone having the instantiated capacity for being a conscious and effective agent for change?

  • Trained and training in mindfulness.
  • Actively developing themselves.
  • A high degree of intentionality and behavioral integrity.
  • A high degree of mental complexity (MHC 13 and upwards, see here, an integral part of Hanzi Freinacht’s model of developmental psych as introduced in The Listening Society. Relates to one’s capacity to develop and accurately ‘run’ modern (requires 11), postmodern (requires 12), and metamodern (requires 13) cultural code.) This alone reduces the pool of people we’re looking at to 2% of the population.


The meta-problem of our time is that our civilization is fundamentally unsustainable.

The key generator function of existential risk is rivalrous human choice driven by game theoretic dynamics, multiplied by exponential technology, on a finite playing field.

The transition towards a viable civilization can be usefully understood in terms of advancing human sovereignty: Increasing the human capacity to make good (omni-positive) choices.

So that we might choose from the basis of love, appreciation, and respect — instead of choosing from the basis of fear, need, and rivalry.

This is what it comes down to. This is what it would mean for the human family to act towards one another in a spirit of community. …


Designing Rituals, Spaces and Technology in Ways that Inspire and Enable us to Choose Our Highest Potential

That’s the theme of this new series of posts. Starting this week I’ve been playing around with Shortcuts on iOS 14, exploring ways of creating integrated, smooth and joyful experiences that support my intentions and wellbeing. Crafting rituals — intentionally designed practices and routines that serve one’s values. Morning rituals, deep work rituals, wind down rituals, …

Make no mistake, this latest evolution of Shortcuts is tremendous. The quality with which one’s experience with the iPhone can be crafted is groundbreaking. (Edit: I was just ignorant to what was already possible with iOS 13… anyways.)

My posts here will be somewhat daily writeups and weekly reviews of that experimental design process. I’ll link these essays at potential.design — where you can also sign up for the newsletter and receive somewhat weekly updates. …


A Story About School, Alienation and Addiction

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last written here, and I notice how much I missed it. There’s few other things that get me into the flow like writing, and so I guess my mind has been craving that.

Since I’ve spent this pandemic mostly in my home town, social life has been somewhat different than usual. No hipster coffee shops, no going to yoga together, no time spent in co-working spaces with familiar faces around, no evenings cooking and sharing with friends.

That’s why I’ve met some of the people that I used to hang out with when I was in my teens. With some of them, I spent a recent Saturday afternoon. What follows are reflections on alienation and bourgeoise life, addiction and consumerism, authenticity and games, ignorance and lives well lived. …


Competing to Make Omni-Positive Choices as Obvious, Attractive, Easy, and Satisfying as Possible

Life can be so much more than it is. More beautiful, more just, more conscious. More transcendental, more connected, more at peace.

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Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash

And you know it.

We all do.

We all long for it, in the depths of our hearts.

A fundamental belief driving my work is that human beings can and want to do and be good.

Humans make good and loving choices, when they’re empowered to do so.

Understanding the transition towards a more beautiful and non-self-terminating world in terms of advancing human sovereignty naturally emerges from this belief.

If we can be good, and want to be good, then the bottleneck is our capacity for making good (omni-positive) choices. That’s what sovereignty is about. …


Integrating Two Foundational Models of Human Development

This piece seeks to explore and synthesize some ideas around the notion of Sovereignty (as conceptualized by Daniel Schmachtenberger & Jordan Hall, see my interpretation here) and Effective Value Memes (as introduced by Hanzi Freinacht in The Listening Society). I’ll assume knowledge of both for this document.

Effective value meme seeks to be a holistic model of developmental psychology. It’s suggested to be made up of one’s complexity, code, state, and depth.

I think Hanzi gets a lot of things right with it, and this is the most useful model of developmental psychology I’m aware of.

My major critique, however, is that it isn’t mapped on to Sovereignty, and that it should. …


Transforming Our Projects of Transformation

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Growing, together. Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

I want to be more capable of doing the things that I actually want to do.

I want to do things that are good for me, for others, for the world.

I have intentions and values.

I know that if I live by them, my life is going to be better than if I don’t.

At the end of the day, I will feel better when I have acted in integrity with my intentions. At the end of my life, I would regret not having lived up to my potential.

It is about bridging the gap between what my instant gratification monkey wants, and what the rational decision-maker in me wants. …


And the Central Meme of Life and Evolution

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Photo by Paul Talbot on Unsplash

As usual the principle behind these essays is to articulate and share ideas. Luckily my work here doesn’t have to be perfect to do this.

The Collective Actualization of Life’s Potential

It’s a meme central to life, to evolution itself: In every organism there’s an innate impulse towards self-actualization, in coherence with other organisms, leading to emergence and higher forms of more elegantly ordered complexity and consciousness.

“Every life form seems to strive to its maximum except human beings. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it possibly can. Human beings, on the other hand, have been given the dignity of choice. You can choose to be all or you can choose to be less.” …


Ignorance, Existential Confusion, Fiduciary Responsibility, Coherent Extrapolated Volition

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A Strange Attractor. By Nicolas Desprez, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia

Alright. Let’s get to it. We’ll talk about ethics and values: personal, collective, effective, universal, meta, good, bad. All of them.

The main purpose of this is to get these ideas out and inspire co-creation. Luckily, my work here doesn’t have to perfect to achieve this. It’s a process.

Indeed, it might be even more messy than usual, since I’m bringing multiple trains of thoughts from different positions in time and space together on one railway. Some might crash, some might arrive. Enjoy the ride.

This essay will piss some of you off. I might one day regret posting it, but this is my current philosophical position and it seems plausible. …

About

Welf von Hören

Making sense of exponential media technology and how it might help phase shift human sovereignty.

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