Scene 1 - The Battle Over Natural Resources
All alien movies get it wrong; an advanced civilisation won't enslave us over natural resources. If they’re advanced enough to travel 7 galaxies, wouldn’t they have gathered enough knowledge to simply harvest a neutron star instead?
Earthlings used to be as barbaric as the movies we make by colonising, murdering, and enslaving regions for gold, oil, and other resources.
It’s great to see that Earth is growing up and is becoming more civilised; we're fighting less over natural resources today, and we now have a more hospitable place to live in.
However, the war simply shifted from one scene to another.
Scene 2 - The Battle Over Ideas
Every week we see a patent war playing out between organisations. Apple and Samsung only recently settled their decade-long battle over patent infringement, which included, among other things, double-tap to zoom, scrolling and the iPhone’s shape.
The story of fighting over ideas, especially when they are so petty, is becoming a little boring and deserves a rotten tomato. This is old thinking.
Back in the previous century, Microsoft decided not to patent their ideas in China because, as Bill Gates said, “[If] they’re going to steal it, we want them to steal ours… They get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.” And so they did; China now accounts for 10% of Microsoft’s revenue.
Sure, they weren't very altruistic about it, but it was a worthwhile gesture to start telling a different story.
In 2014, Tesla released their patents to the open domain in the spirit of advancing electric vehicle technology and addressing the carbon crisis. Even if Tesla loses market share (and they do in some regards), there’s a bigger game plan at play here: the progression of humanity through cooperation.
And so the narrative is changing.
Scene 3 - The Age of the Communal Genius
[Flashback: an advanced civilisation won't enslave us.]
The only thing an advanced civilisation would be lacking is new ideas and also the only motivation needed to travel across galaxies to freely share and make progress as a whole.
Brian Eno coined this as "scenius": the intelligence and intuition of a whole cultural scene; the communal form of the concept of genius.
The internet is a good case in point. We have heroes like Tim Berners-Lee and Douglas Engelbart, but the World Wide Web was fueled and formed by individuals who came together in the internet scene to build on top of each other’s ideas freely and openly without restrictions or fear of losing market share.
Like Naval Ravikant says, ideas are the new oil; they allow civilisations to gain knowledge and make progress together.
Today, the wealthiest places on Earth are the ones with the best ideas. Similarly, the wealthiest organisations, therefore, aren't the ones with the highest market cap but those with the best ideas.
And, as Eno postulated, the best ideas are not born in isolation, so, really, the wealthiest organisations are those that are part of an infinite landscape of interconnected ideas influencing and enriching each other.
Packy McCormick has a simple takeout: creativity is remixing. The problems we face today - from the climate crisis to existential risk to a broken financial system - all require this level of idea remixing.
All the remixed mutations from web3, DeFi and crypto make for a good action scene playing out at the moment, but as traditional organisations start to catch on with this thinking, we might look back 10 years from now and recognise it as one of the few Cambrian explosions of Earth's existence.
I would prefer to believe that the world is constantly being remade by all its inhabitants: that it is a cooperative enterprise.
It doesn’t matter whether this enterprise is a DAO, an LLC, or a Discord channel; it's cooperative, and it cares less about protecting intellectual property and patents and more about decentralisation, building networks, communities, and open standards.
This is the true sign of an advanced civilisation; this is Org 3.0, the cooperative organisation.