Difference between revisions of "Introduction to the P2P Foundation Wiki Material about Relational Topics"

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This section monitors the shift from individualism to relationality as the central factor of social life.


What kind of human relationships arise in a peer to peer context? What are their dynamics?

This section examines topics related to p2p-oriented views of relations, which are, and true to the p2p tradition, inventive and exploratory.

Only the 4 first columns of the P2P Encyclopedia concepts have been ported at this stage.

  1. For more context, here's already an Introduction on Individuality, Relationality, and Collectivity, by Michel Bauwens. Comments by Adrian Chan and Nathan Lovejoy
  2. Evan Thompson on the Primacy of Intersubjectivity and Christophe Aguiton and Dominique Cardon on why Contemporary Individualization is Relational. Chris Lucas on Integral Intersubjectivity: "I" and "It" perspectives need to be complemented by "We" perspectives. Margaret Archer on Why Morphogenesis Implies Peer to Peer Socialization

See also:

  1. New aspects of the digital self, by Grant McCracken et al: Cloudiness, Exhaust Data, Phatic Communication, Ambient Intimacy
  2. Dave Pollard: The Three Constitutive Communities of the Self [1]
  3. Manuel De Landa: Hierarchies and Meshworks are always mixed
  4. Terry Anderson: Distinguishing groups, networks, and collectives
  5. Rosemary Bechler on the Difference between Individualism and Selfish Individualism
  6. Compare the New Relational Paradigm to the older one.
  7. Tim Berners-Lee: Why Sharing may require some loss of control
  8. The typology of Collaborative Community
  9. Christopher Allen: The numbers that matter for governing communities: Personal Circle; Group Tresholds and Power Laws
  10. Evolving from Egocentric Competition via Sociocentric Collaboration to Worldcentric and Kosmocentric Collaboration

Key Essay

Essay: Paul S. Adler and Charles Heckscher. Towards Collaborative Community [2]

This is an absolutely remarkable essay that charts the history of community within the capitalist form, from the earliest community oriented paternalism (the 'Gemeinshaft' model described by Tonnies), to the bureaucratic ('Gesellshaft') model described by Weber and Durkheim, culminating in the emergence of collaborative community, existing in tension and contradiction within the hierarchical and market environment of for-profit companies.

Short Citations

So Hum, Sanskrit dictum, which can be translated as "You are, therefore I am". [3]

We participate, therefore we are [4]

The world exists only to the extent to which you participate in it.” - Roy Ascott [5]

In the past cooperation was a kind of dream, an ideal. Today its a requirement for survival.

- Nicholas Roberts [6]

our differences are our strength

- Andrew Lord

We have moved from communities of neccessity, to elective communities.

- Alan Moore [7]

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.

- Hindu Proverb

The less you share, the less power you have. And the more you share, the more possible it is for you to get social support.

- Isaac Mao [8]

Long Citations

The Three Types of Relationships

Synergic Science pioneer Edward Haskell:

•relationships can be adversary where either I lose or you lose or we both lose,

•relationships can be neutral where we don't lose, but neither do we win,

•or, relationships can be synergic — good for both of us — WIN-WIN.

We can be more working together than we can be working separately. And, much more working together than we can be working against each other. This is just common sense.

  • Human synergy is working together by explicit intent. (1+1)>>2
  • Human neutrality is working separately and ignoring each other. (1+1)=2
  • Human adversity is working against each other.(1+1)<2


The Constellation Method of Social Change

In spite of current ads and slogans, the world doesn't change one person at a time. It changes as networks of relationships form among people who discover they share a common cause and vision of what's possible.

- Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Freize [10]

Transcending the individual human mind through collaboration

"The power of the unaided, individual mind is highly overrated: the Renaissance scholar no longer exists. Although creative individuals are often thought of as working in isolation, the role of interaction and collaboration with other individuals is critical. Creative activity grows out of the relationship between an individual and the world of his or her work, and from the ties between an individual and other human beings. The predominant activity in designing complex systems is that participants teach and instruct each other. Because complex problems require more knowledge than any single person possesses, it is necessary that all involved stakeholders participate, communicate, and collaborate with each other."

- Transcending the individual human mind [11]

The Strength of Weak Ties

"the organisation of exchanges doesn't require the strong involvement of the whole community, but a cluster of very active participants can lead the community in producing a lot of external effects. In massive communities, the diversity of involvements and goals of users can easily be overcome: collective activities result from the opportunities created by personal publication."

- Christophe Aguiton and Dominique Cardon

Towards a science of relationships

"It is impossible to deny that science has made great progress by taking things apart. However, what is left out of this approach is the problem of understanding relationships between the parts.

Indeed, the importance of this understanding should be self-apparent. If all systems around us were made of the same elementary particles, and their relationships were irrelevant, then all systems would be identical. Obviously, this is not the case. Our quest to understand the parts becomes so detailed that we forget what we were trying to understand at the start. Moreover the strategy of looking at parts may blind us to the way properties of a system arise from the relationships between the components. This reflects itself in what we think about in general. More specifically, it affects how we approach problem solving when we try to solve problems in society. Indeed one of the main difficulties in solving problems is that we think the problem resides in the parts themselves, when, in actuality, it is to be found in the interactions between the parts. As a result, many crucial questions can only be addressed by thinking carefully about connections in a system as a whole."

- Yaneer Bar-Yam [12]

The New Relationality

"What is emerging in the work of sociologists is a framework that sees the networked society or the networked individual as entailing an abundance of social connections and more effectively deployed attention. The concern with the decline of community conceives of a scarcity of forms of stable, nurturing, embedding relations, which are mostly fixed over the life of an individual and depend on long-standing and interdependent relations in stable groups, often with hierarchical relations. What we now see emerging is a diversity of forms of attachment and an abundance of connections that enable individuals to attain discrete components of the package of desiderata that ?community? has come to stand for in sociology."

- Yochai Benkler [13]

Alone = All in One

"The English word “alone” comes from “all one” and if you understand the significance of this, there will be no “dissociety.” You are connected to others only to the degree to which you are connected to yourself. Therefore, “dissociety” indicates not only the dissociation from others but also the dissociation from oneself and thus the inability to be oneself.”

- Yasuhiko Genku Kimura [14]

The metaphysics of co-evolution

"The positive value of interactive relations is expressed and measured not in “oppositional” or “hierarchical,” but in “cooperative” terms. It is expressed and measured not through zero-sum hierarchies and power-relations, such as losing and winning, controlling and being controlled, manipulating or being manipulated, etc. The positive value of interactions is shown in terms of proper functioning and fitting, balance and harmony, authenticity and growth."

- Predrag Cicovacki [15]

An Adaptable Self, always in relation to the world

"The reference to “northward arm” and “southward arm” is typically Wintu, and its usage suggests a cultural wisdom so deep and unconscious that it was embedded in the very structure of language. In English we refer to the right arm and left arm, and we might describe a certain mountain as being to our right or left, in front or in back of us depending on which way we are facing at the moment. We use the body — the self — as the point of reference against which we describe the world. The Wintu would never do this, and indeed the Wintu language would not permit it. If a certain mountain was to the north, say, the arm nearest that mountain would be called the northward arm. If the Wintu turned around, the arm that had previously been referred to as the northward arm would now be called the southward arm. In other words, the features of the world remained the constant reference, the sense of self was what changed — a self that continually accommodated and adjusted to a world in which the individual was not the center of all creation."

- From the Book: The Way We Lived: California Indian Stories, Songs and Reminiscences. [16]

Rank Thinking vs. Peer Thinking

’I define rank thinking as the belief that only a few in any organization should be given special privilege to monopolize information, control decision-making, and command obedience from the vast majority either through coercive or manipulative power. Peer thinking, on the other hand, is the belief that everyone in the organization should have equal standing to share in information, participate in the decision-making process, and choose to follow through persuasive means. Peer thinking assumes that we each have equal privilege to speak and an obligation to listen.”’ Peer-based organizations create a space–an arena–where we come to recognize and respect one another as equal participants in organizational life.”

- From the book, “The Myth of Leadership” by Jeffrey S. Nielsen. Davis-Black Publishing, 2004

What are the most productive incentives to promote cooperation?

In a society where most people cooperate, then it will be costly to reward them all, while a society in which most people defect would pay a high price for trying to punish them all. So the obvious way to transform an uncooperative population into a cooperative one would be to first provide positive incentives, and later punish the few remaining individuals who refuse to be swayed.

- Christian Hilbe and Karl Sigmund [17]

Key Resources

  1. Citations on human intercourse with nature, and with the Other(s), including subtle beings, etc... By Anthony Judge. 2007
  2. Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse, 2007, by Anthony Judge
  3. Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, 1997
  4. NetWiki: network analysis concepts

Key (theory) Approaches

  1. Relational Model Typology - Fiske
  2. Social Exchange Theory
  3. Object-oriented Sociality

Key Articles

  1. To read absolutely: The Historical Progression of Complexity, Networks and Hierarchy
  2. Critique of the reductionism of sociality inherent in network theory, by Ulises Mejias.
  3. A Meditation on Participation. By John Hopkins.
  4. Jodi Dean on How Technoculture produces Subjects
  5. Dave Pollard on Why our (identities in) networks are so fragile?
  6. Transcending the Individual Human Mind through Collaborative Design. Ernesto Arias et al.
  7. The History of Community as a Concept Arun Agrawal.
  8. Robert Ellickson: Unpacking the Household: Informal Property Rights Around the Hearth: examines the relational logic within the Household as Commons.
  9. The End of Solitude. Essay from WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ in the Chronicle Review
  10. Kevin Marks: The Three Main Social Aspects of the Web
  11. The Revival of Peering with Nature. By James William Gibson
  12. David Loy: On the Relationship between Individual and Collective Awakening
  13. Tom Atlee: Strategic Synergy between Individual and Collective
  14. Paul Hartzog: Oneness, Nihilism, and the Multitude
  15. Gary Olson: The Political Importance of Mirror Neurons
  16. Ronald Logan: How Nature Avoids Competition and Chooses Cooperation (updating Darwin's and Kropotkin's view on evolution at the hand of the latest science and the commentary of Stephen Jay Gould)
  17. Ronald Logan: Coordinated Cooperation vs Subordinated Cooperation (presents the ideas of Sarkar)
  18. Denis Postle: Psychological Commons, Peer to Peer Networks and Post-Professional Psychopractice


  1. The Happiness - Unhappiness Continuum

Key Blogs

  1. Swarming Media is an excellent blog investigating the evolution of identity in networked media, at http://www.swarmingmedia.com/
  2. the Ideant blog by Ulises A. Mejias monitors the issue of proximity in Networked Sociality, at http://ideant.typepad.com/ .
  3. Network Weaving, about measuring online relationships, at http://www.networkweaving.com/blog/

Key Books

The classics:

  1. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. Watts, Duncan. Norton Press, 2003 [18]


  1. Technically Together: Rethinking Community within Techno-Society. By Michele A. Willson.
  2. Connecting: How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age
  3. The Hyperlinked Society: Questioning Connections in the Digital Age. Joseph Turow and Lokman Tsui, Editors. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press and University of Michigan Library, 2008.

The Science:

  1. Mirroring People: The Science of How We Connect to Others. Marco Iacoboni. [19]
  2. Why Humans Cooperate: A Cultural and Evolutionary Explanation by Natalie Henrich and Joseph Henrich (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  3. The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness, coedited by Dacher Keltner, Jason Marsh, and Jeremy Adam Smith (January, WW Norton), 2009
  4. Why We Cooperate, by Michael Tomasello (Boston Review Books), 2009 [20]
  5. The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society, by Frans de Waal (Harmony Books), 2009
  6. Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson, Unto Others, Harvard University Press, 1998: For group selection giving rise to cooperation

The Politics:

  1. Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness. In A World In Crisis. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2009

The Spirituality:

  1. You are Therefore I am: A Declaration of Dependence. Satish Kumar. Green Books, 2002


  1. This Is Me: = workbook to help students discover and construct their Digital Identity

Key Webcasts

  1. Digital Dossier - Individuals must become more aware of the digital footprints they leave behind. This fictional story of Andy demonstrates the importance of understanding one’s digital identity.
  2. Identity 2.0 - Dick Hardt’s excellent Keynote at OSCON 2005 is a brilliant introduction to the concept of digital identity, and what this may mean in the future.