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Gary Richmond


You always ask such interesting and, in my opinion, vitally important questions. I'd like to comment on a few in this most recent post of yours: You wrote:

> [AdM] What does it mean to be a member of such a meta-community?

Can one really be a member of a meta-community? Isn't it just an idea, albeit a powerful one? Is it possible that one can only be a member of an actual community or communities, even when they take virtual forms? If so, then meta-community might best be seen as something like an "attitude" or a "tendency" or a philosophy & a way of thinking about things that need be applied to actual and virtual communities in the interest of their evolution.

> [AdM] What role do individuals play? Individual roles or as representatives of their communities of origin?

If for a moment one assumes that one cannot actually be a member of a meta-community, than the proactive individual will assume the attitude that such an idea is vitally important to the success of his own actual (including, virtual) communities. This does not argue against his or her being a representative of this meta-community value. And, indeed, as in the GlobalVote project, one can indeed--and actually--represent this meta-perspective.

> [AdM] Does such a supracommunity have interests of its own, or is it merely an aggregation of the interests of its consituent communities?

Again, the idea of a supracommunity may turn out to be what Kant called a "regulative principle," which C. S. Peirce interpreted to be "an intellectual hope" (see, "A Guess at the Riddle"). I think that one of the principal purposes and uses of such a principle is related to the final question of your post, namely:

> What happens in case of conflicts between the higher and lower-level communities?


Aldo de Moor

Very interesting point, Gary. Yes, I like the idea of being a representative of a value, the higher one gets in the hierarchy of communities. Still, I also think that at the lower levels, there are 'real' communities. An interesting case in point is that within Europe, EU citizens often consider themselves members of their country, outside of Europe, we often think more in terms of being a 'European', especially when being in a similar federation of states like the U.S. Both national and supra-national levels have actually existing public spaces, such as parliaments, courts etc., so in that sense I do think it is possible to be a 'real' American, European, etc. The higher one gets, the less public spaces are available for developing an actual sense of community, and the more the being a 'representative of an idea or value' gains prominence. Food for a lot of future thought...

Piers Young

Aldo, nice post and interesting questions!

Do you think it's possible to grow two "healthy" but ethically opposed communities, or does healthy in this instance just mean democratic (or something like)? Would love to hear your thoughts.


Aldo de Moor


A healthy community in my opinion is one that is self-sustaining, grows in scope, complexity, and effectiveness, does not develop pathologies, etc. The prevailing ideology or ethics by themselves are a different dimension. It is perfectly conceivable to have a healthy community of religious fundamentalists, even though their ethics are diametrically opposed to those of a group of modernist liberals. I do think, however, that some form of democratic governance is essential for any community to become and remain healthy. A dictatorially governed community is a contradiction in terms.

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