The Open Source Truth Process
Following The Way of Yo, our core doctrines and beliefs, including The Book of Yo, are created and refined through the Open Source Truth Process.
This process is an emerging social technology that was developed by Yoans working with students and faculty at The Center for Public Leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
The project aims to create a new way for a group to explore and articulate the nature of reality and a common vision for our world. The goal is to include the broadest range of human experience, while minimizing the degree to which the articulation of truth falls victim to factionalization and power struggles (politics).
You may need to install or update Adobe Flash Player to listen to this audio file.
Placing the development of the Truth Process—a new technology for deriving our collective "meaning," values, and beliefs—at the heart of a community of action is a necessary and unique safeguard against the dogmatic pitfalls that plague communities built on shared beliefs.
Chimpanzee Politics: Authority vs Leadership
This is a major issue that we must struggle with as a community: How do we prevent power factions from forming, competing, and then perverting our original mission/vision? We call this the problem of “chimpanzee politics,” following Riley Sinder (a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Leadership). The idea is that human history is characterized by rampant, political power struggles. There appears to be a universal tendency among human males to form aggressive, power seeking coalitions. Furthermore, this tendency to engage in "Chimpanzee Politics" (click the link to see real chimps demonstrating their "politics") may be an innate evolutionary carryover that, in rudimentary form, goes all the way back to before the human line separated from the other great apes.
Regardless of the roots of such tendencies, true "leadership," in this analysis, is comprised of actions taken by individuals that further the group’s genuine aims. For an example of leadership, consider Rosa Parks, the black woman who, at the right moment and time in history, refused to move to the back of the bus and helped spark a major struggle that advanced civil rights in the US. The civil rights movement itself took its form under the true leadership of Saint Martin. Despite whatever shortcomings he may (or may not) have had as a man, he bravely led the U.S. through a difficult transition, even when it became clear to him that, like Moses in the Biblical tale, he was unlikely to survive long enough to be able "to enter the promised land."
Two examples of leadership:
Martin Luther King & John F. Kennedy
"[E]very past generation has had to disenthrall itself from an inheritance of truisms and stereotypes . . . For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic . . . [S]o in our own time we must move on from the reassuring repetition of stale phrases to a new, difficult, but essential confrontation with reality." (John F. Kennedy, Yale University Commencement Address, June 11, 1962)
"Authority," in contrast, is typically the result of a successful struggle for power, in which a small faction ends up exercising control over the group, its resources, decisions, and actions. The controlling power coalition then exercises power in the pursuit of its own agenda, often to the detriment of the larger group, e.g., the Religious Right’s rise to power in the US.
Compare the tone and ideals presented by a leader like John F. Kennedy (in the video above) with the values and ideals of the Bush Administration, an authoritarian coalition that was put in power by the highly organized support of the fundamentalist, religious right. Especially consider the profound disrespect for reality—a complete failure to exercise even a semblance of empirical responsibility—demonstrated by such authoritarian coalitions.
Rather than lead the group forward, the authority acquired by the Bush Administration's successful right wing, religious coalition was used to undermine vital constitutional safeguards of democracy. In addition to eroding the hard one freedoms for which America had stood, the control exercised by the Bush Authority did extensive damage—global political, military, environmental, and economic damage—to the larger group (including most of those who voted for Bush) within the U.S., not to mention the damage outside of America. In contrast to what we would call genuine "leadership," the U.S. was controlled by an authoritarian coalition, whose interests, goals, and values were not in line with with the true interests and best aspirations of the larger group.
Authority may be used to lead a group forward in pursuit of its genuine interests, needs, and aspirations, i.e., to exercise leadership. But since successful power struggles are based on effective coalition forming that often has little if anything to do with the larger group’s genuine interests and goals—e.g., consider the history of religions in general, or the rise to power of Nazism or Soviet Communism—there is no reason to assume that leadership will coincide with authority.
Indeed, all other things being equal, the coalition that places its rise to power above all else (including the interests of the group) is likely to be more successful in the competition with other coalitions. Therefore, there is good reason to expect that authority and leadership will diverge. This is a central problem for Yoism (as well as for all humanity and for any attempt at creating a functioning, sane democracy). We see our current solutions/safeguards as a work-in-progress. Further contributions to this solution are needed. We hope you will join in the effort to forge an effective, lasting solution.
The Open Source Truth Process aims to ensure that the Yoan Community's core writings and beliefs will evolve over time, as everyone—based on each person's own direct experience of Reality—is invited to provide input and improvements. Through this process, participants will gradually uncover, refine, and document the Truth.
By "Truth" we simply mean the clearest expression of a system of ideas and beliefs that is most consistent with Reality as it is directly experienced. Ours is a truth that you can test and experience directly, with your own senses and mind. Our truth is not based on narrow human authority (dogma, received wisdom, and "imposed truths"). Rather, it is based on the broad authority of the collective, human experience of being-in-the-world, i.e., the human experience of reality.
"Belief in the supernatural as a necessary power for apprehension of the ideal and for practical attachment to it has for its counterpart a pessimistic belief in the corruption and impotency of natural means. That is axiomatic in Christian dogma. But this apparent pessimism has a way of suddenly changing into an exaggerated optimism. For according to the terms of the doctrine, if the faith in the supernatural is of the required order, regeneration at once takes place. Goodness, in all essentials, is thereby established ... Belief in a sudden and complete transmutation through conversion and in the objective efficacy of prayer, is too easy a way out of difficulties. ... The position of natural intelligence is that there exists a mixture of good and evil, and that reconstruction in the direction of the good which is indicated by ideal ends, must take place, if at all, through continued cooperative effort." (John Dewey, "A Common Faith" lectures at Yale University, 1933-34)
For Yoans, the most profoundly meaningful experiences are found in our involvement in community, our engagement with one another, our struggle to find ways to act cooperatively without denying our conflicts, and our commitment to our shared, emerging vision for the future of humanity. We commit ourselves to this collaborative effort for ourselves, our families, our species, and our planet. Thus the Yoan Truth Process—a process thoroughly embedded in deep human engagement designed to produce our most accurate view of ourselves and our world—is sacred.
Our Truth Process depends on the increasing involvement of many people with diverse life experiences. Only through such diversity will our truths always be improving. If you would like to get involved, if you have a suggestion about how to improve our articulation of the Truth, or if you see something on these web pages that doesn't jibe with your experience, please register and add a comment or use the link in the box at the bottom to send us a message.
Find out more about how to get involved and participate in creating
The World's First Open Source Religion.