Key Shared Insights & Perspectives
What is Veganism?
We started our conversation by busting the myths about veganism. A quick Google search will list some urban legends:
Vegan diets are not healthy or not suitable for children
You’ll need supplements if you go vegan
Veganism is an eating disorder or it’s for hippies
What are we not seeing?
It was quite remarkable to capture what Jean-François saw that many don’t. For him being a vegan isn’t just about diet, it’s a way to respect all living beings.
Becoming a vegan, he said, is “a way to expand our own consciousness into embracing other living beings.” He made clear to us that being vegan is a choice to have a mutual relationship with animals with equal consideration.
What is a Compassionate Economy?
We continued our exploration like the little prince in the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when Virginie asked: “Paint us a picture. Make us imagine. What would a vegan holochain economy look like?”
For Jean-François, a compassionate economy is an evolved economy with a higher degree of consciousness. He explains:
“We evolve when our compassion expands and compassion is when we embrace something different than ourselves.”
Holochain is a technology designed for emergence as opposed to controlling the outcome. It is similar to permaculture, which looks at the existing forces in nature to benefit the whole.
When choosing Holochain as the supportive technology, we need to ask ourselves how we can support the emergence of a vegan culture.
In other words, how do we provide incentives for people to behave in ways that contribute to a more compassionate world?
In a vegan economy, the forms of wealth, goods and services, experiences and relationships operate with compassion. The opposite seems true in our current world. We are incentivized to ignore the negative externalities caused by our actions, such as lowering the cost of goods which results in low wages, or the pollution from the fuels we choose to use.
Listen to our first full 30 minutes conversation here.
What is Holochain Technology?
We continued our second discussion by exploring the technology side of this infrastructure.
Holochain is a framework to build distributed and peer-to-peer applications. Today, banks, AirBnB, Facebook, and nations are using a central server architecture where they are the main authority, owning the data and deciding on the rules.
Holochain is one possible answer to being in relationships with others, without any central authority, while maintaining the integrity of our identity, the rules of the game, and the data. In a way, Holochain is like in the Minecraft video game, where we can create a vegan world.
Jean-François cautions that Holochain is a paradigm shift because it requires us to adopt a global worldview and think differently about transactions, relationships and wealth. We need to change our mindset in order to understand the design of a distributed application and business.
Starting a Vegan Economy on Holochain
In a vegan Holochain economy, the first rule would come from a feature called “Composability” which means people are free to compose the rules of the game they want to play together, instead of being enforced by a small group of people, which is how our current systems work.
This rule by which people are choosing what type of agreements or transactions they want, is what an emerging design is all about.
Going back to our vegan economy scenario, Jean-François and Virginie agree on three rules to begin with:
First, when we think of this vegan economy, we must adopt a broader perspective to include all living beings.
Second, instead of starting with transactions, the design of a vegan economy should start with reputation and relationships.
Third, we need to think of currency as a form of wealth. It’s not just dollars or euros. Currency is a form of wealth that we want to recognize and exchange in our new shared reality. A currency could be a reputation, the measure of clean air, or drinkable water.
How would we identify agents and qualify a product, service, or person in this vegan economy?
Using Holochain technology, we can design any game or hApp (which is the name of Holochain applications) and start with simple rules. Rules can be collectively adjusted over time, if they become unbalanced. The hApp built would be a distributed application, storing the data in a chain owned by each user rather than in a central database.
As an example, we could decide to allow every individual to self-acknowledge their vegan profile with a mutual signature from another peer who has had an experience with the agent. If we go to a vegan hairdresser who identifies his business as being a 100% vegan and we find that during our experience he also uses additional products that are tested on animals, we can decide to qualify him as an 80% vegan business.
This mutual consent becomes a validation designed by the collective group, a way to connect identity with reputation, giving birth to a mutual relationship process. Thus, a holistic identity, composed of a mix of objective facts and subjective facts, is created.
How Functioning as a Membrane is the Freedom to Constraint
With Holochain, emerging and organic rules would provide the freedom to constraint. Our economy would then become an emerging constellation of objects, services, and relationships in a peer-to-peer mode.
As the creators of this vegan hApp, Jean-François and Virginie would keep a sense of sovereignty, due to the fact that the rules are always evolving and not fixed. Others who didn’t agree on the collective’s rules would be free to take the open source code and create their own alternative with some portability and interoperability.
When people are willing to self-sacrifice for the common good and to live according to their own values system, it creates a movement of collaboration with others who share those values. In the example of an AirBnB built on Holochain, users would be able to agree on new rules of reviews and how we engage together.
Wealth & Currency
When we want to build a living system, we need a constellation of various currencies, some showing measurable wealth (clean water, carbon emission…), some showing knowledgeable wealth (trust, appreciation, skill level…), and some for trading wealth (what conventional money does). Today, only fiat money and social status provide individuals the right and freedom to create rules.
Listen to the third conversation here.
Holochain requires a complete mindset in the design of a business. It offers us a chance to rethink the idea that business and relationships are only made from transactions.
We have to stop reducing the economy to exchange, but to see it as a flow of wealth between living agents
To get started, it might be easiest to think local and small and work with evolutionary leaders who consciously take on the role of servants in designing emergence.
As an emerging technology, with the recent launch of Holo, Holochain has entered the product manifestation and prototype stage of development. Holochain satisfies a yearning that is likely to create a snowball effect.
Final Thoughts to Consider
To start a vegan journey, it’s important to investigate our cognitive dissonance to reconcile conflictual beliefs. Cognitive dissonance occurs when we engage (physically or ethically) in unpleasant activities to achieve a goal, when we experience a mis-alignment between our being and our doing.
In a vegan lifestyle, cognitive dissonance comes from accepting to torture an animal for our own pleasure, as in the making of the foie gras, or in killing a baby cow to make a veal dish.
To start a Holochain project or an intentional economy, we need to change our mindset and our view of transactions. Starting small and local will be the first step.
You can follow and interact with Jean-François on his YouTube channel or Twitter and read some of his work and perspective on his website.
To continue this discovery journey, we invite you to register to a Holochain interactive workshop to become the artists of the invisible. Free registration here.