Tuesday, July 7, 2015

why a third option? [1.0] / motivations

These pieces originally sat on option3project.org.  Both written in 2012; quotes and revisions added today.

This first piece provides background on the policy motivations of option3.  These citations are dated - some replaced.  The second piece addresses the original motivation behind option3.  Please visit the mission on option3project.org. 

why a third option?

There's an alternative.  There's always a third way, and it's not a combination of the other two ways.  It's a different way.
          David Carradine

It’s not so much that we need a third option as we need to entertain many new options.  Today Westerners, and to a lesser extent all people, are distinguished by world historic characteristics - foremost including our possession of the atomic bomb, our capacity for global warfare, unprecedented biological diversity losses, and a level of social complexity / instability never before seen.  Despite innovations in philosophy, chemistry, physics, engineering, and medicine, we still face the timeless systemic challenges of depression, scarcity, and violence.

The industrial, philosophical, and medical revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries gave us an opportunity to alter our relationship to these scourges.  And yet, despite profound improvement for some, the prospect of economic and environmental failure for all has perhaps never been greater.  Our decision methodologies have somehow not developed in step with our scientific and political innovations.

Today, 1/6 of humanity has no access to safe freshwater; “imminent extinction” threatens 12% of all birds, 23% of mammals, 1/3 of amphibians, 1/4 of conifer trees, and more than 1/2 of all palm trees; according to ecologist Dr. Anne Larigauderie, “the rate of extinction is now between 100 and 1,000 times higher than the background rate”; 4/5 people on Earth live in a country where income inequality is rising; and every four seconds a child dies of “poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes”; and last, 1.2 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade each year.

These figures coincide with shifts in life on Earth since the industrial era began – not likely with randomness or non-anthropomorphic fluctuations.  This situation suggests we are in a world historic time and calls into question our purpose and livelihood.  (I present these figures knowing full well that many measures of productivity, justice, and human well being have improved over the last 200 years, which creates a contradiction that deserves attention.)



The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.

option3 has a primary and a secondary motivation.   One, despite authentic and well-intentioned leaders and advocates, the modern American political system and policy environment exhibits profound deceitfulness, close-mindedness, and corruption. 

Many on each side of the Left-Right paradigm exhibit an unwillingness or incapacity to acknowledge the legitimacy and intelligence of the other side.  The default objectives among many political actors is not policy but power, stature, and money.  option3 looks beyond the divisions in hopes to elevate awareness and stimulate dialogue regarding meaningful American policy questions.

Two, mistreatment and neglect of fellow humans and other sentient beings have perhaps always been a part of life.  But today, despite rising levels of wealth and technical knowhow, we have an unnecessary amount of this mistreatment and neglect.  option3 acknowledges this mistreatment and neglect as a significant question and aim to rise above it.