Mar 08, 2010

SHARISM is a Mind Revolution: The more you give, the more you get. The more you share, the more you are shared. Sharism is a belief system for our Internet Age. It is a philosophy piped through the human and technological networks of Free and Open Source software. It is the motivation behind every piece of User-Generated Content. It is the pledge of Creative Commons, to share, remix and give credit to the latest and greatest of our cultural creations. Sharism is also a mental practice that anyone can try, a daily act that beckons a future of increased social intelligence. It should not go unnoticed that a superabundance of community respect and social capital are being accumulated by precisely those who share.


Sharism is operative in the very workings of the human mind. Our model of the functional mechanism of the nervous system shows it to be one which shares activity and information via interconnected networks of neurons through patterns of feedback. This has profound implications for the creative process. Whenever you have an intention to create, you will find it easier to generate more creative ideas if you keep the sharing process firmly in mind. You can engineer a process of creative feedback to generate even more ideas in return.

The rapid emergence of social applications that can communicate and cooperate are allowing more and more people to output content from one service to another in a creative ecosystem. This interconnectedness spreads memes through multiple online social networks, which can reach a global audience and position social media as a true alternative to broadcast media. These new technologies are reviving Sharism in our closed culture. The missing pieces are open source hardware and software services that enable true freedom from top to botton in the entire communication stack.

One legal concern is that any loss of control over copyright will lead to noticeable deficits in personal wealth, or loss of creative freedom. But today’s sharing environment is more protected than you might think. Many new social applications make it easy to set terms-of-use along your sharing path (such as selecting Creative Commons licenses or privacy settings). Any infringement of those terms will be challenged not just by the law, but by your community. Your audience, who benefit form your sharing, can also be the gatekeepers of your rights.

Through emergent mobile communications technologies, we can generate higher connectivities and increase the throughput of our social links. The more open and strongly connected we are, the better the sharing environment will be for everyone involved. The more collective our intelligence, the wiser our actions will be.

Sharism promises to be the politics of the next global superpower. It will not be a country, but a new human network joined by social software. We can integrate our current and emerging democratic systems with new collaborative technologies, which will allow us to query, share and remix information for the public benefit. The future of democracy is real-time, and always online.

Sharism is the inspiration that brings it all together.

Isaac Mao’s essay on Sharism: