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Network States

Most of the friends had in our first few years are children of parents' friends or whomever happens to live on the block. As we grow up to attend schools and land jobs, our friend group expends and contracts, but geography still mandates these changes unless we actively fight to keep up with those with whom we've lost touch.

For most of our lives, our friends are strictly situational. High school reunions exist so that the growing geographic differences between classmates don't strengthen the feeling that we barely had anything in common to begin with. Most of our lives, we're surrounded by people who happen to be near us, and this is historically more and more true the further back in time we go. We're provided the illusion of choice, but in reality, we're just choosing those we like the most for now.

The following is a conversation with host Humpty Calderon and several web3 builders on the Ontology Spaces.

Enter technological advancements like agriculture & irrigation, horseback riding or the wheel, and you'll see the ability of each place to house more people and for those people to explore further. Then movement devices like boats, cars, airplanes and rails coupled with electronics like the telegraph, telephone, television and smartphone really proved the point. We can be anywhere we want at any time, and in a lot of cases, we don't even need to physically be somewhere to communicate as if we are. Wild times, for sure. Ironically, though, in a strange way we've become even more isolated than we previously were. The type of media we interact with can become an echo chamber full of repetitive ideas that stifle the growth of a person who previously would've been forced to interact often with unchosen pals. Where do we go from here?

We can call to the concept of a Network State, which is defined roughly as a highly aligned online community with a capacity for collective action that crowdfunds territory around the world and eventually gains diplomatic recognition from pre-existing states. With the dawn of the internet, we gained the ability to choose our friends-- rather, to much more swiftly find those with whom we align more dramatically. Assigning an ethical value such as good, bad, better or worse to this newfound ability seems futile, so speaking of impacts seems a bit more productive.

Finding 'our people' whether near or far and organizing into physical, potentially non-contiguous geographies with separate rule and economics from pre-existing states may just be the next step in the constantly changing environments we create for ourselves as such a capable and hungry species. Yes, it can further our echo-chambers, but it can also break down traditional government structures making room for not just improvement but accelerated progress in the discovery and development of new models.

As usual, there will likely be a bell-curve of varying degrees of support and distaste for this new type of organization. Few will hate, though they will do so loudly. Few will vehemently support, and they will also be loud about it. Somewhere in the middle we'll find most people ignoring the concept until it's proven with large minorities pushing against and pushing for the idea.

One can't help but wonder how maps of the world and its human-organized states might look in the coming century, or if a geographic representation of these states will even provide much relevant information at all. This very well may be the end of geography as we know it, and the beginning of a focus on a very unfamiliar set of values.

As usual: onward and upward, and into the future.

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