The human species is progressing towards a crisis point in personal freedom and development. Western culture is moving towards a monoculture at an increasing and frightening rate. A global government is, for the first time in human history, feasible, possible, and in development. The history of Western expansion has been a history of cultural genocide, intolerance, and memetic suffocation. Entire ways of life have been swallowed, never to be seen again (outside of museums, history books, and music and fashion trends), or trivialised to such an extent that they have become curiosities, kitch travesties, or died of shame.
Technological progress has brought enormous freedoms to the citizens of the developed nations. No longer are we subject to the rigours of seasonal extremes, death from disease is rare, malnutrition is virtually unknown, and a long and peaceful life is the lot of all, barring accidents and crime. Technology has given us mass education, mass transport, mass communication, and mass culture. It has released many of us from the iron grip of stifling and repressive religious beliefs, provided employment for all, and given all of us an incredible body of knowledge on oursleves and the universe we reside in.
It has also enabled governments to bind us in nearly invisible chains, through the insidious collection and analysis of data, the manipulation of our ways of thinking through social rules and laws, and the replacement of timeless myths with prime-time A/V representations of idealised role-models. We live in an age where we are told we are free, where it appears that we are free. And we are; but only within certain proscribed boundaries.
Homo Sapiens Sapiens is a tribal animal. The history of humanity is the history of the tribe, or, later, the history of tribal units joining to form cultures. City-states are a relatively new phenomenon, Humanitus Urbs a Johnny-Come-Lately to the human sphere, being less than 8,000 years old, and yet the history of homo sapiens is at least 150,000 years long.
For most of our existance, we have been a tribal species.
Most of the world's population live in a tribal or village social structure.
And yet, now, in the last decade of the second millenium of the christian era, nearly three thousand years after the foundation of Rome, five thousand years since catal huyuk, after eight millenia of tribal living, we in the industrialised nations find ourselves divided and conquered. We are parcelled up into faceless suburbs, full of faceless people, living in faceless houses. We work at a place far removed geographically from our homes, which are often hours away from our immediate family, and nowhere near our friends; we are lonely, and bewildered, we seek solace in the virtual extended communities of the television soap opera, finding a sense of belonging in the mindless roaring of the sports crowd, in the empty jabber of patriotic fervour and ideological trendiness, seeking companions and like-minded fellows through advertisements, bars, clubs, and religions both mainstream and weird.
We sell out, stress up, turn in, get a job, get married, and, like lemmings, blindly strain and strive towards a goal which we will have forgotten by 35, and, when you think about it, was pretty meaningless to start with. We sit, in our tiny homes on our tiny bloacks, watching a tiny slice of the world through a tiny window, feeling lost, feeling insignificant and small, with miniscule horizons, and a miniscule effect on the world, unknown outside of our paltry circle of friends and relations, and a fractionally larger circle of aqcuaintances.
Recognising this subdivision of the human spirit, and knowing that the way to revivify those that desire change is through the creation of COMMUNITY, the NEXUS project aims to meld modern communications technology with current social theory to recreate a part of our ancestry which has been trambled under the hooves of the herd instinct which grips modern humanity: the sense of belonging which binds a tribal group.
We aim to use the global communications network to seek out and join kindred spirits who may otherwise never meet, to create a vast meme-pool of unparalleled diversity and richness, creating a global community, united by diversity, celebrating difference, and supporting and nurturing common goals. We aim to develop technological solutions to the isolation created by the artificially-distancing landscape of the suburbs, and to enable artists, writers, creative- and free-thinkers, and those with the urge to expand their spiritual and intellectual horizons to make contact and communicate with fellow travellers and kindred spirits across the globe, uniting in a global network of linked households, each individual group part of a NEXUS, all wired to the internet, cross-fertilising the idea farms which are other Nexi, and in turn being stimulated and challenged by other Nexi, making up a global InterNEX, or NEXUS network.
The Internet, and the related communications technologies (the amateur BBS networks such as FIDO, PODS, PARAnet, etc; Prestel and Minitel in France, etc, the radio ham network, USENET, and similar constructs) are reaching a level of saturation such that it is time to begin looking at what can be comfortably termed 'cyberspace' as more than a useful medium to conduct business by proxy, or to occasionally engage in brief, limited and terse conversations of a frivolous nature. Many people continue friendships via the medium of the telephone, making contact in the first person occasionally, many families stay in touch through occasional inter- and transnational letters and phone calls. The networks have reached a depth such that it is now possible to form subcultures who are linked by computers and high-speed data networks, transmitting intercourse encoded as text, as still and moving pictures, sound files and, possibly soon, full audio/video transmissions, and meeting occasionally at a frequency to be decided by geographical proximity in the first person, and unceasingly virtually.
To be part of a truly global village, existing nowhere geographically, but composed of a wide spectrum of individuals, differing in geography, religion, sex and culture; orbiting the same family of attractors, reaffirming the uniqueness of human achievement, talking, communicating, creating, growing and sharing, expanding from a tribe to a clan to a culture to a nation over time, stimulating each others meme-systems, inventing an entirely new and unknown tribal society.
The NEXUS network will, by creating a new way of life, give back to the world something which has repeatedly been brutally taken from it by the belief system of which we are amongst the most favoured, a community. Many races, religions, ways of thought, and cultures have been extinguished in the past, usually to disappear without a trace. The NEXUS system will, over time, bind participants into a community, providing us with an extended group of friends, family and acquaintances, making us feel truly At Home, welcomed and befriended by individuals across the globe.
The NEXUS network will, by encouraging and supporting the devlopment of new Nexi, help to provide international telecommunications access to groups and individuals who until now were prevented from gaining access to the resources of the internet. We will provide information, assistance and support to any group or individual who agrees to join us. We will accept anyone in a spirit of co-operation and sharing, we encourage diversity, and denounce the rigidity of thinking which has kept the world in it's place for centuries, supported and caressed by a garotte of narrowness and insecurity.
The NEXUS network will function as a support for the creation of online communities and virtual culture. It will also act to strengthen and develop local and regional physical cultures, by acting as a system intended, from inception, as a mechanism to provide communication between individuals and groups who may well never have met otherwise, both across the globe, and across a city or town. Each NEXUS will be linked into the InterNEX, and thus will be able to draw on the knowledge and experiances of a wide and varied group of individuals, to foster the growth of local communities, supporting and enriching both individuals and groups.
The NEXUS network will not seek to dominate the individual Nexi which are it's component parts. Each NEXUS will join the system with a spirit of co-operation and sharing. The NEXUS system as a whole will welcome each prospective and new group with the same spirit, and each NEXUS will do what they are capable of to make new members feel welcome. The rights of the individual override the rights of the grou, except where an individuals actions weill affect the group as a whole. The NEXUS system will function as such that all decisions affecting Nexi will be discussed ex camera, and all findings will be freely available.
The NEXUS-meme is a process, not an entity.
The NEXUS-meme offers a new sense of liberation to the sad, tired mass of urban dwellers. We extend the hand of community to the de-tribed civilisation which has built the net. The counter-culture movements of the past have failed because they mandated a turning away from western technology and society, the NEXUS project realises that such a move means stagnation, far better to beat the swords of broadcast technology, information processing and data networks into the plowshares we will use to furrow the soil of our information farms. By taking control of the information which we use to understand the world, by getting in touch with others who feel as we do, we can regain control of our thoughts, our culture and our lives.
It is time to cease viewing technology as an enslaving force, suitable only for large, faceless corporations, large institutions and a cynical and manipulative government. It is time to regain and rebuild society, and to do it on terms WE decide, not someone else.
The NEXUS network will afford all participants this power. When fully implemented, it will cover the globe, and afford an open and accessible forum for all who are interested.
Expand your horizons. Rebuild your spirit. Reform your community.
Create a NEXUS
Wake up. You are in a sleep in which the dreams are not your own.
Recognise the shackles binding you, and take steps to control your destiny.
NEXUS awaits: all you can lose is your isolation.
27-28 November, 1993.