Patterns are the secret to everything.
We humans are wired to live inside patterns. When you understand your patterns — language patterns, thought patterns, behavior patterns — you have the keys to the ultimate kingdom.
But a new power has arisen — the Controligarchy — that is hijacking our patterns at a level never seen before in human history. Pattern manipulation has become such a crisis that the Federal Trade Commission issued a report, Shining a Light on Dark Patterns.
The Controligarchy uses dark patterns to plug into our brain stems. It boasts that it knows us better than we know ourselves. And that it has every right to manipulate our serotonin, dopamine and cortisol levels — without our awareness or consent.
In the entire history of our republic — maybe even world history — we the people have never had a chance to gain power at a pattern level. We’ve never had a pattern-sharing platform. We’ve never had an (inner)Net.
Just about all of social media today is centered around post-sharing. A post is a single piece of content, whether video, music, words, images or links. We have been so thoroughly conditioned to connect through posts that we are not even aware of the possibility of connecting through patterns.
In academia, think tanks, and tech, thought leaders are exploring ways to improve our post-sharing experience. Better privacy, better transparency, better business models. But why are we sharing single bits of content, in what critics call a “zombie feed,” when a growing body of science — and thousands of years of collective wisdom — suggest that deep transformation happens in patterns?
We’re alive at a fascinating, transformational moment — the shift from post-consciousness to pattern consciousness. When we’re inside the (inner)Net, we don’t create posts, we create patterns — emotional, psychological and spiritual patterns.
FAQs above dividing line are the updated ones.
Below here, the archives, in edit as of 4/29
If anything characterizes our age, perhaps it is the intense, exponential, exhilarating discovery of so many things — deep space, the body, brain, genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence. We are likewise making radical new discoveries about our patterns. John Bargh, the psychologist at Yale, said it best:
“Much of how the mind operates is hidden to us, and it shapes our experience and behavior in ways that we’re not the least bit aware of. The exciting part is that through our experiments, we’re beginning to detect these unconscious mechanisms, to see these invisible patterns in our minds.”
Our mission, with the (inner)Net, is to build a platform that allows us not just to see our patterns, but to share and evolve them, in a deliberate and developmental way.
We started with the famous iceberg metaphor of the unconscious. Though other metaphors are possible — lake, snowflake, journey, garden — the iceberg allowed us to partition the unconscious in a number of surprising new ways.
The rectangle symbolizes the steps we take, and the doors we pass through, on our developmental journeys.
During our beta tests, we discovered that we needed a threshold technology, something that could help us toggle between conscious and unconscious forces. Past “threshold technologies” include meditation, yoga, prayer, poetry, art, chanting, cognitive behavior therapy, and mindfulness. But something radically new was called for — a new category of practice that was not possible until now.
After a great deal of testing, we partitioned our threshold into a sequence of 12 steps. Professor Pascual-Leone, of Harvard Medical School, offers a seminal insight: “Emotional transformation occurs in specific canonical sequences.”
A growing body of scientific research — in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics — focuses on how unconscious patterns drive our behaviors. Now, by studying our sequences, we can become aware of these patterns. “We can go beyond the ordinary powers of the material world through the power of patterns,” says Ray Kurzweil. “It’s through the emergent powers of the pattern that we transcend.”
As we built our platform, we quickly discovered that we can’t effectively evolve our patterns without a feedback loop. So we created a 2nd partition, shown at right:
This is our new pattern architecture. It took us 12 years of trial, error, and heartache to get from the iceberg to the (inner)Net, but if you allow us to skip some steps, and do the onboarding later, here it is:
And so began our quest — to give we the people new technologies of sovereignty. New powers to gather and grow and counter the Controligarchy.
We call these new technologies Wellgorithms. And when we put them into a social network, that’s when the magic happens.
Eckhart Tolle speaks of the “incessant streams of compulsive thinking” that keep us trapped in the “pain body.” The vertical scroll is this incessant stream, the way that the Controligarchy keeps us in a trance:
“What we are doing here,” writes Tolle, “is part of a profound transformation that is taking place in the collective consciousness of the planet and beyond: the awakening of consciousness from the dream of matter, form, and separation. We are breaking mind patterns that have dominated human life for eons. Mind patterns that have created unimaginable suffering on a vast scale.”
Our first “aha moment” was to open the horizontal dimensions. We were inspired by the work of Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, of Harvard, who developed a model of Deliberately Developmental Organizations. The horizontal axis is the axis of deliberate development.
By opening the horizontal dimensions, we can do what we’ve never done before — see and share our patterns. Tomas Björkman envisioned this in The World We Create:
“What about making the notion of ‘pattern’ the centre of attention, seeing what deep-seated patterns there are in order to consciously create new symbols from these, so as to recreate society’s objective reality?”
Björkman saw the critical link between patterns and our attention economy. This was precisely our next move — to create a matrix of our emotional, psychological and spiritual patterns, so that we can share and evolve them in community.
We’re at an astonishing moment in human history. As the psychologist John Bargh says, “We’re beginning to see the invisible patterns in our minds.” Alex Pentland of MIT calls this social physics, the process by which we explore “patterns of shared experiences.”
Until now, we didn’t have the pattern practices — the Wellgorithms — that take pattern-sharing to a new level.
It only sounds “complicated” because it’s unfamiliar. In fact, the basic idea is absurdly simple. Within a few years, children will be creating their own Wellgorithms and they will embrace the pattern architecture as self evident.
Our challenge, as designers, is to make complexity fun — not to hide from it. If we hide from it, we create a shadow — and this is the world we’re living in now.
“As our machines are increasingly jacked into global networks of information, it becomes more and more difficult to imagine the dataspace at our fingertips, to picture all that complexity in our mind’s eye. Representing all that information is going to require a new visual language, as complex and meaningful as the great metropolitan narratives of the 19th-century novel.”
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are not apps or platforms. They are architectures of attention that shape how we think and feel:
Oprah likes to ask: what do you know for sure? We know for sure that these architectures are no longer serving our highest good. Though their merits were many, they have created the world we’re living in now. We find ourselves more polarized, anxious and addicted than ever before — and these architectures cannot possibly be our path to the Promised Land.
Humanity is now on a treasure hunt — for architectures of soul. Higher consciousness. Visions and ideals that will unleash the genius of our times.
What characterizes our age is its contradictions. We’re on the verge of disastrous collapse in so many areas — climate refugees, worker displacements, inequality, pandemics. And yet, in pods and small communities around the world, we’re seeking to gather and awaken like never before.
A new Convivencia is bubbling to the surface — a new integration of Eastern and Western wisdom, contemporary science, and the arts in unprecedented new ways. People are seeking Higher Ground. But we don’t yet have a medium, an architecture, for our awakening.
Humanity’s urgent task is to birth this new architecture.
Social media is outside in. The (inner)Net is inside out.
With outside-in architectures, you are first bombarded by the content of other people — before you’ve had a chance to align with your better angels. With single-post feeds, you bounce from direction to direction. The feeds are designed to exploit your vulnerabilities and keep you trapped in validation and dopamine loops.
With inside-out architectures, you shift from content to practice. Your sovereignty comes first. You choose where you want to focus your attention — Howard Thurman calls it “holy focus” — and then, through the Wellgorithms, you amplify, and are amplified by, those who are moving in a direction synergistic with your ideals.
Social media feeds are entropic. Their relevance decays quickly. The (inner)Net is a nest architecture. Nests are nurturing and evolutionary — they become more meaningful over time. We nourish ourselves not with individual bits of algorithmically manipulated content, but with people-created-journeys called “Wellgorithms.”
With Wellgorithms, each moment is a chance to collect a gem and put it into one of your Nests, for later nourishment and growth.
Professor Michael Bratman of Stanford has found that shared intentional activities are the cornerstones of interpersonal thriving. Communities that practice together, grow together. This basic human need for intention — what the ancients called telos — is absent from our current social architectures.
We’ve been blinded by a perverse capitalist fabrication — that the “normal” way to connect is through intentionless architectures. Whether video with Zoom, voice with Clubhouse, or asynchronous text with Facebook and Twitter, we’re confusing the medium with meaning. True freedom is the ability to sustain your attention on an intention.
We’re just now awakening to a new possibility — to shift from intentionless to intentional social architectures.
With so much pain in the world, more people than ever before are devoting themselves to mental health and wellbeing. But unless we work at a systemic level, our efforts amount to little more than a band-aide. We cannot expect a pill, or an hour of therapy, yoga or meditation, to “fix” us for the week. The system is sick, and the system needs healing.
Bob Anderson, chairman of the Leadership Circle, said it best: “One of the big blindspots of contemporary psychology often emerges when it fails to study the environment, the structure, the system.”
We participated in three technology incubators and had an opportunity to conduct a broad survey of the wellbeing space. There are a number of great companies doing great work — Virgin Pulse, Whil, BetterUp, Kumanu, Thrive, Headspace, Sober Grid, just mention a few. To their great credit, they are working within the system.
These smart, talented people often have difficulty understand what we’re doing, because we’re not working within the system. We’re inventing a new system. And although our work is evidence-based — the (inner)Net is inconceivable without contemporary science and psychology — we embrace the foundational role that the arts play in our individual and collective healing.
For the most part, our cultural has decoupled mental health from the arts. We have also decoupled mental health from social media. According to a recent report, none of the top 100 social media spaces are dedicated to mental health and wellbeing.
The times are crying for a new Consilience — of mental health, the arts, and social media.
We can tell you in 10 words, or 10,000 words, what Wellgorithms “are.” We can present them as nouns and define them as “personalized, step-by-step journeys that help you be your best you in community.” But ultimately, to sense their poetry and power, you’ll need to experience them as verbs.
Wellgorithms originally sought to solve a serious practical problem — information overload. We love to read but often feel overwhelmed by a backlog. Think of Wellgorithms as the emotional gems of a larger work, threaded together in a sequential, step-by-step journey.
Once we put Wellgorithms into a social network, new possibilities emerged. They were giving us a new power — to “presence our best future selves,” as Otto Scharmer puts it. We began to micro-presence specific emotional futures, in a community of futures.
Social media conditions us to think in single time-frames, in single boxes, in a single scroll. Wellgorithms, by contrast, explore a sequence of personalized time-frames. Now you can create a matrix of your personal and interpersonal growth over time.
There are a near-infinite number of possibilities, making this an astonishing new game of “(inner)Chess“. Someone pushes anger in your direction — what’s your next move? Someone is egotistical, envious, or destructive — what are your next (inner)moves?
Wellgorithms give you a new power — to share and evolve your next inner moves. And to birth a new archetype within yourself — the (inner)Grandmaster.
One reason that none of the top 100 social networks focus on mental health is that our culture tends to compart-mentalize the human experience. Wellgorithms are holistic, integrating poetry, spirituality and the arts with evidence-based practices. We build on:
• Anders Ericsson and Brandon Burchard, deliberate practice
• Alvaro Pascual-Leone, sequential learning
• Ellie Drago Severson, transformational learning
• Michael Bratman, shared intentional activities
• Haslam, Reicher, and Platow, shared social identity
• Nicholas Mazza, Poetry Therapy
• James W. Pennebaker, journaling
• Tiffany Watt Smith, language
• Jeannette Littlemore, metaphor
• Lisa Feldman Barrett, emotions
• Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson, affective forecasting
• Brad Bowins, addiction, mental health continuums
• Michael Merzenich, neuroplasticity
• B.J. Fogg, tiny habits; James Clear, atomic habits
And hundreds of others.
It can’t. But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the innerNet.
At the heart of thriving communities is the sharing of wisdom, whether oral or written. We need new ways to share wisdom. And with existential threats to our planet, we need to integrate ancient wisdom, contemporary wisdom, and scientific wisdom.
Wellgorithms give us a new way to “write wisdom into our hearts” — whether face-to-face or virtually. Whether in self-study or a group setting.
Social media impacts everything else — mental health, climate change, inequality. We are unable to make sense of the system, let alone transform it — because social media is the architecture of [non]sense-making for the system.
Gandhi, Mandela and King were so effective because they worked tirelessly on themselves. Inner transformation precedes outer transformation. A more evolved architecture of attention integrates outer sustainability with inner sustainability.
Rumi said, “Create a new language, create a new world.”
Wittgenstein said, “To imagine a new language is to imagine a new form of life.”
A growing, inter-disciplinary field is exploring how metaphor shapes consciousness and naming your emotions gives you a new power. “Name it to tame it,” says Dan Siegel. “People are paralyzed by unnameable emotions.”
Language is the womb of thought. And so we went on a treasure hunt — to get pregnant with the language of the future. We explored over 10 million new combinations of letters and words, and birthed over 5,000 new names.
We’re in the midst of an inner Cambrian explosion — an extraordinary new birth of thousands, maybe millions, of new inner spaces.
Wellgorithms are a new category of ECPs — Emotional Civility Practices. They help us nurture common emotional nests, independent of politics. A democrat and a republican might have more in common with each other than with members of their own tribe who are in states of anger and divisiveness.
We’re at the dawn of a new frontier — bonding and mobilizing not just by common interests, but also by a common inner identity. A common family of feelings. A common aspiration to be the peace we wish to see.
Companies now recognize the value of integrating work with wellbeing, and becoming Deliberately Developmental Organizations, as Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey call them. These DDOs need a DDSN — a Deliberately Developmental Social Network in which developmental practices are built into the everyday fabric of work life.
Ray Dalio’s software innovations are extraordinary first leaps. But they don’t yet have the step-by-step practices, the Wellgorithms.
It’s no secret — the engine of our economy is addiction. The moment people come out of rehab or the emergency room, they face a thousand temptations. The confluence of technological, political and economic forces is creating the perfect disaster.
We’ve lost friends and family to drug overdoses. Many who are still with us are facing those “deaths of despair.” We’ve been deeply humbled to work with several dozen recovering addicts, who helped us jumpstart over 500 Wellgorithms dedicated to sobriety.
Our “Great Emergency” at the intersection of AI and capitalism is how we can become aware of our triggers … manage our hormones and amygdalas … and live as sovereigns of ourselves in a culture that exploits our lack of inner control.
When people first visit, they think they’re looking at THE innerNet. In reality, you’re a fly on the wall, inside the artist’s studio, looking at our founder’s innerNet.
With version 2.0, you get your own innerNet. Your own nest of heroes and role models, with whom you can share and evolve the wisdom that is uniquely yours, with self-authoring and consciousness-transforming tools that never existed until now.
Some of the tools under development for innerNet 2.0 include:
– innerSwitch, a tool for building your “neuro-plasticity muscles.”
– innerCalendar, a tool for scheduling your future emotions.
– innerMovie, a video-making tool for envisioning your best future self.
– innerGPS, a tool for orienting yourself toward your life’s North Star.
– innerVitamins, daily gems for the soul that we share in community.
For social media companies, every moment of our relationships is a monetizable transaction. They openly, shamelessly call us “users.” The dictionary defines “user” as “someone who takes unfair advantage of”; an addict, dopehead, druggie, fiend, freak, junkie, stoner.
Big Tech has so infused our world with “user consciousness” — what Martin Buber called “It consciousness” — that we seem unaware the possibility of infusing our technological substratums with wisdom consciousness. Not just with content, but at a systemic, structural level — with a wisdom architecture.
On the innerNet, you’re not a “user.” You’re not a transaction. You’re a Citizen of the Heart — artist and architect of the world inside. And you have an emerging constitution of rights which we’re just now exploring together.
This is the hardest thing about taking a principled stand: watching so many good, smart people cave in the face of evil. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s highly-esteemed peers caved in to Hitler and couldn’t understand his objections. Now, with social media, we’re enabling a new kind of Holocaust — an “inner Holocaust.”
“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. This is what we’re doing with social media — passively cooperating with an unjust system.
In 1904, the Wright brothers got into a plane and buzzed around the heavens. As historian David McCullough explains, “With few exceptions there seemed to be no public interest at all, no local excitement or curiosity or sense of wonder over the miraculous thing happening right in Dayton’s own backyard.”
“When the city editor of the Daily News, Dan Kumler, was asked later why for so long nothing was reported of the momentous accomplishments taking place so nearby, he said, after a moment’s reflection, ‘I guest the truth is that we were just plain dumb.'”
It’s 1904 again. We’re in another Wright Brothers moment. We’re just now realizing that each of us can have our own innerNet — our own cockpit of consciousness — a set of power tools that will help us soar inside. Even more: we can plug our innerNet into the planetary innerNet, to soar in ways we’ve never soared before.
“People like the idea of innovation in the abstract, but when you present them with any specific innovation, they tend to reject it because it doesn’t fit with what they already know.” Jessica Livingston
“Most of the big breakthrough technologies seem crazy at first. When people look at it, at first they say, ‘I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. I think it’s too weird; I think it’s too unusual.’” Marc Andreessen
“People expect from the innerNet features that already exist in our culture — video, voice, chat bots, therapy, etc. We’re not doing what others are already doing well. Instead we’re building the missing pieces — language, architecture, practice.” Valerie Kirschenbaum
To enter this next phase, we need a platform optimized for this mastery.
Otherwise, those with access to powerful AI will not just hijack our minds; they will completely own our insides — China in its particular way, Facebook and other Western companies in their particular ways.
The “fierce urgency of now,” as MLK put it, calls us to evolve beyond algorithms, to birth a new architecture of relationship — a new Collective Imaginary — that empowers us to presence a new future reality together.
In 2020, TIME magazine, with Viola Davis and Digital Domain, launched a groundbreaking virtual reality exhibit that recreated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech. It’s awesome. Mind-boggling. Check it out.
But why only go backwards? Why not use virtual reality to go forwards? Why not build in virtual reality what we humans can never seem to realize in “real” reality?
Once we can feel it — once we can experience the language, the practices, the community — we are motivated to make it real. We have the money and the technology, right now. innerNet 2030, the virtual reality version. Who is ready to enter the dream?
When you build a new architecture of consciousness — invent something that never existed before — you confront the depth of our cultural hypnosis. You discover how many unspoken assumptions are driving consciousness.
People expect, for example, that all social architectures are “plug and play” — so dumbed down that a five year old, without onboarding, can figure it out in less than a minute. But this is our problem — we can’t evolve, as Einstein said, with the same sort of architectures that got us in our current mess.
The innerNet is more like Photoshop for your soul, a new canvas of consciousness, which you can create, bit by bit. The spirit of adventure calls for patience, humility, humor and curiosity. If you would like a private demo, or to say hi, drop us a note here.