It’s the summer of 2020 and our operating systems are failing. Systemic inequality has been exacerbated at both local and planetary scales by the current pandemic intensifying the demand for systemic justice. Yet we now exist in an unstable condition of flux—highly volatile, as well as extraordinarily generative—and we are all accountable for and subject to the future that emerges from these shifting conditions. A future built through this flux demands new territories and creates nodes from which to act.
Meeting the multiplicity of health crises, missing social safety nets, climate change, AI, automation, and risk analyses require scalable cohering narratives that must emanate from within small clusters yet also engage the overall assemblage of larger systems. Strategic alliances will define new terms of engagement between systems and societies, and these alliances are and will be the protagonists as well as the spaces through which they navigate.
What is needed now is, in general, an ability to maintain cohesion while navigating noise. Protocols are needed to develop conviction and confidence in our expansive capacities and responsibilities as a species, while maintaining the humility and understanding of our species’ limitations as sapient matter immersed in a multitude of systems whose command is beyond our capacities.
A.S.T. proposes the following set of protocols for the construction of twenty-first century alliances traversing borders, nation states, and species. We look to the typology of the murmuration as a model for new operating systems and protocols that adapt as they move: through their murmurations, starlings have the “remarkable ability to maintain cohesion as a group in highly uncertain environments and with limited, noisy information.” We likewise need cohering protocols to make the conceptual and organizing tools to build strategic alliances defining new terms of engagement between systems and societies; tools to repair and remake our cities and communities in the face of ghastly historic failures. And, like murmurations, these protocols must be adaptable and revisable.