Bright Age Beyond is a project created by Ferdia H. O’Brien, a futurist living in Ireland who began as an electrical engineer. He is Coordinator of the Democracy in Europe Movement‘s (DiEM25) Task Force on Postcapitalism Policy, and a member of the Participatory Economy Project.
The driving aim of Bright Age Beyond is the development and implementation of solutions to humanity’s great problems, such as poverty, war, and ecocide. The premise is that change will require more than effort; it will require new ideas. For example, how would a post-capitalist economy work? How would a democratic polity work? What would an ecologically regenerative society look like? And how do we get there?
The goals of Bright Age Beyond are:
- Do original research to develop solutions.
- Facilitate research and dialogue among researchers and practitioners..
- Communicate with a non-specialist audience.
- Facilitate discussion among wider populations.
As such, Bright Age Beyond is project of ‘research in public‘, where in-depth research and popular communication are intertwined. Practically, this work has a number of strands:
Research: Ferdia O’Brien writes articles and papers and is currently co-authoring a book with Anders Sandström presenting a detailed model of a democratic socialist society. In DiEM25 he works on producing policy for the transition of Europe to a post-capitalist system.
Communication: Ferdia O’Brien interviews outstanding guests on the Bright Age Beyond podcast [coming soon 2023], and creates video lectures and essays for YouTube.
The approach taken is very deliberate. Pragmatism and critical thinking are prized above all. The communication style is civil, cool-headed, and productive. The methodology is pluralist, multi-disciplinary, and solution-focused. Ferdia O’Brien draws upon complexity science, cybernetics, engineering, political economy, psychology, philosophy, history, and constantly searches for prosocial applications of the latest technologies.
This project is intellectually stimulating, but it is borne of dire practical need.
Let’s face it: humanity is in terminal crisis. As Earth System collapse accelerates, new fascisms and technocracies are rising on a planet strewn with nuclear warheads. Wealth accumulates apace in a global oligarchy with unprecedented power, while their cameras, algorithms, and robots, monitor and control us sleeplessly.
We are living through the end of human civilization and the beginning of a new Dark Age.
At the same time, our species has never been better positioned to fulfil a different destiny. Over thousands of years of social evolution we have painstakingly developed complex institutions, norms, and artifacts, which prepare the way for an enlightened, highly advanced, peaceful and egalitarian global society. This new Bright Age is so close, we can almost reach out and touch it.
Humanity is not helpless, we have options. There are already serious proposals for social change in the short, medium, and long term, including for sophisticated new economic and political systems. Bright Age Beyond is dedicated to investigating – and devising – these pathways to the next epoch.
The goal is for Bright Age Beyond to be a resource for social innovators, including parties, movements, unions, community activists, business people, designers, civil servants, and legislators.
Earth is ruled by an Oligarchy.
A tiny super-wealthy minority.
They direct global capitalism, international institutions, and nation states.
They are not lizard people.
They are the winners of an impersonal class competition.
As society economically and politically polarizes, as the biosphere disintegrates, they are preparing to maintain their rule over an Apocalypse Earth.
The crises we face cannot be overcome within the current system, where the vast majority have little control over their own lives. The centre cannot hold.
The choice is stark and urgent
A society where everything is owned by a tiny minority which holds the rest of the population in permanent debt servitude.
A society where the common people govern themselves and hold the means of life in common ownership.
A planet with cascading ecosystem collapse, encroaching coastlines, uninhabitable zones, drought, crop failure, and natural disasters.
A planet where humans steward the biosphere, achieving a high quality of life for all while respecting planetary boundaries.