Today you're in for a real treat hearing from Indy Johar, founder of Dark Matter Labs. DML is a field laboratory focused on radically redesigning the bureaucratic & institutional infrastructure of our cities, regions and towns for a more democratic, distributed great transition. Dark Matter Labs is, in my opinion, doing some of the most interesting work on re-thinking economic relationships, value, and monetary flows with tangible projects like Trees as Infrastructure: Re-wilding Urban Forests. A full list of their current projects is here.
Indy is also an architect and co-founder of 00. Indy has co-founded multiple social ventures from Impact Hub Westminster to Impact Hub Birmingham, along with working with large global multinationals & institutions to support their transition to a positive Systems Economy. Indy is a non executive director of WikiHouse Foundation, RIBA Trustee, and Advisor to the Mayor of London on Good Growth. Find his writing here.
Indy is, of course, utterly brilliant, but what strikes me most is his ability to return to first principles when thinking about re-envisioning currency, ownership, governance structures, and much more. The interview is long, so I've pulled some excerpts here for the blog (admittedly, I had a hard time editing it down because it's all incredible!). The full transcript is here (which is divided into sections to make it easier to navigate). You can watch the full video interview here and below.
In this interview we cover:
- What if a tree printed its own currency?
- Value at three levels: transactional, spillover, local economic multipliers
- Detachment as the conceptual frame of our systems
- Economics and the "bounded autonomous individual"
- Free feudalism vs. free markets
- What is the value of a house? Of a neighborhood?
- New forms of governance: semi-autonomous institutions
- Re-perceiving the city: beyond boundaries
- Do I have the right to destroy soil? Should land be owned?
- Considerations for institutional investors — the age of mass mispricing
- Sitting on the shoulder of care economies
- Indy’s current reading list
- Challenging the theory of competition
- On disembodiment
What if a tree printed its own currency?
DH: Indy — you and I recently met through my collaborator and friend Delilah Rothenberg, who runs The Predistribution Initiative, and I was immediately struck with your approach to rethinking foundational concepts like economic value, the value of care, and many of the other themes we are thinking about at Embodied Economics.
I wanted to start with a question that you posed in our first chat, which I found fascinating as a provocation. What if a tree or a forest could print its own currency? How would that change the structure of how economic value circulates and the power inherent in monetary systems? Can you say a bit more about that idea?
IJ: Yeah. It's a simple set of words, but underneath it is a bunch of structural questions for all of us. One, it's a question about one of the biggest challenges we face — and that’s how we construct our centralized construction of money, which also means that there's a centralized construction of value, and of what value is. Our theory of organizing currency is a theory that's been constructed by a world of kings and queens. And it's been constructed by an idea of control.
In the UK, we had the financial Big Bang, which effectively drove the centralization of the destruction of quite a lot of the micro banks, and the consolidation of power in the hands of a very few set of banks, which are all largely placed in London. That gave them awesome power in terms of acting at a global stage. But what it did do simultaneously was actually destroy their capability to see complex value outside London or outside, so they could only perceive and were connected to what I would call project level value.
So that also meant that the theory of portfolio went from being what I would call a virtuous portfolio of investments which have an integral effect, by working together became a portfolio of risk, i.e., a hedging of risk at global state, a kind of synthetic portfolio, not a virtuous one. And its purpose was to manage risk, not to actually have a combinatorial effect or technical effect. So that has constructed, I think, a massive drive of geographic inequality — a lack of strategic investment.
The other dimension of the problem is actually our relationship with our nature base. Our environmental system —certainly our urban trees — are currently still perceived as a liability. So environmental benefits that trees spill over and release are systematically ignored.
The third dimension of that problem is, for me, actually a much more fundamental question — and it links to the first one and two: how do we decentralize the capability to produce capital?
There's a really good paper by Nesta called Central Banking for All, which recognized that the decentralized production of capital would be one of the key things that's going to be opened up by technology and technological frames. So our asset infrastructures are able to print currency and print value in a different level — that becomes really critical.
Value at three levels: transactional, spillover, and local economic multipliers
And the final dimension is what I would call the three class business value model problem. So I think value models can be constructed at the level of 1) transactional value, 2) spillover value, and 3) the local economic multipliers. Our impact economy has been largely constructed for the spillover value while operating on the transaction, which has been one of the big problems for it. So it tries to make effective viable business models on transaction value, rather than accounting for the spillover value that's ambient, and is significant.
So a good example for me is the High Line [Park in New York], which is an extraordinary thing — $173 million [was raised by donors giving large grants to construct it]. But actually, if you looked at the spillover value from the High Line, you would have paid for the High Line in under 10 months if you just took 10% of the spillover land value attributable to it. [See more on this Dark Matter Labs project here]. And that's not even equating health outcomes or tourism outcomes or any complex second order value that would be on the table. And this applies to trees in urban systems as well — a tree lined street puts £7,000-10,000 (British Pounds) of value into a house. A park puts similar sorts of figures if not larger, so huge spillover value.
The third part: economic multiplier value, comes up if you were to retrofit a whole city (which is what we're gonna have to do in Europe). Retrofitting pretty much all our housing stock will cost about 25 billion.
Now at that scale of capital allocation, and whether we're at 25 billion (or at 4.5 trillion a year to deal with climate change, conservatively), you not only get the transaction value of the energy of retrofitting, not only do you get the spillover value, you also get the economic velocity value of that money moving in that society and people buying food, people living, eating, and other things. That's another class of value model that's historically been largely ignored, because we haven't had the capacity to deal with it. But certainly programmable currencies and other things can open up these three classes of business models.
And now, that all sits with a final dimension (that's a very big question you've asked!): that is what we're seeing in New Zealand and other parts of the world, where nature based solutions are being acknowledged as legal personhood. So we've seen a river given legal personhood, we've seen forests and other things. So we're starting to see a move towards moving from resource relationships, to personhood relationships, and personhood relationships means that things have rights, and responsibilities and are able to preserve their rights and responsibilities.
So the legal architecture of personhood being extended at the same time with new currency level business models, at the same time with recognizing the system level effects, and decentralized banking capabilities, I think opens us up into a new class of opportunity way of thinking and value formation about exactly as you started, what if the treatment of the money was different.
So that's a soft response. But I think it presents some deep structural opportunities, and I think it challenges some of our theories of impact. Impact works on what I would call predictable, knowable effects in a complex system that works for certain things — it works short term. For transition, short term financing model, I think the system level things, you need a different class of operation, which looks at system level capabilities. So I think impact, system, and universal are the three tiers of societal level investing, that I think we have to re-gear our capital structures around.
Detachment as the conceptual frame of our systems
DH: I have 20 follow up questions! But I think that that leads really nicely into one of the projects I found fascinating that Dark Matter Labs is engaged with currently — the Civic Indigenous 7.0 Project (Micro-treaties with the earth: Rethinking our responsibilities towards nature through land stewardship). I found this fascinating not only because I'm Canadian, and it's taking place in Canada. But I wanted to read just a section of the report and have you respond to it — I found it incredibly powerful:
- “Today, indigenous and non indigenous people alike live under self terminating paradigms, indigenous people have been systematically marginalized, suffering under colonialism and the Indian act, both indigenous and non indigenous people are robbed of good health and well being, dying under ecocide and increasingly unequal socio economic systems. Land is understood as passive, silent or fragile. In our Western legal frameworks, land is understood as abstract and dephysicalized. The making of a passive abstract dephysicalized, and absent land is a function of colonialism. Making land present in law is a matter of deep reconciliation.”
And I wonder if you might respond to that. In particular, you just mentioned the reorientation to the way that we understand private property, the way that we understand assets and our relationship to them. Can you just riff on that for a minute?
IJ: There are so many aspects of that. I think another way of framing this is that we've gone through a cycle of 400 years or more, which is built on a theory of detachment. So we have to objectify ourselves, and the act of objectifying ourselves, allows us to be detached from the things and the world around it. And in a way, this theory of the nounization of the world, and seeing ourselves as independent systems or independent beings, is a conceptual frame that has been the basis of how we organize the world.
And in a way you could argue the Vitruvian Man in da Vinci’s drawing is a theory of that objectification. And I think that worldview is no longer even supported by science, because in a way, we know that we as humans are a multitude, we know that epigenetically I am fully interdependent with my context, we know that microbiomes have affected my cognitive capabilities, we know that my brain is not my brain, but a social function. So we know that food, nutrition, all these things actually construct me.
So the detachment has allowed us to build a theory of being — of who we are. And it's also allowed us to build a theory of sort of distancing ourselves from each other. And I would argue that the construction of race, as a theory, was a construction of a modality to allow for violence. So once I can detach you from me sufficiently, I can then permit violence in that relationship. And I think that theory has manifested in everything. So that's land, it’s people.
I think our employment contracts are still extensions of servitude. Management theory is still an extension of object-subject relationships, it's still a theory of control. I think our relationship with land, to be specific, is also a theory of control. So we have enslaved land — through abstracted means — and distanced ourselves from it to allow for a way of constructing the world. And that worldview has thereby allowed for a way to build the world that we've got. Science is challenging that perspective of objectification and distancing.
So we go from the theory of object relationships, and subject relationships to interdependence. And that is a systemic translation in who we are, and our recognition of self. And that's difficult, by the way, because we've been trained to think (and I've been trained to think) that we possess the problem. I've been trained to think through the theory of self-sufficiency and other things. So thinking through boundaries, thinking through nouns and our linguistic frameworks are all linked.
So as we move into a world of interdependence, we are at the birthing period of our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with the future, because also we have distanced the future — debt structures are, you know, all these things, predictive models, these are ways of seeing the world through a linear modality, which I think is at a point of challenge.
So that sentence, and those series of sentences are like a new continuum, in a way, which is emerging — we have new political and new technological capabilities which are merging to create a new basis of how we as a civilization transcend ourselves. So I see it as a transition that we're in the middle of.
Economics and the "Bounded Autonomous Individual"
DH: There's a fantastic researcher named Dr. Sara Seck, who talks quite a bit about this and about the idea of the “bounded autonomous individual” being this conceptual framework that infuses so much of how we think about our systems and ourselves. And I think what's fascinating about economic theory is that so much of economic theory rests on this idea too — it's a very anaesthetized version of life, where we are these rational actors who operate solely based on our own whims, divorced from relationship, divorced from context. And it's sort of incredible the way that idea has infused an entire discipline.
And I think a lot about how even the idea of a rational actor in a neutral marketplace, ignores completely any power asymmetries between persons — and so an entire discipline has just completely ignored power, and ignored the way that everyone's individual experience when they come to this “marketplace” is very different. It's, in some ways, determined by the body you inhabit: the race, that you were born with, the country you were born into, the sex: all of these have have a huge impact on your ability to actually access markets and access opportunities in those markets.
And so one of the aims of Embodied Economics is to reassert this idea: that we are completely embedded within the natural world, embedded within a complex web of relationships, and cultural identity and religious beliefs and all sorts of things that form the basis of how we show up in the world.
IJ: I’m going to build on that. I think it's such an important point. So care, let's go back to care. So our transactional systems are systems of extraction, optimization, and trying to build (as you rightly say) power asymmetries in that process. So we've created a system, which is based on optimization, or theory of self optimization, and we then created synthetic systems by corporations, which then encode those into quasi-algorithms to reenact those behaviors, and we created meta architectures that reinforce that.
And yet, the reality is that all of our economic system sits on a foundation of care, which is actually fundamentally unvalued, that's also unpriced, but I'd say it's unvalued first, then we can talk about pricing. And it also throws up actually a theory of transactions as the optimization of economy rather than theory of gifts and theories of care as the basis for our economy.
I think we are missing radical institutions that restore that balance, and recognize the value that is in play, and also expand our theory of self from being the self rational (homo economicus) actors — which we're not and, as you rightly say, recognize a fundamental problem with markets.
Free feudalism vs. free markets
I don't think we live in free markets. We live in free feudalism, because there's so many asymmetries of power. If you look up somebody's definition of free markets, you know, do a Google search. It almost always reverts to all the features of free feudalism, and I'm sitting there going “which aspect of this is the market?” And because the market has exact symmetries it has to have — symmetries to construct choice: symmetries of information, symmetries of power: like it has to have all these features.
And also there are some fundamental questions going on where we exhausted everything for the theory of market as a price discovery mechanism. But in an age of contextualization, personalization, situational elevation, there is no functioning choice architecture in the value of a forest next year. What's the choice? Are you going to plant a second forest and see which one gives you the best value? So what's the discovery of price? What's the discovery of sharing of value or sharing of contribution required, or gifts that are required, to actually preserve that? Should the forest be selling new services, should it be gifting you services to the balance sheet?
I think these are open questions that we just aren't playing enough with. So I wholeheartedly agree. And I think this term “Embodied Economics” is a beautiful phrase. Because I think we are living in the fundamental crisis of the disembodiment of our economic theory.
What is the value of a house? Of a neighborhood?
Just one example for me is this: the value of the house. So a great example, I think of an economic failure. So the value of a house is, say, its rental value, then you could say its tradable value: I can buy and sell it. And then you say okay, well, it's also got some health and social care costs attached to it: social health costs, education costs, and social care costs. Okay? So somebody carries, if you have a bad house, those liabilities. They can be societal level costs.
Then there is a maintenance value of the house, in terms of its local economic redistribution. So let's not see maintenance as a liability. Let's see it as a redistribution engine. Then you can say, what's the aggregate value of a million houses? It's more than one house. It's a system level, which is greater than the value of the house. Okay, so who owns the aggregate value? Well, typically, it's privatized: the land owner. And then you can say, what's the economic multiplier value of all that money moving in that system? Well, that's somebody else's value. So the house is an entangled value model. And I think this is exactly the issue that we have, when we are talking about entangled economics: the theory of public and private is such a convenient illusion, designed to extract value from the entangled value of the whole and to create asymmetric power in that process.
New forms of governance: semi-autonomous institutions
DH: I recently read David Graeber's book Debt: The First 5000 Years. And one of the insights there was this idea that we have this false dichotomy in our minds about market versus state. But what he says is that markets were originally created by the state, mostly to provision armies, because they needed to move a lot of people around in the countryside, and they needed some sort of ubiquitous currency to be able to begin exchanging. And one of the things that he says, as a result of that, is that there is this inextricable link to violence that the state and the market embody — that both can be used as tools of domination.
And one of the things that I find interesting about your work, too, is that you seem to focus quite a bit at the municipal level, but are also exploring these different forms and layers of governance that might take shape in the future that skirt some of our traditional bounded governance and organizational patterns: municipalities, states, national governments. I wonder if you might say a little bit more about that — where do you see things heading in the future?
IJ: Yeah, linking back up to what a great human being David was. And his book is extraordinary — I welcome everyone to read it. I think he’s just a very extraordinary person. And I think you’re absolutely right, you make some very strong distinctions about currency and the theory of currencies. Money as it is currently formed, has actually been a theory of abstraction, and our theory of abstraction is a mechanism of violence, right?
So if you can reduce a forest to its gold value, actually, you reduce its value largely from this temporary, single point utility. So you reduce it to timber and the utility of timber to its translatable growth value as intermediary function. That means you reduce all the other things — the co-beneficiary effects of that forest is near zero, because they're a non-tradable system. So sometimes it's tradable, sometimes non-tradable: it is embedded, embodied. So the abstract currency system actually constructed a theory and a practice of destruction in itself and it's really, really well articulated in Graeber’s book.
I do think there is an opening for a new class of semi-autonomous institutions, which actually start to look at the governance of assets through a different theory. So semi-autonomous institutions can start to transparently co-govern those assets in different formats, and also look at new ways of sharing value in a way that we could not afford to do previously.
I think there is a new class of meso-institutions that are now possible, that are able to start to construct that. And that's where the river becoming self sovereign in New Zealand is a kind of analogue version. I think it's the beginning of a new theory of organizing. And I think there is going to be a whole new class of institutions.
Re-perceiving the city: beyond boundaries
We also have to re-perceive the city. The city is often thought about through what I would call the “lens of the boundary:” e.g. London is the M25. In New York or Manhattan, it’s the bridges — so it's always bounded. It's a kind of bounded theory. Whereas actually, when you see our cities as metabolic flows, as flows of resources, materials, then you have a different theory of what something is, and in that system, you have a different theory of change.
So we've constructed our world through a boundary model. And I think one of the big transformations is to see it through a metabolic model. And that means our practices of governance aren't driven by boundaries, but are driven by outcomes. And our systemic investments have to be at the systems level, not just the boundary level. So one of the big challenges for London is, it still thinks it is the M25. But actually London is not the M25. London relies on vast other territories as the basis of its ecological problems. So I think there's a fundamental question of that transition, and this operates at multiple levels.
Do I have the right to destroy soil? Should land be owned?
Should land even be owned? Should land effectively end up being a self-owning system, to which we're in treaty with? Does ownership provide the ability to destroy? Do we have the right to destroy soil? That's my fundamental question. Do we have the right to destroy soil? And do we have the right to take away privileges from future generations, as a result of that right? It's questionable.
There's a really important moment in reimagining all those things. Even a house — I’m not even convinced a house should be owned, just by the nature of its integral value. As we described earlier, I think you know the work we're doing around the Free House, we're looking at a new theory of actually how a house — as a semi-autonomous, self learning system for public good — can be constructed. So I think there's an important moment where technology and new capabilities allow us to reimagine these assets in a more entangled way, rather than the kind of simplicity of private ownership as a mechanism of dealing with the overhead of complexity, and thereby making it private.
Considerations for institutional investors — the age of mass mispricing
DH: Regarding new institutions: some of the readers of my newsletter sit within more traditional investment houses: asset allocators, asset owners. Some of them may be on sustainability or ESG teams. And I'm curious — what do you have to say to them? Do you feel that there is a role for them to play in these new structures of value that you're talking about? What advice would you have for them?
IJ: Look, I firstly, I just say thank you for doing what you're doing. Like, I think let's start with gratitude for people that are doing the work. And I think it's difficult work, and it's challenging. So I would start with great gratitude.
So it's pretty clear, if you speak to the institutions, that we’re living in an age of mass mispricing of costs and liabilities. And those liabilities are now sitting around us. And when we talk about this, I don't think it's like oh, 2% 5% — it's massive! Which means, there’s a bit of truth that needs to be told, that has an impact on all of us. The misfinancialization of value has meant that there are buckets of liabilities which are unpriced and unfunded, which may actually make most of our material economy nonviable.
So, there's a really significant question right now on the table for our institutions, and many of the classic ones are starting to feel the pressure as that pricing starts to become real — either politically through political pressure or through actual pricing. I was talking to an interesting bank who was saying, “Look, one of our biggest risks is the lack of pricing the liabilities.” That is a risk to the banks, that actually the longer this goes on, the worse this gets.
So let's start to do that work — it's really important. Impact investment is great for certain things, but it largely creates large amounts of spillover value, which are based on transactional value. There is work to be done about creating a whole new class of value models, and actually helping the value models occur. And this is starting to happen in nature based solutions, because of the scale of landscape level thinking, landscape level financing is going to open up this co-beneficiary economy, which I think is fundamental to starting to take a systems view.
So I think going from single transaction optimizing to looking at the co-beneficiary effects, I think it's gonna open up a new class of economy, it's going to operationalize capital at scale that's not been done. So if you want to build an urban forest in a city, which costs around €400-600 million (or larger in US dollars), you're talking about large-scale capital deployment at an infrastructure level.
So I think there's a massive opportunity to take our impacted system thinking at the infrastructure level and look at pricing. It allows us to allocate capital at a much longer time scale, and also organize a couple of different types of capital. So I think we're gonna see these asset classes, asset value mechanisms emerge. And that's going to require a different scale of financing. So I think there's opportunity domains out there at the impact investing level.
The second part of the question for me is always about how we structure capital. So one of the challenges that we have is that our structuring theories are based on an idea of predictive models to which we want adherence. And then predictive returns, because our financial system is focused largely on debt at that scale.
Now there is a really challenging moment where we have so much turbulence in the system, and actually complexity in the system, that the theory of organizing value through predictive play models leads us into very short-term financing solutions. So that's the only way you reduce your risk — you drive short-termism. So we need to find new ways of structuring capital, which operates in these large scale problems. And I would say, which allows for a lot of time, and I think this is where there's lots of opportunity.
And I know it'd be crazy to say this, but I've been looking, I have to admit, in stuff like asteroid mining, because it's a class of problem that requires a completely different scale of thinking. And I think we have to think outside our trapped boundaries of how we organize capital, for a class of problem to be differential. So we’re looking at the Marshall Plan, at asteroid mining, at these kinds of super large scale events and financial structures, because they demand a transition in our theory of mobilization of money and resources. So I would start looking there.
Why are we practicing with urban forests? Because they create complex, multi-beneficiary systems. So if you can contract multi-beneficiary systems, they have a very particular value. If you can look at financing on a generative asset, which includes some bad news or very interesting questions about depreciation rates and value and what that generative value looks like, then you see there's an interesting question around governance because, as we've discussed, there's a market for that value largely for those codependent on that value, so you have to talk about it through a public utility lens.
So price structuring and governance become really critical. So that's how we're looking at it and looking at the value functions in those ways. I think there's a massive need and opportunity to think about societal investment through those layers of impact, system, and universal. And thinking through that integrated level will open it up.
Now, I still think this is part of the extractive economic system. So I want us to be honest with ourselves: this gets better, but it hasn't really jumped the horse that we started with. And I think there's a more fundamental question, second and third horizon work, which actually has to talk about: what if a forest printed its own cash? You have to reimagine the theory of value circulation and a much more fundamental way. And I think that is also critical.
I would really welcome people to join us, and others to start to think about that in really different formats.
Sitting on the shoulder of care economies
To give a glimpse on where my mind’s on that: this is a completely crazy idea, but so if you were to look at care — invisible care that happens in society, massive amounts of it, we're all sitting on the shoulders of care economies. If you were to price care into your GDP, we'd see a massive uplift in our GDP. If you then took that GDP uplift, and gave it as a right to a bank to print, and then you would airdrop that money at a kind of almost randomized level, not all of it in one big sum in distributed formats, throughout society. As a thank you, from all of us to all of us. I think there's something interesting about radical economic possibilities opened up by autonomous institutions that are able to do that.
I think this isn't driven by state, I think it has to be almost a rights driven instrument, which is autonomously doing it. And that at least starts to sort of talk about a new “many to many” economy, of share recognition, it’s not function as a payment for service. It's a wrapper of gift for all of us.
DH: I love that proposal. And it's funny, because my next question was going to be: “if you could wave a magic wand and give the central banks of the world a fundamentally different mandate, what would it be?” But I think what you're speaking to, it's something that probably will be necessary to form new institutions to house that sort of project.
Well, we're getting to the end of our time. So thank you. This has been absolutely fantastic, enlightening. I know everyone's going to enjoy it thoroughly. I wanted to ask you what you're reading right now.
IJ: You know, we all stand on the shoulders of brilliant people. So books that are on my radar — I'm gonna just literally open up my audiobooks and tell you the top five audiobooks that I've got, would that be alright?
DH: That's great.
Indy’s current reading list
IJ: It's kind of like...really is what it is. So no holds barred. Okay, so right now…this is gonna be fun, actually. So I have:
- The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity by Toby Ord
- The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One by Hanzi Freinacht
- Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James Scott — which I think is just superb.
- The Price of Tomorrow: Why Deflation is the Key to an Abundant Future by Jeff Booth — which looks at deflationary economics or how inflationary economics constructs correlation of wealth, which I think is very interesting and worth everyone looking at.
- Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
- Debt by our friend David Graeber — unfortunately passed away, but an incredible man.
- The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality by Katharina Pistor — a brilliant book.
- Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society by Eric A. Posner and E Glen Weyl
- Capitalism without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel
DH: Unexpected ending!
IJ: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, I think there are some very interesting points that he brings up, which I think are really important in terms of the great stagnation since the 1970s. I think he brings up some very other interesting points, around polymathic capabilities, a lot of loss of polymathic capabilities, I think it's really important for us to read across the spectrum, because I think there are some very relevant points being made. But perhaps there are different solutions to those points.
Challenging the theory of competition
And I think the theory of competition as a theory of growth has to be challenged. And I think a lot of the right’s theory of re-nationalisation or nationalism, and its current format, is constructed on the theory of competition as the only basis of growth in human development. And unless we actually read those people, I think we are missing not being able to deal with the underlying questions that they're asking, which is, what is our new theory of development? And how does that manifest itself? And if it is going to be cooperation and complex collaboration, then I think we have to build a case for that in a really fundamental way.
DH: Thank you so much. Can I ask you one quick last question, which is, how do you feel connected to your own body? What are ways that you reconnect, reintegrate?
IJ: That's really interesting. What a great question. I would say that, I think, I am disembodied from my body. And that has, at one stage, allowed me to manifest my cognitive, emotional capabilities on a different scale to my body, which has been very useful. But it also means that perhaps I'm not the person that will go through this revolution, perhaps I can scaffold something. I don't think I'm fully bodied. I think that's part of the challenge for some of us. I think we haven't been able to reconcile ourselves to ourselves, I think that's, that's probably the work and very fundamental.
DH: A lifelong journey, I think, for most of us, in a society that continually encourages and applauds disembodiment. So thank you. This has been a true honor for me as well. And I hope we get to connect again in the future.
IJ: I really appreciate the time and thank you for the work that you're doing. Because it is really important. And the work everyone else is doing here as well. I think we're all learning and please take none of this as truths. They're just perspectives to be evolved and made better by all of us.
Interview recorded on October 13, 2021. Interview transcribed by https://otter.ai with edits for length and clarity by Denise Hearn.