Dao.doc (2002)

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Dao.doc - March 2002

In short the project is an Holistic Open-Source, Peer-to-Peer Operating System under which applications and resources can be created, shared, developed and manipulated by users and groups. A number of benefits are inherent in this system:

  • Increased opportunity due to the overall interconnectedness of resources and information at a conceptual, meaning-based level.
  • Increased productivity resulting from the inherent evolving aspect of projects, ideas and documents.
  • More emphasis on individuality, as there is more access to opportunities involving specific skills and interests.
  • Decrease in resource consumption due to an emphasis on use, rather than ownership.
  • Progress without advertising or competition since "companies" form in response to demand.


Two years ago I started working on an implementation of a peer-peer open source system, and after a year and four re-writes I realised that all the powerful concepts I wanted to include in it (P2P, Open-Source, Document-Evolution, Fractal-Compression, Associative-Memory etc) were actually all made of the same "atoms" of programming, but applied to different kinds of resources and at different levels of abstraction (programs running within programs and so on) – an holistic model where everything fits into the same overall structure.

I probably started thinking about the project like this because I have been studying the philosophy of information and knowledge for a long time. So I put the implementation on the back-burner and started thinking about the whole thing again from a more philosophical perspective.

Now another year later, a new implementation is in progress built on the Daoist (Tao) principles. When IT is made to work in accordance with Daoism it presents us with a single "e-seed" out of which all the most powerful, efficient and democratic IT concepts emerge such as those mentioned above and many more.

All applications (groups) are accessing, defining and managing various resources (eg. Information, objects, money, credit, space, processing time etc etc) ie. Everything we need or want to do can be expressed in terms of objects and their relationships.

The Object:Relationship dichotomy (Yin:Yang) is the basic "Atom" of knowledge, it splits wholes into groups of objects and their relationships to each other and the whole. When used recursively (splitting elements of elements of elements etc) creates a "space" of many fragments of meaning, out of which large ordered structures emerge in the form of concepts, ideas and applications.

This recursive splitting can be seen as a huge "tree of knowledge" within which all the concepts, ideas and applications contribute to all others to some degree over time. This is a Holistic system which means that resources can flow freely between different disciplines of knowledge, applications or even different cultures.


The Dao is a model of the Universe which is based on the process of observation (which is, after all, the only knowledge of the Universe we have). There are many ways of modelling this process, in fact all disciplines of knowledge, are modelling this process to some degree. QM is considered very successful, or complete, because its predictions closely match experimental results.

The only possible way for us to understand the Universe is by developing ideas so that predictions based on them match our measurements (observations). Disciplines are considered more or less successful, or complete, depending on the spectrum of phenomena for which its predictions are accurate. We have a number of 'models' (disciplines) which are successful across limited areas of existence (eg. QM at the low end of scale, and Chemistry, Biology, Psychology etc), but not in a holistic way – each discipline develops from analysing a small subset of phenomena, but difficulties arise as the need for these disciplines to work together becomes more necessary (tower of Babel).

The Dao is another method of modelling and predicting phenomena, but is based on the concepts of observation, meaning, knowledge and experience rather than the cold, "in-human" concepts of energy and matter. From the Dao perspective, Space, time and matter are concepts which emerge from the act of observation.

The Dao is able to model any concept or methodology (as it encapsulates meaning itself) and it reduces down to a single 'seed' process called Dichotomy which is used recursively to move from the most general states (active and passive) to the specific subtleties of life and experience.

These models of ideas and concepts are Yang and "images" of them exhibit a current state of actuality in the form of phenomena in space and time – the Yin. The Yang is the rules, or templates or classes and is always perfectly balanced. The Yin is always out of balance because this is how the potential for change comes about.

The Dao is the law of all change, and by working in accordance with it, we can asses our current state within any context and understand how different courses of action affect that state. In reality, this is a difficult principle to learn and even harder to put into practice, so this project is about creating a new system which "manages" our resources, ideas and productivity for us.


The biggest problem with groups of people working together on a project is the management of the ideas and resources. On top of this, there are the relationship difficulties which inevitably emerge between participants.

The classical way around this is to introduce hierarchy where people are assigned specifically to manage other groups of people. But control and ill-morals are the path of least resistance under this model.

Under the new method, people dedicate the desired amount of time to whatever "jobs" are currently appropriate to them. All project development and communication is handled via the system. When a project within the system has a requirement of skills, then opportunity flows to those who are receptive and match the requirements.

All communications, statistics, profits, goals etc within a public project (or company) are publicly available, because the company would have formed from public interest and ideas in the first place. The system manages the people-networking, management and communication side and implements the resource "flow" (surplus flows to deficit) so that progress can occur.

Active Information

Everything is defined in terms of the Object:Relationship dichotomy. As the system evolves, so imbalance emerges - surplus and deficit in various contexts throughout the tree. All structures are subject to the "Way" or Flow which is a simple process that affects the structure allowing it to evolve naturally – the surplus distributes out to the deficits within similar contexts.

The Way itself also exhibits active and passive aspects. The passive side is entropy – the quest for balance, the expending of potential (the energy, or potential of the active elements is expended on changing the passive). The active side of the Way is creative Human input – opinion, the interface.

Active Groups (Applications)

Groups are emergent (explained below) – groups form from sameness of opinion, and subgroups from sameness within the difference of opinion.

Differences in opinion (eg. Regarding interpretation, colours layout, project goals, creative works etc) automatically "solidify" into groups, and within these groups, subgroups form from similarities in the more specific differences of opinion.

Applications are simply groups which exhibit active elements (ie goals and methods, they do something) as opposed to passive groups which are more about sharing and refining information.


  • Applications are contexts within which documents are viewed

Both applications and documents are part of the same holistic tree, so any part of the tree can be used as the context (way of viewing and editing) any other part of the tree – except that some parts will be more "application" biased and others more "document" biased.

The context (application) can be changed while editing a document, so different informational or active properties can be created and manipulated for any one object (document).


Education plays an important role in this system, many contexts (applications) will be oriented towards knowledge and teaching. Any point within the tree (concept, idea, application, document etc) placed within a teaching context will result in various educational means of presenting the concept.

Placing the whole tree within an educational context will educate people on the system itself and its current state, and how to make the most of it.


The method of information propagation throughout the system network is Brownian motion (like particles being randomly battered around, or the changing of share prices in the stock market). This kind of motion is random and indeterminate when analysing passing fragments of information at the network scale, but each node exhibits powerful emergent phenomena at a higher scale (the cumulative properties of many information fragments)

It's because the information fragments move in accordance with the Dao that these phenomena emerge. Each fragment is a small particle of meaning which has its own small effect on some area(s) of the current state. So overall, the current state (the Yin) becomes a dynamic topology of meaning.


There are two areas of actual "programming" in the system; the Brownian-motion layer connecting the nodes (peers) and the Interface layer. The actual applications emerge from within the system.

All the programming is documents within the system itself, so that every aspect of the system is subject to all individual opinion to some degree.

Open-Source doesn't really apply to applications (Active groups) within the system because there is no actual programming, just active structures of meaning and flow.

Application Examples

  • Peer-peer
  • media sharing / recommendation
  • news / current affairs etc etc

Creative Projects

  • Media creation, collaborative, dynamic and targeted
  • Resource and Time Management
  • Resource and scheduling is flexible, specifying criteria and constantly presenting feedback, on pending requirements, and building information on where users and groups areas of expertise and efficiency lie.
  • A pending requirement example:
Move packages X,Y and Z from A to B before time T

Companies and Projects

  • There is no need for advertising because companies are formed in response to demand.
  • There's no competition, because the only way more than one company can exist in the same domain, is if specialist needs demanding them have emerged.
  • No hierarchy, just participation and agreed "values" for project "positions"

Currency and Integration

  • Currency in this system is purely a tool for comparing apples with oranges, allowing the exchange of resources from different domains (of course this allows easy conversion between resources and classical money).
  • The currency value of various resources is democratic, but locally dynamic changes emerge due to influences such as geography, seasons and demographics.
  • No need for loans in this model, and therefore no debt, interest or banks.
  • Setting up transparent structures (non-profit trusts)
  • No individual ownership...
  • Legal documents


The splitting of a whole into object and relationship which
Peer to Peer (P2P)
P2P peer to peer is a type of networking environment where all...
Traditional networks use a model called Client-Server in which a single computer holds all client information centrally. Two major problems with the Client-Server model are:
  • Load. As the number of clients increase, so the server must be upgraded to handle the higher traffic.
  • Bandwidth. The required bandwidth to the server is very high, because many clients are accessing it at the same time. It is an unbalanced traffic distribution which leads to congestion.
  • Redundancy. All clients information is in one place, and therefore high-capacity backup procedures are required.
P2P does not suffer from these inefficiencies, resources are evenly distributed across the network topology. Information is also distributed, so redundancy is inherent in the system.
Open (Open Source)

From the users angle, Open-Source is simply...

But it has also taken on a meaning from the software development side in that projects are "publicly" developed and often rely heavily on user contributions and ideas.

The next generation of Open-Source will be automated, so that the only people who are involved in the development of a product are the people who use it. This is Document Evolution where simply ideas can form into actuality guided by the power of groups of people.

Also, Open-Source is spreading to more than just software, it is used for documents and product specifications and soon will spread into business and physical products.

This is the reason that corporations are so against it.

Everything in the system fits into a part of the same...
Emergence is a phenomenon where apparently random interactions on one scale lead to overall predictable stable behaviours at a higher scale (when observing the overall behaviour of many interactions together)
eg. Gas laws, QM
This system exhibits emergence
From many feedback systems
Dichotomy when fed back upon itself will quickly lead to chaos out of which new behaviours emerge.
Fractal Compression
Associative memory and sameness