• Loss of traditions/purpose

    Traditional sources of meaning: faith, family, community, and the daily fight for survival have waned as secularism, individualism, capitalism and globalism have risen.  

    FARM can complement these relatively new and immature “isms” with wisdom from nature and our past to help fill the void generating alienation, nihilism, and ideological capture.

  • Work without Meaning => Meaning without Work

    The industrial age gave us meaningless work: tedious, repetitive jobs, with micro-managing and monitoring to maximize efficiency while decreasing room for variety, autonomy, and creativity. The bright side/dark side of algorithms and robots taking much of that work from us is that many will likely be un(der)employed, perhaps paid by schemes like Universal Basic Income. Since much of our meaning comes from the work we do, we may face much more of the problems of recent decades; listlessness of youth, the nihilism of school shooters and suicide bombers, a sense of powerless that powers populist movements and scapegoating. As FARM considers the whole self, not simply homo economicus or our professional lives, we can learn to develop meaningful lives regardless of the political economy or our current role within it.

  • Political (& Social/Cultural) Discord

    Most recent populist backlashes (e.g. Brexit, Trump, Modi, Chavismo, neo-Peronism) against perceptions of elitism/globalism  can be addressed/minimized by one core FARM principle: “care” as a verb, not a feeling.

    That is, 1st distinguish between simply caring about (could be anything and nearly everything) versus what you actually do and can care for: that within your chosen fields and responsibility (building the ability to respond, not simply react.) 2nd: focus on the latter. Care for = cultivation.

  • One size fits all

    Within the self-help genre–and its more scholarly brethren, like positive psychology–even the best advice, backed by research in the cognitive sciences, really starts as “me-search”. It’s based on what worked for the authors, so, it generally has limitations, such as conformation biases, baked in. FARM takes a different approach: 1) it integrates and synthesizes diverse philosophical, scientific and wisdom traditions and 2) provides a broad framework that not only permits, but insists on, application to each individual’s context, capabilities, and values.

  • 21st Century Attention Spans

    It’s a noisy world out there. In our “Attention Economy”, the competition is fierce for our limited focus. FARM moves users from being informational hunter-gatherers, akin to our evolutionary ancestors’ foraging for food, to thinking and acting like farmers. At its core, agriculture is the deliberate tending (the root of “attention” and “intention”) of chosen “crops”: that which grows and sustains us.

    Read more about our modern attentional servitude: https://farm.fyi/freedom/vs-serfdom/

  • The Quick Fix

    Like all creatures, we conserve energy when we can. So we’ve long been attracted to magic and other promised short cuts. These days we know them as “one weird trick…” or lifehacks, but they’re the same beast. One way to spot them is that they’re usually isolated, reductive, and/or unconnected to a system or process.

    FARM is emergent: connecting all its included hacks, habits, heuristics, etc. into a larger framework.

  • A.I./Algorithms

    Artificial Intelligenceand its components, machine learning and algorithms—have a big advantage over us: it has its purpose hardwired in already. We have to develop ours deliberately and slowly.

    AI might never exterminate us, but it’s already begun slowly enslaving us. A tempting taskmaster, as AI gives us what we want, it also redesigns what we want. Meanwhile, we work building the fortunes of those algorithms’ owners. (see https://farm.fyi/freedom/vs-serfdom/)

    At least we should hedge our bets, with algorithms by humans and for humans. FARM is an organic algorithm, rooted in 10,000 years of taming nature—and ourselves, and the wisdom that generated.