For my last post of 2021, I thought I would talk a little bit about some of the intellectual themes I’ve gotten interested in during the year and intend to pursue through the next year. I’ll also cover a couple resolutions of sorts, or at least some behaviours or dispositions I’ll try and cultivate during 2022.
For those who have been following my blog, Twitter or online presence in general, you may know that I began my first full-time job in government this year. My current role as a system analyst is a wide-ranging one, with a variety of technical, research and communication and organisational competencies required. It’s been a fun and challenging role so far and encompasses a number of my broader skills and interests, including research, governance and utilising technology in the public good. I see myself working within the public service or on projects and in organisations related to the public sector for the foreseeable future. Making this decision, as I mentioned in an earlier post (https://scottjdavies.com/2021/10/18/optionality-commitment-and-choosing-a-path/), also frees up a lot of cognitive bandwidth to think about other things.
Throughout 2021, like many people, I’ve also become keenly interested in web3. I’ve developed this interest for a different reason than most, though. As I’ve explored and participated in a number of web3 projects and DAOs, including Gitcoin, the Commons Stack and Verses, I’ve become more interested in the possibility of DAOs and the alternate governance structures they utilise to help inform how traditional government may work.
Closely related to this, I’ve been thinking about digital governance and public goods provision. How might the gap between policymaking, public service provision/procurement and the cutting edge of digital innovation in startups and technological enterprises be bridged? It’s a vital question that I think needs far more attention than it currently gets. From my vantage point, there are many people with knowledge and experience in either government or the private sector, but far less interest in meaningfully leveraging the best of both worlds to solve pressing challenges in governance. I want to make one of my professional goals in 2022 and beyond figuring out what I can do to bridge this gap, and how.
Among all this, I’ve also come across the Foresight Institute’s Existential Hope program. Existential Hope (https://www.existentialhope.com/about), succinctly put, is “generating common knowledge to catalyze cooperation towards beautiful futures“. It combines rational, measured techno-optimism, innovation and positive-sum thinking in order to think about and help create a more positive vision for the world. In a way, it provides an overarching framework for the work I’m doing in government, digital governance and public goods. I’m looking forward to working more closely with the Existential Hope program in 2022, including attending online meetups, hosting Interintellect Salons on the topic and more.
Behaviours and attitudes to cultivate
If there’s one real ‘resolution’ that I have for 2022, it is living unconditionally. Basically, this means not placing arbitrary conditions on how I need to live life, or on what I ‘should’ be doing. In others, it’s being less extrinsically motivated and more intrinsically motivated. It’s about removing mental blocks that suggest I ‘can’t’ do something for one arbitrary reason or another.
My previous post, which was about finding and committing to a path, touches on some of these themes as well. For the first time in possibly my entire adult life, I have a clear idea about where I’m going in life, what I’m willing to focus on and trade-off, and cultivating a positive mindset toward doing so. Instead of looking at my work and my personal life as separate entities, I now see how the two inform and are integrated into each other. Naively fixating on one aspect (usually work), hoping for other things to sort themselves out will be a thing of the past.
2022, like this year was, will be a year of considerable challenges and change for me. It will be the culmination and execution of a lot of preparation, thought and practice I have done in the last few years. I’m very excited about what this year will bring and I can’t wait to get started.