The Abs-Tract Organization: Metamodern Think Tank

THE ABS-TRACT ORGANIZATION

THE ABS-TRACT ORGANIZATION

Metamodern Think Tank
for global civil society and absolute social philosophy

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A 'nous' world order is emerging...

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      + Business Plan
      + Abstraction White Paper
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​​
CALL TO ACTION:

TATO is actively seeking collaborators, partners, and board members from academia, consulting, government, media, and other organizations and think tanks, to join our meta- think tank platform to speak the simple truth to complex power, and provide global solutions to systemic problems.
     
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Welcome to TATO
The Abs-Tract Organization ("TATO") is a global think tank and braintrust committed to definitively solving the world's abstract (systemic) social problems through a high-level framework of "abstraction."
All problems are solvable.
PRIMER VIDEOS
See the simple truth in the big picture.
  1. What’s Wrong with TED Talks?
    What’s Wrong with TED Talks? Benjamin Bratton at TEDxSanDiego 2013
  2. If The World Were 100 People
    If The World Were 100 People | GOOD Data
  3. 21st Century Enlightenment
    RSA ANIMATE: 21st Century Enlightenment
  4. Abstraction & Systems Thinking
    A simple schematic overview of abstraction. From systemsthinking.io
  5. The Spread of Religion (map)
    How the five major world religions spread. Animated map, from Business Insider.
  6. Zizek on Trump's Win
    Slavoj Žižek: How Political Correctness Elected Donald Trump | 12th Nov. 2016 | Big Think
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Change the worldview. TATO
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Before you can change the world, you have to change the worldview. ​Ideology and belief shape and distort our social institutions for the worse, so TATO delivers worldview analysis and truth disclosure to disprove sectarian dogma and delusion. We also look at the big picture, without compromising the details at the local level. Evolutionary globalization is an inevitable abstract force determining the macro conditions of our social system. Understanding this compels collaboration to reconcile competing metanarratives. TATO is committed to the challenges of secular and cosmopolitan truth in order to actualize our common humanity. Metamodernism is emergent.


METAMODERNISM

METAMODERN SOCIETY

'The metamodern sensibility "can be conceived of as a kind of informed naivety, a pragmatic idealism", characteristic of cultural responses to recent global events such as climate change, the financial crisis, political instability, and the digital revolution. [The authors] asserted that “the postmodern culture of relativism, irony, and pastiche" is over, having been replaced by a post-ideological condition that stresses engagement, affect, and storytelling.' [ WikipedIa ]
     
"A metamodern society is one where the problems of modernity have been solved: a society where we are no longer alienated, that no longer has excessive inequalities, and is ecologically sustainable. The metamodern society is possible to achieve; it constitutes a higher stage of development of society. But it is no utopia in the sense that no problems are present. As humanity approaches this developmental stage, new problems emerge, many of which are yet to be known." [ Metamoderna.org ]    

RESEARCH AGENDA

  1. Meta-theory
    Meta-theory refers to theory about theory; studies about studies. This includes meta-analysis and other meta- tools for deconstructing the knowledge-power nexus, building consensus, and fostering epistemic communities. Meta-theory investigates the philosophy of science and asks higher-order questions. TATO is a meta- think tank.
  2. Public Sociology
    The public has a right to know about sociology and society, to put ideas into action. Public sociology is the field to communicate insights from social theory into the public discourse. We will produce reports, videos, lecture series, and educational tools to instill a 'sociological imagination' for global civil society.
  3. Epistemic Justice
    Knowledge is power, and constructed ignorance creates injustices that arise as a result of the deprivation of key knowledge. Epistemic Justice seeks to address the "knowledge gaps" in society for just social outcomes. Consumer protection is an example institutional enforcement mechanism. Rooted in Fricker's concept of 'epistemic injustice.'
  4. Globalization
    The world is deeply interconnected.. A comprehensive approach of systems theory, worldviews, and the philosophy of history lays bare the collective existential threat of climate change, a key feature of which has been its systematic denial. We are advancing global civil society ahead of corporate and state hegemony.
  5. Military-Industrial Complex
    Referred to as the 'defence industrial base' by insiders, the war mahcine has grown to include, media, academia, congress, sports, entertainment, pharma, oil, and the war on drugs, among other industries. By definitively exposing the structure of the 'systemic conspiracy,' we can demonstrate effective demilitarization policies.
  6. Abstraction
    Abstraction is generally defined as a conceptual process of complexity reduction that highlights the essential properties or first principles of a given object or idea. It is a manifold term differentiated across many fields: math, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and social theory. Critical thinking, abductive reasoning.

Dare to know, better. TATO
(education, enlightenment, sociology of knowledge)

Education is not only a universal human right, it is an investment in social capital and is the best hedge against tyranny. Philosophy fails to solve our problems in part because we fail philosophy, therefore advancing critical thinking is a core principle of TATO, grounded in the sociology of knowledge. 

In some historicist views, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust were a consequence of the Enlightenment faith in reason, but in truth fascism is the perversion and rejection of reason, logic, facts, wisdom, and common sense, so powerful as to enslave some of the brightest minds in its service. "Dare to know," the famous Enlightenment slogan signifying the risks associated with pursuing knowledge, is not sufficient. We should know better.

SWOT ANALYSIS

  1. - Intellectual leadership through having the courage to speak truth to power. - Epistemic authority based on self-evident truths and moral absolutism (categorical justice). - Unique academic methodology via "abstraction" and political sociology (knowledge and power, elites and masses).
    Strengths
    Internal/ Helpful to Objective
  2. - Truth is potentially threatening to social institutions and belief systems. - Philosophy and critical thinking are typically a hard sell. To many people, a life of mind offers diminishing returns on investment. - The diversity of knowledge needs poses a challenge for universal education.
    Weaknesses
    Internal/ Harmful to Objective
  3. - Convergent forces of ecological crisis and social movements = political climate change. - Large resources for social innovation (grants/ funding). - Product potential: textbooks, documentaries, and consulting. - Broad demand for truth prompts media/ news service.
    Opportunities
    External/ Organizational
  4. - Status-quo is unjust and intransigent. Systemic corruption is mystified. - Incumbent power refuses to abdicate. Power elite engage in narrative warfare. - Market competition and corporate hegemony. - Urgency: Time is against us. Every delay is costly.
    Threats
    External/ Environmental
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Political Climate Change. TATO
(environmentalism, permaculture, anti-corporatism)

There is concurrently a global climate crisis and identity crisis. Political boundaries are socially constructed and tentative, yet their reification locks public consciousness into national matrices. The solution is 'political climate change,' a permacultural shift in the status-quo where enviromental imperatives merge, humanist policies align, and cosmopolitan values spread, into a mature and responsible civil discourse and political agenda. Although ​'climate change’ is a popular catch-all term, TATO considers it a misnomer and euphemism for human pollution and ecological devastation, which serves to mask the decades-long systematic supression of this knowledge from public policy.

TIMELINE

  1. DEC 2016
    Outreach
    Email campaign, social media, + Business Plan
  2. JAN 2017
    Fundraising 1.0
    Crowdsourcing
  3. FEB
    Team Building/ Board Formation
    Networking, negotiation, attract volunteer army
  4. MAR
    Found Organization
    Establish logistics, administrative operations
  5. APR-MAY
    Begin Operations
    Writing, research, media presence, "abstraction" proof of concept
  6. JUN-JUL
    Research Projects
    Initiate research agenda, secure university partners, found journal
  7. AUG-SEP
    Fundraising 2.0
    Grants, venture capital, philanthropic support
  8. OCT-NOV
    Public Engagement/ Consulting
    Public sociology, critical consulting, advise policy
  9. DEC
    Think Tank Legitimacy
    Expand staff, establish locations, long term vision, continue global outreach...

Critical Mass Society. TATO
   (critical thinking, social movements, activism)
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O​ne of TATOs principle campaigns is to promote common sense through critical thinking. We perform a service of public sociology, which seeks to engage the public with critical knowledge for a better society by bridging academic social theory and folk theories of how society works (or doesn’t). Our methodology is to use critical theory to depoliticize knowledge and address the root causes of social issues. TATO teaches empowerment through knowledge by producing research and media to raise awareness about the 'epistemic' knowledge gaps between obvious truths and pragmatic policy. Political correctedness must be eschewed, and it must be disclosed: society (particularly the US) has inarguably suffered a 'dumbing down' at the hands of corporate imperatives and political ideologues. 'Critical mass society' suggests a minimum intellectual standard for a population to govern itself democratically. As a think tank and critical consultancy, TATO upholds a duty to call out and hold accountable leaders and lawmakers who continually breach minimum standard of reason in policy, and thereby ethics. If knowledge is power, then power to the people. When the masses are critical, society is free.

WHAT WE DO

  1. Research
    - Six core research areas - Quantum social science - Critical theory revival - Consilience and consensus building - Think tank governance and coordination
  2. Public Sociology
    - Educating citizenry, advising policy - Promoting a sociological imagination - Social experiments - Focus groups - Critical thinking seminars - Environmental activism - Anti-war education and activism
  3. Social Capitalism
    - Investing in social innovation and sustainable enterprise - Divestment hedge funds; making fossil fuel and military profiteering unfeasible, and eventually illegal - Bitcoin and alternative monetary systems - Open source systems
  4. Worldview Auditing
    - Ideological deconstruction and rehabilitation - intelligence/ Intellectual analysis - conflict resolution - mental health diagnostics
  5. Apostasy/ Whistleblowing
    - Cult deprogramming - Enabling apostasy (leaving religion) - Encouraging, rewarding, and protecting whistleblowers - Elite abdication; Encouraging and facilitating the retirement of power mongering elite
  6. Political Absolution
    - Mea culpa consultation - Metanoia (change of mind) - Reform and restitution - Truth and reconciliation
  7. Critical Consulting
    - Corporate social responsibility (CSR) - Labour rights - Good will demonstration - Special reports
  8. Consumer Protection
    - Regulating advertising standards - Fair trade - Knowledge interventions
  9. AbstrActivism
    - Social movements - Global civil society - Thought experiments
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Opening the doors of perception. TATO
(consciousness, transcendence, experiential learning, psychedelics)
     

TATO advocates the emerging paradigm of public health that embraces the positive role of psychedelics, and is critical of the 'medicalization of society' (pharmacological supremacy). This movement dovetails with ending prohibition and the catastrophic 'war-on-drugs', maintained via the military-industrial complex and systematic propaganda campaigns. Think tanks that support the status-quo drug policy are wilfully ignorant if not demonstrably unscientific, corrupted, and politicized by special interests, working against the public interest. It is of paramount importance to TATO to transform global public policy to acknowledge of the truth about substances, which have legitimate uses including medicinal, therapeutic, recreational, and spiritual.

Meet The Team
Brent Cooper
Executive Director
 ... ​is the sole Founder, serving as President and Executive Director of The Abs-Tract Organization. His primary training is as a political sociologist, focusing on knowledge- power dynamics and elite-mass relations. He holds a B.A. in International Relations from UBC, where he won the Mack Eastman United Nations Essay Prize and received a Graduating Student Leader Award. He subsequently earned an MSc. in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics. He wrote, produced, and directed the film The Abs-Tract: Core Philosophy.
   

Dr. Thomas Kemple
Advisor
... is a sociology professor at the University of British Columbia. His research expertise includes contemporary social and cultural theory (including post-structuralist, semiotic, psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theory); the history of the social sciences; sociological classics, canons, and founders; literary and interpretive methods; aesthetic sociology; the visual representation of concepts and arguments. His work on the 'sociological imagination' and public sociology is particularly inspiring and relevant to TATO.
   
Dr. Adrian Smith
Advisor
 ... ​​attended the University of Wales Aberystwyth, completing a BA in Geography and an MA in Space, Place and Politics. He then then completed a PhD exploring the conceptual geographies of management consultancy. He retains an active interest in the philosophy of research, and particularly in methodological innovation that bridge the gaps between theory and empirical data at different scales.
   


+ Join our team
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Experimental philosophy is intellectual masturbation over big data. Real radical ideas prompt metanoia (mind change) and have definitive social justice outcomes; they are not bourgeois food for thought. TATO brings power- knowledge to the grassroots with AbstrActivism, and conduct focus groups and social experiments that affact positive change. 

The Prisoner's Dilemma is a classic lesson in game theory, but many conventional thought experiments are impotent, if not anti-intellectual. The famous 'trolley car problem' presents a false dilemma that forces one to weigh life either numerically or selfishly, where the only free choice is to opt out of the insanity. The complex morality of the world demands better experiments; truly thoughtful ones.

Thoughtful Experiments.
​TATO
(ethics, morality, humanism, compassion, experimental philosophy, reform, resolutions)

SIMILAR ORGS

Media non-profits:
  • BigThink
  • TED
  • Brave New Films
  • Adbusters
  • The Long Now Foundation

Science and Secularism:
  • Centre for Inquiry
  • Project Reason (Sam Harris) 
  • Reason.org
  • CFAR (rationality.org)
  • Institute for Cultural Evolution

Research/ Policy - Philosophy/Sociology:
  • The Fraser Institute
  • The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy
  • Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Public Policy Forum
  • Caledon Institute for Social Policy
  • Sociologists without Borders
  • The Society for the Study of Social Problems
  • Demos

Other:
  • The Center for Design and Geopolitics
  • Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
  • Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford
  • Politics&Ideas.org
  • ​OnThinkTanks.org

Anatomy of the body politic. TATO
   (public health,  social systems)

Public relationships. ​TATO
(media, discourse, disclosure, communications, PR, propaganda, truth and reconciliation)     

The public relations (PR) industry has largely devolved into whitewashing damage control firms, advertising consumerism, sanitizing corporate image, stonewalling criticism, and coordinating with media to manufacture consent. TATO emphasizes public relationships, establishing and fostering trust through honesty, disclosure, and education. The mainstream media (MSM) has disgraced itself in the 2016 election cycle by colluding with the political elite and hoisting a demagogue into the spotlight. TATO seeks to reform and rehabilite journalistic imperatives and restore public trust. Think tanks are not exempt from from image issues, and they misrepresent and skew their findings to appease donors. TATO actively bucks these trends and strives to project unadulterated truth. Accordingly, we unabashedly support the patriotic disclosures by Wikileaks, The Intercept, The Guardian, the individuals involved, such as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, and countless others of the fifth estate. Citizen journalism and social media are changing the conversation, and TATO is engaged.
Society is sick, and TATO provides sociological diagnostics and expertise on the anatomy of the body politic to cure its chronic problems. For example, it is not a coindence that the United States, one of the most advanced countries on earth, suffers from various preventable health epidemics and political regression/ retardation (delayed progress). There is a connection between the two, and public health and political science can inform each other, perhaps even solve each others problems. Simply put, both health and social problems are mystified for profit, and their deconstruction reveal simple cost effective solutions. By combining physical and mental fitness we can save two birds with one stone. ​
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PROJECT
​POTENTIAL

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  • Journal articles / s tart a Journal (of Abstraction)
  • Meta- research projects
  • Think Tank Coordination Layer
  • Podcasts
  • Educational videos
  • Documentary/ Vignettes
  • Infographics and Data Visualization
  • Political Commentary
  • Artificial Intelligence and Critical Thinking
  • Universal Curriculum; textbook series/ book publication
  • Performance Art (AbstrActivism)
  • Social Experiments
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A 'proof of concept' is "evidence, typically derived from an experiment or pilot project, which demonstrates that a design concept, business proposal, etc., is feasible." TATO is a pilot project for abstraction, among other things, to validate its capabilties and potential as a liberatory epistemology. It is literally the proof of a concept. Abstraction proper exhibits a faithful correspondence between model and reality (ie. the blueprint matches the building, the formula embodies a physical law, etc...). In social reality, things are less clear, but not insurmountable. For example, the abstract concept of religion informs its concrete instantiations. Through this mode of critical thinking, people and institutions can better understand the complex world around them. Using infographics, dataviz, and other advanced tools, we can model complex systems and simulate the optimal provision of social goods and services, to prove our concept.

Proof of Concept.​ TATO
   (geometry, proportion, perspective, proof, human rights, corrections, relativity, modelling social systems)

Our authority and integrity stem not merely from an aggregate of evidence, but from proof, in the definitive geometric sense. Notwithstanding our high standard of proof, TATO contends that much of what demands proof should require none at all. Case in point is human rights. That think tanks and universities expend enormous resources on progress yet perpetuate an extremely unequal and unjust status-quo is appalling. MLK Jr. said "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." We admire MLK as a progressive hero, but TATO prefers to argue that the straightest distance between two points is a line. From moral arcs to straight lines and righteous angles, as a lofty ideal we insist on immediate justice in the abstract. Concurrently, we reject satisficing, sub-optimal outcomes, horse-trading, compromising, trade-offs, lesser-evils, necessary evils, political correctness, let alone theft, corruption, or any other business-as-usual 'banality of evil.' In other words, we take a moral absolutist stance and we prove it, even if its not practical or feasible yet. Why? Because TATO won't settle for anything less, and neither should you.

The Abs•Tract:
Core Philosophy 
THINK HARD CORE
Core Philosophy is the ultimate fitness product, the only exercise manual you'll ever need. Learn how to sculpt your metaphysique by sharpening your mind. As long as there is ab gimmicks in the world, there will never be peace. The proof is in the concept.
Hipgnosis induction video ​  (36 minutes)
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​Reinventing the wheels of justice. TATO
   (natural law, epistemic justice, jurisprudence)

When a law itself is unjust, there is often no recourse. One has a duty to break it. Some hopeful responses are nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, but these pose lethal risks and no rewards in many cases. It takes an extraordinary act of faith, and this burden itself is unjust. Furthermore, disobeying the law does little to change it in the short term. Legal codes are unecessarily byzantine and legislation is a tedious process. Praised for its slow evolution, the justice system is still highly dysfunctional and partisan, and sometimes in very obvious and outright criminal ways (prohibition, institutional racism, mass incarceration). TATO advocates natural law and jurisprudence, abstracting a straightforward legal code grounded in univeral human rights and their provision therein. One of our central legal concepts is 'epistemic (in)justice', relating knowledge inequality to socially unjust outcomes. But we don't just need a new legal code, we need new system rules. 
CALL FOR PHILANTHROPY
TATO currently has no source of income to cover basic operating expenses, precluding even the ability to apply for grants and legally form the organization. Despite this hardship, a great deal of research and prep has already been accomplished. We require reasonable contributions to move through the first stage of development. Beyond this, TATO will depend on sponsorship from philanthropists in order to grow and carry out ambitious programs. 

CALL FOR ENTREPRENEURS
TATO is a nonprofit but also believes in its business prospects, with several commercial products and services such as mobile apps and consulting. We seek social entrepreneurs and business people to join the venture side to help TATO generate its own revenue while remaining non-partisan and value neutral.

CALL FOR SCHOLARS
We need academics to join the research network, fill board positions, co-publish articles, be interviewed (for public sociology), engage in fundraising, and spread the word. 

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
We are looking passionate volunteers to fill various roles, organized into four essential teams with sub-roles, which will work together to achieve our collective goals: 
  • Communications: Outreach (clients, customers, partners), PR (email, marketing, social media)
  • Fundraising: Grants/ Foundation money, Equity, Revenue Streams (products), Public (crowdsourcing),
  • Research: Articles (journal), Blogging, Facts/Data Management and Visualization
  • Internal (+Board): Volunteer Coordinator, Directors, Legal, Accounting
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CALL TO ACTION

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Honesty is the best public policy.​ TATO
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(public sociology, philosophy and public policy)     

It is a truism that politicians lie to get elected. People vote for leaders even knowing they are being lied to. Many public policies are built on fundamental lies. We propose full accountability, zero tolerance, and harsh penalties for participating in these patterns. This is where philosophy, public policy, and public sociology intersect. There is a general crisis of systemic corruption, lying, and strategic falsehoods. TATO aims to tackle deception head on, from the common person to the highest levels of government, business, and religion. TATO is a proponent of alterglobalization (bottom-up, empowerment of the disenfranchised), but top-down organization is also necessary. It is time to reform (or reinvent) the United Nations, a global collective that has been (anti-)socialized from its humanitarian origins into a weak instrument of US power politics. The US is in staunch denial of many of its core pathologies, such as that it is founded on enlightened principles as much as it is founded on slavery and genocide, and it is time for global truth and reconciliation; it is time for honesty in public policy.

Call to Action

Join our collective of academics, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, and organizations, to foster world peace through knowledge disclosure. 
Dare to know better.
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Reductio ad absurdum.​ TATO

Never again.
Because evil is stupid.