Real Humans Need to Shape DAOs so They Don’t Become a Rich Kid Club

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Real Humans and the DAO: It’s time for the next dynamic to start, if we want DAOs to create a better world.

DAOs are changing the old, broken paradigms of legacy systems, but to make lasting and resilient changes DAOs need help from non-technical humans.

Legendary systems theorist, Donella Meadows, shared the following wisdom about the importance of role diversity: 

“Insistence on a single culture shuts down learning. Cuts back resilience. Any system, biological, economic, or social, that gets so encrusted that it cannot self-evolve, a system that systematically scorns experimentation and wipes out the raw material of innovation, is doomed over the long term on this highly variable planet.”

DAOs are in dire need of bold and innovative thinkers, from all industries, in various diverse roles, who are dissatisfied with the status quo. These are the people who envision a better, more inclusive world, and understand the remarkable potential of Web3. 

DAOs, today, like the early Internet companies, are very developer-heavy. This has enabled DAOs to build remarkable infrastructure and tools, with the potential to change the world. But they won’t reach their potential unless they onboard more diverse and non-technical people from all walks of life, from all types of past careers, and from all different skill sets. 

Real humans and DAOs

Contributing to a DAO is a great way to leave a legacy. 

A DAO is, in its most simple form, a community of like-minded, good-hearted, people who work on impactful projects together and also have fun. There are wonderful humans behind the code. We need to do a better job of sharing their stories because storytelling is what makes us human. 

We, humans, have used storytelling for thousands of years. Ever since we developed language, we have used it to spread ideas, pass down virtues and morals, and align on a shared reality. This has enabled us to properly cooperate and collaborate with one another to achieve shared goals. Unfortunately, as the history of humanity has shown, we have had trouble cooperating. Instead, we embarked on violent crusades and caused devastating harm to those who didn’t believe what we believed. We wreaked havoc and stepped on others so we could get ahead. We created rules that said, if I win, you lose, rather than if I win, you can also win. Instead of stories of abundance, we passed down to our children stories of scarcity, competition, and war. 

I can make myself quite sad thinking about the past. I am human, after all. 

But, luckily, we humans also have the amazing power of hope. And we have the ability to write hopeful, optimistic stories about our future, rather than pessimistic, apocalyptic doomsday scenarios that seem to be in our DNA. You know the ones I’m talking about. Just turn on the news, or open certain parts of Twitter, and you’re bound to go down some negative thought spirals in your mind. 

Real humans and DAOs: The upside

Screw negativity. 

I’m by no means saying that we should ignore humanity’s problems and suffering. I’m actually advocating for the opposite. 

I am proposing that we learn from our past destructive habits, from the fears and anxieties that made us do heinous selfish things. Instead, we can be better by transcending paradigms. 

I will defer to Donella Meadows again for how we can do this:

“​​There is yet one leverage point that is even higher than changing a paradigm. That is to keep oneself unattached in the arena of paradigms, to stay flexible, to realize that NO paradigm is ‘true,’ that everyone, including the one that sweetly shapes your own worldview, is a tremendously limited understanding of an immense and amazing universe that is far beyond human comprehension. It is to “get” at a gut level the paradigm that there are paradigms, and to see that that itself is a paradigm, and to regard that whole realization as devastatingly funny. It is to let go into Not Knowing, into what the Buddhists call enlightenment.”

Transcending paradigms

DAOs are a mirror for the real world, exactly as Meadows describes the reality of the world: home to a ton of different paradigms. There are a seemingly infinite number of DAOs right now experimenting with new ways of living and working. It’s wonderful that there is so much choice and experimentation because it means DAOs are transcending paradigms! 

Over time, inevitably, many DAOs will consolidate and only the most impactful will survive. These are the ones that were able to create the most value. This is no different from startups or small businesses. 

The DAO space right now is still extremely ripe and fertile. People in DAOs are itching for new humans who can bring fresh ideas and perspectives. This is because they recognize that without fresh thought and new faces, we will replicate the same problems of legacy systems.

For sure, DAOs, and crypto more broadly, can feel, today, like a rich boy’s club. Mainstream news loves highlighting overnight successes, like Bored Ape Yacht Club. Drama and hype sell. It’s in our human DNA. 

But, as any storyteller or story fan knows, real life is more like a hero’s journey. It is full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, lessons learned and wisdom acquired. Life is a bumpy ride.  

Survival

The real heroes of DAOs are all of the people who work hard, every day, to pioneer a new mindset and paradigm. 

The most successful DAOs, and the ones who will survive the long term, are the DAOs that are already on the hero’s journey. Or, that will soon embark on it. They are the ones whose stories we should be writing – today. Because we have a responsibility to spread positive messages that will uplift and level-up these DAOs. We need to arm them with a powerful weapon: non-technical and diverse participants. Plus, if we don’t write their stories, the mainstream media will, and boy, will they come out butchered! 

Rika recently authored an anthology series on the origin of MetaCartel, capturing the spirit of the need for storytelling in the DAO space.

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