This is a statement to clarify (to some extent) the degree to which ZS has evolved and its current state of existence. My qualification for writing this is as nominal head of ZS, in its incarnation as a Wave Group 2 organization. If you do not know what that means… well, you should find out.
Originally ZS grew out of Transhumanism, to which it is still strongly tied via its Principles. However, the political and technological aspects now dominate in the form of ZS Projects.
In “The Good Old Days” of 2012 it was envisaged that ZS would define its actions via semi-autonomous projects which fell under different headings and which had group coordinators and so forth – like a corporate structure. This rapidly fell apart for a number of reasons, not all of which could have been foreseen. These were:
- Most people are too lazy to actually do stuff. They want to talk about it, make suggestions, criticize it… but not actively help.
- Projects that were successful were almost always due to individuals pushing forward regardless. They did not need ZS help (even if they wanted it), and found their own people. They became de facto fully autonomous.
- If they looked like they could make a lot of money… well, ZS was in at least one case cut out from it, despite financially supporting it.
- The impact of some projects could result in legal and/or political liabilities of a vague nature for anyone associated with ZS as a whole.
The latter became apparent when an American ZS member involved in Bitcoin project activity was refused entry to the UK on those grounds. Whether this was just bad luck remains unknown. However, it was enough to cause a number of resignations from high profile people within ZS when they realized it was no longer some kind of online game without real world consequences.
The response to these events was manifold.
- First, all projects current and future would be fully autonomous from inception. Their only link to ZS would be through common membership and as a consequence adherence to its Principles. Project leaders no longer answer to either the ZS leadership (such as it is) or to the ZS membership. They just do it. The corollary being, if you do not like what they are doing feel free to complain, just as they are free to ignore you.
- Second, project leaders are under no obligation to tell anyone what they are doing. In some cases (as we shall see) this is welcome, because it creates “plausible deniability” for most of the membership.
- Third, ZS “went Dark” – much of our activity is now not discussed online except via encrypted messages or face to face. Paranoia rules. The downside is that it seems that ZS is not doing as much as it once did. This is untrue.
- Fourth, It has prompted us to create our own Darknet. If you have not heard of it, it is because you do not need to.
- Fifth, ZS is going back to its roots and its definition as being a Transnational Virtual State. In other words, ZS is a statement of identity and an idealized environment hopefully conducive to the creation of “interesting things”.
Finally, as most will have noticed, we are formally allied with other like-minded organizations. This itself has a couple of implications in the light of the above. The most important is that your standing within ZS depends entirely on what you can bring to the table – the era of talk is over. The second is that we have contacts much wider than our acknowledged allied organizations. These extend across the spectrum, from the bizarre (occult groups) to political extremists, to technology hackers, to certain types of intelligence agencies.
The reason you have not heard of most of them is that they are effectively “private projects”. Our political reach goes into Greece in the West and to Ukraine/Russia in the East, with a number of common agendas. Yes, it seems we are meddling in “hot politics” of the type that results in dead bodies.
Also, in case you were wondering what people like me and Amon know of such things, the answer varies from “not much” to “nothing at all”. In fact, I am fairly certain that nobody now in ZS knows the full extent of what we are doing in the name of ZS globally. We have friends who have friends…
So, to our several thousand members I say this: Consider what you are doing here and what you want to do here in future. This is not a game (except in the mathematical sense) any more. We are doing things that will seriously annoy governments, most of which you will not hear about.
However, I will make one exception for a project that is now moderately dead, or at least no longer associated with ZS (as far as I know…). A year or two back we approached small nations in the Pacific region with a view to a joint endeavor to create a “Bitcoin Nation”. That was just before the exchange rate of BC went through the roof and governments began to take it seriously. So seriously one of our members was deported. Now imagine what that might look like to (say) the CIA or NSA. A shadowy organization attempts to subvert small nations in the Pacific in a bid to set up a money laundering haven…
On a personal note, you will find me rather less diplomatic than Amon. Like I said, your influence in ZS is entirely a function of your usefulness in a practical, proven, sense. If you have your own people and are doing something you want us to cooperate on – fine. If you are just dropping by on Facebook to say how you don’t like this or that, well, feel free to mouth off, because nobody of any import will even engage with you.
Zero State is an iceberg – most of which nobody will ever see.