Praxorium was launched in 2019 as an experiment in creating and holding a space -- an ecosystem -- for harnessing collective intelligence to actively work on managing wicked social challenges. If (and when!) the experiment proves successful in terms of attracting sufficient community engagement and financial donations (approximately AUD $50,000 per year) to assure Praxorium's ongoing viability and development, Praxorium will be legally constituted as a not-for-profit organisation.In the meantime, Praxorium's founders are covering all costs of the Praxorium project as a gift to humanity. If you would like to support the project and help ensure its continuance, donations will be gratefully received via the founder's personal Patreon page.
Regardless of source, amount or timing, donations to Praxorium will always be treated as non-refundable, unconditional gifts with no strings attached, and reported openly and transparently.
In practice, a "non-refundable gift with no strings attached" means that Praxorium does not ever undertake to work towards particular outcomes, render any pre-defined services, or privilege any line of inquiry or interest. The purpose of the Praxorium ecosystem is to provide an open, safe, unpolluted, lightly moderated space for collaboration to the benefit of all life on our beautiful planet.
We believe that the unconditional gift approach to funding is critical to enable Praxorium to maintain as clear a separation as possible from our current paradigm, including its institutions, classification frameworks and underlying assumptions, in developing the ecosystem needed to support the emergence of next-paradigm solutions.
We humans tend to focus on the things we define and measure, in the sense that our actions and our perceptions are goal-directed. We make sense of the world around us by classifying it, by comparing and contrasting, deciding whether to include or ignore each stimulus on the basis of whether or not it is relevant to us. This process of storytelling and meaning-making and focusing on relevant information while excluding irrelevant information is critical to our daily survival. However, it also makes it extraordinarily difficult to see outside the goal-directed boxes we have created for ourselves, which becomes a problem when what we really need to determine is whether or not those boxes are still performing the functions we originally created them to perform.
As Einstein said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Changing our thinking is not easy.
The social and financial structures we have created in to organise our civilisation also exert often unseen influences on our thought patterns and cultural norms.
Whenever a group of people -- such as a project team within an organisation -- focus on solving a problem, they operate within a set of constraints which limit and shape the forms a solution can take. Some of these constraints might be explicitly recognised, such as limitations on the amount of money and time and people available to work on the project. Other constraints tend not to be explicitly recognised, although in reality, they will frequently exert as much if not more influence over the decisions made and actions taken by the team -- and therefore have greater influence over the outcomes -- than do those constraints which are explicitly recognised. So, for example, a pharmaceutical company like any "organism" has a strong interest in its own survival, and will tend to have cultural norms that effectively assume its continued survival as a (generally unacknowledged) constraint on any actions taken in solving a problem. If the best approach to solving the problem, from the perspective of the human species and the planet as a whole, involves "death" of the pharmaceutical company, this option will not even be considered by the project team because the requirement of their employer's survival is taken for granted as an implicit goal of the project.
Similar dynamics are at play in government departments and most not-for-profit organisations as well. A project team working within a government department must constrain its thinking within the limits of power and jurisdiction of the government department (whether or not this works to solve the problem). A project team working for a not-for-profit organisation must obey whatever conditions have been placed on the funding provided to the not-for-profit organisation by its sources of funding, as well as towards the goal of continuing the "life" of not-for-profit organisation itself.
The Praxorium ecosystem experiment is designed to avoid as many of those structural constraints as possible, by:
Ultimately, Praxorium is focused on maintaining the integrity of the process, on praxis, rather than on achieving particular end goals on behalf of its patrons.