A New War for Power

Robb SmithCognitive, Ethical, Free, How should we relate to the social justice movement?, Leadership, Money, Perspectives, Politics, Presentations, Video 3 Comments

Black Lives Matter. MeToo. North Korea. Robert Mueller. Fake news. What do these and dozens of other headlines have in common? Join Robb as he explains how they all point to a new war for power that is currently underway: how power is being used and misused, how power is changing, and who will have power when the momentous leap into the transformation age is done.

Power is a natural and necessary feature of the universe. But the rise of the Green global operating system since the 1950s has changed power forever, making it a central front in the culture war while also enabling the emergence of new power players in the global evolutionary stack–platforms, and their power to convene. The structure of power has changed, and it has dramatic implications for every aspect of human life.

Start Your Integral Life for just $1

Access all content, practices, videos and more for only $1 for the first 30 days! Then only $15/month after that.

Free signup bonus #1: The Ken Wilber Biography Series (retail price $75)

Free signup bonus #2: The Future of Spirituality video course (retail price $125)


Robb Smith

About Robb Smith

Robb Smith is a leading thinker on the Transformation Age and the global Integral movement. He is the creator of the augmented leadership platform Context, co-founder and CEO of Integral Life and founder of the Institute of Applied Metatheory.


  1. Avatar

    As always: mind opening. I would love to hear some more about your assertion, Robb, that the Millenial generation has much more relative power than previous younger generations. Here it is just stated as a fact (or assertion)–almost as if it should be self-evident to anyone listening that this is so.
    Well, how is this so? What is an example of this? I am not sure I clearly see this (but then again: I don’t have children, so might not be clued in enough.) From anything I’ve heard from Robb, I am certain this assertion doesn’t come without something to back it up, but would love to know more about it.
    What are signs that the Millenial generation has so much power? How does that power show itself? How is it, for example, higher than the political power the baby boomers seemed to have in the 60s, which seems so much more apparent, at least in the lower right and left quadrants.
    Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on this.

  2. Avatar

    Oh, By the way, I’m referring to the statements around 17:30 in the video, regarding the power of the Millenial Generation.

  3. Avatar

    Hi Markus, when Corey mentioned to me that there was a question on the piece that I should look at, I guessed that it might be about this assertion. I think that it is both self-evident and backed by the data, but let’s walk through it and see.

    In all prior societal formations, the prevailing power was one that accrued with time and age: in ancient times, as today, we can see that political power, administrative power, the power to kill (e.g., command militaries), the power of the purse etc. all accrued, in general, to those with age. It mostly had to be this way because the prior forms of power were, ontologically speaking, forms of power that accrued over time (and with wisdom, tribal esteem, reputation, commercial success etc.). (Obviously with the average, archaic age of death in the 30s, we have to speak in relative terms here.)

    Let’s be clear here that I’m not referring to the one-off situation of the young monarch, scientist, artist, politician, etc.: we have seen throughout history that extraordinary and disruptive innovation is generally a young person’s game (from philosophy to science to the conquest of an Alexander the Great). I’m also not referring to family dynasties, which might bestow power to a given young person but is not relevant to the prevailing level of societal power, as such. I am referring to the power structure of those eras, where even with innovation coming up from the younger generations, the entrenched power structure itself was prone to favor the older simply by virtue of the fact that power accrued over time.

    This has changed for the first time with the transition to convening power, because it is the first form of power driven by a new ontological emergent in the form of platforms (themselves liberated by the transistor, which enabled human society to be global). Platforms themselves are almost purely a young person’s domain because they’re a form of power driven by noospheric collaboration in real-time across a community of the engaged. I’m simplifying in crude but accurate ways here, but people with families don’t have the time to stay online and hack away at Github forks for the fun of it. And yet that’s exactly where the real “level” of evolution is right now.

    In other words, we’re seeing an emergent that has reversed the heretofore power hierarchy where more power accrues over time, and instead it favors those who are younger because they have fewer attachments, fewer deeper responsibilities, and less need to play by the rules of existing structures. And in a real way they are much closer to where the action is at the leading-edge because the action is an edge: the edge of the codebase, whether OpenCog AI, Watson, 3d printing etc. So they can hack away at the noosphere and create genuinely novel emergents that disrupt and reconfigure the prior forms of power. It doesn’t matter that 99.999% of those experiments fail, the few that succeed have changed almost everything: AirBNB threatens billions of dollars in capital in the hotel business; Instagram has completely changed the advertising and modeling business; Facebook has disrupted not only elections but advertising; Uber has disrupted the transportation business; Bitcoin (promises to) reconfigure fiat currency; and so on.

    Notice, too, that these innovations and disruptions are a positive feedback loop, reinforcing both the rewards of continuing to experiment on the noosphere but also the access and tools to do so. There’s almost no existing power structure that can’t be threatened with a keyboard today, and that is wildly favorable to the young, rebellious, anarchic or unconventional. This is exactly the kind of co-arising deep structure that we’d expect at apex Green, and it both reinforces and is fed by aperspectival cognition, relativistic values, disruptive technologies, alternative currencies, fragmented cultures, analog genders, etc.

Leave a Comment