Meg Lee Chin

There is no doubt that there is a frenzied movement on planet Earth toward the centralization of power and control by those at the top of the human hierarchy. The most recent example of a move toward this totalitarianism is the SOPA bill which will result in the abolition of internet free speech.

The antidote to centralized control from above is a parallel movement from below toward a personal self sufficiency revolution through the use of open source software and hardware. The movement of the manufacturing of products away from large scale operations into smaller home scaled setups could spark a creative renaissance never before witnessd on planet Earth. This potential is most evident in the Personal Fabrication or Personal Factory movement.

At the heart of this movement are self-replicating machines such as the "RepRap" which is an open source hardware based 3d printer capable of printing the parts which can be used to clone itself. By putting manufacturing in the hands of people instead of multinational corporations, we will do away with the inhumanity of the assembly line and the reduction of human beings into robots expending their life's energy performing mind numbingly repetitive tasks. The opportunity for creativity is vast and no longer remains only in the hands of the few. We can all be artists and inventors and not just cogs in the machinery of the factory with only a privileged few doing the more interesting jobs while the rest labor like slaves.

Every idealist has dreamed of a world of true equality and equal opportunity for all. In the past this dream was consistently hijacked through concentrated and centralized power. As a species we were beginning to accept this state of existence as an inevitable consequence of the selfishness and sheep-like tendencies of human nature. But along came the internet and the playing field has changed. The world wide web has proven that the generosity of humans is beyond the expectations which most of us have been lead to believe. The internet provides us almost limitless access to knowledge shared freely by people from all over the globe.

I'm currently working on a solar panel design which can be created at home and would bring down the cost of solar power for small scale usage. I have no background in physics, mechanics, manufacturing or industrial design. But through information on blogs, forums and Youtube I am able to learn enough about electricity and optics to take a reasonable stab at building one. This is something which would have unthinkable even 20 years ago. If I fail I will at least have gained knowledge and taken a small step closer toward self sufficiency.

We have been educated to believe that we must spend out lives learning one specialized trade in order to fit neatly like cogs in the machinery of human civilization. We label and define ourselves by rigid definitions based on race, sex, gender, class, astrology signs, job status, etc. But as humans we are multifaceted creatures with limitless potential. Our minds stretch far beyond the confines of our skulls.

Today we as a human race have a powerful window of opportunity to liberate ourselves away from centralized control. Through the open source movement we can as individuals become self sufficient by sharing the knowledge required to provide our own food, clothing, shelter, energy. But the race is on as our rulers are racing to close the floodgates. It's time to demolish the barriers and continue to let knowledge flow free!