How I arrived at the concept of designing the future collectively.
Ever since my teenage years I had the urge to move somewhere into the countryside where I would be independent of the civilization. I wanted to become self-sufficient and independent of the "system".
Of course, at the time it did not occur to me that one is always a part of the system, no matter how independent one might think oneself to be. I just went ahead and started making plans on how to become totally self-sufficient. For that I needed some land and all knowledge necessary to be able to grow and get everything I needed for life by myself in a sustainable way.
I enrolled in the college to study horticulture, pottery, and weaving, arguing that those were the basic skills one needed to posses in order to be independent of the society. Eventually, though, I started realizing that I could never be really free of the society I was a part of, and that if I really wanted to live in a, to me, satisfactory way, the whole society would have to be changed to suit people's real needs and wishes for a quality life.
I decided to learn what I could about the society--I enrolled in Anthropology courses. I discovered Ecological Anthropology, and from there it was a short way for me to recognize how important it was that humanity should become fully in sync with the complex alive environment it exists in--fully ecologically and socially sustainable.
The sobering realization was that there really wasn't any consensus on what "sustainability" should mean--there are many definitions of the term, and their meanings seem to be diverging with time so much, that the term itself, "sustainability" is falling out of use to the extent that some people don't even like to use the term anymore, it would seem.
Clearly--for anyone wanting a good future for oneself, for one's family, for all life on Earth, this would sure never come, as many people would want different things that they imagine as a"good future". We could all strain what we want, but because we all want a different thing, hardly any of us would ever get any satisfaction in the future--and if so, it would not last; others would soon win with their own version of reality that they might want.
What farther complicates things is that even if a local community would succeed in agreeing on what kind of sustainable community they want, and even if they would realize creating of such a sustainable community, their future would be very insecure, if the rest of the world would not become sustainable also. As things are now currently, to be able to live fully and truly transparently sustainably is antithetical to the paradigm that rules globally--this could be illustrated by the fact that, so far, mostly only rich people (rich in relation to the whole humanity, not only in relation to people of the "developed" countries) can afford to live sustainably. So far, even though it would mean real independence for many of the "third world" countries, none of them has chosen the road towards sustainable living, even if this would mean a freedom, if only from hunger, for them--such is the power of the reigning global paradigm; the reason for this is very simple--profit making is non-sustainable by the virtue of thriving more in opaque environment; sustainability is transparent--a rule of thumb: the younger a child can understand any given situation, the more such a situation is likely to be sustainable. In a transparent, sustainable situation it would be difficult to make a profit--the only profit possible to make in a sustainable culture is in re-inforcing sustainability of that culture; individuals can't make a profit there, only whole communities can.
This is more compounded by the fact that many people are not only indifferent to to the idea of sustainability, some are outright hostile to it, no-matter what the reasons for this might be.
However--and therein lies a certainty of a success for a sustainable humanity--most humans, and not only most humans, want to have a good future for themselves and for their children and kindred. All set undertake actions that are supposed to secure them a good future, and the good future doesn't happen to all, because their efforts, more often than not, get counter-acted by the efforts of others who are likewise trying to achieve a good future for themselves and the ones close to them. Very often the differences that there are among all the various individual goals result in violence--wars, social injustice, and the like.
It occurred to me that all these differences that there are among peoples, differences that not infrequently result in violence, could be sorted out in models, and this could be done on a global scale by using available programs that "hook up" all the participants' PCs into a vast supercomputer capable of vast computations on a vast scale (at least "distributed computing" comes to mind); modeling is already being used for many various complex tasks, even in social sciences.
With the access to computers of very nearly anyone in the world (that would be possible even in undeveloped countries where there would be only one computer available in a village that would be accessible to all villagers) all of those who might be involved in any kind of conflict of any kind anywhere would "sit down" (as if), and would start sorting out their differences in a model for as long as it would take to arrive at a situation that would depict a state of affairs that would be acceptable to all involved in that whichever conflict situation.
The process of such modeling might, perhaps, be considered difficult to conduct, but worth starting doing, because the alternative would be to be sorting out the differences that there are among people in real life, incurring real damage, more often than not.
Furthermore--I am convinced that with this kind modeling it would be possible to eventually start getting results that would be depicting more and more a sustainable way of life, because, as noted above, a sustainable situation in order to be sustainable has to be transparent--this because it would be almost impossible to introduce any opacity into the model--why bother?--it is much easier and much more defensible to have the modeled situation as simple as possible, as transparent as possible. Imagine any social situation on Earth that would be transparent--as soon as any nonsensical element would start arising it would be possible to deal with it before it would give a cause to any further complications.
That this kind of creating of a future that would be acceptable to all who are to share such a future is technically possible--witness only all the various online games that involve creating of whole worlds with the participation of a vast number of gamers!