PIG: A Less Pathetic Dot - Protocols for a Minimum Viable Philosophy (MVP)

A Less Pathetic Dot - Protocols for a Minimum Viable Philosophy (MVP)

Team Members:

Short Summary:

We are operating under three presuppositions:

  1. Every agent has a philosophy that guides them.
  2. Most agents are not conscious of their philosophy.
  3. Most agents do not have protocols to make their philosophy conscious or update it.

We aim to establish protocols so agents can make their philosophy conscious and allow for conscious updates. These protocols do exist, but are dispersed through various fields and disciplines, which we will outline below.

We take inspiration from the pathetic dot theory & the not-so-pathetic dot theory and argue that explicit awareness of such protocols will make agents less pathetic, enabling them to influence the socioeconomic forces constraining their actions.

What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance? Eg: hand-washing, traffic system, connector standards, carbon trading.

While no explicit protocols for revealing and updating one’s philosophy currently exist, implicit protocols are found across various domains. These are not necessarily replaceable by our Minimum Viable Philosophy (MVP) protocols but can be complemented by them, enhancing coherence and adaptability. For clarity, we categorize these existing protocols into professional and personal groups:

Existing professional protocols:

  • Guiding Statements Protocol: Establishing vision and mission statements.
  • Ethics Codification Protocol: Establishing ethical guidelines.
  • Strategic Planning Protocol: Establishing long-term objectives and strategy to achieve them.

Existing personal protocols:

  • Personal Support Protocol: Sharing personal problems with friends and family that touch upon existential issues.
  • Blogging/Newsletter Protocols: Writing one’s philosophy online, aka “become wise in public” (akin to the “learn in public” ethos).
  • Space Holding Protocols: Inquiry practices such as life coaches, therapists, and philosophical counsellours.

To enhance these protocols, we introduce the concept of proto-protocols—preliminary, adaptable guidelines that serve as the foundation for developing more complex behaviors within our MVP framework. Proto-protocols are like blueprints to protocols; they set the groundwork and guide initial developments, allowing for necessary adjustments as interactions and feedback from the community drive evolution.

Our approach aims to integrate these proto-protocols with existing practices, creating a dynamic framework that allows individuals and organizations to adapt their philosophies in response to changing conditions. This integration is expected to lead to a more sophisticated, responsive system that effectively mirrors and manages the complexity of modern socio-economic environments.

What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?

We are using the framing of “minimum viable philosophy” (MVP) — a philosophy that meets reality and transforms through such a meeting — because this is the only realistic philosophy people can hope to have today (our fourth presupposition).

We would like to explore what an MVP consists of and how it can be represented, e.g., a written document guided by a template, or something more creative.

What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol? Eg: field observation, expert interviews, historical data analysis, failure event analysis

To explore the current state of these ‘agent layers’, our discovery methodology includes interviewing individuals with defined philosophies, engaging with public intellectuals on platforms like blogs and Substack, and conducting a literature review in applied philosophy. This multidimensional approach will enrich our understanding of how individuals, as agents, operate within and impact their ecosystems.

Drawing from blockchain’s layered structure, we can map out the agent’s capacity to influence systems:

  • Philosophical Foundation (L0): Like blockchain’s base layer that defines its core proto-protocols, an agent’s foundational beliefs and values underpin their worldview and motivations.
  • Protocols & Practices (L1): Analogous to blockchain’s protocol layer which dictates network rules, an agent’s practices and habits determine their regular actions, similar to an organization’s operational procedures.
  • Embedded Networks (L3): Corresponding to blockchain’s off-chain networks, an agent’s social connections and communities offer support and influence, vital for growth and impact.
  • Socioeconomic Influence (Application Layer): Just as decentralized applications utilize blockchain for broader purposes, agents apply their values, practices, and networks to enact change and influence socio-economic forces.

In what form will you prototype your improvement idea? Eg: Code, reference design implementation, draft proposal shared with experts for feedback, A/B test of ideas with a test audience, prototype hardware, etc.

Our approach to prototyping our improvement idea embraces both theoretical and practical frameworks, ensuring that our MVP (Minimum Viable Philosophy) model can be effectively applied across various levels of individual and collective action. The prototype will take the following forms:

  • Theoretical Framework: We will construct a comprehensive whitepaper that lays out the theoretical foundations of the MVP. This document will not only serve as a blueprint that outlines the overarching philosophy and principles but will also provide practical guidance for implementation across different contexts.
  • Practical Toolkit: Accompanying the whitepaper, we will develop a toolkit that includes templates, exercises, and strategies tailored to the needs of individuals, organizations, and communities. This toolkit will be designed to help users put the MVP principles into practice, fostering their ability to adapt and evolve philosophically in various socio-economic environments.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Integral to our prototype will be built-in feedback mechanisms. We will share drafts with experts and the wider community, inviting critique and suggestions. Additionally, we will engage in A/B testing with selected audiences to compare and refine the effectiveness of different aspects of our model.

This dual focus on theoretical substance and practical application ensures our MVP prototype is robust, versatile, and readily adaptable, setting the stage for wide-reaching impact and continual evolution in line with the real-world experiences of its users.

How will you field-test your improvement idea? Eg: run a restricted pilot at an event, simulation, workshop, etc.

Field-testing our MVP (Minimum Viable Philosophy) toolkit is an integral part of our project’s lifecycle, ensuring that our framework is robust, applicable, and responsive to the needs of various stakeholders. Here is how we will proceed, corresponding with our project timeline:

  • May - Framing Phase: We’ll define our approach and reach out to potential collaborators. This sets the stage for testing by establishing clear objectives and expectations for our MVP toolkit.
  • June - Discovery Phase: We will initiate field studies, conduct interviews, and start prototyping our MVP toolkit. By applying our MVP framework in real-world scenarios with ventures and individuals, we’ll gather initial data and feedback on its effectiveness and user-friendliness.
  • July - Synthesis Phase: Using insights from our discovery phase, we’ll refine our MVP toolkit. This month will see us integrating our framework into broader ecosystems, like the Stoa and Kernel communities, through events and workshops. These engagements will serve as practical tests, allowing us to synthesize findings and further adapt our model before the final release.
  • August - Launch Phase: We will complete and proofread our whitepaper, followed by a series of presentations and mini-events across various platforms, including Kernel and The Stoa. This will mark the official launch of our MVP framework, and through these events, we will gather extensive feedback, ensuring our toolkit is well-understood, accessible, and provides value to its users.

Across these stages, we aim for our MVP toolkit to be not just a product but a catalyst for ongoing dialogue, learning, and adaptation, reflective of our commitment to fostering a community that is active, reflective, and continually evolving.

Who will be able to judge the quality of your output? Ideally name a few suitable judges.

To assess the quality of our work, we’ll seek feedback from a range of informed and experienced individuals aligned with our project’s goals:

  • Support from the Kernel Community: We’ll involve the Kernel community, drawing on the wisdom and experience of Kernel Stewards like Sid, and engaging in peer reviews to evaluate the practicality, relevance, and impact of our framework.
  • Key Allies from Stoa / Less Foolish: We plan to collaborate with thought leaders such as Jordan Hall among others from Stoa or Less Foolish, who can offer critical insights into the philosophical depth, coherence, and applicability of our MVP framework.
  • External Experts: We’ll also engage external experts from fields like organizational development, philosophy, and psychology, to gain broader perspectives on the effectiveness of our framework and areas for improvement.

By incorporating feedback from these diverse viewpoints, we aim to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of our project, fostering ongoing refinement and broader acceptance of the MVP framework.

How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea? Eg: Submit proposal to a standards body, publish open-source code, produce and release a software development kit etc.

To publish and evangelize our improvement idea, we’re taking a streamlined approach that targets key areas for immediate impact:

  • Community Engagement: We’ll introduce and implement our model within communities like Stoa & Kernel through workshops and discussions, fostering grassroots adoption.
  • Field Testing with Ventures: We’ll apply our model in real-world settings by partnering with ventures like Daylight, SuperPotion, and Cores, showcasing practical applications and benefits.
  • Personal Application and Advocacy: As creators, we’ll embody the model in our personal and professional lives, sharing our journey and insights publicly to inspire and educate others.
  • Open-Source Publication: To widen access and facilitate community-driven evolution, we’ll publish our foundational documents and resources as open-source materials, inviting everyone to engage, apply, and refine our ideas.

This focused strategy ensures our model not only reaches a broad audience but also demonstrates tangible value through real-world application and community involvement, laying the foundation for widespread adoption and impact.

What is the success vision for your idea?

Our success vision is simple: widespread use of a dynamic framework that links personal beliefs with organizational strategies, making everyone more aware, adaptable, and effective. Key elements include:

  • Living Document: A foundational document, like a whitepaper or mini-book, outlining how to develop and adapt Minimum Viable Philosophies (MVP). This will serve as a guide for individuals and organizations to clarify and evolve their guiding philosophies.
  • Community of Practice: Building a local & global community dedicated to using and improving the MVP framework. This group will work together, sharing ideas and experiences to refine the framework – This protocol must be hyperlocal for people to be accountable to their protocols.
  • Educational Resources: Creating tutorials, videos, interviews, podcasts, case studies, and guides to help apply the MVP framework in different settings. These resources will make the framework accessible to everyone.
  • MVP Assessment: Assessing how well the framework helps people and organizations steer their course more effectively, using feedback to make continuous improvements.

We aim for a world where humans are thoughtful agents of change, and organizations are united and purpose-driven, leading to a society that can navigate challenges smarter and more cohesively.


I think I understand what you are proposing, but I’m not adequately sure that I do. In particular, I found the answer to “What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?” To be oddly obscure.

Before anything else, I’d like to see an utterly simple example - use pseudocode as a metaphor if appropriate- to establish a “checksum” that the essential idea has been conveyed.

As an aside, I believe what I am proposing here is a recursive example of the thing itself.