“The long dormant seeds of ‘bottom-up’ culture, evolutionally baked deeply into our DNA and our neurophysiological systems, are vibrantly reawakening.”


“When I asked Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, ‘What’s the next big thing on the web?’ He

replied that it was trust.”


“This tsunami of bottom-up thinking and behavior is causing a bigger paradigm shift than the inventions of writing or Gutenberg’s printing press because we’re already genetically primed for this by our millions of years of human evolution.”



So many trends today look toward the end of life as we know it—climate change, the huge gluttony of the super-rich who work together to transcend national boundaries in their pursuit of more money, more power, ultimately a global feudal system.


I go to places like farmers’ markets and shopping malls to find solace in the persistence of the middle class against all odds—creeping fascism, the extreme right-wing governments that are spreading throughout the world, led, for the time being by our very own donald trump, who recently gave permission to Juan Guaidó to seize the Venezuelan government away from Nicolás Maduro. Socialism is no good, say the super-rich, focusing on Venezuela, whose assets in the United States have been seized and whose chief export, oil, has dropped in monetary value through the floor.


Against these trends and their obvious manifestations, a quiet revolution is in progress, writes author and OpEdNews owner as well as entrepreneur and original thinker Rob Kall in his just-released book The Bottom-Up Revolution: Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity. He offers us an optimistic vision of the future. We are transitioning from a top-down to a bottom-up worldwide society. “Top down” describes the current structure of our society, a worldwide plutocracy, but “people can be victors without the need for victims.” “Bottom-up” is its now-competing inverse: it is “small, local, interdependent, respectful, egalitarian and decentralized,” according to author Gregg Levoy. “Humans have spent 99 percent of our developmental time in the wild kingdom,” he writes. –“-99 percent of the five to seven million years hominids existed,” adds Kall. “What I call a ‘bottom-up connection consciousness’ is a revolutionary way of seeing, being, and relating to others, and . . . it affects how we behave in our community and all

our other activities, including our “activism,” child rearing, religious practice, and, of course, doing business. It enhances our ability to be cooperative, interdependent, sharing, caring, empathic, egalitarian, and transparent, and although often small, it can be incredibly powerful.”


Kall does cut some slack for top-down governance: we need “ top-down regulations to protect people, justice, transparency, freedoms, ecology, the economy, and health and safety. The way to make big change happen is not to try to make a big change to the old system but rather to replace it with something better so the old system collapses. History has taught us that bottom-up, small, decentralized, local community-based actions, projects, and revolutions eventually compete with and supplant the big stuff—transnational corporations, globalization—just as tiny mammals replaced giant dinosaurs.”


Individualism is giving way to collectivity, delving beyond the advent of agriculture, the first disruption of nature that chopped down forests and forced the domestication of animals, to the way earlier species of humankind lived—collectively, hunter-gatherers watching out for others rather than aggrandizing themselves.


This “bottom-up connection consciousness revolution” must happen quickly. Latest estimates are that climate change, melting glaciers at both poles of the Earth, will raise water levels to the point of the next massive flood that will likely allow the survival of collectivity rather than selfishness, the Ayn Rand mentality. But the super-rich have probably already built themselves shelters from said flood that one would hope, referring to the story of Noah, would route out the culprits rather than the victims.


“The biggest, most powerful cultural shift, not in human history, but in human existence, explosively re-emerged about twenty years ago. It has disrupted or even destroyed older industries and business models. It has taken down dictatorships, elected presidents, and has created trillions of dollars in new industries and opportunities. It has virtually altered the brain functioning of people born after 1980, and yet most people are clueless about what it is,” according to Kall.


“It's affecting you, your parents and your children—all your relationships and communities. You absolutely cannot avoid it, because the long dormant seeds of ‘bottom-up’ culture, evolutionally baked deeply into our DNA and our neurophysiological systems, are vibrantly reawakening. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark told [Kall], ‘We are going to see a bottom-up change in tremendous amounts—in politics, commerce, and just people socializing.’”


Hunter-gatherers’ lives had depended upon “equality, cooperation, interdependence, compassion, and openness with others in a small, local culture.” Like this society who shames our present top-down, power-greed continuum, we must, in every sense, keep our infants next to the warmth of our body, rather than isolating them in separate rooms to cry themselves to sleep. Child rearing will become a communal obligation. Stay close to the Earth, bottom-up, trickle up, in most every other way as well for humankind to survive the present mindless obstacles.


The factotum and diversely knowledgeable Kall explores world history, as we have seen, as well as individual realms of “civilization” including business; social media and software professionals; those involved in diplomacy, activism, government, power, civic planning, and organization; others interested in self-help/personal growth/happiness; and finally writers, artists, and creators. These divisions dictate the focus of the chapters. Of course, the interests listed overlap. And science pervades the discourse, a huge area Kall encompasses convincingly with reliable inclusion into his ideal world (for example: “Before systems theory existed, a top-down, mechanistic approach to science—the Newtonian/Cartesian model—predominated for hundreds of years, providing a take-things-apart-and-count-them approach to understanding and explaining the world. That worked for simple physics and chemistry, but not for more complex biological systems, eco-systems, and sub-atomic particle systems.”


Kall’s command over these disparate areas is credible and impressive. He has delved into life and classified it as he has, to reach out to as many of us as possible. Here’s what’s happening, here’s what we can do to speed it up. There are as many solutions, how-to’s, and advice as there are analytical content and proof of its validity through the voices of public intellectuals and movers and shakers of the present foreseeing the future. The social media revolution that divides those born after 1980 from us older generations has gone far toward connecting consciousness. I personally explore these media because I care about friends and colleagues and want to keep up with their lives. And encounter the various bottom-up causes I am involved in and find out what I can do to save the world by joining others. We’re learning a lot from millennials and now even generation Z and want to allow them to vote sooner, as early as age 16, to involve their collectivity and bottom-up orientation toward the benefit of all.



Kall’s solutions posit contrasting dualities, where small is better than big. If one goal is to keep the middle class thriving, another is to eliminate the “lower class,” category, with the even-larger amounts of discrimination and injustice that plague their lives.


Acknowledged and well-known experts in a diversity of fields illuminate the content, from Noam Chomsky to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark; from Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama to Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Fritjof Capra, and Mary Piphe; from Ronald Reagan to Dennis Kucinich; and quotations from Indigenous Lakota people and African tribespeople. “Noam Chomsky has told me how corporations don’t pay for ‘externalities’ like air and water pollution.” Or again, a quote from Newmark: “I think this decade we’re going to see a big redirection of human history where people work together a lot more.”

“It is compatible with the ideals the Dalai Lama encourages—the practices of compassion and warmheartedness.” “Martin Luther King, in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, said that we are all connected in a ‘network of mutuality’ and that which affects any one of us directly affects everyone indirectly.”

“And we are all connected to each other”—Disney’s Pocahontas, a quote I suggested that Kall relished. What about a rehash of “The times, they are a changin’,” and this time they won’t retrogress because we will have recreated a world that will survive?

With reference to Paulo Freire, among others, Rob takes us on the hero’s journey, the Mono-Myth that tells all of our stories, the masculine more than the feminine, but to the extent that we leave behind the authoritative figures that governed the formative years of our lives, we graduate into the outside world to recreate ourselves in terms of a definitely bottom-up journey [“the road of challenges is as bottom-up as it gets. You are formed into a hero by your interactions with the people and places you encounter on the journey”] resembling Odysseus’s journey home, taken as allegorical by the ancients who succeeded Homer, of someone who voyages home from the definitely top-down environment of the Trojan War, to the rock-bottom experience of proclaiming himself as “Nobody” to the top-down son of Poseidon, the Cyclops, whose realm is one of Odysseus’s first stops. The hero rebuilds himself piece by piece from this experience toward the battle to gain/regain his true self—his violence in regaining his kingdom by first posing as another Nobody, a beggar, may, like the Cyclops encounter, recapitulate our inner and external but nonviolent path toward self-discovery and fulfillment.


Kall’s chapter on social media exemplifies another bottom-up revolution of society. “To make your platform website truly bottom-up, you need to build connection, community, and stickiness into it.” Interviewed recently, he told me that “I started my own blog in early 2003. It grew to become one of the top Google-search-ranked progressive news and opinion sites and a major source of my income.” OEN receives hundreds of thousands of new hits every month.


Another interviewee, Internet and journalism expert Clay Shirky, notes that in this digital world “People have a different sense of themselves and what is possible. They simply aren’t as cowed or as limited by the actions of the state as they would have been before they started to use these tools.”


According to Jack Dorsey, “The bottom- up revolution is happening because the technologies are becoming the background, the natural, reflexive way we function—with a power unimagined just twenty years ago.“


It is the good part of globalization, where the hourglass with the rich on top is turned upside down, gradually, of course.


The chapters contain intricate instructions and advice on how to reach the outside world—expanding your own horizons as well as theirs. Every sentence is quotable. Rob interviewed 400 distinguished sources and used transcripts from more than 110—each interviewee’s averaged about 15,000 words and excerpts totaled about 50,000 words. Add to that the 50,000 words Kall wrote himself. He had to whittle down 1.6 million words to the 100,000 his book now contains. He had to expunge other interviews and quotations altogether, an arduous and painful process to which I can relate all too well.



A conversation with Joe Trippi, presidential contender Howard Dean’s national campaign manager and brilliant political strategist in 2004, who piloted use of the Internet to campaign and fundraise as well as pioneered the largest grassroots movement yet, raising more money than any previous Democratic contender, began the wheels turning of the 323 pages of the book, which came out on April 22, just yesterday as I’m writing this. Rob himself predicted Dean’s victory in an early Moveon poll within .5 percent of the outcome. Further gestation of the encounter with Trippi led to the actual composition of the content between 2007/2008 and now, Kall said. 


Rob’s book is a voyage we’re taking into an alternate reality and you must experience that, an eye opener that you must join even more than you have already. It’s an easy, pleasant read to which we can all relate. It fascinates. It is optimism to vanquish the dirge of alternate and fake news emanating from the present administration and reaching out tentacles to suck us all into collective submission to the rampant lava-like spread of plutocracy.


According to author/journalist Malcolm Gladwell, “Underdogs lose when they play by the big dogs’ rules, but they can win when they make their own rules and use alternative strategies.”