– World Governance Approaches to Suffering

Last update: 2024-05-08


Algosphere Alliance

The Algosphere Alliance is a coalition of people and organizations working for a world that prioritizes the alleviation of suffering. This association has the following features that may interest us:

  • Its proposition is to organize the alleviation of suffering, steadily and sustainably. 
  • The cornerstone of this organization is an Alliance that will spearhead and coordinate efforts. 
  • It identifies and connects people motivated by the ethical priority of alleviating suffering in the world.
  • With this global network of allies (57 people and 9 organizations in December 2023), anyone can develop ideas or projects that interest them, or contribute to such projects, and receive the Alliance’s support. (Synergetic alliances may be created)
  • It has a list of  Centers of Interest, where people may collaborate on specific themes or issues relevant to the alleviation of suffering. 
  • Its main organizational activity consists in promoting the value of alleviating suffering so that it is increasingly integrated into decision-making throughout the world, in both public and private spheres. 
  • It wishes for an evolution of fundamental rights, inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, to explicitly take “suffering” into account, with the goal of making the alleviation of suffering the ethical priority of the international community.
  • It has this Open Letter to the United Nations about the alleviation of suffering in the world through a global universal income, world peace, and a Universal Declaration of Rights expanded to include all sentient beings.

Jean-Christophe Lurenbaum and Robert Daoust are at the origin of the Algosphere Alliance. Each of them has written about suffering in a way that could contribute to our action plan.

Jean-Christophe, in Is “Being Born” in the Best Interest of the Child? – Ideology of Reproduction versus Non-Suffering, puts forward the thesis that only two values compete for the top rank of ethical priority in human history: the value of the reproduction of life and the value of non-suffering. As a result, he argues, the ethics of suffering alleviation and pro-life ethics are often in conflict, as can be seen in the issues of assisted dying, suicide, abortion, contraception, genital mutilation, non-reproductive sexual practices, or natalism, for example. What we need to do, then, is ensure that we replicate the culture of non-suffering rather than the ideology of reproduction. This is why the Algosphere Alliance has been proposed to organize the alleviation of suffering steadily and sustainably. A key part of the required process of replication, according to Jean-Christophe, is to leave behind the illusion of the ego as the subject of suffering and move toward an understanding of universal consciousness as the true subject of all values.

Robert introduces an innovative approach in Let Us Deal with Suffering More Effectively (by means of the algo-sphere concept). The algo-sphere, he explains, constitutes a field of human activity in which the many-sided phenomenon of suffering is the specific object of interest and the primary concern, whereas this is not the case in any other fields of human activity. This concept represents a general, comprehensive and systematic approach that enables the creation of a science dedicated to the knowledge and control of suffering, thus ensuring a global frame of reference that facilitates information sharing, strategic planning, and practical interventions. Robert is involved in Partners for a Global Management of Suffering and he contributes to the development of A Discipline Specialized in the Study of Suffering.

Let’s keep an open eye on what the Algosphere Alliance, Jean-Christophe Lurenbaum and Robert Daoust could bring to our global management. (to be followed)

Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS)

The Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS) is a think-and-do tank that promotes evidence-based global decision-making where the prevention and alleviation of intense suffering are given the highest priority. Jonathan Leighton is the founder.

The Statutes of OPIS describe its purpose:

    1. The association is founded as a think-and-do tank in order to promote the prevention of intense suffering of all sentient beings, and to promote this objective globally as our overriding ethical priority.
    2. The association will work towards this objective by carrying out research, developing educational and advocacy tools, facilitating exchange of information, carrying out creative campaigns, and other means.
    3. The association strives to optimise impact by preventing the intense suffering of as many individuals as possible with the means it has available.
    4. The association values the prevention of intense suffering of all sentient beings, including human and non-human animals, and considers that equal intensities of suffering matter equally, regardless of the species.

A “guide to compassionate governance and systemic change” is in preparation, as told in Compassionate Governance:

The OPIS team is currently (as of late 2023) working on an ambitious project to research, write and widely disseminate a guide to compassionate governance and systemic change. The guide will tap into the findings from a range of disciplines and extract some of the key principles and ideas needed to shift towards a more cooperative, needs-based global decision-making system that values the wellbeing of all sentient beings. It will contain some core ethical principles and a vision for the future, propose rough blueprints for how we can better organise ourselves globally and a possible pathway to get there, and make a series of concrete policy prescriptions that would be an essential part of a compassionate governance system. 

Work is being done about measurement. See Suffering Metrics & Quantification:

As preventing intense suffering is the most important goal of compassionate governance and policy-making, it is essential that this be reflected in the metrics used for decision-making and tracking progress. OPIS advocates for the establishment of new suffering metrics such as Years Lived with Severe Suffering (YLSS) and Days Lived with Extreme Suffering (DLES). The case for these suffering metrics, including their advantages over existing health metrics such as the QALY and the DALY, was made in The Tango of Ethics (2023). The relevant excerpt is available here. We are currently working on a semi-quantitative overview and visualisation of world suffering, which we will release in 2024. 

Strategy points that might interest us can be found in the following documents:

From https://www.jonathanleighton.org/opis:

OPIS conducts research, develops advocacy tools and carries out campaigns. We identify with the effective altruism movement and the importance of quantifying and optimising impact, while also exploring new approaches to value-spreading and raising awareness. (…) Our larger ambition is to design and promote new blueprints for ethical decision-making at all levels of governance, ensuring that the basic needs of all are met, and that no sentient beings are allowed to suffer intensely when it can be prevented.

From OPIS concept note – initiative for compassionate systemic change:

We intend to employ great creativity in developing powerful campaigns to seed and promote the initiative, allowing the ideas to take root and spread. The campaigns will be carefully developed, with layers of complexity, so that there is not simply a blast of excitement that quickly dies off. To give a rough sense of the kind of campaign we envisage, imagine combining elements of creative, high-visibility PR stunts, a sophisticated puzzle with Banksy-style intrigue, and personal outreach to journalists and influencers, along with a transparent, compassionate ethical manifesto and a concrete call to action based on a well-developed underlying strategy. (…) Even ambitious, well-coordinated initiatives aimed at social change don’t always adopt a sufficiently high-level perspective and take into account all the most relevant considerations in their strategy, including the constraints of human nature and the functioning of complex systems. There is also not nearly enough focus on the universal meeting of needs, on the core parameter of suffering, and on seeking solutions based on collaboration and collective intelligence, rather than blame. (…) We aim to develop a more comprehensive and effective strategy by integrating the most relevant findings from various key disciplines to try to ensure that no essential considerations are overlooked. These disciplines include the historical study of political change and successful campaigns, the study of complex systems, psychology, economics, game theory, political science and conflict resolution. We are carrying out research and interviewing experts in order to integrate the many insights into a more unified strategy. We aim for a long-term approach where incremental improvements are stabilised, rather than having to get everything right or risk ultimate failure. The approach is modular and flexible so that other groups can apply and improve on the ideas and further the implementation. (…) We aim to improve our strategy iteratively and accommodate other initiatives based on similar principles.

Also from OPIS concept note – initiative for compassionate systemic change:

Key components

      • Research and write a guide to compassionate governance and systemic change, drawing on insights and key principles from several fields, including through questionnaires and interviews with experts.
      • Research and write a report on worldwide suffering.
      • Draft a short manifesto related to the guide and collect many signatures.
      • Create alliances with other organisations and develop a strategy to promote the ideas.
      • Widely communicate the guide, report and manifesto, including through highly creative campaigns.

From Compassionate system design:

But ultimately, given the extreme amount of suffering that persists in the world, there is no choice but to try to design a better system, through reason, trial-and-error and constant improvements. And as we accumulate more data, we gain confidence in our understanding of how the system works and how we can have impact in changing it for the better. 

Jonathan Leighton has a list of personal Writings & Links about suffering, which includes the books The Battle for Compassion: Ethics in an Apathetic Universe and The Tango of Ethics: Intuition, Rationality and the Prevention of Suffering. There is also, in particular, an in-depth recorded talk that could provide us with valuable input: Jonathan Leighton at EAGxAustralia 2023 – Unexpected Value: Prioritising the Urgency of Suffering.

Let’s keep an open eye on what OPIS and Jonathan could bring to our global management. (to be followed)

Partners for a Global Management of Suffering

Partners for a Global Management of Suffering are us, the editors of this book titled About Suffering: Our Evolving Action Plan.

Our activity consists in regulating, on an overall level, the occurrences of consciousness that are unpleasant.

Our goal is to optimally minimize the occurrences that we consider “too” unpleasant.

We are systematically acting in pursuit of that goal, since November 25, 2023.

The first thing we are doing is operating Partners for a Global Management of Suffering as a structure for us to come together and carry out our work (DOING). The second thing we are doing is keeping up-to-date our book to identify and coordinate what we do together (DOING).

Everything else we do is a continuation of these two actions: see What We Are Doing, in Brief.

We have a framework for collaboration whose entry point is Administering the Project.



Our Action Plan About Suffering Copyright © by Partners for a Global Management of Suffering (Eds). All Rights Reserved.

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