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Featured Project by Larken Rose on the Freedom's Phoenix Funding Center

Written by Subject: How to Help
I recently started formulating a very ambitious idea for a project which I didn't think would ever happen, mainly because it would take a massive amount of time and effort to complete, with little potential for monetary profit. However, I also believe it would yield the fastest and most effective "deprogramming" from statism, for the greatest number of people, of anything I've ever seen.

It can be very difficult to get people to question their assumptions about "government" and "politics" without them feeling attacked and getting defensive. (I've been on both sides of that discussion.) However simple the principles and concepts may be, if someone is psychologically invested in his viewpoint, changing his mind is not easy. After 18 years of having one-on-one discussions with many hundreds of statists, I believe I've gotten quite good at gently nudging people through discussions which, in a lot of cases, end up changing how they see the world. Videos, articles, books, speeches and other one-directional forms of media are very limited in that they can only throw ideas at people, which may or may not stick. But being able to use a few basic lines of questioning which I've developed over the years, most people who believe in "government" can be brought to see inherent contradictions inside their own heads. But even in an ideal setting, with no pressure and plenty of time, with someone who is willing to talk and think, and with me making a concerted effort to not get argumentative, my success rate is still nowhere near 100%. More importantly, I can only do it with one person at a time, which is almost worthless in a world of several billion authoritarians.

Until recently I assumed that the back-and-forth adaptiveness of in-person discussions was impossible to mass replicate. But the purpose of "Unlocking the Cage" is to do just that: to create an interactive process which a billion people can go through at the same time, but with each person's experience being as unique, fluid and "customized" as a personal conversation, but with even less opportunity for argument or conflict. A user can go through the process at his own pace, whenever he wants, with no peer pressure or stress--not even the stress of having one other person there. The challenges to the project are only 5% philosophy and principles, and 95% human psychology--seeing what gives rise to misunderstandings, emotional reactions, confusion, defensiveness, and other things that interfere with rational thought, and avoiding those pitfalls.

Regarding the funding goal amount, when I say a massive amount of time and effort will be required to do this, I'm not kidding. This isn't just a video, or a book. It is an intensely interactive experience which adapts to the viewer's responses to questions, using a complex if/then logic flow chart which borders on artificial intelligence, in a virtual reality setting which feels like one fluid discussion, though the discussion changes depending on how the user responds to different questions. Having had many hundreds of such discussions with people, I now believe that the conversation can fit into a formula of sorts, albeit a very complex formula, in the form of a multi-dimensional logic flow chart. The program would essentially be a "virtual me" (only far better), able to follow the conversation where ever it leads, with the ideal questions, the ideal wording, the ideal explanations and clarifications, and the ideal presentation every step of the way, regardless of the direction in which the user decides to take things. (It would also be a better face and a better voice than mine leading the user through the discussion.)

I could easily spend twenty pages describing all the factors and considerations which will go into making "Unlocking the Cage." Hopefully the above conveys the general idea, and I can elaborate more for anyone who wants me to. I doubt the project would be finished in less than a year of pretty intense work. My ending date is my best guest, though the funding goal would enable me to work on it for two years--which should be plenty of time--along with allowing me to pay one other person for some part-time assistance.

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