apocalyptic techno-optimism

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Alphaville
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

i don’t mean to oversimplify the thing, but

1) the perfect is the enemy of the good, and

i really, really don’t mean to oversimplify the thing, but

2) if you want an ere village you probably should just try to get it off the ground and charter it



part of the problem of such a community emerging from a transient internet forum is that (as i think you’ve said elsewhere) people come here for the FI bit. it’s a money problem. and money is anti-social. i’m not offering this link as “proof,” but rather as a quick hub for other materials on the subject: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/articl ... k_and_feel
maybe a better way to start this would be with “the poor” rather than with the FI set.

the other thing is americans are more individualistic and money-minded than other cultures. have you considered the possibility of doing this elsewhere, e.g. in denmark?

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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by jacob »

Methinks money is only anti-social in the middle class. The wealthy are tightly networked so as to get wealthier and perhaps to keep others from getting as wealthy. The poor are tightly networked out of need using favors instead of monies. Money as "divide&conquer" works on the middle class because there's just enough to divide but not enough to conquer.

MMM at some point worked seriously on founding a city I believe (unlike the ERE city efforts which sought to pick one city that we would all move to) but ultimately decided it would be too much hassle. The ERE strategy would have avoided that [hassle] but still there was no ultimate agreement as people were still rather attached to their jobs and existing communities.

Hristo Botev
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Hristo Botev »

Ego wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:40 pm
The highest rated plumber on yelp and youtube videos won't help when your main line bursts in the middle of a pandemic and the plumbing supply houses are closed. Knowing individual plumbers, having their personal cell numbers and having personal connections with them, knowing what motivates them and knowing how to ask if they have any friends who can get parts out the back door... that is the finesse that the billionaires and the WFHs lost when they purchased solutions rather than built relationships.

Every interaction is an opportunity to plant the seed and fertilize those emergent properties.
I'm just getting caught up on this thread and so apologies if the discussion has moved on past this, but I think this is just spot on, and this definitely seems to me to be a common thread I've seen lately reading (or re-reading) through Rushkoff, Jacob/ERE, John Michael Greer, Douthat (Decadent Society), Dreher (Benedict Option), and even Wendell Berry. There may be some people/families who have both the survivalist resources and the personality type to go it alone and both survive (food, water, shelter) and flourish psychologically; but seems that must be a rare breed indeed. It's about building strong communities. And for now, it's about developing the skills that will allow you to contribute to that community; paraphrasing JMG, societies protect the guy that makes the best beer.

Alphaville
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

@jacob

were you an experimental physicist or a theoretical physicist? (i used to watch both camps make fun of each other when i was in grad school—good laughs).

anyway you’re not going to make an ere co-op out of old money aristocrats, so why worry about them. maybe the reason for their presumed tight social fabric (a speculation i can’t verify) simply has to do with small numbers: they keep running into each other.

anyway, founding a city may indeed be a hassle, but rather than a city you could maybe start with a housing co-op that could be “franchised,” a la e-myth. that way you build the system rather than manage the everyday.

buy a building, write the covenant, sell the co-op shares, replicate elsewhere.

again oversimplifying but you have free time, yes?

maybe these people can help you: https://www.ic.org/

so... perhaps that’s your next tomato plant?

-

eta: “franchised” in quotations, meaning not literally or precisely— just a repeatable model, like e-myth (which deals in actual franchises). create the idea virus.
Last edited by Alphaville on Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

AxelHeyst
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by AxelHeyst »

A couple years ago I got mildly obsessed with ecovillages/intentional communities and read eight or so books on the topic. Most of them were concerned to a significant degree with answering the question "what are the common causes for the ~90% failure rate?"

The number one mistake was thinking the first step is "get land". Most authors suggested that was something like step 97, and 2-5 years was often an appropriate period of time between First Serious Meeting to Discuss the Formation of a New Community, and Acquire the Physical Land.

A root cause of failure was mismatch between perceived realities, meaning, person A would use the word "ecovillage" and be thinking X, while person B would use the word "ecovillage" and be thinking Z. Since they were using the same words, they thought they were on the same page, and got very excited. Then person A would start building X, and person B would go "wait wtf are you doing, that's not an ecovillage at all". Multiply this problem times number of members and number of aspects of the project being considered, and the importance of figuring out how to get people's words to match their internal visions becomes clear. (Another example is that many communities used Consensus-Based Decision Making methods, but didn't actually understand how to use the process correctly, and it hamstrung them. Much disillusionment with CB decision processes stem from inept implementation of it, allowing loonies to block progress.)

I wonder if some of your fears about useless members could be allayed, Jacob, with a fairly rigorous and in depth 'application' process. These sorts of communities don't have to be open borders. Membership could be contingent on any number of factors: some base line of financial stability such as no debt, minimum FU stash in years, as well as some baseline of skills. e.g. you have to be able to fix a bike, unclog a toilet, cook a nice meal, and *learn a skill you didn't previously have without much hassle*, and demonstrate these abilities, to be considered for membership. It could even be streamlined, so current members don't have to waste their time dealing with in-person applicants: prospective members must submit an application video that includes timelapse videos of them demonstrating skills, speaking to certain topics, etc. This would also provide proof that they can learn basic video editing and deal with computers at a base level of competency.

Long story short, from what I've read, 2-5 years of groundwork before anything is actually "done" is somewhat of a requirement, doing things like hammering out the vision, the ground rules, 'governance', and gathering a core group of founders to get the thing off the ground. There's a wide spectrum of approaches that have worked, all the way from full income-sharing (no thanks, personally) to fairly light-touch communities that are more like housing coops.

Hristo Botev
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Hristo Botev »

jacob wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:50 am
Then there's the family+neighbors+local craftsmen which I've also worked on---this is what Ego is talking about in the sense of developing local relationships beyond "hello/goodbye" rather than just relying on yelp and other apps. However, the ingredients here could be stronger because WLs are generally average.
JMG talks a lot in Long Descent about reviving old fraternal and similar orgs; And I think these might be a fantastic place to start. For me, I've talked on this forum (mostly my journal) a lot lately about the differences between my old neighbors and BigLaw colleagues (all salarymen) and my church friends (of which I'm the only salaryman, though, to be fair, I'm leaning more businessman these days). I've largely moved on from the former group, which I suspect is some sort of Wheaton Level progression/ERE development side effect. But as for the latter, this would without question be my apocalyptic survival community. And I met all of these guys through the Knights of Columbus. The benefit of these fraternal-type orgs is that they force you out of whatever professional or neighborhood silo you're working within, and introduce you to a whole new set of folks of multiple generations from diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and interests. And my experience with KofC, which I suspect is true with other adult fraternal orgs that haven't died away yet, is that doing/creating/helping and self reliance is built into the DNA; these orgs are not about consuming, because you don't need to show up at a monthly meeting if all you care about is consuming.

Hristo Botev
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Hristo Botev »

Alphaville wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:41 am
anyway, founding a city may indeed be a hassle, but rather than a city you could maybe start with a housing co-op that could be “franchised,” a la e-myth. that way you build the system rather than manage the everyday.

buy a building, write the covenant, sell the co-op shares, replicate elsewhere.

again oversimplifying but you have free time, yes?

***

eta: “franchised” in quotations, meaning not literally or precisely— just a repeatable model, like e-myth (which deals in actual franchises). create the idea virus.
I'm a franchise attorney, and taking "franchised" out of quotations, I've thought lately that there is a business opportunity in creating a "system" (think "system" in the franchise context; i.e., knowing exactly how long you are supposed to leave the fries in the fryer, how much salt, etc.) that was focused on training people in the ways of the ERE renaissance man skills--from basic gardening and composting to general permaculture concepts, canning and preserving, rainwater harvesting--just generally rediscovering old technologies. Create a curriculum, recruit some teachers from the ERE community, and then package it and brand it as hands-on training courses, with weeklong intensives or weekend stuff or virtual seminars, etc. I'd buy it.

ETA: These courses, etc. would have the added (or even primary) benefit of creating these IRL communities; via the trainers and alumni of the courses.

Alphaville
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:57 am
I'm a franchise attorney, and taking "franchised" out of quotations, I've thought lately that there is a business opportunity in creating a "system" (think "system" in the franchise context; i.e., knowing exactly how long you are supposed to leave the fries in the fryer, how much salt, etc.) that was focused on training people in the ways of the ERE renaissance man skills
that there maybe is the side business that you wanted, but from a marketing pov you gotta stop calling those renaissance skills “man” skills already :lol:

marketing! :mrgreen:

Hristo Botev
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Hristo Botev »

Alphaville wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:07 am
that there maybe is the side business that you wanted, but from a marketing pov you gotta stop calling those renaissance skills “man” skills already :lol:

marketing! :mrgreen:
Alphaville just volunteered to be our VP for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Alphaville
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:09 am
Alphaville just volunteered to be our VP for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
MARKETING

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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Hristo Botev »

In addition to being our fearless leader, Jacob can teach a course on all the wonderful things you can do with lentils and a pressure cooker.

jacob
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by jacob »

@alphaville - Officially a theoretical physicist. Says right there on the diploma. However, dividing the field further into computational physics (modelling) is overdue. Computational science sits more in between using theory to predict experiment or vice versa. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_(physics)

@HR - JMG himself is pretty high ranking in the druid order. It's my understanding that such orders/fraternities are by invitation only which means you have to know someone. In particular, you'd have to know someone from a suitable [to you] fraternity.

The franchise model works annoyingly well elsewhere. I'm fairly convinced that it wouldn't work very well for ERE(*) since most of you have been conditioned towards trying to figure out a free/DIY solution. To wit, on the one side, we have people paying $500 for a weekend seminar on how to invest in Vanguard index funds; on the other side, we have people waiting 6 months for the ERE book to show up in the library to avoid paying $10. Basically by the time people are ready for the lessons, they're unwilling to pay for them. Of course, it doesn't have to be transacted in money. However, the same problem appears as people have moved beyond the desire for a teacher/course.

Not that it wouldn't be helpful to have some structured lessons ... it's just not what I've been seeing. The intro stuff is taught as a structure. But this is then followed by a perception that one knows enough to choose for oneself. This results in a cafeteria style approach to the system. It's only later that some have epiphanies that "maybe it does make sense to incorporate the entire system". In a way, it follows to climb to Mt Stupid.

(*) Perhaps this has been a self-fulfilling prophecy though.

Hristo Botev
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Hristo Botev »

jacob wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:27 am
we have people waiting 6 months for the ERE book to show up in the library to avoid paying $10.
Or to avoid allowing Jeff Bezos to get a cut.

AxelHeyst
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by AxelHeyst »

jacob wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:27 am
@HR - JMG himself is pretty high ranking in the druid order. It's my understanding that such orders/fraternities are by invitation only which means you have to know someone. In particular, you'd have to know someone from a suitable [to you] fraternity.
Only mildly relevant to your point, as I'm sure you're right for some, but I happen to know that the particular druidical order JMG was the Arch-druid for for several years, the AODA, is not invitation-only. It's open to anyone who cares to do the work (and show it) and pay a little one-time membership fee. Most druid organizations (there are many) are similar.... at least the ones you can find on the internet. I'd assume the 'dark' orders (meaning invite-only) could be gained admission to by progressing far enough in the "light" (meaning anyone can join) orders to get noticed as worthy of an invite.

Alphaville
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

jacob wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:27 am
Computational science sits more in between using theory to predict experiment or vice versa.
ah, so closer to the experimental. good framework.

so, if this is something that you truly want done, then you really can’t wait for it to spontaneously emerge out of the primordial soup of a discussion forum. emergence takes a very long time sometimes—billions of years.

what i said the other day about leadership applies here as well, so you (or someone else) has to carry out the experiment and adjust as you go. we can talk about it until we’re blue in the face but until you get your scalable/repeatable system there will be no ere village or network of villages, only science fiction.

i suggest you do it personally because there are so many misinterpretations of what you’re trying to do (reminds me of harold bloom’s the anxiety of influence) that it’s up to you to do it the way you want.

then again culture has its own way to evolve so you can’t control your creation forever, but at least you will have done something which may last and produce positive effects.

eta: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... ommunities

7Wannabe5
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

It doesn’t happen as often, but a socially popular person, with liabilities such as debt and drunkenness, who found herself in a community of skilled nerds would also have occasion to view them as liabilities. For instance, the character of Penny on “Big Bang Theory.”

Another problem with reliance on money in a time of crisis/chaos is that markets are constructed for normalcy and are not as fluid as in ideal economic models. For instance, due to Covid I recently had great difficulty procuring the services of a private nurse for my Uber-wealthy friend because the market is set to pay a given price for such a service regardless of demand. Eventually if lack of supply continues, black market with more fluid pricing might come into existence, but it would be a mistake to assume this will happen instantaneously.

Thus the expression “not for love or money.”

classical_Liberal
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by classical_Liberal »

Trying to boil this conversation down to the basic problem(s)...

a) You can form a community with those around you (@ego and @HB). However, most of these people are probably never going to see what you see. They will likely never reach the point of wanting to take preventative action towards collapse. Although as some (@horsewoman and @jean) have pointed out you can try to slowly but surely seed some of what you see without being viewed as totally nuts. The end result is likely a good community, but weakly prepared. Here we have to hope for the "market" to emerge when it's needed. Side note: there's the possibility here that WE are just crazy and should live our lives and let the future bring itself.

b) Try to form a community with people who actually think the way you do, and see what you see. However, these folks are likely already so far down the rabbit hole that their individual strategies have made community with other equally strongly prepared folks very difficult. Here we have to hope for a closer community to emerge when it's needed. Fabricated example, "c_L why don't you move to chicago for ERE community". c_L "Because I view the Chicago area as a tinder pile waiting for the next match".

Alphaville
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Alphaville »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:41 pm
Fabricated example, "c_L why don't you move to chicago for ERE community". c_L "Because I view the Chicago area as a tinder pile waiting for the next match".
c) @c_L, here’s the blueprint/manual to establishing an ere land/housing co-op in your area

classical_Liberal
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by classical_Liberal »

@alphaville
Yes the third option is trying to create either a closer and more tightly knit community of highly prepared folks, or to try to get a localized existing community to become more prepared.

It just seems that blueprint hasn't reached the printer yet. :D

Hristo Botev
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Re: apocalyptic techno-optimism

Post by Hristo Botev »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:41 pm
The end result is likely a good community, but weakly prepared.
Excellent summary. I just want to add, though, that I think you can get like 80-90% there by just seeking out communities of folks who--although maybe they've never even heard of ERE and think climate change and/or peak oil or whatever is all just BS--are craftsmen, tradesmen, local farmers, paramedics, farm-to-table chef types, entrepreneurial engineer types, etc.; people for a whole variety of reasons that don't have anything to do with collapse just prefer to work with their hands in some capacity and don't buy into the whole consumerism as culture thing. Those are the folks you want to have in your apocalyptic pod. Basically, just avoid like the plague the salaryman types like me, whose specialized skills at shuffling paper back and forth will have ZERO value in a deindustrialized world.

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