Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Questions and comments
Alphaville
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by Alphaville »

hey peter, welcome to the forum! you're doing good work.

(and if you ever want video "tips and tricks" :lol: maybe i can help)

btw i read your jordan piece and i appreciated the stoic dad joke, ha ha ha.

ok. i hope we see you around after the buzz moves elsewhere. we can always use more live players.
Last edited by Alphaville on Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

peterlimberg
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by peterlimberg »

daylen wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:22 am
Dead players were once part of a live group that had its head chopped off at the ideological guillotine.
:lol:

Dead playing = Post-traumatic live playing!

Alphaville
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by Alphaville »

peterlimberg wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:28 am
:lol:

Dead playing = Post-traumatic live playing!
:lol:

this is true. and yet, one must always keep punching, or all is lost.

jacob
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by jacob »

We talked a bit about live vs dead privately after the talk. I don't remember if I mentioned it, but what seems to happen often is that someone comes up with a novel idea, usually in their 20s, (think phd dissertation, but here ERE), which then takes off. This in turn creates maintenance costs as well as the incentive build on the success of the existing idea. Not just maintenance but also sales/support insofar one wants the idea to live. Even in the academy, it kills me [spiritually] that so much effort has to go into promotion instead of research.

I noticed this in practically all professors when I was in grad school. "I don't want to be someone who had one idea in their life who then proceeded to milk it for the next 40 years" or something to that effect... yet here I am. It's very hard to avoid. The problem appears structural.

One might describe the mind as an ecological succession. There's the weed-stage when the mind is young or immature and subject to being populated by novel species ... but eventually it reaches a climate stage which is vastly more effective but hardly inventive. It's pretty hard to have both. One way to reset is to burn down the trees to let the weeds back in.

Qazwer
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by Qazwer »

There is an argument of two kinds of geniuses. Those who find an idea on the outside and build it. They are young. Then there are the geniuses who learn by experimenting and synthesizing. They tend to be older. Malcolm Gladwell popularized this idea but it was not his originally.
There is also a genius in building something. It takes a different mind set and skill set from having a great idea to implementing it. It is less milking it as requiring new skills.
Different parts of the academy at different times prize each one in turn. Those who built large trials also were geniuses. Those who did billion dollar equivalent engineering/physics were likewise.

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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by jacob »

peterlimberg wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:12 am
The thing that was salient for me at the end of the session was addressing the challenge Jacob mentioned near the end, e.g. the community building thing with socially-oriented temperaments and individually-oriented temperaments (around 1:25:00 mins in). I am curious if the community here has experimented with mastermind type groups that would help keep one accountable to ERE principles and methodologies?
The ERE forums do [mostly] function as such a mastermind group with the journal section functioning to keep individuals (those with a journal) accountable (mostly to themselves) and successful. There are journals that stretch the entire period from first discovery to post-FIRE. My rule of thumb is that people reach FI (still the most common goal) once their journal thread reaches 500 posts.

However, it's still mostly a collection of individual efforts with the community existing via the forum interactions but not much outside it. (People do meet IRL but usually only once or twice at meetups.) Historically we have discussed IRL communities such as deciding on moving to a city; setting up shop in an RV park/tiny house/learning tribes; ... but none have worked. Similar attempts have been made in other personal finance communities with little success that I'm aware of. My hypothesis is that we (by choice of the problem to be solved and the proposed solution method) tend to select for independent mindsets as opposed to dependent or interdependent mindsets.

The attempts I've seen in this space with the most success have been annual resort-style meetups where people hang out for an entire weekend or week. Some return to those events recurrently. It becomes a tradition. That is something we've never attempted here.

daylen
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by daylen »

@Jacob Once you see the various ecological compositions you unconsciously become the tectonic force that shifts their relative positions over the eons. May the force be with you. :P

peterlimberg
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by peterlimberg »

jacob wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:19 pm
The ERE forums do [mostly] function as such a mastermind group with the journal section functioning to keep individuals (those with a journal) accountable (mostly to themselves) and successful. There are journals that stretch the entire period from first discovery to post-FIRE. My rule of thumb is that people reach FI (still the most common goal) once their journal thread reaches 500 posts.
Very cool. I might try this journal thing.

Perhaps the frame needs to widen. To lean on Aristotle's 3 Types of Friendship, I wonder if having a mastermind/accountability group bounded by a certain practical attractor (e.g. financial independence), promotes what Aristotle calls "friendship of utility," and not "friendship of virtue (or the Good)." I know this might open up a philosophical pandora's box, but the idea is basically this: have the group bounded by a very broad frame (virtue, The Good, etc), which may tackle the practical, instead of it being bounded by the practical. I know this may be outside the scope here, but this what is at the edge of my thinking: how can friendships of virtue be developed in our metamodern age?
Last edited by peterlimberg on Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

guitarplayer
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by guitarplayer »

jacob wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:19 pm
My rule of thumb is that people reach FI (still the most common goal) once their journal thread reaches 500 posts.
6 years and 3 months away from FI, pretty accurate and in line with my vague projections.

It would be cool seeing or hearing more of such appearances.

Frita
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by Frita »

peterlimberg wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:08 pm
Perhaps the frame needs to widen. To lean on Aristotle's 3 Types of Friendship, ... how can friendships of virtue be developed in our metamodern age.
Yes and another bit to read, https://www.google.com/amp/s/humanpart ... 878418343f Your last question was spot-on; long-standing friendships of virtue are a challenge. Forming accidental friendships is easier than the intentional variety, especially being in a minority group and connecting via this forum. This seems to be exacerbated in modern times, a disposable product culture that defines humans as disposable too.

It also seems that FI as an endgame is a trap. That is where Jacob’s systemic approach of ERE is brilliant, though the community feature is a work in progress. One of the forumites who was trying to increase community-building this summer suddenly erased all but one post. I really thought that post-COVID a shift could occur. Instead, the situation seems more fragile.

Just rambling as I have some poorly formed thoughts rattling around...I am a former ENTP, now an eNTP, working on diminishing the font of my “e.” Casual friendships based on convenience don’t do much for me. It’s tiring if that’s all there is, just a veneer of a relationship. I have lost my tolerance for ongoing superficialness, transactionalness, unquestioning joint delusion. If that’s all there is, better to be alone more. It does seem that when one is owned by a job/debt/status/needs and wants and goals, friends of virtue are worthless. If one tries to develop deeper friendships with someone who isn’t ready, it doesn’t work and default is to the lower level.

peterlimberg
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by peterlimberg »

Frita wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:41 pm
I have lost my tolerance for ongoing superficialness, transactionalness, unquestioning joint delusion. If that’s all there is, better to be alone more. It does seem that when one is owned by a job/debt/status/needs and wants and goals, friends of virtue are worthless. If one tries to develop deeper friendships with someone who isn’t ready, it doesn’t work and default is to the lower level (classic Prisoner’s Dilemma).
"Better be alone" = very compatible with my Stoicism, and the words of my homeboy Seneca come to mind: To consort with the crowd is harmful; there is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which we mingle, the greater the danger.

John Vervaeke (a professor at the University of Toronto) and I have been looking into various interpersonal and intersubjective modalities (see: https://youtu.be/FQ3c3niLvbI), and something he said about peers I absolutely love: in order to be somebodies peer you have to allow them to peer through you, and you have to have the ability to peer through them.

This takes great care and intimacy, and it is not wise to be fucking naive here. A lot of socially-oriented temperaments that Jacob refers to have an allergy to power and do not consider power dynamics when jumping into groups, hence they do not talk about it, which leads to these weird "Tyranny of Structurelessness" dynamics, aka power dynamics that are implicit and manifest in very unhealthy ways. Perhaps there is an aversion to power as well from those with individually-oriented temperaments, but not so much from an individual abuse of power, but from the power that gets imposed upon them from a group.

I mention this because my sense is that becoming more sophisticated with "power literacy" and finding out where our personal power-allergies are (are we more fearful of the tyrant or of the mob?) might be helpful in wisely crafting these groups/masterminds/communities of virtue.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by AxelHeyst »

I found The Stoa through Jacob's link, and Peter your shit is blowing my mind. I've already used the term "stoicpunk" in conversation a couple times, completely inappropriately, just because I wanted to feel what it sounded like.

I spend a fair amount of braincycles on the community question. My life plan is aimed in the direction of some form of community, even at this moment as my answer to "where do I live?" is "on friend's land, who invite me, and we share resources and skills, and work together to improve the land/situation." It's very ungrounded and ad hoc now, but I feel that at the moment what I'm doing is learning as I go and building up a base of experiences that will feed an intentional approach at some point in the future that has some chance of working.

I think your comments about power literacy and structurelessness are dead on. I was somewhat involved with occupy oakland back in the day, and the emotional and organizational dysfunctions were mind-numbingly frustrating. ("Hey, uh, you know you're pointing that gun at your foot rig---OH DAMN yeah wow you just shot your own foot, why did you think that wasn't going to happen?") For various reasons, I have an above-average ability to quickly build mental models of the power dynamics and emotional realities of a social dynamic situation, an *in*ability to get triggered myself, and am able to explain the dynamics in a way that the participants can understand. My perception is that attempts at community (at various scales) get nuked because the collective social/emotional intelligence and competence is below the threshold at which the group can maintain cohesion.

Let me say that another way. Being a member of any kind of community requires some base level of social/emotional/psychological intelligence. I assume there is some ratio of "basic, fundamental EQ" and "EQ unique to this particular group". Most of us moderns, growing up in broken nuclear families, lack the EQ required to basically function in most kinds of meaningful groups. Some of us get excited about the idea of coming together in to a community because we're all drowning in loneliness and despair, but when we do, we find we don't have the EQ required for "20 people to live under the same roof without stabbing each other", as Paul Wheaton puts it.

To your thoughts about the mastermind groups based on friendships of virtue, myself and another forumite have essentially created a 2-person informal mastermind group of sorts. Our conversations relate to how can we be of service to the world, with ERE as one lens/methodology that we use (heavily). Your comments are inspiring me to up the game with that as a seed.

peterlimberg
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by peterlimberg »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:47 pm
I found The Stoa through Jacob's link, and Peter your shit is blowing my mind. I've already used the term "stoicpunk" in conversation a couple times, completely inappropriately, just because I wanted to feel what it sounded like.
Hahaha. I love it. And that is an awesome skill, e.g. creating "mental models" to grok certain power dynamics. This gives one an edge in navigating social worlds for sure.

This might be somewhat woo, but here is my rough taxonomy regarding community stuff. Feel free to stress-test ...

Community - a group of people that have some structural binding.
Sense of Community - the emotional aspect that sometimes comes with a community.
Communitas - a heightened phenomenological reality that a group can reach.

Different combinations can emerge, e.g. a community can exist without having a sense of community, e.g. an atomistic society. I'd also distinguish communitas from something like mob mentality, as communitas demands a group of individuated/sovereign individuals in union, and not for them to capitulate their individuality. Different practices exist to get into this state: the Integral Theory scene calls it "We-Space practices". And stuff like Circling and Collective Presencing gesture towards it. (Ria Baeck has a weekly series at The Stoa's wisdom gym on Fridays btw)

My working theory is that sociopaths and co-dependents cannot get into communitas (until they become more individuated/sovereign that is), but can prevent it from emerging. A power literacy (especially one in the social wild) allows one be able to be a "spiritual bouncer" to help spot the games being played and screen out hard cases. Also, I sense that what cultural anthropologists call a "leveling mechanism" would need to be implemented before communitas can form, yet wisely considered in order not to stunt individual growth. (which I wrote about recently)

Optimal_Solution
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by Optimal_Solution »

Peter, your blog reminds of Ribbonfarm. Maybe it is the cryptic language that requires context to fully understand, the philosophy, the decomposition of cultural forces, or the heavy topics sprinkled with lighthearted-ness.

oldbeyond
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by oldbeyond »

feel there’s a yearning for community in many places; I can feel it in myself as well. There’s a parallell with the practical skills we hone, in that community is also a skill, where a lot of knowledge has been lost as solutions to problems happen in the market or the bureaucracy and not in the home or neighborhood. Grief over this fact mostly gets absorbed by the culture war and thus disarmed and divided. But just as we can learn a lot from our grandparents when it comes to home economics while not adopting their social mores (if we do not desire to do so), the same holds true for forming communities.

In my limited experience, compromise and tolerance is the foundation of a functional community. And achieving that, while not loosing your common vision and energy, takes real skill. A lot of attempts at online community building seems hampered by the fact that the medium lends itself to ever increasing fraction. It’s easy to simply become even more niche and avoid disagreement. Of course that dynamic has no end (“peoples front of Judaea/Judaean peoples front”). That results in low density, and paired with low skill building lasting community becomes really hard.

Theory is crucial, I’m not denying that, but most attempts seem to fail at the practical level. It’s hopeful that places like The Stoa exist that connect a lot of disparate tribes. I think in local ERE terms, the dream for a lot of us would be connecting with our best buddies from the forum. A workable solution is perhaps more like connecting with the three lurkers in your town, and the guys doing organic gardening workshops you’ve heard about, and the remnants of the local strong towns group, and your cousin who’s really into Carl Jung, and doing something together, even if it isn’t exactly what you dream about.

ertyu
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by ertyu »

Here is why I think we cannot form a community.

A community can be stable in two ways.

1. Strict lines of enforced hierarchy determine who is respected and whose opinion is heard. This hierarchy is enforced by everyone in the community without regard for personal opinion or flourishing. At various points in time and space, who needs to grit their teeth and eat bitterness has been defined differently. The small people and the female people, the brown people, the foreign people, etc. This type of community stability will probably not work here because, as jacob pointed out in the talk, this space selects for people who, temperamentally, tend to seek individual level solutions first and form communities later. I am not sure anyone wants a community here to work along these lines - or at least i hope no one does, even the people who would be the traditionally designated authority-havers. Even if some do, it would be hard to find people willing to meekly grit their teeth.

2. The second way a community can work is if all individuals have deep respect for one another. We are simply not evolved enough for this. Members of this community have made racist and anti-immigrant statements. They have called people who have shown vulnerability names, because vulnerability triggers them - and they have not apologized. When you have a community with open admission - e.g. there is no restriction on who can join the forum - this is bound to happen. We all come into this with different sets of prejudices and unresolved issues. If we still want to have a community at this point, we need moderation along rules of respectful behavior. This, too, will be unacceptable to many here: they will feel that their freedom of speech is threatened, that they are being forced to be "politically correct" etc. Secondly, it would also require an undesirable level of moderation effort. Thirdly, it would open the can of worms that is negotiating what constitutes respectful behavior - all sorts of brown, female, foreign, and interestingly gendered people come and ask of you to question all sorts of assumptions, and this makes many reactive. On the opposite side of this coin, many of those brown, female, foreign, and interestingly gendered people may try to push for rules of respectable behavior that aren't necessarily about respect but are really about not having to confront their own psychological issues.

You probably notice the similarity to the left-wing and right-wing styles of community building. You will probably also notice the parallels to the accusations those "without human empathy" and those who are "snowflakes" throw at each other in public discourse. Shit's hard; it really is like herding cats. So, from here, if one wants to build a community, one needs to begin by grouping with people who agree with one's idea of how a community is to be built. Thus you get prepper camps and the like on one hand, and various communes and intentional communities on the other - and we all know these aren't automatically stable solutions either. But if one is to have any success at community building, one's first task is to agree on what a community is.

jacob
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by jacob »

My simplest explanation of the challenge is found in the "diagram of space-time concerns" (the bonus slide of the presentation, last 5 minutes or so).

Methinks humans for the most part are naturally pretty good at community at the "you and your family"-level and that this can often extend to "friends & family". This is simply for historical/genetic reasons of being a tribal species. This is for the same reason that the majority of humans adjust to Kegan3. I do not think that requires a particularly high EQ. It requires more intelligence to build/create something than it does to copy existing structures. E.g. if we're lucky we can copy "you and your family" relations from our parents when we seek out a partner w/o having to think about it. It's only if what we copied is screwed up (we copied the wrong thing) that we need EQ or external assistance from someone with EQ or a preformed theory of relationship dynamics to assist in thinking.

Returning to the diagram, there weren't a lot of dots beyond the (neighbors & colleagues) (x)or (10 years or longer) sphere. This is part because we're no longer naturally capable of this. It would require external structures like professionalization (Kegan4) or clan-based efforts. This is something that requires effort (EQ costs) to maintain and even more effort to construct. I don't think this happens spontaneously in any way. It's even harder if participants in no way depend or are locked into the structure, compare a career to participating in an online forum.

These can be sorted into dependent, independent, and interdependent individuals (dots on the map). I'll posit that different "communities" obtain from different mixing-ratios of these three types. E.g. with almost 100% independent types, you get this forum. With 100% dependent types, you get effort-by-committee. Whereas with almost 100% interdependent types, you get transactional behavior (Maccoby gamesman professionals) where other people are seen as resources from which you either buy your solutions or obtain money to buy something aka consumerism.

TL;DR - I don't think human adults are naturally talented towards developing social relations beyond the "you & your family & your Dunbar tribe". We're not eusocial ants who in many ways are Kegan5 even if it is by epigenetic means rather than a deliberate process. I think Kegan4 and 5 (and 6...) are stages that are reached deliberately. However, humans are very adaptable which makes it possible to adapt to meta-structures that are Kegan4... such as professional titles and corporate structures. It's just not behavior that obtains spontaneously. For example, you don't see it happening outside the workplace, say, in your neighborhood.

AxelHeyst
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by AxelHeyst »

@ertyu I think your post was right on, and explains well why, perhaps, the forum is as much of a community as it can be due to its structure (anonymous, minimal consequence for disrespectful behavior, and FI/ERE is a filtering mechanism that selects for cats as jacob said). It's not that the forum "can't form a community" - it is a community, but it's of the 'anyone can join' style with the attendant issues you mentioned.

@jacob, can we say then that 1) ERE style community hasn't happened yet, 2) due to all the reasons you've spoken to over time (the space-time concerns, selecting for cats, groups don't spontaneously start operating at a higher kegan level), but 3) that's not to say it's not possible, just that the right combination of effort, deliberateness, the "right" structure, the "right" individuals who could build the thing without it imploding, have not occurred yet, and 4) perhaps, once one group does pull something off and can demonstrate a template, that will lower the barrier to entry for others to come, build on the first group's success, iterate, etc?

A lot of community building efforts fail, I think, because people attempt to jump straight from where they are at to where they want to ultimately be. They're a lone wolf, they dream of living in an ecovillage or something, and they buy land and invite people. And it predictably craters, for reasons we've been over and over. They run in to the seven thousand challenges, and it's too much to handle. If instead they had started much smaller and built slowly on success, learning as they went, and taking steps with relatively smaller consequences for failure, they'd have gotten further.

Do you know if anyone has tried something like spinning off small ERE-based mastermind groups, as Peter brought up? 4-8 person p2p groups that meet regularly for advice/feedback/accountability? The idea strikes me as having a relatively small barrier to entry (e.g. it's not trying to get a bunch of people to move to some city), low downside ("well that sucked, wish I could get those three hours of my life back, oh well"), and potential significant upside (build on the structure/practice/relationships developed over time to construct something of slightly higher sophistication with people you already know and trust...).

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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by jacob »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:08 am
Do you know if anyone has tried something like spinning off small ERE-based mastermind groups, as Peter brought up? 4-8 person p2p groups that meet regularly for advice/feedback/accountability?
If you mean beyond what is already happening on the forum journals with people mainly commenting on each other's journals when goals/life-stages overlap then no, not that I'm aware of. I see these emergent network effects as informal mastermind groups. I suspect such a group need to be at about the same overall level/stage in order to work? Otherwise, it becomes a one-way teacher-student/leader-follower arrangement.

In 2019, I tried to form an IRL learning tribe in the form of a Junto club but it didn't attract local interest. I was hoping something like that would create synergistic effects (unknown-knowns->known-knowns) e.g. an increased group intelligence and two-way feedback. Insofar that was of no interest, it was easier just to "shop" on youtube to learn such skills.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: Stoa Presentation: A Systems Approach To Resilient Lifestyle Design

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I enjoyed the presentation/discussion and liked the way Jacob reframed some of the information from the book. The slide on how different movements (zero waster, permaculture, minimalism, etc.) all integrate in an ERE framework was particularly powerful to see in such a simple slide. DW and I really started getting on the same page in terms of long-term financial goals after her interest in minimalism peaked 4-5 years ago. That led her to "low-buy" years and other techniques that complemented my focus on FI, investing, and tax optimization.

It was also interesting hearing the discussion on financial vs. personal resiliency. I probably spent a few hours prepping and baking a loaf of bread this weekend that didn't turn out quite as I desired. If I thought of that in terms of hourly wages, that might be like a $100 dollar loaf of bread. My mindset has shifted dramatically from that line of thinking, and now I'm just trying out different things that seem interesting or challenging. I should probably put a little more effort into making sure those things hit at least a few underlying goals.
jacob wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:19 pm

However, it's still mostly a collection of individual efforts with the community existing via the forum interactions but not much outside it. (People do meet IRL but usually only once or twice at meetups.) Historically we have discussed IRL communities such as deciding on moving to a city; setting up shop in an RV park/tiny house/learning tribes; ... but none have worked. Similar attempts have been made in other personal finance communities with little success that I'm aware of.

The attempts I've seen in this space with the most success have been annual resort-style meetups where people hang out for an entire weekend or week. Some return to those events recurrently. It becomes a tradition. That is something we've never attempted here.
I wonder if the MMM "headquarters" and co-working space qualifies as a relative success. I believe he first mentioned it on the Tim Ferris podcast and the desire to move forward was based on an amalgamation of developing an IRL community of like-minded people, investing in a physical asset that would actually improve the existing community of Longmont, and the desire for a new project. I don't know too much about it beyond what I've seen on the blog and a couple podcasts, but it was interesting to watch it evolve from an idea to a project in real time.

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