August 26, 2012: Online Work Bee

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  • Check In
  • Weekly Events Logistics
  • Review WWWs
  • Review Agenda
  • OnePagePlan
  • Evaluation

Items for future meetings

  • Children International
  • Space Elevator Conference
  • SeedVillage
  • John's Kickstarter
  • Equinox
  • Brandon's evangelism
  • Topical Communities
  • Book
  • Village
  • Drip Emails (SolSeedProtocol)

Check In

  • Eric ... it's hot (I dunked my head in the river during meditation)
  • Shelley ... I'm great - worried that Seqoia's big brother shirt is already

too small and stained

  • Brandon ... Visited Seqoia's new school, in close walking distance yay!
  • Sequoia ... sick
  • Ren ... good, but doesn't want to sleep unless you hold him (want's to be


Weekly Events Logistics

Abbreviated Work-Bee and Service Monday Sept 3, 1:30pm PDT ... service when

Sequoia gets up (Shelley)

Rotation: Brandon, Eric, Jerry?, Shelley, Ben
In-person service with Vliets: Saturday 10am
Ottawa Seeing Nature Excursion: Monday Sept 3 1400 EDT (11 am PDT)

WWWs from last time

  • Eric ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Eric ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Ben ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Ben ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Ben ... send the lyrics to John and Will ... by tonight
  • Ben ... finish PowerPoint for the Space Elevator Conference ... by


  • Brandon ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ...


  • Brandon ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... print Ben new SolSeed business cards that aren't misspeled ...

by Friday

  • Shelley ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ...


  • Shelley ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing


  • Ben ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Ben ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ...


  • Brandon ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... interview Shelley about the paths (see below)... by next call
  • Brandon ... think Paths of Solseed to long term vision ... by next call
  • Brandon ... two good hours on the book ... by next call
  • Shelley ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ...


  • Shelley ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Eric ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Eric ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Eric ... send Ben an email explaining the event logistics ... by today
  • Eric ... think Paths of Solseed to long term vision ... by next call
  • Eric ... two good hours on the book ... by call after next

Space Elevator Conference

Ben has until this Friday to turn in a PowerPoint for his presentation; the

actual talk is on the 27th

  • Ben is close to getting the presentation into presentable form, but would

like to give a practice talk before submitting the PowerPoint

  • Sticking with 6:30 PDT, 9:30 EDT on Wednesday the 15th for the practice


    • The Sanders will be home but Ben should call them

One Page Plan


  • Where do we want to be in 20 yrs? In 10 yrs? In 5 yrs?
  • Read through values, beliefs etc of the OnePagePlan
  • What are the projects that we want to do soon?
  • What are the first 3-4 projects?
  • Consider order and overlap of projects first and ask (how long is it going

to take?)

Where do you want us to be in 20 yrs? Ben ... in 20 yrs I want us to have built an institution that perpetuates our

goals, (whether it's an ecovillage or a company, etc), particular the unique

aspect of being interested in Life both on Earth and in space Eric ... in 20 yrs I would like to have a climate-controlled greenhouse

project in the North growing trees that we've bred that are able to withstand

really harsh environments, and making money to support itself by growing food

for people in the North. The third thing it would be doing is Biosphere 2

type closed-ecosystem-life-support testing. And we would have a network of

groups across the continent (maybe around the world) who are inspired by this

work and who are supporting it.

  • Shelley ... we should be living in communities, and we should have a really

solid spiritual or religious practice that makes it inconceivable to the

group that it would ever splinter or fall apart (this is the direction of

their whole life) ... the communities could be doing various projects like

biospheres, organic gardening, etc, but in any case the work is grounded in a

larger spiritual context/vision

  • Brandon ... in 20 yrs I'd like to see a second generation of SolSeed

contributors, meaning children of members who joined, who found the practice

meaningful and voluntarily continued their involvement as they became adults

... I would like to see the Kindred network being very much aware of itself

and having a wide onramp in society, specifically at least 3 strong

intentional societies, one of which is SolSeed, and several other fledglings,

all of which meet in person once a year for a big celebration, and

communicate regularly online and through an exchange program ... these

societies would be characterized by people who have shining eyes when they

talk about their life's work and who have found the support they need to

pursue that life's work

Where do you want us to be in 10 yrs?

  • Eric ... I would like to see us have the network of groups already in

place, even if they aren't maybe big enough yet to support the greenhouse

project, but they are working toward helping us ... they will be working

toward greening their own communities, building ecovillages, building green


  • Shelley ... in 10 years there are two nodes of communities that may or may

not be living together, but have a shared spiritual practice and shared goals

  • Ben ... Critical mass of people who are ready to start building at least

one organized institution, as described in my 20-years statement, whether

they are in the same place or not; a lot of them would probably have to be,

but virtual technology may allow multi-location groups to be more powerful.

  • Brandon ... what you all said, plus we're strong: we have momentum that we

can point to in terms of committed members, religious traditions that give

shape and meaning to our lives, and we've collected and are nurturing several

other groups as they are building the same for themselves ... we've

identified our spiritual ancestors and our past and present teachers, and are

deeply plugged into our entire narrative (past, present, and future)

Where do you want us to be in 5 yrs? Ben ... in 5 yrs I would like us to 10 members that are actively working on

things, and some degree of people in the relevant topical communities knowing

about us ... i.e. we've joined the communities that are working in the

general directions we're working. Eric ... in 5 years I would like us to have 50 contributing members and many

more members that are on and off taking part in thing. Like Ben said, I'd

like us to have made alliances with other groups that have similar goals and

I would see them being environmental groups a lot of times (in addition to

space groups).

  • Shelley ... One community as described above
  • Brandon ... I'd like us to be almost entirely about practice (digging in

the soil, building things, having celebrations etc) rather than ideation

(figuring out who we are and where we're going), whatever size we are

Core Values/Beliefs

  • All life is precious. This is the root of our value system.

Respecting and cherishing life is the reason for everything we do.

    • More possibilities are good? Life creates an upward spiral of

possibility. This is one of the reasons we value life so much.

    • We ALL are precious SolSeed. SolSeed (which contains Gaia) is

defined as "the body of all life on Earth," encompassing every human culture

and belief system as well as all other species. This is a statement of

belief in the Gaia hypothesis, at least as a valid metaphor. This connects

particularly to the "Openness/welcoming differences" practice below.

      • Body of All Solar Life, SolSeed/Gaia, and "ecosystem/biosphere" have very

different visceral content ... having a name gives it a kind of personhood

(with a name, it brings it to life ... not just a corpse)

      • The finger is the body (as it is expressed in that portion of itself), so

saying "I am Life itself" is a valid and true way of looking at the world

(though not the only one) ... further, there is power in that perspective ...

it is a perspective that is inaccessible to most of the world

      • SolSeed is the most precious thing we know?
      • We all belong to the Body of All Solar Life?
      • Consider whether to keep the word "Solar" in the main text or relegate it

to a commentary

    • Living and working in community? (We don't do this yet, but it's on

our business cards and banner) ... could relate to the more universal ethic

through conferences bringing communities together in a network

      • Elucidate with Captain Planet language, "By our powers combined"? God is

a metaphor for the immense power of society to do things that its individual

members could not.

achieve more than its individual members could ever achieve. The goal of

fulfilling The Destiny is only possible throught this mechanism.

        • By living together in 'community', the species that make up SolSeed

can achieve much more than each individual species could achieve on their

own. In fact without the diversity of the biosphere, most species (trying to

survive alone) would die off.

        • Living in a community of practice, where there is an established

practice of carving out time for living according to our aspirations, makes

those activities effortless and joyful rather than a slog. If your friends

and family and social activities are all in support of your aspirations ...

then just hanging out is moving toward your aspirations (your activities

naturally support the aspirations) ... there isn't the need to "add them to

your life" ... your life already has them built in

    • The Destiny of SolSeed is to take root amongst the stars. To

protect the future of life, we must help it grow beyond Earth and even

beyond the Solar system, so it can never be wiped out. More

importantly, our belief in this audaciously optimistic goal, and in the epic

story of a future with life thriving on many worlds, is central to defining

the SolSeed Movement.

      • This is the one value that makes us unique among movements whose core

value is respect for all life.

      • Stuff about being worthy
        • Steve: We should tread lightly and not use universalizing rhetoric, e.g.

"bring terrestrial life to as many worlds as possible," which could lead to

running over other biospheres

        • Brandon: Even if there is an increase in wars, hunger, and systemic

injustice, life will still be precious

        • Shelley: We should be gentle
        • Brandon: TheDestiny as a term is not necessarily gentle ... it's not a

"shy violet" term

      • We're not necessarily the only biosphere expanding out into the galaxy,

so worries about us taking over everything may not be required. We won't

know until we go and see. But we can't go look without establishing

ourselves along the way.

  • Science as the way to know truth. We believe in the scientific

worldview, the principle that observing the world is a far better route to

knowledge than religious texts and magical thinking. We talk about Gaia,

a controversial scientific concept, and about a Destiny that sounds like a

prophecy, but we admit that these are stories, not knowledge. We believe in

the Destiny as a worthy and inspiring goal and Gaia as a useful and inspiring

metaphor, but what we believe to be true (or rather, as close to the

truth as we can presently get) is based around mainstream science.

    • We don't try to answer scientific questions through our religion; we

accept the answers from science and then base our religion on them

  • Care, Loyalty, Liberty, Authority, Fairness, Sanctity
    • Care is easy: we care about all life
    • Sanctity is easy: pollution, habitat destruction, etc are forms of

violation of sanctity

    • Fairness is harder: how do we accept proportionality if it extends to

letting people starve if they can't or won't work? are those people not

worthy of being cared for?

    • Loyalty (to the SolSeed Movement) is okay as long as we don't have to be

in harmful competition with other groups

rebel. We are being creative in a realm (religion) that is generally

conservative. Oddly, many would assume that we're starting a new religion so

the founder can aggrandize himself and have authority over cult followers (as

many recent "new religions" have done), but this is the opposite of true.

And so we reject authority within SolSeed partly because we don't want to be

like that and partly because we hold strong democratic/open-source values.

      • Eric: Imagine a forest spanning different climates, where trees in

cloudy, rainy areas could send water to trees in sunny, dry areas and get

sugar in return ... the trees could establish a "tyranny"

      • Ben: Environmental regulators, and police and courts enforcing laws that

protect people from harm, are authorities that we could respect. May exert

authority as long as it's in directions approved by a majority of the


      • Brandon: I value having an identity that is more about membership in a

group than about me as an individual, and I see "religions controlling

people" as a good thing if translated as "helping me control myself," even if

not always in ways I would choose on my own

    • Liberty is pretty easy: freedom to follow our religion and others'

freedom to follow theirs? Also, science requires freedom from oppressive

ideology that tells people certain things can't be true. Also, creativity

and making beauty and possibility happen seem to require freedom if you're

intelligent (or millions of years of evolutionary time otherwise). On the

other hand, we support limiting people's freedom to "desecrate the sanctity

of nature" and harm other living beings.


  • Be starfarer now. The goal of spreading life across the Galaxy,

or even bringing one other world to life, is still a dream for the future,

but that shouldn't stop us from embracing its implications in the present.

"Starfarer" is a way of life, not a job description. It involves optimism,

openness to audacious possibilities, and cultivating

virtues that will serve us well when we carry

life to the stars. It also involves presence and mindfulness of the now,

because only by taking action in the present can we build the future we seek.

    • Begin the work. Don't let your current understanding block your power. ...

(from Seeing Nature)

  • Nurture body, mind and spirit. The virtue of Self-Love leads to

the practices of staying healthy, stimulating our minds, and maintaining a

fulfilling spiritual practice (daily meditation, weekly services, quarterly

celebrations of the changing seasons). If we don't look after ourselves, we

will be in no condition to pursue any of our goals.

    • Don't commit to too much for the sake of the future and neglect our

present needs ... Eric's metaphor: this is the brake pedal and "Be Starfarer

now" is the gas pedal

  • Openness/welcoming differences. To build a community of starfarers

with strong ties to other groups that value life, we need to

understand that shared values and/or purpose doesn't mean we will all think

alike. Because we are all precious SolSeed, we welcome people regardless of

these differences. Also, as our scientific worldview requires, we

acknowledge that anything we believe could be wrong. We believe in

practicing the welcoming of those with different ideas and beliefs with

Empathy and respectful discussion and debate.

    • And yet almost everybody who has participated in any SolSeed activity has

been white and affluent ... maybe we should think about eventually starting a

SolSeed affirmative-action program?

  • Acting upstream. Wisdom says that a small group like ours should

not seek large-scale change by a direct route. Instead, we look for small

actions that are well-positioned to set off a cascade of larger changes in

the future. The "upstream" metaphor comes from Paul Krafel's film [[The

Upward Spiral]], in which he describes redirecting tiny rivulets of

rainwater so they soak into the soil and promote life, rather than forming

fast-flowing streams that cut the land into steep, lifeless gullies.

  • Finish what we start? We haven't lived up to this, and it could

become a negative practice (continuing work that we no longer value), but it

would help us avoid taking on too many projects with no clear way to persist

with all of them.

    • Alternately, Choose things to finish ... don't just let the first

item on the list take over if it's not the most valuable thing to work on

  • "Functional" practices
    • Taking notes ... recording what we've done and where we've been
    • Open Space ... self-organized un-conferences
    • Evaluating our pratices ... self-criticism leads to improvement
  • Generosity to members and friends. We help people who want to attend

our events, and don't ask for money in return for attendance.

  • Charity and Advocacy. We donate some of our time and money to help

people in need and support worthy causes, separate from our work with friends

and members.

Purpose/North Star

To bring life to ourselves, each other, our communities, our planet, and even

unto the galaxy.


Path 1: Articulate our detailed vision for a SolSeed way of life (book) > Build

Movement (Recruit and use practice/good work to attract members) > Build

Cottage Space/Forest Industries > Grow Villages around Industries Path 2: Articulate our detailed vision for a SolSeed way of life (book) > Adopt and

refine practice (build our lives) ... includes building one anchor part of

one Village > Recruit second anchor part of that same Village > Repeat

  • Build a SolSeed village/society
  • Become a player in the space industry
    • Does this go against the value of "acting upstream"? ... not if we go the

open-source "space hacking" route

    • In particular, engineering organisms adapted to life beyond Earth?
  • Incorporate the SolSeed Society nonprofit to do or contribute to charitable


  • Promulgate our ideas through various media
    • Does this include our events that include friends/kindred?
  • Spiritual practice
    • This includes our events for just ourselves

Targets (3 Years)

Year Ending: 12/31/2012

  • Resources: Yearly budget is $1 million.
  • Industry: We are making money from something core to launching life to

another world, eventually another star system.

  • Vision: Our vision is clearly articulated in all core media (this

website, the [ Facebook

page], books, videos, events, and perhaps a blog and/or other Web presence).

2012 1 Year Goals

  • Media: Finish what we're working on for the big book

(possibly as two books/parts) and publish it

  • Outreach: Maintain and develop our topical community protocols all year
  • Spiritual practice: Maintain and develop the spiritual practice (daily

practice, weekly services, and big celebrations for the solstices and


  • Village: Core membership all lives in same neighborhood

Draft 2012 3rd Quarter Goals, due 9/30/2012

  • Book
    • Yellow:
      • Brandon ... 6 good hours
      • Ben ... 6.5 good hours (breaks down to .5 hrs/week)
    • Green:
      • Brandon ... 12 good hours
      • Shelley ... editing for 2 good hours
      • Ben ... 13 good hours (breaks down to 1 hr/week)
    • Super Green: Finish a draft of the book and get a hard copy
      • Brandon ... spend at least 1 hr every week of the quarter
      • Shelley ... editing for 4 good hours
      • Ben ... add an image for every chapter
  • One-Page Plan development
    • Yellow ... One page descriptions of the resource needs, outcomes and

impact of at least four projects.

    • Green ... All 5s from Shelley, Eric, Ben, and Brandon on a plan that

includes at least 20 years in its arc

    • Super Green ... we have a beautiful graphical presentation of the plan

suitable for printing and prominently displaying in our living spaces


  • Spiritual Practice
    • Equinox
  • Workbees
  • Topical Communities
    • Space Elevator
    • Religious Method

Drip Emails

Once a week for 12 weeks send a picture and very short email with a few links

if people want to go deeper

Brandon's list, with comments

Week 1: The Upward Spiral ... concepts from Paul's movie

Week 2: The Divided Mind (Elephant and Rider) ... concepts from Jonathan's

book, The Happiness Hypothesis

Week 3: The Body of all Life ... Gaia theory?

Week 4: Passion ... Happy in the Sun (Elephant + Rider)

Week 5: Life has invested in us ... probably about how the harm we've done to

the biosphere is an "investment" that we need to pay back with interest by

doing something good that outweighs the harm ... concepts from our book:

Life ... it's our epic story!#Life has invested in us

Week 6: Empathy is transcendant ... material from Jonathan's other book,

The Righteous Mind

Week 7: TheDestiny ... our ultimate long-term goals as a religion ... does it

make sense to put this earlier, so people interested in space don't get

impatient and those who are dubious find out earlier that this isn't for


Week 8: Perspective (skinbag, life itself) ... Buddhist concepts?

Week 9: Precious and Worthy ... one email is unlikely to be enough to

convince people who think humans aren't worthy

Week 10: Wisdom ... Habit and Instinct ... Regular Practice ... maybe also

talk about balancing reason and emotion (i.e. more Elephant and Rider)?

Week 11: The Critical Role of Religion ... need to define religion more

broadly (and more specifically?) than usual

Week 12: More or Less Alive ... Bring Life ... good general topic to wrap

things up

Other ideas

  • Environmentalism is a losing battle ... we can only prevent destruction ...

unless we go out to other worlds to create new wilderness

  • Science as a worldview ... what is a science-based religion anyway?
  • Intentional communities ... a better life on Earth and practice for living

in space

  • Projects? - Practical steps toward the destiny - dyson tree breeding

programs - starships. (or maybe things a bit more near-term :-)

General comments

  • Ben ... it's a good first draft but could use some revision
  • Eric ... it's better than a first draft ... nearly there, but needs some



  • Eric ... doing well by focusing on the one thing at a time, although we

didn't get very far in terms of analyzing the one page plan on paper ...

we're finding our path toward thinking at a higher strategic level

  • Brandon ... Committed as ever but seeing the future is muddling along.
  • Shelley ... beginning to focus, my elephant is attracted to focus :-)
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