In it for the long haul

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Seed2009 > Agenda > In it for the long haul

Intro by Ben

TheDestiny is clearly a very long-term proposition; it will probably be decades at least before we're even ready to send people to another planet, probably Mars, and centuries more before our first terraforming project could be in some sense completed—to say nothing of interstellar travel. So how can we possibly keep up the will and the organization to see this through?

In 2005 I went to a talk by Professor Paul Steinberg of Harvey Mudd College, which focused on “bringing life to Earth” in the sense of ecological management over the long haul. He put the problem very neatly: in order to build any institution capable of lasting for centuries, you need a combination of resistance and adaptability to change. That is, to maintain your aims, you codify them in a set of basic core principles which are basically set in stone, but which can be implemented in varying ways according to changing times.

It's also important to build alliances with organizations of all types that share the same general aim, so that if one or several groups lose interest or collapse, the cause will not be lost:

  • Across scales (local, state, national, international)
  • Across religions, political parties, or other belief systems
  • Across sectors (social networks, business, government, nonprofits, etc.)

Now, SolSeed is being developed on a wiki where anything can be modified, so it's currently hard to say what its core principles might be. But it's very important that we get them right if we want them to stand the test of time. So I'll start this session off with the questions: What makes a really good core principle? What are some initial ideas for core principles for SolSeed?


Examples of core principles that "worked":

  • U.S. Constitution
  • Ten Commandments
  • Torah
  • Apostles' Creed
  • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

What they have in common:

  • Sharing
  • Happiness?
  • Amber: Regulative processes
    • In civil society, this means politeness
      • Japan: Pride, reputation, responsibility
      • U.S.: Trained to be individual, but end up being similar anyway (following trends, etc.)
  • Brandon: Comes from an oral tradition that people eventually wrote down
    • Amber: Wise people figuring things out, answering people's questions, thus getting followers
      • Red Bull Flugtag: Answers the question of where in society you can release the urge to go crazy

Why last a long time?

  • Brandon: Instead, just practice now in the small scale what you want to eventually happen at the large scale
    • Metaphor: If you do the work at the "headwaters" where no one sees you, it will work better than trying to be a "hero" and divert the torrent of the river at full force
      • In our case: Give space travel a push rather than trying to do it ourselves
    • Amber: Practices last, while explicit things like fashion change very fast
      • City planners try to plan for 200 years, though there's no way to predict it
    • Practice ideas:
      • Brandon: Generally, find something just beyond what you think you can do, and then do it
      • Lion: Connect with "spacing" societies, create a really nice website that tracks them all
        • Amber: This could inspire the broad community of interest by answering their questions
  • In the story of Parable of the Sower, Lauren doesn't use the religion of Earthseed to gather people, she used the promise of security and mutual support
    • Also, Earthseed itself doesn't build the starships

Lion: Time can be measured as chiros instead of chronos

  • Like OpenSpace, chiros measures how much work/evolution has been done

Amber's notes

Amber's notes from my 1000-Year Institution session.gif Click the image to see more info.

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