July 15, 2012: Online Work Bee

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

Check In

  • Ben - Wishing I could learn to go to bed early so I can catch up on sleep.
  • Petra - Purr
  • Eric - Ran a 5k today, then did a tour of the allotment gardens in 35 C heat ... pretty physically burnt out, but still have some mental energy

WWWs from last time

  • Ben ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Ben ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Ben ... draft a 2nd-quarter report ... by next call
  • Brandon ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... write up thoughts about the Religious Method (on existing wiki page) ... by next call
  • Brandon ... put in 2hrs on the book ... by next call
  • Brandon ... schedule the first 'seeing nature' Portland meetup event ... by next call
  • Brandon ... write SolSeedCreed stanza II commentary ... by next call
  • Brandon ... post SolSeedCreed stanza I commentary ... by next call
  • Shelley ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Shelley ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Shelley ... review Ben's paper ... by tonight
  • Eric ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Eric ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Eric ... post thoughts on the Religious Method from the email I sent ... by next call


  • Ben ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Ben ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Ben ... send the draft newsletter to the Sanders ... today
  • Ben ... find photos to add to the newsletter ... by next call
  • Eric ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Eric ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Shelley ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Shelley ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing

Weekly Events Logistics

Service Saturday July 21, 9am PDT, (Shelley?) ... Eric will be away
Rotation: Brandon, Eric, Jerry?, Shelley, Ben
Work-Bee Sunday July 22, 1:30 PDT
In-person service (?) at Seed Village
Ottawa Seeing Nature Excursion: Wednesday July 18, 7pm EDT


The shape of this past quarter consists of a few small events leading up to our huge Summer Solstice event, which dwarfs the others in scale and complexity and almost drowns out their memory. Luckily we have the Internet to remind us.

The first small event was on Earth Day (April 21st), when Brandon, Shelley, Sequoia, and I took a trip to visit Hank Burroughs, the leader of the topical community I've joined called West Coast Ecovillage/CELSS Planners. We learned a lot about him: for instance, in addition to his small-scale indoor food-growing experiments as a step toward building Closed Ecological Life-Support Systems, he also helps run a family woodworking company, and his wife is also a customer for the patented needlepoint frames they produce. After having lunch under the framework for a large geodesic dome in Hank's backyard, we met up with my parents to enjoy the Earth Day festivities at the Oregon Garden in our friend Gus's hometown of Silverton. Meanwhile, Hank decided to get more involved with the SolSeed Movement, signing up as a Member by Declaration and accepting an invitation to our Solstice unconference retreat.

In late May, Eric decided to start recruiting potential new SolSeed members through a new Meetup in his home city of Ottawa. He held three Starfarers' Gatherings, following the pattern of the Weekly Service Calls, before getting too caught up (along with the rest of us) in the planning for the Solstice festivities. More recently, having been greatly inspired by Paul Krafel's movie The Upward Spiral and his book Seeing Nature, Eric has started taking trips to study living hillsides and watercourses around Ottawa.

As for the Solstice itself, part of the reason for the massive amount of planning was that we actually held two back-to-back events: Sol 2012, a traditional three-day unconference retreat held at the same seaside location as Sol 2009, and YayLifeTri, a brand-new event for SolSeed, celebrating evolution through the metaphor of a mini-triathlon. Eric provided both the central question we chose for Sol 2012, "What is the religious equivalent of the Scientific Method?" and the idea for the triathlon, which has been a tradition in his family for several years.

Everyone brought a unique perspective to Sol 2012. Brandon started us off by asking how to judge a religion by its fruits, then took us through a discussion of various definitions of religion. I showed off my fledgling webcomic, Flight in a Cage, partly as a window into my concerns about the unintended consequences of large-scale human endeavors. Shelley encouraged us to imagine our dreams for the future. Hank shared his love of geodesic domes with us in two hands-on dome-building activities, as well as bringing us into a brainstorming session for a CELSS-themed computer game. Lion Kimbro provided a contrarian philosophical perspective, challenging us to defend our ideas. Paul and Alysia Krafel asked us to discuss personal spiritual experiences that lead to religiousness. Eric used his business-analytics skills to distill the concepts we discussed into a graphical outline for the first draft of a Religious Method.

YayLifeTri was a family event including small children, and therefore not actually a competitive race, but it was great fun nonetheless. After splashing through the shallows of Vancouver Lake as "sea creatures," we "evolved" into land-based runners and then "developed technology" by getting on our bikes, then finished off the event with lunch and chocolate fondue. A few minor glitches, such as T-shirts with too little contrast, will be remedied next year, and we hope to gradually scale up the triathlon into a big, public community event.

In all the excitement of planning these events, our big book project was somewhat neglected and had to be marked "red" on our One-Page Plan for the quarter. It will serve as one of only two major focus areas for the third quarter (as opposed to our usual four or five), with the other one being a reimagining of the One-Page Plan itself as a longer-term series of planned projects that frees us from the agony of trying and failing to work on everything at once. This, too, was Eric's idea. Thanks again, Eric! (If we can find five more people like him, then we can go back to working on more projects in parallel.)

One Page Plan


  • Where do we want to be in 20 yrs? In 10 yrs? In 5 yrs? (See last week's notes)
  • 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?)

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 possibility ... is this why we value life so much? If so, then this becomes the new root)
    • We ALL are precious SolSeed. SolSeed is defined as "the body of all life on Earth," encompassing every human culture and belief system as well as all other species. This connects particularly to the "Openness/welcoming differences" practice below. (Is this one redundant?)
    • Living in community? (We don't 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
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • This one is separate because we don't try to answer scientific questions through our religion; we accept the answers from science and then base our religion on them


  • 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. 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.

Purpose/North Star

To bring life to ourselves, each other, our communities, our planet, and even unto the galaxy.


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


  • Eric ... I liked the newsletter, and I liked going over the values, because I've thought them through and can now take them as my own
  • Ben ... Its going to take some getting used to a new format. that is focused on one thing at a time; but I can see the advantage of not rushing through a bunch of stuff and yet making more progress.
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