September 29, 2013: Orientation Call

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Contents

Agenda

  • Check In
  • Review WWWs
  • Weekly Events Logistics
  • Review Agenda
  • Orientation
  • Discussion
  • Funds ... next conversation
  • Opening words for 8th liturgical season (Galaxia)
  • Newsletter
  • Evaluation

Check In

  • Ben ... feeling weirded out by the last three weird days
  • Eric ... doing good, just got back from the local UU and I'm hopeful that there are kindred people there
  • Brandon ... excited to have Keith on the call today, glad that my in-laws can watch the boys today
  • Keith ... pretty good, closing in on the one year anniversary of abandoning the corporate world (October 5)

WWWs from last time

  • Brandon ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... finish the visitor cookies and logging including google analytics ... by next week
  • Brandon ... send the image of the SolSeed emblem to Eric ... by next week
  • Brandon ... react to the transcendent experiences table ... by next week
  • Brandon .. ask Mark Neilssen if we can include his paintings in the intial The Seed video ... by the week after next
  • Ben ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Ben ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Ben ... re-contact John about getting the rights to the song ... by tonight
  • Ben ... check with Brandon about the rights to use the paintings in a Creative Commons licensed video ... by tonight
  • Ben ... make some progress on the next music video ... by next call
  • Eric ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Eric ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Eric ... Extract issues from Commentary on commentary and add to Git ... by next call
  • Eric ... mail thing to Sequoia ... by next call

WWWs

  • Ben ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Ben ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Ben ... write a draft of the summer newsletter ... by next call
  • Ben ... re-contact John about getting the rights to the song ... by tonight
  • Brandon ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Brandon ... finish the visitor cookies and logging including google analytics, FOR REAL THIS TIME :-) ... by next week
  • Brandon ... send PSAS media to Ben ... by Monday
  • Brandon ... start scheduling conversation about when to continue funds chat ... by next call
  • Eric ... follow your topical community protocol for this week ... ongoing
  • Eric ... meditate and keep track of which days ... ongoing
  • Eric ... start fleshing out Galaxia ... by next call
  • Eric ... Extract issues from Commentary on commentary and add to Git ... by next call

Orientation

SolSeed intro

  • Keith already has the "We Believe" book
  • Brandon: It's important that what we have now is good, and that every point in our growth is a good place to be ... what we have on the small scale is what we'll get on the larger scales ... this movement is less about the specific plan for growth than about creating an identity (Be Starfarer Now)
  • Brandon: Jonathan Haidt rider/elephant metaphor ... a lot of what we're doing is changing our elephant's habits, which is why we're organized as a religion
  • Practices
    • Celebrations at the turnings of seasons
    • Two calls a week, the service call (speaks to our elephants) and the work bee (lets our riders make progress)
    • Daily meditation
    • Tithing (each person decides how much to give, no centralized decision-making yet on how to spend the money)
  • Eric: Our goal is to bring life to the stars, but Keith probably already knows that
  • Brandon: We're firmly science-based, and we don't want to engage in discussions about fringe or pseudoscience ideas
  • Brandon: We're also tree-hugger types; caring for the Earth is a strong value as well

Keith's intro

  • these are my opinions and perspectives ... some others may see things differently
  • 1998, First Millennial Foundation
    • some fussing with the IRS because of how close it was to Marshall Savage's book
    • draw up a new organization (Living Universe Foundation) and not mention the book
    • y2k came along and there were some ideas about a new economy ... many LUF folks influenced, did what I think was some damage
  • I enrolled in a 4 yr school to pick up a degree (had a 2 yr degree instead)
    • I became an accountant instead
    • Looking at FMF/LUF and being inspired I put together a 10 year plan to become free of being a wage/debt slave ... I failed well (it took me 15 years) ... October 5, 2012 was my last day at the office (was doing SEC reporting)
  • In 1998 I dedicated myself to this mission (you call it The Destiny) ... I expected the LUF to be where I settle in and work
    • Coming up on the 1 year anniversary I expected that people would follow along ... but instead I keep hearing yeah but
    • Then saw Brandon mentioning SolSeed in the forum
  • In 1998 we had a guy named William Gale (Ph.D. in physics) ... He was one of the guys who created Space Environments Ecovillage ... Dmitry Osborne (sp?) was scheduled to move out there ... at the last second took an employment opportunity
    • A couple people moved out there
    • William Gale died and Richard Crews sold what he had inherited
    • William Gale was really high on the idea that there were 3 kinds of orgs that have demonstrated the ability to gather these resources
      • Commerce ... but how do you get the ROI?
      • Government ... but LUF members don't trust government (?)
      • Religion ... he was in favor of creating a religion ... many of the membership were strong athiests and hostile to the idea ... I thought maybe he was crazy for suggesting the idea, but now I've had 15 years to ponder the idea

Questions about Solseed

  • Question about meditation: Do you do it the same way a typical religion does?
    • Eric ... some of the time we do clear your mind, others contemplate ideas
    • We are all three of us atheists ... the service practice is probably where we come the closest to mainstream religion
      • No worship of deities involved ... more of a weekly ritual to remind ourselves of our place in the universe and our aspirations
      • Season 1 talks about the origin of the universe
    • Brandon: Religion is a very loaded word; you can call us a pseudo-religion if you want, since we don't have any supernatural ideas
      • Keith: You might need to invent a new word for this
    • At Sol 2012 we discussed the idea of a Religious Method to describe how to do what science doesn't do (establish identity and figure out what we should do in the world)
    • Keith: all religions believe that there are eternal truths in the universe
      • Common ideas: reaping what you sow, storing up your "treasure" in a future that's better than today, e.g. Heaven
      • Brandon: Science doesn't have absolute truth, just better and better models ... likewise, religion should develop better and better principles on how to live, e.g. the Golden Rule and "sow that ye may reap" ... we judge religion by what good things it produces
      • Keith: Sounds like a new science for how to live in ways that aim toward The Destiny ... economists have religiously held assumptions at the base of their "science"
      • Brandon: I do this because I want to live in community with others in the context of this greater purpose
    • Keith: You embrace the concept of "enough" and an incremental approach, being satisfied with the small thing you can do for now
      • Brandon: This is related to our spheres of influence and being wise enough to recognize where we can be effective, while hoping to grow our sphere of influence by accomplishing things within our current sphere
  • Keith: Who are the participants?
    • Eric: Four of us on the weekly calls, plus some others who only come to our events
    • Brandon: There are long-term friends of the movement who show up sometimes but don't tithe their time or money ... I think there will always be these different circles of commitment
    • Keith: Demographics?
      • Brandon: Generally white and mostly male so far ... I have some concerns that there is some natural elitism built into the philosophy
      • Keith: In addition to elitism (poor people have no time for space), space groups tend to have a "geek problem" and be overwhelmingly male, which isn't going to work in the long term
      • Brandon: We're working on media that speaks to a broader demographic
      • Eric: My local UU is white, mostly 50 or older, probably wealthier people ... very different from the neighborhood it's in

Our introductions

  • Eric: I was born and raised an atheist by former Catholics, and I therefore was always searching for structured meaning ... I came up with something called Biospheric Communionism in about 2006 (after thinking about it for 6 years) but didn't get any real members, just a fan of the sushi feasts ... I'd been reading Freeman Dyson's books and became a fan of Dyson trees, and I asked Dyson whether he thought there needed to be a religion to create them, and he led me to the Earthseed books, which led me to SolSeed
  • Ben: I was raised by Jewish (in the sense of celebrating the holidays) parents ... enjoyed shabat and presents ... I didn't really think about religion until I was in college ... I had lots of thoughts about space exploration as a kid (star trek, NASA, novels) ... In college I discovered environmentalism ... I realized suddenly there were these huge massive global problems we had to solve somehow ... change how people think/act and think long-term ... started thinking about religion as an institution that can do that ... like Eric I found SolSeed through the Wikipedia article about the Earthseed books ... at the time I kind of realized I didn't want it to be religion per se (I don't want to try and replace people's deeply held beliefs with mine) ... I'm conflicted because we are leaning back toward religion ... weird thing for a scientifically minded person to be doing
  • Brandon: I grew up 7th-Day Adventist ... my community was very insular ... I became a militant atheist in college, which was hard on the people around me ... I recognized the value of my religious community and came to appreciate that a lot, even though I couldn't believe what they believed anymore ... I read the Earthseed books in grad school, which inspired me ... I attended UU congregations and found that they were very cerebral and people were there for selfish reasons, vs. the hospitality and generosity of the Adventist community ... I had a peak experience where I discovered a non-egocentric perspective, identifying with the universe as a whole and the story of life, and that's when I started SolSeed ... I've been muddling along ever since, with the conviction that I'll never stop doing this (even if we change the name and the organization) ... I'm working on a related project, the Awakening Science Foundation, in 3 minutes

Evaluation

  • Brandon: It was great, and I gotta go right now
  • Eric: I am excited about growth. I feel like my local UU, Michael Dowd and now Keith all point to a potential for us to start growing for real. I think the work we have done to create a message that is clear and beautiful is about to pay off!
  • Ben: I feel like the odd man out.. I didn't get to participate in describing SolSeed and I am worried our identity will drift if we add too many people too quickly and I am worried that we don't know how to deal with the issues of money and power distribution.
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