Thanks for starting this Ana! I’m excited to contribute energy to this initiative.
For now, I’d like to share a written exchange between myself and @nikolaus and welcome others to chime in with perspectives or point out things we may be missing. I think Nik and I are both bringing in valuable perspectives, but I’m having a harder time seeing his point of view than my own, so I’m looking to the collective here to see what synthesis might be achieved that I can’t achieve on my own right now.
(Our conversation began on a RE Outer Space Call a few weeks ago when I Nik mention his view on accessibility - I heard it as (paraphrasing) “we shouldn’t prioritize attention & resources towards accessibility efforts, and that a better strategic plan is to focus on building working systems for the people who do have technology access now, so that there’s something successful for those without access now to join when they do eventually have access.” Nik, let me know if I’ve mischaracterized the view you shared on the call!
I then messaged him on Discord:
I hear you Nikolaus - my belief however is that SEEDS won’t succeed in what I understand we’re here to do, without prioritizing integration of diverse communities - with diversity being viewed from many many different angles beyond what dominant diversity/inclusion discourse allows.
nikolaus — 06/15/2021
It’s a bit like Tesla building a high end sports car in order to eventually build affordable everyday cars, with the goal to remove oil drilling from the planet. Same thing here. It’s absolutely not about “not caring” about this - to the contrary it is caring a LOT. If we focus on creating a blockchain system that works without internet, we will never build anything and the communities you’re concerned about and I am also concerned about will gain absolutely nothing from our efforts. Which is what will happen, if we get side tracked by these goodwill projects that just are not technically feasible. I am here to build something and to make it work. As it happens we are building something that once it works will help all those folks. But to start with the impossible guarantees failure. So you have to decide. Do you want to succeed?
ok i am off to bed it’s late here more later, and it’s not that urgent. This is not an emotuinal question, if it is, then there’s something else at work
tylerwakefield — 06/22/2021
Thanks for the thoughts here! I hear this, and I understand your particular focus, and I fully feel your immense care behind this. I’m not advocating you or the folks building the core technology do anything besides build what you feel you need to build right now. My advocacy in this particular context is that considerations of accessibility and diversity to be brought into conversations on the game guide, and for those participating in these conversations to view all of our decisions has potentially having impact on these qualities. How we view SEEDS and what ‘Success’ is is critical to this conversation. I view SEEDS as an attractor for collaboration and support, a set of tools, and an educational project. I believe the level of diversity in the SEEDS community will impact the ‘success’ of these three areas. I’d view success as the richness, ethical rightness, and level of net positive impact of these areas.
I agree with your Tesla analogy in one sense - you are building a complicated system (vehicle), and investing in building that system to be attractive and highly functional for a community of early adopters makes complete sense in order to prove the concept and gain support and resources that will allow for expansion. Diverting attention from this towards building bicycles in order to serve the people who can’t afford the car is an unhelpful distraction. I want the best engineers building that machine, not a super diverse crowd of people poking at it. All good there. Where the Tesla analogy starts to break down for me, is that we’re not just building a complicated machine here, we’re not just trying to demonstrate to the world that it functions and is attractive, and we’re not just trying to catalyze mass adoption of a new machine. I hear loud and clear from the people showing up here, that they want to inquire very deeply into what it means to grow regenerative and thriving cultures, societies, civilizations - and to experiment towards this aim with serious play - in order to actually create this for everyone who wants it. We see economics and governance as core infrastructure that both supports and is informed by culture, which is why SEEDS is such a potent attractor. The entire conversation around the game guide is a conversation around how to embed the values of this still-unknown, undefined, ever-evolving ‘regenerative and thriving’ culture into the particular rules, parameters, and logic of the complex system being built. As soon as the driver has influence over the machine, the vehicle turns from a complicated system to a complex. There’s feedback between driver <> car & driver <> environment.
My conviction around accessibility and diversity being absolutely critical to us succeeding here is tied to a concern over who is in that driver’s seat. What intelligence is operating the machine, adjusting the machine, and being adjusted by the machine in complex feedback processes is a critical component of where that vehicle will drive, how safely, and for how long. It is a collective intelligence that we’re building in SEEDS, and it is a concentrated and dedicated aspect of that collective intelligence that shows up to play in the Renaissance Explorers. In looking at the nature of this collective intelligence, we can see that it’s obviously not representative of the global diversity of perspectives, lived experiences, cultures, relationships to economics and governance, and access to understandings of ‘regenerative’ and ‘thriving’. The vast majority of folks active, engaged, and vocal, are largely from the global north, skewing very white, skewing wealthy enough to afford a computer and a phone and internet and most of all the time to show up here and bring all this education on ‘regenerative culture’ to the table. To me, this is a huge risk to designing successful experiments and collective learnings about regeneration and thriving, and thus a huge risk towards our success. The only cultures I’m aware of that have successfully demonstrated multigenerational, even multi-millennial ecological regeneration, have been indigenous cultures. Where is their voice in these conversations? Where is their presence?
The game guide is essentially establishing SEEDS law. I think of the drafting of the United State’s Constitution and it’s centuries of policymaking that followed. Who’s in that drafting room matters deeply. A constitution that considered blacks and indigenous as nonpersons, and white women and non-landowners as nonimportant would have been hard to create with blacks, indigenous, women, and non landowners in that drafting room. By not endeavoring to bring a more diverse collective intelligence to bear in this conversation, we’re essentially saying that ‘we think we’re wise enough on our own to produce something net positive’. That may indeed be true. But I’m aware of how we can suffer from creating systems and law from a set of very specific cultures and ontologies. I’m aware of how we can make decisions that make perfect sense for us, but will alienate others who we say we want to serve in building regenerative culture. I’m aware of how we can create broken and harmful systems by designing something only for technology users and owners. That’s all. Sorry it’s long. I’m not asking you to do anything different besides be more careful with advocating against considerations around accessibility and diversity. I’m asking the SEEDS community to consider this all, consider that the diversity of our collective intelligence is a significant factor for our success, and to understand that designing a game guide is both impacted by this collective intelligence and will then go on to impact the system in a way that impacts how that collective intelligence grows.
I’m curious if you’d be comfortable with me sharing your message and then my response in Discord and/or the web forum? Perhaps the forum is a good place to open a broader discussion on this?
nikolaus — 06/22/2021
The opposite of good is good intentions
In this case, I don’t think any of the people who are all ready to jump and solve that problem have ever talked to the people who they’re trying to “help” - so this is the worst case of charitable imperialism(edited)
It was even said that the locals didn’t care about Seeds! Rather taking that as a hint, it was then said, you have to buy them stuff they need, then they start paying attention. I mean… duh! Of course they will be happy if they get money. And they will be around Seeds just as long as they get their needs met. They’re not building the movement. This is really why we say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I am not against the intentions - just for removing our emotions from this, where our emotions are really our own traumas, guilt, and shame we project outwards on someone, anyone, we can “help”(edited)
I actually want an offline solution for all sorts of people - but this will have to come at the right time, when we have the online solution. No hurry - step by step.
tylerwakefield — 06/25/2021
Thanks for this Nikolaus - I hear you on many levels of this, and agree the high risk of charitable imperialism that comes from these intentions. However, I feel there’s a huge difference between going into communities and designing dependency models and having conversations about how we can work to remove the barriers to people playing with SEEDS and contributing to this community. Are you cool with me sharing this thread in the ‘Accessibility of SEEDS’ thread in the forum to bring in other perspectives? Happy to leave out your name or tag you and include you - whatever works!
nikolaus — 06/25/2021
Yes happy for you to quote me on anything I write in private!
Another topic in Hypha / Seeds is integrity
Integrity means, you can always quote me, no permission needed
Thoughts align with words align with actions - that’s integrity, it’s not some concept, it’s really practical and not even spiritual. It’s just that My thoughts form my words express in my actions Doesn’t even mean I am right - it just means I am not holding back, right or wrong. IT’s my perspective that within Seeds and Hypha, this quality will make the difference between success and failure. So it’s not even about should I or shouldn’t I express myself - if the project fails, then what’s the difference. And if I don’t express myself, it will fail.
tylerwakefield — Today at 4:25 PM
beautiful I’m with you 100% there