A community needs a guiding purpose, a common cause to unite its members. The purpose I propose: to bring the good life to ourselves, each other, and the world. To be a microcosm of the good world.
Seems like it should be an obvious good thing to be doing.
Vision: Maximizing mutual benefit. That's the foundation of civilization, but we shouldn't stop at the foundations (or wherever we're at now), we should keep going. Could also be conceptualized like family.
How to create and grow such a community?
Well, I have some abstract ideas written in How to build social capital and community.
Probably the most important would be to find the right people. People who like my vision, and want to seriously work towards it.
So, who could be like that?
- people from "More Together" slack?
- people from "Extinction Rebellion"?
- people from "Rainforest" Calgary?
- "The Human Venture" type people?
- people from "Permeate Calgary"?
- meetups: Calgary Cohousing Meetup, "The Community YYC", "Atheist Society of Calgary"?
- nonprofit sector, people working on the upcoming elections?
Rainforest Calgary has been extremely successful at getting new people every week...how did they start? From there, they asked visitors each time to recruit more.
Some specific activities/events to try
- Recently saw someone post about their own "community care" stuff, talked about mothers getting together, letting kids run wild, help each other with chores (doesn't feel like chores when visiting and chatting together). Someone else replied that they had a similar experience cohabiting with another woman. Chores as a social thing makes it better
- Community Kitchen. Apparently, these groups get together and can make meals for 30 days (stored in freezer), and they use flyers and coupons as additional ways to help reduce costs.
- Even other valuable work, like fact-checking, could be done as an event with perhaps many people
- the "32 questions to change your life" can be done as a group activity
- I sometimes attend an event called "Simple Supper". It's every Wednesday during the school year, there's free food and a structured social activity (going around the circle of attendees, sharing what comes to mind regarding a word or phrase chosen at the start of the activity), and it's doing very well
- Another well-attended weekly event is "Lunch Without Lunch" by "Rainforest Calgary". Every week there are a dozen or more new visitors, and it basically functions as a networking event. It's for innovators in Calgary, you get marketers and engineers and business owners and all kinds of people talking about what they are working on and finding ways to help each other.
Events and such are opportunities that should lead to more
We should want people to come to future events. To stay connected. And, of course, to help do the work to advance the community, help each other, people power, etc.
Specializing in the Universal
I recently thought of this possible balance between a world full of specialization (very useful and necessary) and the need for unification, community, etc.
I had, of course, already thought of the idea of unifying on fundamental values, and had some notion that something could be built on that.
But now I have the clear idea of what that is, and how it is separate from the inevitable need for specialization: instrumental convergence. Or, as I previously said on another page, general opportunities that are foundational to all other tasks (goals).
These are things that everyone benefits from, regardless of their specialization (or lack thereof):
- opportunities that everyone needs:
- social opportunities
- opportunities to do work, create value
- skills that everyone needs:
- resources that everyone needs:
- knowledge that everyone needs:
- knowledge of true fundamental values, and related skills, training in virtues
- state that everyone needs to be in:
- physically fit, healthy
To facilitate and achieve those universals:
- political power
- Trust Aggregation, trust in specialized institutions
- general knowledge
- I'd want Big Social Science here too, as something that all should partake in and all can benefit from
- knowledge of the systems (social, political, economic) at all scales
- bridging between social divisions, connections to enter specializations
- childcare (not everyone has kids, but all of society benefits from perfecting the next generation)
- good functioning systems (not just trust in systems that are bad!)
- democracy, science, education system, economic system, media/news/etc., philosophy, and even the leadership of the community, who need to have vision and use/nurture the community to pursue all of this, how do we know these people are doing the right thing? Doing things right? etc.
You could even add stuff like:
- healthcare (who wants Catholics owning hospitals? Not me. Or having a doctor wrongly criticizing the choices in your sexual life)
Now, of course, a lot of these things are treated as specializations, or are separated from each other anyways. Some groups focus on political power, and neglect basically all the other items on the list. Some specialize in maximizing rationality. So there's still the question of whether these are improved by combining them. I'd argue yes.
Some reasons combining might be the better option:
- Positive: the benefits of scaling laws, low entropy to solve coordination problems, power, wealth
- Negative: others are already combining a lot of coordinated/low entropy power and benefiting from the economies of scale and such, for example the Catholic Church, megachurches, and billionaires. To compete with them, they'd either have to be atomized/redistributed and increased in entropy so they were the same "size"/power as you, or you'd have to nucleate and decrease your entropy to match their "size"/power, or some combination of both. Otherwise they have you beat.
Some more links to places I've written stuff that might need to be aggregated here:
- "specific" short term Humanism opportunities
- Issues to Care About
- What a Community Should Do
- Matching and Alignment
- Advanced Democracy
Work to maximize these variables
Working to maximize certain variables (see also "What do members do" in "Getting To Specifics", above). Find/innovate best ways to do that. [also knowing which variables don't need to be maxed out uniformly, as if being intimately familiar with all 7 billion people on the planet were either possible/practical or helpful]
Variables in individuals, teams, structure, and in world. (and whatever other scopes)
- mutual benefit (from direct helping each other, to system-wide synergy)
- matching and alignment
- Community care VS self-care
- perfecting at least general) System 1 and System 2 functioning
- System 1: character, virtues
- System 2: rationality (see guide to rationality, problem solving, changing minds which involves teaching rationality)
- pertaining to values:
- finding/having the best values
- correctly knowing how to build everything else on top of those values
- resources, wealth
- social connection
- across social boundaries
- increasing degree:
- security, safety
- political power
- having the best "worldview"/philosophy
- quantity of members
- perfection and integration of members (well, that's implied by other points above)
- social justice
- satisfaction, fulfillment
- expectations/dependability through time (for an example on the community scale: whole community should not die after big event or departure of leader)
Basically, try to be/become a microcosm of what the good world/society should look like, and try to scale up to all of humanity.
Some Guiding Principles
See also: A Guide to Rationality
Always think "how should this be done? How should this kind of situation be handled?".
There's lots of knowledge out there on how to do things well, use it.
There's even knowledge about how to deal with lack of knowledge (science, the "fail quickly and cheaply" iterative methods of startups). Innovate, "how could this work? How do we know if it is or not?".
What I think
I think some things are a good idea, for various reasons:
- to get what we want, we need a network big, strong, and "full" enough to get/make/accomplish it.
- mutual benefit, providing value to each other, is essential to accomplishment and network building itself
- a network is best made so that any hierarchy emerges "naturally", not institutionally, rigidly, or arbitrarily.
- a group is not necessarily a network. (might just be a group of strangers)
- constant innovation and selection is needed to avoid stagnation and decay
- nothing is beyond the scope of the ideal network, though specializations are best served with their own sub-network (probably not a separate one, however)
- market, marketing, labor, management, ownership, etc. perhaps all of these should be the same network
- something being part of a network is not enough, it probably needs multiple strong connections, as well as many many weak connections, and significant value needs to flow over them
- can't have everyone highly connected to everyone, impractical. Need the right people to be highly connected. Weaker connections can (and maybe should) probably be more random. This is "network structure".
- Another network structure issue is the "distance" between points, or clusters.
- there's plenty of mutual support among "the rich", and cross-promotion among things like "the intellectual dark web". We need to stop hoping for "someday", when the government will be made right to do it for us, and start doing mutual support now, ourselves.
- Wherever we can, if the government ought to do it but isn't, then we ought to do it until democracy decides to expand our program to include everyone. And we should have it set up so that if democracy ever decides to drop it from the government, we retain the program for ourselves, and we'll be (as much as possible) unaffected by the program being dropped from government.
- so many activities, like the efforts during political campaigns, are wasted opportunities if they don't help build long-term connection.
- instead of wringing hands over whether something is "on topic" or not ("but scientists should stay out of politics!!!" or whatever), the values-based community only needs to consider things that matter, like "is this good? will it advance our values and be positive for us?" and instead of worrying about specialization, can simply consider "can we pull this off? do we have the resources to invest in this specialized thing, and will our community benefit from doing this?". That's it. I think those other dilemmas are always wasteful, always holding people back from greatness, and just really boring.
Is this a good idea?
I tend to think that communities formed around niche interests are inadequate, and that we also need a community that "specializes in the universal". But am I right?
Will it just inevitably splinter into niches anyways?
Distinguishing this from redundancy
Is this all like stuff we have already? Civilization, market?
Just on the degree of trust or "social capital", having a civilization doesn't mean that the levels of social capital are high, or widely distributed. And markets are designed to operate even when there is minimal social capital. Community, on the other hand, is the place where valuable social capital can be built and used. See also Why We Should Build Social Capital.
Another difference to think about:
- like a city with only one giant grocery store in the middle everyone has to travel to, VS having many small grocery stores that anyone can reach on-foot in just a few minutes
- "democracy" consisting of no government except a few people at the federal/national level VS democracy where every 100 citizens has a representative
Then think of the big picture of the later of each of those examples: the small stores of course need their supplies to come from fewer larger distribution centers, the representatives are too numerous so they need higher levels of trust aggregation.
So I think these differences are basically about:
- how big a node or cluster is
- the difference in size between one "layer" and the next "layer"
- how much connection there is within a cluster
- how much connection there is between "layers"
If specialization is usually the best way to go (or at least the best way to start, remember Amazon and startup strategies) then perhaps even "communities" really do need to narrow their focus.
Aside from job-related networks and specific activism focuses (animal rights, climate change, anti-racism, feminism, etc.) is there really anything else that is needed?
- other identity groups (for example atheists) advancing their cause
- do values-based groups fit here?
- connective tissue between specializations? Prevent people and issues from falling through the cracks? Not sure, seems this could be addressed mostly by various identity groups?
- "the universals"? Or should each "universal" be broken into its own specialization, and/or possibly duplicated by each separate identity group? I would guess the former (specialization), with identity groups merely covering whatever they need that differs from the general population.
- specialize directly in building social capital, social network, etc? Does that make sense?
- what about those city "community centers", mere location-based things? Is that sensible at all?
Maximization of Marketing (better than traditional marketing)
It turns out, even many capitalists have realized that the best form of marketing is a community (in fact, it's broader than just "marketing", it's a whole business strategy). And, conversely, a lot of community-minded people need to see the serious work that marketers and such have done on the subject, and that work is probably credible if it has been improving their marketing.
Connecting different scales of society
Analogy: having inadequate community is like having inadequate medium-scale transportation (like cars). Even if you can technically walk anywhere, and even if you have airplanes that can cover vast differences, that would still be a bit absurd if you didn't have something between the two, like cars.
For a community that might mean connecting larger systems (business, politics, knowledge, etc.) to individual people. But also making room for individuals to connect with other individuals. See also Why we should build social capital.
[Misc scatter-brained dump]
gaining members, what members do, how members benefit, structure
Nailing it down, conceptually
What is it? An Organization (as defined by Holacracy, for example?)? Network of alignments? Probably both, overlapping.
Long-term goal-oriented, building the capital (resources, skill, connections) needed to accomplish stuff.
How do outsiders become part? Is it like a club membership, paid monthly or whatever? Is it just like friendship?
- Some more like alliances (alignment actually) and cross-promotion
- club membership type stuff at some point maybe. Unless decentralized Patreon type stuff works, could be better
Mall-like: many different "vendors", (and food!). But instead of mostly offering products to buy, this mall-like thing has philosophy, community projects, leisure...
What roles for people? If I'm "pitching" this to someone, they want to know what their role is.
- (social-capital) entrepreneur types, creators, initiators
- hired people
- "consumers", "students"
Some ideas for what people want and what people can provide each other: What a community should do and List of Social Activities. We need "vendors" or "entrepreneurs" for each of those areas, and probably more.
Realizing why science makes intellectual progress (more depth and breadth, more agreement) and using that on facts, values, means-ends chains, etc.
What do members do?
Contribute their personal strengths.
Try to maximize certain variables (mutual benefit, rationality, fun, trustworthiness...). To do this we might have to try and innovate the best ways. Often doing social events and creating/perfecting structure (in various dimensions) are ways to do that. Ongoing progress, growth in various dimensions.
What will I do to get this going?
Share a blueprint about how to do this alignment stuff on your own. (hopefully eventually have a website to assist). Have compelling reasons to do things, and a clear idea of what things to do (reason chains?).
Ways I can directly provide value to people:
Teach thinking skills, philosophy. Do some volunteer tasks.