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A shared culture for working together?

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    Franz, Please say hi to Michel. It s great that you re working closely together and sharing that with your joint statement. (Nathan, Hi! and also thank you to
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 14, 2009

      Please say hi to Michel. It's great that you're working closely together
      and sharing that with your joint statement.

      (Nathan, Hi! and also thank you to Marcin and Wael for letters.)

      Our letters help us discover a shared culture for working together. I
      add my own thoughts and feelings.

      Franz, I also share your speech from Marcin's website
      where he has his video that you showed, a good visual summary of his
      world view "How to Build a Post-Scarcity Village". I think his video is
      very helpful in opening a view into his thinking and I wish we all might
      do that as much as Marcin does.

      Marcin's video documents, I think, a distorted view of life. His video
      "teaches" that you start with technology, and then, towards the end, you
      add some interesting people. If that were the case, then you could
      practically buy a village. Just purchase the technology, the animals,
      and finally, entice the people. I don't believe that this reflects his
      own reality. I don't think it cultivates the relevant, organic culture.

      Whereas, Marcin's visitor and Torch table expert Lawrence Reed Kincheloe
      III blogs, I think, a very profound record, the unfolding of his
      emotional experiences, week by week, as he pursued his project. (I share
      that below.) The Factor E Farm innovation "One Month Project Visits" may
      ultimately be more relevant than any technological innovation they come
      up with.

      This summer I moved to the tiny village of Dukiskes where I am living
      with the Anusauskas family, some 30 minutes by car from the nearest
      city, Alytus, and cash machine. Zenonas is an inventor himself,
      including a furnace that heats their building as it dries and then burns
      wet waste wood and household trash. Like Marcin and Lawrence, I hope to
      share episodes of life here, and will set up "photo blogs" so that Tom
      Ochuka and others might likewise. I share a car with my friend Rimas who
      is away. Last night, on my way to Vilnius, my car stalled late at night,
      on a hill, in the middle of the road. The "normal" or "city" way to deal
      with it would be to call a tow truck which might come from Vilnius and
      cost at least $200. That's what I'd do as an "independent" person.
      Instead, I called Zenonas, really the only person who I could ask for
      help. Although, the people at the gas station were helpful, too, and
      some young people who drove by and helped me pull the car over. Zenonas
      was working, video taping a party, but afterwards, two hours later, he
      showed up, checked it out and drove me 16 km home. He figured out that
      the problem was with the car's alternator which charges up the car
      battery. The alternator was broken and so when the battery got used up,
      my car stalled. So this morning we drove back and he put in a charged up
      battery and I was able to drive home even though the alternator was
      broken. This was a simple lesson in car mechanics. My point is that it's
      much less relevant if we're able to make an automobile (tractor, mobile
      phone, currency), and much more relevant if we can fix it. And that's
      less a matter of tools, which can be improvised or borrowed, and more a
      matter of skills, practice, attitude and creativity.

      Another lesson made clear was the importance of having people around who
      will help when you need help. Which might be neighbors who can pick up
      somebody from the airport if, because of some emergency, you can't do it
      yourself. Something that even Marcin depends on. But that doesn't show
      up in his video. Whereas in the Anusauskas's real-to-life case of a
      budding village, it's central to how it works. Almost twenty years ago,
      they basically exchanged their city apartment for an old collective farm
      tractor repair center. They live in the administrative center and, free
      of charge, they invited local residents to conduct their businesses
      there, currently a tractor engine warehouse, a dairy and a sawmill. A
      principal benefit was linking up with people who can and will help each
      other when there's a need. They will because they depend on each other.
      They can because they all lead operations by which they have skills,
      general and particular, and also tools. A secondary benefit is exchange
      of resources, for example, free milk from the dairy, or free waste wood
      materials from the sawmill, and likewise, free office services and
      Internet access for everybody.

      Why is it that such fundamental points aren't well known and related
      examples ignored? I think it's because the promoters of the village life
      style - among us, Franz - don't actively live in the village. When they
      do live in the village, they aren't actively invested locally. So they
      get absorbed with projects like Marcin's which are inspiring, and much
      needed as university campus endeavors, but dysfunctional or, I think,
      misinformative as village projects. I think that William Wambura's
      mobile phone repair business
      is much more central to the dynamics of an open society and global
      villages, but it goes unappreciated because it's yielding real-life
      answers to the questions that Franz and others don't know to raise, or
      don't care to, because they might have to raise them more often in their
      own lives. Franz, though, is a great example of an urban "global
      villager", active in his Floridsdorf community, and consequently, noting
      the relevance of "mother cities". I think that's very helpful to keep
      thinking, what are the strengths of mother cities that we want to foster

      Similarly, Michel is a great champion and documenter of an open world
      and peer-to-peer production. How might the Worknets culture fit into
      that picture? This "open world" suffers rifts that mock the name. I
      don't use Michel's profound wiki http://p2pfoundation.net because it's
      not Public Domain, indeed it uses a "share alike" license that conflicts
      with the Public Domain. Indeed, to participate there you need to be
      approved manually as part of a "clique" of writers with access
      privileges. Maybe that's not important. But in what sense can we work
      together openly? I don't know Michel or the P2P community very well, but
      I wish there was more interest and support for the experiences and
      values of people (like me) actually trying to make a living from
      cultivating open culture. I invite us all to share our dreams
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Dreams and tasks
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Tasks and endeavors
      http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?Endeavors that we might have an
      "economy of dreams".

      In thinking about myself, I admonish myself to give a higher priority to
      participating in Lithuanian culture, and likewise, to support our work
      in our local languages. I'm living in Lithuania, physically, but I
      should live more culturally as well. That is part of my dream!

      Thank you for these important discussions. I will try to document with
      our letters the various values that we are expressing.


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas
      +370 699 30003
      Dukiskes, Lithuania


      I wanted to say a little something about what this one month project
      experience has been like. Its hard to describe to people just how
      different living here can be. I understood that coming in, but what I
      didn’t understand completely was how much the project itself would be
      the complete focus of my time here. I had grand visions of finishing in
      a week or two, and here I am with almost all the parts on the ground
      struggling to get the accuracy on the rails that I wanted.

      Forgive the length of the post, I usually strive for brevity.

      “It takes about three weeks to get use to living here.”

      The first day you’rr filled with a grand passion to finish your project
      right then and there. The preceding weeks were a back and forth
      refinement of the project visit proposal, till you are so sure you could
      blow through the whole thing in a week, two weeks at the most. After the
      second week, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize how even the
      best laid plans will take longer than expected. At some point when
      things stop looking so rosy you begin to condense into your pure
      objective, The Project. It becomes the singular measurement of success,
      and thus the swells and troughs of expected success continue, so does
      your mood. In short, it takes an objective outlook to see past the
      details and understand how to salvage the core of the project from
      unrealistic expectation.

      “If life isn’t interesting enough to make up your own quotes then you’re
      doing something wrong.”

      By the second week you’ve come to grips with the living conditions or
      you’ve already packed up for home. This place is built upon the dreams
      of the men and women who come here. Each of them leave a little part of
      themselves here in what they contributed. By the second week you’ve also
      realized what this place is and what it means. Its a dream made
      manifest, kept alive by the people who volunteer their time and a
      measure of their vitae. Like all dreams, the meaning of this place
      twists and turns until the daylight hours blow away the mist and leave
      in their place the fixed stark reality of once lofty dreams. In short,
      you either get it or you don’t.

      “All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.”

      By the third week you’re terribly shaken. Events out of your control
      degrade the living conditions, distort the project you’re so focused on,
      and inevitably it is the nature of humanity to rub each other raw
      somehow. If your lucky you will learn, re-learn, or learn anew the
      meaning of perseverance in the face of adversity. It is this forging of
      the spirit with the hope of self betterment that makes enduring hardship
      - and in truth life itself - worth it. Our peers and mentors can help or
      hurt us, but it resides in each of us the capacity to overcome any
      obstacle if we are willing to submit our body and selves to the tasks
      before us. In short, it took three weeks to master the composting
      toilet, and let me tell you what a relief that was!

      “I will say though that there is such a thing as too interesting a life.”

      By the fourth week, you’re thinking about what you want to do next - and
      if another project visit or going home are on the agenda. Either way you
      go, you wake up feeling liberated. The major trials are behind you and
      all that’s left is to buckle down and finish what you can of your one
      month project and look forward to the time left. This place, this catch
      of dreams, draws forth the most interesting of people. In the beginning
      you come here for the chance to work on an amazing project, but you
      remember most of all the people you meet and the experiences you take
      back. In short, the aspirations of the people at FeF dictate the flavor
      of the place.


      It is still an open question as to the contents of the rest of my stay
      here. Keep us all here honest with your feedback, as the value in this
      sort of work lays within its utility to those who come after. In
      exchange I will continue to keep everyone updated, and look forward to
      the day my contributions find use.

      Lawrence Reed Kincheloe III, On-site Torch Table Expert

      P.S. My benevolent Overlord wants me to pump the Torch Table funding
      basket shamelessly. Funding the Torch Table project and projects like it
      help ensure that the selfless, unpaid, volunteer work done here can
      continue. *nudge nudge*


      Here is a copy of Franz’s talk: Speech 3 at Open Everything

      There is a discussion that runs pretty exactly since 10 years what the
      social consequences of Open Everything might be, what are the changes it
      might bring to our lives. Or rather if there will be substantial changes
      at all. Will it alter human relations, will it contribute to reduce
      poverty, will it help us to deal with the ecological disaster, will it
      empower people, will it change our habitat. etc. Thats the kind of
      question that some ask at conferences, while others prefer to tackle with
      this question practically. I will talk a bit about such a practical
      attempt - namely the FactorEFarm project of Open Source Ecology - but
      before I do that let me shortly return to the big picture.

      One can still deny the assumption that opening the intellectual commons
      for all kinds of human endavours has decisive affects or even is a germ
      form of a new social contract, a new society.

      One could categorize people who partiocipate in such projects as
      hobbyists, as people who open up a tiny and insignificant space of
      personal freedom in an otherwise not so free world. One could say: OK,
      there are those who collect stamps, those who work in their garden and
      grow roses, some who spend their time in the shopping center or at
      Bauhaus, and this one has a RepRap in the basement. Well if you can afford
      to create and indulge that tiny little personal space its just the same
      that most people do to make this world bearable for themselves. What the
      hell does this have to do with changing society?

      Or even worse, there are reproaches that this is an even less harmless
      form of addiction that can be used and capitalized upon. If things are
      really tricky to produce, lets say a car or a pair of skis, and most
      things that we use are tricky to produce, than the outcome ist hat some
      company will grab the designs, throw products on the market and entertain
      a community as a cheap development department.

      We have heard many stories how that works already. A good example would be
      emporis, frormer skyscaper.org, that has grown into the worlds finest real
      estate database, powered by the work of hundreds of voluntery
      photographers and researchers, who simply were addicted to the idea of
      providing more and the best contributions. Many of those even travelled on
      their own money to other cities and worked 18 hours a day to meet the
      quality standards of the evaluators _ all for free. Subsequently the whole
      common work represented an enormous strategic market value. So yes, the
      organizers of such a community can sell it or incorporate it and get rich
      while the many contributors are left-out loosers.

      One can say that economy ever since design and automation has been
      accessible to more and more people is transforming from a productive
      endavour to a kind of strategic pokergame how to capitalize on efforts of
      producing people. In fact we already have two economies: an economy of
      millions of small sweatshops that produce material goods like car parts,
      and another economy that controls the right to produce, by license, logo
      and networking.

      here is where Open Source Ecology comes in…. (show the film)
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