Dear Calvin Pearce,
Thank you for helping my friend David Ellison-Bey! I'm using his computer
which he earned through your Time Dollar Tutoring
http://www.timedollartutoring.org I'm very impressed with how your program
addresses so many needs including computer literacy and ownership, tutoring,
parent involvement, community participation and more. And your scope, more
than 5,000 computers have come to disadvantaged homes!
These next two weeks I'm staying at David's house 6726 S.Parnell Ave,
Chicago. I lead the Minciu Sodas laboratory http://www.ms.lt for serving and
organizing independent thinkers around the world. I would like to organize
more independent thinkers like David here in Chicago, but especially Black
Americans, or as he says Moors, Asiatics, because we benefit from the widest
variety of thinkers.
You are a key person that we might organize around. We have eighteen working
groups, including one for community currency and participatory society
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cyfranogi/ led by John Rogers of the Wales
Institute for Community Currencies.
I also alert our working group Holistic Helping led by Janet Feldman
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holistichelping/ We have a strong presence in
Arica including Samwel Kongere who will be experimenting with Wifi Internet
access where he lives in Rusinga Island on the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria.
David is also interested how we might help him ship used sewing machines to
Africa and promote various craftsmanship.
Pamela McLean leads our working group on distance learning and ICT,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learningfromeachother/ and so I alert them,
David is a great person with a penetrating mind and a compassionate heart.
Indeed, his deepest value in life is "compassion". He is particularly
concerned about his mother, who I understand his sister took away from
Chicago against their will in 1997. I think he has climbed out of the deep
depression that consumed him, but he is zealous to resolve this crisis. He
is a noble man who I believe that people of integrity might organize around,
and perhaps we might help him, and certainly as an elder he inspires me.
Calvin, I would be very excited to meet you soon. I will be in Chicago for
two weeks and I return here every few years. I lived here for about nine
years in all.
My phone number is (773)659-9852 and email is ms@... and David's phone
number is (773) 874 3332.
I include below my recent letter on "the state of the lab".
Here is "the state of our lab". Thank you for circulating it to various
groups with your thoughts for those particular groups! Andrius
Thank you for thinking and writing about your plans for the coming year. I
share my plans for our Minciu Sodas laboratory. I look forward to working
I founded Minciu Sodas in 1998 as a laboratory for serving and organizing
independent thinkers around the world. As independent thinkers who pursue
our own ideas, we have various needs:
* involve the widest variety of minds so we can think on a higher level
* make our dreams real through a community
* keep growing as thinkers, despite any frustrations
* make a living and have resources for our projects
I am very happy at the range of activity at our lab. We now have 17 working
Some new working groups that have really taken off this year include
Peacefully (Eluned Hurn), Social Agriculture (Steve Bosserman), Holistic
Helping (Janet Feldman) and Learning From Each Other (Pamela McLean). Others
are just getting started and they will need our help to assemble
and to build momentum.
Each group is organized around one of our leaders and their deepest value in
life. Some 265 people have let us post their deepest values in life, and
about 140 people have formulated their investigatory questions which they
don't know the answer to, but intend to answer.
I am excited how Samwel Kongere, Benoit Couture, Markus Petz and others have
helped us include others by asking them these questions. The variety of
answers opens us up to new issues and reveals how we can best support each
other. By the end of this year, I hope that we might have 40 working
groups. Each group is in the Ethical Public Domain and that lets us
circulate our energy. Here are instructions on how to start a new group at
Our next step is to openly pursue our investigatory questions. They are all
so bold and personal that they may constitute the most inspiring research
program in the world. Each of our questions has us grow as individuals and
also lead by our open example. We need both theory and practice in order to
arrive at satisfactory answers. The practice is most real if it comes from
first-hand accounts, our own as well as that of others. That is why
collecting "stories" is so important. We were very fortunate last year to
get work from clients who value personal stories:
* John Rogers of the Wales Institute for Community Currencies funded us (750
GBP) to develop an online learning environment for community currency, based
on stories about our "money minds", and I want to see that happen with our
help at John's group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cyfranogi/
* Nikos Salingaros funded us (1000 USD) to promote his new book "A Theory Of
Architecture" and pattern languages, which is Christopher Alexander's
approach based on our first-hand sensitivity to whether we feel "alive"
within various buildings. I want us to organize a home for the pattern
language community and others interested in ecological architecture around
James Ferguson's leadership at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ethicaldesign/
* Greg Wolff of the UnaMesa Association funded us (12,000 USD) to start up
MyFoodStory http://www.myfoodstory.info http://www.myfoodstory.com as an
online resource for all to care about the origins of food through personal
stories and encyclopedic articles. I have shared half of this work with our
6 teams (great work!) and I will need all of our help to meet our targets by
March 31, 2007 so that we could share in 12,000 USD of bonuses. That would
be 6,000 USD for me, 3,000 USD for our team leaders, and 3,000 USD in
community currency for our online community, so we do need our help! In
particular, I am offering 1 USD for each directory entry and 20 USD for each
webpage in bonuses (assuming we earn them) that we can use to fund our
personal projects. Indeed, I can honor the points you earn with my own
services, too, as you might need for your projects.
My focus this year, especially as I travel to California in February, will
to find new clients who might fund us to collect personal stories and show
their value as data for all kinds of investigations. Steve Bosserman is
pursuing new avenues in agriculture. We can also think of the value of
personal stories in architecture, nonviolence, community currency, personal
finance, global villages, mental health, self-education and other fields.
An early priority is to flesh out our system for collecting stories
http://www.myfoodstory.info so that it works without a hitch. Special thanks
to inventor Helmut Leitner whose ProWiki http://www.prowiki.com is the wiki
that we rely on at http://www.ourculture.info I look forward to providing
subwikis in the Ethical Public Domain for Tom Wayburn, John Waters and all
our leaders' projects. Indeed, I will work with each of our working groups
establish a rhythm by which we draw from the energy of our correspondence -
tag that as appropriate - and reshape it at our wikis.
I also look forward to writing down more of our "culture". We have started
an Almanac of our activities (now at the home page of
http://www.ourculture.info) that we can layout and print as the need arises.
I also look forward to creating an Investigator's Handbook (much like Lord
Baden-Powell's "Scouting for Boys" or Alcoholics Anonymous's "Big Book")
would serve as a workbook for the many kinds of methods that we can apply to
pursue our investigatory questions.
On December 23, 2006, in Riese, Lithuania, at the home of Alfredas
Gabrijolavicius, I was able to show eight of us just what I mean. We started
by listing out our deepest values in life and our investigatory questions.
Then I chose one that we all seemed interested in, Alfredas's question, "How
do we establish a system for helping each other?" I asked us to refrain from
our opinions, ideas, principles, and instead to simply share first-hand
accounts of how we helped others and how others helped us. We then went
through the 30 or so stories and tried to hear the angle that each was
taking. This let us group them into 8 different kinds of helping. And then
I was able to show how those categories drawn from the data fit well with
of the structures that I was familiar with (the counterquestions). This led
us to structure the answers in terms of who was helped (the system, somebody
we know, somebody we don't know) and the kind of help they were given (idea,
attentiveness, or some extra action taken). From the structure it became
apparent that we're not dealing with a single "answer" but rather with a
complex of interrelated answers. And we can understand why some
possibilities are eliminated, for example, that if we don't know a person at
all, then our attentiveness can't help. I was excited that Alfredas and all
found this useful and they were all quite amazed. So I am looking forward to
having a strong repository of first-hand accounts so that we might apply and
illustrate the conceptual tools that I have been working on for 25 years, as
Inspired by Franz Nahrada, we'll be working locally around the world
(Lithuania, Kenya, Austria, ...), and linking up our work by way of video
bridges. We have received 10,000 euros of funding from the European Union to
conduct 12 video bridges from Lithuania, and I will need to invest 4000
to purchase 2 sets of equipment for that. Zenonas Anusauskas in the village
of Eiciunai is keen to get started! We will be practicing with Skype for
Windows and will purchase other equipment when I return on April 20th. We
all hope to learn what this equipment is most useful for, but certainly it
should stimulate our local activity. Please join us by organizing locally!
Franz also asks us to think through a vision for self-education that might
a lifelong alternative to a university education. Thanks to his initiative,
Minciu Sodas is included in the proposal for the second year of the MIR
learning partnership funded by the European Union, for relating adult
education and local development. I expect that traveling self-learners will
be a central part of our vision. So will the collaboration between learners
with high-bandwidth and low-bandwidth Internet access as Pamela McLean is
championing. Let's think!
Thank you to Maria Agnese Giraudo for your love and generosity as you
traveled to Kenya and linked Samwel Kongere there with your team in
Thank you for your valuable gift of a laptop! I also thank all who have
hosted me and cared for me through my many travels last year and this year,
too. I will be in the US and Mexico until March 20th, then in Amsterdam,
Ireland and the UK until April 21st. Jeff Buderer and Joy Tang are - I hope
- traveling soon to Africa. John Rogers is moving to Germany and suggests
the World Cafe meeting on May 3-5. Thanks again to Maria Agnese Giraudo for
your invitation to Samwel Kongere that he visit us in Italy and Lithuania
this fall! Here is our calendar:
This year we created an interface at http://www.ms.lt by which we can access
the almost 20,000 letters which 685 thinkers have written to our many groups
since 1999. Here is some data from recent years:
2006: about 5,000 letters from 244 thinkers
2005: about 3,200 letters from 180 thinkers
2004: about 2,200 letters from 204 thinkers
2003: about 2,100 letters from 177 thinkers
2002: about 2,800 letters from 126 thinkers
2001: about 2,700 letters from 112 thinkers
2000: about 1,100 letters from 72 thinkers
Currently, we are receiving about 20 letters a day. At our web page
http://www.ms.lt you can see the number of people (currently 127) who have
written in the last 90 days.
We are assembling in 13 languages.
I think that as we write our more about "our culture" in English, then we
translate that into other languages, and that will help us organize
multilingually, which is very important!
My overall dream these next ten years or so is that we double in size so
we might have a full-fledged culture of independent thinkers: 100,000 active
and 1,000,000 supportive. I am very happy that we have grown in the depth of
our vision, commitment, understanding and friendship. I am excited that
finding ways for each of us to invest ourselves - in groups, resources,
projects, relationships - that give us strength and purpose to reach out to
others and include them in our shared, unfolding culture. We are so various,
but I believe that helps us know that indeed we can clarify principles that
help us be "willing" to work together.
Thank you to God for your patience as I wish to include you as an
thinker who we might openly learn from. Thank you to Benoit and all of all
faiths and outlooks for making ours a space of truth and love where that
might and should be possible.
Best wishes for 2007 and please keep sharing our visions and working to
them to life!