I like Zenonas Anusauskas's way
- Hi Pamela and all,
I've been reading letters at Global Villages
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalvillages/ by Ben de Vries, Franz
Nahrada and Vinay Gupta about Marcin Jakubowski's open source farm
technology. I share them below. I meant to respond later, but Vinay
wrote "we" and Franz wrote "everybody" so I thought I should clarify
that I take Ben's side. I share an alternative, which is Zenonas
Here are links to Marcin's open source farm technology:
I think my own recent letter (and critique of Marcin) encouraged Ben's
Ben got me thinking about the credibility of TED that they apparently
awarded Marcin a Fellow without much investigation of what he's actually
done or what his traits are as a person. It does make TED less
impressive in my eyes.
Ben lived and worked on-the-ground at Marcin's farm. He made a great
commitment that put him in circumstances that were not casual or
voluntary. When we make commitments, as he did to Marcin, we are very
vulnerable and we place ourselves in our leaders' hands. Marcin failed
to take responsibility as a leader of other people.
Franz, Vinay and I all live in metropolitan areas and it's easy for us
to be out of touch with the harshness of that reality. Ben's critique
is very important to be heard and remembered and repeated until it sinks
in and makes a difference, if not to Marcin, then to us. Forums like
Global Villages play their most important role, I think, by creating a
real community where these real changes can take place in us. That
means, first of all, a real concern for real people, like Ben. We know
of real people like Ben who Marcin has hurt. How many real people have
benefited in real ways from him? I don't know of any yet. Perhaps some
people are using his technology? Is it truly benefiting their lives?
It would be great to learn about them?
Ben's real life critique is more important than any kind of theory or
speculation or vision that we might propose.
Vinay wrote that Marcin's attacking the root problem, that "the real
problem: our machines are so badly designed that they kill the planet in
the process of delivering our essential services" and that we have a
"common interest we all have in seeing some of these global problems
addressed with new technologies".
I've noticed that people have very different understandings of what is
the "root problem" and that it seems to relate closely to whatever is
our own deepest value. That's one reason why it is so helpful to know
each other's deepest value and see what where each of us might best lead.
Personally, my deepest value is "living by truth" and I think the "root
problem" is that we don't live as brothers and sisters, intimate to each
other in our honesty, willing to see our dishonesty. Conversations like
these are very helpful. I don't believe, and I don't think that Jesus
or Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. believed, that technology can solve
a crisis in brotherhood. What can solve it is new behavior, a new
culture, and people like Ben who live differently, and include us.
What can we do constructive?
We could cherish people who are alternatives to Marcin and appreciate
what they are doing different and how it makes for different results, a
different technology and different system than what Marcin is creating.
One of the highlights of my life was living for almost a year with the
Anusauskas family in the Lithuanian countryside. Zenonas Anusauskas and
his wife Audrone purchased the buildings of a collective farm tractor
repair center and transformed it into an open community where local
businesses use building rent-free and contribute what they naturally
can: the sawmill pays the electric bill and gives saw dust and other
waste to burn; the dairy gives free milk; the tractor parts warehouse
helps fix cars; Zenonas provides free use of computers and Internet
access; Audrone organizes the youth, especially the church choirs, and
writes proposals. The center is safe from thieves and trouble because
there are always people around. It's basically an alcohol-free zone and
full of children revolving around this "magnet family". It's a real
life "global village", not a fantasy.
Zenonas is a Renaissance man: he leads a credit union, and he founded
Lithuania's most vibrant internet television website with a special
emphasis on village culture http://www.internetinetv.lt He's also an
inventor. I'm especially impressed by a furnace that he built, which
can burn water drenched fuel, such as rotting wood or garbage or
sawdust, which is abundant. You load the fuel from above, and air zig
zags around to heat the side of the furnace so that the fuel dries and
can be burned by the time it falls to the bottom. This is such a
practical device because it means free fuel, but especially if you're at
the center of a community, as he's organized.
What's the difference between Zenonas's approach and Marcin's approach:
* Zenonas meets a real need - a "weak link" (fuel costs) in a
functioning community - rather than a "first step" (building a house
from bricks) in a non-community (he can build all the houses he wants,
but does anybody want to live with him?)
* Zenonas fits his solution in an existing environment, he's using
existing buildings, which are abundant, rather than creating from scratch
* Zenonas fits his solution into his life, he's a well rounded person
raising a family and leading a community
* Zenonas fits his solution into an extended family, they add fuel to
his furnace, help bring and chop tree branches several times a year,
live in his house or visit him there
* Zenonas fits his solution with his community center, they provide him
with sawdust and other waste
* Marcin gets attention because he's doing a "grand" project, because he
communicates well in English, because he's in the US, because he's going
to "save the world", and most of all, because that's what networks like
ours want to hear
* Zenonas can't get enough interest to have these furnaces built, even
though he gladly shares the design. He doesn't speak English.
The difference suggests that a genuine solution differs from what
Marcin's doing in several ways. A real solution would:
* arise from existing, functioning centers, organized around real
people, not centers building and organizing from scratch by people who
don't care about people
* be incremental improvements to existing centers rather than starting
* be part of an exchange of solutions rather than part of a showcase
site that is franchised
Constructive steps forward include finding, linking and promoting people
like Zenonas. Zenonas is not shy, but he has such a rich life, and so
many real concerns, that he doesn't promote himself where he doesn't see
results. So if we like what he's doing, as I do, then we should promote
him, as I am and would certainly do more, if others might help.
We can all help in the ways we most wish to. For example, I'm sharing
"ways of figuring things out" and will be interviewing people who might
share their own ways or simply talk about how they've figured various
things out. Here's a list of my own ways:
Ben, what are you up to? and how might we best support you, encourage
you, participate with you? I'd be interested to interview you by video
or audio Skype some time next week.
Thank you, Ben, Franz, Vinay,
+1 (773) 306-3807
Ben de Vries, My letter to TED re: jakubowski
Concerning Marcin Jakubowski, it is clear you have never actually been to
his project site.
His nomination draws concerns over either the credibility of TED, or it's
ethics, just wondering which.
He is not building a new civilization. He is living in a junkyard stealing
other peoples IP and calling it open source. He has applied labor
exploitation to the point that his girlfriend left him because he tried to
work her to death.
His work is a paper man, and most importantly, NOT ONE BIT IS HIS ORIGINAL
If you need verification of what I say, I would be happy to provide you with
email addresses of others who have worked at that project site, and will
relate similar stories of their own.
Perhaps you would ask him for the video of his 'kangaroo trial' wherein he
accuses Jeremy and myself of sabotage of the water system- one we were all
dependent on. Why would we sabotage our own water supply? The fallout from
that cost him half his subscribers.
Subsequently he took painstaking measure to erase all evidence of his
wrongdoing. Very 'open source'.
I will say he is good at two things: attracting starry eyed kids into his
project to exploit, and taking credit for the work of others.
Ben de Vries
Certified Permaculture Designer
(Moderators note: This is a very controversial subject, and one that
requires an introduction on opening. Indeed we have learned first hand
from Inga who went to live at FactorE farm, that there is a big
difference between the marketing and the reality of this Global Village
Construction endavour. I think the information about the many weaknesses
of the Missouri experiment should be open, but at the same time there
are some things to consider:
* Marcin subsequently moved to base any visit to FEF on a clear contract
avoiding false expectations. Its not a village neither a community, its
a workshop with a self-appointed technical director, with hard living
conditions and a limited giving and taking (some might call it
exploitation for the greater good).
* He sparks the imagination of a lot of people that eventually will not
depend on him personally. The idea will take a life of its own and
people are free to work on whatever they choose meaningful. More sites
will spring up that will manage to be true communities. They will test
the validity of the technology and if there are flaws, they will fork.
* Marcin is the first person to be widely credited for globalvillages
ideas. In this respect, even with a very intimate knowing of some of his
dictatorial traits and in open controversy with him about the degree of
autonomy and autarky we need to achieve, I still feel good about that
* and I feel Marcin will be wise enough to not repeat the blunders that
have happened and that you mention. He will also have to settle the farm
issue with Britanny, there is a court order and he offered to buy her
out in the coming days. I feel its necessary and OK to talk about this
to the people who have contributed to FEF financially and otherwise and
the people that are supportive and have a moral stake.
Hegel said: There is no great man for his butler (and I am afraid that
holds for women, too). If you look closer, you will find ugly personal
traits in many people that moved and shaked the world. We need to accept
these things with some coolness and try top avoid being victimised by a
dictatorial personality. Thanks god we have the freedom to walk away and
to let the world know. But then again we must accept that there are
still factors that have to be taken into consideration: like who besides
Marcin had the energy to carry through the foundation of such a vast or
comparable plan. Maybe you need to be strongly biased to do something of
So far, no one has been physically or otherwise seriously harmed and
those who put their money in it should know what they are doing. Marcin
might have the custom of not recognizing publically who really
contributed. Why dont you seek to give credits to them instead of waging
a private war against him? Its also very daring to say "not one bit is
his original work". I think you will have to explain this.
A personal remark: If we are talking about IP or Intellectual Property,
we are talking about a contradiction. The nature of a thought and a
concept or design is that it can be duplicated or withhold by secrecy or
privilege, and the more general the truth is that thought holds, the
more weird the privilege and withholding becomes. There is a moral
obligation to recognize and reward orignality that I fully subscribe to,
and we should not talk about IP as the mainstream does, because the
language is the way we produce and maintain reality. In a reality deeply
influenced by the vision of Global Villages , there will be no
intellectual property as far as my imagination goes. Its absolutely
against our values to withhold essential information.
Thanks for considering. Franz)
This is clearly an attempt to damage Marcin's ability to deliver the
vital technologies that he's dedicated his life to developing and
In fact, it's clearly an attempt to sabotage Marcin's ability to get the
financial and technical resources to deliver the technologies he's
working on by making good connections at TED.
So you *have* attempted to sabotage the project, Ben. It may not have
happened in the past, but it has happened now.
I'd like to suggest you consider the seriousness of our global
situation, the forty or fifty years of failure of values-centered and
community-centered approaches to make a meaningful reduction in our
global environmental impact, and ask yourself whether - in fact - those
value systems simply serve to distract people from the real problem: our
machines are so badly designed that they kill the planet in the process
of delivering our essential services.
Marcin's attacking the root problem. Try not to get in his way.
All these technologies already exist, and are not his.
*So it is OK to use people up and throw them away for these goals? *
(I really do want your answer to this question- and if the answer is
'no' then what would YOU do?)
* "Marcin is the first person to be widely credited for globalvillages
ideas." - Quite... when it should probably be going to mondragon,
songhai, or Joy Tang. It is not.
I cannot "damage marcin's ability to deliver the vital technologies"...
he doesn't even have a lathe.
I have already been found guilty of sabotage when I had not done it...
just living up to expectations.
I tell you what: Like my opener, go to MO, work FOR him (there is no
other option) and get back to me on this.
As far as I am concerned, I am stopping a narcissistic user who uses a
website of techno goodies as bait. The fish sees the bait, but not the hook.
If my work ever got any support I would probably have less time to
pursue this issue.
When I was in Nica during the war, I got a taco in Matagalpa late at night.
The meat was rotten, so I gave it to a passing dog. The dog was so
hungry it nearly took my hand off. It might have been a good dog...
Much like that dog, 'good behavior' is of little concern to me now.
What I find interesting is how THOROUGHLY evidence of his wrongdoing has
Marcin is a necrophile who expects people and living things to work like
machines, and what he can get out of them. Anyone can fantasize about
But you start using people and taking the credit for THEIR successes,
while treating them as disposable, and I am involved in any way, I will
try to stop you.
The stars in my eyes may have been amputated, but NOT my spine.
Ben de Vries
Ben, let me summarize this: I do not consider your emotional state to be
Marcin's responsibility. If you did not enjoy working with him, you were
free to stop at any time. Volunteer comes from the root word
*voluntary*. If you did not like it, you were free cease association at
whatever time suited you.
I've worked *with* Marcin quite extensively. I set up the first wiki for
the Open Source Ecology project, registered the domain Open Farm Tech
and helped a fair bit with the strategy behind making a lot of short
videos, documenting the basic outlines on wikis and encouraging public
participation through trying to make the plan easy to understand.
During that time I found him to be focused, direct and professional. He
took what he thought was useful from my advise and direction, and
ignored suggestions that did not seem useful to him. I considered that
to be pretty typical of communications between people working on a
project. I did not take on any complex commitments, and made it very
clear that I was helping Marcin get web stuff started, but was already
at capacity with my own projects.
Now that we're clear that your objective is to damage Marcin's ability
to deliver his projects to the world ("As far as I am concerned, I am
stopping a narcissistic user", "I have already been found guilty of
sabotage when I had not done it... just living up to expectations") I
think that it is absolutely appropriate for people to classify you as a
dangerous wingnut who had a bad experience working on a project and has
decided to turn it into a vendetta.
As such, I think that this community would be better off without you,
and you should leave. If you choose not to do so, remain in the
knowledge that we know exactly what you are by and because of your own
words and admissions, and the apparent pride that you take in
interfering with the ability of a talented human being to deliver their
gifts to the world.
Engineering solutions to the planet's problems is not a personality or
popularity contest. You're clearly putting your emotional state ahead of
the common interest we all have in seeing some of these global problems
addressed with new technologies. You are part of the problem, and not
part of the solution.
Now kindly begone!
I see I have already been removed. Thank you all for making your
I'd tried to address these concerns in quieter fashion... you weren't
No mention of Marcin's interference of my delivery...
ONE WORD: reciprocation.
Ben de Vries
you have not been removed from here. You had the opportunity to speak out,
What really worries me, and I think Vinay is right, is that you mix the
necessary critique with a personal attack.
Of course Marcin wants to remove that chapter from OSE history.
Its nothing that brings any energy to him and he has not learned that
sometimes you must spend a lot of time on "unneccesary" things -
to respect truth and be courageous to admit mistakes.
Thats not his way, sadly.
I think nobody hinders you to open a site where you try to
turn your experiences into positive lessons for the movement.
But you ruin your own reputation when everybody smells your
ultimate motive is revenge.
I am not the one who made it personal.
My goal is to prevent him from doing FURTHER damage to those who seek to
help him based on his sham show.
I will never forget the conversation where:
G: So all these people are paying your bills with the money you said you
would deliver projects with.
M: Works for me! hahaha.
Well, if you give him money, you are the one he is laughing AT.
1> unsubstantiated conversation reported as fact.
2> as far as I can see he's working himself into the ground to deliver
3> the output is there - not perfect, but improving