The next 2 or 3 years for Worknets, Minciu Sodas, Andrius
- I share my thoughts on the way ahead that I am working towards for
WorkNets, Minciu Sodas and myself as an independent thinker.
Thank you to all who came to our London meetings: Rachel Wambui Kungu,
Samwel Kongere (Kenya), Zdenka Mrkailo, Ana Ilic Lagundzin (Serbia),
Franz Nahrada (Austria), Irena Buinickaite, Zenonas Anusauskas
(Lithuania) and all who helped, especially Pamela McLean, Claudia,
Graham Knight (DIY Solar), Andrius Kasparavicius, Prodromos Tsiavos
(COMMUNIA), Steve Smithson (London School of Economics), Jonathan Gray
(Open Knowledge Foundation), Leon Benjamin (The Law Firm and Swarm
Teams), John Caswell (Group Partners), George Auckland (BBC), the World
Entrepreneurship Summit,the Islington Hub and finally, the European
network COMMUNIA for the Public Domain, which sponsored most of our travel.
I am an independent thinker, which is to say, I work on my own ideas and
projects even without encouragement or stimulation from others. As a
child I resolved to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully.
For more than 25 years I have looked for our conceptual limits and
wondered how they come together. My ideas are coming together:
In 1998, being Lithuanian, I moved to Lithuania, and started Minciu
Sodas ("Orchard of Thoughts") http://www.ms.lt as a business by which I
might make a living. My business's mission is to serve and organize
independent thinkers around the world. We provide free services to
those who work for free, in the Public Domain, on their own projects, so
that we might all encourage each other. We then have a thriving network
through which we might find paid work, but especially for organizing
global teams of self-directed workers. The result is that we've come
together as an amazing group (about 150 active and 1,500 supportive
participants) with a wonderfully responsive culture that encourages us
to openly grow as individuals. Minciu Sodas has overcome all of the
challenges, except for generating steady income, and even that I'm
rather hopeful for.
We have the potential to remake not just our lives, but our world as
well. Worknets http://www.worknets.org is my attempt to organize a
culture of independent thinkers, perhaps 100,000 active and 1,000,000
supportive, which might embrace all aspects of life. I think this is
more important than simply my own lab, Minciu Sodas.
I am taking the lead, but I believe that this is a culture for all who
take the lead, and we will find again and again how we recognize each
other as leaders, both those we know and those we are yet to know. I
encourage us all to take the initiative. I give my own example that
"what I believe is what happens".
My first concern is to co-opt God. I imagine that God is interested in
this culture. That values that we're encountering, such as "love your
enemy", "give everything away" are those that Jesus spoke of as he
declared the "kingdom of heaven", which I think is that world, that
culture in which "what you believe is what happens". I think it is a
culture that makes truth tangible as many small leaps of faith rather
than large mysterious ones. It is a net (a worknet) that catches both
the big fish and the little fish.
This is a culture of investigation. What might God investigate? What
might God want to know? I think that God is interested, How to reach
every person? I am supporting this investigation by noting how we
understand each other's values:
This will lead to a conceptual geometry that relates our many values,
notably, our deepest values, and helps us understand each other (and
God), and support each other's growth. I hope this reveals a language
of argumentation by which things come to matter to us. Such a language
would be key for fostering self-learning.
I think that more and more we'll discover the relevance of such
investigations and the philosophy that I have been working on. In
London, we met with John Caswell http://johncaswell.com/blog/ of Group
Partners http://www.grouppartners.net/ , who works with executives at
the highest levels in corporations and governments to think through and
literally map out what to do.
John and I believe that we share values but are on different sides of
the corporate wall. He is on the very-private inside and we are on the
very public-outside. Years ago, I had hoped that we might work for
John, but at the meeting it became apparent that his consultancy's
principle of "solution impartiality"
which means that they mustn't jeopardize their impartiality by
recommending further services. This time, I simply asked (and John
agreed!) if I might develop a Public Domain version of their 4D method,
using our own language, and working in my own philosophical framework.
Here is my understanding from a few years ago:
At John's suggestion, I will draft a one page agreement that would
simply explain our research partnership. The result is that we will
have a public version of a profound methodology that all might use to
think through their big picture, including villages, NGOs, social
entrepreneurs and working groups. I think this is a great endeavor to
invest in, over time, and we can also help John make a bigger impact.
An "open source" version of business consulting is valuable both working
for free and for pay.
Thank you to Edward Cherlin of Earth Treasury
for his initiative that is the priority for my efforts this year to make
a living. Edward is organizing the creation of open source textbooks.
I'm writing proposals to write Public Domain learning materials and a
popular book on "classic math problems".
I believe there is a profound link between practical exercises and deep
ideas which together make for self-standing lessons in a "pattern
language" for self-paced self-learning, which includes rapid learning
for emergency response.
Another highlight in London was a meeting that Pamela McLean (of
Dadamac, who leads our Learning From Each Other working group at Minciu
Sodas) organized with Franz Nahrada (Global Villages), Samwel Kongere
(Mendenyo) and me (Living By Truth). Indeed, I think I benefited most
from many conversations with Pamela, with whom I stayed for several
days, where like real independent thinkers we agonized over the many
assumptions that I make (including whether it's correct to present
Pamela as an independent thinker).
What I took home from London is that, in fostering this culture of
independent thinkers, which is a culture of subcultures, I might think
in terms of a "fast-track" and a "slow-track". (Although, fast or slow,
this is a matter of two or three years and more.)
Pamela explained that Minciu Sodas is part of her life, but she also
wears other "hats". She appreciates "the Minciu Sodas way" but it can
clash with the other cultures she participates in. I suppose the
majority of Minciu Sodas participants might agree. So this makes for a
slow and thoughtful inquiry, assumption by assumption, as to whether we
truly must agree on a culture.
Another approach, which I live, is to think of a "worknets" culture of
independent thinkers as the central culture of my life. I participate
in many cultures and engage in many more, but in all of them I want to
be true to myself as an independent thinker.
I hope to include everybody, but I want to focus my own energies and
Minciu Sodas's resources on those who dedicate themselves to foster such
a culture of independent thinkers. Those of us who assume that we share
the same culture can quickly work out many details. We are also able to
engage each other in terms of our personal integrity.
Samwel Kongere and Franz Nahrada both are interested to lead independent
laboratories that along with Minciu Sodas might start a network of
laboratories that are the foundation for the Worknets culture. They
both also encourage me as a leader. I also invite Edward Cherlin, Janet
Feldman, Benoit Couture, Kennedy Owino, Tomas Cepaitis and others, in
time, to consider leading a laboratory, although it is a profound
commitment, and we might best help get Samwel's and Franz's working.
I will look first to laboratory leaders to define the Worknets culture
overall; and then to working group leaders to understand how this
culture might embrace their particular subcultures. Laboratory leaders
have the challenge of fostering several subcultures whereas working
group leaders are generally fostering a particular subculture. I should
also separate out my own personal, maximal subculture (at Living By
Truth) from the minimal assumptions relevant for the Worknets charter.
Samwel and I agreed on next steps together. He will organize around his
home in Rusinga Island. First, he will set up a blog for people to
write about their locale in English and in their local language, I think
Luo. Similarly, I will start a blog for Zenonas and Audrone
Anusauskas's home near Eiciunai where I will be basing myself. I will
create a way to blog that's based on our ProWiki software for Worknets.
Then, we'll start to think of questions to ask ourselves and others as
"global villagers", much as we have learned to ask as "independent
thinkers" (What is your deepest value? What question do you wish to
answer? What would you like to achieve?) These questions will reflect
the Global Villages Principles which Franz is thinking through:
and they will lead to a "Global Village Index" by which we can self-rate
our locales and motivate ourselves:
Samwel is investigating How can my community have a sustained economy?
and his question is central to the conference in Kisumu, July 1-3, that
he's organizing with Tom Ochuka and Kenneth Chelimo of the Lake Victoria
I ask our help as investigators to make these annual conferences a great
I also want to encourage a system of virtual assistants for our
laboratory leaders and our most active working group leaders, such as
Franz and Janet. I want to set up a 24 hour "help room" for responding
to anybody who comes by, helping for free with any matter they may have,
including tutoring and support for self-learning and researching, as
well as work for pay, but also emergency response services and support
for peacemakers. I look forward to thinking through how we can support
different approaches for peacemaking, including holistic approaches, but
also nonholistic approaches like the voluntary command structure which I
developed during the Pyramid of Peace. I hope to make clear who are the
individuals who are offering their leadership by whatever approach, as
the Worknets culture and my Minciu Sodas laboratory look for leadership
to individuals rather than groups, and hold them accountable. I also
look forward to supporting Irena Buinickaite, who works for a member of
parliament, as she encourages Lithuania's citizens to be active in
making better laws.
I will look for help from web programmers to develop interfaces such as
our Hyperwiki to work as a response system to help and include all who
engage us. We will practice new technologies such as the Procom
Strasser video bridges and the Swarm Teams SMS messages. We can also
practice reaching out to independent thinkers in BBC, Yahoo! and other
corporations or governments that we might like to work with or for.
Congratulations to Gleb Turin and Franz Nahrada who recently inspired
six Russian governors to endorse the idea of global villages!
Thank you to Ana Ilic Lagundzin, Zdenka Mrkailo and Sasha Mrkailo for
making real the idea of Public Domain Fashion. I look forward to
developing a website that would allow us to track clothes and all manner
of art and other items that we could add stories to. We might revisit
Amanda Koh's Prodigal Art and perhaps do a more flexible variant of her
idea. Also, from April 17 to May 7, I will have my very first art
exhibit (at the Republic of Uzhupis!) and I would like to try out some
kind of sharing of my artwork into the Public Domain.
Finally, I look forward to help as I create an Open Learning Index, a
matrix for an Open University, for COMMUNIA.
A culture is the hardest thing to create and the easiest thing to build
on. I have shared above a variety of projects that can easily take two
or three years to complete. Together we have many more endeavors, and I
hope that we may indeed discover a culture that we might share as we
I encourage us to share our visions.
Peace and Love,
+370 699 30003