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A culture for independent thinkers

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    I share my thoughts as founder of Minciu Sodas http://www.ms.lt and leader of Pyramid of Peace http://www.pyramidofpeace.net regarding our work these next 10
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 8, 2008
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      I share my thoughts as founder of Minciu Sodas http://www.ms.lt and
      leader of Pyramid of Peace http://www.pyramidofpeace.net regarding our
      work these next 10 years to bring forth a culture of independent
      thinkers by which our minds shape every aspect of our world.

      Last week we came together as independent thinkers in Vilnius, Lithuania
      to organize the COMMUNIA workshop Ethical Public Domain: Debate of
      Questionable Practices. We took the opportunity to celebrate each other
      and 10 years together as the Minciu Sodas laboratory. Thank you to
      Nafsi Afrika Acrobats and Drummers (Kennedy, James, Simon, Levi, Reagan,
      Job, Victor, Geoffrey, Michael, Kenneth) for your generous gift of
      amazing shows (Butrimonys village, Neringa restaurant, Labas Rytas
      television show, Uzhupis Day, Panevezys school for the deaf) and for
      your thoughtful debate at our workshop. Thank you to our members from
      Europe who welcomed them: Pamela, Agnese, Theresa, Eric, Markus, Didzis,
      Dante. Thank you to Janet, Sasha, Fred, Ricardo, Benoit, Surya, Prosper
      and all who joined us virtually. Thank you to Irena, Thomas, Zenonas
      and all of our Lithuanian team. This was truly a coming together for us.

      I had the chance to speak for two hours with Kennedy Owino and Pamela
      McLean as we drove up to Panevezys. Kennedy affirmed his support for my
      leadership with full authority for the Pyramid of Peace
      http://www.pyramidofpeace.net as an activity within the Minciu Sodas
      laboratory http://www.ms.lt and as part of a broader movement of
      independent thinkers. Pamela helped me consider such a movement the
      next several days on our road trip through Latvia and Lithuania. I also
      spoke today by phone with Rachel Wambui Kungu, Dennis Kimambo and
      Lawrence Achami. They welcome my leadership and my wish to focus on our
      long term work for a culture of independent thinkers.

      As independent thinkers, we know what it is like to stand up to the
      world all by ourselves, and yet we know we are not alone. We are the
      same deep inside. We can understand each other's private language. We
      can remake our world to nurture the ever unfolding growth of the people
      we truly are. I imagine three stages:

      1998 to 2007: Lab) We have created a haven to support and foster a wide
      variety of independent thinkers. We have more than 100 active and 1,000
      supportive participants. We help them engage and involve more minds,
      weave together a society so their dreams become real, make a living and
      earn money for their projects, clarify their values, pursue their
      investigations, advance their endeavors, make friends, grow as leaders,
      and flourish with moral support.

      2008 to 2017 ?: Culture) We now work to establish a culture that would
      allow independent thinkers to apply themselves to every aspect of life.
      I imagine 100,000 active and 1,000,000 supportive participants, as if we
      were a diaspora, yet I hope we might be the dominant culture in at least
      one small country like Lithuania so that we might make evident our
      impact, our love and care. Around the world, we would have many local
      groups, and many global villages, and many traveling self-learners, and
      festivals as well, and we would set the world's policy on certain key
      issues such as the Public Domain, pattern languages, interfaith
      dialogue, open economy, inclusion and peacemaking. We would foster
      enormous creative talents to apply eternal themes for positive impact.
      We would fall in love, raise children, be together young and old. We
      would make tangible all of our values. We would have many havens, many
      labs, and we will not need any particular person (like me) to lead
      because so many leaders would understand our culture. We would include
      old and bring forth young who are always encouraged as independent
      thinkers.

      2018 ? to 2027 ?: Ethic) We may some day find our way of life to be an
      ethic which is profound for people of all cultures, much like
      Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Communism, Capitalism or
      Science. We might have 100,000,000 active and 1,000,000,000 supportive
      participants, which is to say, all people might be within reach of an
      independent thinker who is a bridge to many other such. I think we
      might discover a universal language of concepts by which we can express
      our values, questions, endeavors and all of our ideas. We might be able
      to organize ourselves for any global challenge. We might live in a
      world where all truth is known, available and tangible. We might
      appreciate each other's personal languages, intuitions and talents. We
      might understand how to engage God and share our world with God.

      We have many talents. I believe they are for the sake of all. There is
      a tension between cultivating our own talents and serving the needs of
      others. Yet I believe that we wish for each of us that we might all
      apply ourselves to our fullest. And if we do not grow ourselves, then
      we will quickly find ourselves lost and lead others astray. Therefore I
      encourage us to develop ourselves, to nurture, foster, cultivate our
      gifts, for this is our culture. Everywhere we go let us find those who
      we might support likewise amongst the displaced persons, the deaf, the
      women, the youth, the children, the illiterate, the sick, the
      forgotten. We do not have to help the masses, but rather we can make
      friends with all manner of people, and they will lead us to others, and
      we will all be ready to respond as we have in Kenya. We started with
      Samwel Kongere and how many friends we have made!

      We are ever encouraging ourselves to think about our:
      * Values: What is your deepest value which includes all of your other
      values?
      * Questions: What is a question that you don't know the answer to, but
      wish to answer?
      * Endeavors: What would you like to achieve?

      Questions play a special role in our culture, and indeed it is a
      "culture of investigation". I encourage us to be comfortable living
      with unanswered questions, allowing them to multiply, considering
      several lines of thinking at one time, thinking-out-loud and
      working-in-parallel. This is where I will encourage us to place our
      energy for this is the positive work that I think we do for our own
      sake. We can have many small projects. We will collect and share
      personal experiences, stories, ideas, perspectives as a foundation for
      answering our questions. We should try to be self-sustainable. We can
      share resources with each other - computers, travel, paid work. We have
      our own inner economy. We also do work for clients who wish to mobilize
      our good energy and are happy to meet each other half way, as was the
      case with My Food Story, the Global Utopias video bridges and with the
      COMMUNIA workshop. We will learn to investigate, to ask questions and
      find answers. We will ever grow mature as we care to help each other
      grow. There is no end of the creative energy that our questions can
      unleash.

      We will also engage the world. We will pursue endeavors, but let us
      keep in mind why we do. We ask questions for our own sake, whereas each
      endeavor has a purpose beyond itself, and so where does it lead? At
      best, an endeavor helps us reach out to include others, and at best,
      helps us to care about them and take up their questions. So let us be
      careful with our endeavors, why we are doing them, and let us take our
      time to include everybody as we pursue them. And let us be compelled by
      our inner drive, just as Agnese and Sasha and Janet and Asif compelled
      us on January 1, 2008 to care for our fellow Kenyans. Let our values
      be the reason that we engage the world. They are what we would like to
      establish in our culture and pass on to future generations. Here we are
      giving of ourselves without reservation, just as we would for our child,
      much as we all did in Kenya.

      When we are driven by our values to engage the world, then we can be
      effective in the world, just as we were with the Pyramid of Peace. We
      can pursue all manner of endeavors. We can participate in the outer
      economy which is outside of our culture. We can recognize our enemy
      and love them. We can invest in them, but only to the extent that they
      will walk with us, that they will work with us to include others as
      well. We can identify corporations that we might invest ourselves in,
      that might benefit as we connect with the independent thinkers amongst
      their workers, customers, shareholders, that might appreciate our
      scrutiny and concern. They might invest in us that we reach out to
      include others, that we lay the groundwork for emergency response, and
      that we have the resources to act in the event of a catastrophe, which
      is where we excelled in Kenya and generated much social capital.
      However, I think that all of this is secondary for us to our dedication
      to our own culture, our own gifts, our own talents, which are so huge,
      and which is what we wish to share.

      I therefore call a retreat of the Pyramid of Peace whereby each
      peacemaker finds themselves, their voice, their questions and is able to
      be at peace with them. We are ready to come together at any time. But
      I ask us to share our questions and to help each other and to be led by
      our questions to make friends with those beyond us, the displaced, the
      troubled, the deaf, the women, the marginalized, and the thinkers
      trapped behind the corporate walls. We are laying down the web of
      relationships that will spring to life when the day comes. And even now
      there are peacemakers such as Lawrence Achami for whom we should uncover
      more support. Yet even so my first priority is that we all grow openly
      and thereby encourage each other.

      I have shared what I can make of this movement. We have so far to go!
      I am grateful to Ricardo for his wonderful example as an investigator
      and to Kiyavilo Msekwa likewise. Thank you also to Kenneth Chelimo and
      all for your letters and the growth you make evident. I leave us with
      the question, What is a question that you don't know the answer to, but
      wish to answer?

      Let us ask and look where the questions take us!

      Andrius

      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minciu Sodas http://www.ms.lt
      Pyramid of Peace http://www.pyramidofpeace.net
      +370 699 30003
      skype: minciusodas
      Vilnius, Lithuania
    • veinbergsdidzis
      Dear Andrius, I am just posting this to Minciu Sodas LV, but I would be glad if you re-posted it to other groups as well. What follows is my own thoughts on
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 10, 2008
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        Dear Andrius,

        I am just posting this to Minciu Sodas LV, but I would be glad if you
        re-posted it to other groups as well. What follows is my own thoughts
        on your vision of the future of Minciu Sodas and independent thinkers.

        First off, I would like to thank you for organising the event in
        Vilnius. It certainly could have used some more planning and a bit of
        polishing here and there, but it was extremely enjoyable nevertheless.
        In a way, we probably got a glimpse how a large group of independent
        thinkers would act. And the first thing that struck me as obvious was
        that those independent thinkers tend to be quite, well, independent.
        They organised themselves in small groups, sharing their own
        interests; they got along better with some and worse with others; even
        the language barrier was a very real obstacle. It was not a huge,
        unified group of independent thinkers that set out to change the
        world; to borrow your own words, independent thinkers like to crumble.
        That is what makes them independent; they have their own thoughts and
        interests and are more interested in pursuing them, not following
        somebody's else vision of how things should be -- at least, not if it
        does not happen to be similar to their own.

        Which leads me directly to the second point -- your plan for the
        future of Minciu Sodas looks, well, quite unrealistic and, even if it
        was realistic, I am not sure if I would like to take part in it. Of
        course, there are some obvious questions such as "What makes you think
        that a group that has managed to gain 100 members in its first 10
        years will suddenly grow to 100,000 members during the next 10 years?
        Obviously a 200 seems a more realistic figure." But even if that
        somehow could happen, there still is the obvious question: why would
        the independent thinkers want to do that? You say we could make up
        some sort of diaspora; I believe we would do the very same thing we
        are doing right now, crumble into small groups according to our own
        interests. You need a strong unifying idea if you want a diaspora.
        What would be the strong unifying idea all independent thinkers would
        agree on? It would be great to live in a world where everybody has the
        freedom of thought? Well, this is the case in most parts of the world
        already. So why should we attempt to reach something that we already have?

        Finally, I do agree that there are many cases where you need a leader
        or a commander-in-chief. But I would say that there are probably even
        more cases where you do not need any leaders -- again, the Vilnius
        meeting provided many examples where people organised themselves quite
        successfully.

        This all leads me to my own vision of the future of Minciu Sodas: I
        believe that it should still be a place where independent thinkers
        could meet other independent thinkers, and I believe it should move on
        to have a significant real-world presence as well, because Internet,
        of course, is great, but it still is no substitute for meeting people
        face to face. It should still be a laboratory for independent
        thinkers, again, moving more towards a real-world presence -- not only
        a place where people could discuss their ideas, but also a real,
        physical place where people could go and try their ideas out to see if
        they work (which is pretty much what a laboratory is). But most
        importantly -- it should be a place where people would be welcome with
        their own thoughts. If, say, I do not believe that everything should
        be in public domain, I should be welcome to have my own thoughts and
        explain them. If I am not that eager to give everything away but would
        rather stick to more conventional understanding of economy, I should
        be free and welcome to have my own ideas. I do not believe that I
        somehow have all the answers, so I am always keen to listen to other
        people's ideas -- not to prove them wrong and convince them that my
        idea is better, but to find out what I can learn from them and how I
        can improve my own ideas. We must keep that healthy exchange of ideas
        if we are to have a culture of independent thinkers.

        I do not know whether that would lead to 100,000 active members. I do
        not like round numbers that much, anyway. But I do know that it
        definitely would be a very great thing to have, and I believe that
        more and more people would come to appreciate that. And I firmly
        believe that we should welcome those who want to take part in it --
        even if their beliefs are quite different from ours. After all, that
        is what independent thinking is all about.
      • Andrius Kulikauskas
        Didzis, Thank you for your letter! and I repost as you request to some of our other groups. You ask: What would be the strong unifying idea all independent
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 10, 2008
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          Didzis,

          Thank you for your letter! and I repost as you request to some of our
          other groups.

          You ask: What would be the strong unifying idea all independent thinkers
          would agree on? For me it is not "freedom of thought" but
          "responsibility of attention". I think for me the unifying idea is
          that, currently, the people who are quick to accomodate each other end
          up in the center, and the people who are slow to agree, who wish to
          truly agree, end up everywhere else, which is in the periphery. My wish
          is to reverse that, to pull our attention to the periphery, to those who
          are marginalized because they think their own thoughts, rather than
          other people's. So I am organizing a culture that favors the personal
          understanding over the "conventional understanding" because I believe
          that is how we can truly agree.

          Andrius Kulikauskas, Minciu Sodas, http://www.ms.lt, ms@...

          veinbergsdidzis wrote:
          > Dear Andrius,
          >
          > I am just posting this to Minciu Sodas LV, but I would be glad if you
          > re-posted it to other groups as well. What follows is my own thoughts
          > on your vision of the future of Minciu Sodas and independent thinkers.
          >
          > First off, I would like to thank you for organising the event in
          > Vilnius. It certainly could have used some more planning and a bit of
          > polishing here and there, but it was extremely enjoyable nevertheless.
          > In a way, we probably got a glimpse how a large group of independent
          > thinkers would act. And the first thing that struck me as obvious was
          > that those independent thinkers tend to be quite, well, independent.
          > They organised themselves in small groups, sharing their own
          > interests; they got along better with some and worse with others; even
          > the language barrier was a very real obstacle. It was not a huge,
          > unified group of independent thinkers that set out to change the
          > world; to borrow your own words, independent thinkers like to crumble.
          > That is what makes them independent; they have their own thoughts and
          > interests and are more interested in pursuing them, not following
          > somebody's else vision of how things should be -- at least, not if it
          > does not happen to be similar to their own.
          >
          > Which leads me directly to the second point -- your plan for the
          > future of Minciu Sodas looks, well, quite unrealistic and, even if it
          > was realistic, I am not sure if I would like to take part in it. Of
          > course, there are some obvious questions such as "What makes you think
          > that a group that has managed to gain 100 members in its first 10
          > years will suddenly grow to 100,000 members during the next 10 years?
          > Obviously a 200 seems a more realistic figure." But even if that
          > somehow could happen, there still is the obvious question: why would
          > the independent thinkers want to do that? You say we could make up
          > some sort of diaspora; I believe we would do the very same thing we
          > are doing right now, crumble into small groups according to our own
          > interests. You need a strong unifying idea if you want a diaspora.
          > What would be the strong unifying idea all independent thinkers would
          > agree on? It would be great to live in a world where everybody has the
          > freedom of thought? Well, this is the case in most parts of the world
          > already. So why should we attempt to reach something that we already have?
          >
          > Finally, I do agree that there are many cases where you need a leader
          > or a commander-in-chief. But I would say that there are probably even
          > more cases where you do not need any leaders -- again, the Vilnius
          > meeting provided many examples where people organised themselves quite
          > successfully.
          >
          > This all leads me to my own vision of the future of Minciu Sodas: I
          > believe that it should still be a place where independent thinkers
          > could meet other independent thinkers, and I believe it should move on
          > to have a significant real-world presence as well, because Internet,
          > of course, is great, but it still is no substitute for meeting people
          > face to face. It should still be a laboratory for independent
          > thinkers, again, moving more towards a real-world presence -- not only
          > a place where people could discuss their ideas, but also a real,
          > physical place where people could go and try their ideas out to see if
          > they work (which is pretty much what a laboratory is). But most
          > importantly -- it should be a place where people would be welcome with
          > their own thoughts. If, say, I do not believe that everything should
          > be in public domain, I should be welcome to have my own thoughts and
          > explain them. If I am not that eager to give everything away but would
          > rather stick to more conventional understanding of economy, I should
          > be free and welcome to have my own ideas. I do not believe that I
          > somehow have all the answers, so I am always keen to listen to other
          > people's ideas -- not to prove them wrong and convince them that my
          > idea is better, but to find out what I can learn from them and how I
          > can improve my own ideas. We must keep that healthy exchange of ideas
          > if we are to have a culture of independent thinkers.
          >
          > I do not know whether that would lead to 100,000 active members. I do
          > not like round numbers that much, anyway. But I do know that it
          > definitely would be a very great thing to have, and I believe that
          > more and more people would come to appreciate that. And I firmly
          > believe that we should welcome those who want to take part in it --
          > even if their beliefs are quite different from ours. After all, that
          > is what independent thinking is all about.
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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