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Andrius Kulikauskas Self Learners Network. Think Through Art with Andrius Kulikauskas. Directory of ways of figuring things out. Chicago Street Artist Blog. Video summary of knowledge of everything. Notes on Gamestorming. Living by Truth working group. Twitter: @selflearners Email: ms @ ms.lt
Edward Cherlin Earth Treasury
Kennedy Owino Nafsi Afrika Acrobats
Ben de Vries
Samwel Kongere Mendenyo
George Christian Jeyaraj
Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz
Christine Ax, Steve Bonzak, James Ferguson, Maria Agnese Giraudo, Marcin Jakubowski, Ed Jonas, Rick Nelson, Hannington Onyango, Linas Plankis, Proscoviour Vunyiwa
Andrius helped with the following websites:
See also: Charter, Strategy, Dreams, Tasks, KingdomDeepNet, /Archive, TheStateOfOurLab, MinciuSodas
AndriusKulikauskas: I'm investigating: How do we organize a worldwide culture for independent thinkers?
We're working together for a world that ever reaches out to the marginalized. Our vision is based on levels of culture:
Here are the layers that I am thinking of:
Our lab Minciu Sodas is created to serve layer 1. In 2005 I look forward to actively supporting our efforts in layer 2, and start thinking about layers 3 and 4. I also want to have a proper relationship with layer 0.
I acknowledge that we represent a variety of outlooks, faiths, perspectives. I think our greatest asset is that we can hold together such a diversity long enough so that we can find ways to work together.
I have found that indeed there do exist independent thinkers - people who return to their own thoughts and develop them further. It appears that every person has this opportunity. Existentially, as independent thinkers, we are the same, we have the same value of "caring about thinking". We each speak a different "private language" but when we take care to translate it, we find that there is indeed one truth. This foundation exists even if we do not. It is the truth that gives meaning to every personal thought in every personal language. It is most fundamental for our endeavor to foster independent thinkers.
I have depended on God to the extent that I have lived on the edge. The vantage point of a "spirit of everything" allows me to suppose that I may venture beyond myself. Such an alternative vantage point is key to "having an enemy and loving them, too". It also allows us - even if merely hypothetically - to consider that "our truth" may actually be somebody else's truth as well. This means that we can work together to take responsibility for the totality. I do feel very blessed and encouraged when those who have no reason to take up such a vantage point (and perhaps good reasons not too) allow that "caring about thinking" is advanced whenever we truly care about anything (including God, even if he might be fictional or tangential). Thank you.
Our search for "patterns" is very much a documentation of "what works" and what does not. Our relationship with God depends not only on us allowing for him as "fiction" but also on engaging him as "non-fiction", those of us who venture to do so. I do and will engage God in such a serious and deliberate way towards a variety of goals: finding ways that God might work alongside us, participate amongst us, engage those who wish for that; attempt (perhaps successfully) to take up and develop God's perspective (perhaps as that of an investigator whose central concept is our shared value of "caring about thinking"); make truth tangible so that all might know everything; allow people to understand and foster their own judgement and learn to live boldly, directly; live flexibly, allowing God to live through us and others (especially as a "person in general" who does what any good person would do); express and share all manner of intuition; chart and navigate a map of every central concept that a person might have; communicate with all manner of systems; reach out to integrate all who care about thinking, and even those who don't; overcome all obstacles to independent thinking; establish a bridge by which all might travel freely back and forth between this life and eternal life; bring forward a future that brings justice to the past; make sure that any hell is empty.
This kind of thinking is often implicit in our dreams, wishes, ambitions. I will try to make it more explicit in my own outlook, and also help us all to be comfortable to speak in our own way, each in our own language, about our foundations.
We have a lot of experience supporting independent thinkers at our Minciu Sodas laboratory and the Open People network. When I consider the One Village mandala (six aspects that their unity centers bring together: economy, culture, education, wellness, governance, ecology) I think that "economy" is the one that has mattered most for our work at this level (or perhaps it has for me personally in relation to the non-independent-thinking world). I suppose that an "independent thinker" needs to be "independently wealthy", even if they are quite poor and live day-to-day and with help from others. We also need to be able to "give everything away". This is important so that we can truly think freely despite the anxieties of wealth and poverty.
I look forward to working with our investigators so that we are bold in openly clarifying our personal core concepts. I hope with your help to develop such a program of open learning. I also look forward to growing and leveraging our Open People network http://www.openpeople.info in ways that support our many efforts.
We will develop ways to acknowledge our independent thinkers so that we can harness our network on their behalf. We will also develop our team-building services so that those who "give everything away" are able to find "part-time-work-on-tap" so they can meet their needs as they develop their projects.
Local circle (GlobalVillages)
Thank you to Franz Nahrada for leading me to understand the importance of "global villages" to independent thinkers. Our surroundings affect our thinking, and the village is the place where a handful of independent thinkers can change the nature of the surroundings.
In my own life, I find the need to live within a cultural environment where I feel that I can fall in love and raise a family. I want to blossom as a creator among other such. This is why I have come to Lithuania, the land of my first language, and why I live as a squatter at our Folk Creativity Center. I have wonderful friends with a lively command of our language, and I now briefly enjoyed a gift of inspiration, so that I wrote a few good poems. Back in 1988, I and Loreta Grikaviciute lead a rock band Naujas Kraujas (New Blood): http://www.isveikata.com/naujaskraujas/ That was a lot of fun. So now I'm starting a new one: Liutasirdziai (The Lionhearted). It will be a small band but also a large movement I hope. The idea is that our creative work will all be in the public domain except as noted, and under the prodigalart.org expectation (that half of any profits are returned to creators)(My idea here is to dampen commercialization so that it is respectful and does not distort us). The work will be unpolished, typically separate tracks that people are welcome to mix together and release. The outlook will be bold, that we have power to make ourselves and our world. The audience will be intimate, so that we enjoy our work and inspire others to create. My focus will be Lithuania but I would love to draw on international contributions.
In looking for new directions, I am thinking this "layer" (local circles) will be of strategic importance. I hope that we can be helpful to Global Villages, One Village, Kerry Santo in Edinburgh and other such efforts. I look forward to supporting local activity around our participants, such as Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz in the Canary Islands. This will also foster our multilingual activity. Music and the arts will help us encourage such activity. Also, I very much appreciate the wisdom of Umesh Rashmi Rohatgi in nurturing young couples.
I believe that, from the point of view of independent thinkers, "culture" is the key aspect (from the OneVillage mandala) for us to participate in such local circles. We want to thrive on each other's creativity. This is why Joy's drumming is so important. I think it's more than important than a physical place - it is what makes us need a meeting place, and gives it shape. I also want us to consider that we don't need the support of an entire village. We can impact our neighborhood simply by offering the example of an open and thriving circle of friends. With these circles we are including people who may not seek the challenges of independent thinking, but do thrive on creative activity.
I think that an important challenge at this level is quite personal. How do we learn to be open to people who we may not like? It may be vital to require that we all participate as creators so that we all have a way to appreciate each other.
We don't need to organize everything ourselves. Often it's simply a matter of recognizing what other people are already doing, and letting them know that we'd like to work together. It's therefore very important to make explicit the principles by which we choose to work together or not.
As we connect more and more local circles, we make it easier for people to travel amongst them. Franz envisages a network of villages extending across the Balkans from Vienna to Athens. We might call this a "circuit". I think that this kind of travel is especially important for "education" - self-education. Traveling self-learners can stay for a weekend or an entire summer within reach of an independent thinker and a circle of creators. They can teach what they know, and more importantly, learn to develop their own projects. I imagine that this might be a lifelong alternative to university education. It might be especially important in the poorer parts of the world. Franz envisages our laboratory becoming a university, and I think this is the sense in which it would be so.
I wonder what larger forms of organization might be. I suppose that festivals (conferences, events, caravans) are very relevant. As Bala and Picsie say, Halls without Walls.
A festival can be our entire world for a weekend. In fact, it is so complete and overwhelming, that a stranger is able to enter our world and live within it. In this way we reach out to many people who might be curious.
What aspect of the mandala is relevant here? Perhaps it is "wellness" as our concern for the welfare of others, not just ourselves. A festival for us can be a total experience by which we offer healing to all who come.
At some point, if we are successful, no matter how good spirited we are, I imagine that we'll suffer a backlash from the system. I speak as one who occassionally encounters (or suffers from) discrimination just for the kind of thoughts that I am writing now. Looking ahead, I want to forewarn anybody who chooses to participate. Probably it happens when we start to have "festivals" whose very civility threatens the powers-that-be because it calls to question their need to exist. The way to minimize the pain of persecution is to share a solidarity which helps us spread the pain.
If we have focused on the prior layers, then we will be well prepared. We will have many enlightened people, beautiful cultures, effective circuits and the ability to spontaneously organize healing festivals.
I expect that we'll end up very strongly established in the most marginal of places: the Tamil world, Bosnia, Lithuania, the South Side of Chicago, Wales, etc. At some point we (those who live by such protocols) will be the effective leadership of these areas. We will have to rule both those who want to participate and those who don't. We will need to develop social contracts that keep in check any powers-that-be, both ourselves and others. This is "governance".
I suppose that a person may belong to several societies. They may be regional, or cultural, or religious, or professional, but not necessarily. It may be like India, where there are thousands of castes, except that they would be much more open, and you could belong to as many as you liked. They might be like "associations".
The One Village mandala includes one more aspect: "ecology". I think that ecology is our global challenge. Locally, ecological problems solve themselves. Nature is economical. In a local economy, it makes sense to work with nature, not against it. In many places, such as Lithuania, human existence has helped our ecology because, as climate has changed, we have allowed different species to stay here, as we have kept fields open from trees, etc. At our Creativity Club, our yard gets overgrown with tall grasses, so the neighbors cut it for their hay, and feed their horses. Ecological problems happen when we have a global economy, so that disparate materials get concentrated or created by industrial processes and end up dumped in the wrong places.
Here I think of ecology as our greater concern as stewards of our entire planet. Sure - economy, culture, education, wellness, governance - are all reasons for being ecological within our own zone. But "ecology" is the idea that we should furthermore care about what happens beyond our own zone.
I suppose that we will develop a protocol by which the various associations (special interests!) can approach each other with their concerns and work out the best arrangements so that we can be stewards of our planet. The whale-eaters and the whale-hunters and the whale-friends can figure out how we might best live with the whales. (And maybe we'll learn to talk to the whales).
In this way we may live in a world that requires no highest government because we all manage to work together in every way we wish and need.
Our laboratory Minciu Sodas serves and organizes independent thinkers. We therefore support the many layers that are needed for our participant's endeavors. Much of our work is to make tangible the social protocols by which these layers can function not just intuitively, but explicitly. In a sense we are building a "human internet" and we need to discover and implement protocols for each level relevant for exchange to take place.
It makes sense for us to invest our lab's attention to the layers that are closest within reach. We are though encouraged by projects at every level. We understand that the right solutions will need to address all of the levels. I therefore include God as a basic concept - a ground for absolute truth - both as fiction and non-fiction - a vantage point by which there may be a right solution. I myself assume that there is.
I hope that this utopia may be both constructive and pragmatic. I grew up in a Lithuanian family in Orange County, California. Because our country was occupied, it was vital for us to maintain our heritage. We were scattered but every Saturday we would drive twenty miles to the only Lithuanian school, which had only 100 children. And on Sunday we would sometimes drive again to attend Mass. In the summers we would attend Lithuanian scout camps and folk dancing festivals. We learned to tell every American we met that we were Lithuanians and our country was occupied. And I learned that if I truly want to be Lithuanian I need to make the great effort to think in that language whenever possible. I never thought that Lithuania would be free in my lifetime, but here I am. I think that the Jewish experience is an incredible source of inspiration for us. Surely there are many others as well.
I explain this so that we would consider that society is in our minds, and these social forms are rather familiar. The sadness I had as Lithuanian American was the lack of room for independent thinkers. I think if we radically changed our outlook, our world would look only 5% different, but we would feel 100% better.
Thank you for considering my vision for our laboratory and our work together. Please share your own vision for your endeavors so that we might know how we might support you!