|by Flemming Funch|
Well, I was really planning on starting to point my newslog outwards, to the rest of the world, rather than talking about internal NCN stuff all the time. But I guess the energy is flowing a little different.
For years I've wondered what kind of role I ought to personally take for NCN that would best help things actually working. Because I noticed early on how I easily became a bottleneck or even an obstacle in making things happen.
It was a big surprise to me at first. The beginning on NCN was a call for a group of people to work together on the problems of the world, creating alternative solutions. I did not at all have in mind that I would be its leader or spokesperson, or that I somehow had to come up with the plan of how it would work. I had no idea how to do it. I just sort of trusted that the right kind of people would come together, bringing different kinds of expertise.
At first there were no communication mechanism other than a mailing list discussion group. At first that was completely open and anybody could post whatever they wanted to everybody. But after a few horrible flamethrowing matches between people who didn't agree with each other, I made it a moderated list where people sent it through me, and I passed it on to the list, or gathered a few things together and posted them.
But that meant that I obviously became the bottleneck that all of it had to pass through. And I was surprised when it first became obvious that people were waiting for me to sort of come out with the blueprint for what we ought to do. Which was the complete opposite to what I had in mind. I thought the participants would figure out how to come up with something between them. But that didn't happen, except for in a few instances, such as the New Civ Foundation workgroup.
What also happened was that many more "regular" people were joining. That is not meant as an insult to anybody. But the initial few hundred people who joined were mainly people who were quite established visionaries and system thinkers. I.e. people who had written books, who had organizations, who spoke to large groups of people; experts, PhDs, architects, engineers, etc. But gradually more people joined based on, for example, having read Celestine Prophesy, and looking for any kind of positive group out there. And that was often people who join and then want to know: what is the program here, we're ready, what do you want us to do? But who didn't have any particular expertise in designing alternative societies. Very good people, don't get me wrong. But also many of the more established doers started falling off, as they didn't really see any useful collaborations happening.
As to servers and websites, there wasn't any at first. But at some point Max Sandor and I formed the vision that there would be many different nodes that would form the New Civilization Network. Different people in different countries would run different servers, and they would have some mechanism of sharing data between them, and the whole thing would be fault-tolerant and impossible to shut down, because it wasn't centrally controlled by anybody. Max started it off by setting up the first server, which he called "server1" in the expectation that there would be many more. ... But that so far didn't happen, and a few years later Max was tired of maintaining the server, so I took that job over.
And, oh, there are many more details to the story along the way. But today various ideas have coagulated about what NCN IS, which don't really have much to do with what it was intended to be. The people who come to this site probably consider it a monolithic website. A few people think that I'm somehow holding on to a dictatorial control of NCN because I happen to be the webmaster of the one existing NCN website. And various people along the way have accused me of being a bad leader, letting all of these good people down, because I'm not coming up with a common plan for what we're going to do. And various other people have accused me of being a dictator, because I refused to turn NCN into a multi-level marketing scheme, or a paid membership website, or a political lobbying group or something.
There are various faces of NCN. The people who hang out in the mailing list discussion groups don't commingle with the people who come to the member area on the website. And the people who come to my face-to-face events in L.A. usually don't do either.
At any rate, my own aim hasn't really changed. OK, it has maybe shifted from merely calling together a group of people who will change the world, towards trying to find out how such a group can possibly work in a self-organizing way, and what tools need to exist to support it.
Either way, it is completely opposite to my intention if I end up being the perceived authoritarian leader of such a movement. I've worked hard to get out of such a role. And if I had in any way predicted that possibility at all, I would not have suggested NCN in the first place.
So, I'm considering various options for getting myself back to where I was headed.
I'm considering writing myself out of the story. Reconfiguring NCN so that it really is just something you do on your own. Like, if you go and set up a workgroup at Yahoo, you don't spend any energy wondering whether the president of Yahoo is authoritarian or democratic, or whether you think he's such a nice guy, since he let's you do it for free. You just use the facilities and go to work.
And I'm considering working for myself, rather than for what I think people might need or want. It is hard to keep everybody happy, and maybe I should rather concentrate on my own needs. Yes, I know, most people who read this are probably happy with what is here, and very appreciative. Thank you for your support and your love and your participation. But I also get tired of the few, but persistent, people who always seem to be there, who are accusing me of an assortment of evils, since the environment isn't altogether perfect, or I don't let them be part of the NCN government or something.
It is also frustruating to have to pose as the neutral and diplomatic webmaster all the time. OK, I'm naturally fairly diplomatic. But I also have strong opinions about many things, and I have work to do. So, it doesn't entirely work for me to always have to be the friendly, neutral host. And even if I try hard to be that, there will always be some people who will put a lot of weight on little things I say or do, and who will get hurt or angry or disappointed or whatever.
Sometimes it is funny, but in the long run a little tiring, to see what kind of sinister intentions and conspiracies people find in what I do. My nickname "Ming" was originally a joke, to avoid that people tried to abbreviate my name as Flem (Phlegm). So I suggested that if they had to cut short my name, at least they could use the last part of my name instead of the first. But several people seem to think it is because I see myself as a tyranical emperor who's sitting watching the earth on big monitors and plotting evil schemes.
My point here is, I guess, just to express some frustration. To indicate that I sometimes get tired of running into the same walls for years.
I never give up. But I sometimes change my approach or my focus. So I'm saying that I might possibly withdraw from active participation here. I have put an extraordinary effort into particularly this member area for the past year. I might possibly re-think that.
More importantly, I might choose to be more invisible in here, and more visible in other places.