Ming the Mechanic:
To be or not to be

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 To be or not to be2002-05-25 03:46
by Flemming Funch

I'm often torn between whether to be diplomatic or whether to say what I think. Or, we could say, I'm exploring the space in-between.

For example, in my de facto role as a facilitator, and sometimes mediator, in the NCN community, I think I'm expected to be impartial and diplomatic. I would sort of be representing the core principles of NCN, which involves the respect for different ways of being, and the open welcome for all sorts of people, as long as they align with a very minimal set of guidelines.

But as far as my own personal views and activities go, I certainly don't believe that everything is equally valuable. I'm quite discerning and have strong opinions about many things. Some things I'm passionate about, some things I could care less about, some things I think are bad.

And it is not that I myself am confused between my different roles. Rather that I'm trying to communicate more clearly what is what, and that I'm trying to not have to hide myself.

I originally split up my two main websites so that worldtrans.org was about the things that *I* care about, and where I might feel free to express my own views without having to be diplomatic. OK, I've hardly updated the site for several years, but that was the idea.

And newciv.org would not be my website at all, but would be a network, which I was only one part of, but which had a life and a mind of its own. And in whatever I did there, I found it important to be just a facilitator, neutral and diplomatic, mainly helping to present what was going on in the network and what different people were doing. You know, for years, the main organ for NCN was not the website, but the mailings I sent out to all members, which were compilations of what people had sent me.

But it gets more complicated the more different spaces there are in the online virtual community area, and the more I myself am participating in it. And, hey, I don't just want to stand by the sidelines. If there are swings and monkey bars, I'd like to try them too.

So, with this news log here, I would prefer to use my own news log as a place where I could think aloud freely, say what I want, and where my friends could keep an eye on what I'm doing. But, also, it is placed amongst the other news logs, and probably read most eagerly by the people who currently are active in the NCN member area. And no matter how much I'm trying to be just one of the guys, some people will think that what I'm saying must be some kind of official policy statement for NCN. It usually isn't. And even when it looks like it is, it is usually just that I try to interpret what I think we're doing. And it easily gets quite entangled if I happen to express some controversial opinion without softening it up in some diplomatic way.

One thought is that I might split things apart more. Put my own newslog outside the NCN member area, on another website, so I can speak freely without having to worry about the politics of keeping most people happy with what I say.

But another thought is that I should maybe be more radical and uncompromising about what I believe in, and not worry about it.

I initially didn't notice, and then tried to ignore, that the core principles of NCN are essentially things that *I* passionately believe in, and not everybody does. I think it is stuff that most intelligent and well-intentioned people would be aligned with, but I initially took it for being much more self-evident than it apparently is.

My vision of HoloWorld is an elaboration of the same principles that NCN is based on. But I deliberately distanced it from NCN as just being *my* vision, "and now I'd like to hear everybody else's". And, ok, in HoloWorld I go further than what I can reasonably ask everybody in NCN to agree with. I suggest that there should be no ownership of the land, or of ideas, that corporate privileges should be abolished, and other farout proposals.

But the key principles in HoloWorld are the same as in NCN: that you can essentially do what you want, as long as you don't stop others from doing the same, and as long as you don't pollute or deplete the common resources. You gain a say over something naturally by taking responsibility for it and working on it. And there's no top-down power structure, nobody with the inherent right to command you around. You are free and sovereign, but it would probably be a good idea to organize into teams and communities to get things done, and to agree on some rules for those teams as you go along.

For me those things aren't really open to negotiation. You can have any opinion you feel like, but if you think you have some inherent right to command other people around against their will, you're wrong. You can have any kind of personal preference you want, but if you plan on enforcing that preference on the rest of the population, even though they don't agree, you're wrong. You can organize whatever group you want, except for one that becomes a monopoly or dictatorship that will govern everybody else against their will.

Some people would call these things political views, but I think that's silly. Politics nowadays seems to be mostly a competition for who will decide what everybody will be forced to do or forbidden from doing. Which I think is wrong, almost whatever that thing is. Maybe I'm some kind of libertarian socialist, I don't know. I'm interested in how free people voluntarily organize into strong communities that take care of the whole.

I guess I'm still undecided on how to approach it. But I'm becoming more bored with being soft and yielding about it.

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25 May 2002 @ 06:19 by jazzolog : Administrative Memo
As an Assistant Administrator, whose work is to Categorize News Log Articles for perusal by the general public, I have to figure whether these thoughts stay internal or go out. It's a toughie this time, because there is some site history in this that at least some of us know nothing about and might be valuable to the casual surfer. The visitor might also find aspects of the entry important in deciding whether or not to join up. But on the other hand, there are some personal considerations, it seems, that might render the article more appropriate for member-view only. Maybe we should wait a bit to see what comments come.  

25 May 2002 @ 08:48 by invictus : Don't worry about it...
Be more radical and forthcoming with what you believe. I trust you not to become some kind of dictator; I've never had that perception of NCN. I'm with you on politics. As for diplomacy, I'm not sure either. It has it's place, and it can prevent conflicts. But I think you said it right; it really is boring when you are forced to forsake the real you for the sake of diplomacy. I doubt it gets much done either, when taken to that extent. You would just end up running in circles. So go for it, Ming :). The people with different beliefs can have them, and you can have yours. We can all express them as honestly as we want (even the "leader", tee hee hee), because that is the only way we're going to get anywhere. And the ones who need to impose their beliefs on everyone else can go work for Bush (I can't think of anyone I know on NCN that I'd say really fits this description, by the way; I'm speaking generally).  

25 May 2002 @ 12:17 by magical_melody : Be authentically YOU Ming!!
Flemming, I support you in expressing your true Self, and have watched you hanging back, and have wanted to see you become more involved. I feel that you are pretty conscious about what feels appropriate and not appropriate as it arises, and so I trust your intuition about that. Also, we're all human and each of us are moving through various life processes and growing pains, as we step more into our authentic self. I would like to see you gain more from the support and feedback along with the rest of us. I would enjoy getting to know you more and invite opportunities to become more involved in dialogue with you. I really get alot from you when I read your posts, and have been wishing you would share more. Thanks for writing this piece, as I feel it can open more doors for you and others. Peace, Magical Melody.  

26 May 2002 @ 02:24 by shawa : Ming, don´t worry...
... NCN will hold, even if you´re sharper! :-)  

27 May 2002 @ 13:48 by ming : Being authentic
Thanks, guys, for letting me be me!

And, Jazz, feel free to publish this or any of my articles, unless I directly am mentioning people or situations within NCN that people outside can't know about.  

27 May 2002 @ 19:14 by swan : BE
Go for it. Acting from the authentic self is a gift not only to those around you but a gift to yourself.


27 May 2002 @ 19:37 by cho : Wanna worry? Sooo, worry!
*doffs hat to venerable SysOp* I think your concerns are entirely appropriate. Perhaps after some moment of insight they'll dissolve, and I honestly think you deserve that result. But there sure can't be a result without a process, and if breaking sweat is part of that, then fine by me ... if only to recognize again that it isn't _necessarily_ the way to go about it.
As someone said, recently *~~~ ~~ at Shakti*, friends are accepting of one other when they're goofing. Hey, as a former clown, I know I came up with some of my best stuff when I was weyyy over my head! And with music, even a bit tonight, some neat stuff happened when I stepped off the well-trod path. (Of course there's the dangers of impunity and self-indulgence. Surprise surprise, life is a set of paradoxes'! *grin*)

As for the politics thing ... I wish we could start using that word more. Economics is about what gives us food and the table to put it on (so okay, I have neither table nor chairs, but that's my choice), and politics is how we arrange our social relations generally to support the social relations we have economically. The fact that larger interests have taken that domain over isn't reason to abandon the word ... maybe it's strong reason to reclaim it. And, for that matter, maybe now's the time. (The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, end of August ... I think there's going to be some real groaining and grinding of teeth by the time it's over.)
Fools pretend at having no fear, and cowards run from it. But intelligent courage allows the brave to advance through it, respectfully, to find it's yet another entirely convincing mirage.  

28 May 2002 @ 00:04 by mmmark : Progress
Ming - I think that you could change your predicament in several different ways, some you stated, but there are others. If NCN is your ‘baby,’ then when does a parent let go of the child? I think most of us want you to be a player instead of a referee, so what is the most important course?

Many of us are here because the name of the site represents making a healthy change socially, which means politically, economically, playfully and others, but we do not have the freedom to do that as individuals, because we are interdependent on each others skills. We must have ways to gather in common concern and general good taste as a core to the individual efforts that you envision networked. I am saying this in clumsy fashion, yet I feel this is what we all want in our hearts – a place to work together. That will take trust, manners and discipline and more than log-chat. If NCN should remain pure, then why don’t we make another site to accomplish is modest terms what we talked about doing last year – linking the CEN? A site of community of purpose, not just a collection of editorialists. It could be fun and it is the process of evolution that keeps retiring the ineffective in favor of better things. It depends on being open to change and not clinging to one answer forever.

This approach would allow NCN to stand as you intended by making another place which is mainly concerned with unity of community and not on resource links. You could then tighten the description of NCN and provide another hub for the hub-bub.

There is going to be a meeting in SB to ask how FCE should begin this process. Marshall hasn’t responded to our second email about his cooperation with other groups, yet it now seems the subject is becoming more important in general. I am going to attend. The date seems to have shifted once, so I need clarification, but it looks like 5 June in Santa Barbara,

Just some food for thought.  

28 May 2002 @ 13:44 by ming : Ergodicity
Oh, the second option was very much what I had in mind for NCN to be. And that is what I'm doing, whether you think so or not. Any failure of NCN to be a self-sustainable network, independent of me, can probably be considered my fault, in that I've probably been imprecise in defining various things. But I don't find blame and accusations to be a very useful mode of exploration. Because, to me, that's what it is. It's an exploration. It was not clear in advance what we would find.

I have discovered many things I could have done differently, but that aren't necessarily easy to undo. E.g. I wouldn't call you guys "members" and there would be nothing to "join", if I did it over again.  

28 May 2002 @ 13:54 by ming : Letting go of NCN
First of all, NCN itself was never something I imagined one could hold on to or let go of, as it was the network forming between many independent nodes. But that's probably not what most of you guys here call "NCN". Collective ownership of a particular website is not something I set out to explore, and I think it is kind of like focusing on one little tree rather than the whole wide forest. But, hey, if some people wanted to take it over who were in synch with the spirit it was created in, I would let go of it at any point. But that spirit does not involve taking it over for the purpose of converting it into an organization with a single purpose, or an MLM.  

28 May 2002 @ 14:17 by ming : Mark - Community of Purpose
Mark, I'm supportive of the creation of communities of purpose. That's what I had in mind with the virtual workgroups here. That could potentially also take the form of different websites. I can contribute software to that wherever it makes sense.

Is the FCE meeting fairly open to attend?  

28 May 2002 @ 18:01 by ming : Enabling Mechanisms
Probably what might the most enable what I had in mind with NCN would be some kind of mechanism or protocol that makes it easy and natural to share information and connections and to form teams and communities. Something like some form of Peer2Peer. You know, facilities for easily setting up your own "island", inviting other people onto it, and connecting it easily with other islands, in such a way that all of our collective resources somehow "for free" become of benefit to the whole network, even if the network doesn't have any central planning or management.

So, if the de facto situation is that NCN somehow has become just one website, with interesting and well-intentioned people hanging out there, then the task becomes how to make it easy for others to create many more of such sites, and make it easy for people to improve on the facilities, and link together these various sites and databases in a useful way.  

28 May 2002 @ 18:45 by magical_melody : Last sentence! Ming
Flemming I think your sentence about linking sites sounds intelligent, as I feel that the preservation of this network to remain simply a network right now sounds wise. It allows for sustaining a very large group of people to be linked to it and to have access to the many various websites and features within the network. I feel that many of us are in the formative stages of finding our resonant companions and establishing resonant cores together. This process precludes the forming of projects. To put the cart before the horse, and expect otherwise makes no sense to me. The subsequent forms that come out of those projects will have the sustaining power to grow based upon the complimentarity and cohesiveness of the group. I see people growing websites and their hosts becoming impatient as no-one shows up to fill the roles they alone have outlined. Conscious community is about moving into co-creative endeavors, and not some scheme or plan that one person dreams up or implements alone. Sometimes a meeting ground has purposes far beyond what the group of the present can ascertain, as the function of the grounds and its people are all involved in an evolutionary process with its own wise timing sequence and inherent vision. I trust your sense of vision for preserving this network to be what it is Flemming, and do not see it having anything to do with personal power issues. I feel those perspectives are based on projected expectations deeply yearning to be fulfilled.
Magical Melody  

29 May 2002 @ 00:32 by shawa : Hi, Ming!
Basically, I agree with Alana´s comment above. Your discussion with Ergodicity is on a different level. The way Ergodicity talks about Alana shows the gap between these two, somewhat contradictory, creations of yours, Ming; as if two parts of yourself, had created two very different things.
You say you haven´t created what you wanted. Oh but you have. You have created EXACTLY what is in your mind. Your creation reflects your mind. And the apparent contradiction you´re in now, both *inside* and *outside* of you, are reflections of each other. I´d like to call your attention on the fact that there is an implicit personal process of yours in that, Ming. A process which is lacking still,which would perhaps bridge the gap between what you wanted and what it has become. There are two things here : one is what you have had in mind, and the other is how it has been willingly, freely, implemented by "members" (co-creators). You left the reins of creation free for everyone, and people did their thing accordingly. As you´re saying, you might not do it this way now. But it is done, and it exists. This way. So you will have to restate, reform, restructure what you want, AND accept what it has become and perhaps let it go its own way, inside the context of a larger network; you will have to do both, I think. As Alana says, maybe one part of NCN transcends, in its evolutionary purpose, even the mind of its creator, and said creator will have to reconsider both his purpose and his way of participation. That´s a *process* for *Creator*. Alana is right where she talks about the cohesiveness of a group, and the cart before the horse.Though she talks about something which is different than Ergodicity´s concern. She talks about what is happening *inside*, and Ergodicity is talking about *form*. There are two different things, on two different levels : 1)the structure of NCN (the whole website) and 2)the psychological process of a certain bunch of people, in a certain location inside NCN, who find this website and its free structure and the process this implies worth their while.You are now at a point where you will have to find a way to bridge these two seemingly distinct forms (distinct in your own mind, but perhaps not in reality?). It is Creator´s privilege to decide where Creation goes, but you can´t decide about the free will of "members", and that´s the tricky business. We are free, IN your "creation". You decide about your creation, but you can´t decide about us, "members", because that would go against your own principles. I´m really curious how you are going to resolve this. Love,-  

29 May 2002 @ 01:03 by scottj : 2 experiences from real life:
First: A whole food co-operative project I have mentioned before. The people involved started out simply wanting to work together out from a shared *feeling*. For 2 years they talked and did fun things together, nothing practical happened, there were frustrations. In the end just when there was nearly nobody who thought these people would get anything together an opportunity arose in the form of a disused railway station. Inside a few months that railway station had become a whole food co-op organised along libertarian lines that were prescient of a new civilisation. Open accounting, non hierarchical organisation, participation according to ability etc etc. A big success and very harmonious and very effective.

Secondly: I lived and worked on a Cancer help centre project on a farm in England for 5 years. The project was put together by the guy that owned the farm and his wife who was supposed to be doctor. At its inception there was a huge interest; talented and skilled people offering help and a queue of patients far larger than the available facilties. When I left there were a few not very effective disgruntled co-workers and no patients. Why? All the key decision making was done by the owners, they had the financial clout to back any particular area of the project that appealed to them at the time (gardening therapy, councelling, art therapy, whatever). What basically they did was seed fund these various projects by providing the capital resources and then invited others from the outside to participate. However when these intitiatives showed any signs of becoming autonomous the owners stepped in and essentially screwed up the project. Strange behaviour you may think but what happened was that after they had forced the key figures in a project out they were then able to roll forward the investment comprising their seed funding and the much larger volunteer input from the people they had undermined. This they did time after time attracting new intiatives on the rotting carcase of the previous one. I was *lucky* in that I was working in area they knew nothing about, the land, so I lasted longer than most. However when I left all I took with me was a debt for $2000 leaving behind capital equipment and landscaping improvements that might well have been worth over $100,000. I don't care about that at all because I started using a camera there just to record some before and after pics of some of the things we were doing so whatever the money rip offs I came out of the experience enriched.

I don't know precisely what one might draw from these experiences but they crop up in my mind when I think of NCN. I wouldn't take these stories too literaly but they may have some metaphoric relevance.......  

29 May 2002 @ 01:20 by jazzolog : Tuning Fork
Can't resist CHIMING in, Chip, even if my presence now taints your brilliant remarks as just more ranting from "you guys" out here. (Alana, I know you'll keep your sense of humor through this.) Your remarks have the ring of truth to me obviously. Ming reminds me of the Walter Pidgeon character in the 1956 sci-fi flick Forbidden Planet. No matter that the great visionary had built the perfect empire up in the sky; he still couldn't keep everything from being precisely himself---including the invisible horror, Id, that had to bash down the doors. Our host wears the keys proudly around his neck, and responds very well to cooing compliments and not at all to clear criticism. He learns but one doesn't teach him. He allows "us guys"---Leslie Nielsen characters (and we're probably a lot more like that actor's present-day persona!)---to pad around the planet and amuse ourselves, but it's Ming who programs Robby the Robot, fights off the invaders, and welcomes the oohs and ahhs of the throng. Even if he evolves into a thousand pound chicken, to pull that cart, Id'd still be bigger. Maybe you'll succeed, Chip, in winning his cooperation, I certainly encourage the dialogue. But if he negates all your points too, join us in the nosh pit where we appreciate the chance to spin a few yarns.  

29 May 2002 @ 01:27 by ming : Inside and Outside
I'm aware of course that what is here now in NCN is what IS here. I respect that, and I wouldn't dream of shutting down NCN because it somehow didn't fit my plan of what it *should* be. And, indeed, what is here both has something to do with what's in my mind, and something to do with what has happened amongst the people who are here. One way or another, I respect the unfolding of it all.

Whether I still haven't accomplished what I set out to do, is a different matter, but also an intertwined matter.  

29 May 2002 @ 01:54 by ming : Manifesting
It is entirely possible that I have issues that make it difficult for me to create the self-organizing collaborative grassroots thing I have in mind. I'm quite willing, I think, to work on that. I'm also quite willing to learn from the example of others who might know how to succeed in areas where I don't.

I'm not very willing to give much energy to defending myself against criticism of my personality that doesn't seem to be directed in any such positive direction.

Ergodicity, as to your P2P comments.. For me, something needs to be worked at until it works. The proof is in the pudding. It doesn't matter if you have an apparently great idea (which you do), if you can't figure out how to implement it. The work is not done.

So, yes, the Internet is a great thing, but it didn't automatically lead to some kind of instant utopia. And Peer to Peer networking is a great thing. But its main use right now is for swapping MP3 files. Nothing in a Gnutella type of program helps much in creating a network of efficient well-organized teams working on building a different world. The work is not done. Do you seriously believe it is?

So, the thing is how to get from the good idea to the manifestation in the physical world. What is there in-between is a lot of hard work and adjustments and learning. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean the initial idea is bad. Just because one has a good idea it doesn't mean it will manifest into something useful.

I have the most respect for people who manifest things. People who do the work necessary to translate their dreams into reality, and who keep going even when things evolve along the way. Oh, I get along well with a lot of people who aren't good at manifesting things, but who talk a lot about how things ought to be. I'm not going to hold it against you, except for if you go out of your way to criticise my motives for manifesting what I have, and if I happen to be in a less than perfect mood.  

29 May 2002 @ 02:18 by scottj : History in the making?
Something that intrigues me somewhat is the history of NCN. There are so many thousands of member, where are they? Have there been different groups active at different times? Did they go on to create interesting and exciting real world projects? Are there any people active now who have been active since the beginning? In what way is NCN different now to what it was in the past? How has NCN evolved? As many wise people have said you need to know your past if you are to know yourself.  

29 May 2002 @ 06:01 by jazzolog : From Yashmir This Morning
Kim still reads the Logs that are visible to the general public. She wanted to contact Chip, which is why she wrote. At my request she replied with a comment she is allowing for post:

"I left without saying goodbye, there was nothing
left to talk about. I didn't want to make an issue
of it, NCN just isn't the place for me. Despite
NCN's expressed intention of being a place that
could accommodate all viewpoints, it's just not

There are some good people @ NCN, but
I find myself agreeing with Ergodicity,
totally. I got nausea at all the gushing.
Which wasn't a very constructive thing.

I'd rather spend my time in the real
world working on solving regional
issues. There IS a divide between the
'First' world, and the 'Third' world.
I had hoped to bridge that divide by
participating at NCN. I failed. No big
deal, just moving on. And after a while,
I am very happy with my decision. No
hard feelings, NCN is just not my thing.

Thanks, yashmir."  

29 May 2002 @ 07:09 by simpleman : HOUSE OF MIRRORS
I remember when I was young my family used to go to local carnivals and firemans field days. At these carnivals was a building called the house of mirrors. It was a maze made up of mirrors arranged in such a way that you could have a very difficult time exiting the building once you entered. In some respects NCN is like the house of mirrors, once you get in there are many ways you can go, many areas to explore. If you go the wrong way you will hit a mirror, thus moving you in another direction. There are areas in NCN that I have no interest in. I may check them out, but after a little while I find that I'm losing interest. For some its an opening, for me its bumping into a mirror, so I change direction and check out another area. The tools are in place to do pretty much whatever you want to do. Search for those who share common interests and goals, contact them and set up your own team. There are many carts traveling in NCN, and personally I'm not concerned about whats pulling the cart, I'm looking at whats in the cart, and if it interests me I'll hop aboard. As for Ming's original purpose for this log, speak your mind, pretend your just a member like the rest of us. By not participating in NCN on the same level as all members, you risk the oppurtunity of learning and sharing that we all experience.

To Chip, I think I know where your coming from and feeling, and I may feel the same way to some extent. Rather than critisize the direction some have taken, find your own direction with the tools available. Do what you feel needs to be done with those who choose the same direction as yourself. Preferably within NCN
Personally, I choose not to judge the direction other members have taken, even if it hurts me that they have done so.

To all of us doers and dreamers, respectfully,

29 May 2002 @ 14:37 by magical_melody : In Response to Ergodicity
This is my response to Ergodicity’s post. I have not read posts following his yet, as I want to respond first to him before reading them. I see your words and hear you Ergodicity. I respect your concerns and feelings, as I share in them in regards to wanting to become active in building more empowering forms and systems that can bring into manifestation the new ideologies. We want progress in terms of visible support and form. I will not however, personalize your insults nor do I feel to defend myself in any way. I do hold you accountable for your words and actions however. You have been insulting to members here in your posts and have been condemning the process that has been building here. The balance of process and content as it relates to (male and female) attributes and abilities must come to inform and impact directly our communications in balance with co-creating new projects here in NCN, and in new forms out in the world. The foundation being built here, even if simply inside of ourselves, is worth millions! We are assisting one another to alchemize ourselves in community so we can all be the Gold, while coming to manifest that Gold in the world.

Ergodicity, you are not respecting the necessary process that has been occurring here as we come to explore new ways of communicating which honors the male and female. I ask you to be open to new ways of seeing and receiving the good that has been happening here. Please allow me and us to know more about how we can assist you in bringing forth what you have to offer here. I ask you to invite the same from me. As a woman, one of the gifts I bring involves attending to the relationship aspect along with sharing the magic of alchemy, hence my name: Magical Melody. You bring your own gifts and I would like to know what those are.

You are not inspiring connectivity or cooperation when you condemn. We all come with our unmet needs and unresolved wounds-old feelings along with emerging visions, talents, and emerging capacities and inherent passion. Yes, I too, become impatient with the process. I empathize with your impatience and lack of faith as I have experienced both also. Simultaneous to those feelings, I trust Creator, myself, and the group process as it is reflected in here and out in the world. I thank you for being the catalyst for opening this dialogue. I also ask that in the future you make an effort to be more respectful of others emotions and process as they are but a reflection of you. Our concerns live within one another. You have helped me to address the wound that I have carried regarding men putting down my female Presence, attributes and abilities. I would like for all of us to communicate with more directness and mutual respect.

I set down my sword and shield and walk undefended brother, to meet you in compassion. You have decided to accept defeat based upon your own position and feelings. I invite you to choose again. We are all learning, and I would like to invite you to state what you really desire. What is missing here? What gifts do you bring? How can other NCN members or I help you to bring these to bear? Maybe you are the bell tolling, to take us to the next action step. Please help us if that is the case. Thank you. In love and gratitude, Alana…Magical Melody  

29 May 2002 @ 14:38 by ming : Mirrors
I guess describing this as a house of mirrors makes sense. Otherwise, I get a little puzzled about all the energy people (myself included) put into arguing about whether NCN is the right thing or not, or whether I'm doing the right thing or not.

For the umptienth time: NCN is a blank slate - some virtual space with some virtual tools. If something happens here, it is because you make it happen. If nothing happens, it is because you didn't make it happen. If you really should be doing something else than hanging around chatting, go and do it! By all means, don't hang around in idle discussions for months, and then decide that "NCN didn't work" because "nothing happened". I can predict in advance that nothing happens if nothing happens.

NCN never had the premise that "maybe if some nice people spend all day talking, then the world will change". The door is open for anybody who enjoys that. But the intention was always to provide connection facilities for people who are doing stuff, and who somehow hold a piece of a bigger puzzle. I do think that the connecting we do here can be very valuable, and possible more valuable than what is immediately apparent.

It is interesting, however, how our various mirror images of ourselves come up and smack us in the face. I think that is a feature of this place that I didn't expect. It could potentially be something useful, if we somehow are able to process our distorted mirror images of ourselves.  

29 May 2002 @ 15:09 by magical_melody : Scot addresses my previous point!
After posting my response, I had a chance to view the comments and am sitting with them in contemplation. Also thanks for your last line Ming about distortions. Yes indeed! Also Thanks to Scot. I had already wrote an article Spiritual Emergence and Shifting Communications in my newslog addressing your point. I do not know if Flemming read it, yet I addressed your point. If you have not read it Flemming, please take a look and give your input. I had suggested communicating with previous NCN folks who have been involved with the network-throughout the years, to give input as to how how NCN helped them move towards manifesting their vision. I know we can see projects within their sites, but is there a way to generate feedback within NCN to help us see the evolution of what has been gained through the process since its inception. I invite this! Peace, Magical Melody  

29 May 2002 @ 21:12 by magical_melody : Scot, story right on!
I thank you for posting the story about the group with the food coop... as it totally applies here. I understand how our human selves often do not know how the bigger picture is unfolding, as we come with our agendas, expectations and limited ability to see the big picture. Every group process moves one along and advances them to become more, and in effect, to accomplish more in the long run. Groups accelerate our growth as they push us to face and address our weaknesses, while providing opportunities to hone and even share our strengths and our ideas. We each have parts to contribute in the action steps as we combine all of our skills and apply our shared wisdom. This story shows how the power of the group will come to bear fruit at some point in ways that are not alway apparent to that group or onlookers. I also believe that we have spiritual contracts with one another, and that some individuals as well as groups are planted in our midsts to further our growth and empower our individual mission as well as the larger collective purpose. I thank you and all of NCN members here in dialogue for being here to assist me in sharing myself in these ways, as these communications are valuable to me and are assisting me in learning things about each of you and the gold you each bring! Also thanks to Shakti for her wise words and support. Shakti, I am appreciative of your breaking it down and expanding on the issue of "the Creator." I believe that the Creator is communicating the vision and we must be open to contribute our parts to that vision as we are led. Thanks and blessings to all...Magical Melody  

29 May 2002 @ 23:43 by ming : NCN History
Alana, yes, I think it would be very valuable to hear from NCN members of the past what has worked for them. As well as what hasn't worked for them. Most importantly, I'm looking for how the stories of what works can be part of the fabric here, in real time. I want to highlight and broadcast the successes, as they're happening, so that we might all learn from them and strenghten the factors that are bringing them about.

It is also that I sincerely don't quite know. I don't quite know how many people have come here, found what they were looking for, and left to do great things with it. I don't know how many people left in disgust because they couldn't find what they were looking for. I don't know how many people made important connections here, but didn't really notice that it happened here.

Quite a few people have come up to me, usually in person, and said that some specific important connection for them happened through NCN. But at the same time, the thing that concerns me a bit is that either those people disappeared the moment they found that connection, and they only casually tell me because I bump into them later - or it was people who didn't appear active neither before nor after, but they still managed to forge an important link through NCN.

And the part that worries me is the part of people leaving, in order to get busy, the moment they really get what they were looking for. And the fact that they usually don't think of reporting the fact, other than in passing at a later date. I want to broadcast far and wide those things that worked. I don't want it to be a secret that somebody whispers to me in the hallway at some conference.  

30 May 2002 @ 00:38 by scottj : >>>>>>>
Alana, Re-reading my post above something that isn't clear is that I actually became aware of the Whole food co-op project while I was struggling away at the Cancer help centre. The experience was illuminating in that the food co-op shone a light on what was not working at the other place. What was interesting was that when we tried to initiate a process that might have led to something happening it floundered because people were already bound up in practical work that wasn't working. There were simply too many issues for people to be able to handle and any attempt to have a separate interaction to build on the real connections between the people failed because practical / political issues tended to appear as sub-plots and hidden agendas. How much of this is relevant for NCN I have no idea because despite having been around for some months I don't really have any feel for NCN as an entity in itself except as rather irritating labyrinth of chat forums for people concerned about civilisation. This isn't intended as a criticism btw just an honest statement of my experience.

If I were to translate that into some sort of practical effort as a web designer of sorts (I have at least designed a one site :-) I would set about NCN and delete 90% of the facillites that currently are not in use, delete 90% of the duplicated functionality and re-organise what remains into something with little more than a gentle toe print on the user's brain. (At the moment I feel a large boot print.) With this work done NCN would IMO become more of a transparent space where people can come together and await a vision of what they might do together. Under other circumstances I would even offer to do lots of practical work on this as part of a team but unfortunately right now I am too involved with other things ........... which reminds me ......................... *Baksun*

"Baksun" = "Back soon" as taken from a Winny the Pooh story  

30 May 2002 @ 00:50 by jazzolog : Excellent Post, Scott
Let me underline this section of some very meaty (or vegie) and workable suggestions: "practical / political issues tended to appear as sub-plots and hidden agendas". Nothing is more deadly to human enterprise, in my view, than when the sort of paranoid gossip Scott describes overwhelms the group process! My whole nation suffers from this disease currently.

Now folks, Ming says for the uptiumptimillionth time that if we want to do something, just do it. Let's say we want to put Scott's suggestions up there into practice. Outside of the processes we tried to levitate the Pentagon a number of years ago, who can enlighten me as to what is the next step? :-)  

30 May 2002 @ 00:51 by scottj : Ming >>>>>>>
You must have seen a picture of a famous house in America built by some freak in the 70's (I think), comprising a multi story castle of miscellaneous rooms added on to another. Made of wood. I don't believe there was a single right angle in the whole construction (Rudolph Steiner would have loved it) and it was amazing that the whole thing actually held up. A true piece of organic Architecture and a delight to the (anarchistic) eye.

Anyway I experience NCN like that and when it comes to your seeing it as a blank slate you may wonder how people would experience this house I mention if they encountered it on the real estate market. Would they perhaps be more fascinated by the architect than thinking about how to make use of the empty rooms?  

30 May 2002 @ 01:29 by ming : Winchester Mystery House
Hahah, yeah I hope NCN isn't like that. I've been in it. You can walk around for a couple of hours, without getting anywhere.

Jazz, as to implementing Scott's suggestion - are we talking about the site layout changes he proposes? I'll work with anybody who has some of the skills, in creating a prototype. Probably it would have its own area, separate from the current NCN site, for testing it out. If people try it and seem to like it better, sure, we'd just switch over to that. But we truly need somebody who can do some of the pieces, such as the actual HTML. A rough sketch on a napkin isn't quite enough, unless it actually solves some of the issues of how to do it.  

30 May 2002 @ 02:01 by jazzolog : Attention 6618 Members In The Database
We need a volunteer with the skills Ming describes just above. Please apply by adding your comment!  

30 May 2002 @ 03:56 by shawa : Jazzman, that´s one of the problems...
...in here! Precisely. There seems to be no tracking device (Ming, do you have that?) - what happens to the 6000+ members? Are they having any type of contact with each other ? Who does the "weaving" (networking)? Can it be done ? I still feel that *a lot* of energy just gets "lost" because somewhere in Ming´s system (philosophy) or ours, there is a conceptual error, a glitch, that actually causes all this energy to get "lost". This is a creative hypothesis, not a judgment, OK?  

30 May 2002 @ 04:38 by jazzolog : Resources
Actually it should be possible to recruit someone. By clicking the Subjects link we have a great list of stuff to which some people have related. Technology is one of them, and there are 105 members who say they care about that subject. Seventeen say they are experts.  

30 May 2002 @ 08:18 by scottj : What I can offer
I would see this project as a 4 stage process.

1 - decide on the functions that are to be included

2 - design a bare bones site with highly intuitive navigation. (there would be no fancy design here at all just an optimum layout that was compatible with as many people as possible and a no-brainer to use.)

3 - add in the scripting to make it actually work

4 - test and deal with any issues

5 - make it look good within the already existing design parameters

When we get nearer to the end of the summer I would be very happy to use whatever skills I have on this project. These are among others:

A clear idea of some basic design parameters and how to apply them.

Web design using Freeway 3.5

Alchemist skills in Adobe Photoshop  

30 May 2002 @ 09:21 by magical_melody : Great posts and ideas guys and Shakti!
Scot thanks for the clarification in your story about the cancer center as I was trying to tie it all together.

Folks, All important points: Tracking, making best use of space, utilizing skills and know how of members, people adding their input and action towards improving the lot. I support this dialogue to keep moving in ways to generate implementation on ideas posed. Exciting movement. Smiles, Magical Melody  

30 May 2002 @ 13:14 by ming : Losing Energy
Shakti, I think you're right, and I think that can be a fruitful way of looking at it. Yes, somehow this place tends to bring up a lot of energy .. but then it also tends to lose it. Somehow or somewhere it gets diffused or eventually withdrawn.

That's maybe a design issue, or it is a matter of creating the right magic. If it is something I'm doing wrong, I'm very willing to find out and to correct it. But I don't know what it is.  

31 May 2002 @ 14:56 by magical_melody : Let's ground this info/energy!
Ok, we have discussed tracking/survey, design software and hey, we have the magic okay? Come on, let's track the information right now, and get practical with it. Let it not escape as ideas blowing out the frickin window. Let me know how I can support you Ming so you are not overwhelmed with information or process. I am here to assist with the grounding and integration today!!
Magical is my name, and melody is ordering the notes/comments to reframe into a composition. We are weaving a musical composition together here folks.  

31 May 2002 @ 20:26 by ming : Action items
OK, so Alana and I can work on the feedback/survey project. On the site redesign thing, hm, Scott really connects with it, so we might wait till he has time to lead it. The hard part is not so much finding a web design person. I have a kid here on the street who'd be very happy to do whatever I ask for. But we have to know what to ask for. "Highly intuitive navigation" is not something you can ask the average web designer for, and expect to actually get it. So, Scott, or me, or somebody else who feels plugged in need to play with it until they've got it right.  

1 Jun 2002 @ 18:36 by magical_melody : You're magnetic Ming!
Call the right ones in NOW! and they will show up. Each will come in perfect timing to do their part. Peace, Alana  

2 Jun 2002 @ 00:53 by scottj : I am up for this. What I can do is
gradually work away at a rough design based on the core elements with the intuitive linking in place. This can sit on my webspace where it can be accessed for comments etc. Doing it this way would allow me to do some work when I am inspired and it's often possible to move forward quite quickly this way. I already of the members page done http://www.scottfoto.net/NCNxpt/untitled.html

It looks like nothing at all but it would I think make the basic navigation a breeze for anyone. One of the key points is that all the essential navigation links occur within a 650 500 px frame making it compatible for people who use even the smaller screens. The page size would be well under 100kb maybe nearer 50kb which would mean it would download in a flash even on a 56kb connection.

Note also that EVERY link on the members page would open in a new window enabling superfast navigation back to the members page by simply closing the current window with cmnd W.

It sounds perfect that there is somebody into web design ready to do something. All they have to do is stick within the design parameters and site layout and let their fantasy roll........  

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