Steeple-houses may have a built-in advantage after all, one the early Friends did not foresee. 

No matter, we'll make up for it in other ways. 

In the meantime, if you're a steeple-house in a religious network, here's another way you might be of service to your neighborhoods:

Profit-minded cable guys may control your neighborhood's access to the Internet, pricing many families out of the homework / homeschool market.

Some guardians drive their wards to the nearest McDonald's parking lot, just for the bandwidth, helps Uncle Ronnie if they buy a few fries, have a healthy salad.

Churches, though, with their tall steeples, are already doubling as cell towers in some cases, we have an example in our neighborhood. 

That suggests a way to bypass the greedy cable guys and bring bandwidth directly to your parishes, or whatever your religion calls them (zip code areas?).  Microwave is line of sight.

Something to think about, if you're a church.



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Well, there's Ursula LeGuin, but she tends to write "the realistic version" of any utopia she finds in her vast mind...

Co-ops are a good thing, but there's still a danger of turf wars between Our Co-op and _their_ embodiment of the ideal.

The Oneida community looks to have been a good place to live for a great many people... but then, if anyone developed a serious case of 'the marriage spirit' the couple would be regretfully sent off to make their way in The World, with as generous a termination package as the group's resources (most of the time pretty prosperous) could manage.

(One-person dogs and pack dogs; we don't seem to get that much choice as to which kind we be.)

As soon as one sets up an organization or social institution dedicated to promoting some ideal... it seems to almost guarantee that work for that institution will never run out. Hence, police and social workers.... and soldiers hoping to 'keep the peace' (oh well.)

A friend of mine wrote a book about going off to Israel as a young man to 'build Socialism' on a kibbutz and ending up with the place having developed into a happy suburb where a bunch of formerly idealistic young people, now middle aged and burned out, sit around doing their day jobs & watching tv at night. So it goes.

The only things that make life truly endurable are spiritual goods... and I'm not at all sure we know how these come to us.

I suppose I'm one of those who find spiritual goods stem from obeying God's will to make this His Kingdom (to use the older language).  That's notwithstanding my favorite Tower of Babel story, which ensures that solutions will come and go; it's our brake against totalitarianism.

Wanting inner peace just for oneself is selfish whereas focusing on some greater satisfaction for all in some afterlife is just postponing the day of reckoning.  We have this Planet to work on, to terraform (ongoing) and it's endowed with all the elements, plus plugged in to a huge fusion furnace, which we whine will go away someday, but lets be more present-minded?  We have a lot of negentropy to enjoy if we play our cards right.

I tend to gravitate towards the like-minded who also want to improve living standards, physically not just metaphysically.  Let the older folks kick back on their kibbutz or whatever, retiring from their youthful idealism and looking at screens; they'll have kids able to think beyond "capitalism" and "socialism" and that's a good thing.

Founders of Quakerism were clearly seeking forms of egalitarian self-governance, what with the Business Meeting, committees etc., etc. (Pennsylvania and so on).  Our "million dollar meeting" in Portland might be running more on a "powerful families" model, but the fact remains, we communally manage property and not only that, but births and deaths, marriages and divorce, long illness and recuperation (as best we're able).

I'm not saying our meeting is self sufficient or autonomous, free-standing from the rest of society, but one sees the elements, the prototypes, and wonders what future Quaker Retreat Centers might look like for staff, with most retreat goers more temporary in these woods.  Or maybe they're schools, like I tweet about.

However these early founders in the 1600s didn't have microwave towers or dreams like One Laptop per Child (what's a "laptop"?), nor could they assume such widespread literacy among their peers. 1790s Quakers were already futurists in their own time.  Kenneth Boulding helped get GST off the ground, as the older Economics started to crumble (so none too soon).

Another NGO I've worked with a little, DemocracyLab (one word -- there's another that's two), looks at creating "democracy in a box" (think board game, or simulation) where the roles for a small village, say, a campus, are already thought out and the experiment is to test them, with planned breakpoints for debugging.  My journals are full of such "scribblings" (actually, these are blogs, so think "illuminated type").

I know we haven't shared the same opinion re bitcoin etc., but what I see there is what I see in Unicode and the Apollo Project: evidence humans have the ability to collaborate, on a large scale, on engineering projects.  Linux.  With civilian intent (not diabolical, like Manhattan Project). We don't get to finish the Tower of Babel, but we do get a lot of assets as spin-off.

Here's a crypto-currency that's self funding, as running those transactions takes energy (money) and is already set to time out, in terms of when the last new bitcoin will be minted and added to the kitty.  People already know this in advance.  The game is thought out.  I expect to see more of those starting (Biosphere 2 is another example, with experiments in Martian living since).

With the so-called "blockchain" (a way of bookkeeping) we're entering an era when a Quaker school might pay refugees (faculty, students) in credits usable towards basics by the homework doers, but not by others (not even a sibling) and not for weapons (there's a fixed catalog of fixed price goods).  That's all built in to the apps, so it's not so much about tongue-lashings for violations.  Following the rules is a software thing, not a morals thing.  Engineering codes are replacing legal ones in many senses (cases).

Anyway, lots of experiments we could be doing, with the new toyz, and I'm not cynical about doing them, in broad brush stroke (individual experiments I may get cynical about).

Looking back over history, I see us helping one another to help ourselves and thereby bootstrap ourselves out of physical and metaphysical poverty.  It's been a long process.  I'll leave to you and each Friend to paint in whatever deities or "Theo guy" for a backdrop (sounding less Biblical about it), i.e. I'm not obligated as some Elder to tell other people what to think.  Quakerism is not credo-based.  It's more a practice and process, with meeting for worship recognizable "meditation" if you wanna call it that.

We can't all be polite Bodhisattvas: "After you, Siddhartha!" -- "No, after _you_, Kwan Yin!";  and on another hand, we can't get enlightened by ourselves... So that guy getting 'Peace of Mind All By Myself' is an illusion --

but so is the idea of anybody "making" God's Kingdom. It's here, and we, individually and in particular, have to actually live in it -- and if not, then nobody is nor ever will be!

To a large extent it comes down to simply loving whoever and whatever we're given to play with. The gadgetry and stratagems we apply to improving circumstances (or, too frequently, flailing about with) are part of that -- but readily become distractions, 'idol's, if we don't watch out!

& that 'loving' can't just mean 'enjoying a sentimental warm fuzzy just thinking-about', it has to include a sincere intention of helping -- which has to include actually finding out what's in fact helpful & what is merely egoistic manipulation.

A Friend I know of took in a homeless relative and her child, worked out an elaborate "agreement" that the woman would diligently attend school and study to get the kind of job the Friend thought best -- while the relative, who desperately needed food & shelter for herself & child, said "Yes, yes!" and moved in, from whence she simply proceeded to manipulate the situation & her benefactress.... [Schemers for human betterment, take heed!]

Yeah, and speaking of schemers, that bitcoin experiment I spoke highly of, isn't doing so well these days. 

Like, I'm behind the idealism that's behind reaching out to the "unbanked" and dealing them into new games worth playing, but in a world fraught with unscrupulous predators, human betterment plans may go sadly awry. Not all games remain equally playable.  Systems have a half-life (a decay rate), though they may have a golden age.

That being said, as a mechanism for sending remittances to the family back home, with less onerously high service changes, I'm still a fan. I'm holding zero bitcoin as an investment myself, and if I get any, I'll exchange it for food right away (some food carts around Portland will take it).

Even when someone clearly means well -- conventional social-service-ese about homeless people pushes all my buttons. I hope this article helps explain why that is...

You might find the poster art in this Album interesting:

(I did, which is why I took the pictures).

Here's me speaking in "middle class" (homeowner talk):

Forrest Curo said:

Even when someone clearly means well -- conventional social-service-ese about homeless people pushes all my buttons. I hope this article helps explain why that is...

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