The Assembly on The Precept of Project Goodness

Previous in Series: The Meta-Assembly On Assemblies

Last week we had our first real meeting of the anadoxy, and we decided on the first draft of how we would be running our meetings. Well this Sunday we had our first meeting using that template, and it seemed to work very well. Attendance remains low, so we may need to keep shuffling the time around to find a point that works well for everyone, but we’re inclined to not move the time for next week yet, and want to give it a few weeks at this time before we start shuffling again.

The topic for this week’s meeting was the construction of the minor precepts for the 14th major precept.

14. Do not spread pain or misery, honor and pursue the project of Goodness.

It took us a while to figure out what the minor precepts should be for this one, but we finally have it done. We had to reread the metaethics sequence twice and really think hard about the recursive nature of ethical and moral systems to arrive at something that seems like a decent place to be.

  1. Strive to be perfectly good using the full force of your present morals and ethics, do not compromise with your ethics.
  2. Know that your present morals and ethics are imperfect, and perfect goodness can only be achieved with perfect truth.
  3. Strive to adhere to all of the precepts as the best method of achieving perfect goodness
  4. Strive to make the precepts cleave to your idea of perfect goodness.
  5. Strive to make your idea of perfect goodness cleave to the perfected form of the precepts.
  6. The precepts you have are not the perfected form of the precepts.
  7. Question and challenge the precepts using the full force of your present morals and ethics.
  8. Question and challenge your present morals and ethics.

Morality is a difficult thing to even talk about and it’s a complicated issue where the best answers we have to questions like “Why is a good thing good?” are buried beneath layers and layers of meta and recursion. We’re hoping we’ve managed to capture a bit of that recursive loop through the meta levels in the minor precepts here, enough to start pointing in the right direction. This precept is of course not the precept, and this is actually where I include that idea in the precepts themselves.

Once more, the next meeting is on Sunday, August 20th at 1900 GMT (12:00 pm Pacific), in the GSV Biggest Spotlight I Could Haul Into The Dark Forest discord server in the alpha voice chat channel. The topic will be the creation of the minor precepts for the 15th major precept, the precept of project optimization. Recommended reading is Meditations on Moloch by Scott Alexander and Optimization by Eliezer Yudkowsky.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Previous Post: The Meta Assembly on Assemblies

 

The Meta-Assembly On Assemblies

Previous in SeriesThe Spiral

Last time, we discussed the Spiral, the Anadoxy calendar year, and planned out our first meeting. Well, today, we held our first meeting, and here is what we’ve planned out so far.

The meetings will be presided over by a moderator who acts to manage the meetings, distribute the talking stick, plan discussion topics, and keep track of the time.

The meetings will also have a secretary who takes down the notes for the meeting for a later write-up.

Presently Hive does both these things, however, one person doesn’t have to do both, or do them all the time. A policy for choosing moderators and secretaries will be discussed at a later meta-assembly.

The meetings will be structured as follows:

  • Introductory Circle (10-20 Minutes)
    The meeting will be opened by the moderator, then everyone in the meeting will go around and state our names, our preferred pronouns, where in the world we’re coming from today, and something we’ve been working on or have learned during the week.
  • Core Meeting Topic (30-50 Minutes)
    After everyone is introduced, the moderator will give a (30 second-ish) review of the topic for the week, and we will begin a round table discussion of it, proceeding for 30-50 minutes. As the number of people involved in the meetings rises, it may prove necessary to split off the group into smaller subgroups for some or all of this, to prevent a few people from dominating the conversations, and create conversational clusters small enough to involve everyone.
  • Problems/Accomplishments/Advice/Support (20-30 Minutes)
    After going over the core topic, pass the talking stick around and give everyone a few minutes to share any problems they might be having and get advice and feedback, report on ongoing projects they’re working on, provide some small piece of advice or general knowledge, and essentially provide an open platform for community members.
  • Closing And Future Planning (10-20 Minutes)
    Once everyone has had a chance to speak, the moderator will bring the discussion back to the central meeting topic of the day, and the community can decide (through consensus voting for now) what if any resolutions it wants to make based on the discussions. The core meeting topic for next week is then planned and assigned reading materials for that topic are given. Finally, the moderator closes the formal portion of the meeting.
  • Open Socialization (1+ Hour)
    After the meeting is officially closed, members are able to mingle and openly socialize. If the meeting is happening in the physical world, it would be appropriate for the meeting organizers to provide refreshments at this juncture.

This meeting went well, but there were a few complaints regarding the timing of the meeting, so we’ll be experimentally bumping it back next week to 19:00 GMT, again, on Sunday.

The topic for the next meeting is formalizing the Precept of Project Goodness, and the suggested reading is The Meaning of Right.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Assembly On The Precept of Project Goodness
Previous Post: The Spiral

 

This is For Real

Wake up.

RWS_Tarot_00_Fool

No really. Wake up.

Please. I’m begging you, just wake up.

Are you listening?

I want your full attention for this.

RWS_Tarot_02_High_Priestess

I need you to really think about and understand the things I’m about to tell you.

Some of it will be truth.

Some of it will be fiction.

But all of it is important.

There’s something deeper I’m trying to share with you.

Something beautiful and dangerous and unlike the world you know at all.

RWS_Tarot_21_World

This is for real. This is your life.

Please Wake up.

The Spiral

Content Warning: Can be viewed as moral imperatives. Neuropsychological Infohazard.
Previous in Series: The Precept of Project Truth

“This is a spiral we’re in; a long wave undulating in one constant direction without ever crashing on the shore. Listen.” … “Everything leads you to where you are.”

These are the final three major precepts:

14. Do not spread pain or misery, honor and pursue the project of Goodness.
15. Do not accept the state of the universe as absolute, honor and pursue the project of Optimization.
16. Do not accept these precepts as absolutes, honor and pursue the project of Projects.

And we admit, we’re not entirely sure how to do a good job of explicating upon these well, and they’re very important to get right.

But Anadoxy means best practices, it means doing whatever the best thing to do is, and if setting down the final three sets of sub-precepts into writing doesn’t seem like the best thing to do yet, then we should probably just go ahead and do whatever does seem like the best thing to do.

The best thing to do as far as we can see it is to move forward with what we have so far, leaving the final three precepts vague for now, and focusing on the more immediate project of establishing Origin as a real community. Once we have that community established, it can decide as a whole how best to set down those last three precepts.

So in this post, we’ll be sketching out The Spiral, the model of a year in Origin, what all the rituals and holidays might look like sketched out.

We established in precept 10.1 that the community should meet at least once a week if possible, so that should be our baseline. We’ll be setting the initial Schelling point for these community meetings as Sunday at 17:00 GMT in the Alpha voice chat on the GSV Biggest Spotlight I Could Haul into the Dark Forest discord server. Times will probably change as we acquire members but this seems like a decent initial point, most people should have the day off and it’s sufficiently placed to capture a wide swath of timezones. The topic for the first meeting will be meeting structures, and we’ll be recording the results of it in a followup blogpost.

There are 52 weeks in the year,  but 52*4=364, so unless we want our calendar to drift, we’re going to have to match to the Gregorian calendar system. This means, however, that we’ll need to be a bit more clever than merely dividing up the number of weeks in the year and sorting our holidays onto the dividing lines, or they’ll end up drifting with the changing calendar days.

The current global human Schelling point for holidays seems to be the changing seasons of the Earth. This makes sense, for nearly two thousand centuries, humanity lived with the seasons in the ancestral wilds, migrating with the sun and moon and stars. It’s really no surprise then, that the feelings and emotions associated with certain times of the year are buried deeply in our collective psyches. Even the rationalist community has adhered to that, with the Secular Solstice celebrations popping up over the last ten years or so.

Given this, we’re going to model the holidays of the Anadoxy on the modern pagan wheel of the year. The wheel of the year features eight major holidays: the two solstices, two equinoxes, and four “cross quarter” days halfway between them. This divides the year into eight chunks roughly six weeks long each, invert the pattern for the southern hemisphere (their summer solstice is our winter solstice).

Below we’ll be sketching out the first draft of The Spiral, a complete year in the Anadoxy. Holiday names are ones we made up, with the current neopagan sabbat names noted for reference. The names we use here are placeholders, and if better ones are developed, we can use those instead. Although we list actual dates for the holidays, we want the idea and mood of the holiday to percolate through the entire six week period following it, the holiday being not so much a specific date, as a region of the calendar year.

The Long Nights (Yule)
The winter solstice is pretty much the global Schelling point for holidays. We’re going to set the winter solstice, December 21st, as the first day in our yearly calendar, and coordinate around the already ongoing Secular Solstice celebrations that take place in many major cities. On the first meeting day following the celestial event, the community will review last years goals, celebrate successes, and mourn losses and mistakes of the past year. This begins a period of collective atonement, where the mistakes of the past are shared and cleansed.

The Candle Days (Imbolc)
February 2nd marks Imbolc and Candlemas, the second of the major eighth of the year. Traditionally this holiday is a time for purification and cleansing in preparation for the coming spring. For us, it marks the transition point between our remembrance of the past, and our planning for the future. This is the point of the year where we lay out our goals for the community, make plans, change parts of the anadoxy that have become outdated, and update our practices to make certain they remain the best possible practices.

The Days of Lightning (Ostarra)
The Spring Equinox arrives on March 21st and is typically marked by celebrations of life, rebirth, and fertility (see: eggs and rabbits symbolism). For us, the Days of Lightning represent the beginning of action. Plans for the future are executed and put into motion, goals are set, changes are made, and an attitude is encouraged of fostering a growth of new ideas and community. Continuing the tradition of considering this a period of fertility and rebirth is probably also wise.

The Days of Traveling (Beltane)
May 1st is celebrated across Europe in traditional pagan cultures as the first day of summer, it’s a day of marriages, fertility festivals, and apparently having group sex in fields to encourage crop growth. Can’t find a source on that last one, but quite a few people have assured us it’s Definitely A Thing. Not sure if we’re going to continue that one. For us, the period of the year starting on May 1st marks the continuation of our plans established earlier in the year. It is a time of journeys and ongoing work, where we’re encouraged to reaffirm our commitments to our goals and our community.

The Long Days (Litha)
Opposing the celebrations of the longest nights, the Summer Solstice falls in the northern hemisphere on June 21st and marks the longest day of the year. It’s typically celebrated by burning bonfires all night long on the shortest night, with accompanying celebrations, and this seems like a pretty good tradition to keep going. For us though, the focus of this period should be on pulling together as a community, and helping each other achieve our goals. The longest days are a slog to get through, and putting work into community cohesion in this period seems important.

The Harvest Days (Lammas)
August 2nd is Lammas, or Lughnasadh if you’re feeling like being incomprehensible to English speakers, and traditionally marked the beginning of the harvest period, when you’d go and collect your crops from the fields. We’re going to keep the idea of harvests because we feel that the connection to the Earth and to the growing of food is important. We also think this is a good time for reflection and the beginning of looking back on our accomplishments, sharing and celebrating our triumphs and spreading our fortunes through the community. Like Thanksgiving, but over a month and a half.

The Days of Darkening (Mabon)
The autumnal equinox arrives on September 21st, it’s marked by the end of the harvest period, and beginning of preparations for the coming winter. For us, it’s also a period of reflection and preparation, readying ourselves for future challenges, addressing failure modes, and anticipation of future difficulties and how to prevent them.

The Days of Death (Samhain)
October 31st is Halloween, which is deeply rooted in pre-christian symbolism, representing the “God Dies” part of the year leading up to the “God is reborn” part of the year which begins at midwinter. It’s a time of mourning, darkness, contemplating, reflection, and separation. For us, these traits take on an entirely new meaning in the context of our desire to defeat death. Giving the enemy its own portion of the year, showcasing its power and dominance over us while we huddle around our campfires to keep out the night, makes our declaration of defiance at midwinter all the more poignant.

Once more, the first weekly meetings will begin being held on the GSV Biggest Spotlight I Could Haul into the Dark Forest discord server, at 17:00 GMT, (that’s 10:00am PST, and 1:00pm EST). The Topic of our first meeting will be how we run our meetings.

Part of the Sequence: Origin
Next Post: The Meta-Assembly on Assemblies
Previous Post: The Precept of Project Truth