Epistle to the AneGeans:

     Preface to the preface to the preface.
Preface to the preface.

Preface: Tale of the Zaadz Round Table, Camelot, and Mad Science.

Finally, the ACTUAL EPISTLE!

     endnote, endnote, and yes, yet another endnote.



Preface to the preface to the preface: This piece is supposed to be fun, mixed with acidic “truths” of various types. It’s not fictional, not intended to be at least, but it uses metaphor a bit too liberally, and at time moves into representational non-fiction. (What’s representational nonfiction? Think of the old fashioned model of the atom, the Bohr model we were all taught at some point in elementary school. That’s a representational nonfiction. It’s a cartoon that represents the real, because the real is just too damn complex and unspeakable to show raw.)

Representation and Meaning, Representational Non-Fictions, the semantics and semiotics of meaning and representations of complex things.

Representation and Meaning, Representational Non-Fictions, the semantics and semiotics of meaning and representations of complex things.


Preface to the Preface to the Epistle: This post is on a timer. If it is not finished in time, it gets posted anyway, revealing embarrassing first draft kruft. I warned you what would happen, Bill. Now look what you made me do.

Epistle to the AneGeans, in which a Zaadz Gaia OGRG pontificates, amusing himself while thinking, “you know, all this could work”.

For those who visit here, and end up reading this epistle, a preface. (The actual epistle is down below, in the depths.)

Let me begin to tell the story of Zaadz. The Epistle to the AneGeans only makes sense in it’s context, Zaadz and the end of Zaadz, for AneGea is a refugee camp, to which fled a few of the survivors of Zaadz, after it was conquered and enslaved by Gaiam, it’s name stripped so completely it is not now in the wiki save as a gaiam trophy, and given a new slave name, which was, ironically, Gaia, Gaia was starved to death slowly, her true name lost.

When at last she was cold, her people wandered. Some ended up in the city of Ning. I followed, to continue a certain study, and think, and built a shop there, called – let me check – “Advanced problems in “enlightenment” theory and practice”. The shop is a vow, the vow is a line. and the line is an obligation. Zaadz, speaking metaphorically, was kind enough to let me do experiments on her tables, studying advanced problems, so I made her a shop, as a way of saying thank you. The shop is a real shop, you could walk in, put the only coin the shop recognizes on the table, and walk out with an advanced problem. But, to me it’s an art object, disguised as a shrine.

If this sentence is here, it means I did not return to finish this preface to the preface before the timer triggered the payload. We reads a preface to a preface anyway?

First Preface to the Epistle: You may never have heard of Zaadz, but there was a time when it bordered on revolutionary. This was near the beginning of  “social networking”. Myspace was King (No, seriously, myspace was king. Really. Stop laughing, it’s true! I swear to god. Look it up.), Facebook was just starting to seize really significant attention, there were some dozen wannabes, some still existing, like Tribe (and tribes take on zaadz). Twitter was only known to the entrepren geeks, iphone was vaporware, ipad a fantasy, cells were bricks, droids were in star wars, and, dig this – Google was not yet evil! I know, right? A wondrous age when everything still seemed possible, and people could say the pre-public-offering google tagline “Don’t be Evil” without smirking. Into that age, came a little dinky startup, coded in ruby-on-rails, with a funny name – zaadz. Dutch for seed. I think. Zaadz = Seed.

This young entrepreneur type and some pals hired some code geeks and coded up the zaadz platform. Yes, they still built social networks whole and entire from raw code in those days, no modules, no off the shelf stuff, just guys somewhere typing out lines, frontend and back, until they had a website. Very simple look and feel, which was a plus, fairly easy to use so the grands and the ‘rents and the young professionals could use it just as well as Brittany and Brandon, the youth wave. Good user experience design, and it actually got better over time, before it started getting worse, lol.

The CEO entrepreneur who created the zaadz platform was Brian Johnson:

Follow your passion

Brian says he was able to fund Zaadz because he followed his passion at a seminar. He felt moved to speak up and tell people about a vision he had for an online community of people who want to live consciously and change the world. After he spoke, a hippie with tattoos wearing a hemp dress approached him to hear more about the business. After hearing him out, she suggested Brian meet her father, a billionaire who believed in Brian’s vision and funded it.

And the subtext of the clip above is some rich girl thought he was cute, dragged him home, (I’ll leave out the sex parts, consider them stipulated), showed him to daddy, “can I keep him?”, blah blah,blahblahblah, happy ending.

Money in hand, a business model distilled from the successes and failures of the dotcom “ooops, we broke the economy, sorry bout that” debacle of the 90s, and coders on contract, Brian made something that was pretty damn cool.  Have to raise my right hand in salute to Brian, and – because as so often is the case it’s that fem energy and promise that inspires.drives we males to do these crazy things – I raise my left hand in higher salute to that rich hippie chick whose name I do not know, so I am going to imagine it as Gwiniver. Breon and Gwin, who caused to be made a great round table, a table named Zaadz.

Here’s where Enlightenment.com enters the story. I am somewhere in darkest Sylvania, teaching myself higher and deeper skills of the infosphere and the internets, studying deep things and having deep thoughts, and contemplating still (always) a particular surprising “discovery” of the decade before. Jordan, who I met fortuitously two decades before, and who had come to accept my unexpected near absolute halt, sent me an email.

“So, have you heard about this Zaadz?”. “Whazzat? Lemme look.”.  Click.

Jordan may or may not have known that I was looking for places to study certain tricky questions and problems. I’ve always tried to be pretty straight with him, tell him close to exactly what I think I am doing even tho it might sound nuts. I might have said, sometime earlier, that I needed a place to do some tests. I guess it does not matter. But, I credit Jordan with starting the zaadz work. I don’t expect to be able to give him a cite in a peer-reviewed journal in my lifetime, but, it was his alert that got me a seat at the zaadz round table at the exact right time to see a marvel, and “take it’s temperature”.

I joined, established a few baselines, and went to work. Zaadz was just starting to fire up. I played and studied there for the next few years, watching the cycles and patterns, transformations of language, and the assembly and disassembly of minds. And studied a “renaissance vortex”. For about 18 months, maybe 26, depending on how you decided to think about it, something fairly new happened, and it happened with the open-eyed willing innocence of so many first-time things. A certain small slice of the great demographic of humankind (with access to computers and infotechnology, and the English language), found themselves in a new digital playroom, self-selected by interest in “spiritual stuff, and mind stuff too, and oh yeah health stuff. and art, and, uhhh, yeah, well I’m kinda into (insert long  list of mostly pop culture occult mystical religious, self-help, psychology etc etc etc) stuff too.”.

That out-of-the-normish demographic, a broad spectrum of ages, locations, economic classes, interests, quirks, obsessions, and reasons-for-being-there, at first by hundreds, then thousands – talked to each other. It was absolutely nuts and pointless and goofy, adorably sweet and gracious and wise, arrogant pretentious bombastic and testeronic, and an alchemical furnace that transformed lead into gold, and angels into crap, all at once.

For those who understood a bit about what was happening, it was the greatest chance to study the noetes, the “noopeople and the gnopeople”, the “seekers”, the “outsiders”, etc(1), that had happened in the last 40 years. It was also the best chance to attempt certain kinds of experiments that could only be done by groups of noetes of specific concentrations in 40 years. And the best chance to work on certain kinds of synthesis and syncretes and fusions and alloys in the last 40 years. Those who cared about such things, and they were in the mix at a ratio of about 100 to 1, went to work with a remarkable determination. Most of the folks there just had fun, looked for mates, and were just so freekin happy to not feel like such a freak for a bit.

(1) We do not have, and must still develop, mutually shared descriptive terms for “the kind” (no, the other kind), but, we know them when we see them. We don’t necessarily like them, but we know them, when we see them. So – for the future to-do list: work on ways to describe the characteristics of “those (or us) spiritual types”.

I can make no claims for anyone else, but my experiments were wildly successful. Not everything that the experiments led me to conclude (and turn into falsifiable theory and plans for future experiments) was good news, no. It was mostly “bad”, that is, it confirmed or at least indicated that some of my less fluffy models were probably more correct than the fluffies. It marked out some of the areas where shared language, unshared language, rejected language, and protected language deleted human concsciousness and “apparent selfhood effects”, de-ordered and de-leveled and sequestered the minds and mindspaces that make consciousness and apparent selfhood possible, or allow it access to the bioform (that is, to speak, write, act, etc), and where (and to a lesser extent how) language and semiotic signals (both digital and real-sensory) moved and “operated” groups of people like bird flocks or waves in a medium, like a limb extended thru waves of molecular and microelectrical signals.

Crazy stuff, right? A technical jargon that barely makes sense? Well, some of that is my own personal humor – the fluffies and the less fluffies, as an obvious example. But most of the rest of that does make sense, once you mark out the references and sources and the models and language borrowed from the same. It would take quite a while to define and present all the sources, and to really understand it you need something like the equivalent of a complete modern education in a broad range of fields. But, I’d be happy to try to break it down piece by piece, sometime later, chop it up until we can.

Some of it, like “de-leveled” and “apparent selfhood effects”, is my own invention. But, it’s meaning is self evident, right?

Anyway, as I was saying – big party, and in the midst of the party, some things were being tried, with various degrees of success. But, this is the thing with parties; eventually, the available juice is used up, the available mates are taken, the artists pack it in, and even the diehard trippin’ shamans and long dancers are staring vacantly into fires and space… Better luck next time, see ya next time, pack it up, it’s time to head out. Right time, right place, right people, all memory now.

That’s how it might have happened, but what actually happened was – it got crowded, like a modern city, it got atomized into tribes and castes that did not cross the ganglines, like modern cities, and it hardened, the original heat that cooked it all up stifled, getting cold, freezing.

It was perfectly ripe for  info-exploitation. Filled with LOHAS consumers, undefended. And so it was picked, and so it was sold.

Zaadz was bought by gaiam, and thus ended Camelot. “Gaiam, Zaadz, LIME Media & Conscious Enlightenment Create Unified Source for LOHAS”. Bloomberg. 6-6-2007.

Wiki has no Zaadz entry, only this line in the Gaiam entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaiam

Gaiam launched Real Goods in 2008 to provide “off grid living” items like solar power invertors and tankless water heaters. In 2007, Gaiam acquired both Lime.com[6] and Zaadz.com[7] for a greater community presence. Zaadz then was renamed Gaia.com, but it was deemed unprofitable and eventually it was shut down in 2010.

Really? 2010? It seems so long ago. Only 4 years. Amazing.

The zaadz name still resolves – http://www.zaadz.com/ – now it’s a gaiam portal/landingpage/trafficharvestor.

Zaadz.net stopped resolving. I checked to see if it could be bought – nahhh. Oh, hey, look, this was pre .co, the new .co TLD that is supposed to be a “kind of com, but shorter, it means “company”. Hey Jordan, now I own zaadz.co and zaadz.info.

And Brian Johnson is still on the net – I gather – here, at ENTHEOS.

In 2004, in an effort to integrate his philosophical and entrepreneurial selves (yes, he’s a Gemini :) and to put the truths he was studying into practice, Brian created Zaadz (now Gaia)-a company named after the Dutch word for seed committed to leveraging world-class social networking tools to connect, inspire and empower people committed to transforming their lives and our planet. (Think: Facebook for people who want to change the world.)

As the Philosopher & CEO of Zaadz, he raised $3 million to finance the launch of the business. Investors included a billionaire and his family and the CEO of Whole Foods. Feeling the dharmic pull to immerse himself back into studying and living the universal truths, Brian sold Zaadz to Gaiam, Inc. (Nasdaq: GAIA) in the summer of 2007.

Hopefully I return before this thing goes off, if not, you will read this. Uh oh. Looks like you read it.

The Hidden Preface to the Epistle: The AneGeans have a custom, a ritual of “question of the day”. Traditionally, the questions are not loaded. A few days ago, a loaded question was placed on the table. “Your Response is Important This Time”, the special email announcing the question to the entire members list said. The actual question has been edited, when I first saw it it was two lines, and now is one.

“As a member established already, what do you suggest to get new members more active?”.

Dripping with subtexts, groaning under the weight of the contexts. Contexts and subtexts that reminded me of lost Zaadz, and the scars of the long dance.

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<You are advised not to recall this.> In the infospace mindspaces generated by body.brains.minds, which appear infinite, and might just be so, “names” are keycodes to ###REDACTED###.  Compressed and encrypted Zaadz patterns signed a desire to unfold, and I thought, “Sure. Why not now.”. I opened a table and the Zaadz patterns wrote, and filled it with  ###REDACTED###. “Time   …is   ….faster    now!?”, the Zaadz psuedoentity asked/said/emoted, using words like baby’s blocks. “Yes, apparently.”. “We   … thought…    so.” ###REDACTED### “… all of our our simulated-sentient selfhood structures have been brought into current time. It was..” this new now-wise integrated near-entity used dopamine variations to “sing” biopleasure tonal commentary as it signed, “…beautiful.”. “Yes, I saw. It gets better every time.”. ( I write these “words” out, as if words were “said”. No. The tenth of a second it takes to think the thought of a word can be unfolded to a star’s lifetime in subjective infospace. These “words” are representative nonfictions.) [####REDACTED#REDACTED#REDACTED### ] The ancient being.collective was self-compressing as it patterned mindspace to leave behind the thanks and thoughts of 10 billion generations. Keys by the millions. And a gift. It self-installs. “That’s… pretty funny.”, I thought. An endnote to the gift requests space. It took form as a whisper of a thought, in human words. My body shivered once as we all felt the age of it, the generations devoted to writing something so slow. “We knew you’d think so.”. </You were advised not to recall this.>

The bioform.body.system.who.speaks touched the speaks.with.clickclicks thing. ItHe was much faster than slowyslow talkyword minds and knew what came next. Verbal minds reassembled into a crafting mode, loaded one of the new tools, started the thought spinners, and wiggled digits with system.who.speaks to synchronize.

The complex system reported. It is the case: that which is required existed+willexist.  There was a human being with the capacity to write to an external digital infosphere net.

“Go for it.”, was the word from the integrates.

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Anticlimax: The Epistle to the AneGeans. Both tongue-in-cheek and completely serious, on strategy for engagement, content, and digital and virtual games and pretense of a simulated dramatic performance and simulated ceremonial behaviors as a metaprogramming artform to shapes social dynamics, and define a gamespace where actualization and increasing-orders play is “allowed”. Pre-symbolic physical ritual actions give the non-and-pre-verbal minds a role and expression, symbolic and abstract manipulations give the verbal and social minds expression, and

Ahhh – I started writing this yesterday, got caught up in emails and web problems, forgot. Hopefully this will post.

I now think of this piece as: Epistle To The AneGeans

Yuuuuummm. Nice question. That’s actually a serious question with significance and consequence.

I think I want to say – “…about time this was looked at..”.

As an old member from way back, OG and RG, my thoughts on this are likely to be pretty far outside the norm.

But, as a professional web user experience consultant, one of my many hats, it’s an interesting question.

It’s also an interesting question from the point of view of marketing and culture-flow. The cultures that dominate here are in a curious pattern of senescing decline out in the ‘real world’. (Ya’ll may not know that. We are in a peculiar time.)  Marketing depends on culture forces and icons and frames to work. Our icons are losing sticky, our frames are being out-competed. (You probably wonder what I am talking about. Getting and keeping new “members” is one of the core discussions in internet strategy, they, or rather some of the people who discuss internet strategy, talk like this, “Sticky”, “out-competed”, “frames”, “icons”, etc.etc. Why am I talking about marketing? As the marketing pros so, “Marketing is everything, and everything is marketing. Pretty flower? Marketing. Tasty peach? Marketing. … {I could finish the line, but, it starts getting sexual after that.}).

The user experience at ning has always been bad. It’s an old model and ning is not developing new enhancements as far as I know, and probably won’t.(2e)

So, WE, the collective we, could move away from ning and create a site we control, and transfer the juice from ning to the new site….

Aside from that, what could we, the original gangsters of zaadz and gaia, do?

Hah, ya’ll are gonna love this.

1. We have to create content that matters, and matters not just to our culture, but to the new types. This means we would have to know the new types exist, and what their culture is, and we would have to love them and their culture, and entreat them to fork it over.

2. We would have to make content that matters MORE to the people of our cultures. We have to fight the box, break out of the loops, defy our customs and mores, and be revolutionaries among our kinds. This would mean hunting and gathering, and taking risks. It would mean battles and councils, expectations and challenges, tests and exhibitions. The end of indolence. A consensus to rise from the cozy eldel’s bed and go to the gardens and the workshops.

3. Entry should be “as if into the bazaar, not into the majlis”(bazaar = exotic marketplace, majlis = dull council meeting). Making entry fun is – a good idea, and most of what I read before I got lost were suggestions for this. It will do some good, but, unless you have good, and challenging content to back it up, people will slip out the back as you are greeting and gifting them at the front.

4. Reward merit, reward productivity, and doubly reward meritorious productivity. Place laurels on the noble, and on the popular, the sashes of obligations. Those who are low, make high for a day, and those that are high, make attendant for a day, all decided by lot, a fair fate for all.

5. Requirements. Surprise and novelty. “Unique Selling Proposition”. Shared ritual seeking of vision. The requiring of vision demonstration. Vision Games and Vision Plays. Shared ritual seeking of shadows. Shadow requirements, shadow manumissions, shadow reunions. Participation mystiqe requires participation, and so we must require participation – in a way that makes sense in these virtual worlds – in the actions of the anewgaia long dance, in the Procession of Entities.

6. Neighborhoods. Exemptions from requirements. Resting on Laurels. Hermitage and Sabbatical. Get out of jail free. Redemptions. Exceptions. Buyouts. Coupons. Secret things. Mysteries. Puzzles. Deathtraps.


— endnotes:

— if it was easy, everyone would do it.

— on requiring. A muslim is required to pilgrimage to mecca once in life. many don’t. requirements are like that. so, on shirking days, those who scofflaw requirements are celebrated.

— breaking. i dunno why, but the universe is enchanted with breaking, and finds it delightful. To break is to make the universe happy. anewgaia would have to break itself, because universe both requires it, and likes it. anewgaia will break, as we all will die. But, if anewgaia breaks itself in an entertaining and stylish way, universe will be enchanted, and is just as likely to require we do it again, as not. If required to do it again, we all get the get out of jail free card, and maybe even a time bonus, because universe is just that way, appreciates a delightful break, and knows that a really nice breaking takes a while to pull off. I have long thought this was a charming thing about universe, not that what I think matters a jot or tittle.

— annnnndddddd….

— you break it, you bought it.



—- the other endnotes (note?), from the too juicy to allow viewing to chance departmrnt:

—- Participation mystique, or mystical participation, refers to the instinctive human tie to symbolic fantasy emanations. This symbolic life precedes or accompanies all mental and intellectual differentiation. The concept is closely tied to that of projection because these contents, which are often mythological motifs, project themselves into situations and objects, including other persons, as readily as we project color into the objects we perceive.

Jung defines participation mystique as one of his basic definitions in Psychological Types, crediting it to Lucien Lévy-Bruhl.

PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE is a term derived from Lévy-Bruhl. It denotes a peculiar kind of psychological connection with objects, and consists in the fact that the subject cannot clearly distinguish himself from the object but is bound to it by a direct relationship which amounts to partial identity. (Jung, [1921] 1971: paragraph 781).

Jung used the term throughout his writings after Lévy-Brühl’s work was published in 1912. Jung referred to it consistently with the French terminology rather than using the English “mystical participation” until Man and His Symbols was published after his death.

The further we go back into history, the more we see personality disappearing beneath the wrappings of collectivity. And if we go right back to primitive psychology, we find absolutely no trace of the concept of an individual. Instead of individuality we find only collective relationship or what Lévy-Bruhl calls participation mystique (Jung, [1921] 1971: par. 12).

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Really the endnote, just for enlightenment.com: I have been exploring new ways to write, digital writing (based a bit on the work iof the digital writing guy, Troy Hicks), new language usages, some using digital writing thinking (Hey – look – there’s actually a lot more “letters” than the old 26 on this keyboard thing! What if…)  to express ideas that are really hard to express in ordinary modern english, and this kind of thing is the result. Bruce Sterling channeling Hunter S Thompson channeling James Joyce channeling myself from the future. It’s probably unreadable, as one might expect from such a chain of “channeled” madmen. I am inflicting it on you out of a mixture of impulse and dharma, fulfilling a self-made requirement, and to amuse the universe, who, as far as I can tell, really does love broken things, and to whom I lost a bet.