Phase 1 Community: Next Steps

The first thing everyone interested should do is register on these forums, introduce yourself, and then fill out the Infinite Love application form. This is the baseline intake form for people who wish to join the Infinite Love organization, with some additional questions at the end for those who want to join us in Phase 1 of the Community.

Can you join the Community without being a part of Infinite Love?

If you merely want to be a member of the Infinite Love organization there’s no issue if you are involved with other projects, although we generally expect at least some level of contribution and involvement with the project (otherwise, what’s the point?). In terms of actually living with us in Phase 1, I think it’s best if we only allow people who are fully focused on our project, because the whole point is to create a highly collaborative and synergistic environment, and that’s not going to happen if we aren’t working on the same things under the same project umbrella. We are open to bringing on people (to Phase 1 of the Community) who want to do some reasonable split of their time though, say 50/50 with another project. However, if we are a mixture of too many different projects with too many different goals, I don’t think we’ll end up being much more efficient than we are today working remotely from each other.

Why do this under the banner of Infinite Love and not X project?

Well, it’s quite simple really: I cannot speak with any authority for any other project besides my own, nor do I have any ability to set the goals and objectives for those projects. For this to work, we need to be able to control all those things. Synergy does not happen when you get 20 random people and throw them in a room all with different goals; it happens when everyone is working towards the same goals and you have a strong organizational and/or leadership structure to support them. Does it have to be “Infinite Love”? No, it doesn’t. Though I’ve already gone through a great deal of effort to secure trademarks for the name and logo, as well as design our website and set up a YouTube channel and a podcast, I’m totally up for rebranding in whatever way we think is best (especially the tagline, that’s killing me :joy:). The particular “branding” under which we do things is not really what’s important to me, what matters is that we ultimately get to where we want to be.

Not just a place to work, but a place to LIVE

So far a lot of the discussion around Phase 1 of the Community has been understandably focused on what we can achieve together (i.e. the collaboration we’ll have and the work we’ll be able to do). This is of course a big part of it, but I want everyone to also keep in mind that living our lives is important too. Recreation and leisure activities we can do as a group should also be a big part of living together. I want us to be able to support each other in every way we can so we can all thrive as best we can right now, not just in some distant future. In addition to recreation, we should probably have regular learning sessions where members can educate each other about specific topics and areas of interest. Learning and growing as individuals should be part of our regular routine in Phase 1 just as we intend it to be in our future communities.

Inventory of skills and needs

In terms of the community, one of the first steps will be to see what skills and needs we have within those who are interested in joining. Infinite Love is a relatively new face to this movement compared to other groups who have been around for years, which means we don’t have as much “reach”, but don’t let that discourage you. As my old man always used to say, “Everyone’s gotta start somewhere.” I’ll be spending much of my time over the coming weeks and months reaching out to various communities, posting on forums and subreddits and trying to raise awareness to Infinite Love and this endeavor which will bring more people on board — in fact the reception I’ve had already is surprising (and yet not surprising). People are tired of being wage slaves, and because society is structured like a pyramid with the most wealthy on top and the poor on the bottom, the reality is that the bulk of people out there are the ones most sympathetic to our cause and want change just as much as we do. As people come on board, they will be able to help with outreach and recruitment too, so while things will go slow at first, it’s only a matter of time until we get things rolling. And remember: it doesn’t really matter how many people join us at first — even just a handful of people will make a HUGE difference in what we can accomplish — and I have little doubt that eventually we’ll be seeing huge numbers of people wanting to be involved, especially once the community has been established and they see how awesome it is.

People can immediately join the conversation on our forums and our discord so we can start figuring out the best way to move forward, and at some point I will be reaching out to members who have filled out the application individually and setting up a time to have a video conversation with them so I can get to know everyone. We’ll also definitely be having many group meetings as well and I encourage others to reach out to each other too. We don’t want to go into any of this blind, never really having interacted with each other beyond just basic chat. We need to start obtaining a real understanding of one another and develop some trust between us if this is to work.

Action Items (things you can do immediately)

Managing Expectations

An important early step in getting into any sort of relations with others is to set clear expectations of what we expect from each other, and this includes clearly defining what our goals are (and how we plan to obtain them), what kind of behavior we expect, and how we settle disagreements and disputes. Right now, we’ve all got our own set of ideas of what the future should look like, and it’s important we devise a clear, straightforward process for determining which ideas are worth pursuing and which ideas are not. This also includes coming up with a way to determine our priorities so we know not only which ideas are best but in what order it is best to pursue them.

There are also certain rules we’ll have to agree on in terms of behavior — stuff that may seem obvious to some, but it’s important we make clear. For example, we need to agree that we should all treat each other with respect, that there will be no place for racism or bigotry among us, etc. I don’t think any of these tasks will be that difficult to do, but it’s important they are done.

Action items (we’ll need to talk through these together)

  • Clearly state the goals that we will all be working towards.
    While this endeavor is originating from me (Nathan), that doesn’t mean we are stuck with a particular set of goals or a particular vision of the future. In fact, I have yet to even finish fully articulating Infinite Love’s vision of the future. So we are really still in the very early stages of defining everything, all of which we can do with anyone who wants to be involved.
  • Establish a clear organizational and decision structure.
    This will probably be the most difficult step in the process, especially with many people coming from different backgrounds. In an ideal world we would all have the same understanding and the same ability to reason, and thus no need for hierarchies and all have equal say in everything. However, we do not live in an ideal world, and some people are simply going to be better suited to making decisions in certain areas than others, usually because they have more experience, training, or expertise in that area. So part of what we’ll need to do is assess our strengths and weaknesses and determine who is responsible for what and how decisions are made for each area of concern.
  • Write up code of conduct
    We can probably lift the existing code of conduct from any of a number of places online and modify it from there — no need to start from scratch, most of the stuff should be common to most businesses and other organizations. It’s not about creating strict rules to govern us, it’s about understanding human behavior and tendencies and establishing a set of guidelines that foster the best environment for all of us. Part of this is also establishing the kind of work and effort we expect from people. No one wants to live with free-loaders who aren’t contributing, especially if those people are taking up spots in the house that prevent other people from joining because of limited space and resources. However, that doesn’t mean we all have the same energy levels or capability of working the same amounts of time without breaks. So we’ll need to talk about what kind of effort we expect from people, while also making sure our work environment is sustainable (doesn’t lead people to become exhausted over time).
  • Define the process for settling disputes
    No system is going to be perfect, and with people living together from different backgrounds there will invariably be some disputes between us. We need to clearly define a process for resolving disputes that makes sure to address the needs of both parties involved in the dispute and also considers the deeper reasons for the conflict so that future conflicts can be avoided.

Finding the right place to live

The last step after we’ve done all of the above and had time to become acquainted with each other is to actually find a suitable place to live. This will depend on a lot of factors that we should consider, such as:

  • Our financial situation
    Unless we have a particularly wealthy benefactor who wants to help out, we’ll probably have to have each person contribute funds to a common pool. How we do this is something we’ll have to figure out. We could either rent or with enough capital buy a place somewhere if it makes sense. There will also be other costs such as utilities, food, healthcare, etc. that we’ll need to budget for. So definitely one of the biggest factors will be how much money we can raise from our members and outside donations.
  • Existing assets
    We may have the option to stay at the property of a benefactor or member of the group. While this may save us financially, it may come with other drawbacks that need to be considered. There also may be physical items such as vehicles, tools, appliances, that are available in some countries and are otherwise not cost effective to ship to other locations.
  • Political factors
    The world has yet to be widely recognized as the common heritage of all living things; long-term stay may be difficult to obtain for some people in some countries. Some states and some populations may be more supportive than others. Some specific cities may be more strategic locations than others for various political or social reasons. In the US for example it may be advantageous to be near Los Angeles, or Washington D.C., or New York City, and I’m sure it’s the same for other countries.
  • Social and technical infrastructure
    We’ll still need to depend on the existing system for food, energy, medical care, internet, and any of a number of services, so their quality, availability, and cost should be considered.

What are the other factors we need to consider? I’ve written a fair amount at this point, I think it’s a good starting point, so I’m going to list the current action items I think we have and let’s take it from here. I will start by creating threads for a lot of these action items so we can discuss them and move forward from there.

I will also be adding all of the action items as tasks on our Trello, which is the project management tool we are using for now (though I’d be glad to upgrade to a more robust tool if we can get more people to agree to use it).

Action items

  • Determine how we will collect and raise money
  • Start an inventory list of all the properties and assets we have available in different parts of the world
  • Discuss any additional factors we should be considering in making a decision
  • Discuss and research options for locations, and determine the criteria necessary for making a decision on the matter
  • We will probably want to have some sort of rental or other legal agreement in place for each member, so that will have to be discussed and drafted at some point.