Ch. 1 - Dawn of Everything Book Circle (Chapter 1 meeting #2 of 2)


Notes From This Meeting

write here, right now

The Story of Work: A New History of Humankind book by Jan Lucassen

Maybe Graeber doesn't understand other cultures, because he's immersed in his culture.

"charismatic narrative"

"most history is written by the blokes who won" "most history is propaganda"

(stone temples)

(charisma, charismatic leader, big accomplishments, temples that represent heaven, collapsing into oppression)

moral modalities (from Debt)

  • unconditional care (called "communism",
  • exchange, deal-making between strangers
  • hierarchy / guardianship

BIG QUESTION: "questioning the questions that you ask"

Jordan’s Notes

  • The Right Questions are more important than our current Hypotheses about the answers…
  • Pete - I would recommend that we connect the Big Questions out to the Meta Project. (+1 from Pete)
  • It is hard to know who said what where among the multiple related threads of wisdom… Seneca argued that all Truth belongs to us all who are seeking Wisdom.
  • The longer you wait, the harder it gets. Progress largely lies in facing the things we don’t want to face…
  • “A pure physical experience of color”
  • “Unlearning what I once took for granted about how the entire world is put together and works…”
  • “It is so hard to be in conversation where we can get beyond believing human beings are necessarily bad, there is not enough to go around, and maybe if you are lucky… you will get a piece of pie at the end…”
  • “Thinking about what I have normally never really thought about”
  • A website of underlinings…
  • A world in which we think there is something called progress…
  • Wherever you are… and whenever you are… your set of assumptions about the world  is not under your control… this relates to the philosophical concept of “thrownness”...
  • The beginning of a rethinking…
  • Most history is propaganda written by the winners…
  • The authors…

  • Underestimating… the extent to which getting people to come together to do (anything)... by inspiring charismatic leaders…

  • Every attempt - every temple - to bring heaven down to earth…
  • A pattern on earth that brings the perfection of heaven down into our lives…
  • Compelled to do something from somewhere else… they didn’t think it was “them” doing it… some intrinsic thing that comes down from the heavens in some way…         
  • Is there a pattern here…

  • Charisma… leading to doing… and caring…

  • 3 patterns

  • Unconditional care

  • Dealmaking between strangers
  • Hierarchy…
  • Without distinguishing between hierarchy of someone saying something you want to participate in… and conditioned power structure..

  • Each of us looks at the world through our own filters… test everything we see against our own experience… which we believe gives us wisdom and insight…

  • Experiments to get closer to an understanding, that is only the best we can get at the time…
  • The liberation from the Helpful and Protective yet potentially Tyrannical structures into which we were Thrown...
  • Since 1980 - the amount we know about the range of cultures that has existed has exploded… completely changing what we thought we knew…
  • Global Research Project that is beyond the ability of any one person… one element of the Meta Project
  • Innovation - as escaping and leaving the foundations of their culture… dangerous. Suspicious…
  • Questioning the questions that you ask…
  • The foundational stories… the foundational assumptions… the foundational narratives…
  • What if we stopped telling destructive stories…
  • Such tight conceptual shackles… we can no longer imagine the possibilities of reinventing ourselves…
  • Lowering my defenses a little to let in some ideas I am not comfortable with at first…
  • In our current society - innovation also resisted - unless you are doing technology… people don’t like art that is “out there”.
  • Trever Hilder - transforming the way social care gets done in the UK - horrible, mechanistic, disgusting, factory…
  • Infrastructure - that which sustains us… that we don’t know it is there… until it doesn’t work anymore…
  • The amount of layers of infrastructure that made that possible is staggering…
  • The ultimate infrastructure that sustains human life everywhere is women’s work..
  • Most dualizations are grossly inadequate simplifications…
  • Does that fit with what I know - if not - how do i test… prove or disprove, validate or invalidate a statement that is made… “I wonder how this could fit in the context of X…”
  • Intuitive barometer… provoked if it doesn’t make sense… then a sense making process…
  • The role of PLAY and RITUAL…
  • How do we discover what provoked me…
  • I would like to be laughing more…
  • Why do we check in as humans? To arrive, match energies…
  • Collaborative note taking - helping one another capture thoughts… weaving observations…
  • Sharing templates… best practice library… linking topics…

  • Documenting for ourselves… what we are doing when we establish a practice… what it enables us to do… a problem it solves…

  • No way to determine best… you can’t measure better…
  • We have learned to be better…
  • This is the best kind of explanation…

  • Start with an idea,,, run the experiment… look at the results… modify… continually morphing cycle of experiential learning…

  • A Meta Project requires a Meta Science... the questions… hypotheses… here is the best we have come up with with our group in our circumstances…
  • What is the
  • Hank - part of stewarding the emergence weaving…
  • “Minimum viable primordial soup” -

Eric’s space:

  • Can we start with someone giving a brief overview of Rousseau and Hobbes? (2 mins)
  • Can we use Round Robin until everyone has had a chance to share? (2 mins each = 20)
  • I’d like to focus on the 3 items on pages 23-24 - they are unconventional

  • alternatives

  • reactions

  • At some time we need to better understand how Pete works his magic

  • I feel like I have been going off on my own informal vision quests by surfing the web and following my interests.
  • How about a book; “Technical Debt: The first 50 years”
  • Unlearning- how can we make that easier?
  • Design from trust - did the ancients have it and we lost it?
  • The Story of Work - Jan L
  • Jewish guys - barriers to entry - hebrew language, specific life experiences and study, desire to keep the knowledge in the clique, jokes that bond the guys as an ingroup
  • Tower of Babel metaphor - if we had common language and quick understanding we would build too fast and wrong - where is inefficiency necessary?  The story telling cultures do not move fast - this is also a key point in Flux.
  • Rugged Individualism - where did that come from?  We need to learn more about cooperative societies.  How do they teach cooperation to their children?
  • A main objective for me reading this book is to learn alternative models of society, economics, governance, etc.  Also how structures scale as society grows.
  • Interesting topic - how cultures reacted when meeting new cultures they never knew.  One important example is the 50 years of peace the original 1620 Pilgrims had with the Native Americans - primarily because they brought their families with them.
  • (example in Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series - the Japanese who thought ships were their gods, and lost in battle - led to artificial selection where fishermen threw back crabs that looked like they had the face of samurai warriors).
  • Will kids of the future have video cameras implanted so they never miss a moment?  How are companies reacting to the need for recording almost everything?  How about government and courts?
  • Playfulness is needed - cultures suspicious of it
  • Stone Temple building - compared to programmers building castles in the air when they design the architecture for code - it used to be primarily an individual effort until the systems got too complex for individuals to build alone
  • Knowledge Transfer - and who writes the history and textbooks
  • Commercialization of indigenous ideas
  • Are we losing our ability to nurture innovators?
  • Tai Chi - defensive movements - avoiding need to strike.
  • China - bureaucracy arose out of need (Leviathan model?) - Leibniz studied it and influenced the thinkers of the Renaissance, including Locke
  • I think Hobbes and Rousseau were very much influenced by the church system of their times which dominated every aspect of life.
  • Thought experiment - what if we learned extraterrestrial civilizations are real - how would the world come together?  Would it be handled bureaucratically?
  • How can I lower my defenses enough to let in non-intuitive information?
  • How do we avoid the conquering that was done for example in South America?
  • Are we connecting to younger generations and helping them deal with the stresses they face?  They
  • Seeds of Peace - brings together kids from conflict areas to talk to each other
  • How to address the cognitive dissonance when we emerge from past programming
  • Understanding others points of view without judgment - how their beliefs were formed by their cultures - origin stories - treating people as individuals without prejudice
  • Impact of new forms of family life - what we gain, what we lose
  • Layers of infrastructure - how fragile are they?
  • Structural beliefs about role of women in older cultures and religions - addressing and moving beyond them
  • There is a culture that celebrates girls having their first period - I learned about it from Carl Sagan’s book: Pygmy Girls’ Initiation Song - on the Voyager record.  Ituri forest in Zaire Africa.p. 173 of Murmurs of Earth - Mbuti culture. P.175 - These people are the most primitive in the world … Yet in terms of human relationships for the benefit of society as a whole, I very soberly  … believe them to be vastly more advanced than we are. … as civilization has progressed, our problems have become so complex that we can’t afford the human considerations that to the Mbuti are foremost.”  - this is from 1977
  • P. 174 “For the pygmies it’s a time of enormous joy… It’s announced to the whole world.  Her family is congratulated, because now she can be a mother … at the same time they recognize the increased responsibility”

Stacey: At the end, could we write in a sentence from the book that struck you, and why? This would be the basis for the Salon seating content for another time

Bullets to aid grabbing a new spot to type, a hack to gDoc’s most major collaborative failure (in Rachel's estimation)

  • Start typing here
  • Or here
  • Or anywhere basically
  • Start typing here
  • Or here
  • Or anywhere basically

Rachel’s notes

  • Can we know things outside of our cultural experience, or is worldview too pervasive (esp around freedom/ limitations)
  • Temples as maps, microcosm of universe

Hank’s space

  • I think Graeber and Wengrow decided to ‘tell a story’ in order to get their messages read. Simply writing ‘science’ with 150 pages of footnotes would never get their story read.  So the choice is - fudge a few details, not be too careful with possible contradictions, ‘forget’ for a chapter or two that they are 21st century white (Jewish) Americans with a specific culture-bound perspective - but get the story read!
  • The choice is to ‘not be needlessly dull’
  • The importance of asking the right questions is a key theme for the First Chapter
  • Page 21: “All real progress in social science has been rooted in the courage to say things that are, in the final analysis, slightly ridiculous.”  - And recognizing this, they are not afraid of the possibility of doing so as well!


What Went Well

  • lively discussion
  • we heard from everyone (everyone's voices)
  • i appreciated how present we all were
  • lots of interesting notes were taken - LOTS to read and think about
  • good people came together to talk about meaningful things
  • good people came together to talk about meaningful things
  • we generated questions to explore
  • no spoilers, for the people who haven't read the book /sarcasm (because we know how things turned out)
  • it was a good kickoff!

What Might We Do Differently Next Time

  • hit record earlier so you don't miss the good stuff (you can always edit something out later)
  • how can we capture the "i was just provoked" - capture into chat, and tag somehow
  • check-ins could have been shorter (we got started into the book during check-ins)
  • "waterfall" question/answers about the chapter for the check-ins
  • some short format for check-ins (e.g., 5 words like the webby awards)
  • More laughing! (+1)
  • … about collaborative notes

Invitation to Connect Up