In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the five fingers,
yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.
– Booker T. Washington
Each piece of confetti is just a colored speck or fragment. By itself, unremarkable and easily mistaken for scrap paper. Trash bin material. But millions of pieces falling together from a height? A beautiful, timed spectacle to celebrate a momentous event.
Significant changes bloom when two conditions align: timing and groups working together in shared spaces. Individuals may work on gamechanging ideas separately, early adopters testing out the waters of cutting-edge technology, but if the timing is wrong, if successes and failures are not shared, wheels get reinvented, concepts float dead in the water. It’s not until collaborative teams form, until ideas bounce off of people, until a perfectly good concept catches on, that momentum takes off and good things happen. Imagine all the before-their-time futuristic innovations that never happened until much later for one reason or the other. Maybe material or human resources didn’t exist yet. Historic ripples start because people are in the right place at the right time.
“I realized that most inventions fail not because the R&D department can’t get them to work but because the timing is wrong. Inventing is a lot like surfing: you have to anticipate and catch the wave at just the right moment.”
-Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near
Little did I know when I created my first post to IdeaSpace how far of a reach it’d have.
IDEA - To: The Perfect Team
CREATED 21:57ish 07 May (41 years old)
To: The perfect team. You know who you are. There’s that one member who regularly says “I have an idea!” Another who motivates, who advocates. Others who know when to say “Yes!” and when to say “No.” A planner who weighs the pros & cons. The curious one who questions and hungers to learn more. The leader & decision maker who do the right things. The folks who do things right, who value collaboration & communication. The risk taker & prototyper who aren’t afraid of failure, who can switch gears easily to problem solve. And all who continually strive to make things better. “Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.” -Alexander Graham Bell
Somehow, this idea, this dream of a perfect team, reached a few like minds in an unexpected way. In the words of W.H. Auden, each of our imaginations responded to those it recognized in the same way. We found each other and our InnerNet was formed.
Transmission 02:21 08 September (41 years old)
ME: …and I need to get details down… I try to write down triggers to help me remember, but if I wait too long… I forget what the triggers mean… and I prefer to just talk to you via telepathy instead of typing up as we speak, you know?… I spoke to Trickster, did I tell you? I’m not sure if I told you or not… be sure to repeat what you may have said before. Never sure what is heard and what isn’t…what’s a conversation with a future HE and present HE… which reminds me that telepathing may be like predictive waking dreams, which are different than daydreaming. Like the one I had before my daughter was born. That flash of seeing her in the baby car seat. I had a similar waking dream about you a few months ago, which I’m not going to tell you about until we meet in real time.
HE: Oh, now you need to tell me.
ME: Nope. Back to my talk with Trickster…
HE: Come on. You cannot just tell me that you had a dream about me and then not tell me what it was about.
ME: I’ll just tell you that it was a really good, vivid dream…. and back to Trickster…
ME: … Things are falling into place.
HE: Yes, they are.
ME: And I’m so excited to be working on a team again… and we each are unique with different expertise, talents… OH. I JUST HAD A FLASH… My first idea… “The Perfect Team.” OMG. It’s happening.
Throughout history, social gatherings have propelled progress. Networks formed, think tanks spawned collaborative endeavors.
“[Benjamin Franklin] formed a ‘club of mutual improvement’ called the Junto. It was a grand scheme to gobble up knowledge. He invited working-class polymaths like him to have the chance to pool together their books and trade thoughts and knowledge of the world on a regular basis.” -David McRaney from his book You Are Now Less Dumb via @brainpicker
“In 1981, I founded the Reality Club. From its founding through 1996, the club held its meetings in Chinese restaurants, artists’ lofts, the boardrooms of investment-banking firms, ballrooms, museums, and living rooms, among other venues…Perhaps the closest resemblance was to the late 18th- and early 19th-century Lunar Society of Birmingham, an informal gathering of the leading cultural figures of the new industrial age–James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood, Joseph Priestley, Benjamin Franklin. In a similar fashion, the Reality Club was an attempt to gather together those people exploring the themes of the post-Industrial Age. In 1997, the Reality Club went online, rebranded as Edge. The ideas presented on Edge are speculative; they represent the frontiers in such areas as evolutionary biology, genetics, computer science, neurophysiology, psychology, cosmology, and physics. Emerging out of these contributions is a new natural philosophy, new ways of understanding physical systems, new ways of thinking that call into question many of our basic assumptions.” –John Brockman, Publisher & Editor, Edge
As networks increasingly moved from physical to virtual spaces, the ways in which people met and interacted changed. In the early years of the internet, virtual meeting spaces where synchronous communication took place came in the form of chat and game rooms, much like what later became texting or instant messaging. We used what resources were available to us at the time to meet and make use of the space however we needed or wanted.
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 19:24 (20 years old)
Subject: Game World
“How does the telnet number work?” you asked. Well, we can’t do it the easy way because I’m outside the U.S. You’d have to call my number, and from there, I’m unsure. Maybe ‘talk wanderer’ or ‘chat wanderer’? If nothing else, the game world works just as well. The number is 126.96.36.199 4000, type telnet and a space before. Then choose the name for your character, a password and whatever you wish after that for profession etc., doesn’t matter. Then enter the Apocalypse. Yes, the END OF THE WORLD. I’ll write more about it later…”
Many years later, in a space we all share, dreamspace, my team and I all had a nightmare… at the same time. Many precognitive dreams have very real, ordinary aspects to them. Many will not make any sense… until waking events catch up. Others stand out. Are unforgettable. Those vivid dreams you wake up to in a panic. For my team and I we each had a nightmare. A few months into experiencing our telepathic extraconnectedness, as we finetuned our abilities — we became dream partners as well. We visited each other in existing and new dream locales, dreamtraveled together, watched over each other, tapped into each others’ dreams, and had the same sleep dreams, but experienced them from different perspectives. One day, we awakened from each other’s fright, immediately asking what just happened. It was then that we realized we all had witnessed the same apocalyptic event. A few of us died in that dream. Others suffered the aftermath, survivors inhabiting a slowly dying world. We didn’t realize the gravity and importance of that dream at the time… until waking events caught up. My team and I were handling a ticking time bomb. Luckily, the countdown clock gave us plenty of time. This dream changed our fate.
“The future can be seen, and because it can be seen, it can be changed.”
-J.B. Priestley, Man and Time