Unusually Hardcore Introductions

Did the hangout invites go out today? I don’t think I got one. I’ve never done a google hangout before, but I’m gonna try to make it!

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My bad, @tehlorkay! I got into a much longer than expected conversation last night and didn’t send out the email I was planning. Also, @Jeremy, @natalie and I needed to tweak our scheduling a little. (They’re on the East coast, I’m Mountain time, and we had some potentially conflicting plans.) So anyway, here is the event page:


Just a caveat: we don’t know exactly how this is going to work! So we’re thinking the three of us will get started talking for a little, and see who shows up (hopefully YOU! and others…) and then open it up.

I’ve read through chapter 3 and am really looking forward to talking about it!

I like spaciousness. :sparkles:


Hi everybody,
I’m Angelika and I know Marco and Tehlor (great you’re on board too!) from the Summer of Jest and Misfit Readers Book Club on Facebook. I’m German but I usually read English books in their original language. I had read Infinite Jest by myself prior to the Summer of Jest, but I was very confused by it so I was glad to read it again and discuss it with a group of people. I’m glad to still be in contact with some of them.
The Summer of Jest for me was also a return to reading in general after several years of very bad eyesight (keratoconus - don’t ask…) followed by a cornea transplant and lengthy recovery, so it was very meaningful and came at the exact right time for me too.
I’m a Sociologist and also studied American Cultural History and Psychology and work in an institute for opinion and market research in children and adolescents. I’m always interested in everything culture-, music-, art- and health-related.

I haven’t really read much Science Fiction in the past, but because of the book’s excellent reviews and because I was curious about Marco’s new project I’ll just give this a try! (Apart from the idea I love the whole look of the page by the way!)
Nice to meet you all!


Hello- my name as Mark, I’m not a writer (yet) and not a reader (technically). I’m a farmer that thinks too much. I met Marco because I grow veggies for him and enjoy our conversations. I’m an environmental engineer by training and by day job but I also run a 10 acre market vegetable farm. I have no free time but farming is what I love so it doesn’t feel like work and it gives me the chance to listen to a lot of audio books which I love. During the busy part of the season I listen to a lot of non-fiction, typically about topics like Buddhism, shamanism, extraterrestrials, science, history, business books. During the of season when I’m still working full time but mostly alone I like to get lost in sci-fi and epic fantasy. This being December in Colorado, LeGuin’s novel is a good fit while I’m cleaning barns over the next couple weeks, looking forward to the conversation.


Hi everyone,
thanks to Marco and Jeremy for the invitation. I rejoice and feel enhanced in interaction, so reading together is more fun and fruitful for me. I have also participated in the Magellan Courses, more of a philosophical online circle than a book club ( I also attended the three retreats at Bonnitta Roy’s).
I am new to LeGuin and don’t have much of a backround with SciFi, though I get excited when I see films like “Lucy” and Ex Machina", which gives me hint that I am some kind of hybrid or ai.
I have been an avid reader in my youth and university years, where the books became ‘heavier’, though thanks to two outstanding interdisciplinary and open minded professors I had a chance of taking philosophy courses, for instance, on Goethe’s Faust and Musil’s The Man Without Qualities (an opus that might deserve renewed attention, including the unpublished part on the twins: a potent and important archetype these days). We also read a lot of Wittgenstein and I quit university with his quote “My life is my philosophy”, leaving the books and tomes behind and going to check out for myself what kind of philosophy would emerge from my direct explorations in real life. The thesis I haven’t written yet was to be about Metaphor from a philosophical perspective: much to do with stories, possible worlds and ways of worldmaking. I then went on to work in the film business, the real of possible worlds, in most capacities, realizing that my best way is development artist and designer, story editor in both unraveling/mining and weaving mode, talent scout and creative producer. I wrote some treatments on assignment having fun (unfortunately projects doomed in a drawer), but never sat down to write a spec script of my own concoction yet, nor novels and stories, my creative drive being more attracted to collective and multimedia projects, bigger than individual accomplishment, as wel as generating practical impact and change in real life. I carry the damned blessing of having a craze for innovation and ‘beyond’ perspectives in interconnected mode, so not easy to find jobs or producers who dig that. This year I went out to Haiti to write a project with a young artist and videomaker of the Port au Prince Ghetto that we describe as ‘Live interactive art docu fiction film’, naturally we don’t have a producer yet :wink:
I have documented in form of poetic ‘reports’ the “Heart Journey” of my inner explorations and processing of the last three intense rollercoaster years and look forward to edit them in some way for publication as map that might be of interest and support to other fellow wanderers.
I also do free voice flow improv explorations.

At present a middle aged global nomadic artist of life starting her ‘second life’, here in short my profile and mode as per the latest resumé:

Francesca Maria Windisch Solinas is a German-Italian agent of conscious evolution and facilitator of the infinite Cosmic Game, keen on turning life into a multimedia art ‘live interactive flow experience’ through a creative and innovative “Metta” design, intended as new organic Open Source code and operating system, based on the universal language of the heart and the new creation story as Divine Musical Comedy.
A trained philosopher and longtime communication specialist, development artist, creative producer, designer and author in the film business, she is by nature a fast and curious innovation strategist, coming from the future as ‘organic AI’ experiment and from the past as nomadic shamanic musician and healer.

Looking forward to connect and interact in free play :slight_smile:

“Let’s turn life into a graceful dance
a martial art of love
a kindness game of hearts”

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Oh! I managed to stay up and not fade out here in London, but I now notice from the link that the call has been delayed. So not sure I will make it unfortunately, all the best! :slight_smile:


Hi. I’m not feeling particularly inspired or witty or insightful at the moment so I’ll keep it short and straight. I’m in Idaho with my small family (wife and almost-4-year-old daughter), and I’ve been here 5+ years. Before that, Colorado. Before that, California. Before that, Ohio. At one time we had 3 kitties and a pup but they’ve all moved on. Professionally, I clean up nuclear waste. I eat just about anything. I try to live label free. I recycle. I’m a consumer. I dream. I think critically. I used to read obsessively and have somehow arrived at a point where I now don’t read at all, and I want to find a better balance. I’m looking forward to this experiment!


Hey Dan, welcome! Glad you could join us in this admitted experiment in social book reading. Cleaning up nuclear waste sounds like quite a job! Looking forward to hearing more from you.

@katie_heikkinen, I’m really curious how your developmental studies might relate to the themes of cultural evolution on Anarres vis-a-vis Urras.

For example, at one point, Shevek says (addressing the Urrasti and comparing their world with his): “You are our history. We are perhaps your future.” [p. 75 – HPMC, 2014]

There is the idea that humanity can evolve into the (relatively better) organizational model of anarchism.

And closest to home, perhaps, there are the difference in how children are raised on Anarres. The emphasis on collectivism and sharing, etc.

Seems like there might be some nice connections there. :smiley:

Hi Mark!

Thanks for joining us. I’m really glad you’re here. I think your environmental engineering background might be interesting in the context of Anarres’s economy and their agriculture. Let us know if you think it’s feasible and/or worthwhile. It’s nice to have lots of different background here, makes the conversation more interesting. Farming is a truly admirable life’s work, and your reading background sounds equally admirable. Don’t know why you’re only “technically” a reader–seems like you read quite a bit! Hopefully you can have enough time to join us on our next google hangouts.


Dan, this would itself be a great opening for a sci-fi story.


@frasolinas, It sounds like your artistic tendencies might be quite resonant in this space. I’d certainly be curious to learn more about your filmic and other work. As you may know, we will be working a magazine/journal in the next year. Perhaps you’ll consider sharing some of your “Divine Musical Comedy” in such a venue.

I just finished Infinite Jest, which you inspired me to read (well, listen to actually) and went onto the web to see if I could find a good explanation of where the various plots were converging toward. Found a useful article, then noticed that the twitter handle at the bottom of the article was Aaron Swartz. The last tweet for that handle was dated one day before his suicide.
Just an odd crossing of paths and a reminder that we never know what it is we miss out on when one of our freest spirits is taken from us.

Hooray! Angelika is here! :kissing_heart::kissing_heart:


@jessicayogini— I remember that piece by Aaron Swartz. He did his best, I think, to tie things together, pretty plausibly—what could be tied together. By the end of Infinite Jest, something in me had just kind of discombobulated and I lost interest the book, the whole thing, for awhile. It wasn’t disappointment exactly; so much good had come out of the reading (including friendships with some of the people here—2+ years now), but it was more like crashing into a mud pool of despair; a pointlessness, futurelessness. My mind felt like Gately, waking up wasted on the beach. It was what it was.

But then, it prepared the ground for this. A whole new thing started growing in the waste of thought. Because there has to be an alternative to the paths Wallace and Aaron ultimately took. At the same time there’s a lot to learn from and appreciate about the trails they left behind. And I think every book you really take in donates a chunk of its spiritual genetics to your mind. You get infected, mutated. It works its way into your thought-stream, recombinant. Then finds new expression.

You inspired me to read Ubik, by the way. That was a fun book…a bazaar of bizarre. I laughed and smiled a lot reading it. We should chat about it sometime. It would be fun to read more PKD.

Very good catch! I’m suddenly feeling much more witty than I probably ought to.

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Yes, when I got to the end of Infinite Jest, I felt that it did not match up to the vitality and odd exuberance that was present in the book. Almost as though, the author did everything he could and himself, as the writer of that book, washed up on a cold beach. Given how his life ended, that felt sad to me. It gave me the sense that he was another one of those beings in whom the awake future, the humane future was more present but that being that consciousness that openness was just too much given the level of suffering and the level of needless suffering in the world.

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OK, an unusually hardcore introduction. Hmm
Salient points. I have done daily meditation practice for over 3 decades. I have studied with a number of teachers. Ran off to a free love ashram in India at a young age. Have been fascinated with the sociology of spiritual communities and the new spirituality in general. Maybe that started when the first teacher talked about what in those days was the 747 problem. (=With the advent of the 747, the number of students a teacher could have in a place like India went through the roof.) In India, the community had a wide variety of top notch psychotherapists running groups with an intensity only possible because we were isolated in a way that is no longer possible combined with a pervasive yet unsmothering spirituality. It was simply ridiculously sweet and intimate. I don’t know that it has ever been replicated.
After India, I was in one relationship for 17 years, so in a way I worm-tunneled from the last great flower of the 60s (though it was in the early 80s) into the late 90s. It seemed that it took myself and those around me months to reach the level of intimacy we could reach in the ashram in a few hours (because of the intensity of generally shared experience).
When the community moved to the US, it became rigid, dogmatic, a cult, then picked a fight with the US government and fell apart. How by and large the same individuals managed to create two such wildly different phases turned the question of the sociology of spirituality from an interesting diversion into a profound koan.
In my experience, inquiry into spirit and inquiry into society are fairly well quarantined from each other, which itself is a koan.
I have read a lot all my life, including a lot of history.
I read The Dispossessed decades ago, but remember nothing of it. A few years back, I went to Vienna for the first time since a summer study abroad in high school. Walking around the Old City (Alte Stadt), a few times a particular setting would bring up vivid memories from that high school trip. Most of the city felt new to me, then suddenly I would turn a corner and see the docent, see the ironic smile on his face. I keep on expecting that to happen with The Dispossessed, but I have not had the slightest sense of having been here before.
Anarres does remind me of how people saw Israel in NY when I was a (non-Jewish) child, especially kibbutzes. That part is sad. And beyond this has an outside chance of being a spoiler, so enough.

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Yo Everyone, I am Armando Davila (.com). I come in creative chaos aka peace. Live in the SF Bay Area and won’t say too much other then. I practice, hip hop: free styling, beat boxing, breakDancing. I also have traditionally lived and worked as an artist and a study of movement: Capoeira, Breaking, Butoh, Contact Improv, and Axis Syllabus: I am a dancer. I also practice, meditation, drawing, visual art: digital art, collage, video art, etc. I sometimes act and think like an activist but then default as a shy poet.

I wish the world the best and won’t to enjoy my life a ton!
ETC ETC ETC. Thats me in front of photo:

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