‘Making the world a better place’
This was not the primary reason i and many others, signed up to cs, but it was an indicator to me and many others as to the atmosphere of the site, network and organisation. I think that it was right to remove this mission, as CSI consistently made the world a much worse place, for many of its members. It has also failed to multiply any of its members efforts to make the world a better place and actively prevented many from doing so. Even doing anything to make CS a better place, let alone anything in the real world, has proved to be beyond the abilities of casey fenton, dan hoffer, jim stone and mat bauer.
Making the world a better place for me is what i live for, its how i was brought up, in my culture, religion, family and community. Its natural or at least intelligent, to want to do so, it is how our species have got as far ahead as they have. We naturally look out for others, attending to the old, the young and disadvantaged. I see it everywhere i go. It is natural for our species!
If CS can make the world a better place, it will be that it has brought together like minded people, who actively care about their fellow humans and other species and the world we all share.
For me personally, the triviality of the politics of CS and to an extent the general hospex scene is pathetic, juvenile and a blockage to achieving anything productive. I was twice deleted for trying to achieve positive and productive initiatives, wasted countless hours, days, weeks even on the general mess that CSI has created for itself, as well as donating 25 bucks, to a ‘charitable’ cause and i’m not the only one that has done the same, with no result.
Ok this is a complicated thread and i’ll try and steer it closer to the centre. OK. Most of the, comments from people who are aware of the reality of CS are angry and negative, which in my view is a natural reaction, when you have been cheated, lied to, abused, defrauded, etc. BUT. Big but here. But, these negative emotions and states are fundamentally non-productive on the whole and do nothing towards the aspirations of the writer, the community or the greater world. If they prompted or forced change then they would be positive, but this is not often the case in CS, the reverse is often true, in that they have made the shy leadership hide even more and be even less unproductive.
Since my first deletion, i have had a lot of space away from that anger and negativity, which really made my world a better place. I allowed a global amb, who knew me personally, to initiate a process to get my account back. I won’t go into this story, because its looong and negative. But during this time i had a lot of time to think. The result of this thinking and having my account restored, with additional lifetime, censorship and restricted movement and association terms(designed to make a person angry imo), was to setup a site where the community could talk, associate and organise community projects, in a positive space.
www.couchsurfingcommunity.org has been up for around 8 months. I put a 3 month personal limit on the amount of time i would actively spend on the site. This project, i would say currently, has failed. The reasons are numerous and varied, but the most common ones are, lack of interest in CS ‘anymore’, fear of negative reprisals, personal dislike of me, because of lack of understanding of my style of dealing with problems and most common of all, amongst the masses is, ignorance, disbelief or simple apathy ‘I’m alright Jack’. I don’t want to dwell on negative things and really the failure of CSC was very positive for me, as i discovered that given a clear opportunity to do more in one year than CSI has done in total and make CS many times better, that few people had the courage to stand up an be counted and even fewer to actually do anything when they did join. This made the situation very clear and i learnt a great deal from it and from the whole CS experience in general.
I don’t see this as a specific CS problem, it is far more general than that. Which is why this thread is here. The problems in CS are a mini version of problems in the wider world. Most people in this world don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. This is at the heart of most of the problems around the world and at the root of what leads many people to to say and do negative things as a reaction. This is quite natural in most modern societies, because it is how we are brought up(educated/conditioned), but it is unnatural to the human animal, by default.
If the people, who pay more than just lip service to the idea of making a better world, actively made it better or at least have the desire to do so, collaborating in an organised way to multiply the results, conversations like this would not be needed.
Now this is the interesting part, well for me anyway, because its complicated.
First off. Creating anything where one party forces/coerces another to do something, that they would not normally do, by whatever means, is bad. I am a big believer autonomy and where persuasion is needed, in carrot, not stick or tricks. Further in my mind any sustained group that gather around a philosophy, is a cult. This is a very big part of why I chose not to put up a big vision on CSC, which is one of its biggest criticisms. The other big part was because, i didn’t want to impose my thoughts onto our community. The hope was that collective community conversation would mould the site however we choose. I was ready, able and willing to provide resources that would reduce the system based problems and facilitate a successful project.
So whats the answer to that? The philosophy of no philosophy? That dose not work either, because it requires people to think for themselves, doomed. The answer in my mind is to have a minimal non intrusive base set of terms and rights and use technology, to resolve system based problems. Rules are needed when the system can’t deal with an event. In my mind rules are the symptom of poor/lazy system design. So the aim would be to create a site that is generally designed to protect members, giving them the freedoms of real world interaction as well as methods for self defence protection.
This is simpleish on a single small site, but when looking at a more complex situation, such as the wider hospex community or even the make the world a better place community, there are many details that will never come together under a single project. This for me is part of the beauty of the world. It is too detailed to ever fit everything into one mould
What is needed imo, is a loose organisation that acts as a conduit between disparate organisations, communities and individuals, that allow them to communicate, function and achieve objectives together, whilst maintaining their autonomy.
I have a couple of domains that i have registered to build one or more networks, when i have the time and money, hopefully later in the year. These sites are more general than CS or even CSC, but not as wide ranging as i would want, because being too general/simple, requires a lot of work, to then be attractive to numbers of people large enough to create a functioning community. A more general network would aim to attract a smaller number of diverse players/networks/groups. I have seen the need for such a network for many years in the charity/npo space. In my mind the best way to create such a network is to start from grass roots, create something of value that will naturally attract like minded organisations/communities/individuals.
Making the world a better place sounds like hard work to many people and immediately cop out. ‘Shit man, you mean, i have to actually do something, na, i’ll pass thanks. Let me know when you have a plan where i don’t actually have to get of the sofa’. I’ll leave it to another text to break down the folly of this thinking, maybe even a whole book, but the rewards of this type of project will always be immeasurably bigger than the positive effort used to achieve them.
To get a project going would require a base set of professional individuals, who can bring design, technical, legal and financial skills and knowledge. One of each is enough to start, although the more the better. Location, age, colour, sex and sexuality, nationality, religion and size are irrelevant. Knowledge and a little intelligence is all that is required. Doing it properly from the start, with a clean slate, is for me, the key to the success of such a or any, project.
If any of you reading this has a beating heart and a determination to make this while world a better place, for everyone or even if just for yourself, your children, then i implore you to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a lot of time, energy and resources to work on such a project, if any of you also have the courage to act and not just get angry. I am not about getting angry or about being passive. Another way is possible. Though the change first needs to happen within you.