In this dialogue, evolutionary mystic Marc Gafni and embodied artist Megwyn engage a question they also pose to you, the listeners, which is:
How to create a prosperous community on the web?
Listen to the audio (picture by Megwyn) and/or read the transcript below:
Marc: Hello Megwyn.
Megwyn: Hello Marc Gafni.
Marc: Oh my God, my partner, digital intimacy woman. Here we go. Ready?
Marc: Will Digital Networks Ruin Us? That is the title of an article on January 6, 2014 which happens to be today, right? In the New York Times, like wow. The topic really is–I just want to put on the table and then I’ll toss it to you– its a really, really great analysis which we’ve talked about independently for the past several months. There is a great book by Jaron Lanier, Who Owns the Future, which came out in 2013 and what it was really about was this understanding that, oh my god, there’s something wrong in the story here. What’s wrong? What’s the problem?
The problem is in this new digital world, what happens is that actually the big players gain the benefits from digital networks to an amazing degree but at the same time the little people get …
So my beloved friend Sally Kempton forwarded this to me and I’m like wow because we were talking about this digital intimacy thing. So it’s a great example here, which is Kodak and Instagram.
So, Kodak at its height employed more than 40,000 people. Now, Kodak made a lot of mistakes, but look who’s replacing it, Instagram? Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012 it employed only 13 people.
Now what’s that mean? Does that mean the 13 employees of Instagram were so brilliant they were able to do the work of 140,000 people? No. It means that we are the people that are actually contributing value to the network, to Instagram without being paid for.
Actually Facebook has a very, very small staff. It’s actually doing a in a paradoxically way is it actually widening the gap between the mega, mega, mega rich and between the masses of people whose creativity isn’t sufficiently honored.
It’s such an important thing because you and I are creating these new networks and tribes online and actually people are contributing enormous value, creativity, depth… and there’s no system in place which pays.
Now it’s not that there should be a person out there that pays but what Lanier suggests is and he is not quite sure how to do it that there’s got to be some implicit structure at play which for example, let’s say there’s a network and a system that every time your picture is used, every time your group poem made it someplace, you’ll get a micro payment.
It’s a dream, it’s not in play, it’s like wow. So …. and then I am giving to you beloved, but … how do we create this huge, beautiful, tribal structure of Digital Intimacy and create an Embodied Art Imperative which is what you and I are calling it together on the web and at the same time have it be viable financially… so it can actually be wow… So that’s a big question in terms of Digital Intimacy.
Megwyn: Oh, it’s so huge and I think it really has to happen and I think that’s why we are calling it the embodied art imperative which is not just about art, it’s not just about making something beautiful. This is actually about us as human beings coming together and actually going back to art as being that which actually creates and forms true intimacy. We’ve denied of intimacy because it’s been basically co-opted by networks, by these funding sources that have all the control and but if we start shifting our lens of intimacy from consumptive forms into the lens of arts then we can actually use the internet to co-opt back the power, the connection and the collaboration, basically a tribe…
I think what we’re really talking about is actually how can we shift the internet which is about the collective, it is intrinsic in its nature about collective sharing, right? So what if we started to focus on sharing the things that really matter, the things about our essence, the things that actually bring us back to the source of who we really are. And so I think we really are–that’s what we’re working on within embodied art on project. We’re basically beginning to funnel our resources of our creativity into these collective threads and what I see as forming is actually we can start creating our own art that we can build and actually also then give back to these artists that are contributing to the page, some kind of funding, sources. I could say doing live shows, creating books, arts…
Marc: Yeah, totally. I’m with you beloved in the vision. Let’s try to think for a second, okay? Let’s feel into it. We’re creating–you and I, in this context of life, in the context of the Center for Integral Wisdom and the context of the embodied art project. We’re creating two initiatives which are really one, two faces of the one. One is the digital intimacy initiative and you are the holy, wild, ecstatic, brilliant, sexy director of digital intimacy and Center for Integral Wisdom and we’re creating emergent out of project that you initiated andbirthed months back before I met you the embodied art project which were now transmogrifying, I don’t know what that means either, but we’re kind of evolving to the embodied art imperative which is this invitation to actually engage in your own self creation, your own evolution, making contacts with other, your own accessing of source in this collective sacred space and the realm of virtual but not at the surface level, not at an alienated surface interaction but actually find the deeper levels of profound interaction through using this collective virtual artistic space that we’re creating together and creating genuine modalities of digital intimacy which will ultimately express themselves and things like a new vision of what a dating site is like and a new tribal vision of community.
And then, as you pointed out, we’re talking doing live events and that people can come off the virtual web and meet also in the eros of face to face and we’re trying to solve for, we’re trying to erotically solve for , we’re trying to creatively solve for… how does the flow of sacred prosperity move through this and how can it be sustainable. Because if it is not sustainable it can’t work in the end.
Here we are creating digital intimacy, no one’s paying us to do it. We don’t want to–let’s share the dilemma together, we don’t want a productize it, we don’t want to monetize it in this reductionist way, we’re actually not doing this. This is not the typical marketing ploy where you send 3 free audios that you download everyday where really the entire thing is really strategy to get you to buy a product. That’s not what we’re doing, we’re actually trying to make it itself the goal is that we have the digital intimacy, to have this contact, to have this personal evolution and transformation.
At the same time, we need to offer some way of renumerating people contribute… we’re not going to fund them. Megwyn’s not going to write a check but hey thanks I’ll write a check for $50 for every person who does something. So how does the web itself create a system? How do we create a system? Do we have benefactors?
As we wrap this dialogue and we put this question out there. Maybe we should call this dialogue… what shall we call it? Let’s create a name here together. What shall we call it, so the dialogue has a title where people realize that we’re raising this question. How to create: a question for you listeners, something like that, how to create a prosperous community on the web.
I want to give an example, this is a really good example.
So I have a friend who’s the minister of the Presbyterian Church in Seattle. She’s a lovely person, she does not like being a minister. She’s not a good minister, that’s just not her unique self because there she is in the Presbyterian Church and they have a fund at the church. And that fund has four million dollars in it because they got a piece of land, it was endowed 40 years ago and there is very little activity happening in the church.
There’s a Sunday mass and there’s some — and they got the 4 million dollar endowment, big building, doing very, very little but because it’s part of the system of organized religion, so people for the past hundred years in this Presbyterian Church in Seattle have understood we got to support our church. They pay annual dues and they support the building fund, and they make sure the roof is repaired and it’s actually a viable business entity in a sense it’s self sustaining, it’s been there for a hundred years or more in this Presbyterian community even though it’s giving very little back but it serves some function.
So here’s the model I want to suggest, beloved Megwyn. And I think you and I are suggesting, we’ve talked about this offline. You’ll tell me if I get it right and please correct and amend me like you always do, okay? I always appreciate it.
Ready? So the same way, you’ve got *ucking pay dues to your neighborhood church in order for it to be there. You got to *ucking pay dues to this intimacy project or the embodied art imperative, or to whatever matters to you. The notion that the organized religion, at that level of consciousness, they take it seriously but we, we’re are so evolved, our consciousness is so evolved and we’re so cool, we’re hip and we’re doing it. That doesn’t mean we’re less obligated, that shouldn’t mean we’re less committed. What we have to do is borrow a page from the level of consciousness which in the Grave’s levels, the name of for example called Grave’s level four, the color given to that level consciousness is blue which is the commitment to the organized structure of religion to the classical values.
What we’ve done is evolved beyond that in certain ways, beyond the ethnocentricity, beyond the homophobic, we have become more universal or much more broad and open and wider and we’ve also lost something which is a sense of commitment, a sense of obligation, a sense of sacrifice.
And if we want to create communities that are genuinely alternative communities, if we were to create a genuine vision of an embodied art, that’s why you and I love the name embodied art imperative because … this is the imperative of your own self-creation, this is the imperative that you’re living your deepest purpose, this is the imperative to you waking up and being alive and to do that, brothers, sisters, you got to support it. You got to support it because it merges out of you and if we create a system which is… basically the fundamentalist level,they supports their churches. The classical organized religion, they support their churches but we are trying to be post-traditional. So to create a new vision, we don’t support it? Well then in the end, game over.
Marc: But I think thats the vision we’re inviting people to… and we can’t be shy about it. It can’t be oh no no, we don’t want to talk about money. No, no, no please. No, no, no we’re just being creative. *uck that. Actually, let’s get committed, man. Let’s step into, let’s build it, let’s lay down some funds, all of us. They do. Make it ours. Does that resonate with you beloved?
Megwyn: That really does… it’s that raw commitment to contribute to that which you’re connected to, to that which draws your attention, to that which opens you, to the chasm of yourself and to the chasm of expression, the chasm of feeling all your beloveds and through that we can create something just magical, I mean it’s insane what’s possible, it’s insane what’s possible. And then we can get to experience the beauty of giving and receiving as one.
Marc: Amen. I know right, I mean I’m so with you.
Megwyn: How else could we embody that? This whole structure that’s based on the artistic sharing, the deep levels of intimacy, the complexities of intimacy, being channeled into the aesthetic forms of art.
Marc: I love it. I love hearing the dharma coming out of your mouth. That’s awesome. Makes me happy. Beautiful, beautiful, yes, giving and receiving are one, which is one of the demarcating characteristics of the Eros, the secret of the kiss.
In the embodied art project which is soon going to be integrated with the digital intimacy project, as two faces of the one, you will be able to access it directly online and Megwyn’s awesome developing community and of course we’re going to integrate it into digital intimacy project of the center, so you’ll be able to access it also directly through the digital intimacy portal at the new web plex that’s going up sometime in spring of 2014, coming up in the next few weeks.
And you’ll be able to access both of these are worlds in which giving and receiving are one and you get to broaden your circles of intimacy. You get to meet the people in the virtual space and actually fall in love and open up and challenge yourself to transform and instead of having a web which is alienated, which you get flaming and haters and tabloid-like sites, where web’s been critiqued and how do we open up the virtual to a place of deeper recognition, deeper mutuality, deeper eras, deeper embrace.
And listen, this is–Megwyn as you have talked about so often–with your permission, let me speak in both of our voices now for a second. This is the invitation of our time, this is the calling of this moment in time. How do we take the world, the technological world, the world of the enmeshed web, the spaces that exist in between us that never existed in history of planet earth before? And what do we infuse them with? That is the question of our time, do we infuse them with intimacy, with respect, with a profound sense of integrity, with the openness and connection and commitment. Or do we infuse them with alienation, with degradation, with the sense of whipping apart? Are we pulling it together or are we pulling it apart? That is the question. Amen.
Megwyn: I just want to express and presence few of the words that you said which was how do we bring back the virtue into the virtual? I think that’s what you said. You said it slightly differently but something to that effect. It’s so true that the virtual offers us that exposure. It is exposing in the essence of what it is and how can we support each other and actually create a living space where people can share themselves in the most intimate ways possible through showing up. Let’s say on the camera, through the Skype and through just the layers of connection that will form through creating art together and budding your awareness together through creating these forms. So it’s just beautiful, thank you.
Marc: Beautiful. Deep bow Megwyn White.
Megwyn: Deep bow Marc Gafni.
Marc: Amen. Our fifth dialogue is coming up soon. Good night everyone, good morning, good afternoon, all of it.