Live together to increase our productivity

I was just trying to convince Radivis that starting an intentional community (and living together with 20+ people thinking along the same altruistic/transhumany lines) would vastly increase our productivity.

  • Working together IRL is better than just online collaboration alone.
  • Being around people with similar goals/ideas all the time is motivational.
  • We’d only need to make enough ‘money’ for the group to survive. So those of us that currently have ‘day jobs’ they only do because they have to ‘pay the bills’ could free up that time. As a group/hivemind/megaorganism we’d work out the most efficient way to survive that maximises the good that we can do. (economies of scale and stuff so I’m sure it would work out more efficient than us all surviving and working in different places).

So anyway, I say that it’s a nobrainer that our next move should be living together. Do you agree?


Thanks for posting your suggestion here, @notatroll. While I certainly can see the appeal of living in an intentional community, I have become quite critical for various reasons, not least the number of such projects that haven’t succeeded.

Usually, it would feel that way. But I’m having doubts about this. When you work with other people, they tend to involve you into chatter, which drains productivity, if it becomes too frequent. It’s hard enough to block such tendencies online, but IRL it’s really a big issue.

Also, I’d say we need to be careful about these kinds of generalizations. For some types of work, people work best alone and in deep concentration, for example writing, mathematical problem solving, or coding. Other types of work may indeed work much better in direct collaboration.

Of course, if you can come up with scientific evidence that close collaboration is superior in certain cases, that would be great!

Yes, definitely. But we can already see similar tendencies in online fora. When people resonate with each other, they are energized. But when there are major differences in opinion, the friction becomes so high that people are drained of their energy. So, you would take very much care about bringing the right people together for exactly the right causes. I think you may underestimate the immense difficulty of doing that.

What you are basically saying is that we should use collaboration and economies of scale to reduce the time we need to work. Well, guess what, there are already entities out there that do that, and they are called companies. Working for a company is usually more efficient than working on your own (there are of course many notable exceptions). So, what you are suggesting is creating just another company, or co-op, or whatever. What would be different about that? That people actually share similar goals and ideas? Good companies already take care only to hire people who have similar goals and ideas and are actually qualified to contribute in a meaningful way. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

So, what’s the difference between an intentional community and a company?

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An intentional community can be a powerful catalyst of productivity and creativity, but they are difficult–particularly for Americans owing to our culture. Experts in cohousing point out that a typical cohousing project takes up to six months to organize in Europe and two years or more for Americans. We’re not good at tolerance and consensus building because so few of us live in functional communities and so the traditional social skills of community end up having to be rediscovered.

A common mistake for ICs is the pursuit of some ideal self-sufficiency, which is often imposed on ICs because they get driven to the edge of wilderness for cheap land and to be able to employ sustainable or ‘green’ architecture. It’s one of the leading causes of their high attrition. We’re generally industrially illiterate and harbor a lot of myths about frontier living that lead to a common misperception of just how difficult ‘living off the land’ really is. People tend to think self-sufficiency is as easy as a cob cottage with a victory garden, until they’re drawing straws to see who gets to give the axe to one of the chickens they named.

Another problem has been the immobility of the middle-class because of their dependence on corporate employment venues, the limited fungibility of mortgage debt, and the high overhead of their lifestyles, particularly when married. Because ICs tend to be driven to remote locations, it’s hard for established middle-class folk to make the leap to live in such places. Thanks to improving telecommunications, this is less of a problem today than in the recent past, but the demographic still tends to be dominated by the young and unestablished, the retired, and the creative class whose work isn’t location-dependent. But ICs can and do work where people can be pragmatic and patient about it. As high as their attrition rate is, the idea of starting ICs has never been more popular than it is now.

In the futurist context the most practical value of the IC may be its potential to showcase alternative architecture, domestic technology, and lifestyle associated with models of near-future living. I’ve personally been interested for some time in the concept of applying a ‘living museum’ approach to future culture and lifestyle as has been demonstrated for lifestyles of the past. A Colonial Williamsburg of tomorrow.

An emerging concept in ICs that has come from the trends of Makerspaces/FabLabs and live/work developments is the Hackbase, or as I used to call it the Maker Ashram. A Hackbase is a live-in FabLab. A place where the costs of a comprehensive FabLab is shared across a community of creatives and digital nomads who live in common proximity to it–permanently and temporarily–and would often use those digital production tools in the creation and customization of their own novel dwellings. There are many architectural and situational approaches to this. This is often combined with the idea of a cooperative business venture, potentially based on the use of an Open Value Network. One working example of this concept is the Calafou hacker eco-village in Spain. I’ve personally been involved with a group looking to develop one in Lanzarote–though I’ll probably never be able to visit that remote a place myself.


Things would be so much easier if money, coverage of basic needs, and infrastructure weren’t an issue. But I think we are getting there in the next decades, at least.


This could be solved with
  • basic income
  • passive incomes
  • reputation incomes
  • sponsorship
  • clever investments once some money is actually available

If one has to work, then the following possibilities would be worth considering:

  • working online
  • selling products

Having money, anything else being equal (which it isn’t), is better than not having money. As Eric has written, complete self-sufficiency is really hard, even with today’s technology. And notatroll probably isn’t going for a moneyless lifestyle anyway. Personally, I think a money based lifestyle is much more manageable than one without – since I am not willing to let go of good vegan nutrition, orthomolecular supplements, and being able to host online platforms like this one.

Covering Basic Needs

When one has money, covering basic needs is not too difficult. To reduce the dependence of money, one has hope for 3d-printing technology to become better. Producing your own Soylent might also be worth considering, once technology allows us to do that with a reasonable amount of infrastructure.


There are a lot of technologies out there which decentralize infrastructure, but I'm not an expert on that. Just thinking about examples like
  • mesh networks for internet connectivity
  • solar panels for energy
  • composting toilets for you know what
  • perhaps some good systems for recycling waste water
  • very efficient stoves
  • and so on

Just my 0.02 Bitcoins :smiley:

Has it been tried with hardcore transhuman altruistic rationalists? I don’t think it has.

Each person gets their own private soundproof box they can sleep and work in. And a ‘Do Not Disturb’ button.

Isn’t it freaking obvious!? Why does Google do it? Do you think Google would be better off if they told all their workers to stay at home and only collaborate online?

Also you get a sound proof box, so you have the best of both worlds.

Maybe I overestimate people. It should be very easy for smart transhuman rationalists to live together. Maybe there aren’t any.

Call it what you want. It’s not so different. It just hasn’t been done with transhumans (AFAIK).

Company is just working together. I want living and working together. And I guess when you say company most people think goal=profit. I want goal=altruism/making the world a better place.

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The main problem is finding enough “hardcore transhuman altruistic rationalists” that are also both willing and able to congregate at a specific location to create a specific kind of intentional community. The number of requirements is so high that for each project you will probably end up with one of the following number of suitable participants: Zero or one.

Oh great, if I am annoyed by a person I have no other choice but hide in a soundproof box? The attractiveness of that solution is only slightly better than having to live in a North Korean labour camp.

I’m not sure about that. Automattic, the creators of WordPress follow that model and it seems to work for them. Of course you are free to insist on the position that WordPress is a crappy piece of software, despite its popularity.

Why should it be any easier for them than for normal people with mature social skills?

  1. If people work all the time, there won’t be a difference between living and working together.
  2. There are already some companies whose primary goal is making the world a better place, instead of making profit. Interestingly, they usually turn out to be quite profitable!

See utopian community and hippie commune movements as reference for previous attempts.

Mormons and Amish are the most successful of prior movements.

Hippie communes mostly devolved over time.

Israeli kibbutz lasted longer than average also, but most have gone corporate now.

Yeah. Out of the billions of people alive it amazes me that there are so few. Surely there are at least thousands of rational altruists that think it’s important to ‘change the world’, so why are so few coming to the same conclusion as me (I.E wouldn’t we be SO MUCH MORE productive if we lived together)?

No. You could also go for a walk outside. Ideally the community would be 20+ people and have enough rooms/areas so you wouldn’t feel trapped in a small space with someone.

From what I can see, the best stuff usually comes from teams working together IRL. Two examples I like are: 1. Xerox PARC 2. the development of the Amiga computer. People that have been involved in projects like that often say that it wouldn’t have been possible without the community and the synergy of being around people that care about the same stuff all the time.

I think almost everyone that has worked with people IRL on projects that they all care about will say that there is a kind of energy and excitement there that is much greater than with any online collaboration.

Because they understand how the mind works and cognitive bias and emotions. And because their rational goal is for the greater good it’s easier to avoid being selfish.

the nicest solutions i can think of, always tend to more possibilities than less. although i am confined to one “home” my whole life (…i mean: never more than one at the same time), i always dreamt of more locations in the world where i could go when i have had enough of the same place every day.
so the optimal solution for me would be to have a network of branch offices where i can meet like-minded people to work together on projects for a limited time. but i also need a retreat with no human contact at all. it is so delightful for the soul, for thinking and creativity, to have the certainty, that no human being will disturb you, that you will even hear no human voice or no human induced noise unless you freely leave your hermitage. i hope future generations will realize that our concepts of “home” are outdated. i hope they will consider the world as their home and the soulmates they find, no matter if those soulmates live far away on another continent.
you are right with all the pros of living and working together but i think radivis is right as well and you underestimate the cons. if you decide to settle down somewhere and put energy and work into it, the options to leave, whenever you want, tend to zero. and if you feel coerced to get along with the people you live with, no rationality and altruism and idealism could prevent tension and hostility. even in this thread is tension, although everybody is free to decide not to read or write here.
have you read the book “the beach” by alex garland? (the movie is not sufficient)
what do you think of my idea to have more than one home and one workstation?
if you imagine that you have to drive an hour to reach the next “transhuman -base” with a park of soundproof apartment- cubes and common areas for work and recreation would it be sufficient for what you have in mind?

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I’m curious, which continent/country/desert island would you prefer? :smile:

I’m not fussy. I think with the right people it would work anywhere. It would be nice to be able to grow food and look towards self-sufficiency, so warm climate and water source. It’s probably a good idea not to be somewhere with an evil government, so avoid USA and Russia. Personally I’d like to be near or in a big city, but that’s not essential.

I don’t think there is any harmful tension here.

Nope. How is different from the movie?

Sure, that would be nice. But I’m thinking we don’t even have one such place, so let’s do that first, then we can say to people ‘look, it works, it’s easy to do, you can do it too’

Why do you think so? Growing food is significant work. If you are fond of that, joining the Amish might be an option.

Where’s the border between an “evil” and a “non-evil” government?

BUT i feel tension! --> now we have tension :smiling_imp:

in a way it is a different story. even if you watch the long version of the movie and all the important deleted scenes, you will not have a clue about daffy and richard. for the movie they add scenes, that in the worst case could twist the meaning and exclude persons and all the important events and thoughts and dreams concerning richard and daffy. it is a real mindfuck, when you finally understand the meaning of both protagonists.

But is it harmful? Just in case it is, I will leave here yellow tension eating blob :stuck_out_tongue:

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heh. I dunno. It probably wont matter to us. But seeing how the US treats radical people that want to change the world (e.g. Aaron Swarts, Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, etc), It’s probably sensible to locate to somewhere with a reputation for being more forward thinking. Iceland?


With all due respect, growing food there could be slightly problematic :slight_smile:

But in any case living together is unexpectedly difficult when you are no longer a student. After that, when you have family and “duties” and roots, even moving to another place is not easy, and living in a community, especially trying to be self-sufficient, which may include getting up early to plough… There is a reason it is not popular. Having enough resources (or, simply speaking, money) to live like lords in some secluded castle, yes, that would help. But we don’t have money, do we. And even then someone would have to wash the dishes. Maybe robots? But we don’t have them either, and even if we started a community to build them, when would we have time, when there is all that ploughing to do? :smile: I mean, we’re here to invent the future. Building self-sufficient community will be conterproductive, unless what you want is having just that, self-sufficient community. You will spend too much time doing mundane chores instead of thinking about the future.

And governments… aren’t all of them evil? You’d need one that does not penalize (with taxes) barter or selling food you grew on a small, local scale. Etc. For starters. And be sure that it won’t change with introduction of TTIP, or whatever the current acronym for that is.

I’d say what you need is a motivated virtual community to begin with, motivated, dedicated and working towards better future and solving problems of living together before it is actually attempted. I mean, you’d really need to think it through.


Yes, that’s how we can start realistically. If we cannot even create a viable flourishing virtual community, then it seems rather unlikely that just placing all of us in one location suddenly will fix all of our problems (rather than amplifying them).

Our most important resources are time, information, money, and energy (motivation). Getting people together may create more energy and bundle information together more effectively, but unless there is a plan to optimize time and money constraints, things won’t work out nicely.

Ya. I mention Iceland just as an example of a less evil government.

Yeah, ideally it should be somewhere with lots of space, so we can expand and it would be possible for families to move there.

Being totally self-sufficient is not super important to me, especially to begin with. I think it’s more realistic for the community to make money by working together in some kind of tech/media company. If/when we grow any food, I imagine we would use hydroponics, so high levels of automation and no ploughing.

This is an introduction I wrote:

Reality Adventuring Party. Altruistic Quests. Killing monsters and sharing the loot.

Keywords: Intentional Community, Coworking, Cohousing, Utopia, Altruism, Transhumanism, Gaia, Synergy, Hackerspace, DIY-bio, Startup, Couchsurfing, NomadBase, Anarchy, Squatting, Social/cultural centre, Eco-city, Hacker Island, Geodome, Sovereignty, Hippie Commune, Tribe, Micronation, Social Experiment, Gift/Sharing economy, Autonomous space, Live-in hacklab, Freedom, Sustainable, Self-sufficiency

Let’s get some cool people together and live in a tribe / family / team / intentional community. Experiment with better ways to live, and make the world a cooler place. We’ll work together to survive and look after each other. This could include: farming, making software, making art … Any way we can harness our creativity / brainpower / muscle power / willpower in order to build the world we want. (We could do anything (as long as it’s ethical)). I’m confident that a team of smart, passionate people, using the synergy created by living and working in the same space, can come up with lots of ways to survive and have fun at the same time.

Compare this idea with live-in hack/art spaces where individuals come and go, paying a small sum of money per day to cover costs. This system can create cool communities, but it puts pressures on members to have ‘day jobs’ (which are often a boring waste of time). We want to avoid this.

Think more along the lines of an RPG adventuring party. killing monsters, healing each other, sharing the loot. Each member has different skills that help the team. They succeed or fail as a group. Nobody is left behind.

No practical details have been fixed yet. Options we’re considering: Renting/buying a house/warehouse, squatting, tent/yurt village, nomadic tribe, private island. The location will depend on the option we pick, and the consensus of the group. We’re prepared to move anywhere in the world.


  1. I’ve always felt more productive and more powerful when working in a group. I want my life to be optimal - so that means having the people who are working on the same projects around me all the time. Some of this can be achieved by online collaboration, but the effect is even greater when the people are in the same physical space. It allows a much better interface between the people. E.g. writing on white boards, group chats, looking over someone’s shoulder at what they’re working on, discussing projects during meals. Similar effects are possible online, but so much better in real life. I like to think of people as the neurons of a hive mind. Working together they are greater than the sum of their parts.

Most modern mainstream lifestyles encourage isolation, people living in small family units and selling their time to a boss (see also: Problems with Profit Motive). I’m sure people can be much happier and more productive when living and working in larger communities.

  1. I look at the world and it saddens me that there is so much injustice, oppression, suffering, greed, stupidity and violence. I’d like to see humans doing a better job of things/society/politics. One of the projects I want to work on with others is improving this situation. So as above, I think the most efficient way for me to work on this problem is in a real-life community.

Starting a community and getting our own space is also probably a good step towards fixing some of these problems. It gives us the control to experiment with new types of society/economy/politics. It gives us our own little world/space where we can try the things we want with minimal interference from pre-existing powers. If we can build something there that we think is an improvement, others will look at us and see that our ways are better, then they can try the same things.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
― Richard Buckminster Fuller

Join us

At the moment we’re just a small online community. The next step is to get more people involved. I think more people will give us a better chance of making the project work. More knowledge, more ideas, more hands, more options. More synergy!

How many people will be involved? I’d like at least 12. There is no upper limit. Supposing 99 people are really keen on the idea, and can agree upon a location and are ready to move; could 99 people that only know each other from an online community, arrive at a location and manage to make something like this work smoothly? I don’t know! On the one hand it’s exciting: ‘imagine what 99 people can do together!’, on the other hand organising that many people into an efficient group could present a lot of problems. Obviously a lot depends on the people, let’s see how it goes.

Everyone has something to offer. Everyone is welcome. You don’t need any money or any particular skill set. We think a broad mix of people types is important to make this work optimally. I’d say our group is more aligned with hippie / anarchist / squatter mentality (but find out for yourself).

If you’re interested, come and talk to us. Say ‘hi’ on our email list. Share your thoughts/ideas. Ask any questions you might have. Tell us about other groups on the same wavelength. Or if you prefer, feel free to contact one of us individually (You can find our contact details from the profiles on this wiki and say ‘hullo’ to someone). We also like to have discussions by voice. We use mumble for this.

If you’re interested in this type of thing, but for some reason you don’t feel like this particular manifestation is right for you, you’re still welcome to talk to us. We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions (please speak freely, even if you only have criticisms!). Feel free to post about other projects. We’d be happy if this list became a hub for people thinking along the same lines, and maybe independent groups will form from it.

We think it’s important that everyone involved gets to know each other online a bit first, and make sure everyone is on the same page. (Hopefully we’ll all be friends, but this isn’t essential!)

Nothing is set in stone at the moment. Everything is up for discussion. A lot depends on the people that will be living in the community. How many will join us? How many will be 100% committed and ready to move? Where do people want to live? What skills and resources will we have available to us? As the group grows, we’ll get a better idea of what people want, and start to add more details to the plan.

“make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone”.
― Richard Buckminster Fuller

One of the main points is to be more time efficient together than we are separately. How many of ‘us’ currently need ‘day-jobs’, and how much time is that taking up?

heh. How we should do politics is a big question that we’d need to answer, but actually I don’t think we need to answer it in detail before starting a community.

Yeah, that’s one way to get things started, but it won’t end up with what I want if non of those people are prepared to move from their current location. There is also the issue that text based virtual communities are only attractive to a certain kind of person. A lot of people that would be good for a real life community are uninterested in virtual forums because all they see is talking, and they want to be in the ‘real’ world doing/building stuff they can see/touch. So virtual forums should definitely not be the only source of people for this project.

Of course. Think is cheap.

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