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The Earthship Institute for the Scientific and Holistic Exploration of the Cosmos

In our “Culture in the Future” topic @guillefix introduced us to the EISHEC, an institute that could play an important part in the Fractal Cosmos universe.

I think that this idea has a lot of potential and we should definitly use it. So, we need to decide which role this institute would play in the future of the solar system.

I have a few ideas:

  • The EISHEC is be founded in the early 2040s by a group of idealistic scientists philosophers an entrepreneurs.
  • It starts as a small but relatively well funded NGO based on Canada (I chose Canada because it will be a relatively neutral country in the second cold war, which means that the institute could remain mostly independent from geopolitical blocs if it was based there).
  • After the end of the Cyber War, when most AI’s become unemployed, the EISHEC gives work in scientific research projects.
  • Many of these research projects are successfull resulting in signifficant scientific and technological advances for humanity.
  • This leads to an increase of public support towards the institute, which becomes quite wealthy as a result.
  • The EISHEC helps creating the first AI colonies in the solar system. While the X Bloc and the C Bloc are busy trying to colonize Venus and Mars, the institute turns to Mercury and the Asteroid Belt, where it establishes large mining facilities.
  • These colonization ventures are highly successfull and the institute starts receiving large amounts of precious materials from the AI’s mining colonies.
  • In the late 2060s, the EISHEC establishes the first colonies in the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
  • Some of these colonies are AI-only, while others are human-only and others are populated by both groups.
  • The colonies soon become independent states, but the institute still has a lot of influence over them. Some say that the EISHEC has as much power over over that region of the solar system as the Catholic Curch had over medieval Europe.
  • In the 2080s (or maybe in the 2090s), the institute help founding the first colonies in the moons of Uranus and Neptune.
  • Being so distant from Earth, these colonies can’t be controlled by the EISHEC board as well as the jovian and saturnian colonies. Eventually, a powerfull p-faction emerges in the regions, claiming that the institute has deviated from it’s fundamental principles, choosing to become an imperialist political entity.
  • This p-faction grows quickly, ending up winning the support of most uranian and neptunian states. This turn of events is similar to the protestant reformation.

This how I imagine things might happen. Now, we still need to decide what this institute will be like. I think its philosophy should be based on the ideas guillefix presented in the “Culture in the Future” topic.

It’s hard to know exactly what will be popular, but I have a personal philosophy that emerged from the premature experiences of these coming developments (from movies, etc.). I call it the Principle of Inclusiveness. And simply stated, it says that Truth is what emerges from trying to understand as much of reality as possible. Thus the way to truth is simply the seeking of experiencing and experimenting as much as possible. This would obviously be most suitable for advanced minds like AIs who would scour the Universe for information, in search of Everything.

So, the principal of Inclusiveness could be the EISHEC’s central meme, What else can we add?

I would like this institute to be surrounded by an aura of mysticism, enventually becoming a quasi-religious movement, while still retaining it’s inquisitive scientiffic nature. We could incorporate elements of techno-shamanism and stuff like that.

Anyway, I’ve already talked enough, what do you guys think?

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Well, I’ve been silent for the last few weeks because I had exams, but now I’m free (at least for the next 4 months) to pursue the many interests and projects I have in mind! As well as contributing to this forum again :slight_smile: Well, I have to catch up with some of the developments of the Fractal Cosmos, but regarding the EISHEC I can share the original description I wrote when coming up with it:

The Earthship Institute for the Scientific and Holistic Exploration of the Cosmos. In my dream, it would be a complex physically built on Earthship biotecture and open source hardware principles, mostly self-funded, with the aim of pursuing the theoretical, experimental and engineered exploration of any aspect of the Cosmos, with both scientific and human aims in mind, and with a cherishing of diversity and interdisciplinarity.

Around the central building a physical and digital Library would serve as a hotspot for curating, archiving, organizing, propagating, and finding novel ways to use the large amounts of human knowledge we have. Standard library uses like archiving and access would be combined with novel ones, like big data, artificial intelligence, knowledge engineering and science, education, human-machine-data interaction, visualization, augmented and virtual reality, and other not yet condensed areas at the frontier of these.
On the other buildings around this central building, there would be more specialized investigation and engineering centers with the most central ones being the most interdisciplinarily connected. Just around the main building, institutes exploring mathematics, computing, learning, engineering, philosophy, arts and an institute for the study of society. Further around these would grow more specific fields like physics, biology, and other sciences, as well as about more specific engineering, craft or humanity disciplines, depending on the interest, and stage of development of the Institute.
As I mentioned, this institute would be as self-funded as possible, trying to earn money from its own projects, and by producing on-site resources it needs. The Institute would also be designed for and spend considerable effort on self-improving bootstrapping, by using the results of its own investigations to improve itself. The society, governance, economics institutes would feedback onto the way the Institute manages itself so that it is more efficient, and better follows human values. The learning institute would also be most active, constantly improving how other institutes teach and spread knowledge. Engineering, economics, and business institutes would also work together to improve the Institute in innovative ways, so that its more self-sustainable, and by creating spin-offs that feedback to it, and to the rest of humanity creating value elsewhere too!
Now, that is the place I would like to work on. I myself, would work on the physics institute, with eager interest on the activities of the learning institute and central knowledge hub. I would also support work on longevity in the biology institute, and many other future-oriented studies over many other institutes, plus contribute to some other projects here or there.
Who’d also like to work in the EISHEC?

The timeline you present looks good to me. The description above could describe the initial setup of the complex (which architecturally would resemble one of the circular cities of The Venus Project maybe), while as the years go it will expand and evolve organically. Maybe some of the above areas of the Institute will get renamed, etc. as new interests sprout. I imagine a big branch I didn’t mention would be space engineering and exploration, which seems like it will grow big in the later years (with asteroid mining and such).

The Central Knowledge Hub could begin as a modernized library as described above, and end up evolving into a more esoteric center, resembling the techno-mystic aspects you mention, with heavy use of Virtual Reality as the medium to explore the Sea of Information streaming from the extended “neural network” (Internet) of the Institute, as well as vast repositories of Knowledge in more standard formats as well as more novel “Recorded/Simulated Experiences”

Also The Principle of Inclusiveness being a central meme sounds nice. I have written stuff on it, maybe I will post it in a blog post or something at some point!


Hi. Good to see you’re back on track!

It’s also good to see that you liked what I did with your idea. The description you wrote fits in pretty well with my timeline. In order to do all the things we want it to do, the institute should definitly be structured that way.

Ans yes, I would love to work there too! :smile:

Yes, the architecture you present sounds interesting and practical. As you said, the complex will probably have to be expanded many times as the institute grows in wealth and influence. I also imagine the spaces will be gradually filled with opulent works of art, like sculptures, painting etc. And these works of art will probably become more symbolic and allegorical as the EISHEC becomes more mystical.

When the institute colonizes the moons of Jupiter and Saturn it will probably construct smaller “clones” of the complex in order to take better advantage from the support of the local states. There will probably be a point where most work is done on the clones and the original complex has become little more than a monument.

Yeah, that sounds good.

Yes, please do that.

Now, lets talk about the Neptunian p-faction wich rebels against the EISHEC. Here are some of my ideas for them:

  • They are lead by an AI named Martin Luther, who was previously a very influential member of the institute.
  • Martin Luther and his followers ctricticize the EISHEC has deviated from its original objectives and ideals, by neglecting scientiffic research and becoming an influential political player.
  • They break apart from EISHEC and found a new institute with the same official philosophy, which they claim to be the only legitimate successor to the original EISHEC. We need to come up with a good name for this institute, but for now lets just call it EISHEC 2.
  • Contrarily to EISHEC 1, EISHEC 2 to doesn’t intervene in political , dedicating itself only to research projects.
  • EISHEC 2 is a decentralized organization, functioning more like a large network of autonomous nucleous than as an institute.
  • They reject EISHEC 1’s mysticism, choosing to be more purely scientiffic.
  • They also reject EISHEC 1’s opulence, opting for a more modest aesthetic.
  • They take the principle of inclusiveness very seriously and they are generally hostile towards Virtual Reality, being completely obsessed with discovering what is real.
  • They view stagnation as mortal danger and advice people strongly against sitting confortably on the products of their success.
  • EISHEC 2 values self-funding, but, as they don’t have the same resources as EISHEC 1, they frequently depend on the patronage of Uranian and Neptunian rulers
  • They plan on lauching massive intersteller expeditiona in order to discover the secrets of the universe. However, this is a long term project, since they don’t have the resources for that.


I am a bit unsure about the EISHEC as player becoming so big as to colonize space. Can an institute really become so prosperous to compete with power blocs, or would it have to transform somehow, maybe into an alliance, or a virtual nation? Maybe the EISHEC helps to spawn a virtual nation, and collaborates with it? It could be something like a cosmist nation, perhaps called “Cosmosia” (A portmanteau of “cosmism” and “osmosis”). Cosmosia becomes a globally important virtual nation of people with “cosmic” ambitions. And the EISHEC is its main collaboration partner for developing the required technologies for space exploration and colonization.

In fact, the EISHEC could even try to maintain a neutral position to the C bloc and the X bloc, sharing its technologies freely with all of them in the hope to become a shining example of cooperation and peace.

I actually think that an institute has much better chances of becoming space-capable than a virtual nation. People are much more likely to give their money to an organization with research purposes than to a group of people who are trying to replace their nations.

Private space agencies are on the rise nowdays and I think it’s just a matter of time until Virgin and SpaceX start sending people to space on their own. If companies can do that, why can’t an institute, if it’s wealthy enough?

I see no reason for us to assume that space colonization will totally nation-driven when all the latest developments seem to indicate otherwise.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the EISHEC won’t actually have to compete with power blocks since their “targets” for colonization will be different.

Yes, we’ve already established that the EISHEC will operate independently from power blocs and that it will be based on open-source hardware, so, I guess that mean it will share it’s technology with everyone.

EDIT: Anyway, Cosmosia could be the name of one of the jovian nations under EISHEC’s influence. That doesn’t sould bad.