About The Swarm

The terrarium project is a “swarm” organization, and it operates differently than a traditional organization. We are an organization, in that we seek to effectively organize large groups of people to work together towards a common goal. But we are different from a traditional organization, in that we don’t have strict membership rules and we don’t waste time telling people what they can’t do. Our goal is clear, and so we encourage anyone to take any action they think will help us get there. Organize projects, lead work sprints, take on tasks, declare challenges, all without asking for permission from anyone. You can even create totally new and different, probably better, websites to help us all coordinate. Just ask for help. Be transparent. Make sure people know what you’re doing and why so they can help you. The key is that we are united by our goal, and we work together to make it happen. Below are 10 simple principles of the swarm.

1. We are united by our goal.

If you believe in the goal of rapidly developing human-designed systems that can support human life on sunlight, then you are part of the project. It doesn’t matter why. Many of us are here for many different reasons.

2. We value failure.

Failure is how we learn. Trying and failing is far more valuable than not trying. We respect and celebrate those who dare greatly, who contribute to our collective learning by being willing to fail publicly.

3. We ask for help.

If you share our goal, and are doing something useful about it, there will be people who will want to help you. Be clear about what you are doing, and how, specifically, others could help you. The more specific you are, the more people will actually help you with what you are working on and it will feel like magic.

4. We don’t ask for permission

You don’t need to ask for permission to do anything you think will help the goal of this project. Just contribute something and share it. No one has authority over you in this swarm and you are the best qualified person to know what will help in your specific context. If you have an idea and can do it by yourself, just do it. If you are not sure if it will help, try asking at least 2 other people what they think. If they agree its a good idea, it probably is. Just remember that no one has to help you either.

 5. We are transparent about money.

This work is going to take time and materials. We value volunteering, but we are not afraid of asking for money or compensation for our work, or to rent space for work sprints, or for anything we need. We are clear about our needs, and whenever we deal with money, we do so transparently. We always let people know where money is going and why. We are wary of projects and institutions that do not use transparent accounting.

6. We respect one another.

Disagreement and debate are wonderful and necessary, but we as a community will not tolerate disrespect or hate. Be excellent to each other.

7. We do not believe in cynicism.

Cynicism is boring and uncreative. If you believe something won’t work, thats fine, but leave room for the fact that you might be wrong. As the saying goes, “Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it”. If you enjoy telling people that things can’t be done then a great way for you to contribute would be to post difficult challenges for people to tackle. You might be surprised.

8. We speak for the group when we speak for ourselves.

No one speaks for the group, and everyone speaks for the group. You speak for the group by speaking for yourself. If you are interviewed by the media, you may say that you are part of the project, and describe what that means for you. You can speak about our goals, progress, and ideas. But you cannot speak in a way that limits or steals the voice of others.

9. We make information freely available.

We cannot do everything for everyone, nor should we. We believe that by making useful information freely available in good faith, other people will use and adopt it when they are ready, for their own reasons, within their own belief systems. We do not force our beliefs on anyone.

10. We work for the benefit of everyone.

Our goal is, as Buckminster Fuller put it, to “make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage to anyone.” 

That’s it. If you agree with these principles, and share the goal of rapidly developing self-sustaining human dwellings, then you are a part of the terrarium project. Welcome!


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