Symbiosis - An Intentional Community For Radical Self-Improvement

bymr-hire1y22nd Apr 2018No comments

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The vision for Symbiosis is an intentional group house in the Bay Area where high performers commit to radical life experimentation that will fundamentally shift who they are.

We will create a recursively self-improving household that supports these high performers with a platform to experiment with radical lifestyle design and mutual identity change.

As a household, we’ll help members change their self identity and belief system (first person self-improvement), their habits and actions (second-person self-improvement), and their expressive qualities (third-person self-improvement). All in a manner congruent with the person they want to be and the outcomes they want to achieve.

Who are we?

Matt Goldenberg

The founder of Verity and lifelong self-improvement obsessive. Working to create better forms of trust and collaboration with algorithmic reputation.

Conor White-Sullivan

Founder of Roam. Working to create more explicit, shared models of knowledge that aren't bottlenecked by working memory.

Who are we looking for?

We’re looking for existing high performers who know they could be pushed to even higher levels through large scale lifestyle experiments.

Traits

  • Doer: What have you accomplished in the past?
  • Improver: How have you shifted who you are?
  • Team Player: How have you interacted with previous communities?

Skills

  • Change Worker: Do you have experience as a coach, therapist, or mentor in helping others improve? Do you have knowledge in a specific changework modality such as NLP, Rationality, or Men’s Work?
  • Community Organizer: Do you have specific experience organizing communities in the past and bringing people closer together?
  • Logistical Coordinator: Do you have experience dealing with complicated logistics and planning around conflicting schedules?

The Pillars of Symbiosis

The goal for Symbiosis is to start with as few ingredients as possible and limiting the amount of assumptions we make. We’ll start with a base that will set the house in a certain direction, and give it the ability to recursively self-improve over time. This will create a success spiral that will continue to build off of the success of previous improvements.

To this end, we’ve created 5 pillars for the house. These pillars themselves will likely change and evolve over time, but will still serve as a foundational base from which the more radical experiments will flow.

Pillar #1 - Goals

The first pillar of Symbiosis is goals. Each individual will have specific, measurable, achievable goal they are trying to achieve at any given time, with a 6 month to year time horizon. This goal will give them a focus while at the house, and more importantly give the other High Performers at Symbiosis information about how they can help.

Goals will be examined during quarterly reviews where we look at the goals and see what’s working and what needs to be changed.

Pillar #2 - Mission Statements

Each participant in the house, as well as the house as a whole, will create a mission statement that describes who they would like to become in order to achieve their goals. These mission statements will drive the direction of the lifestyle experimentation.

The house mission statement will be written in the first “quarterly meeting”, of Symbiosis, and will need explicit input and buy-in from every member of the house. Until such time, this document will serve as the “De Facto” Mission statement for the house.

Pillar #3 -Retrospectives and Experiments

The third pillar of the house is going to be bi-weekly (that's one every two weeks not twice a week) retrospectives where we review the results of previous experiments, and choose what radical lifestyle experiments we’d like to try. Examples include:

  • Early morning meditation for every house member
  • Recording all house conversations
  • Having each member cook for the house once a week
  • Regular house circling sessions
  • etc.

Pillar #4 - House Bonding

The fourth pillar is social bonding. These will be house events specifically made to foster house closeness and build a high reliability and mutual trust environment.

Pillar #5 - Consequences

House members are expected to contribute to experiments and house events with high buy-in. If they do not contribute, they’ll be expected to pay $30 to a house improvement fund.

If a housemate does choose to attend an event, they will be expected to arrive on time. If they fail to arrive on time, they will owe pushups. For every 1 minute that a High Performer is late, they will owe 5 pushups, up to a maximum of 50.

Housemates are expected to attend 80% of all events considered pillars. If you have less than 80% attendance at two consecutive quarterly reviews, you will be asked to leave the house.

Would love comments, questions, concerns. Thanks so much for reading and let us know what you think.

FAQ

How is this different from Dragon Army?

Dragon Army was a rationalist intentional community experiment with a similar “self-improvement” focus. We watched the experiment with interest, and tried to learn as much as we could from the ultimate result of the experiment. We believe Symbiosis compares to Dragon Army in the following ways:

Similarities

  • Both houses are focused on self-improvement of the participants
  • Both houses seemed to be going for a more structured form of group house
  • Both houses have ties to the rationality community
  • Both houses had a strong focus on productivity and instrumental rationality

Differences

  • Dragon Army started with the assumptions that they had full buy-in from participants, and knew what the participants needed to improve, and then asked themselves how they would structure the community given those assumptions. Symbiosis instead starts with the assumption that we don’t have buy-in or know what people need to improve, then asks how we can create a system that builds buy-in and figures out the best structure for improving the participants.
  • Dragon Army was a house by rationalists for rationalists. Symbiosis aims to bring in a wider array of participants from outside of the rationality community.

What is the cost of rent?

Symbiosis is actively seeking housing for between 4 and 7 people. We're targeting a cost of between 800-1100 per room.