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Ava - ant village alliance - autonomous visionaries association  RSS feed

 
evan l pierce
Lab Ant
pollinator
Posts: 750
Location: ava, ant village
618
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It seems to me that the ant village challenge rules are set up in such a way that cutthroat competition will almost certainly result in no one winning the deep roots. At least 6 ants each have to live on their plot for a year, build at least a debris hut, and produce at least 300,000 calories in order for 1 ant to receive a deep roots. The way I understand the current rules of the game, if any one of those six ants decides to bail a month or two before judgment day, or more likely the winter before, then no one wins deep roots. Of course, if there are closer to 12 total ants all in the game, then the odds of still having 6 by judgment day increases and more competitiveness becomes strategically viable. Unless nearly all 12 spots are filled, and maybe even if they are, it seems to me like an alliance of at least 6 ants has the best chance of winning the deep roots.

That's where Ava comes in. Ava is what I've taken to calling my 1.5 acre ant plot here on the northern end of ant village. It's relatively wooded and has great southern exposure. Ava is also a set of ideas/options for how to potentially achieve a win-win outcome for either 6+ rad industrious ants that enter the challenge, or 5 or 4 or 3 or 2 rad industrious permies who want to both have a chunk of deep roots land on which to illustrate their vision in seed and soil, and also be part of a community of permaculture visionaries.

Option 6

At least 6 rad industrious ants each pay $800 for a year rent on a spot in ant village, and they help each other achieve at least the minimum structure building, food production, and year-long-stay objectives. Once I've determined that each ant is rad enough and industrious enough, (by my standards,) I offer to slice off ~1/6 acre of Ava for each ant that is part of the alliance. The alliance works to ensure that Ava is the plot that becomes deep roots, and as a result each allied ant gets their very own urban lot of deep roots as part of Ava, and also access to the Ava community space, (the mostly south-facing 1/2 acre of Ava I've taken to calling Avalon.)

Option 5

The ant village challenge doesn't happen this year, or for whatever reason there's not enough rad industrious allies to make a go of winning the deep roots. Instead, 4 other permies and I each pay ~$4000 to outright buy deep roots for Ava. Each of us gets our own ~1/5 acre urban lot of deep roots plus access to Avalon.

Option 4

Like option 5 except each permie pays ~$5000 and each gets ~1/4 acre suburban lot of deep roots plus access to Avalon.

Option 3

Like option 4 except each permie pays ~$6666 and each gets ~1/3 acre suburban lot of deep roots plus access to Avalon.

Option 2

Like option 3 except each permie pays ~$10000 and each gets ~1/2 acre suburban lot of deep roots plus access to Avalon.

Option 1

No one else is both rad and industrious enough by my standards and also interested enough to want to be part of Ava. I keep doing what I'm doing, which is basically trying to create a permaculture theme park of sorts, and maybe I end up with deep roots, and maybe not.

I realize that no matter which option is selected, there will be lots of hard work (hence the need for industrious folk,) and social challenges ranging from community dynamics to dealing with isolation, (hence the need for rad folk,) but I'm hoping that by expressing these thoughts on community development and ant village challenge strategy, somebody will step forward and say, "Hey, that sounds cool. I'm a rad industrious visionary and I want to associate with other visionaries while maintaining my own sphere of autonomy."
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2085
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
181
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I'm glad that all of these plans involve you sticking around. I have a feeling that all useful non-annoying people will be able to find some sort of home at wheaton laboratories, at least as long as they remain useful (or at a minimum non-destructive and non mess making) and avoid being annoying.

You've got a better chance of avoiding the annoying because you are there in your own space, doing your own thing and interacting with Paul and Jocelyn on a less frequent basis than the previous crew.

I love the idea of a permaculture theme park!

I hope you get a group of rad permies to join you in the ant village, and soon. No cut throats, just hard working people with a dream of a better way. I like the idea of y'all joining forces to stay on the land together. I think it could work.
 
Jesse Grimes
Lab Ant
pollinator
Posts: 269
Location: Orange County, CA
155
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Hi Evan. I've been following your posts and I'm excited to meet you when I get out there. I read this thread when you posted it and have been pondering it since then, along with a million other Ant village related things. I totally agree tat there will have to be major cooperation between the Ants in order for anyone to stick around and have a chance at winning the challenge. However, my first thought after reading your post, and especially after listening to the last string of podcasts, is how are you going to get 6 people to live and work together on Ava without all of the community challenges that Paul and Jocelyn have been dealing with rearing their ugly heads. It would have to be 6 very amazing and very understanding people.

The alliance you describe tastes a little bit of obligation. People entering into an agreement that they will do certain things in order to benefit the group as a whole. What happens if one person doesn't live up to the agreement and contribute their fair share? What if it is 3 months from the deadline, there are only 6 Ants left, and one of them isn't doing very much work? Do you kick him out of the alliance? It seems that he would just leave at that point, and no one wins the acre. What if your idea of contributing your fair share is different from everyone else's? I agree with Paul that obligation is poison, and in my experience not a very good motivator.

I feel that cooperation based upon personal self interest is a major pattern in nature. The rhizobacterium around a the roots of a legume don't fix nitrogen because they have an obligation to do so, or because they feel it is the right thing to do, they do it because the plant feeds them sugar in return. The bird picking bugs from the plants in a garden doesn't choose to hunt there because he likes the gardener, he does it because the gardener has created a safe place for him to hunt, with lots of perches to hunt from and trees to hide in. Both parties are providing services to their counterparts because doing so results in a net positive result for themselves.

I feel like this is a pattern to follow with the Ant village challenge. Ants will help move each other's projects forward because they know that it will benefit them personally in the long run. I would come help you lift a beam into place because I know that I will need help lifting a beam on my house. If someone is struggling to finish their shelter before winter hits and mine is done, I will give them a hand because if they choose to leave there might not be a contest at all. Helping them along will help me along. I feel like this is at the core of why humans chose to live in villages in the first place, and why a village works so much better than a city. At that level people are still connected by their own self interests. I'm sure we will have plenty of philosophical talks on the subject next to the rocket stove fire.

On a purely practical note, 1/6 of an acre is not very big. How are you going to fit 6 shelters on 1 acre, along with all the food to feed everyone? I understand that the Ants could all build their shelters on their own acres until the contest is over and everyone wins the AVA plot, but what about afterwards? I see what you are going for here, trying to ensure that everyone, or at least someone, wins the challenge, but I have a strong feeling that come next September, if there are 6 or more industrious Ants all working hard, building things and contributing to forward velocity the lab, and more importantly, functioning as a working example of a permaculture based village... its going to be pretty easy for us all to stick around.

 
evan l pierce
Lab Ant
pollinator
Posts: 750
Location: ava, ant village
618
chicken duck forest garden greening the desert hugelkultur hunting solar wofati woodworking
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Jesse Grimes wrote:Hi Evan. I've been following your posts and I'm excited to meet you when I get out there. I read this thread when you posted it and have been pondering it since then, along with a million other Ant village related things. I totally agree tat there will have to be major cooperation between the Ants in order for anyone to stick around and have a chance at winning the challenge. However, my first thought after reading your post, and especially after listening to the last string of podcasts, is how are you going to get 6 people to live and work together on Ava without all of the community challenges that Paul and Jocelyn have been dealing with rearing their ugly heads. It would have to be 6 very amazing and very understanding people
Hi Jesse. I'm excited to meet you too! And I really dig your permaculture bike park idea. Maybe we can do a little something like it here in antville.

I didn't say getting 6 people to live together harmoniously would be easy, but I think it could be worthwhile. It's just one potential option I'd be up for considering with the right people.

The alliance you describe tastes a little bit of obligation. People entering into an agreement that they will do certain things in order to benefit the group as a whole. What happens if one person doesn't live up to the agreement and contribute their fair share? What if it is 3 months from the deadline, there are only 6 Ants left, and one of them isn't doing very much work? Do you kick him out of the alliance? It seems that he would just leave at that point, and no one wins the acre. What if your idea of contributing your fair share is different from everyone else's? I agree with Paul that obligation is poison, and in my experience not a very good motivator.
I think the statement "obligation is poison" has an element of truth to it, but I think it might also oversimplify things a bit. Choosing to participate in ant village already entails certain obligations, at a minimum an ant is obliged to listen to a number of podcasts and pay $800 before they can start playing, and an ant also has an ongoing obligation to abide by Paul's dictates for as long as they stay. I think that people agreeing to do certain things for mutual benefit is not poisonous, I think it's part of the foundation of goodness and decency.

You're right that someone could still decide to leave or just not fulfill their minimum challenge requirements. In working towards something like Ava, I'm hoping to add more incentives for people to stay and work hard, namely the assurance that as long as they achieve the minimum challenge requirements, they won't walk away empty-handed, but will instead have at least 1/6 of an acre on which to continue illustrating their vision, and access to a common 1/2 acre on which to collaborate with fellow visionaries.

I feel that cooperation based upon personal self interest is a major pattern in nature. The rhizobacterium around a the roots of a legume don't fix nitrogen because they have an obligation to do so, or because they feel it is the right thing to do, they do it because the plant feeds them sugar in return. The bird picking bugs from the plants in a garden doesn't choose to hunt there because he likes the gardener, he does it because the gardener has created a safe place for him to hunt, with lots of perches to hunt from and trees to hide in. Both parties are providing services to their counterparts because doing so results in a net positive result for themselves.
I couldn't agree more strongly.

On a purely practical note, 1/6 of an acre is not very big. How are you going to fit 6 shelters on 1 acre, along with all the food to feed everyone? I understand that the Ants could all build their shelters on their own acres until the contest is over and everyone wins the AVA plot, but what about afterwards? I see what you are going for here, trying to ensure that everyone, or at least someone, wins the challenge, but I have a strong feeling that come next September, if there are 6 or more industrious Ants all working hard, building things and contributing to forward velocity the lab, and more importantly, functioning as a working example of a permaculture based village... its going to be pretty easy for us all to stick around.
Until yesterday, an acre and a half was the largest ant village plot available, and so it seemed to me like a good size to shoot for. Paul has recently updated the rules to include a provision whereby an ant could have a 3 or even 5 acre plot. If a rad industrious ant has one of these bigger sized plots, I think an Ava-esque alliance would be even better on their plot. I, for one, would prefer to have a 1/2 or 1/4 or 1/6 acre of deep roots than no roots at all. I think you're right that Paul will probably want to keep industrious ants around, but he has also laid out his intentions pretty clearly thus far, and while he could certainly change them whenever he wants, my decision-making is based on my understanding of the rules Paul has laid out so far. Maybe if six super industrious ants all did amazing things on their plots, Paul will give all six of them deep roots. That would be awesome. But Paul hasn't yet offered to do that. He's offered to give out one deep roots to one ant if six ants all fulfill the minimum challenge requirements. What an alliance like Ava offers is one alternative to this winner-take-all outcome.
 
Pia Jensen
Posts: 218
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possible cultivate dedication (v. obligation)?
 
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