Zaq Mosher on the Colaboratori

We decided to Hangout to catch up with our friend Zaq. He began a project with his roommates called the Colaboratori, a collaborative labratory spelled with an “I” because the “Y” was already taken. Also, Zaq likes the word’s similarity to “satori”.  Glisten and I joined the Hangout from Australia.   Alex listened from Montreal, Quebec while transcribing the experiment.  Zaq joined to share more with us about the Colaboratori project that’s taking root in his home in Portland, Oregon.

Dan: How digital is it?  How physical is it? How global is it?

Zaq: Interesting question. Ultimately it’s physical, very very phsyical, most of the online stuff are tools enabling us to both share with others and allow others to share with us and do that thing.. What happens when people share together, that Synergy? I don’t know the right word for it yet. But all of that’s in service of the physical aspect, which is ultimately about creating non-obligatory roles, or voluntary roles. So taking care of all of our needs, from the basic stuff to the highest stuff we can think of, but we need to start with the basics:. How do we feed ourselves, how to we medicate ourselves, how do we get energy to ourselves, how do we build transportation, how do we communicate? Education. Does that answer the question?

He and his roommates Kaya and Josh urgently decided to get the project underway after their rental company began exerting pressure to attain a rental fee and threatened to kick them out.  The situation struck home as Zaq realized that he was living “as though the world would be the same as it is right now, twenty years from now”.  He began to rethink the way he was doing things, so that he could actually begin creating the “thriving resilient world” he imagined possible, starting in his own home.  He describes it as “self-producing node” which he sees eventually connecting with other self-producing nodes, that together could eventually reduce the suffering that had begun to personally affect him.

Zaq: … I realized that I’m not the only person suffering from this.  There are people suffering from it on much much deeper levels than I am, like people in extreme poverty living on less than 1 dollar a day.  I don’t even know what that experience is like.  I realize that their fates are deeply intertwined in my own.  In the way that, if they don’t make it, the world I’d like to live in won’t exist in 20 years.  It won’t be there.  That put a lot of pressure behind me to figure this out locally and then share it globally with those people in extremely harsh impoverished conditions.  I want to get a degree in Resilient and Abundant Development, and go into these places of extreme poverty in Africa, Latin America, etc., and help build up the infrastructure they need to help build themselves up.

I was reminded of the importance of starting where we are. While we often feel powerless, as if there is nothing we do about it, it is possible to begin to live differently, and begin testing new models for living, directly at home and in your community, that can also be applied to globally.

We then discussed the rapid creation of the Colaboratori logo, a process that Zaq couldn’t find the word for until Glisten sparked “Netsourcing”. It occurred to Zaq that we were engaged in that activity during the interview — “it feels so meta, what we’re doing” because we’re “starting where we’re at now,” he said.
Alex summed up the three components Zaq described in his process: Where you’re going, where you want the world to be in a real sense, and what you have. It’s an intercommitment process. Take stock of what you have in terms of skills, material, and figure out what projects are doable, and then with those skills and materials, cut it down one more time into which projects will create more skills and more materials for larger projects, then fill it in with your heart.
Zaq wanted to share this kind of process with the world, which he explains, “led to the online instantiation of the Collaboratori project.” He began creating social media accounts, when he realized the project needed a logo and didn’t have the skills needed to make a design, so he pinged some people who he thought could help from his network of friends.  The logo his team envisioned was a “chaos star” that also represented a bounded organism / individual that sends and receives signals in an unbounded environment. A few of his friends presented designs until a design emerged that brought a flowery heart feel to the metaphor his team was trying to get across. Zaq was inspired, “It blew my mind, it came together in a day and a half.”

We found it astonishing that the process of netsourcing, spontaneously became an adhoc experiment involving the recording of a G+ hangout and a collaborative writing process.

Glisten: Now we’re doing a process of talking together and typing it out to put it together on this blog post that you are now reading.

Zaq: Another thing I like about netsourcing, the sending signals out into the (void-like) unbounded environment. You work in line with your own intention, and then that creates attractors that allow others with similar inetenions to start walking with you until they start walking in different directions. i like the emergent quality of it. You can lead without forcing people to doing things.

Glisten: You can inspire them.

Dan: Stigmergy.

Zaq: I love that term. … My roommate Josh feels we have a fear of asking for help because traditionally our networks are really small and so if you’re the person who’s always asking and needing, it doesn’t work as much because you become a burden on the community. But whenever your community is worldwide, everyone can give a little to each other and no one ever becomes a burden to anyone else.We need to overcome that fear to ask.

Glisten: To realize the abundance of our resource…

Dan: The “unbound environment.”

In parting, Zaq was reminded to share his thoughts of appreciation. While initially he had his own fears of asking for help and wanted to be conscientious of others by not bothering them too much. Our own appreciation of his efforts assured him to further embody the process. _/\_

On that note, we ended the recording.

We reflected on our effort and I agreed with Zaq, that at times a ‘need to perform’ can make it a little tense to do these kind of recordings.

Zaq shared a list of the Colaboratori crew:

Dan: I must apologize for my noisy mic, I’ll get a headset, soon. Also it’s strange that the hangout recorded my face for the entire second half.

Alex: I think Zaq is in this for the long haul. He’s already planning to go back to school to get a degree and experience so he can go places and help people. He already has a team “on the groun” that he is working with in Portland. So far the Colaboratori has many of the elements of success. Look at the first components Zaq mentioned in the interview, which to me shows a long process of intensive searching, deep questioning, keen observation, etc.:

  • Figure out where you’re going
  • Figure out where you want the world to be in a real sense
  • Take stock of what you have in terms of skills, materials
  • Figure out what projects are doable
  • With those skills and materials, cut it down into projects which will create more skills and more materials for larger projects
  • Then fill it in with your heart
That’s something I can stand behind because I know what skills and materials I have.”

Glisten: Well done everyone, we are still fledgeling in this arena, and the technology is also still emerging and evolving – toward symbiosis as cyber-organismic collective genius!


Zaq Mosher on the Colaboratori

2 thoughts on “Zaq Mosher on the Colaboratori

  1. I’m curious. I think it can often pay to start out and trusting as deep and wide as possible and then pull back if peep don’t act right. Have you tried, yet, to not moderate comments?

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