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Duration:15:16
Uploaded:2021-02-14
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 (00:00) to (02:00)


Hello, the Project for Awesome just ended a couple hours ago.  I'm just cleaning up my office 'cause it is a bad place in here right now.  Maybe, just the desktop of my computer and also the physical desktop of my desk, both of them are not in great shape right now, but the Project for Awesome just happened and look, take a big zoom out here and recognize that there is a number of problems that are really big, and like, the pandemic is one.  We are making it through it, and like, it is, to me, been a, and I know that a lot of people aren't feeling this way, I understand it, but to me, it has been, to a certain extent, an example, not like the best one, we didn't do it as best as we could've.  We are still not doing it as best we can, but an example of people working together to solve very big problems, right?  

It is a big problem and it's complicated and we are getting through it and at the same time, there were lots of other problems happening at the same time, so it's not like we get to take a break from all the other ones while we dealt with this one, but we're getting through it, but still, we are being pummelled from every angle by news and always there are a couple of things lingering in the background, things that we know are going to have tremendous negative impacts and create a lot of instability and uncertainty in our world and those things are like climate change, definitely one, and another one which I think is just as troubling, inequality.  

So, these like, big, big concerns.  Some big concerns and then there are some that are like, maybe, maybe there's gonna be another pandemic that's worse than this.  Maybe there's gonna be an asteroid that hits us and it's not gonna like, wipe the planet out, but it is, like, destabilizing to the globe.  Maybe artificial intelligences will want to take over the planet.  That's a little ways away.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)


The nice thing about like, artificial intelligence as opposed to asteroids: asteroids could really, kind of at this point, happen, ehhh, at any time, depending on the size.  A smaller one can hit us without notice, pretty easily, we would get notice with a bigger one, which is amazing news, right?  For the vast majority of human history, and I mean up to like 20 years ago, that wasn't the case.  Like, a very large rock could have hit us and we would have known about it the day it happened, right, like there wouldn't--now we at least, like, have some systems for monitoring these things, and the systems are getting better, and they should, so the, like, of course there are, there are lots of troubling things about the way that the world is right now.  There are lots of concerns and I spent three minutes talking about them.  But.  Taking a time to be part of a community focused on problem-solving fucking rocks, right?  Man, does that feel good.

Now, it's hard to like, to all agree on what the problems are, like, that's--that shouldn't be the hard part, but even that's the hard part, and then two, what the solutions are.  That's much more complicated than the problems.  It's much easier to come up with a problem, to agree on a problem than to agree on a solution for like, everybdy knows that.  Like, everybody wants healthcare in America to be better.  Like, everybody knows there's a problem.  Everybody knows that we spend more for worse outcomes, so like, nobody thinks this is perfect, but nobody agrees, nobody, many people disagree on the solution and so like, but like, that's human and I understand.  You don't like, I don't really like, want to hear about it sometimes when it's like, I don't wanna hear your excuses for why we're not solving this problem.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)


Like, at this point, but like, at the same time, there are reasons.  Are they excuses?  No.  Are there reasons?  Yes.  And so, but getting a chance to spend 48 hours agreeing on particular problems, whether that's like, justice in America, whether that's access to education, whether that's health, whether that's, you know, specific diseases or whether it's what we call sort of like, public health or global health.  All of these things, we agree they're problems, and also we say, look, there are people who work on these problems and they know better than us and we are gonna give them our attention and, when possible, our money for 48 hours and I gotta say, feels real good, man.  Feels real good to be a part of the group of people that are focused on, at the same time, the problems, the solutions, and also not being like, super fucking somber about it.  Like, having a good time, because solving problems is a good time, because community is a good time.

Now, like, this shouldn't be so hard, but we are gonna have to build new systems of community and I didn't think that in 2007 when we like, when John thought up the word 'nerdfighter', at the same time, our Mom has spent her career as a community organizer and has been and a sociologist, and so is well aware of the like, and so like, maybe by exposure, we had some idea about this, but well aware of the sort of like, systems that provided community not being as robust and kind of falling apart a little bit.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)


The reasons why?  Hard to agree on.  The things to do about it?  Hard to agree on.  The fact that there's a problem?  Easy to agree on.  Like, it just, it is.  Like, we can see peoples' shrinking social graphs.  We can see their, we can see their like, increasing isolation among a lot of populations in the US, so like, problem.  Problem exists, and so we're gonna like, solution, I don't know, but like, part of the solution needs to be finding ways to have community in the year of our 2020, like, I'm sorry, 2021, 'cause it's the future.  

Is it 2021?  It is.  I almost looked at the frickin calendar, 'cause I couldn't believe that.  Anyway, this is obviously not the only community in my life and I also imagine that like, the sort of like, structure of Nerdfighteria is not the only community in anyone's lives.  You know, but so like, but diversifying that, finding the opportunities to do this, investing the time, I'm just so thankful.  I'm thankful that a bunch of people did, does, do this thing with us, and that, you know, it really feels pretty real and I'm not, like, it's a bunch of folks.  You know, I don't know how many individual donors we had during the Project for Awesome.  We will find that number out, but it's a lot.   It's a lot, and do you get a good perk?  Yeah, you do, and you can still get them by the way at projectforawesome.com/donate if you go now.  I think that we close it down on Tuesday.  Just gotta, you know, for the stragglers, you know, it certainly comes in much slower, but over the course of those two days, we do get a substantial amount of money that we can then distribute, and it's a lot of people and it's really fun and it feels really good and I, I will say that like, I expect at this point, I'm aware, so watch out for this if you're a Project for Awesome participant, that it like, sort of (?~8:13), like in deep, that there will be a bit of a dopamine rebalancing.  Just like, it's a high for me anyway and then there's a period of time where my brain's like, are we still going?  And it's like, well, not really, we gotta get back to like, normal stuff, and then it's like, okay, but I'm still like, I'm used to a certain amount of stimulation, and it's like, well, you're gonna get less now.  

 (08:00) to (10:00)


We're gonna do--go back to normal, you have to do staff meetings.  My brain's gonna be like, but no, but like, but now less, but now like, if it's not more, it feels like less, that kind of situation.  I don't know if this is actually like, has anything to do with the chemistry of how brains work.  It feels like it to me.  It feels like I had an elevated level of just stimulus, and when that goes back down, my body is like, a normal amount of stimulus does not provide the same effect, and so I will have a kind of, some kind of like, crash at some point.  This happens to me after conferences, it happens to me after tour, it happens to me after Project for Awesomes, it happens to me after significant life events in general, and so, do with that what you will.  

The thing that helps me the most is knowing it's coming, and so when it comes, I'm like, ah, there it is.  I feel low, I feel down right  now, and so like, knowing that that is there and that it's caused, it's like a normal reaction, or at least for me, like, it's a normal thing that happens, knowing about that is helpful.  It's because then when it happens, I'm like, oh, it is normal, it is a thing and just trying to smooth it out, and then I'll sort of like, whooo, and the dip is, I think, lowre than the high.  

 (10:00) to (12:00)


The high is high, the dip is a little low, and then I'll sort of even back out.  We're getting donations, I'm watching them still come in.  Michael just got the Project for Awesome commemorative coins and Jamie just got the digital download bundle and said, "I didn't get to participate much this year, but I am very excited for the next year's worth of digital content.  DFTBA."  So you can still go and get them, like Jamie just did three minutes ago, and yeah, so those are the things that I've been thinking about.  

I am really grateful for a great Project for Awesome.  It's, you know, I think that this is going to continue to be not the easiest time in human history, but also certainly not the hardest, and I hope that, but--and so like, there's a portion of that that comes along with just like, you know, bad news and all the different reasons why we hear a lot of bad news, both because there might be a lot and also because we just--our, sort of, spheres of empathy are larger and also I think that we're entering into, I don't know, it feels a little bit like a transitionary period to me, where we're going from this is, way above my pay grade, but like, it feels like we're going from a world where there was a sort of like, single hegemon--like, ahhh, hegemonic power.  What the heck was that?  That was my webcam.  To a world where there--the US, like, will remain important but like, not the sort of--and like, has it ever been that way?  Is that just an illusion?  I don't know.  I'm, again, I'm not an international relations major, but--or expert, and so, but it feels like this is a transitionary period.  It feels a little bit like, I don't know, but transitions are always rough and hopefully they take us to a better place eventually in the long term, but yeah, but also like, is it even about nation-states, or is it about like, the power of tech companies and the new places where we live, where we don't so much live in physical spaces.  

 (12:00) to (14:00)


We do, still, of course, and we should, we should, pay a lot of attention and care deeply and compassionately about the places we live, but we're also--have these other spaces we inhabit which are, you know, social spaces on the internet, which is just a very new thing and a very new way of communicating, so when I say like, a lack of Amer--sort of the end of American hegemony, that doesn't have to mean that like, it's the rise of a new nation-state hegemony or like, some kind of, you know, competing nation-state thing, though I'm sure that that will happen, but also that there is a, there's sort of a third party here that has never existed and there was a time before nation-states and so like, that was a transition and now there's gonna be a time after nation-states?  Probably not, not--at least, I hope not, not in the short term, not in the medium term, but 'cause that would be a big transition, but uh, where there's this other thing and this other thing is like these, you know, corporations that own the space we inhabit.  Facebook and Twitter and Google and YouTube and TikTok and those things will be regulated by nation-states but they will be separate from nation-states and man, what's the long term there is very hooo-ah, that is  a, that's fertile ground to be thinking about what, to be thinking hard about what the long-term implications of that are, but it's fertile ground for maybe science fiction.  

 (14:00) to (15:16)


Probably not fertile ground for actually predicting the future because uh, it's a little too complex for that, but um, I was talking about the Project for Awesome and so like, what we have to know is that the strength is in people working together and so, whoo, that's just exciting to me.  It's exciting to have been a part of that for 48 hours and it's also exciting to me to be thinking about how that takes form every year during the Project for Awesome, but also in other ways.  Watching how it is happening to people who I don't know that well and are outside of my community, also thinking hard about how it's going to happen among my close friends and also among this community, which for a long time, I have had a hard time articulating exactly what it is, and it turns out, the reason for that is because it is a little bit unprecedented, which is another lovely thing about it.  Thank you, thank you, for a great Project for Awesome.