Psychotechathons

Tomorrow’s event:

  • Collective Journaling w/ Peter Limberg and Co-Hosts. Daily @ 8:00 AM ET. Patreon event. 90 mins.

Newly posted events:

  • Erotic Magic and Mass Media w/ Mauricio Loza. September 23rd @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • McLuhan and the Lost Art of Sensemaking w/ Mark Stahlman. September 28th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • The Philosophy of the of Unabomber w/ David Skrbina. October 4th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • Vision, Service, and Community w/ Charles Eisenstein. October 5th @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event.

  • The Stomp Reflex and Emergency Emancipation w/ Luke Kemp. October 12th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • The Jhānas w/ Leigh Brasington. October 18th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

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September 3rd, 2021

Psychotechathons: Hackathons for psychotechnologies.

Hackatons are events where a group of people, usually computer programmers, meet for an intensive period (a day or weekend) with the goal being to produce something after the event, e.g. a prototype of an app.

Psychotechnologies are tools that we are not born with, but rather are encultured into, which transform the way we see and act in the world. John Vervaeke uses literacy as a historical example. The advent of literacy afforded people the ability to examine their own thinking, or what is called metacognition. It also allowed one’s thoughts to be shared with others in ways that were impossible before. 

This term has become somewhat fashionable in circles surrounding The Stoa, and has been used as a catchall to describe spiritual and transformative practices such as meditation, breathwork, psychedelics, psychotherapy, we-spaces, etc. 

Sliced between having deep conversations and presentations, psychotechnologies are things we explore here at The Stoa. A brief sample: Family Constellations, Bio-Emotive Framework, Emotional Effector Patterns, and Honest Sharing. For upcoming sessions we will be having a session on the Flow Game, Jhanas, and laughter yoga. 

Bonnitta Roy’s original series at The Stoa was called the Psychotechnology Playground and the spirit of playing with psychotechnologies has never left this place. I will be taking Bonnita’s embodiment course soon, and I asked her what kind of embodiment practices should I do. Her response: I think you should make up your own practices.

That response deeply resonated, because I am the kind of person who likes making stuff up, so perhaps it is time for me to help make some psychotechnologies, and doing so with the spirit of a hackathon might be the way to go about it. So here is the basic idea of what a psychotechathon could look like …

A two to four week intensive sprint that has a goal of designing a psychotechnology. The collective intelligence will be leveraged to achieve this goal. Everything produced can be open-sourced. The first psychotechnology that I am called to focus on: Sensemaking Squads. 

What are sensemaking squads? Simply put, a squad of people that can make sense of something that is happening in the world. Imagine having a squad of sensemakers helping you make sense about vaccines or vaccine passports, or cryptocurrencies, or parapolitical machinations. That would be pretty fucking cool. 

What could be included in these squads? Certain activities could include gamifying the devil’s advocacy, steel-manning, and ideological turning tests. Other various techniques could be included from fields such as informal logic, rhetoric, media literacy, research methodologies, applied rationality, Street Epistemology, intelligence gathering (OSINT), intrasubjective and intersubjective modalities, mental models, and ontological flooding, etc. 

This really excites me. Anything that I deeply want to have in existence, which is not in existence, usually excites me. Having a really robust sensemaking squad is one of them. Too many people are outsourcing their sensemaking to heterodox galaxy brains with platforms on the clearnet or, worse, they are outsourcing their sensemaking to legacy media. I want better options to be available, options where people have tools to invoke the agency needed to do their own sensemaking, ideally with trusted others. 

Psychotechathon sounds kind of dorky though. Maybe this should be called something else to make it more accessible. Now doubt is creeping in. Maybe I should not even attempt this. It is going to take a lot of effort on my part to get this right. What do you think?

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