Re: NEXUS: Extropian communities

Derek Strong (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 01:36:01 -0800

[Warning: Long, Rambling, Self-Important Babbling About Home Life About to

Max More wrote:

>Talk of "ideal" Extropian communities sounds weird to me. How is that
>different from "the ideal Extropian job?" Surely what works best will vary
>from individual to individual and group to group. For that reason I would
>say there is *no* ideal Extropian community, nor will there ever be.

I would prefer to say there are *many* ideal extropian communities. I
certainly believe that my current community (or family, or nexus) is ideal
for me, and I know many who feel the same. What's interesting is that what
is ideal not only varies from person to person, but also varies for the same
person over time.

>MODEL GROUP NEXUS: If you want to know about how this kind of Extropian
>community works, you should know that the largest

...shiniest, happiest, most handsome, most entertaining, most humble...

>nexus that I know of is
>what used to be called the Pheonexus (since it was in Pheonix, AZ),

This quite obvious name was first quite obvious to Jay Prime Positive
(innovator of innovators). Thankfully, Jay thought to mention it to us, so
that it could then be quite obvious to us, as well.

>but which moved to northern California and grew to five people

...the two newbies being Matt Day & Kip Repscher (Kip is subscribed to the

>(plus a sixth, Dave Krieger regularly visits).

He's getting a shoulder rub from Kip not 5 feet from my keyboard right now.

>I suppose today it might be called the
>TransNexus, since it made a transition from AZ to CA. Or maybe: The ExNex.
>(Derek, what do you think of these? Or have you already come up with a new
>name for the moved Pheonexus?)

Well, it's funny you should ask. Surprisingly, there is some sentiment among
us not to rename at all. We kind of like Phoenexus. There do remain some
marginal parallels between our story and the mythical ash-bird. Okay, so we
didn't burn up into ashes in Phoenix, but it was pretty goddam hot. And we
spent a good number of years there at Alcor dealing with death (and sure,
the hope for rebirth, if necessary) in as direct a manner as humans ever do.
And naturally, the death-avoidance business being as lucrative as it was, we
were pretty damn poor. So getting real jobs and real incomes in an area with
real weather was a little like "rising from the ashes of our earlier life,"
or something. (None of this is to say that we had a bad experience there.
Quite the contrary. Our time at Alcor and in Phoenix was for all of us the
most rewarding experience we'd ever had, and the long term benefits to us
individually for having been there are only just beginning. We're now
happily intertangled with so many of you wonderful extropian types
specifically because of our advantage of position (being at the center of an
important hub of extropian activity). What a gift to know so many geniuses
and beautiful people so early in life.)

Oh, and also, we're all "formerly burnt dead birds that recently rose up out
of some ashes which were probably our own," as the saying goes. (Like I
said, the mythical parallels are marginal.)

The more compelling reason we might not change our name is simply that
Phoenix is where this particular power-quintet first coalesced, so the name
retains its historical meaning at the very least.

However, there has indeed been talk about what we should change it to if we
do change it. (Max -- your ideas aren't bad. I like ExNex better than
TransNexus, but I also think the name we choose should have something more
personalized and us-specific if we're to change it.) The best of this
ongoing conversation was a message (read: brainstorm) Kip posted to our
in-house mailing list back in November. I'm forwarding that message (with
permission) to the list separately under the "HUMOR" meta tag. (We've always
felt that hilarious brainstorming is the most productive brainstorming.)

We might consider having a Nexus Naming Contest, if people were game. Maybe
we'd offer some money (or something) to whomever comes up with a name we
decide to use.

>To return to the faulty idea of an "ideal" community, I should point out
>that a bunch of individuals living together, while great for some, will not
>work for others. For some couples, and for families, other models will
>often work better. There are several Extropian family Nexi/Nexuses, such as
>that of the Heward Family (which, when everyone is there, includes four ExI
>members, with the two youngers potential Extropians....)

My usage of the word "family" has definitely changed since living in a
nexus. And my understanding of the word "mate" has morphed as well. I think
it's quite natural that extropians would regard these notions as inherently
subjective and individually determined And indeed, that is probably the
most valuable aspect of this kind of arrangement for me: the opportunity to
explore the boundaries of human relationships with other bright, extropian
minds. Being single and (more or less) hetero, I've had motivation to
discover which of the good things in life that are normally reserved for
mate relationships can be had by the likes of me and other single

It turns out, much to my surprise, that *most* of the elements of
relationships normally reserved for mates can be had platonically. I'm
talking about hand-holding, hugs, back rubs, massages, and my personal
favorite, head rubs. More generally, I'm talking about reciprocal love
and/or affection, and about being committed to someone else's happiness
(reciprocity again being the key) over a long period of time, and getting to
reap the long term benefits of that commitment.

I will say, the nexus isn't for everyone. Being an "extropian" can mean a
lot of things, but it does not guarantee compatibility. I'm fortunate enough
to have latched onto to 4 people who are *extremely* similar in terms of
values, modes of living, preferences for entertainment, and day to day
passions and habits. Philosophy is only part of that equation. Attitude,
sense of humor, and personality are much more important.

However, that is not to say we don't draw the line with some matters of
principal. We are all Alcor members in good standing, for example. (I'm not
sure if there is any other single household with as many as five bracelets.
It might be a record.) And of course we are all dedicated hedonists. (I
won't say which of these life necessities we rank as more important, only
that both are mandatory.)

We even started on a list of Phoenexus Rules, but never finished it
(probably due to the overwhelming bureaucratiphobia from which we all
suffer). It started like this:

1) Absolutely, positively no dying.
2) Clothing is permitted.
3) Thou art God (or something like that).
4) But so am I.

Rule 3 & 4 were never agreed upon (I think they're why the making of the
list broke down), but the sense of the nexus was that there should be some
similar sentiment about self-ownership and self-direction.

I think Damien and possibly some others here said they wanted to know more
about the Nexuses (Nexi?). Was there something specific? Or just generally
wondering how we like it and how feasible it is to shack up with other
transmutants? If it's not clear from the above, I guess I should clearly
state that each of us here gives both thumbs up to nexus life. (That's 10
thumbs, and probably a few flippers and fins.) As far as I know, I've never
met a person who lives in a more supportive environment than we do. (I would
LOVE to hear of other's good experiences, though. I think happiness contests
are win/win.) That didn't happen for us overnight. It took multiple
extropians dedicated to seeking long term growth, aided by informed empathy,
understanding, and insight. (And, oh yeah... talent and brains and skill,
too. Or is that part assumed in the "extropian" label? One would hope so.)

And time.

If you have the opportunity, definitely give it a try. As always, your
mileage may vary! (Always wanted to take my turn saying that here...)


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