Title:I’d like to draw attention to a new (very old) cause area. It is this: Feeling our body more fully and working with it to improve every aspect of life and work
Context:Buddhism and a host of other practices are what I’ve been engaging with over the last 8 months while living and training with others in a small community, a new Canadian Monastic Academy near Toronto called Willow. growingwillow.orgAfter working on EA community building for 3 years, I see the last 8 months as a very effective use of my resources for many reasons.
Premise:Scale—everyone has a body and everyone that I have met has trouble with it, for example, the body sends information to the mind—information which we could label as ‘pain’ or ‘shame’ or ‘lots/AHHH’—and this information plays a role in causing misery internally and externallyNeglectedness—the time, space, and teaching/methodology to compassionately listen to the body has been hard for me to find until recently, and this seems true for most people that I have metTractability—various teachers, methods, and communities are already in place which demonstrate valuable, accessible, true paths to greater embodiment
Summary:Embodiment, as a cause area, is something that I would love to see EAs work much more closely and deeply with for the benefit of all beings.
Closing:I welcome all reactions and feedback to this.I look forward to sharing more of what I now have and later will have to offer, at the least to help fellow EAs find more calm and energy, though more deeply and truly to encourage the young movement of EA to work more closely with the old movement of Buddhism and other sources of wisdom on problems that we all face, problems that EAs are working on one way or another.
Hi Eirin! I appreciate your comment. Yes, I naturally spend quite a bit of time reading newsletter articles, EA forum posts, books, and other resources that I find interesting and that relate to EA community building (plus, one gets enough reading recommendations at one EA global or EA retreat to last a year, it seems).If I had to give a better account of this relationship between my learning and EA Toronto’s outcomes, I’d still be quite anchored to saying that somewhere between one third and half of new suggestions and action-updates that I have for the group result from the learning that I do, e.g. an 80k article prompts me to talk about policy careers in a new way in a one-on-one or reading part of “Managing to Change the World” prompts me to think about accountability different in terms of following up with EATO group member action items. I think that more reflection brings out more direct connections between the learning, my actions, and the community outcomes.In the report, when I say “strategy updates and insights”, I am referring to what I think is a moving, shifting, dynamic, iterative process that goes into how I prioritize what I work on. A lot of the year was about experimentation with more focus on project meetings or one-on-ones and then presenting those experiments back to the community at group planning meetings. The learning itself was not normally planned out in advance to involve much strategy and evaluation, as those were two of the many interests I was more heavily drawn to. Much of the learning is me trying to embrace my curiosity and channel it towards EA where it can hopefully do good instead of just fizzling out in all directions. Indeed, re AMF, I echo that excitement. I’m very happy about the more concrete good done through donations, though I didn’t have too much to do with that besides a bit of maintenance. (We have some wonderful members who have been living EA values for many years).And now, you have gotten me to be a little more excited about the learning and development that other EA community builders are doing. I see that you folks have read some books that had an influence on your group (and I imagine, a lot more time reading articles on and off of the Forum). David Nash still seems to be “crushing it” in terms of learning more about EA ideas, opportunities, and resources and then feeding them into the powerful EAL newsletter. I suspect different people have different tendencies to spend lots and lots of time learning, thinking, and reading (and that aspiring EAs have the tendencies and privileges to do so more than most people).
This review is wonderful. Thank you very much for making this.
What do you think are the 1-3 areas for further research that are most pressing/valuable?
For me, it looks like more work on the mechanisms and perhaps stories of behaviour change towards a given set of outcomes (careers, projects, donations) would be a good area. Another is about seeking a better understanding of how the engagement/sales funnel works (how individuals can move through it in a clearer way, step to step, perhaps with staggered events, in series, that aim for deeper engagement and more specific recommendations).
I’ll aim to structure future reports so that they will be more useful for reviews like this one.
Past report: http://bit.ly/EATOreport2018
I find the term ‘operations’ to be chunky and plausibly misleading in a survey such as this where it might take on quite different meanings for different people and organizations depending on the specific needs it refers to, for example, in this article: https://80000hours.org/articles/operations-management/
Insofar as it is feasible, I would love to see it broken up into different parts, as it seems to me that it can refer to a lot:
-People in operations roles act as multipliers, aiming to enable those in the organisation to maximise their productivity. They oversee the functions crucial to every top performing organisation, such as management, overseeing budgets, helping to hire and train new staff, and so on.-Great operations people are “systems builders” — they create and manage repeatable processes that keep the organisation functioning at a high level. This means they require significant creativity, self-direction and social skills, as well as conscientiousness.
...Creating a financial system.
Creating a productive office.
HR & Hiring.
Thanks for this Holly.
I plan to share your article and talk about in an upcoming workshop I am doing on Self Care for the Altruistic (which will mostly consist of using 80k’s strategies in addition to taking suggestions from participants and others EA folks https://80000hours.org/career-guide/how-to-be-successful/#1-dont-forget-to-take-care-of-yourself).
I resonated with most of what you wrote about. You are definitely not alone in having those feelings. (I have also been thinking and writing about sustaining altruistic motivation, and I found your article to be a helpful addition).
Another feeling that I come across might be an extension of ‘social approval and connection’ along with ‘other values’. I’ll call it Representing EA (or EA brand/perception management). Especially as a community builder, a mixed feeling comes up in moments where I think that I am helping shape someone’s early perception of EA yet I know that the ideas and practical realities are more complex, challenging, and individualised than I can easily portray in words, especially when I am, at the same time, trying to honestly mention the appealing parts of EA to someone who seems to be really interested in the EA ideas and values.
A feeling kind of like:
I cannot do a good job of explaining this to you until you see more for of it for yourself
yet I still feel the need to do a good job of explaining this to you
and I hope I don’t give you the wrong ideas
even though the decisions are ultimately up to you.
Thanks for the model! I found it useful for framing many community building plans. I am a community builder for EA Toronto, a local community group as opposed to a university/college group (though we will hopefully be collaborating with more schools and students soon).
For community group contexts, I think most of the elements in the model above fit in well, especially 1 on 1s. One element that I think might not cross-over so easily is the EA Seminar. People coming into an EA community of varying backgrounds, ages, and professional statuses might not get excited about or feel the benefit of an EA Seminar in the way that students would. There seems to be some interest in this kind of core ideas event, yet it feels like this event could/should take a different shape in the local group context, though I am not sure what yet.
I think there is also a worry about teaching EA as opposed to encouraging more grassroots and self-learning of EA ideas, though much of this can be handled by good planning and facilitation, as opposed to lecturing and other limited group formats.
I would be happy to hear if other people are having similar concerns about what seem to be core EA event types when there are applied in different contexts.
I just played with Parable of the Polygons recently http://ncase.me/polygons/ and I think it illustrates a simple general strategy for building more diversity which may underly many of the strategies in this article. The simple strategy is to have a preference against high levels of sameness (/homogeneity), given that one already has a preference for more diversity. I think it is important to not be okay with a demographically homogenous EA movement, manifested with more general strategies, e.g. ‘I will try to notice, feel bad/ disapproving, and do something about an EA meeting with over 80% white, male, tech, etc.’, along with the many great general and specific strategies in this article.
Thanks for the article Kelly.
Also, parable of the polygons is fun to play around with, aside from its instructive benefits. :)