C'est la vie en soi !

protopian projects


What the heck is a Bergerac?  And why on Earth would they need a hub ???

Okay, okay.  Calm down.  Bergerac is a lovely French town on the River Dordogne where the Life Itself project has one of its main residency-and-retreat centers. They recently hosted the August RSPND NETWORK practitioner retreat. 

They also have a Berlin hub.  And a podcast.  Plus they're mapping the polycrisis/metacrisis, experimenting with intentional communities, developmental co-living, new ecological moments, long-term residencies, regenerative crypto, etc.

If you do not know them, you should.  They are a dynamic part of the overlapping new culture & new thought networks. 

Here's what their website says:

> We are pragmatic utopians, committed to practical action for a radically wiser, well-er world. We create coliving hubs, start businesses, do research and engage in activism to pioneer a wiser culture. We are ordinary people who choose an extra-ordinary path, treading the middle way between Plum Village and Silicon Valley.

(BTW Plum Village is a French developmental community set up by recently deceased Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.) 

So the audaciously named “Life Itself” project was set up by co-founders Sylvie Barbier (a French-Taiwanese performance artist, entrepreneur & educator), Rufus Pollock (economist, technologist & founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation) and cognitive scientist Liam Kavanagh.  But what's their big idea? 

Their gamble is that we have to tackle the spiritual crisis & the failure of collective mobilization (against objective existential threats) at the cultural level.  That means generating a new ethos through co-living, shared projects, co-hosted events and the mutual production of new values.  All of which could lead to political, social, economic and technological change. 

You may have heard things like that in other places but here is why, according to their About page, they are “different" --

> We balance the spiritual and the rational. We like meditation as much as we like getting things done. We want meaningful work and a meaningful life. We value the environment and technology, art and science. We take action, both personal and political. We’re the middle way between the suit and the hippy, between the billionaire and the monk.

If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you do not think that sounds different

You know a bunch of people with similar goals and strategies.  Heck, you might have similar goals and strategies yourself.  That is good. The kind of people who think Life Itself sounds oddly familiar are exactly the folks who should be aware of this project.  They are your potential allies. 

And, who knows, maybe you even have a great idea for an event in Bergerac?


Check out the summary wisdom framework that  RSPND's Nathan Vanderpool put together after last year's practitioner retreat in Vermont.   
Words by
emerge is convening a field of metamodern praxis