Connected happiness

hmmm, I’ve gone through different phases in the past with regards to how my social network was built and who was in it (see below). For the longest time it was very much an offline network even through I can’t really remember ever not having socialised online- I guess my existing offline network moved online. To have a resilient and diverse online social network it needs to not consist of people who are too much like yourself. And I think you get there by doing very different things in different contexts in your life. Mm I try to be impartial and reflective as well as to not be associated with any political entity- an independent thinker. I’ll generally refrain from expressing my opinions and requests for actions unless it’s about something that I know will adversely affect us all and is too unsexy for people to pay attention too unless friends point out that they need to.I am not comfortable with commercial networks knowing much about me-I also think that attempts at controlling the flow of our data are futile due to pervasiveness of surveillance. I manage this by trying to be careful about what I publish about myself.

Phase 1: First period as independent grown up. During this phase I was just drifting and kind of bumping into people along the way very excited to be out in the world and friendly and open, giving people keys to my home if I liked them. People were always hanging out at my place or sleeping on the floor of my room after a wild night out, seldom fewer than four people crashing at my place. And I’d cook pasta for everyone. Which is how I came to be living in a commune with some really nice people. It was a point where I was coming out of my shell in terms of my creative urges and started painting and drawing alot more. Over time my network started to change shape, more free-spirited, restless people with jobs that were different from what they were passionate about- jobs in supermarkets, hotels or cafes. And everyone was in at least one band. A lot of of my time was spent in dingy rehearsal studios in the middle of nowhere and gigs in non-descript venues or obscure festivals.

Phase 2: Get a profession. At this point I started feeling the pressure to grow up and get a profession. I tried my hand at different professions including working as a cook, really wanted to go to art school and ended up in Engineering uni. My social network started to change, including more students as a result of spending more time in the university building as well as more ambitious creative people outside the academic environment. This was a result of my getting involved in a lot of extracurricular activities, both ones directly tied to developing a professional profile and ones that were just fun like throwing art space parties. I was drawn towards people I could learn from and would just walk up to them and tell them i wanted to learn from them or collaborate on things together.What I was looking for in my relationships at the time was to get things done, make things happen. And I tended to draw people who also were very focused.

Phase 3: Survival and happiness. I’m at the phase where I see my social networks as a large chunk of what makes me happy in the world- being surrounded by people I like and respect and feel good around is my main focus at the moment. And that means people who are warm and curious about the world they live in and want to have fun experiencing it with others. It also means trying to build a lifestyle where that joy depends as little on the ups and downs of the world financial doings, or undoings if you like, as possible. And finding people who want to do that too…


I like how you married these two words: ‘connected’ and ‘happiness’.

I was surprised, however, to see that at the end of your report, you associated ‘survival’ to happiness. Are you sure you stand at ‘survival’?

There are seven levels of achievement.

Survival is the first level. Achievement at this level is based on family, community, feelings of belonging and material comforts.

The reactive mode is the second level. Beyond mere survival, everyone seeks to meet the needs of the I, me and mine. Success and realisation.

The inner peace mode is the third level. Achievement in life is based on peace, communication, self-acceptance and inner silence. This is the mode that leads to well-being. One no longer wants to be engulfed by the perpetual agitation of the outside world.

The intuitive mode is the fourth level. Achievement in life is based on insight, empathy, tolerance and indulgence. You look for information in the outside world and inner world. You must learn to trust your ability to get to fully know yourself. Confirmation that inner world is good.

The creative mode is the fifth level. Achievement in life is based on inspiration, the development of artistic or scientific creativity, and passion of discovery. You keep inventing new goals, new concepts, and to discover new facts. This creativity seems to spring from nowhere - the unknown simply generates new thoughts. It is the inspiration. Amazed by the beauty and complexity of life.

The visionary mode is the sixth level. Achievement in life is based on compassion, dedication to others and the universal love.

The sacred mode is the seventh and last level. Achievement in life is based on the completeness and oneness with everything.

On the challenges of connecting

It is admirable, really, the way you transmit the love for life and for being surrounded by people.

Is it with hindsight that you realise it’s good to have a diverse network of people different of you, or is it something you deliberately try to achieve?

I seem to discover that traveling a lot helps create this diversity, even if only cultural at the beginning. The difficult part for me is:

  1. to make friends with people very different from me, it’s almost as some people are not good at this, even when there’s curiosity and genuine interest. If it’s someone much smarter or experienced than me, it is inhibiting and sometimes I tend to avoid them, without realising it. That’s a bit stupid, but it happens.

  2. to nurture my network, and make sure it stays together. In other words, the biggest challenge is paying attention to what others are doing and staying in touch for real, not just hi and happy birthday. But my guess is that’s something you learn and you start by doing it consciously, and then inherently.

Higher and smarter

I go for the people which are much smarter than me (or so I think they are). I probably end up saying a lot of stupid things, I suppose, but this is how I manage to grow and learn fast.

The most incredible, in all this, is that once I find the best of the best, the ones who strikes me as being the best, there appears others which are even better. Is it not just amazing? The more I climb in my quest for evolution, the more I discover people even more advanced than me. They come to me and as far as I need them. That’s why I dream and I always aim for higher.

How to keep the connections happy on both ends?

Seems like the right place to ask: How do you folks (esp. Nadia) deal with exploitation in your network?

Background: Of course social networks thrive when there’s a synergistic give-and-take, and it works informally without the needs to keep track of efforts. Yet it happens, for reasons unknown to me, that some end up as long term net donators, and others as net consumers with respect to them. No evildoing implied … the compensation simply does not happen. But how to solve that?

Personally, I got tired of this problem and am wary to immerse myself in larger social groups again: wherever I pop up and meet new folks, not long and I get supplied with work that “belongs to being in a network” and for that reason, can hardly be turned down. Computer repair, data rescue, website development, programming, household repair, transportation tasks, you name it. Yet I hardly find something to ask in return that I need (given that money is usually taboo in these mutual help arrangements and that it’s also inadequate to ask for something you don’t need just because it’s useful as compensation). Know a friend with a car workshop who feels likewise.

So how do you find, found or develop a network with balanced give-and-take?

Its something we need to think hard about

After Ela posted her reflections on the FCI incubator series I rang her up. And we had a conversation on this very topic :slight_smile: And I posted a rant slash call to action on this here: