01/24/02 - 08:17:09
IP: 18.104.22.168 Browser: Mozilla/4.76 (Macintosh; U; PPC)
Greetings, M.C. & all...
The last time I got out of bed between 2:00 & 3:00 a.m. to post something here, it was that damn Ronald Petrovich who got me going & when he shows up again, I aim to be ready. But this time, what got me up was PURE EXCITEMENT -- & it's built steadily in the past day & a half since your announcement.
I just finished sending an email to a friend-of-a-friend who's a planet hunter (his CV lists: "discovered 14 of 20 Extrasolar Planets currently known; discovered first planetary system around a sun-like star") -- asking if he's a JS fan, etc., for starters -- so, believe me, feeling enthusiastic about your proposal is not a problem for me. Getting a good night's sleep this week is!
I scribbled various notes yesterday during free moments at work: reactions, ideas, etc. At the top of my list was saying something, if I hadn't already, about what an inspiring & beautifully written statement you wrote, M.C., introducing the idea of the Society. I read it a few times (& ordered a copy of Herbert's "Destination Void"). One of the things I enjoyed most was the historical context in which you placed PK & the band's work & the spirit that will guide the Society. You did put your heart, soul, & mind into writing that statement, & I'm sorry none of us began by acknowledging that!
Your discussion of the great ages of exploration ("the longitude problem", etc.) prompted some tangential thoughts of my own yesterday about child development. I don't know if fellow shipmates are familiar with the work of British ethologist/psychoanalyst John Bowlby, who developed what now is called "Attachment Theory", but one of his key ideas (now well-supported by evidence) was that in children, the capacity for true exploration depends on their having "a secure base." (i.e. If a child's attachment to a caregiver is secure, he or she then can freely "move out" into exploration & genuine play, coming back to the caregiver & leaving again freely/without undue anxiety.) He was thinking of attachment relationships & I won't blab on about this, but it led me to thinking about artists and their communities (both internal & external), & what constitutes a sufficiently secure base to permit an artist to take chances & freely explore. My sense, from first & subsequent readings of your essay, is that this is what we're talking about here: providing that kind of base and security, so that it feels possible for the band to move into new ventures & grow. The more I think about it, the more pleased I feel that you've asked us to build this with you.
I'm sure there are plenty of details to work out & revise over time, but I truly feel no reservations whatsoever about the heart of what you propose.
The rest of my thoughts here will be disjointed, because this is just stuff from a list I had going yesterday...
-- re: Publicizing the band's work: I thought about this being what many are calling another "Golden Age of Astronomy"... Recently, there have been stunning discoveries of new planets & planetary systems; the technology for searching space has made phenomenal gains in power & sophistication (& I don't understand even a third of what I read); congress just finally approved fairly good funding for a bunch of NASA proposals for the Mars (& other) projects... It seems to me that the scientific community, & especially astronomers, have long been eager for the public to know & care more about space exploration, & to support (FUND!) more exploratory missions... I think it'd be great if one of the Society's projects could be to form some links with those professional, amateur, & sci-fi communities that share some of our same passions & goals.
-- one concrete idea I had in connection with this: JS producing a short piece (film & music -- e.g. BATE) that could be shown at planetariums (perhaps also available on TV). I know that some of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" was used as a background for planetarium shows, but I don't know whether a band has ever produced a feature intentionally linked to astronomy, that could entertain & inspire a star-gazing community (while at the same time promoting the band).
re: profit/ non-profit status
I hope to hell you WILL make a profit on music, tours, & various merchandise; to me, that's part of the secure base that can allow you to keep most of your attention focused on artistic concerns, & not scrambling to survive.
However, maybe there also will be room to develop a non-profit arm of the Society: one that might look after the band's legacy.
-- concrete idea connected with this: I wonder if the Other Ones would be interested in sharing resources to develop something broader than what they plan with their "Terrapin Station" museum. I haven't yet been to the "Experience Music"/ Paul Allen center in Seattle -- but I'm thinking of something like these museums (and who knows? maybe it'd be an online museum?). If it were an actual place, some of us also might donate memorabilia (etc.) that would be better shared with future generations than kept to our family's attics.
Still in the non-profit realm: Seed money (as in "seedlings of the sun"?) for projects that bear some relation to the band's work. My first thought was supporting the development of artists & musicians whose work builds on & extends JS's explorations -- (perhaps a smaller, more specifically focused kind of REX Foundation) -- However, I realize this idea is at the moment totally grandiose & infeasible until JS itself is more secure. But since I was already being grandiose...I started thinking: internship opportunities (mentors for the developing artists; free labor for the band)...educational events (education broadly defined, as in "feed your...").
-- Random thoughts on nitty-gritty issues:
Given the storm we recently weathered @ how we use this collective space, a chat room may be the best solution. I'm of two minds about tying it to a financial contribution, though: on one hand, it makes sense to me that those of us who like to hang out here & talk a lot & be as pointless as we please should be helping to pay for the space. On the other, I hate to exclude someone who genuinely can't pay, or who needs some time to see if they want to stay... [Concrete suggestion: maybe paying for the chat-room could be a separate deal from the other contribution(s), & so there could be a trial membership period where it's free to people who've just found the site. Would that be too cumbersome for bookkeeping? Also, I'd hope "scholarships" or work-grants could be available.]
re: contributions/ membership dues, whatever...
I suggest that when setting amounts, you specify a floor & not a ceiling. Some of us could & would give more than what you ask; some can't, don't want to, etc. A couple of people have suggested having more than one level of investiment/participation, with different perks associated -- like NPR, as DA said -- maybe that'd work.
Personally, I'm still struggling with the "exclusively available" aspect: I don't really like it. I agree with what Christo said, for instance, about the PERRO CD's: Don't we want as many people as possible to hear them? I also hope we'll keep the "all are welcome" spirit on the site (oh no! please, don't even go there...). Again, I hope we can avoid creating overly-sharp & apparent distinctions here (i.e. who contributes how much money) or a bunch of special titles (I'm telling you, this didn't work out so well for The Sun King's court): approaches that are divisive & that emphasize hierarchies rather than the kind of open, free-wheeling collaboration that, to me, just feels a whole lot better.
I refuse ever to let go of the hope that "We Can Be Together"...
But adding "Ad astra per aspera" ...ahhh, now that's a very nice touch!
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