Updated

Vision

Hi. I’m Matt Arnold, creator of the Fluidity Audiobooks podcast 🌐, where I’ve been narrating the books of David Chapman, starting with Meaningness 🌐. I originally had the idea for Fluidity Forum because I wanted to meet up with him, and several other writers on the internet who write about metamodernity, sense-making, rationality, metarationality, thinking-about-thinking, psychology, conflict resolution, comparative religion, secular meditation, psychedelics, and the like.

It turned out they wanted to get together too.

The Format

We are excited to welcome solo talks, panel discussions, and workshops, from anyone who wants to present (provided they meet the requests below). Available timeslots range from half an hour to an hour and a half. There is no mandatory minimum length for a presentation. It’s up to you as to what you think will satisfy your audience.

See a list of last year’s sessions.

You don’t need to present a talk or workshop, but we do want you to contribute something of yourself. Bring an exhibit for the exhibit hall. Bring food you made yourself. Perform music. Bring and teach a game you designed.

How We Measure Success

While we gather here, and until we disperse, we ask each other to attempt the following in good faith.

  1. Ask yourself, “does this support wonderment, open-ended curiosity, humor, play, enjoyment, or creativity?”

  2. Treat certainty 🌐, understanding 🌐, and control 🌐 as imperfect; as things we can improve, but not acheive some maximized optimal state.

  3. Those who combine the urgency of righteousness with the futility of hopelessness will not be invited back.

  4. Prioritize experience and reason over faith 🌐 even when they contradict your commitments or loyalties 🌐.

  5. Reserve the direct promotion of your products or services to times designated for self-promotion. Outside those times, focus more on developing new ideas, and asking fruitful questions.

These requests will not be hard for most of us. But if they are challenging for you, do more listening than talking in those moments.


We got some feedback that the first agreement might be too vague to be useful in clarifying our decisions as a group. Wonder, curiosity, humor, play, enjoyment, and creativity are what David Chapman calls “the six textures of the complete stance”. 🌐 They’re stars by which to navigate, or a canary in a coal mine. They’re not goals.

But that’s deliberate. We don’t specify admirable goals in a mission statement, such as philanthropy, wisdom, healing, or justice. Those are all wonderful, and we want to support each other in pursuing them. We just won’t put them in our agreements, because organizations that do tend to Goodhart a lot. They lose track of purpose. Participants do things that have no meaning to them. Those environments sometimes become performative games to promote the influence of big-shots, but not much else. You can tell it’s fake when the six textures are missing. Fluidity Forum attendees often do pursue higher goals, and we also keep the six textures as a sort of early warning system. Everyone involved pursues enjoyable usefulness 🌐 as they discover it in their situation. To the degree that Fluidity Forum doesn’t achieve higher goals because we don’t make people fake having them, we were never going to anyway.

This is a synthesis of Chapman with Caveat Magister. In his book, The Scene That Became Cities: What Burning Man Philosophy Can Teach Us About Building Better Communities, 🌐 Caveat repeatedly emphasizes the benefits of directly perceiving and pursuing what is meaningful in the present situation. When a scene requires everyone present to share one higher purpose, that’s when participants start faking it, even if the higher purpose is good.

I’m also drawing from @gptbrooke, the founder of Vibecamp, who said: “I want to do all that except the silly version where we take the little things seriously and the big things lightly” 🌐

You can have reverence for your higher goals, so long as other Fluidity Forum attendees can have good-natured irreverence toward them. We want to bring irreverence to Fluidity Forum, without what Chapman calls nihilizing, 🌐 but also allow reverence, without what Chapman calls eternalizing. 🌐 The alternative to nihilism and eternalism is the complete stance.