I recently read an amazing science-fiction book called Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. It imagines humanity’s next thirty years as we contend with the reality of climate change. It's a terrifying yet optimistic book.
The “Ministry for the Future” in the book’s title refers to an imagined UN agency tasked with protecting Earth’s future inhabitants. At one point in the book, Mary, the head of this agency, gives an impassioned speech to a group of bankers:
“Help us get to the next world system. New metrics, new kinds of value creation. Make the next political economy. Invent post-capitalism! The world needs it, it really has to happen!”
Which Mary and others go about trying to do.
When I read this passage I practically leapt out of my chair. These ideas were identical to what's proposed in This Could Be Our Future and at the heart of the Bento Society’s mission:
“The mission of the Bento Society is to redefine what the world sees as valuable and in its self-interest. The same tools and measurements we’ve used to grow and measure financial value can be applied to non-financial values, creating a world where value isn’t solely defined, distributed, and optimized as financial capital. We will learn that other values — something’s ecological value, its social value, its relational value — are just as critical depending on the situation.”
While Ministry for the Future imagines these conversations happening in the distant future, the Bento Society will be having them now.
The new Bento Society
Last year was the Bento Society’s first in existence. We hosted 100+ events for thousands of people. Our community grew from just me to 2,000 people. The bento and the community became everyday parts of people’s lives all around the world.
It's a beginning that exceeded my expectations. But there’s still a long way to go. To help us get there, the Bento Society is introducing memberships.
The approach is very simple. There’s one membership tier that you can choose to pay monthly or annually using a “pay what you want” pricing model. We suggest $10 a month or $100 a year, but the actual amount is up to you.
What comes with membership? Bento Society members can:
Exclusively attend Bento Society events (Weekly Bentos, roundtables, experiments, guest talks, etc)
Join intimate Bento Groups for learning and development
Support R&D for a better future with Bento Society grants
Connect with others in our private member space
Funds will pay the costs of the Bento Society (hosting, engineering, design, and people costs), be given as grants to projects aligned with our mission (we’re giving $1500 to a project every three months starting later this month, with more as we grow), and be invested in expanding the Bento Society’s impact and reach.
This project has been a labor of community and love for me and many others this past year. I'm thrilled to honor what we've created with this next step. I hope you'll join us by becoming a member of the Bento Society.
The new Ideaspace
Over the past three years this newsletter has explored evolutions in technology, the future of capitalism, changes in social values, and ideas like the Dark Forest Theory of the Internet.
While focusing on similar topics, this year the Ideaspace is evolving. Much like The Creative Independent, the Ideaspace will publish interviews with technologists, philosophers, scientists, authors, economists, artists, business leaders, and others exploring pioneering projects and ideas.
These interviews will be grouped thematically each quarter, starting with a series on how metrics will save or destroy the world called "Data is fire," following up on a post from last year, coming early next week. The focus will shift to a new area of deep exploration every three months.
Ideaspace posts will remain free and be sent weekly. Thanks to a design update at bentoism.org/blog, you can explore posts through tags like long-term thinking, new values, Bento Society experiments, and other topics.
I’m beyond excited about these evolutions and what's ahead. Thank you for being part of the journey so far.
I hope you’ll join this mission, and I look forward to more conversations to come.
Peace and love my friends,