Discover more from Avra Home, by Andrew Dunn
HumaneTech + Israel/Palestine + PlayOS ⚖️🗺
Life updates upon returning from ✡️ Pilgrimage
Hello fellow travelers,
Whew! So many things. I’m back in the States, integrating my time abroad and gearing up for the next chapter: Here’s what’s alive for me:
Has transformational experience —> must write about it 😌 The first long-form writing piece I published eight years ago was a memoir about my time in India. Now I’m writing the story of my recent three-month, multi-dimensional pilgrimage to the holy land; within a larger story of my journey of reconnecting with Judaism; coinciding with a sabbatical period in my life and all it's inquiries, lessons, and visions; contextualized by the unique moment in the human story we find ourselves in. Sneak peak:
Part I: Wanderings in Exile (My Judaism) - This brief section will touch on the religious context of my upbringing, spiritual explorations in young adulthood, and journey of reconnecting with Judaism pre-pilgrimage.
Part II: Birthright 2.0 (My Pilgrimage) Here I chronicle the religious, political, and educational elements of the pilgrimage. My direct experience > analysis.
Part III: Metamodern Judaism (My Analysis) - This section explores the insights and questions I'm holding based on my diverse experiences, particularly as it relates to the state of religion, Israel/Palestine, and personal growth education.
Part IV: Next Year in Jerusalem (My Future) - Finally I look ahead to the next phase in my life personally and professionally. I also share visions for the future of Judaism.
I’m hoping to get this out in time for the high holidays, but the story continues to be live itself out (learning how to facilitate a Jewish retreat through Retreatology, camping with and hosting a 1,000 person Shabbat at Milk & Honey, and more TBA), so I’m not rushing it. Like my pieces on savior complex last year, these are massive topics, and there’s some research I want to do in order to better articulate my thoughts.
Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to read about with regards to the trip and the longer arc of my journey with Judaism and religion/spirituality!
📲 Center for Humane Technology
Big life update: I've joined The Center for Humane Technology as Humane Innovation Lead!
CHT is a non-profit with a mission to realign technology with humanity’s best interests. I'll be advancing their solution-side work: bringing personal experience and vision to educate tech and business leaders on centering ethics and wisdom (though initiatives like the Foundations of Humane Technology course), while finding creative ways to transform the perverse incentive structures of Silicon Valley.
I'm celebrating that our human family values this work, that there exists such a highly aligned organizational context for me to direct creative energy into, and that my diverse journey through the cultural wilderness is relevant for service. This collaboration is the emergent outcome of seemingly unrelated experiences like raising my hand to lead Learning & Development at Flexport, publishing essays on re-imagining business and technologist education to meet the meta-crisis, volunteering with a political party focused on systems change, studying awakening, prototyping coaching tools… and of course, building a full-stack humane tech startup with a mission to protect and promote human thriving.
Since Siempo I've been orienting my life's work towards ethical entrepreneurship education; asking questions such as "what does Life on Earth want the next generation of technologists to learn?" and "how to bring ideas into reality in a good way?" Exponential tech without wisdom = game over. So we're going to need to try some new things. I'm thrilled to have access to a platform to experiment.
Since the Time Well Spent days, I've felt a strong sense of alignment and kinship with many of the folks at CHT. Like I was an ambassador or extension of the team. When I started telling friends about the job, several responded "wait I thought you already worked with them?" And when I announced on social media, a number of comments exclaimed how good a fit this was, or called out the inevitability (“finally!”). I hope to show up to this job opportunity with humility, reflection, focus and both-feet-in-ness. On one level I know exactly why I'm here; on another I have no idea what will be revealed. I'm excited to learn.
Last winter, inspired by the religious and spiritual tools I had been encountering in Judaism, Circular Time, and Rootworks, I started prototyping an off-screen personal development tool that I called Soul Map to get better at learning from the school of life. Since then I've been designing, printing, and marking up these little Maps or Booklets for events, new projects, new seasons... any context in which it could be helpful to slow down and artistically express my intentions before, ritually engage with that content during, and learn from the experience after. A tuning fork that focuses my awareness on what’s most important. An artistic practice of fashioning something more interesting and helpful to look at than my phone. I’ve facilitated workshops, coached others in making their own versions, and even toyed with building a new soul-cial network based around it (more info on the project here - I’m still figuring out what this wants to be).
It’s fun and fulfilling to have a simple and unique offering to share in a variety of contexts. Today I’m thrilled to gift a version to the Burning Man community. At my first burn in 2016, I thought I needed something tangible to give out, so I ordered some cheap plastic compasses from China that neither worked nor helped anybody find their way. This year I'm back with another navigation device, but it's homemade, and I suspect might be more helpful. I call it PlayOS (“playa” is the term attendees use for the desert landscape the event takes place on).
Here’s the template and instructions - print it, fill it, fold it, carry it, use it, share it.
I’ve been delighted to hear about individuals and camps printing out and remixing their own versions. One of the challenges of transformational experiences like Burning Man is one can experience profound moments of human connection, play, liberation, expression, creativity, generosity, community, inspiration, the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible… and then go back to their desk the next week without making significant changes in their life or the world (although recent research shows that festivals do create lasting transformation). It’s hard and confusing work. My hope is that these tools may support folks in creating the experience they envision, and then taking what they’ve learned in what I consider is one of the best schools of life, onto the grand playa of life.
I’ll be bouncing around the NY area for September, California in October, and Florida in November (designing and teaching my first course for high school students on Innovation & Collaboration!). Considering settling down somewhere by the end of the year for slightly longer term… let me know of any openings in community homes in nature you think I’d vibe with :)
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