Quinks and Tobias

When european comrades ask me what I am up to these days one of the things which comes up is Network for New Culture. The premise is appealing and somewhat familiar to most – if the existing culture is failing us, we need to develop a replacement and that design process will require some most interesting work.


Part of this work is developing words for things which the old culture has failed to appreciate or embrace. The ones which jump to mind are funology, quink and compersion (comfortably, all of which my spell checker tells me do not exist).


I changed my name over 20 years ago and I remember how hard it was to get some people to switch (disrespectfully, my biological family has never been able to make the jump). So it is my personal policy to embrace what ever new name someone choose to take on. In some cases this is difficult.

Hobbits on Horses

Tobias used to be Frodo. And Frodo was an amazing and deeply fitting name choice for him, he is small, furry, joyful, peculiar – but most importantly, he is the unlikely hero of an epic adventure to change the world. Tobias and I go back to Ecotopia 1992 in Bulgaria. Where his energy was contagious and his ideas compelling and we started a complicated alliance which has spanned decades and dozens of national borders. He is also highly combustible when it comes to sparking new romances and intimate affairs. Tobias is the person who i have brought to more new years parties than anyone  with bribes of airplane tickets. When I got my father’s inheritance i hired him as a funological consultant for Villages in the Sky. Hawina once called him my “most expensive girlfriend.”


i was once advised “if you want to save a mad world, hire a mad man”. Tobias certainly fits the bill, making incredible choices both brilliant and occasionally maddening. The joke (well connected to reality) is if you asked what time his airplane arrived so you could pick him up he reply with discussions of green singularities, exotic California girls and wizard collectives. But logistics are for losers, if you cant figure out when to pick him up at the airport, he clearly does not need to be picked up by you – or something.

a folding bike vaguely like the one Tobias let me ride

Today, we had apple strudel in a cafe in Maastrict appropriately called “the fool”. He told me about his start up Chinese folding electric fold bike rental company. I got to ride one around the hills of Maastrict for a bit and was quite impressed with how they work. He talked glowingly about being a dad of his new son Tao. We talked of the failing of VIS and what might happen at new years 2012.

Tao and momma Tamira

And we returned to our discussion of quinks and quink factories. A guink is roughly defined as the opposite of trauma. That being a dramatic (oft sudden) event which transforms someones life positively and permanently. We talked about experiences which induce quinks: landmark forum, burning man, network for new culture summer camp. Quink generation and replication had always been part of design for Villages in the Sky. He asked me “so where will the quinks come from now?”


Where indeed.