What are we thinking?

A wedding? How conventional!

double-happy-jade

Well, yes: we are bowing to a certain kind of tradition in choosing to mark—in ceremony and celebration—a status shift that is largely symbolic. Metallic adornments and tax implications notwithstanding, we can’t imagine that marriage will qualitatively alter our degree of commitment, love or gratitude for having found each other. We don’t have property rights to secure or royal alliances to seal, and neither of us has many sacred cows (or vows) to honor. And we don’t need any toasters.

So why all the fuss? Why drag people from far and wide, across oceans and time zones, just for a formality? How can we justify the time, energy, attention and expense involved, especially when there are so many other worthy needs to meet?

The answer is simple: It’s your fault!

You are the people we consider our community. You are the family who has raised, supported and shaped us; you are the friends we have studied, worked and played with; you are the kindred spirits and fellow travelers who have delighted, inspired and nourished us. We wouldn’t be who we are without the experiences we’ve had—and without having had the great fortune of meeting you along the way. And we’d be honored to have you present as we take this next step together.

The thing is, you’re a pretty amazing bunch. Seriously—you have no idea! But we do. And we couldn’t possibly pass up the chance to let you find out for yourselves. That’s where you come in!

A community celebration

Our vision is to create a world apart where we can pause to appreciate this joyful occasion, together with the community of loved ones who have brought us to this point. We are delighted for the chance to weave together the many threads of our lives, to share our stories, ideas and ideals as we reflect on how we got here and where we want to go. We believe this is a special opportunity to illuminate the ties that already bind this community and strengthen them through shared experience.

That’s right: we are using our wedding as a pretext for building and deepening our community. Along with the usual food, folks ‘n’ fun, we admit to an ulterior motive: we aspire to inspire mass mutual appreciation and connection. And that’s why we are planning a series of events over an extended weekend (and more), featuring:

community-green-cozy
  • mindful mingling: a peaceful retreat for spending quality time together close to nature
  • a feast for the senses: a smorgasbord of our favorite things—food, music, art, dance, stories, jokes, experiences
  • food for thought: a festival of ideas to inspire wonder, gratitude, questioning and curiosity
  • nn-networkingTM: an opportunity to (re)connect; a spotlight on people, paths and perspectives (familiar and new)
  • your participation: a showcase for talents, passions and pursuits; a platform for collaborative creativity; a chance to pitch in

…and we’ve found the perfect setting for this. If you don’t believe us, check out the first line on Sequoia’s About page: “Welcome to a place of reflection, dialogue and celebration.” Then keep reading to learn about the legacy of exploration, unity, peace and community that we will be honored to continue.

Robots, humans, language

robot-brain-1b

We’d also like to play with more specific themes centering on mind and language (for humans and robots). These are the shared passions that first brought us together (and still keep us occupied!)—questions like:

  • What makes us human?
  • Could a robot ever be considered a human?
  • What role does language play in being human?

We aren’t expecting answers, necessarily. But we’d love to explore these ideas in a way that speaks to everyone. With your help, we’re hoping to stage a hybrid festival/conference that stimulates wonder and curiosity (with a little education and enlightenment thrown in, perhaps). We are open to any contribution, however silly or serious, and from all levels of expertise and enthusiasm. (Humans, robots, humans masquerading as robots, robots masquerading as humans, etc., all welcome.)

Join us! Join in!

We realize these aspirations are not exactly conventional. Perhaps this even seems a bit nuts. Again: that’s where you come in! We can’t do this without a little help (and enabling) from our friends. It needn’t be much: every bit counts, and many bits add up.

nn-sequoiaSo: we humbly invite your participation. We promise not to make you do anything you don’t want to—in fact, we encourage you to find a way to contribute that you will enjoy. We also know we can’t do everything (well, at least one N knows that), so finding out what you want to do will help us strike a balance between the N’s.

Want to give a talk? Lead a walk? Bake a cake? Make a shake? (Are you a better poet? Please let us know it!) Art, science, spirituality, food, philosophy… pretty much anything is fair game (including games, of course). We are entertaining all suggestions—the more entertaining the better!

Now it’s your turn. Let us know what you’re thinking!