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maandag, mei 03, 2004

Barbelith is a message-board and experimental online community. From relatively humble origins, the board has evolved from a fan space for an author (GrantMorrison) through to a sub/counter-cultural board through to its current incarnation as a creative space to experiment with the concept of what it means to be a self-ruling online space. It has a strong sense of citizenship or at least a strong sense of affinity to varying sets of overlapping values, which include a strong resistance to authority, a distrust of dogma and an interest in the limits of knowledge. It is not a board that is designed specifically for any individual approach to the world but one that is interested in cross-overs, hybridisation and the creativity that comes from having a space open for conspiracy theorists, hard scientists, engineers, cosmologists, mystics, political activists, philosophers, geeks, screen-writers, artists and other forms of creative individuals from all across the world.

Our aim is to create an online space where the standard of conversation, discussion and debate is higher than anywhere else online and in which everyone has a say in the running and management of the board. We believe that we can achieve that by gradually devolving power as much as possible to all the people who use the board on a regular basis and allowing them to collaboratively self-define the evolving aspirations of the community as well as how they should be implemented. We also believe that having open borders for new users is a fundamental part of remaining creative and outward-looking and are trying to find the best balance between free and total access for all and our ability to defend the board from abuse with the hope that we can create vibrant and resilient new ways to connect creative people together.

The origins of our name are less interesting than the possible etymologies that might explain it. Choose the meaning that resonates for you most - will you wish it to refer to the satellite behind the moon that connects you with the Godhead, the "bearded" or "alien" stone? Or perhaps you will find more resonance with "Boibeloth," (or "Boibel Loth") the Celtish language of the trees. My personal favourite is our connection with the Barbelite cult of early Christian Gnosticism (sometimes called the Barbelognostics) who worshipped a mother goddess called Barbelo, fought against the horrific YHWH (or Yaldabaoth the Vile) who imprisoned them within the material world and believed that orgiastic practices and the consumption of semen and menses would allow them to break the cycle of resurrection and rebirth and allow them to reunite with the divine...

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