Bay Area community-builder legend Sonya Mann (@sonyasupposedly) is a writer and professional curious person. She manages communications at the Zcash Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to technological privacy infrastructure. In the past, she reported on the tech industry for Inc.com, after several years as a freelance writer.
“My abiding question, the question I’m always asking: How and why do people organize themselves in the ways that they do?”
Sonya enjoys collaborative, experimental creative projects, such as the Friends as Force Multiplier workshop that she taught at Other Internet this month. We’re super happy she joined us for the I.I. Questionnaire — and, in general, for her support of our community!
Hi Sonya! Please write your Most Honest Twitter Bio (max 120 characters)
Which of the words in this “bio” is the most important for describing you? Why?
Probably “dilettante” and “earnest,” lol. The runner-up is “neurotic.”
Imagine your past — present — and future. Name three songs that are the perfect soundtrack for these three stages.
Argh, it’s excruciating to pick just one song for each! But I did my best.
Past: “Fluorescent Adolescent” by Arctic Monkeys
Present: “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco (probably my favorite band ever — don’t laugh!!!!)
Future: “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles
“Fluorescent Adolescent” is the only song on that list that counts as one of my favoritest favorites. I like the others also though!
My life is greatly enriched by talking to kindred spirits online and hanging out with them in person.
What are the 4 pillars of human relationships? Is this general (i.e. works in any relationship from romance to geopolitics) or is there a change across scales?
I’m not brave enough to simplify that much. Examine the specifics! The real context and constraints!
Share one thing about which you changed your mind in the past 5 years. What made you do it? Why didn’t you do it earlier?
I’m 25, so there’s a mountain of things that I’ve changed my mind about over the past five years. Most significant: I developed a theory of mind / got much better at avoiding the typical-mind fallacy.
What does the word “community” mean to you in 2019? Is it an empty word or does it have a real substance?
Definitely real substance! I am so grateful for my family and friends — the latter, I mostly owe to Twitter connections. My life is greatly enriched by talking to kindred spirits online and hanging out with them in person.
What I want the most for my own life is vibrancy.
What role do you think you play in groups of people? What role do groups play in your life?
Hmm. I’m an introvert, but when I do hang out with groups >5, I tend to put effort into being a social butterfly. I love introducing people. I tend to regard groups (various sorts) as pools of potential friends, provided that I’m interested in the group in the first place.
There are many subcultures that I’d rather observe than participate in.
What does “individualism” mean to you in 2019? Is it a political slogan or an ambition we all should have?
I care a LOT about individualism. Autonomy and consent or GTFO. At heart I am some flavor of voluntarist, although in practice that doesn’t always work.
Name one thing humans are better off doing alone
Weirdly, I can’t come up with anything. It’s easy to think of things that I prefer to do alone, but better off in general? *shrug*
What do you think is one thing most people are mistaken about?
The outgroup’s mindset and motivations.
What is an achievement you’re most proud of?
Instructions Unclear, the zine I published several months ago.
At heart I am some flavor of voluntarist, although in practice that doesn’t always work.
What is one skill you’d like to wake up magically having?
The ability to enjoy exercise.
In an ideal scenario, how does the world look like in 10 years? How about 50?
I don’t know! I can only speak for myself, and I’m uncertain about plenty. The ideal world may be an arrangement that I haven’t envisioned, or that no one has envisioned.
How likely do you see the ideal scenario actually happening?
Even without knowing the ideal scenario, I would bet money that it won’t happen. We’re most likely to get a future in between “where are we going and we are we in this handbasket?” and “hey this is pretty good.”
What is one small thing we should all be doing every day to make life better
- for ourselves?
Striving to be kind to everyone we encounter.
- for our immediate community?
Shopping at local businesses. Cliché but it works!
- for mankind?
Pursuing your comparative advantage.
Do people want a “good life”? What in your mind is a “good life”?
“I want a bad life” is not a sentiment that I’ve ever heard, so I think it’s safe to assume that people want good lives. That’s almost tautological given the meaning of “good.” Anyway, what I want the most for my own life is vibrancy.
What is your definition of happiness?
Smoking a joint while walking the dog with my fiancé on a sunny, breezy afternoon.
 source: Other Internet