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Ephemerisle: The First Step in Seasteading or Just a Party?


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Patri dreamed up the festival, Ephemerisle, originally as an answer to that funding problem.

He was inspired by the writings of Wayne Gramlich, an older programmer and aspiring seasteader whose work Patri found online. Gramlich proposed seasteading the ocean much like American settlers homesteaded the midwest: one by one, or family by family, on a budget. To this notion, Patri suggested another way to baby-step towards seasteading:

“[Previous seasteading] projects all suffered from too much ambition. They attempted to tackle a difficult problem all at once, rather than dividing it into realistically small pieces. Realistically small, for a country, may not merely mean space, it may also mean time.”

Patri had already witnessed one temporally limited proto-country: Burning Man, a massive, spectacular week-long art festival in the desolate Black Rock Desert, Nevada. There, tens of thousands of people camp together in an ad-hoc city of art, inclusion and radical self-expression. The feats of engineering, social organization, and artistry that tens of thousands achieve, given a week in a wasteland chemically incapable of supporting life, was inspiring for Patri. Also, it struck him as a potentially “harnessable force,” in his words.

Perhaps, Patri thought, he could throw a festival like Burning Man, but on a temporary seastead in international waters. It could be a “raft-up” -- attendants could boat out to the event and lash their vehicles together to make a large, ad hoc island. Because the floating “island” would only exist for the duration of the festival, Patri named it “Ephemerisle,” a portmanteau of ephemeral and isle.

Unlike Burning Man, where participants are still subject to the laws of the United States, Ephemerisle would offer attendants true autonomy from American government. Also unlike Burning Man, which bans cash transactions between participants at the event, Ephemerisle would embrace money and commerce, as a revered feature of society. And also unlike Burning Man, Ephemerisle would be unticketed, free to anybody who could get there.

Looks like just a party to me. Am I wrong?

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