For more than 4 years, I hosted an event called Open Connect, every single week. In total, I hosted more than 250 editions. It was a very enriching experience, I learned tremendously and I met incredibly interesting people. It all ended up abruptly, about 4 years ago, when more stringent things came to my focus.
Today I hosted the first edition after that abrupt end. It was the same format, with a few key differences:
- it wasn’t in Romania anymore, but in Portugal
- it wasn’t promoted in any way, just relying on word of mouth
- it was probably the smallest audience ever at such an event, only 6 people attending (although I vaguely remember I hosted Open Connects with 4 or 5 people, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on this)
- I didn’t do it with the aim of perpetuating it in the same way as before – I did mostly to test the format, see if I can package the entire experience and then train someone and hand it over in whatever way they see suitable
It felt good to be back on the stage, so to speak. Although it wasn’t really a stage (none of the events had a stage, nor aimed for one, the goal was never to separate people, but to connect them).
I experienced for the first time in years that type of live energy that is simply irreplaceable. I strongly believe that we need this energy in order to survive. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Without this live connection between us, we will degrade beyond recognition, as a species. We may experience some temporary comfort, but, in the long run, we will disappear.
We define ourselves through others. We need their input. We need their support. We need their feedback. And we need their criticism and warnings, when we steer away from the path. We’re really a collective being, no matter how much we cling to our individuality.
Without this live energy, we will fade, just like tree leaves are turning yellow in the autumn. Without this live energy, we will maybe survive for a few years, maybe decades, but then we will suddenly fall down, just like the red leaves are falling down during autumn.
It’s not easy to manage this connection. I know it very well, after 250+ events hosted. We are still subjects to our own emotional waves, ups and downs, moods and whatnot. But we have to try, we have to keep striving to connect, in this form, not in some metaverse, with each other.
Otherwise we will die.