Fusion 2002

Alien Landscapes

Goblin Valley State Park,

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons, and Calf Creek Falls

Hiking, Brainstorming, and Small-Group Personal Foresight Retreat

Friday Evening to Sunday Afternoon, Oct. 25-27


As with 2001, this year's Fusion will be composed of an intimate group of acceleration-aware futurists (see Confirm Lists) interested in improving personal and social foresight on a sustainable budget. (See Three Paragraph Overview of the Fusion process). On Scott Lemon's recommendation, this year we are in for some very unusual terrain!

Hiking through these lonely expanses of twisted rock in Southern Utah's Canyonlands Country, sculpted by over 200 million years of wind and water, freeze and thaw, searching for dino prints, contemplating goblins, hoodoos, crazy colors, and blue, blue sky should stimulate evenings of productive thinking about our personal and collective futures.


Our Home for Friday and Saturday:
Whispering Sands Motel (Hanksville, Utah). Managers: Connie and Don Foutz.
Motor lodge (23 units avail):  1-2 queen size beds per room. $49 night, plus $10 per person for extras. Rooms have phones and air conditioning, internet service in the motel. Fusion Group rates of $59 per room for up to 4 people available if booked in advance with Deena. [Split four ways, this is $59/4 =$14.75/night. Very economical.] Reservations (10/25-26): 435-542-3238
Can ask for a second floor room for sunrise/sunset views. To see who's available to roomshare, call or email John, john.smart{at}cox.net or (650) 396-8220.
Some of us will drive home Sunday afternoon, and some will stay Sunday night. Sunday's lodgings are swankier: the pretty Boulder Mountain Lodge (Boulder, Utah). Cost is $99/night (1-2 people) plus $5 per person for up to two more, so a room share with four would be $110/4=$27.50. Reservations (10/27): 800-556-3446

Crude Driving Directions to Hanksville:
From LA/SD: 15 North through Nevada to 70 East to 24 South to Hanksville (at 95 and 24 intersection).
From San Francisco: 80 East to Fernley, NV (25 mins East of Reno), then Alt 50 and 50 East across Nevada and Utah. 50 East dumps onto 15 N for ~10 mi (near Holden), then continue on 50 East to Salina, 70 South for ~5 mi, then 24 East to Hanksville (at the 95 and 24 intersection).
Flying: Salt Lake City, UT (international, 230 miles north) is the closest major airport. Got private plane? Hanksville also has a strip.

Friday and Saturday Eats:
Duke's Slick Rock Restaurant
(next to Motel, 435-542-3441, 7am-10pm)
Duke Alvey, Owner. We've reserved their big back table for our Friday and Saturday dinners and Saturday breakfast. Duke has plenty of Dutch Oven specials to keep us going, and you can call him for special orders.
Sunday Eats:
For those staying Sunday night (and for all of us Sunday morning), we'll be eating at Hell's Backbone Grill, run by Buddhist femmes Jen Castle and Blake Spaulding at the Boulder Mountain Lodge (Dinner, 6-9:30pm). This should be a real treat.

Dinner Times: 7pm Friday, 6pm Saturday (Duke's Slick Rock), 6pm Sunday (Hell's Backbone Grill)
Breakfast Times: 8am Saturday (Duke's), 8am Sunday (Hell's)

Utah Time, Daylight Savings Time:
Utah (Mountain Time Zone) is one hour ahead of CA, so set your clocks when you arrive. Also, one neat thing about scheduling Fusion on the last weekend in October is that we always catch Daylight Savings Time. When you go to bed Saturday night, set your clock back an hour and enjoy some extra sleep!

Hiking Destinations:
Goblin Valley Detail Map (Saturday Morning)
Goblin Valley is a hidden natural wonder of the West. Brothers and sisters, you gotta see it!

Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon and Bell Canyon (Saturday Afternoon)
Another amazing hike. Reminds me of Petra, that 2,000 year old city-in-a-slot-canyon in Jordan.

Calf Creek Falls (Sunday Morning/Afternoon)
A great day hike just outside Boulder, an hour's drive from Hanksville. We'll do this one Sunday Morning. There's both a lower and an upper falls, and the upper one lets us hike down the river, just like our Zion Narrows hike last year. Note: If you choose to do the upper river hike, you'll want waterproof shoes or socks and a walking stick! (see Action Items, #9 for details).


Whispering Sands Motel
Hanksville, UT


Friday Afternoon, start arriving (check-in is after 3pm): Early arrivers might get together for early conversation, or just rest up after travel. Meet at Duke's back table around 7pm!

Friday Evening, 10/25, 7pm-9pm, Dinner at Duke's.
Intense "Fusion I." Location: John's Room, #19 (Extra Chairs Will Be Provided). Outline:

Introductions/Updates (Dinner)
Roundrobin personal and professional inquiries (30 mins each).
Roundrobin brainstorming


Maze of Twisty Passages


Saturday Morning, 8am. Breakfast at Duke's.

Then Goblin Valley! (9am+)
There's a great little lunch place for us there:

Saturday Afternoon (1pm?), Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon and Bell Canyon, a 5 min drive away. (pic at right). Up to 8.6 mile loop (do as much or little as you'd like).

Saturday Evening, 6pm-7pm, Dinner at Duke's.
Maybe we'll break to see the sunset, which USNO says will be at 6:26pm (Moonrise at 10:08pm, waning gibbous, 75%).
Semi-Intense "Fusion II." Location: John's Room #19.

More personal and professional inquiries (20 mins each).
Meta advice and profile review.
More selective brainstorming.
Some trial goalsetting for next year.


Three Toed Sloth?

Lower Falls...
Swimming Allowed!

Upper Falls -->
Creek Wading Anyone?


Sunday Morning, Early Checkout. There are no open sit-down breakfast places in Hanksville, so we'll check out around 7am and arrive at Boulder Mountain Lodge around 8am for breakfast at the Hell's Backbone Grill. Bring munchies for the road!

8am-10am, Relaxed "Fusion III."
Location: Breakfast Table (Bring paper for writing out goals). Outline:

Personal goal sharing and discussion (10 mins each).
Problem and accountability review.
Final brainstorming.

10am-3pm, Sunday Day Hike, Upper and Lower Calf Creek Falls. Lower falls is an easy 5.5 miles round trip. Upper is 1 mile to the falls, and up to 2.5 miles of creek wading, so 2 to 7 miles round trip, as you wish. Those who do the lower falls get to go swimming in the sandy pool below the falls if they want. Those who do the Upper Falls get to go creek wading. Some of us might do both trails.

Leave Sunday, from 3pm onward. Some of us will stay an extra day at Boulder Mountain Lodge (Dinner at 6pm). We may do a little hiking Monday morning in the local area, or perhaps explore Bryce Canyon or Zion on the way back home!

Three Paragraph Overview

Fusion is an awesome opportunity to connect with a small, very unique group of communicative, creative, intellectual, and goal-oriented people. Ideally, your Fusionmates are chosen to have similar core values but diverse and complementary skillsets. Core to the process is encouraging deep sharing and assessment of our strengths, passions, weaknesses, fears, and current problems, among high-integrity peers we respect who are also doing the same. We want to have communications that are both non-judgmental (we don't intend to judge or criticize) and non-defensive (we don't take offense at any unintended judgements). The end goal is for each of us to leave with clearer personal goals, better implementation wisdom, and more key future understanding than if we'd spent much more time in similar processes on our own. In Fusion every participant is a designated presenter. Everyone there is asked to actively listen, think, and contribute (verbally and in writing) during the sessions. One ideal of these communications was expressed well by late physicist David Bohm (see On Dialogue, 1996). Bohm stressed decoupling reflexive responses and seeking out new non-judgemental learning about each other's often fundamentally different perspectives--in the process allowing deeper patterns of thought. Like atomic fusion (after which our process is named) if you begin with an appropriate substrate, and design the right "containment vessel" you can create tremendously more usable energy (productive output) than you originally started with. The quality of a network is proportional to the diversity, the capabilities, and the intellectual commitment of its members, and our process attempts to maximize each of these elements. A source of both collective intelligence and periodic personal accountability, Fusion also aspires to the ideal that one way to get personal satisfaction is to intensively help other people. When we do a little homework learning about each other's projects and progress prior to each meeting, the conversation, connections, and advice we get are truly excellent. Note: You are welcome to bring family and friends along on the weekend and hikes. Often, they will be quite happy to give you some of your own "space" for the three Fusion events. But if a family member or friend also expresses interest in the Fusion process, please send them a link to the website and ask them fill out and send in profiles if they'd like to participate.

Prior to Fusion, everyone is asked to skim every other group member's written profiles, and structured brief written feedback (not necessarily distributed) is requested. If you take the time to write out your own current resolutions, searching questions, conflicts, and half-formed ideas in your own profile, you know that in this group they will get thoughtfully considered. Even though we can't go deeply into all the topics that are touched on during the retreat, if you write out some of your strivings, you can be sure they'll be considered later, and will provide a valuable record for increasing your own self-understanding and general wisdom over time. Your Fusionmates are all selected to be a very reflective bunch.

Because everyone is formally given 10-30 minutes to hold forth at least once a session, and because we seek to maximize interpersonal interaction, group formation, and support-giving, we've found the best Fusion size to be three to eight people (ideally, five) per group. Any more should be run as separate groups (self-selected in advance, if possible), even if the whole group is coming together to the same location. Our Fusion brings together scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, writers, artists, and other individuals who, among many other interests, are intellectually curious about the phenomenon of accelerating technological change. The additional core values we seek are optimistic, critical, self-honest, and solutions-oriented futurist, transhumanist perspectives. Those with religious and spiritual perspectives which are tolerant of secular humanism are also warmly invited.

Format and Deadlines

There are 2 reading and 5 writing responsibilities in a Fusion Retreat:

By Two Weeks Prior (By Friday, October 11th (or ASAP)):

1. Write your Profile (updated every time you attend). Email to john.smart{at}cox.net.

Before Fusion I (Which is Friday, October 25th):

2. Read Profiles of all your group members.

3. Write Feedback notes (20 minutes per member). Optional: Make a hardcopy to share w/ each person.

4. Write Passions to share. Optional: Make copies for all your group members.

Before Fusion II (Saturday, Oct 26th):

5. Read any written Feedback and Passions info received from each member. Reread Profiles. Go over any notes you may have taken.

6. Write brief Meta (second generation, summary advice) comments. Optional: Give a hardcopy to each group member after you've discussed it with him/her (or not, as fits with your personal style).

Before Fusion III (Sunday, Oct 27th):

7. Write your own key Goals (3-10 top priorities) for the coming year. Share as much of this with the group as you'd like. No copies needed. It's all you baby!

Preparation Suggestions
(Rough Guidelines, Feel Free to Improvise!)

1. Fill out your Profile. Start by filling out this ten question form, concisely sharing as much personal detail as you feel comfortable with high-integrity peers. Don't make it perfect, but do be sure to update it if you came last year. If you budget a good hour or two on this that's plenty. You might go through each question quickly on a first pass, writing just two or three sentences, then take a break and come back later a second time to flesh it out/edit a bit more before sending it off. Don't stress! No one will be judging your Profile for completeness or brilliance, but will instead be looking for ways they might be helpful. Share only what feels comfortable. When you've got at least a page, email it (as an attached word file or in an email body, as you prefer) to john.smart{at}cox.net. I'll get copies out to all our group members ASAP.

2. In the week prior to the retreat spend at least 20 minutes per person writing out some brief Feedback notes (advice, compliments, constructive critiques) that come to mind after reading each group member's Profile. Maybe you can do a little research, including any URLs, books, ideas that come to mind for helping that person. If you'd like (entirely optional) print out a hard copy to give to your Fusionmate. Doing this advance "homework" will give you a deeper sense of the interests and background of the group before we meet up.

3. Spend at least an hour assembling information on personal Passions (personal and professional projects, future-oriented topics, intersting events, organizations, people, perspectives, skillsets, information, tools you like) that you want to share, and might want input on. If you have something you feel strongly about, let it out! Feel free to make copies for everyone in your group (just a few pages, no need to get expensive). If you're inspired, you might also bring a few gadgets, tools, or items (books, favorite CDs, articles, web printouts) to show and tell or loan.

4. After Fusion I but before II, write up brief Meta responses for each Fusionmate from your memory and meeting notes. Do you agree or disagree with others' verbal comments? Elaborate as needed. What other advice do you have? Jot down at least three suggested action items for that person. They may be related to priorities you hear that person proclaiming, or they may be entirely different action items that you think the person may be overlooking, or they may be a mix. They don't have to be the "most important" priorities, just three useful action items, from your perspective. Share those verbally or in hardcopy with each member during Fusion II.

5. During Fusion II you'll be asked to verbally float some trial goals in front of the group. Afterward, go back over everything that was said and put together your own brief written Goals sheet, which you will ideally share from during Fusion III. Think about ways to make your goals definable (numerically or conceptually), manageable (ie, break them into bite-sized pieces), and prioritized, at least loosely (i.e., if I achieve three of these six I'll be happy). Ask yourself the consequences of falling short, i.e., how will you be held accountable to them. Because we're all asked to take at least simple notes during Fusion, be aware that others may bring notes about your previous year's goals to next year's Fusion. That's one way to build accountability.

6. Finally, keep your Goals sheet and other notes so you can refer to them periodically and perhaps bring them to next year's intellectual rendezvous.  See you in Hanksville!

Action Items

1. Figure out how you're going to get out to Hanksville. Carpool/Road Trip out? Book your motel room (try for a second floor room for best views) at the Whispering Sands Motel (Reservations (10/25-26): 435-542-3238) and at the Boulder Mountain Lodge (Reservations (10/27): 800-556-3446) if staying over Sunday. Email John if you are looking for a room to share, or are interested in sharing your room with others.

2. Fill out your Profile by Oct. 11th ideally, Oct. 18th at latest, and email it to john.smart{at}cox.net. You will get bugged by John to get this in as soon as is convenient.

3. Write up 20 minutes of Feedback notes on each of your group member's profiles as they are forwarded to you over the next two weeks before the retreat, and collect any Passions stuff to share.

4. Print this page and bring it to remind you of the rough format of our retreat (we'll probably make modifications along the way).

5. Bring pens and paper, and a small notepad for hiking so you can jot down interesting ideas, references, etc., as they come up. We'll continue Fusioning to some degree on the trails, and you can be sure the conversation will be as inspiring as our surroundings!

6. Bring at least a disposable camera so you can capture some of the beauty!

7. Bring a nice comfortable jacket for walking around at night. It can get chilly.

8. Some trail munchies and drinks for breakfast and lunch, and any you'd like to share for the Fusions.

9. General hiking preparations. You'll want a bathing suit, a windbreaker if it gets overcast, water-resistant sunblock, maybe a hat and/or sunglasses, and plenty of trail food and drink. Some people like camelbacks for drinks. We'll be checking the weather before we hike Little Wild Horse. If there is too much chance of rain, the parks service will close it. If you are wondering why, check out what a flash flood is like in a slot canyon. Amazing!

If you plan to go creek wading in Upper Calf Creek Falls on Sunday (entirely optional), the best footwear would be regular hiking boots or tennis shoes with waterproof socks (most popular are SealSkinz), or even waterproof hiking boots. Bring a dry pair of socks, pants, and shirt in a backpack and a small towel for drying off in case you get wet. A walking stick is also very helpful in the creek, when you can't see where you are placing your feet, and a dry pair of shoes back at the car wouldn't hurt, either.

10. Oh yes... Come and enjoy yourself!

Confirmation and Invite List

We had nine individuals in last year's Fusion. This year we had fifteen, organized into two groups, (three to nine per group), and each running concurrently and independently at the retreat.

Group One:
Anastasia Benzel (Los Angeles, CA)
Ted Haeger (Salt Lake City, UT)
Todd Huffman (Los Angeles, CA)
-- Co-Moderator
Scott Lemon (Heber City, UT)
Brian Rowley (Los Angeles, CA)

Rion Snow (San Diego, CA) -- Co-Moderator
Douglas Steel (Salt Lake City, UT)

Group Two:
Randy Davidson (Los Angeles, CA)
Flemming Funch (Los Angeles, CA)
-- Co-Moderator
Steve Harris (Provo, UT)
Tanya Jones (Palo Alto, CA)
Shawn Murphy (Edmonton, AB, CANADA)
Regina Pancake (Culver City, CA)
Sandra Russell (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

John Smart (Los Angeles, CA) -- Co-Moderator


Send your recommendations to john.smart{at}cox.net.


Fusion started among undergrads at U.C. Berkeley in 1980-81 and then grad students U.C. San Diego in 1988-9. This Fusion is our third series, open to intelligent, respectful futurists of all ages. Fusion 2002 will be run by John Smart and Scott Lemon, as well as any other member who wants to get involved. We tweak the format a bit each time, and feedback is highly desired. At the Foresight Gathering in April 2001, Mark Finnern, Steve Jurvetson, Scott Lemon, and John Smart decided that October (roughly six months after the annual Foresight gathering) would be the best time each year for our Fusion gatherings. We hope you can join us soon!

We plan to eventually follow up our annual retreat with a regional Fusion (monthly accountability/ implementation/ strategy brainstorming meetings) in Los Angeles, and we encourage you to form your own regional dinners in your own city.  The Fusion process means something a bit different for each group that chooses to use it. Please feel free to adopt and modify our process as you see fit.

Future Retreat Potentials

This Fusion is primarily a Western U.S.-based group, so we'd like to explore new locations in that area on an annual basis (and perhaps return several times to some that we think need more "exploration"!). Particularly attractive are places with nice hiking, beautiful scenery, interesting history, or intellectual resources, all conducive to reflection and conceptual breakthroughs. Here are a few future candidates that have been proposed. If you have others to recommend, please do so!

Arches National Park, UT
Asilomar, CA
Big Bear, CA
Big Sur, CA
Cedar Breaks National Monument/Chessmen Ridge, UT
Grand Canyon, AZ
Joshua Tree National Monument, CA
Moab, UT
San Juan Islands, WA
Santa Fe, NM
Sequoia National Park, CA
Steep Ravine/Stinson Beach, CA
Yellowstone National Park, WY
Yosemite National Park, CA

Suggestions/omissions? john.smart{at}cox.net