The Upstairs Community Manifesto

We live in paradoxical times. We experience incomprehensible abundance and pervasive scarcity. These are times of ever-expanding wealth and widespread poverty; times of hyper globalization and cultural disconnect; times of more scientific discovery and less trust in science; times of unprecedented access to knowledge and less understanding; finally, times of ubiquitous connections and less meaningful dialogue.

Paradoxical as they may be, these are our times—our only times. All of us, individually and collectively, give shape and are shaped by all that surrounds us, both in making steps forward and backward. Your step is as much yours as it is mine. Ultimately, we are all in this together, whether we like it or not.

Faced with so much complexity, with so many interconnected challenges, one can easily feel overwhelmed, paralyzed with anxiety by the tasks ahead. And one would be right in feeling so: no one human can possibly make a meaningful dent in the state of our times; no one human should be asked to sacrifice his life for the possible benefit of us all. Alas, we do it, all the time. Then we “bless” those lucky few with cheers and endless “wise” advice from the bottom of our hearts. We call that for what it is: bullshit!

We can do better. We can overcome the impossibly high peaks one careful step at a time. We don’t need a complete plan just to get started. We just need to know we are not alone. We can come together out of hope, not of desperation. We can be beautiful, quirky, creative individuals and still find common, fertile ground with others. Here is one way.

Why we need this community

We need the Upstairs Community for simple, but powerful reasons. We want to lean on each other in overcoming our individual flaws, biases, and limitations. We want a place to dream together, to dare to imagine a time when our individual journeys coalesce into a positive change around us. We need a safe space to embrace not knowing, uncertainty, and failure.

We can do all this, and much more, only through honest, sincere dialogue and human connection. We need the Upstairs Community to be more than a run-of-the-mill newsletter where a couple of “superstars” broadcast to a crowd of eager listeners. The (digital) world is full of this and it’s getting tiresome. Instead of clearing the air, it seems to only add to the noise. Hell, we’ve contributed to this here at Pixelgrade as well.

We want to try and do things differently, with your help.

What we believe in

We, the Upstairs community, believe first and foremost in cooperation over competition. The almost exclusive focus on competition brought us the world we have today. We will breakthrough today’s challenges through cooperation. We can all win and, yes, we can all lose at this game called life.

We are confident that, together, we can overcome the zero-sum game mentality so prevalent today, and play a positive-sum game instead. In an age of abundance, there is plenty to go around for everyone.

We believe in slowing down and thinking deeper about what we do, why we embrace certain ideas, what is their true merit and potential for good. We encourage our members (not subscribers) to contribute, not just read and swipe.

We believe in the power of diversity of all kinds to nurture multifaceted dialogue as an alternative to the single-stream communication most newsletters rely upon. We can do monologues or role-play in our articles and essays, in our product or landing pages, in our online journals, all kinds of places, but not here. 

We believe in plain, sincere, bullshit-free talk. We don’t believe in formal, safe talk stemmed from the fear of political incorrectness. We want you to feel safe to speak “the unspeakable”, to ask those “stupid” questions, to be wrong and admit it, to change your mind and not bear the stamp of hypocrisy.

We believe in people on a journey, people who balance individual becoming with cooperative action and thought. We want to help and be helped by such people.

We promise you to be stewards of this community, not masters or managers. That is why we will not allow sales pitches, blatant self-promo, or individual stardom — not from us, nor other guests. We are here to learn from each other, not do wallet hunting.

This is what the Upstairs Community is all about. If you identify with our values and beliefs, want to give it a try, and see if you fit in, we welcome you with open minds—Join the community.

Stay kind and safe,
—The team at Pixelgrade