The New Modality

Created by BackerKit - Lydia Laurenson

Exploring how to create a meaningful life in this rapidly changing world

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Interview: Economist Tyler Cowen on culture, values, & COVID19
over 2 years ago – Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 11:14:57 PM

Hi all!

Today we had the great pleasure of publishing an interview between Tyler Cowen and me (Lydia). Tyler is a philanthropist, economist at George Mason University, writer for Bloomberg Opinion, and founder of the 17-year-old blog Marginal Revolution.

This message has  two purposes: to let you know about the interview, and to tell you that we will increasingly move updates like this to our mailing list. If you aren't sure whether you received the Cowen interview update, you can check it out and subscribe to our mailing list here.

Tyler shared his thoughts on coronavirus, obviously — and also tons of other stuff. He made a number of interesting predictions about COVID19's economic and cultural impact. Also, we talked about modern politics; rationalism; values and religion; the economics of science, progress, happiness, and meaning; Tyler's undervalued / overvalued table for the field of economics; notions of play; and more.

Read the full interview here. It's long; you might want to take some time with it.

Meanwhile, from us at NewMo to you:
Hang in there. Wash your hands. We're in this together. More soon.


💫 Magazine Production Update!!! 💫💫💫
over 2 years ago – Wed, Mar 04, 2020 at 09:11:57 PM

Hello all!

Quick update about our production timeline for Issue One: Right now, we are truly going flat-out! 

I am neck-deep in editorial drafts! (NECK-DEEP, I tell you.) Our Art Director, Jenna Van Hout, is spinning up drafts of the Issue One cover; commissioning illustrations; and more! And our Digital & Print Producer, Michael J. Seidlinger, is everywhere at once in the magazine process. Generally speaking, our entire core team and Catalyst community is ridiculously stellar, and I can't thank everyone enough.

We received so many submissions in our Submissions Form that the form ran out of storage. Amazing! THANK YOU FOR THAT! We are still open to intros from within the NewMo community, but for now, we are pausing open submissions. We will update this Twitter thread once we decide how to handle this unexpected submission volume.

On our current production schedule, we are slated to ship the first print issue of The New Modality in May. I initially felt guilty about this, but then my friends pointed out that "it's a crowdfunded project, so no one expects you to be on time, and shipping anytime within a year of your delivery date will astonish everyone." Haha but seriously, we'll work on getting this process down. (Sidenote: If you bought "a year's subscription," that actually means that you get three issues, even if it takes slightly more than a year to deliver all three.)

So yeah, things are busy. Awesome! And busy! I am getting an enormous amount of email... SO, if you are one of our backers, and you have questions/ concerns, and you have trouble reaching me, try Michael: 

On a more sobering note: Since NewMo does events, we have obviously been thinking about coronavirus. I sent a separate Kickstarter update earlier today that, in an ideal world, should have been delivered to all our event backers. If you are interested in our events and you didn't receive that update, you can read it here (summary: we are hitting pause on event scheduling right now, and we will postpone as needed). I've been hearing about an increasing number of affected people and am sending love.

With love — and more soon,


Events update!
over 2 years ago – Wed, Mar 04, 2020 at 08:08:49 PM

Hello event backers!

We've been getting some questions about how events are going, so I wanted to send a quick update. 

We were planning to send scheduling emails for all our Kickstarter events during last week and this one. Obviously, the coronavirus situation has thrown that plan into disarray — it's very difficult to plan events right now! 

We will keep you all updated, and we will reschedule events as needed. If you have any questions, please email our awesome new Marketing & Events lead, Brooke:

Speaking of which, we have an awesome new Marketing & Events lead! Brooke has worked on many San Francisco events, and is an artist in her own right. You can find her profile on the NewMo website here



Open Call: Tell Us What You Are Excited About
over 2 years ago – Wed, Feb 26, 2020 at 12:52:27 PM

Hey all —

A lot has been going on behind the scenes at The New Modality! As we approach the deadline for our first print issue, we’re opening submissions for “bite-sized” pieces to be published throughout our magazine, as one-page items or sidebars to main articles. We want to sprinkle these throughout the magazine, affording the chance to cover all the exciting projects and ideas around the community that we can’t always do a full article about.

These bite-sized pieces run the gamut of things that fall within the NewMo mission. We have the following types in mind:

* Tiny Reviews - Send us a review of books, movies, shows, games, immersive theater, virtual and augmented reality, or any piece of media (including forms that are less defined, like transmedia) that you’re excited about is part of our zeitgeist, as long as it’s relevant to the topics we cover!

* My Pet Theory - Everyone has a pet theory! Maybe you have the Next Big Insight about complexity science, or non-monogamy, or grassroots spirituality, or some other topic we like. Well, now you can explain and exemplify your pet theory! (Please explain why you believe your pet theory and provide support, whether the support comes from personal experience or some studies you saw.)

* My Favorite Study - What are your favorite studies and why? Maybe there’s a study that got you thinking about something in an entirely different way, or maybe there’s a study that you’d love to chat about. Here’s your chance to explain the study and describe why it excites you. (Again, the study should be relevant to our topics.)

* Super Short Profiles - Perhaps you know someone that’s doing something relevant to our topics and you want to talk to them about it. Ask them 3-5 questions about their project as a way to highlight what’s new and brewing around the community.

* Check Out this Project - Similar to Favorite Studies, maybe you’ve heard of a compelling project related to our topics and you’d love to talk about it. Now’s your chance to get others to learn about a project that’s wowing you.

* Send your ideas to me, Michael, at

At 250-400 words per “bite,” these bits offer that chance to write about something that you’ve been excited about, wanted to get feedback on, etc.

(Note: Our “bite-sized bits” are all unpaid — the main goal is to get our community having fun conversations with each other. If you are interested in writing longer paid articles, check out our Submission Guidelines.)

Oh and hello again, my name is Michael J. Seidlinger. I’ve joined the NewMo team to help with production and editorial -- here’s my NewMo profile! Pitch me your ideas ( for Issue One by March 4th, 2020.



The New Modality Has a Website!
over 2 years ago – Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 11:02:12 AM

Hello backers,

Lots have been going on behind the scenes at The New Modality! Production is ramping up on the first issue (more info on that soon), and our community and team has grown!

Also, we have a snazzy website! The website launched right before the Kickstarter campaign, and many things have been added since then. Point your browser to and you’ll see a number of pieces ready to be devoured across topics like art and culture, science and tech, and society.

  • Founder and editor in chief Lydia Laurenson explores the concept art of a South Indian speculative fiction transmedia game called Antariksha Sanchar. The game combines steampunk with Tamil cultural signifiers, and its main character is modeled on the real-life Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • Journalist Jessica Carew Kraft, who used to specialize in creating illustrated ketubahs (traditional Jewish wedding contracts), writes about the tradition of marriage and how several modern couples created fascinating outside-the-box wedding celebrations.
  • Originally published in the 1970s, we’ve reprinted the classic piece "The Tyranny of Structurelessness," by Jo Freeman, a.k.a. Joreen. It’s a pivotal text for people trying to maintain a "structureless" or non-hierarchical approach in communities, organizations, and relationships.
  • There are many conflicting narratives surrounding transhumanism (the use of technology to improve our human selves). Anna Lewis, who used to work in the Bay Area tech industry and is now a bioethicist at Harvard, examines the ideology of transhumanism and the philosophies informing an increasingly probable future.
  • Lydia Laurenson interviews an anonymous tech employee who made it big in startups and we learn what they think about the luck of the draw, the uncanny culture that can brew in startups as they make their employees rich, and how it feels to be so wealthy that they never have to work again.
  • Dr. Jennifer M. Walske breaks down the history of Burning Man and how it has evolved from a body of different grassroots organizations into an established nonprofit while seeking to maintain its radical, alternative identity.
  • The Zendo Project (a sub-project of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) aims to create safe spaces where people can cope with psychedelic overwhelm. Lydia Laurenson speaks with co-founder Ryan Jay Beauregard about the project’s mission and goals, and learns about the psychotic break he once had during an ayahuasca retreat.
  • Lydia Laurenson also interviews architect and poet Abraham Burickson, founder of the conceptual art group Odyssey Works, on the personal spiritual history that informs his art.
  • Dr. Elisabeth Sheff has been tracking polyamorous families for decades; Lydia interviews Sheff about examining and understanding the poly parenting dynamic.
  • David Jay, who identifies as asexual — i.e. he does not experience sexuality and desire in the way that most people are used to — recently adopted a child as part of a three-parent household. He gives us tips for creating a successful coparenting arrangement, as well as an abridged copy of the “coparenting contract” his family is using.

The NewMo community continues to grow, and it’s reflected in our Catalyst profiles! Catalysts are people we see as community leaders, doing interesting things that shed light on culture and society. Most of our Catalysts have profiles on our site. Feel free to scroll through and learn about all the great things they’re working on!

Oh and hello, my name is Michael J. Seidlinger. I’ve joined the NewMo team to help with production and editorial. After many years in the world of trade publishing, I’m excited to lend my experience to NewMo and its mission. I’m based in New York, and if you’re on Twitter, you can find me at @mjseidlinger. I am honored to be able to join right at the beginning, as the magazine readies its debut!

More soon,