A Dream That No One Will Know Was Mine

SPACETIME SANCTUARY

WE OFFER A DIVE INTO THE DEPTH OF THE UNIVERSE AND THE SELF. FULFILLMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL NEEDS OF RATIONALISTS, SKEPTICS, AND ANYONE WHO IS NOT ENGAGED WITH RELIGION.
BUSINESS PLAN
Prepared June 2016

Executive Summary

Opportunity

Problem

Gatherings for the non-religious that invoke profundity, investigation of the mind, and provide a context in which to better oneself do not exist.

Solution

Spacetime Sanctuary is a place that takes elements from a planetarium and a temple, where people can connect with the depth and seriousness of the cosmic drama to which we belong, and also train the mind through guided meditation experiences.

What We Offer

Guided Meditation Services. People take a seat in a dark, aesthetically stimulating, round stage. A sound-engineered deep voice leads a guided meditation. These meditations are based around investigation of the sense of self, understanding the experience of consciousness, and also the cultivation of beneficial mind-states like equanimity and loving-kindness. An extra source of scripted help and context are provided by a trained assistant that stands behind each individual.

Surrounding Interactive Screen. Uses projections of the users own bodies to provide an unforgettable experience in which you are free to interact with a story of evolution, of death, of history, and others. Microsoft Kinect is used to digitally capture the shadows.

Sensory Deprivation Tanks. These can be used by adults 18 or older, and carry a charge.

Opening the Gates of the Deep. “Sermons” are offered that are precisely calibrated to stimulate the mind’s connection with the mystery of the universe. The informational content is the same as that which would be garnered from a physics documentary or an episode of Cosmos. But quantum physics, the history and future of the universe, the history and future of humans, the Fermi Paradox, simulation hypothesis, string theory, the multiverse, space-time, the nature of matter and consciousness, and other hauntingly beautiful science and philosophy questions are presented in such a way so as to send chills down the spine and make every member of our congregation feel like a small piece of something much bigger. Film is shown in the digital screen and the “sermon giver” speaks.

Market

Who We Service

The primary market for Spacetime Sanctuary is the non-religious population. Between 2007 and 2014, Pew Research Center says that the share of non-religious Americans increased from 16.1% to 22.8%. And a growing number of Americans, from 39% in 2007 to 46% in 2014, feel a deep sense of wonder about the universe at least once a week. As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation. This trend is only expected to continue with universal access to the internet that allows for people to see the beliefs of their parents in a historical and global context. And this will be further exacerbated as younger school teachers become more unapologetically clear about scientific and historical facts.

Millennials and younger are our main target market.

1. They are mostly uninterested in the religious services on offer, only between 27 and 28 percent attend services at least weekly.

2. Depression is a growing disorder for young people. Psychology Today says that high school and college students are five to eight times as likely to suffer from depressive symptoms as were teenagers 50 or 60 years ago. Mindfulness meditation, has been shown to increase brain matter in the temporo parietal junction, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion. It has also been shown to decrease the size of the amygdala which is important for anxiety, fear, and stress.

3. Younger generations are interested in learning. Khan Academy has a total of 845,987,914 downloaded views. Ted-Ed has 331,958,882. And channels like Vsauce, with relatively heavy science or mathematics content presented in an accessible way, get millions of views per video.

4. There also appears to be interest in a more methodical religion/philosophy that can be readily applied to daily life. In the U.S., Christianity is decreasing, Islam and Hinduism are increasing but this is largely due to migrants. The only major religion that is gaining Western converts percentage-wise is Buddhism. This might suggest that people are interested in more practical life-improvement. We can take the useful elements of Buddhism that don’t require belief/faith in order to appeal to a wider audience aside from appealing to the Buddhist audience.

5. Older people are more conservative on the whole, but some adults that are college-educated or that have always been interested in science are likely to also seek to benefit with this.

Competition

• Meditation centers

• Religious organizations

Why Us?

We offer an inspirational, other-worldly experience that enhances the best of religion (the connection to mystery, the love, the heroic idols, the understanding of our place in the universe, the aesthetic) but replaces the irrationality and divisiveness with intelligent scientific content and precise meditation proven to change the mind by restructuring the brain.

Strategic Alliances

• Writers/Public Intellectuals – popularizers of science or skepticism or meditation who sympathize with the project

• Creative Designers/Architects/Artists – the aesthetic appeal is very important

• Programmers/Film Directors – to create the visual and interactive experiences

• OMA, IMAX, or Dolby – for the immersive screen
Execution

Marketing & Sales

Marketing Plan

Overview

Our marketing strategy seeks to optimize our advantage of timing. We want to appeal to the now millions of non-believers who do not yet have an option for gathering to experience things such as: transcendence, the transient and stark beauty of mental phenomena, the profound grace of nature, awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and powerful for words. Many are caught in the tediousness of mundane routine and need an outlet. Many also pay attention to public figures who popularize science like Richard Dawkins and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. It will be essential to get public figures like these to initially endorse this.

Positioning

We are here not just to educate or entertain, but to provide deep connection with truth. This intention will manifest itself in how the experience is designed and also in our general communication with the public.

Promotion

Our marketing programs are online focused, where we can reach our main target market.

Website

Everything from in depth explanations of our philosophy and what we offer, to hours and dates and costs. We will make it easy to donate in order to allow a teen free entry for one month, or to donate in general. We have contact information for talented individuals seeking to donate their time out of passion for the cause. And we will also provide a list of book recommendations that we have discerned to contain yugen – that subtle cosmic awareness that cannot be easily expressed with words. A portion of what is spent in these books will go towards our funds.

Fundraising Plan

Our sales channels include:

Selling the experience – payment will be made on entering The Sanctuary. (Exceptions or aid will be provided for low-income persons including those under 18 based on level of funding available.) Extra charges for using sensory deprivation tanks.

•Adult — $19.69
•Youth (ages 10-17) — $16.69
•Sensory Deprivation Tank — $45 an hour

Donations:

Aside from time donation, there will be the option to donate in person or through our website. There will be the option to donate specifically for the sponsoring of a teen.

Corporate Giving and Sponsorship:

Businesses can provide cash or grants. We are willing to promote certain businesses that resonate with our image.

Philanthropy:

Wealthy individuals can fund this and rid us of the necessity to sell the main experience — sermons and meditations. We will then operate more like a church, with voluntary tithing.

Author Partnership Program:

Spacetime Sanctuary receives a portion of what is spent in books bought through the site.

Operations

Locations & Facilities

Our locations are meant to open based on online demand. Surveys will be conducted online through the social network pages of secularists and through our own website after gaining some awareness. Initial awareness will be gained through attending skeptic and scientific conferences, and by giving talks on popular platforms like TED. For technical reasons, the site cannot be less than approximately 10,200 square feet.
Technology

Surround screen, the software, Kinect, and voice modifier for speaker to help create otherworldly experience. Sensory deprivation tanks to come in direct, undisturbed contact with the strangeness of existence. We will have grants and financial aid applications set up online with the intention of helping young people abide in our facilities with continuity. Young people will be transformed and able to use what they learned from the Spacetime Sanctuary in their college and university applications.

Poem

The great silence craves us all.                                                                                                                    It craves our tongues and our neurons. It even craves the stars.                                           Unaware of why, or when it began to speak, and shriek, and hum…                                         The great silence will undo what has been done.

Having Befriended the Cage

The Scouts investigated the powerful and heavy talking walls. Huddles of men, not Scouts, also sat and read the gliding works of the world. Folders and books pressed against their faces like the sprinkles of a blue Sun. They sat on stools to explore all, the cries of armies, the millions of fragments that called the human creature to move. Her eyes, that were six, also spun as her brain filled with a banquet of information. This blue light made mankind old. They had learned to swim in the cyclone of the web and devour the thoughts of the world. But soaking in this sun would cause the body to crawl as if with spiders. It would become ready to draw fresh, clean air. But most people sat long after the whirl of the inner flesh had gained momentum – so magnetic was the hum of this screen.

A Scout noticed her, cat-eared and six. He thought by instinct to carry her out of the dome for air. As he mentioned to himself this choice, the comforting light found the corner of his eye, and so he held himself chained to this generous window. The angel weeped for air, but so gripping were the colors and voices of the walls that none remembered to hear. The black face of a man became strained as stifled cries beckoned from just outside the case of his numb brain. He held himself upward and against all his senses, turned away from the calling of answers, and games, and formulas, and recitations. In the distance, he saw sickly skin and a shiny little skirt. One step, one step at a time, he stepped down a middle path passing along heads residing on spinal stalks. Blue light broke through his fingers as he held the scrambling girl and dragged against the stress of the wall’s gravity. Now he was blasting through the corridor stabbing his feet from the knee and tearing through time. And finally, their chests glowed with the air of night.

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