Card Session: Generative Sequence

John Kellden
9 min readOct 20, 2020


In a network, I don’t always abjure uninformed opinion, but when I do: understanding forming a generative premise for knowledge.

But this generative magic
I hereby wield, and when we have aligned
Some heavenly music, which even now we do,
To work mine end upon our coming to our senses that
These card spells are for, I’ll mend my staff,
Plant it adjacent to Immanent Grove,
And, deeper yet gentler than did ever our Happy Descent,
We’ll turn the page in our book.
@johnkellden riffing on Shakespeare

The Question of Expressibility or How Far It Is Possible to Speak Our Mind.

The Tempest, Shakespeare.

Ariel and Prospero in dialogue regarding the plans for the Royal Family.

I don’t always abjure uninformed opinion, but when I do: understanding.

The magic slightly outside our ordinary memetics:

“But this rough magic
I here abjure, and when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And, deeper than did ever plummet sound,
I’ll drown my book.”
— Prospero

Generative Sequence: Complex adaptive structures

Paradigm, Scene, Images, Questions, Cards, Cards considered in light of questions, Card Sessions, How to play, Today, Knowledge, Paths, Social (cognition, social media, machines), Preferable outcomes

Generative Sequence: Complex responsive processes

  1. Lifeworld exploring continuity, connectivity and novelty tracing and abductive anticipation, aka experiential learning
  2. Structure-preserving transformation
  3. Joint sauntering cooperation
  4. Unfolding wholeness cultivation
  5. Life-and-signs-extending evolution
  6. Trans-contextual weaving continuation

Generative Sequence: Flow

The generative review of generativity is learning into aliveness.

learning into aliveness


Ariel is Prospero’s eyes and ears throughout the play, using his magical abilities to cause the tempest in Act One which gives the play its name, and to foil other characters’ plots to bring down their master.”

What unseen forces are there, providing gentle nudges, keeping us on our path towards preferable outcomes, whispering until we come to our senses?

coming to our senses


Card: Story

Concocting the future through circles

of concern, influence, confluence and

concrescence, a generative, win^n &

re-generative pull of centering centers,

attractors, visions, dreams and the

unfolding of ourselves through action,

experience and practical wisdom.

The Story Card in the Understanding Deck.

Play: Considering cards in light of questions

One of the best directions for how to play, is to consider yourself an actor, turning your performance a conduit between a select, choice part of your essential character and what evolutionary purpose is served, by your adding your own unique voice, to the play.

“THIS LECTURE is concerned with various ideas involved in the notion of Expression. The more general notion of Importance is presupposed by Expression. Something is to be diffused throughout the environment which will make a difference. But there is a distinction between the two notions. Importance is primarily monistic in its reference to the Universe. Importance, limited to a finite individual occasion, ceases to be important. In some sense or other, Importance is derived from the immanence of infinitude in the finite. But Expression is founded on the finite occasion. It is the activity of finititude impressing itself on its environment. Thus it has its origin in the finite; and it represents the immanence of the finite in the multitude of its fellows beyond itself. The two together, namely Importance and Expression, are witnesses both to the monistic aspect of the universe and to its pluralistic character. Importance passes from the World as one to the World as many; whereas, Expression is the gift from the World as many to the World as one.”
Alfred North Whitehead

In this here Card Session, weaving infinite and finite; finite and infinite, with the future seen as infinite and the play, finite, Play, in general and the The Tempest in particular, is chosen both for its own character and what characters at play, and as an analogy for what storms there is, in between the perfect oceanic movements of our collective unconscious and our seeming sense of calm, comfort and confluence of our personal affairs, our consciousness, and, in the midst of our play, our taking thought.

taking a sensing and co-presencing part

What unique lines coming alive through your voice, yours to deliver, in the larger play of evolution, through, around and in which you take a sensing and co-presencing part.

considerations turned comments by adding comments below, and/or highlighting and annotating

This whole outlining of a different digital format, conducive to digital conversations that mind, matter and build, a curation, culmination and distillation of sorts from what has served for five years as the rule in CMM, Conversations that Mind and Matter, from 2015 Jan 27 to 2020 Sep 26:

Add considered, considerate comments, on other people’s posts.

CMM never was about my content, simply because it never was about content, period. It was, is and remains, all about what considered, considerate comments, are ours to share, in light of, and in order to shed our own unique light on, the unique voice of others.

Card Sessions: Weaving a requisite variety of paths, between today and preferable outcomes.

The posts I’ve shared in CMM, a CMM turning CSMM, Card Sessions that Mind and Matter, can be seen as outlining Card Sessions and Possibility Spaces, my approach towards weaving a requisite variety of paths, in between Today and Preferable Outcomes.

in between today and preferable outcomes

Today: Our finite situational awareness
Preferable Outcomes: Select parts of which we are unaware. Our joint sauntering a finite path, into an unfolding (infinite?) future.

Card Sessions
These are all about what select part of your essential character, through what disposition and social sense of self, you bring to the table, to the card session.

Usually, card sessions works best with three to six participants.

With a large finite set pattern, pattern language underlying the questions, cards and the session structure and process, the approach can scale, according to ability and need.

Large finite set pattern, pattern languages, allowing for Social Computing and Social Machines.

In all card sessions, it is essential we bring a select part of our essential character to the table:

It is not toil, yet feet happily descended and moving.
Nor technology wielding arm,
nor tracings of a too social sense of self inscribed on face,
nor any other part contested between
uniqueness and belonging.
To name, to another: What dialogue?
In a network, that which we call a chat.
By any other name would be as enactive.
So 8bn secret friends would, were they not story bound,
enacting that innate perfection, already awed.
Without that proprietary entitlement,
dear fellow human, rekindle your naming;
And for our naming, wending I and Thou and Thee,
coming alive, becoming ourcellves.

@johnkellden riffing on Shakespeare

How To Play

How can we play? How can we coordinate our human, joint efforts, homesteading our future, seven generations to come?

1. Gather a small group around great questions and adopt a play disposition.

2. Consider the cards in light of the questions, engage in joint understanding.

3. Highlight the text of the cards, add comments, capture group insights.

4. Conclude. Card session generative closure when agreement on actionable insights, together with needed and possible next steps.

5. Apply in Labs, instigated by ability, guided by contextual intelligence, in service to need.

Will, intelligence, behavior and attention: paths made by walking.

Today: Situational Awareness

  • What will turned flow, turned generative formation of identity?
  • What intelligence turned ability, what ability turned practical wisdom, what practical wisdom in service to what futures literacy?
  • What behavior, turned what agency, what social agency, what networked, social, presencing agency?
  • What attention, turned what situational awareness?

Knowledge can be seen, understood and applied, as a spiraling, scaffolding a possibility space, in between today and preferable outcomes. Knowledge can also be seen as what can help trimtab our paths, from probable to preferable.

In a network, circles of concern, influence, confluence, consilience and considered, considerate concrescence.

Such concern, such concrescence, that provides generative space for a requisite variety of paths, to emerge, unfold and evolve.

A requisite variety of paths, in between today and preferable outcomes.

Knowledge spiraling, scaffolding paths in between today and preferable outcomes.

Social: How are we doing?

1. Social cognition
How people process, store, and apply information about other people and social situations. What prosocial patterning we hold and turn heuristics, in between stimulus and response.

2. Social social media
Homesteading our digital places.

3. Social stigmergy
Extending our lives and our signs, online. A networked augmenting of enactive intersubjectivity.

4. Social computing
An open governance, multi-order cybernetics evolving set of networked, social machines, forming information ecologies and knowledge ecosystems.

5. Societal innovation
A rekindling of plenitude and plenitude renaissance. 8bn human beings invited to an inclusively distributed sense of societal reimagination, setting the scene for and providing necessary and sufficient premise for innovation, in service to seven generations to come.

Preferable Outcomes
One million villages, forming resilient social fabric and equitable societies.

Card Sessions: One Million Villages
In a network, 8bn unique human efforts, coordinated via networks, seven generations to come.

  • What cards have you been dealt?
  • What deep reflection anchored in your own essential character do you add in between stimulus and response?
  • What evolutionary purpose guides your information processing?
  • What information processing, augmenting your heuristics and decision quality and flow?
  • What cards are you playing?
  • What memetics, evolving what enkinaesthesia?

Corner of Utility & Supersets

  1. Platform
    Proprietary platform programming and users turned produce.
  2. Place
    Beginning divestment of learned helplessness. Substack as a virtual literacies halfway house.
  3. Playground
    Game > game^n, rediscovering intersects of social cognition and the art of (social) agency, no longer confined to the “social media” popularity contests, the “influencers”.
  4. Wise Playground: Frameworks, frames, framing and reframing
    MMMMOSPG: Massively Multiplayer Multi-parallell (circles) Multi-order cybernetics (AI, IA; UI, UX, A/D, D/A) Online Signal Processing Games

The playground is the utility and the utility is to 103% premised on social agency.

Evolutionary games (one of the Card decks with its themed frame, framing and reframing) is a superset to evolutionary game theory.

The core behavioral change:

game > multi-order cybernetics > game^n

The magic beyond every participants personal ken. Finding the others.

You’ve found some of the others and together, you’ve made a makeshift camp in the outskirt of the village.

“…along with the other animals, the stones, the trees, and the clouds, we ourselves are characters within a huge story that is visibly unfolding all around us, participants within the vast imagination, or Dreaming, of the world.”
David Abram

Some of your stories are about what pieces of the puzzle, what parts of the predicament, what threads to rekindle and re-weave — is yours, individually and as a group, to bring to the whole.

A story told about a future event held in the now of hearts.

In case you meet people and they are trying to discourage your efforts, your efforts in service to a future for humanity, seven generations to come (however size and nature of your individual, unique contribution) remember this:

  • one trillion trees
  • one million villages
  • one thousand eco-cities
  • one hundred languages: relationships between humans
  • one common future, seven generations to come

Embrace the deep, profound sense of relief, from knowing that we can do it. Together.

CSMM: Card Sessions that Mind and Matter

Distilled into one generative sequence:

Paradigm, Scene, Images, Questions, Cards, Cards considered in light of questions, Card Sessions, How to play, Today, Knowledge, Paths, Social (cognition, social media, machines), Preferable outcomes



John Kellden

Cards catalyzing stories, Conversations that mind and matter, Digital communities and collaborative narratives