Card Session: One Million Villages

In a network, 8bn unique human efforts, coordinated via networks, seven generations to come.

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.

The Value of Climate Cooperation

Capacity to Act Wisely, at Networked Collaboration and Social Machine Scale

The only core challenge:

Behavior > understanding understanding > agency.

Social agency at social machine scale, is what can play an invaluable part in moving us from 4.4C to 1.4C.

Current social machines are not designed to help us achieve that.

fb: wallowing in shared misery > rigid attachment to increasingly obsolete and uninformed collective opinion instead of shared understanding > 4.4C

twitter: borderline solipsist pontification > rigid attachment to individual opinion instead of metalogue > 4.4C

“We have to make the 2020s count. That means understanding how the new model of global climate cooperation works and how to use it to drive faster action. The basic ingredients remain essential: driving ambition through evidence and data, goals and targets, mechanisms for making mutual commitments, and an ecosystem of partnership and alliances that translate these commitments into change in the real world.”
Emma Williams and David Steven (UN Foundation) Nick Mabey and Ronan Palmer (E3G) Bill Hare and Carl-Friedrich Schleussner (Climate Analytics)

The institutional innovations outlined in the UN report, needs to be adopted by a critical mass of humans from all walks of life.

Social Constructs: TIMN

TIMN, Tribes, institutions, markets and networks, working together in ways conducive to adoption of sense of urgency and coordination of necessary effort. This to me includes social machines, or as they are sometimes called, social media. To mention but one of the reasons — networked collaboration.

Different Social Machines
The generative sequence (seeing ourselves through):⁠

  1. Listening
  2. Noticing
  3. Reading
  4. Understanding
  5. Writing

We all know how to perform all five, within a context of old, increasingly obsolete paradigms. We know have to apply all five in service to:

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

To sum up. The old social machines have to go. Left and right have to go. Wallowing in shared misery and borderline solipsist pontification, have to go.

The new patterns of play that we need, are to be found in the intersects of two or more different media. These new patterns of play, and our re-appreciation of old patterns sourced from indigenous wisdom, need to be applied in a context of transition pathways.

Transition Pathways: Bracing for Impact

We mightily resist (coping patterns, doom-scrolling) performing the necessary and sufficient structure-preserving transformations, that would upgrade these five steps of (re)generativity, having them work the coming fifteen years, forming part of different lines of inquiry, s-curves, paths made by walking, luminous paths enacted by joint sauntering: holding generative space conducive to a requisite variety cultivating resilience, out of which transition Pathways.

You can check out any time you want. But you can never leave.”

If you want an immersive overview, read David Abram.

For the technology repurposing, see Ursula K. Le Guin.

If you are better served by details and particulars,
delve into biosemiotics and nature strategies.

If you need a conceptual understanding: Post Growth.

Post Growth

“The book itself is an intellectual journey with one simple question at its heart. How should we live? It recognises that our conventional answer to this perennial question no longer works. Capitalism is broken. The relentless pursuit of more has delivered climate catastrophe, social inequality and financial instability — and left us ill-prepared for life in a global pandemic. Its answers draw, inevitably, on the decade or so of lessons learned since the publication of an earlier book Prosperity without Growth, which, by a quirk of fate, first appeared as a government report twelve years to the day before Post Growth did.

Aside from that strange coincidence, and the obvious parallel focus on the dilemmas of growth, the two books are very different from one another. Post Growth wasn’t written for policy makers. It isn’t trying to persuade government or convince them ‘what to do on Monday’. It doesn’t have much in the way of graphs and figures, numbers and statistics. And I doubt very much that the current UK Prime Minister is going to wish it had never been written, as Gordon Brown did when the earlier report was published.

I guess it was written for all the people that Prosperity without Growth wasn’t written for — but perhaps should have been. The ones who, in a dramatic turn of events in the days that followed the launch of that earlier work, began to download the report in their tens of thousands. The ones who, for more than a decade, went on inviting me to banks and boardrooms, to village halls and community centres, to theatres and libraries because they were keen to have exactly the discussion that the governments of the day resolutely didn’t want to have. What can prosperity possibly mean on a finite planet?”
Tim Jackson

Card: Intelligence

“Intelligence is quickness to apprehend as distinct from ability, which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended.”
— Alfred North Whitehead

Intelligence: How nature works; Ability: How people think.

Boundary Objects: Intelligence
Disaster capitalism is essentially ten thousand human beings endowed with money and power, ensuring one ton of bricks being thrown randomly at most anything (disguised by the euphemisms “markets” and “growth”), with the only measure remaining: impact.

“To suppose that the evolution of the wonderfully adapted biological mechanisms has depended only on a selection out of a haphazard set of variations, each produced by blind chance, is like suggesting that if we went on throwing bricks together into heaps, we should eventually be able to choose ourselves the most desirable house.”
— Conrad Hal Waddington

With 8bn human beings, all members of the Marginalised Other Tribe, anticipating the worst and hoping for a deus ex machina of someone elses doing, bracing for impact.

The Core Challenge: Behavior > Understanding Understanding > Agency
Leverage often remains untapped. It can be rediscovered, together with social agency:

  • one trillion trees
  • one million villages
  • one thousand eco-cities

Engage with any of the above three, and you’ll rediscover agency, cultivate social agency and find yourself with options to leverage, to the the benefit of yourself, others and the planet.

Patterning: Corner of AI and Rainforests

“One of the main predictors of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is closeness to roads. We use AI to detect and determine distance to roads (in minutes).
The game is changing.”
Diego Saez Gil

Game^n: From Theory to Practice

How do we know where there is potential to intervene and leverage impact in a changing system? The practitioners perspective
Anna Birney

— How would we know?
— Flow. Flow is how we know.

flow = process x structure

“x” = patterning

Patterning: Intelligence turned Ability

One example of a dynamic pattern:

“Engaging in a Conversation”

This is so common and so essential to human interaction that we often forget that we are almost always immersed in dialogue when taking thought.

This oblivion creates unique challenges when extending our conversations online, even more so when engaging inside social media and proprietary platforms, which are almost never designed with our interaction in mind, but rather are designed to turn our like button clicking collective behavior into revenue for the owners, owners of our attention.

Human Becoming: Thinks, Things & Gatherings

Conversations that Mind and Matter.

One gazillion comment threads turned social social media: social collective intelligence.

Card: Performance

how are we
doing so far?

Any behavior conducive to deep, cathartic giggles yet?

Ultrasonic inaudible giggles. This just blows my mind.

To think that there’s one gazillion rats out there, being perfectly capable of ultrasonic inaudible giggles!

Ok, and what have we done lately?

Ah, yes, we set the oceans literally on fire, to celebrate the coming human ecocide.

Ok, so, which species on this planet is the more advanced?

We had one job:


Stewarding what?

  • one trillion trees (because oxygen and micro-climate)
  • one million villages (because stewards need to live somewhere)
  • one thousand eco-cities (because cities are not computers, they’re societal innovation)
  • seven generations (Greta Thunberg)

Ok, so how are we doing so far?

Are we anywhere near performing in ways conducive to ultrasonic inaudible giggles? Or are our smiles just a tad strained from watching the Oligarch Bonfires?

Is our denial sufficiently transformative yet?

Are we to remain comfortable inside our confusion and denial? Or are we quite ready to turn our denial into existential confusion, and our confusion into our first tiny steps into trust and movement, movement and trust, building momentum alongside renewal?

Card: Generativity

⁠A quality of a complex adaptive living system
⁠from which its participants draws an independent
⁠and interdependent ability to create, generate or
⁠produce new content, contexts, intentionality,
⁠meaning, impact, value and lasting difference,
⁠unique to that and related systems.

Generativity is a superset to both shared misery and bracing for impact.

Boundary Objects: Generativity

Building capacity to act wisely
​A generative sequence enabling structure-preserving (individual sense of social cognition self) transformation (options better than bracing for impact):

1. Behavior turned agency.
2. Attention turned situational awareness.
⁠3. Will turned flow.
⁠4. Intelligence turned ability.
⁠5. Circles of concern, influence, confluence, consilience and concrescence turned performance

Capacity to Act Wisely, at Social Machine Scale

All five, combined, in a context of design synthesis:

⁠Patterning: Coordination f(generativity, regenerativity)
​Coordination of human effort, addressing worthwhile dilemmas: covid, climate change, climate crisis and ordinary personal minds turned apathetic from sustained existential confusion and denial.

Human beings recognize other human beings by the quality of their generative listening, establishing, cultivating and evolving synkinaesthesia in a context of enkinaesthesia.

Human beings recognize other human beings by the generative nature of questions held and their joint sauntering along luminous paths.


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, your decision quality and flow?

Cards: Considering Cards in light of Questions

What cards are you playing?

How to play?

What memetics, evolving what enkinaesthesia?

Card: Enkinaesthesia

Sensibilities turned performance, virtues turned
paths, lines of emergent, unfolding, cultivating
and evolving participatory inquiry, with life and
signs, co-extensive, co-extending, instigating,
co-arising and co-evolving: embracing, enacting
and emphasising the dialogical nature of the
backgrounded feeling of being, in service to the
pervasive co-agency of evolution.

What if understanding is the possibility of knowledge?

Large Finite Set Pattern, Pattern Languages

A pattern language sits underneath Questions, Cards, Sessions and what Possibility Space towards what Preferable Outcomes, unfolds. Some of the benefits:

  • patterning, allowing for contextual intelligence
  • generative sequences, enabling structure preserving transformation
  • unfolding wholeness, cultivating a sense of flow, (re)discovered in the intersects of complex adaptive structures (possibility spaces turned Card Sessions turned Labs) and complex responsive processes (cards considered in light of questions)
  • centers, providing future-casting, reverse imagineering and “use-the-future” options: preferable outcomes, abductive sense-making, futures literacies, anticipatory systems, dynamic knowledge repositories: forming evolving social machines
  • social computing (large finite sets), augmenting play and play^n dispositions, scaffolding knowledge around game^n experiences and processes, and providing good measure to preferable, win^n outcomes
Knowledge, spiraling and scaffolding a possibility space, in between today and preferable outcomes.

Challenge: Zen and the Art of Catgif Maintenance

behavior > feedback f(multi-order cybernetics) > agency

What intersects of social social media networked agency and epistemologies?

What intersects of situational awareness and preferable outcomes?

What epistemologies, conjuring what world-views, leading to what outcomes?

What behavior, different from bracing for impact?

Situational awareness and understanding, a requisite variety of paths to preferable outcomes.

Cards catalyzing stories, Conversations that mind and matter, Digital communities & immersive productions.