Card Sessions: In A Network

John Kellden
10 min readNov 2, 2020

In a network, the best place to store knowledge is in other people.

Card: Other People

In a network, the best
place to store knowledge
is in other people.

A seventeen step generative sequence between today and preferable outcomes.

Card: In A Network

In a network… f(think, thing, gathering).

Boundary Objects: Scaffolding and Situated Cognition

I see “in a network” as a combination of thinks, things and gatherings.

The “think” part is situated cognition, which can be understood as a subset of 4E Cognition, and (my tweak and extension, 9E Cognition).

The “thing” part is 103% multi-order cybernetics in a context of f2f, p2p, online, virtual and digital literacies and sensibilities.

21C Literacies and Sensibilities

Sensibilities so as to not be overwhelmed in the face of information processing, the simple systems that are increasingly forming part of our hybrid, connected lives, simple systems that invariably produce complexity.

Literacies so as to turn what is intelligently apprehended throughout divergence (interactions) and emergence (contingency, novelty) into ability, ability to wisely wield, including decision-making in a context of convergence, trim-tabbing probably paths, shaping preferable outcomes.

…divergence, emergence, convergence…

The “gathering” part is the realization, that “in a network” will never be a spectator sport.

Our trying to force-fit networking inside an information paradigm, will remain partially necessary for historical reasons, yet also, remain insufficient to our own and others abilities and needs. Our realizing this is required in order to understand how to shape and differently apply what patterning and patterning between ability and need, will help shape current and future (knowledge) markets.

Knowledge markets? Where, whereto and why?

103% of all Card Sessions, are about how we can add knowledge to our insights, in a context of one trillion trees, one million villages and one thousand eco-cities, in service to seven generations.

Card Sessions

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
  • seven generations
A requisite variety of paths between today and preferable outcomes.



Card sessions, societal re-imagination labs, information ecologies and knowledge ecosystems, with interactive value creation in and in between, paths through possibility spaces, from today to preferable outcomes.

Strategies: Adjacent Strategies and Relevant Nexts

Adjacent strategies, adjacent possible paths.



Card: Understanding

What if understanding is our ability
to hold space for the possibility of
knowledge, as it emerges, unfolds,
directs and discloses its relevance to
unexplored aspects of things known?

Understanding: A deck of cards for shared understanding.


Today: Situational Awareness

1. Will turned flow

Divesting from opinion, connecting dots, taking lines (of imagination and inquiry) for a walk, joint sauntering.

“The misconception which has haunted philosophic literature throughout the centuries is the notion of ‘independent existence.’ There is no such mode of existence; every entity is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe.”
— Alfred North Whitehead

2. Intelligence turned ability

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

3. Behavior turned agency

Self-centered behavior, negotiated self-interest, investing in good relationships, re-orientation towards people, purpose and planet, learning how to play really well together with other human and other living beings.

“Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and
our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”
— Alfred North Whitehead

4. Attention turned situational awareness

“What we perceive as the present is the vivid fringe of memory tinged with anticipation.”
— Alfred Whitehead

A learning wheel. Start at twelve and spiral, clockwise.



We made it? What happened? We happened.

Emerging, unfolding, cultivating and evolving.



- Do you remember laughter?

Social is all about you rediscovering how to let go of your forced smile.

Social sense of self, small group genius, social social media, social computing, social machines, social innovation and societal innovation.

Social Interaction and Social Learning



A set of heuristics conducive to successful outcomes,
is the pattern to the Opinion Anti-pattern.

As a generative sequence:

1. Shu: School of Hard Knocks
Be slightly less right, divest from opinion.

2. Ha: Design Synthesis
Be slightly less wrong. Discover and evolve a slightly different set of heuristics. Apply through your chosen, prioritised tasks and practices, and review.

3. Ri: Selfhood
Essential character, enkinaesthesia and evolutionary purpose.

In a network, a conversation can be a vehicle where we invite grace.

Here’s how:

1. Notice one of your thoughts, a thought related to one of your opinions.

2. Place an adjacent thought, a thought related to Enkinaesthesia, right next to the first thought.

3. Witness what happens.

Adjacent thoughts; a pervasive co-agency.



Cards considered in light of questions.
This is all about triple-venn intersects.

1. Your understanding about thinks, things and gatherings.

2. The question you are reading.

3. The card you are considering.

Here’s some of the challenges as you navigate your understanding through a considered, considerate path.

  • Scylla-Charybdis
  • Lemming-Cliff
  • Dunning-Kruger
  • Voight-Kampff

These are all emanations of a polarized, polarizing mind.
An ongoing metalogue between Amygdala and Neocortex.

Less is more, yes is preferable and at times, adjacent possible.



We lost our way. Ah, there it is!

As a generative sequence, from Social Cognition Abattoir, to Traversing a Portal, finding ourselves in the middle of a Trail, following Walt Whitman, with an added riff by yours truly:

THERE was a Mind went forth every day;

And the first thing Minded upon, that Mattered, Mind became;

And that microcosm concrescence became part of Mind for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this Mind,

And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,

And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf,

And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,

And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there — and the beautiful curious liquid,

And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads — all that Matter, became part of Mind, .

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of Mind;

Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,

And the apple-trees cover’d with blossoms, and the fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;

And the old and new fellow saunterers staggering home from the out-house of the platform, whence they’d lately clicked,

And the blog-mistress that swayed on our way to learning,

And the friendly algorithms that augmented — and the quarrelsome memes

And the pithy quotes and pretty pictures — and the barefoot in the head Oligarch boy and girl,

And all the changes of city and country, wherever Mind wisely wield, wend and world wild web.

Mind-ing our parents in loving memory held; Mind-ing ourselves and our children, seven generations to come

The evolutionary journey that moved Mind, and Gaia that had embraced Mind in her dreams, and birthed Human Form,

They gave this Mind more of themselves than that,

They embraced Mind afterward every day — they became part of Mind, taking thought, embracing journey.

The tribes, the others, the institutions, the market booths and the hustlers, the town criers, the networks,

The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and goods in the windows,

Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank’d wharves — the huge crossing at the ferries,

The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset — the river between,

Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,

The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide — the little boat slack-tow’d astern,

The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,

The strata of color’d clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away solitary by itself — the spread of purity it lies motionless in,

The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud; and anything else Matter

These became part of our inviting and cultivating and homesteading Mind, a Mind went forth every day, and is now moving and will always go forth every day.

@johnkellden riffing on Walt Whitman



Less is more; memes are crucible; yes is preferable.

Spandrels, because life and signs.

Life and signs, because:

  • co-extensive (biosemiotics)
  • co-extending (imagineering and knowledge navigating)
  • cultivating (spandrels) and
  • co-evolving(human evolution)
Adopting an Alfred North Whitehead — disposition.


How to play

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

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

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

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

Play is what connects consciousness and concrescence.



Forces: Zeitgeist and Memetic Meanderings

“Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them. ”
― Alfred North Whitehead

Building Blocks: Discourse, Civil Discourse, Convivial Discourse

Images; Interfaces; Imagineering
Discourse conducive to digital salons can include any which kind of texts and memes, where images, interfaces and imagineering combine, forming and evolving spaces holding a requisite variety of paths, between today and preferable outcomes.

In A Network
All the In A Network cards, can be used to cultivate awareness and situational awareness in a context of texts, images, interfaces and (networked) imagineering.

Back to the garden, breathtakingly beautiful.

Images, Interfaces, Imagineering: The Deep Dive

A Symbolical Battle Between “Swords” and “Torches”

Keynote: Refusing to depend upon the past, the seeker turns warrior, fighting anew the eternal “Great War”.

Principle: Polarization of Values

“When Gautama, having sought in vain for the answers to his questions among the teachers of tradition, sat under the Bodhi Tree, he had to fight his own battle in his own way, even though it is an eternal fight. The spiritual light within the greater Soul must struggle against the ego-will that only knows how to use the powers of this material and intellectual world. There is no possibility of escape; it is the energy that arises out of the present moment — the inescapable NOW — that the daring individual has to use in the struggle.”
— Dane Rudhyar

Love. It’s called love.



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

Emerging, walking, unfolding, joint sauntering, cultivating, evolving and turned cobbled streets in one million villages.

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


Knowledge, spiraling, scaffolding possibility spaces, possibility cones, in between today and preferable outcomes.

Knowledge Annealing and Value Creation
This is the fourteenth step in this here seventeen step generative sequence. The seventeen steps can be seen, understood, embraced and applied, forming a knowledge spiraling, around a “Ba” a place conducive to interactive knowledge annealing and value creation. Aka metalogue, a meaning-making moving-with.

Knowledge is

  • metalogue
  • the successful outcome
  • the pattern, to the opinion anti-pattern
  • a patterning meta-pattern, a patterning that re-aligns.
  • a crucible for practical wisdom

All of this is advanced by a partial cease-fire between Amygdala, the Queen of Opinion and Neocortex, the Knowledge Evolution Child.

Knowledge, spiraling, scaffolding possibility spaces, possibility cones, in between today and preferable outcomes.

Knowledge, spiraling and scaffolding a possibility space, in between today and preferable outcomes.



Cards are modular, playable, re-combinable (think LEGO Serious Play) and extendable.

Cards are Play Disposition affordance.

Cards are epistemologies(plural) interface.

The Card and Card decks I’m designing, most if not all of them, can be fitted with an underlying, large finite set pattern, pattern language.

In short, Cards and Patterns of Play, at scope, small group genius, social social media, social reimagination and social machine scale.

Even shorter: Cards are Approach. Approach the card table.

Weaving new questions with different understanding.


Preferable Outcomes

  • One Trillion Trees
  • One Million Villages
  • One Thousand Eco-cities
  • One Hundred languages:
    Cultivating relationships between humans
  • One Common Future

Seven generations to come.

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


Participatory Inquiry: Zettelkasten and Then Some

In medium dot com, there’s around 150 posts themed Participatory Inquiry. It’s how we apply generative sequences.

Participatory Inquiry is to structure, what zettel-casting is to process.

The generative review and flow, emerging, unfolding and evolving out of the intersects of Participatory Inquiry and Zettelcasting, is Culture and Capability; Capability and Culture.

The five virtues, co-extending with culture and capability:

- listening

- reading

- writing

- understanding and

- networking

It is perfectly possible to go to any one of the 150 Participatory Inquiry posts, highlight one of the passages that speaks to you, and add your annotations.

Most if not all of the 150 Participatory Inquiry posts, can be found in here in CMM, Conversations that Mind and Matter, from 2020 Sep 27 re-purposed as CSMM, Card Sessions that Mind and Matter, as well, through search query.

CSMM Search Query: participatory inquiry

Card sessions, imagineering labs and information ecologies, in service to co-agency.


In A Network

In a network, the best place to store knowledge is in other people.

Only in seeming darkness, light.



John Kellden

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