Pattern Languages, part 10: Language

“In a network, in transition along our evolutionary trajectories, code always needs to remain in service to aliveness.”

The trouble is, it isn’t. It’s gamed, co-opted, bought and sold, most of it having little if anything to do with aliveness. However, stating the problem with clarity and simplicity, always and already can never be anything more than one seventh of a well-formed pattern.

Here’s all the seven parts to a well-formed pattern and in more or less the order that helps turn our efforts generative:

Solution Space
Our needs, co-evolving with abductive sensemaking and design synthesis, aka our understanding. The need for “us” out here in the digital, to coordinate our efforts, making them count, making a difference.

Forces & Building Blocks
Semiospheres and semiosphere slingshots. Our muddling through, our slings and arrows, our experienced reality and everything that goes with it. Our signs, our lives as if they are both co-extensive and co-extending.

In a context of nature, dialogue, mutuality, learning, generativity, connectivity and play, inside our intensely human becoming. Context turned contextual intelligence. Intelligence turned ability. Ability to wisely wield and wend our ways.

Finite and infinite games, engaged in and from a disposition of infinite play. Play as process. Questions. Generative questions. Inquiry. Participatory inquiry.

Maps, Models & Theories
Diagrams and code, code and diagrams. Frameworks, when needed. Paths, if desired. Patterning, when translation is called for. Sharing and distribution — always.

The last two of the seven, is where you’ll find almost all activity, as if fools rush in. Please consider the five just outlined. Thank you for flying with Conversation Community.

Problem Space
Erhmagerd, we’re all going to die! With 8bn more or less nuanced variations on a surprisingly finite set of themes. Fear — turning, turning, turning. Widening gyre? Fear turning aliveness. Can you feel it? Do you meraki?

What’s the story, morning glory? No, seriously, what is it? Is it us succeeding in traversing the Waste Land, together, finding ourselves Back In The Garden? Or is that story just a pipe dream? What if it is a pipe dream, yet that dream and any others, is precisely what the doctor orders? Or, are we stuck inside of Memphis? All stories, already doctored, all storytellers already bought and sold many times over? Who would you trust? That’s not the right question and you know it. Who would you entrust with your story?

If you look up at the stars, do the stars gaze back? This is the only true story of them all, the fact that you are stardust. Everything you call you in a material sense, is from old, long gone exploded supernovas. The question is — what are you going to do about it?

Thinks, Things and Gatherings
Everything else, is footnotes to supernovas, you adding your own unique twist, between mind and matter. Which brings us to precisely one gazillion expressions of human individual and small group genius, emerging in information ecologies, taking form in circles of concern, influence and confluence and more or less well packaged in order to be of service to others in knowledge markets.

Conversations that Mind and Matter, at Convivial Scale
In order to make sense and make meaning, it can help with noticing patterns. Patterns of interaction, patterns of play. All of the above. As above, below? Your move…

You are waiting for my move? Ok, here goes:

Conversations that Mind, Cultivate and Matter

add considered, considerate comments on other people’s posts

Let’s explore some of the things that goes on in the Conversation Community: Adding Posts, Adding Comments, Liking Comments, …

Tia Carr :
Can you use old language to build new ideas?

John Kellden :
Yes. English is full of empire, yet I’ve made use of it here in the Conversation Community.

Corner of Aliveness & Death By Committee
I’m the enlightened tyrant in the community, but that’s mostly in order to avoid “death by committee”.

There is a working, running Governance Code in here, which could be rolled out, translated via pattern language and deployed, (elsewhere) should we so wish.

The thing is, most everyone is thinslicing themselves between a whole smorgasbord of different groups and other parts of proprietary platforms. Programmed. We the proprietary programming overlords guarantee Shared Misery(tm).

Also, this here digital digs, is a hack “inside” FB, which means, additional parts of the whole thing, makes more sense to add, comes the launch “outside”.

Hacking Convivial, Dreaming Ourselves Alive
The content inside the CCFB (Conversation Community FB) is already fully searchable. The search box to the left in the web, desktop UI.

Given that around 80% of the members are primarily reading the content, clicking on things, search is not their favourite cup of tea.

Which means, old language as a good enough departure point for evolutionary trajectories, is a good thing. Because larger bus, holding for stragglers and as of yet undecided…

Old language, turning increasingly simplistic and fragmented through (among other things) thinslicing — not so much.

Patterns of Interaction, Generative Sequences…

The review: People who are clicking the like button on posts, at the exclusion of adding considered comments — are part of the thinslicing challenge.

The problem is always people. Again, problem only ever a seventh of a well-formed pattern.

What would make for a great step forward and a big win for all the community members, would be if we moved away from liking the posts, towards liking comments.

“The nature of reality is transactional.”
— Alan Watts

Liking comments, is a perfect transaction inside the Conversation Community. Liking posts at the exclusion of comments, less so. Your move… Thinslicing works against conviviality

- John, why biosemiotics?
- Because a map (biosemiotics) towards biosemiosis (aliveness).

- John, why the moving away from liking posts, to liking comments?
- Because adding considered, considerate comments on other people’s posts.

Energy and aliveness follows intention, follows thought. Transactions are guided by intention, by thought. Thinslicing, one of the wicked problems inside proprietary platforms, works against this. Simply put, if you only have one word to share, only have time for clicking the like button and nothing else, you are not here in any meaningful sense of that word. If you are not here, why are you here?

Capturing Collective Conducive to Conviviality

Tia Carr :
The rise of neologisms is a somewhat clumsy attempt at fusing ideas, concepts, zeitgeists, in a bid to communicate evolving moods and momentums. Whether it emerges from one individual who can capture the sense of the collective, if you can’t name it, you can’t claim it. This is where your work excels. The blend of the contributors in Conversations, who are either ‘outliers’ or core instigators to the uprising surge, desperately seeking a lexicon, the need for specific languaging is critical.

John Kellden :
Profoundly true. I remain grateful and hopeful, given the diversity of individual genius and collective intelligence gathered here.

What Scenius, Augmenting Our Genius?
It might just be that is what members can sense — the depth and breadth and generativity of my intention. Tempered by my levity and convivial whimsy. Things are serious, which is why we need to take ourselves less seriously.

Dwarf at Rivendell:
- Is he offering insult?

- No, he’s offering food!

Tia Carr :
Dwarves…so ready to take offense, I’ve found. It’s the light touch you have, John, that makes it work.

John Kellden :
That’s very kind Tia, thanks! And you’re making an important point — the need for “us” out here in the digital, to coordinate our efforts, making them count, making a difference.

Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Shared Misery Content(ment) Again
Making it count. This requires language, lexicon, glossaries, dynamic knowledge repositories, tag clouds, ontologies, epistemologies and taxonomies.

All of that can as of now be fitted together with a large finite set pattern language. A big thank you to all the Conversation Community members, for being here for years, chiming in, participating. Are we stuck? You betcha! For how much longer? That depends…

How much longer do we want to stay on repeat?
Are we ready to shuffle? New playlists? New mixtapes? Engaging in conversations that mind and matter, at convivial scale, combining individual and collective intelligence, forming new patterns?

Adding a pattern language to a language, allows a great many benefits.

One of the benefits is, our efforts could then scale, all the way from many small text boxes (words, language) to large, next-gen (distributed, self-organizing) formats, networks, practices, platforms: what I usually call digital places (words, pattern language).

Magical Mystery Metalogue: Move Meaningfully!
Which means (obviously a simplification) :

Language x pattern language = “…at convivial scale”


Code = language x pattern language

Aliveness = conversations that mind and matter at convivial scale

Aliveness(representation) = biosemiotics

Aliveness(enaction) = biosemiosis

There you go, something perfectly actionable. Something that scales. Something that can be coded and built, for the benefit of Mister Kite. The Hendersons will all be there.

Our production will be second to none
Needless to say, the reduction to a simple formula, comes with a great many risks.

Which is why gathering together in digital places, forming a requisite variety of alive human beings with the option of aligning around evolutionary trajectories, is of the essence. In a context of generative review, things can never be allowed to stay forever mapped, modelled, diagrammed: theory. Theory always needs people and practice. Code always needs to remain in service to aliveness. The pattern that connects between map and territory, itself evolving towards a patterning, realigning.

Weasel Wordsmith and the White Boys Colonial
Writing this, I find the english language, being of service, but only up to a point. There remains a great danger, that when others read this, my efforts conveying unfolding wholeness AND how parts (code) can play their unique invaluable part, somehow is lost in the interpretation. It wouldn’t be me writing this, if I wouldn’t have a solution for such interpretation shenanigans and concerns:

A venn intersect of inference ladder(mind, consciousness, awareness) and conversation(intention, interaction, actionable insight, transaction).

[insert your own fave venn here, venns forming folds, movement, spirals, toroids]

No, seriously, do add it! Our circles of confluence inspiring our circles of concern and influence.

Conversations that mind and matter, at convivial scale.

What do we mean? What meaning-making-moving-with?
Although the drawing of conclusions is what a great many proprietary platform participants believe they want, it might not be what they need:

- John, it’s all about communication!
- No …? :)

- John, it’s all about code!
- Actually, no. More like, aliveness and code, code and aliveness.

- John, it’s all about the (taxonomy, epistemology, ontology, philosophy, qualia, map theory, model, diagram, whatnot thingie)
- No. Maps and theories, make up precisely one seventh of well-formed patterns. See above. Models and diagrams are good, necessary, and not sufficient.

- John, it’s all about catgifs, selfies, content marketing and uninformed opinion!
- While this makes up around 98% of all content on proprietary platforms, the 2% that is not those four genres, is what makes all the difference in the world.

There might be more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than pithy quotes on pretty pictures. Speaking of which…did I add a nice, shiny to the top of this?

Dent you in return and in kind
- John, it’s all about, [insert your own fave thing here]!
- While that might feel so, from where you are trying to make a dent in the world, you need to take into account, how the rest of the word and world, dent you in return and in kind — cybernetics and autopoiesis. How the feedback loops you instigate, anneals your essential character and sets you on a path towards evolutionary purpose, or not.

- John, effing don’t be like that! I just want you to like my FB page, dammit!
- Sure, I’ll do that. Then what?

- John, I’m only here for the lols and the shiny.
- Go away. No, seriously, do. If you are only clicking on posts, never reading anything and treat others as objects for your tired amusement and (shared) misery — you need to seek ungainful employment of your time, elsewhere.

- John, that was harsh, wasn’t it?
- Was it harsh enough? I can do harsher if needs be.

- John, effing stop being an obnoxious know-it-all, will you?
- No. :)

I Woke Up This Morning (Ten Years After)
The thing is, I gave myself a permission slip, being me and becoming even more intensely human. This can be seen as provocative, or as a permission slip for you as well.

Since we’re still exploring these here digital realms, and are mostly clueless about our destination, no direction home, the rule serves as a help, a boundary condition, a scaffolding our digital, social presence. The rules? The rule:

add considered, considerate comments on other people’s posts

It is also actionable. As in, doable.

- John, are there other rules in the Conversation Community?
- No.

What is really good with “No” is, it provides clarity. What is at times experienced as less good, is, it provides clarity.

Life and Signs, Co-Extensive, Co-Extending — Here and Now — Your Move
Life and signs are co-extensive. It’s complex. Life is complex, signs are complexes. Simplicity and clarity, while at times both wanted and much needed, is not all there is.

We know this already. We understand the complexities involved in life. It’s our mind playing clarity and simplicity tricks on us. For the full sphiel why that is so: Process and Reality, Alfred North Whitehead. You might argue, that that’s not a simple book to read, and I would agree. However, if your every mind shenanigan can be brought to resolve, your every complex responsive process, re-aligned with and understood, until playing really well with other people, consider your options.

1. Remain inside utter confusion. No, seriously, this is a valid option. Embrace experience.
2. Go read.
3. Planet B. The A Team effed up. Time for all others to step up, providing production value. How? Conversations?

You might find other things to read more to your liking. Which is great. Because…

Life and signs are co-extensive through our reading and understanding Extend? Translate? How? Am I glad you asked! Through patterns, patterns of interaction, patterns of play, pattern languages. Thank you for reading and understanding and engaging in conversations.

Will add the other parts in this theme somewhere where they can be easily accessed and referenced…

For those of you reading closely, you might have spotted hints, how my writing this was always and already augmented by my listening to music, to a playlist — to you I say — thank you, thank you for the music… Play. On.

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