Sunday Open Thread – January 14, 2007

Payam Rajabi Nathan Philips Square
Photo of Nathan Philips Square by City Hall, by Toronto photographer Payam Rajabi

What I’m planning on writing about soon:

  • The Role of Art and Artists in Social Change: Was Eminem’s failure to get Kerry elected the beginning of the end?
  • Experience-Based Decision Making: It seems an obvious choice, until you understand why the alternatives hold sway.
  • Love: Can we be in it, and be activists at the same time?
  • Survey Results: The winner of the contest I ran a year ago to predict what would happen during 2006 (on January 18th, when the final US inflation number is announced).
  • Thomas Homer-Dixon’s book The Upside of Down: which is preoccupied not with preventing civilizational collapse but with contingency plans to enable a “healthy renewal” after it.
  • Finding & Working With Others to Save the World: Ways to enable billions to sync with us, on their own terms, in their own context, developing their own plan of action, and then connect and collaborate in powerful ways, in experiments and in creating and refining working models in their own self-selected communities, so that they no longer need the systems that are destroying our world.

What I’m thinking about:

As a result of a message from Don Dwiggins: “I propose one characterization of a community as ‘a group of people who are stakeholders in one or more commons’ “. Don says this harks back to Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons principles, which I wrote about in connection with Peter Brown’s The Commonwealth of Life. The idea here is replacing private property ownership with community stewardship. For this to happen the ‘community’ needs to have shared values and goals and trust and love for each other — it won’t work in the modern ‘community of convenience’ (convenience for the real estate developer, the lawyer, the government and the employer) where there are none of these things. I don’t think virtual communities will get us there either — ultimately we need to ‘get physical’ and find some way to move us all to places where other people we share intentions with are. So my thinking is: Why do people move homes now? What (like ‘love of place’) causes people to dig in their heels and refuse to move, regardless of the incentives? In light of this, what could we do to attract people to move to intentional communities and detract them from moving away from them? What does ‘stewardship’ mean and could we give it legal force that would allow it to replace ‘ownership’ in anevolutionary way?

Over to you: What’s keeping you awake these days? And, what’s holding you back?

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2 Responses to Sunday Open Thread – January 14, 2007

  1. About moving: we (our family) are going to visit friends who moved from Quebec to Paris one year ago and we planned to have a discussion about how we are attached to where we come from and why do we choose to leave. Our starting point will be this text from Lichenology: and we will also talk about the possibility to create or join a cohousing community when they will come back to Quebec (in a couple of years). We will try to post our toughts here after the discussion.What is keeping me awake these days? I’ve just finished to read Presence by Peter Senge & al. and began Wikinomics yesterday and this is really keeping me awake at night (well, our 2 months old baby is also responsible for this!). I really think that the U-Process described in Presence could help us to change things. The project that is emerging in me right now is to facilitate the creation of an open-source consulting group that would use the U-Process and scenario-planning techniques to help corporations and institutions to become more authentic and responsible by developing a deep awareness towards the challenges that the future will bring. I am also planning to go to the summer workshop of the Shambhala Institute for Authentic Leadership (Scenario planning module: and this is surely keeping me awake!What’s holding me back? Feeling that a majority of people don’t want to change their lifestyle even if they say that they are concerned about climate changes and the future of our civilization.

  2. Zane says:

    Hi David (and J-S B)–I think you opening an important question: how to create communities that can endure and flourish, both in an ecological and a social sense. I am about to have my first child, which has made this question really stand out for me. We are in the process of building a house and growing into community

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