Elizabeth Thompson opened PlaNetwork at the Presidio with an eloquent plea not just to think globally and act locally, but to combine activism and the net to think and globally. She and Jim Founier founded PlaNetwork in the cocktail lounge atop the Hyatt a few years back. They are PlaNetwork.

Jim explained that this year’s conference is less rigid than their first one. It’s a three-ring circus. There’s an online collaboratory. The “Assembler Team” is using online and onsite tools to look for emerging patterns and connections, “aggregating information and steering it from one activity to another where it can have maximum impact. Our creative quest is to discover and design the shortest path to realizing our collective goals.”

    “Thoughtout the conference, participants will sign up for 90-minute blocks on the Assembler Team. Here all facets of the PlaNetwork community - artists, writers, engineers, designers, community activists, economists, and many others - will come together and weave a tapestry of emergent patterns and possibliteis and then feed these back into the conference for further iteration and design.”

We are to follow PatchWorks Rules (I’m now a “node”) which call for us each to:

  1. Ship What You Learn. Communicate as you go. Don’t hold the idea back until the end. In nature, everything co-evolves and co-emrges.
  2. Use What You Get. We need to understand problems and information from other areas. You don’t have to believe it or agree with it, but you have to use it.
  3. Optimize Your Patch. By “shipping what you learn” and “using what you get” each part will be recalculating its current state, constantly seeking its own optimization while creating the whole.

Hazel Henderson has just taken the stage on opening day at PlaNetwork. (I’m blogging this in real time.)

Homage to Bucky Fuller and Barbara Marx Fuller. Citizens + Computers + Communications = Commujnity. Hazel wrote this book in the early seventies! She’s been around. At the time she figured the future would be phones and smartcards. (Hazel is using transparencies. Remember those?) Sustainability has been an issue for a long time.

We’re being guided by this awful GNP model The economists only count the monetized costs, not the “love econoomy” and mother nature. The economists still control the political side:pay attention to only four factors — unemployment, deficits, inflation, and interest rates. But the world is more complex than that.

Ironic cover of The Economist: “The puzzling failure of economics”

The economists are linear and therefore can’t grok complex systems. A “Post-Cartesian Scientific Worldview” sees interconnectedness, redistribution (recycling), htererarch (webs), complimentarity (both/and), etc. In Washington, Hazel’s message did not go far because the traditional economists own the status quo. Hazel envisions three modes of resource use in national development: informatin, matter, and energy.

Bush: The fossil administration (coal to oil to hydrogen).

Time warp

While I blogged some of these words in real time, I have come back and added more words and the pictures the next day. This seems a little like manipulating photographs. It’s a “patchwork” synthesis, no longer a purely chronological blog but more simply an entry in my personal content management system. Maybe all my posts should carry a disclaimer.

Posted by Jay Cross at June 6, 2003 09:46 AM | TrackBack

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