Welcome to Thrivable



Thrivability: Breaking Through to a World that Works

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John Steiner, Mesh Weaver, Great Freedom/Balanced View emissary - Boulder, CO, USA

Clarity: the particular use of this word, as part of a simple, yet universal language, is offered here on behalf of Great Freedom/Balanced View whose mission is clarity/awareness for the benefit of all and whose trainings support leaders and innovators in all fields.

One could say this movement is a reinvention of the perennial wisdom teachings for our era. From the vantage of the timeless wisdom traditions, who/what we truly are has been described as Awareness/Source/the View/God/Clarity/Love/Serenity/Essence/Vast Expanse/Peace/the Basic State of Natural Perfection...

  • Once we instinctively recognize our fundamental nature as short moments of awareness/clarity repeated many times until they become continuous (the one simple practice)
  • And understand that from this perspective all that’s ever really going on is clarity/awareness and our points of view (all our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences — any object of perception) and that our points of view/contents of awareness/clarity are the inseparable dynamic expression of clarity itself with no independent nature of their own,
  • Then complete mental and emotional stability becomes possible.   And one’s capacity to contribute to the world enhances greatly from a reliance on clarity (and its inherent qualities of wisdom, love, compassion, natural ethics, and skillful means).  Life becomes more thrivable, personally and professionally, and contributes to a thrivable world for the benefit of all.  This work is like a jet fuel to enhance our natural strengths, gifts, and talents.

Clarity can also be understood as letting points of view be just as they are, with nothing to change, avoid, indulge or replace.  Our basic state of natural perfection outshines our habitual points of view of imperfection.

Our common belief in the independent nature of points of view can be said to be leading us to extinction.  An instinctive understanding of the nature of mind/reality (the simplicity of Clarity, of the View and points of view) offers a pathway to a harmonious, collaborative, thrivable future.




Clay Shirky, NYU - NYC, NY, USA


Connectivity is like vanilla extract, except when it's like a pick-up truck.

Vanilla first...while we were making a cake for her 6th birthday, my daughter asked me: If vanilla extract is so good, why don't we use more than just a teaspoon?  I explained that some things are good in small amounts but not in large ones. (I'm sure I will have to re-explain this when she is an adolescent.)


Connectivity is like that, in both its technological and social manifestations.  We are a social species, and the ability to connect to others is deeply appealing, so tools and techniques that make connecting easier make us connect more. (Facebook's business model in one sentence.)


The problem is that too much connectivity can have paradoxically anti-social effects.  There's always someone new to meet, some new conversation to join, some new group to be part of, but if we avail ourselves of all the connectivity, we end up with lots of weak ties ("You have 1,536,755 friends!") while weakening our strong ties — the people to whom we're deeply, persistently connected.

Connectivity, like vanilla extract, generally flavors life best in small doses, leaving us with a balance of weak ties and strong ones.  The strong ties rely on something social scientists call "bonding capital", that form of social capital that relies on deeper, longer lasting relationships.  Bonding capital deepens trust and strengthens communities.  If that were the only story, society would be better off if we all lived and worked in small clusters rich in bonding capital. That isn't, however, the only story.  Having a small and stable group of bonded friends or associates is an essential component of human life, but it also creates risk of groupthink, while minimizing exposure to novel ideas.



There needs to be some way of moving new ideas into existing groups and some way of taking ideas form those groups and spreading them elsewhere.  Fortunately, there is — the highly connected individuals among us who help keep ideas flowing, the people Gladwell calls super-connectors.  Which is where the pick-up truck comes in.


When I was growing up, a friend of the family who owned a pick-up truck said he'd only learned one thing from the experience.  Most people don't actually want to own a pick-up truck, but they want to know someone who does.  These few super-connectors among us create “bridging capital”, the kind of social capital that involves making novel introductions among otherwise disconnected groups.  The tools we have today provide the technological means for all of us to be super-connectors.  But the social skills and drive to do so remain rare and unevenly distributed.  You may not want to be a super-connector, but you want to know at least one, or you risk getting too comfortable thinking that your worldview is the correct one.


Bridging and bonding capital are, obviously, in some tension with one another — novelty vs. familiarity, Chat Roulette vs. Yahoo Groups.   We're in the middle of an explosion in bridging capital, thanks to a medium that makes proliferation of weak ties almost effortless, but the trick to making connectivity work is knowing when to use which strategy.


I appreciate the pick up truck analogy and I am always happy to know someone who has one. Very good point about too much connectivity weakening our strong bonds. I am now a tad more conscious of which strategy I will apply.

  --David Zinger (Not signed in).....Sat Mar 13 11:07:40 -0800 2010




Joe Bill, Power Improvisation - Chicago, IL, USA

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Joanna Guldi, Harvard Society of Fellows - Boston, MA, USA


The invisible frontiers are the zones where modernity has failed to make good on its promises: famines, wars, corrupt bureaucracies; ghettos without exits.  For those who rest content in the faith that capital heals everything, the invisible frontiers remain invisible.  

A drive through the wrong side of town shows the grocery stores closing, the encampments of homeless, the empty factories. A drive through the rustbelt shows the devastation hidden from coastal enclaves: entire neighborhoods, demolished.  Closing schools.  Closing hospitals.  The invisible frontiers show what happens in the breakdown of capitalism and government: the societies of hobos, the existence of spontaneous guilds in trailer parks, child-care co-ops, community gardens, and utopian storefronts.  

In general, invisibility happens because of lack of access to capital, social or otherwise.  The health-insurance lobbyist can buy access to the Senator; devoted student activists cannot.  People on the other side of the digital divide — the 12% whom the Pew tells us have not even a dial-up connection — cannot tell Silicon-Valley engineers to design community-participation software that runs off of cell phones.

Insidiously, however, the invisibility of people is usually mutual. Even if you volunteered to design infrastructure tailored to the people on the other side of the digital divide, they might have a hard time answering your questions.  The uses of digital infrastructure are new to a people who lost their houses to concrete highways.

Landscape invisibility compounds class invisibility.  Stockton, a foreclosure capital, is home to Hispanic truck-drivers and factory-workers who have lost their houses in great numbers.  They are no different than other, better-known working-class immigrants in San Diego, Chicago, and New York.  First, the poor lose their landscape; next, they become invisible. Whatever capital has forgotten about dissolves like the soft paper of mid-century paperbacks, crumbling in the hand.  On the digital landscape, the overworked and harried rarely contribute to community web2.0 bike-maps.  They too become invisible.  We keep planning, however, as if there were no frontier, and nothing invisible beyond it.

The truly sustainable — the thrivable designer — reaches hands across the invisible frontier.  Reaching across the digital divide, the thrivable designer puts technology for rethinking government, energy, and food directly in the hands of those communities who live in food ghettos (where there are no grocery stores) and dial-up deserts (where one pays upwards of $40/mo for a slow connection on a pc shared by 5).  Thrivable design listens patiently, entering dialogue with potential users who find the new terms difficult.

Thrivability recasts the designer's place: no more in the halls of power, hanging out in shiny buildings with others of money; now instead, the designer belongs in the city, on public transit, or exploring the suburban ghetto. Thrivable design on the invisible frontier pays attention to all those details of life hidden in the landscape — the public places where strangers meet, the memory of people who have migrated a long way together, the corridors people travel who don't have access to funds.

The thrivable designer sees life — people trying to make a living, communities that need tools — where old-fashioned capitalists see only failure.  Thrivability recasts the designer's role: no more the paid lieutenant of corporation and state; now, instead, the wanderer around invisible peripheries, the witness and facilitator of emergent states.

well said I hope to be that kind of designer some day

  --Neal Skacel (Not signed in).....Tue Aug 31 10:34:16 -0700 2010




Deanna Zandt, author of Share This - Brooklyn, NY, USA


What if I told you that I held the secret to innovation and a thrivable future for the world?
Then what if I told you that it wasn’t a secret at all, that it’s been staring us in the face since eighth grade biology class?
Diversity often conjures up the ghosts of the 1990s politically correct era, but if we dig deeper, underneath the sound-bites and preconceived notions we might bring to the table, it creates a platform by which we can solve innumerable problems.  Come back to biology class with me: Creating a just and thrivable society is sort of like the evolution of a species.  If you have a bunch of the same DNA mixing together, the species mutates poorly and eventually dies off.  But bring in variety — new strains of DNA — and you create a stronger species.

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It’s no different in idea generation.  You get a bunch of the same people talking to each other and making the rules for a few millennia, and eventually you’re going to end up with a lack of meaningful advancement.
More than ever — through social technologies and a deeper sense of the world around us — we have the ability create new mixes in our idea incubators.  Moving our culture away from paradigms where the most “popular” — not necessarily the brightest or most talented — are repeatedly tapped for spokemanship and participation is critical.  To do so, we all have a responsibility to ensure diversity in the conversations we're having — and to acknowledge the bias we bring to the table.
To be clear, we won’t ever eliminate our biases.  But we can begin to be explicit about what we learn about ourselves and our social spheres when bias rears its ugly head.  Opening ourselves up to that process and beginning to break out of the way we’ve been thinking about how we assume the world operates (simply because it’s operated like that for a long time) is crucial.  We need to listen as selflessly as possible to what others are sharing and make sure that we’re not perpetuating the restrictive social structures that constitute the same idea-DNA mixing around.
Engaging with, listening to, and hearing people who have different backgrounds from yours starts a fundamental process creating paths to thrivability.  The challenge is in your hands: Will you help create a world where people, ideas and change all find each other without barriers and borders?




Jerry Michalski, Sociate.com  - San Francisco, CA, USA


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We need to let go of efficiency as an ideal.

Efficiency is the engineer's goal. It means expensive resources aren't being squandered, duplication is minimized, inventory is as thin as it can be without disrupting production.

But Nature isn't efficient. It's redundant and confusing. It has many processes so complicated scientists still don't know how they work — and may never know.

Relationships aren't efficient. They're tangly and inefficient, sometimes full of words that are just filler, sometimes full of mistakes that are hard to straighten out.

Decisions aren't efficient. They're full of emotions and doubts. We second-guess, we consult, we torture ourselves over very hard decisions, then we rationalize why we made them later on.

The world we occupy today was built efficiently. Its parts and institutions, from highways to schools to governments, are meant to function like well-oiled machines... yet we know they don't. Often they seem to fail to achieve their efficient goals: smart students, low crime rates, engaged citizens.

Our path to a Thrivable future lies in not worrying so much about cutting away everything that isn't efficient, or designing for efficiency as a major goal. That will drive us toward centralization and cookie-cutter replication of "best practices." Instead, let's decentralize: let's trust local people in local circumstances to make better decisions on their own (once again). Let's allow them to duplicate efforts and explore new solutions, so others may emulate or appropriate their insights.

That's a path to Thrivability.

As someone who has lived my life very inefficiently and very richly I appreciate this statement of dropping the well-oiled cookie cutter and thinking differently inside the hive. By the way, the two words that I had to type in to submit this comment were octopus inertia...seems significant in a strange way.

  --David Zinger (Not signed in).....Sat Mar 13 11:11:09 -0800 2010

I've wanted for some time to start a "Global Inefficiency Day", but of course I'm just too inefficient to get it off the ground. Anyone else like to do it ??

  --Phil Slade (Not signed in).....Sun Mar 14 03:42:24 -0700 2010




Jessica Margolin, Margolin Consulting - San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Who should I advocate for: my child or my child’s school?  Or the community of children in my area and the group of schools that serve them? Or schools tens of thousands of miles away who have an extreme need?
  • If I think Big Oil’s time is up, do I also have to avoid driving any gasoline-powered vehicle? Or is it acceptable to drive a Prius?  Must I avoid using barbeque propane and immediately put up solar panels on the roof?
  • I’m very sleepy, but others depend on my finishing this work by tomorrow. I need to control my sugar intake, but it’s my birthday cake. I am running a fever but there’s an exam at school.

We talk about alignment, and acting in alignment with our ideals. But in so many ways, we run into common connundra. How do I balance the needs of those I can protect and have authority over vs. the broader community?  How much should I personally sacrifice if the sacrifice is mostly or entirely symbolic? How much should I sacrifice if the sacrifice isn’t symbolic, but actually represents higher risk and lower resilience for me and increases my reliance on my community? And though I aim for thrivability, I know that even on a personal level there are times when I don’t even behave sustainably.

While I aim for thrivability, I know that, even on a personal level, there are times when I don’t even behave sustainably.

As a rationalist I have looked at this 20 years ago, proposing the idea that some mathematical combination of stakeholders’ points of view be aggregated to determine what the concept of growth really means. How can we measure important components of sustainability? What is the Return on Investment in education? 
Can we measure the reduction of risk based on meeting specific social goals?

I genuinely believe there are quantitative approaches to many of these crucial questions, though the models aren’t developed and the data are scattered and suspect. It’s just early.

But right now, today, how do I create a framework to approach these tensions between self and community, present and future, investment and risk?

I look to music.

“Harmony” is a musical jargon term, but for many it implies a sense of ease and flow. Even if my life is going every which way, how can I increase its harmony?

Musically, harmony is comprised of consonance (sounds that create peaceful feelings) and dissonance (sounds that create tense feelings). One of the more interesting things about music is that without dissonance music is boring! It’s actually dissonance that gives music a sense of movement. It’s dissonance that provides a sense of anticipation that consonance then resolves.

So to create harmony from areas that lack alignment, I propose looking at tension as something that ebbs and flows over time, sometimes resolved, sometimes tense, and the movement back and forth is a way of breathing between individuals and community. Then, whichever side of the conundrum we’re addressing, we attend to the precision of the note, the richness of the tone: the beauty of the melody.




Daniel Christian Wahl, PhD, FRSA - Findhorn, Scotland


Integrity and thrivability are intricately linked!

We will have to live our lives with a lot of personal integrity —each and every one of us — if we want to thrive in this fundamentally interconnected and interdependent world that faces an unprecedented era of transformation.

Integrity, well contemplated, can lead to a deep insight about the nature of being as being-in-relationship-to-a-larger-whole, and it can foster an attitude that helps us to dynamically steer our path into an unpredictable and turbulent future.

Integrity and thrivability are both linked to inner and outer (or systemic) resilience.  In order to thrive, a person, community, company, bioregion, nation or civilization needs to be resilient to the influences of unpredictable, and sometimes disruptive, sometimes creative change.  Systemic integrity, the pattern that connects, the matrix of wholeness that weaves the local, to the regional, and the global, is at the heart of nurturing and maintaining systemic resilience.

Integrity is all about wholeness.  I mean real participatory living, transforming, ever-changing wholeness.  It is about asking with every decision: does this serve the health and healing of the whole (community or planet).  It is about salutogenic (health-generating) design, about scale-linking appropriate participation.  Thrivability is about maintaining the integrity of the holarchy.

Integrity is remembering that as individuals we are indivisible from the whole process in which we are participating – the integral evolution of life and consciousness.

Integrity is about embracing the paradox that while most of us live our lives in a state of consciousness that separates subject and objects, self and world, even humanity and nature, there is a deeper ground of being and becoming — a quantum-entangled, implicate order of fundamental interconnectedness and co-creative reciprocity.  We are individual nodes of consciousness.  Each with our own unique co-creative agency, and simultaneously we are integral participants and emergent properties of the whole community of life, the unity of the universe transforming, consciousness evolving, being and becoming.  “The seen and the seer are one.” (Bhagvagita)

Integrity is about honouring multiplicity in unity, about reverence for life, about recognizing — as late Thomas Berry put it —  that “the universe is not a collection of objects but a communion of subjects.”

Integrity is at the heart of integral philosophy, integral psychology, integral spirituality, integral enlightenment, and all the other facets integral theory and practice.

Integrity is about living in congruence with the insight that, as co-creative participants in the world we live in, we can all contribute to the transition towards a sustaining, resilient and thriving culture, moving from the mess we are in, beyond sustainability, to the thrivability of the whole community of life.
In the end, as Buckminster Fuller said: “Only integrity is going to count.”





Kevin Clark, Content Evolution - Chapel Hill, NC, USA


“Man shapes himself through decisions that shape his environment.” [i] - Rene Dubos

Thrivability is fueled by intentions.


  • Directed
  • Earnest
  • Engrossed
  • Intense


  • Aim
  • Determination
  • Planned
  • Purpose

Intentional: done with purpose[ii]

…and intentions are holons.
Holons are both wholes and parts.  Intentions nest as holons — as both wholes and parts.  All the way up and all the way down.

We’re adapting and honoring a concept Ken Wilber has explored extensively in his book A Theory of Everything. He defines holons (a term first introduced by Arthur Koestler[iii]) as ingredients in hierarchies. Wilber says, “A holon is a whole that is a part of other wholes.  For example, a whole atom is part of a whole molecule; a whole molecule is part of a whole cell; a whole cell is part of a whole organism.... Reality is composed of neither wholes nor parts, but of whole/parts, or holons.  Reality in all domains is basically composed of holons.”[iv]

The same could be said of intentions, where every purposeful act is nested in other holons of intention. For clarity:

  • A “reference holon” is the holon that forms the frame of reference as a single whole/part for looking at the smaller and larger world it exists in.
  • A “sub-holon chain” represents the view of the constant holon down to smaller holon wholes/parts.
  • A “macro-holon chain” is the view of the constant holon up to larger holon wholes/parts.[v]

Holons of intention can create chains of thrivability.
We as humans have the inherent capacity to be the most intentional reference holons on earth.  Yet we seemed to be distracted and immersed in the unintentional.

Paul Hawken, the author of The Ecology of Commerce [vi] introduces a version of sustainability succinctly when he says in the preface, “Rather than a management problem, we have a design problem, a flaw that runs through all business.”  He continues, “To create an enduring society, we will need a system of commerce and production where each and every act is inherently sustainable and restorative.” [vii]


Good, yet still not intentional enough for our inherent capacities.  Sustainability language is frequently formed as an apology for the past and a prayer for methods to repair damage so we can learn to just get by.

Thrivabilty is more optimistic than sustainability.

Thrivabilty is about transcending and including the current fitness landscape with intelligence and grace.

Being intentionally thrivable is using the gift of collective intelligence we can harness to do better — and together do more.


[i] Lawrence J. Peter, Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time, New York: William Morrow and Company, p. 172.
[ii] Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984, p. 733.
[iii] Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, Macmillan Publishers, 1969.
 [iv] Ken Wilber, A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality, Boston: Shambala Press, 2001, p. 40.
[v] Kevin Clark, Brandscendence: Three Essential Elements of Enduring Brands, Chicago: Dearborn/Kaplan, 2004,   p. 112.
[vi] Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, Harper Business, 1993, p. xiii.
[vii] Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, Harper Business, 1993, p. xiv.




Amy Sample Ward - London, UK


Listening for Action
We all know listening is important—we were told as much in school, in relationships, and in our work. We've heard all about listening. But, what's missing from what we do (that we may think is listening) that makes our work, our ideas, our conversations vital to changing and shaping the world? Listening for action.

We are told to listen.
Especially in the social impact sector, "listening" can mean so many things.

  • "Listen to your market, your community, and what they are saying about you."  We are listening in order to know what people think about us and our work, our services or our products. We listen, track, make notes, even analyze.
  • "Listen to your competitors, listen to their communities as they are yours, too."  We listen, make notes, make comparisons.
  • "Listen to your staff—they know more about what your organization does every day than anyone else." We listen, make notes, file papers.

This is listening to learn. It's incredibly important but it is lopsided. It fills us with information and data, ideas and understandings, and a lot more questions. We learn, but we don't share what we learn. We learn, but we don't grow on our own learnings.

We want to have conversations.
Some times, we listen enough that we start conversations (this is a good thing).  We hear so much, whether it is directly about us or not, that we can't stand just listening anymore.

  • "Join the conversation that's already happening online."  We know our work, our issues, our services, and our ideas are being talked about, and we want to be part of the community that's doing the talking.  So we start commenting on the blogs, replying on Twitter, professionalizing our profile on facebook. 
  • "Share your story."  We get excited by the tools and opportunities for telling the story of our work.  We let people know all about the impact we've made, the campaigns we've created, and the ideas we like. Our blog comments, status updates, and shared links bring people back to our message.

This is listening to share.  It's incredibly important but it is just as lopsided as listening to learn.  Just as before we were pulling everything in, now we are simply pushing everything out.  Social media doesn't work this way.  Communications don't work this way.  Social change doesn't work this way.

We need to act, together.

Listening to act is the trigger to collaboration, to building a movement, to making change.  When we listen to act, we don't make notes and go home, nor do we simply wait our turn to speak.  Listening to act requires us to harness the power of our real-time Web and real-time global community to find and create opportunities for ideas and needs to connect with those who can make them happen.

Listening to act means listening to learn where the opportunities are for collaboration.  It means listening to share the needs you have and the vision for the world you want to create.  It isn't passive and it isn't blind.  Listening to act is like thinking aloud, in public, with a community of people listening and suggesting opportunities to act together.

Listening is the only way we can change the world, but only if we listen to act.

In my own little world of social media, "Listening" has a very specific meaning. Thank you for reminding me that there is a much broader and deeper meaning to the action.

  --Claire Sale (Not signed in).....Fri Mar 12 11:14:49 -0800 2010

Thank you, Claire! That's exactly the place I was coming from when writing this piece: trying to consciously remind myself of the real power of listening in my work.

  --Amy Sample Ward (Not signed in).....Fri Mar 12 11:18:25 -0800 2010

Dear Amy,


This is an important distinction, thank you so much for writing this. You are leading the way towards a more coherent nonprofit communications strategy/philosophy! Well done!



  --Mazarine (Not signed in).....Sat Mar 13 23:34:49 -0800 2010




Evonne Heyning, Amoration - Los Angeles, CA, USA


Play is the act of participatory emergence.  When we join in play we become a catalyst in a story, acting in countless ways to shift the situation.  Every intuitive action charts the path ahead, offering opportunity cards for engagement throughout the emergent process.
As Tracy Fullerton notes in her book Game Design Workshop, “Play can be thought of as freedom of movement within a more rigid structure.” With one boring-looking box, anyone can manipulate and create thousands of potential stories.  Participatory emergence within and beyond the system allows for personalization, the unique signature of an individual, to flow through as player and designer redefining what is possible between the worlds.
Think of a lifelong adventure game, either the board game of Life from childhood or your own adventure interactive story.  What kind of character are you? What are you chasing and what is your goal?

Are you the:

Balancing challenges, we learn to grow reputation and experience, value and trust within entangled networks.  Every action ripples through these networks as systems flex and flow around our movements.  Every play matters.
You can choose to spark a revolution and send a fire ripping through the fields of our everyday domain.
 You can also play it chill, subtle or graceful through the quieter places, shifting the game-board as others move in predestined lines.  You may be the one who throws out the rule-book and draws all over the board.  Playful style introduces your sense of personal flair and identity that defines your role across many networks.
Discovery is a key joy button in play.  People push new buttons because there is some extraordinary experience to share.  The flexible freedom of playful space can be created anywhere, at any moment, where a smile and action take over.
Games create solutions with shared knowledge through dynamic tools for critical exploration.  Play has many hidden rewards.
Experimentation in everyday play teaches adaptation and resiliency, essential for thrivable development.  Active players learn to negotiate, solve problems, and strategize complex situations with friends.  Cooperative play can encourage connection, bonding, and relationships that evolve with the world crafted in the game space.
The sensual types of play — including sex, intimacy, and the chemistry of bonding — includes intentional playful touches.  Heart and mind engage fully when magnetic attraction zing takes over; tribal instinct plays with both rawness and great passionate emotion.  How many times have you been distracted by someone who struck you as magnificent?  How did you choose to play with them?
You have no idea what you can initiate; your playful signature echoes.  Run for the finish line or enjoy the view — player's choice.  Trust your intuition and be free to play: engage for the challenge or practice completing tasks by leveling up in daily life.  Remember why you're really playing, and you can always win.




Bice C. Wilson, AIA - Bronx River Highlands, Meeting-of-Waters Bioregion, North America


All thriving occurs some Place -
In Community

Vast as the earth, Intimate as your heart.

You, sitting on that rock, 

Your loved ones thriving in their dwelling places,

Always some Place,

Never alone

The extended pattern of life we inhabit

Our entire interdependent web

Ever evolves

Towards thriving.

                            Even when it’s killing us.

This aspiration, an ancient desire,

as yet ephemeral,

Always ephemeral.

Creates by every action

The well-being of myriad Places

Every moment, every day

Places we are in, and Places seemingly remote yet

Always specific, knowable

These make our being

Before / Here / Later


RIGHT NOW Unseen Places exist so we can thrive.

              Beings sacrifice in our names,

Proffer gifts for our well-being.

Products of Place,

Nourishing us on their way to nourishing some Place else.
We can know and understand that web,

In ways our ancestors only hoped to –

Now knowing, we

Can take responsibility for all the Places ever

Aggregating in us, 

That makes us Place-makers,

In every place-moment

       Joyful, mournful
                    Generative, even when destructive
SO,           Here,                       Now,                       You,       


Reading This in That Place,



Reading This in our Place/Moments,

How can WE build Place-making culture –

Become ever more skillful Place-makers,

Ever enhancing the beauty of the pattern of life?

 What are the skillful means we can avail ourselves of?

What do you know?        Teach us.                   Join us.





Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation - Thailand


I. Aspects of Openness
The requirement of inclusionality or open access; the demand for participation, i.e. permission-less contributions; the demand for holoptism or full transparency of that process, and finally, for full share-ability and ‘changeability’ of the common material.  All these represent new social expectations, and are key ingredients of commons-based peer production as well.

II. Enablers of Openness
These aspects or fundamental characteristics of openness are then embedded in enablers or ‘guarantors’. First are the Open Definitions, the social charters that determine the boundary conditions of the open communities and which define the minimal conditions for openness to be recognized; these are further embedded in open code, open licenses, and open standards; as well as the basic conditions which are open access and open data.

III. Infrastructures of Openness
To make it all real, we need infrastructures in which these enabling elements are embedded, i.e. we need open platforms, both virtual and physical, which allow us to produce in a open way: open collaborative technical platforms, open places where we can gather, open media and communication infrastructures we can use, open and free software, knowledge and scientific data; and the ability to live in open and free villages and urban spaces, which connect local production with global open design communities.

IV. Open Practices
All the preceding enablers, will allow us then to engage in open practices, especially open design and open manufacturing, but also free currencies and new forms of sharing (ownership).

V. Open Domains of Practice
Embedded in topical domains, such as education and science, these practices are contextualized and made real.

VI. Open Products!!
The actual ’social artefacts’ actually created by the processes from I to V, i.e. the Apache server, the Linux operating system, etc...


All of the above gives us a circular process, leading to new iterations of open characteristics.

VII. Open Movements
New social movements, specifically dedicated to increasing ‘openness’ are also specifically tackling the social awareness concerning this shift, strengthening and increasing the numbers of people who see this as a new mode of life and ethical ideal, and as their default social practice. Like the P2P Foundation itself, they consciously work on creating open distributed infrastructures in all areas of life, interconnecting initiatives in global networks of experience sharing.

VIII. Open Consciousness
All the efforts from II to VII change our subjectivities and how we relate to each other, re-inforcing new iterations of the Open Cycle.

For full access: http://www.mindmeister.com/28717702/everything-open-and-free

The mindmap presents a condensation of the 3 years of research we’ve undertaken at the P2P Foundation. A special thanks to Ben Dagan of Creative Commons Austria, who prodded me to undertake this visualization effort and added some extra visual elements already.




Chris Watkins, Appropedia - Austrailian Nomad


Resilience is ancient wisdom and modern science.  It is design, technology, integration, and action, that enables people and communities to absorb change and bounce back from shocks and hard times.

Optimization for the everyday leads to fragility in the face of the unexpected.  Without resilience, highly ordered social structures are reduced to chaos and crisis in the face of adversity.  With resilience, we create abundance in good times and security in bad.

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Resilience means being able to call upon resources we prepared beforehand.  Our social capital gives us good information and communication, and our community shares and helps.  Our design and preparedness strengthen us, and the diversity and creativity of our solutions respond to local circumstances.

Humans and nature make up social-ecological systems — an ecosystem of interdependent elements.  Our systems are complex, unpredictable, in constant flux.  There is no blueprint for being resilient, but a toolkit of solutions and a sourcebook and laboratory of ideas.  Resilience is created through diversity, preparedness, wisdom and abundance.

Diversity.  Each element in the system performs multiple functions, and each function is served by multiple elements.  Diversity of action and design gives us choices and backups.  In our gardens it gives us a variety of flavors, a longer harvest, and resistance to disease.  In our living environment it gives us richness of experience.

Preparedness.  Thinking ahead, conserving, studying and planning for our future.

Wisdom.  Globally shared solutions to local challenges, a commons of tools and ideas, an understanding of context.

Abundance.  Creating more than we need, a buffer against harsh times.  Resilience is joyful, abundant living, creating more than we need — preparing for hard times whenever they come, and creating a thrivable future whatever may come.




















Thank you Lonny Grafman for the idea to have a blank simple page.




Todd Hoskins - Chicago, IL, USA

“The world is not comprehensible, but it is embraceable.” 
– Martin Buber


Information is abundant.  The amount of data created already surpasses the amount of hardware we have to store it.  Yet, even with our escalating zettabytes containing centuries of historical knowledge and potential insight, war, poverty, injustice, and widespread cultural malaise persist.
Wisdom is elusive.  It is a drop of oil in a pot of water, the snowflake that melts before allowing my close examination, the cat that darts out the back door when opened.  Striving doesn’t help.  It seems to appear and then vanish.  The stories are well known: the king becomes the lunatic; the hermit becomes the sage.
Wisdom is dynamic.  Policies and strategies that have succeeded in the past often fail.  Context is in flux, and our wisdom must constantly adapt. Spiritual traditions and ideas that have survived have done so because interpretations have shifted, perspectives have been allowed to evolve.  We cannot know timeless wisdom because we are inescapably situated in time.
Wisdom is not something to be possessed.  We live in an ownership-obsessed society with dominion claimed on concepts, resources, relationships, and stuff.  Our belongings offer us less belonging.  Still, we want to capitalize, even on wisdom.
You cannot horde wisdom.  You can neither buy nor sell it prepackaged.  Empires have fallen, companies failed, and families dissolved because they think they own the rights to protect and dispense wisdom.
Wisdom is relational, if at times only with ourselves.  It is shared, between body and mind, person to person, human and nature.   It is an arc of spirit that extends from one subject to another, being to being.  Bending across geography and time, but more often eye-to-eye, or gut-to-heart, wisdom occurs.
It’s an occurrence, one that we hope will last days or years, but sometimes it flashes like lightning.  As a happening, I cannot carry it with me.  We access it, experience it, witness it.
If wisdom exists in the spaces around and within us, why is the world not evolving as we desire?
I often turn the other way.  I don’t want to see it.  In order for the arc to connect me to a book, a person, or the earth itself, I must commit to seeing things as they are, to being engaged and curious, and open to the transmission - willing to see the beauty and the pain, the divinity and the humanity, whatever is present.
There is no scarcity of wisdom.  If we open to our hearts and our bodies, to each other and the world and face our situations squarely, we begin to thrive.  Collectively, where there are arcs of wisdom in a room, in a community, solutions begin to emerge.


Thrivability: A Collaborative Sketch

a collection of over 60 essays and images crafting a topography for thriving

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