Society as ecology

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It is about rediscovering the ability to understand and work with diverse networks (ecology) rather than scaling through fenced monoculture as the primary technique for organising. I think this is a skill we need for improved sustainability and also that it is a facet of inclusive societies


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Please contribute also at the brainstorming page

How we scale to global culture/economics

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Small community with integrated ecology

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  • situated network.(Plant and animal ecology. Specific geography. Trade network.)
  • diverse elements are valuable in context with different elements.
  • appreciation of pattern, season, balance.
  • custodians

Large humanist group

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  • organising concept is not founded on specific geography
  • often monotheist homogenous nomadic group,
  • value is defined as sameness conquest 'other'
  • plant and animals are understood as resources/property.
  • fencing defines edges rather than negotiation

Global economic rationalism

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  • homogenous - this model can only value things in abstracted terms
  • all value is conceived as mass -monoculture of value with fence around
  • science and economics are about 'bottomline' math profit/loss and are only able to express value in those terms.
  • no systemic means of valuing a network ecology except as resource or cost
  • no systemic means of valuing diverse community except as resource or cost
  • hyper-nomadic funds so destruction is irrelevant.
  • no data fidelity at this scale.

This technique for abstraction applies for example in

  • agriculture and genetic modified crops
  • education in industrial broadcast model schooling with standardised testing producing a single competitive numeric value as the summary of a student's achievements.
  • copyright and broadcast media are designed as industrial engines to make products for consumption. copyright is the fence around value.
  • patents similarly are fences around actual or possible areas of value

Real costs of abstracted value

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  • All of these models are grounded on the same planet. The planet doesnt scale, but it is becoming more abstracted. We are losing actual fidelity not just in our data but in 'real life'.
  • We are losing many species and languages, alternative perspectives and understanding of systems of life.
  • We are losing intra-species diversity genetically and in their life experience due to monoculture farming.
  • Any species which does not offer a direct profit is at risk.
  • Any human community which is not a part of the wider abstracted economics is exploited and disenfranchised.
  • Many species may make a part of a web but are not accommodated because they are not valued in an industrial sense.


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  • Because we currently are able to navigate at a global scale using abstracted data to make sense of things there is a challenge in finding ways to make new structures which have fidelity, responsibility and which will work at our current scale.
  • We are not used to being responsible for negotiating contention and complex data, we rely on abstraction/fences for yes no options.

Finding new/old models

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  • Open source software, education commons, A2K principles are all based on a return to valuing negotiation skills for mapping diverse and open networks.
  • I am interested in finding ways to make resources that help people perhaps schools re-anchor in ecological context and diverse social context.
  • The Bloom clock sounds interesting. This kind of mass distributed aggregation of information about species, climate, water, could be something which could help us have better systemic networked data? What kinds of tools could be used in schools for kids to collect data and aggregate it into the whole? dnetc for biodiversity? What can we make.

See also

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