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Page history last edited by info@leobakx.com 11 years, 3 months ago

UP - Unifying Pilot for 2010

with the Chaordic Institute


This is a new pilot project for 2010 (vote with your feet: take part if you like the idea, leave it if you don't)

which has come about from observing various strands of conversations in the wider permacuture network. 


first some background:


Organizational Models and the PC Movement

A general historical perspective of the PermaCulture 'network'



(it is useful to have read and understood the basics in the chaordics page)


1970s-1980s:  When the PermaCulture movement was small (in Scale and Scope) the Decentralized model worked very well as a maximum-collective-intelligence organizational ideal.


1980s - 1990s: As the permaculture movement grew, some pioneers became frustrated with it's lack of coherence and (predictably low) collective intelligence* and made various attempts at centralizing. (before and after some good protocols were agreed at International Convergences..)

In many ways they were very wise to try this because the Centralized model really IS more evolved in terms of Intelligence and Processing Capacity as the Scale and Scope of an organization grow... but it also comes with serious drawbacks, and it is not the most evolved model possible.

* (A lowering of collective intelligence manifested in that much that is being labelled 'permaculture' (to this day) is just a diluted parody of this brilliant and powerful design science).

But many (fortunately or unfortunately) also resisted these centralizing attemps and so the movement evolved into a fragmented mix of Decentralized and Centralized, with some emerging Chaordic shapes.


If you would like to correct / expand on / improve on this very brief summary please do!  Please do so on the PCHistory page



1990s - 21st Century PermaCulture: the basic rationale behind the birth of the Chaordic PC Institute (as ONE 'chaordicising' effort) is that if we wish for the Intelligence and Processing Capacityof the PermaCulture movement to grow at the same time as it's growth in Scale and Scope, we will have to evolve way beyond old Decentralized or Centralized models into some genuinely Chaordic shapes (or whatever other more useful patterns we get to know about: do suggest any better alternatives).  




To do this we will need to:

  • study and understand what Chaordic means (so we can design for it)
  • unite enough genuinely cooperative-minded permaculture designers behind this vision (eg. the members of this Chaordic Institute: vote with your feet and join in if you'd like to be one > see PROFILES page)
  • design together once enough of the above two have started to occur + some good chaordic leadership emerges.
  • any other suggestions?




The Main Objective of UP

... is to move UP the evolutionary scale (in short)


To incorporate the best of the old with new technologies and some ambitious visions for the future to chaordicize (make more effective, but without centalizing or unfairly / undemocratically excluding) the permaculture network

(= make it more of a work-net).  To accelerate whatever natural succession/s we can spot / maximise number of fertile connexions, optimize, etc.


Although throughout the early growth of the movement, throughout the many PermaCulture Convergences (and for eg. also in the YearBook) one can see many indicators of the basic vision for the more ordered workings of the permacuture network being of a nodal nature ('non-hierarchical' , self-organizing, etc.), things have changed a lot (eg. sheer numbers of permaculture designers across the world and widening interest in the subject) PLUS our pioneers didn't have access to some important new tools and information that have only started to become more widely available during the last few years.  



New Tools, Models and Information


1) free, easy to use internet tools - Internet nowadays provides us with many tools that make participatory (and adeguately-informed) democracy a real possibility and also provide the all-important holopticism that is so essential for collective intelligence to work.   More people (including an important initially resistant 'permaculture hard-core' low-tech school group) are now able and willing to use internet, and web-literacy is increasing exponentially (as befits the  next phase of global civilization).


In terms of Natural Successions and trends... this simplified diagram of the Ages of Humankind is a very useful summary and map of where we might be ...

If we are at the start of a new Planetary Fase of evolution then we are (according to this model) in the throes of deciding (designing or 'letting happen') these big and crucial decisions:


1) what kind of globalization (a global village or a globe of villages or ... ?)


2) what kind of global governament (by the multinationals or by the people or ... ?), and


3) what kind of internet communications (towards an amplification of stupidity or a  hightened collective intelligence or ... ?)


(see Consultation about InternetProblems)






2) One is the clarifying nature of the holonic theory of evolution with regards to the (for many, emotionally problematic) concepts of  'hierarchy'

(Refs. there are lots: eg. see parable of watchmakers in integralworld article, or Ken Wilber's writings, in particular the concept of evolution having a discernable 'direction': towards higher complexity created by systems fully incorporating and transcending the - problems of the - old.  Not 're-inventing the wheel')


3) Another is the chaordic model for organizations, which gives some elegant alternatives out of the tight limits of scale of the decentralized pattern (which served the embrionic PC network very well) and also out of the tight and power-problematic structures of the more larger-scale effective centralized patterns.   See the chaordic page for more info.


  • Distributed (Networks - Chaordic Organizations):**

eg. Internet, ecosystems, Visa, AA ... & the parts of the PC network that work well?

the dots (points of the system) are ... 



Connected by protocol


Stable relationships, dinamic environment


Diverse and uniform


Growth from any point in any direction (initiative)

perhaps what most of us aspire for the PermaCulture Network to be more like?


In the absence of these 3 important break-throughs, the natural tendency when confronted with some of the chaotic, 'everyone for themselves' (decentralized) phenomena (most of which were harmless or even creative, but others threatened to undo much of the pioneer's priceless work)  was, quite undestandably, to try to re-inject some measure of order (standard-keeping) and control by attempting to centalize to a certain extent and / or try to create a 'superior tier' of 'original and best' that could be distinguished from the 'diluted' new forms appearing as permaculture (but also lots of other good quality work..)


Although on the surface the network has grown, permaculture has become more of a household name and some of our pioneers insights have been incorporated into much of the 'sustainability' and 'green' movements, on another, perhaps more internal level these attemps at centralizing were both messy and confusing and in practice only succeeded in creating various currents or groups within the permacuture network which has become more fragmented and dispersed, as it grew.   


The basic idea behind this Pilot project / experiment within the Chaordic Institute is that it is now possible to integrate the (mostly beneficial) controlling-centralizing tendencies (which are essentially about trying to preserve some very high standards of quality pioneering work) whilst incorporating new visions and forms of working individually and together that also conserve all the benefits of the old ideals (which were essentially those of free-form, decentralized, self-organized and 'nodal' workings).


If you are a permaculture designer, we warmly invite you to take part in these initial observation efforts (see questions below) and to add your own.  Please note that in order for this to be an open, transparent and useful excercise, you need to 'sign' your contribution with a link to your profile, so we can see who is speaking (what permacuture path and experience is behind your opinions, plse set up your PROFILE if u're still not a member of this Chaordic PC Institute).  





Participate in the Consultations / Questionnaires

There are various, click on each title to see the questions and answers to date: all CI members (people who have their profile up here in the Chaordic Institute) are warmly invited to participate:


Added Jan 2010, specifically for this Unifying Pilot:



Teachers Register




Added around June 2008, in the Education 'Lab':

PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate)


EducatingBeyondTheMovement ( Permaculture contributing to general culture )


Added July 2008, by the DesignOfPilot group:

Development of Chaordic Institute


What other Consultations do you think would be useful to have?

plse do add them here





Other Places for Dialogues

Apart from the Consultation pages here (where we hope to have summaries of results eventually) there are many other more 'free-flow' and other forms of exploring these issues, and here are some of them:




One thing that is new is placing the dialogues in various* Nings** around the globe: 


The LivingMandalas Ning

Living Mandala is a growing collective of educators, organizers and designers committed to eco-social regeneration based on the organizing intelligence of nature exhibited through the emergence of life.


The OpenWorldCafe Ning

Dialogues on Sustainability and Life Leadership

This group could focus on the Leadership aspects of this issue, as the Open World Cafe mission is to host "Dialogues on Sustainability and Life Leadership". There is a good article on Chaordic Leadership here to start with.


The Bioneers Community Ning

Revoution from the Hearth of Nature: Practical solutions for people + planet


* Why various?  This is instead of creating a new one.. and in order to unite further (if you didn´t know about these spaces, maybe you'd like to - and if you know of more, please feel free to create more CPI groups in ones you use).  The various aspects focused by those nings' missions (and the people who tend to work there) will hopefully create further fertile edges for the dialogues about the CPI mission.


** What are Nings?  They are social networks which have become very popular for ease of use and good general design - they have some strong advantages over email groups for eg.

- that you can see who is in the group (and if you're lucky they have faces too),

- can click on their icon to see their profile and get to know more about where they're coming from (contextualising their contributions)

- no spam, no clogging up your email (you can choose to get reminders of updates by email however)

- dialogue all focused in one place, doesn't matter how slow it is, it keeps together





please add the ones u know of ..



On WiserEarth


There is a topic "A PDC for the 21st Century" started by Skye

you need to sign into the PATO group on WiseEarth to participate.


And a Fixing Systems not Symptoms group

which you can contribute to also



please add the ones u know of ..



Email Lists


Some international (but mainly US) email lists:

Open Permaculture mailman list

Lawrence's permaculture list


please add the ones u know of ..







UK Forum


(during the 1st writing of this page, perhaps coincidentally, Graham alerted us to a 'hot topic' on this forum, dramatically labelled "The Death of Permaculture" )


please add the ones u know of ..




Evaluation of this Unifying Pilot












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