David Braden’s comment in Academia on 09/20/2015


Thank you Larry. I do want to respond to many of your queries about my program but it often seem unproductive unless you can grasp certain concepts that I have to date been unable to share. Perhaps we can make progress in both directions. This comment is an example: “We must attend to “getting our human act together”, birthing humanity from humankind (societal metamorphosis) before we can make the needed new relationships with Gaia.” How is it that humans will acquire the competencies to create the needed new relationships with Gaia unless that is the subject of our learning expedition? How about we use the technological tools we have available (Lscaffolding) to write a script that others can perform to explore those relationship. In that exploration, each performance of a script can result in an improved script, or a next level understanding and a modification to the scaffolding allowing for new scripts. You are right though that I am using scaffolding in a different sense than you are. Having just finished Autopoiesis and Cognition, I can frame this difference in our perspective in the language that Maturana and Varela have proposed. The organization of a living system is the relationship of its components (its scaffolding). The processes generated by the components in a living system maintain the organization. The organization produces the components as they develop.

In my view, it is a critical point for the new sems to include an understanding of our relationship with our habitat. If we continue to produce what humans need to thrive using industrial processes, we will continue to deplete Gaia’s resources. When we begin to understand that we are a component of this larger living system called the habitat, we can begin to build resources back into the system. As components of that system our actions can serve to maintain the organization and the organization will serve to maintain humans as a component. You also say: “Making a super-major change (UPLIFT to Societal Metamorphosis) is “actually” the least complex and more viable pathway than so-called “lesser” alternatives. Please evaluate this claim, don’t quickly dismiss it as “unrealistic”.” I agree with your assertion. In Donella Meadow’s list of leverage points to affect a complex system she lists change of paradigm as the most powerful. I would just take your conceptual scheme and give it direction based on the critical point described above. Humans are not the apex of evolution. We are a component of a living system that I am calling habitat which is a fractal functional part of your Gaia. It is this change of paradigm that will be the egg that will become the chicken of your UPLIFT ;-).

Larry Victor replies 09/23/2015

David, we have been at this dialog for almost a decade. I propose it is time to “go meta” and explore why we have difficulty sharing. It is not just between you and I. I face this with everyone who is committed to sharing with me. This should inform us that we are ALL missing something. This need to “go meta” is not new, but somehow seems never attended to, as we are caught up in addictive dialog.

Some of your questions really puzzle me. For instance, “How is it that humans will acquire the competencies to create the needed new relationships with Gaia unless that is the subject of our learning expedition?” “That” IS the subject of the UPLIFT learning expedition: acquiring the competencies !!!!! But, with an alternative reading of your sentence, the “subject” (of “that”) you intend is “new relationships with Gaia“. The Humankind/Gaia interface is but one of the content curriculum of UPLIFT – a developmental (short to long-term term) set-of-objectives and goal. Some background on how the H/G interface was worked in the past would be included, as well as the “closed loop” principles you so correctly explain. As I have repeatedly emphasized, my strategy is based on my analysis that Humankind must be changed significantly BEFORE we can even begin to develop new relationships with Gaia. This is a practical and pragmatic claim, considering both the complex and dysfunctional societal system we now live in AND the dumbed-down and highly dogmatized condition of the human population. “Reason” and even real “opportunity” cannot be easily communicated or comprehended in today’s reality. This is not to say we don’t energetically apply and disseminate your system of food production (which is based on Human/Garden synergy). We seem to be cross-talking on this specific issue, which means we MUST go meta.

I strongly don’t comprehend humans as the apex of evolution, although we ARE a unique species. When I claim that humankind signals a fundamental change in the “nature of nature” (re information being liberated by humans from embedment in matter/energy systems) I view humans as but the beginning (not the apex) of this cosmic shift. The humans are the focus of that shift here in our galaxy, it does have special relevance – but again as a seed, not a finished product. This hypothesis is open for critique, but I cannot ignore it.

David, I seem unable to share “my world” with you, although I have written much. You also seem to believe I don’t comprehend “your world”, which I may well not comprehend. But, I need more from you on how “your world” is “practical and realistic” in our contemporary Crisis-of-Crises.

I have written much in an attempt to propose UPLIFT as a practical strategy, from now and in stages leading to a significant increase in humankind’s competencies to then act as they need to act. UPLIFT is not a philosophy, it is an Exploratory Engineering proposal. The details are generative on request. How to get UPLIFT started is a realtime challenge. UPLIFT, as a strategy is also open to critique – but it must be comprehended before it can be evaluated. All anyone has received as been a brief summary of UPLIFT, and one can comprehend it only by studying it, not by reading my summary papers. I am open to assist others learn to comprehend UPLIFT. Unfortunately, today, most persons won’t devote time to study. David, you have devoted time to study Autopoiesis. Could you devote some time to study UPLIFT before you attempt to critique it? To study UPLIFT is not to have me teach it. It involves a learner/educator relationship.

Now, as to my learning to comprehend your ideas, I am also open to study, and engage in a learner/educator relationship with you. As a learner, I would request you attempt to distinguish for the philosophical, general scientific, and strategy of action (short, mid, and long-term) application of your ideas in changing how things happen on this planet. It is this latter aspect that I am totally uninformed about.

David, I just had an insight. Maybe we both differ on what will be the (primary) attractor of others to engage in UPLIFT – which is your offer of a “change of paradigm that will be the egg that will become the chicken of your UPLIFT”. The conceptual scheme of the Human/Gaian relationship is, to me, far too abstract to attract anyone – but that is not what you intend. To provide persons with adequate food (and community in the process) could attract persons to JOIN an existing human system. You need to detail for me how the idea can be spread and an actual spread of real communities occur – in this real world. Actually, my proposal for UPLIFT (which you don’t yet comprehend) would provide for this. David, I really wish you would read what I write with an effort to comprehend – I seem to be talking into the wind. What I say here I have said many times.

You propose a new PARADIGM. This intrigues me, as I admit I may be missing something VERY SIGNIFICANT. I use the term “paradigm” in Kuhn’s original meaning as a “deeply habitual practice”, an “established way of doing”, usually unquestioned as to why or whether there are alternatives. I comprehend closed loop systems and how human communities could develop closed loop food systems with Gaia, and with reesee given our new technology. I can imagine a reesee enterprise to rapidly “infect” other communities with this paradigm of food production. However, to me Gaia would be their gardens, in urban regions as in rural – not immediately with “wild Gaia”. This is a general paradigm shift proposed by the local food production system, which has a movement in Tucson. I have advised them that being informed of the “idea” of local food production will not, of itself, motivate others to participate. Indeed, informing is, but itself, a very ineffective means of motivating action.

I hope that your new PARADIGM is comprehensive to include all aspects that will be encountered. Every activist I know has their own preferred PARADIGM, that IF PRACTICED would catalyze comprehensive change. It may appear that I am offering the same, but I am not. UPLIFT is a universal/general process to spread all the other paradigms. It is unique among proposals in that it is truly self reinforcing. We OLLO so as to better OLLO. Organizing-for-Learning=&=Learning-for-Organizing is a higher Bateson level process. UPLIFT, as a specific process using BUS, integrates all the best knowledge I am aware of for LEARNING CHANGE. I have yet to contact Giorgio Bertini who curates quality articles and books relevant to “Learning Change” – a collection already in the thousands and a real challenge on how to use.  I don’t recommend you read much of this material, I don’t have time myself, but I have now, for almost two years, read each of his short abstracts. My IGNORANCE of the magnitude of this potential is highly encouraging. I encourage you to also become ignorant of this emerging resource.

DAVID, I strongly invite you to lead a Learning Expedition into your new paradigm. I am planning to do the same for UPLIFT. Our expeditions should be addressed to many, not just to each other. This is not an easy task.

For the past month I have had many distractions to my work, and have almost exclusively devoted my time to Academia.edu and particularly to dialog with you. It continues to be worthwhile, even when frustrating. I have many other tasks I must begin to devote time to, so I may not be as frequent or as verbose as in the past. This should be no reflection on my respect for your mind and work. I just wish we were better able to share – but THAT is one of humankind’s primary challenges.