Planetary Architecture
SYSTEM by Matt Taylor - 1987
superimposed over NASA shot of Earth and Moon in half eclipse
The Case
FOCUS: part two of three
The Options - Economic and Organizational Challenges
The options are several, the consequences complex and critical and the outcomes unpredictable yet significant. This is the realm of philosophy and strategy. How do we approach this challenge is the key question. There is a way to think about it that minimizes risk and will certainly put us into a realm that, while not directly subject to control, is beneficial in its out come. The risks are of two kinds. One is if the consequence of no action if, what seems to be is true is true, and we fail to act in time. The other is if, in fact, the “hidden hand” is at work and we meddle with what already is a viable path and waste resources while doing so. A proper design strategy is one that eliminates the down side risk of both extremes while providing a good outcome in either circumstance, as well as, any middle result that may come about. I will argue that, if I exaggerate the timing and risks that we face, and we act, as I propose, we will merely come out richer and better while suffering less loss and trauma. Conversely, if I am even moderately correct in my analysis, and we fail to act appropriately, the consequences can be devastating.
Options and Their Consequences
Of course we can choose to do nothing. We can ignore, deny and occasionally get upset and attack some symptom as if it were the cause. This is the course we are on now. Global Warming is critically important. We must do something about the human contribution to this trend. I facilitated a session with a member of Congress and senior atmospheric scientists 23 years ago and here we are today, in the US, still in denial. We have to deal with Global Warming, yes, but we had better understand how we got to this point because there are a hundred other “big ones” - of our own creation - out there waiting for us. Studies that seek to understand how ships (from private yachts to supertankers) are lost at sea consistently document that it is the seventh incident/mistake that causes the loss. Confusion and fatigue accumulates; judgment is compromised; options run out. This is the nature of the challenge we face, we are creating the conditions, we are not looking out at the seaway and we are not trained to sail the ship let alone save it.
link for reverences and examples
Complexity, Emergence, Requisite Variety
link for reverences and examples
Structure Wins
link for reverences and examples
The disciple and system of economics is a powerful human tool. It can be used for good and legitimate growth and it can be employed to destroy. UpSideDownEconomics is the name I give to the use of economic means to consume the basis of economy itself. Any system of thought or action that pits human economy against ecology is, by definition, upside down. Any assertion that commonwealth and individual wealth (in balance) are not required for the existance of a sustainable economy is, by definition, upside down. Any premise that argues that economy has to beased on the scarsity principle is, by definition, upside down.
There are some false beliefs, left over from pre civilized times, that have to be exorcised from the human mind. Still today, wealth is defined as the absence of poverty; health as the absence of disease; freedom as the absence of tyranny; safety as the absence of threat. We have invested 10,000 years in beating our way to zero - the elimination of negatives has become our goal. This is why there never can be enough wealth to afford the projects we have to do and why there is never enough defense to overcome all possible threats. As a species, we lack a possitive AGENDA.
link for reverences and examples
Humanity’s Bad Habit
We were told when we were kids that humans were weak and had to develop brains to survive against “tooth and claw.” Bad story. The truth is that there were few animals that, caring to, could take a single human in hand to claw combat. Add a stick, piece of rope, a rock and a few humans acting in unison and it is clear that we have been the dominate species on the planet for well over a 100,000 years. Because of this we have gotten careless and developed an extremely bad habit. We run into a situation, take our losses and react quickly and overwhelm it. We now face an “opponent” worthy of our talents. This is the consequences of our own civilization and success. If we attempt to match this challenge with our crash-and-burn, react-and-overwhelm habit we will someday be overwhelmed ourselves. Billions of understandable, linear acts can, and ultimately will, sum up to a systemic complexity that rushes upon us faster than we can learn, change and organize to meet. This can come as a step function that shows up after it is too late to respond appropriately. We are not conditioned for this kind of challenge. We have to learn how to do what Bucky calls Anticipatory Design Science. Our dominate organizational structures do not “see” the kind of threat, I am speaking of, nor do they support an appropriate response. This is a SYSTEMIC issue. We run the risk of not being FIT for the very world that we are, with great genius and enthusiasm, unintentionally bringing into reality.
link for reverences and examples
Shifting the Framework
link for reverences and examples
Evaluating the Risks
link for reverences and examples
Worst Case - Best Case
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A Strategic Response
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What It Means to be Human
To be human in our highest conception of ourselves is to be sentient. This mean to...
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Graduation Day
Bucky Fuller said that Humankind was approaching our graduation day.
link for reverences and examples
The Moral Equivalent to War
William James said the humans needed a “moral equivalent to war.” He wrote his paper in 1906. I suggest that “the rebuilding of planet Earth as a work of art, created and enjoyed by all people” is a worthy candidate for this role. It certainly will take huge resources (although less than our collective war budgets that is for sure) and it will take the kind of dedication, education and organizational focus that we now dedicate to killing one another.
There, of course, many who will argue that this is impossible. I recommend rereading James’ paper. After a 100 years has his thesis turned out to be wrong? Or, has it in fact been remarkably predictive?
link for reverences and examples
The Choice of KIND
We are at the fork in the road along our long evolutionary path. We have countless choices before us but they fall into two broad categories. We have to decide which path we are to go down. The essence of this choice is if we will act as responsible stewards of our planet, of each other and of all life, or continue what is essentially an exploitive strategy by default.
Each of us has to face this decision in every action we take throughout our entire lifetime. As societies, and ultimately as a species, we have to make a choice. This cannot be contained to a sometimes religious “feel good” day of worship while we proceed to kill one another and destroy the world the other 6 days of the week - this has to add up to a consistent stance and policy of how we, as a species, conduct our affairs.
Impractical? How practical is our present “policy?”
There will be many, reading these words, that will assume I am talking about some form of restrictive control on people and markets. I am not. I believe in freedom and free choice. It is the way that we individually and collectively are choosing to employ such freedoms and powers that we have that I am challenging. Every political vote and every purchase in the marketplace is a VOTE in a global marketplace of ideas. We each have to decide: are we creatures of old habits and victims of circumstance or are we capable of conducting our lives and the running of SPACESHIP EARTH in a way that is successful, moral, equitable and sustainable?
Ideas have to be translated into action. They have to take form in a real world. This is the process of design. It is not a choice, beyond a metaphysical one, if there are not processes, programs and products that support the alternatives to what is happening today. Part three offers a set of tools and programs designed to move the idea of Planetary Architecture to effective action.
link for reverences and examples
GoTo ACT - part three of three
Return to INDEX
Return To SCAN - part one of three
GoTo ACT - part three of three
GoTo: Master Planning Process
GoTo: SFIA THESIS - Making Authentic Architecture
GoTo: Worthy Problems
GoTo: ValueWeb Architecture
GoTo: Weak Signals
GoTo: The Gaia Project
GoTo: PatchWorks Designs
GoTo: NavCenters - What, Why, How
GoTo: New Business Paradigm
GoTo: Bootstrap Into Space
Matt Taylor
July 10, 2005


SolutionBox voice of this document:



posted: July 10, 2005

revised: July 16, 2005
• • •
• • 20050716.233212/mt •

(note: this document is about 30% finished)

Copyright© Matt Taylor 1987, 2005

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