The ARU Team
In order to take our Metadesigning for Children project to another level (see a summary of the project) we invited five MA students in illustration from Anglia Ruskin University to see whether we could collaborate on children's book/s. On 31st October 2022 two of them joined us for the first meeting.
A Brief Overview of the Project
(this is a biased personal account by John. Please accept our apologies if it is really tooooooo much to think about. This is a voluntary project and you do not have to accept this crazy assignment
- The three of us (Hyaesook Yang, Dan Griner and John Wood) had been part of a research team exploring synergy and metadesign since 2008.
- After publishing our Metadesign Book in 2022 we realised that some of our concepts were potentially important in their meaning.
- Unfortunately, some concepts will sound unfamiliar, are alienating, or are too difficult to grasp for non-experts.
- We wondered whether children might understand the concepts better than adults do.
- We wanted to try using these concepts in children's books.
- So the three of us experimented with keywords chosen from the website.
- The ones that interested us most seemed to fall into two categories:
- 1. those that describe the mechanism by which an organism stays alive (Maturana & Varela call this "maintaining its internal unity").
- 2. those that describe the experience, or nature of being part of a group, or crowd. (e.g. Structural coupling - the process by which we grow as One.
- In the first category, Maturana and Varela use the term autopoiesis
- Hyaesook made this recent summary of her progress as Echo. CLICK HERE, HYAESOOK
- Stibbe, A., (2015), Ecolinguistics: language, ecology and the stories we live by, Routledge
- Boguslawska-Tafelska, M., (2016), Ecolinguistics: communication processes at the seam of life, Peter Lang
- Dan interpreted the idea of Sympoiesis in a visual exploration of the African word Ubuntu.
- I think he interpreted it as We Outnumber Us
- See his visual images on our Miro site.
- As most living creatures are cellular (see cell logic this might be the basis for telling the story of life.
- However, although autopoiesis is not as straightforward as it may seem, we felt that it might feel too familiar.
- Many works of fiction already deal with similar concepts (e.g. 'self-help' is quite a common theme in fiction).
- So we looked into some ideas from quantum physics and found that David Bohm's book Wholeness and the Implicate Order added something to this idea.
- Bohm used an old word relevation to describe how one sub-atomic particle relevates another one into existence.
- This reminds me of the old question, "if a trees falls in the forest, does it make a sound?"
- In the 21st century, although it is common to hear the word 'relevant' used as an adjective (e.g. "your suggestion was relevant to my problem"), people no longer use it as a verb (e.g. "my problem relevated your suggestion").
- At the sub-atomic level, Bohm describes a quantum particle as relevating another one into (its) existence, virtually as though it stands up because it is 'seen'.
- Relevation comes into European languages through the old Latin word 'levare' "to raise," from levis "light" in weight, "not heavy," also, of motion, "quick, rapid or nimble".
- The Latin word came from a Sanskrit word laghuh (quick, small) and can also be found in Greek elakhys "small," elaphros "light;" Old Church Slavonic liguku, Russian lëgkij, Polish lekki, Lithuanian lengvas "light in weight;" Old Irish lu "small," laigiu "smaller, worse;" Gothic leihts, Old English leoht "not heavy, light in weight etc.
- There seems to have been two interpretations of the Old English word leht (Anglian), leoht (West Saxon):
- 1. light, daylight (also as in the sense of spiritual illumination).
- 2. not heavy, having little actual weight, or being lightly constructed; easy to do, trifling; quick, agile.
- If you imagine two sub-atomic particles recognising (i.e. relevating) one another they might experience it as: together we make ourselves exist.
- I once wrote a paper (with a colleague) in which we invented the word sympoiesis to describe how creative collaboration makes an abundance of meaning.
- Sympoiesis adapts the word autopoiesis (='self-creation') by changing the auto (self) to sym (='together').
- I used these ideas in an attempt to explain the myth of creation and number theory to a child.
- this would be written for a children's book with two different levels of meaning (i.e. for both child and narrator/reader).
- Each is cleverer than the other in different ways, so they could relevate their own meanings to/for each other.
- I am sorry that John's page has too many words - it is a kind of brief. A 'sketch without pictures'. I did not attempt to illustrate anything as I am certain you guys could do it much better....
- I set myself the (impossible?/unthinkable?) task of explaining how we came to exist without mentioning God <!!>
- in mathematical terms, how can 0+0+0+0+0+0+0+0+ etc. =1?
- But my use of the 3 creatures is a cheat because they were not there at the beginning (before '1').
- It occurred to me that one way to transition from nothingness to somethingness is by "relevating" a smile (actors learn how to bring it up from below). This changes the grammar we choose to use.
- When speaking we choose what feels right. Instead of seeing a drinking glass as half-empty we imagine it as half-full. We use an active tense instead of a passive tense. We generate contagious optimism from within and that will relevate positive opportunities.
Some More Keywords
Abductive thinking - A creatively interpretive mode of reasoning
Affordances - A useful word in describing how some designs work.
Agent - We use it philosophically
Alienation - Based on Karl Marx's theory of estrangement from the self (1844)
Allopoiesis - the process by which organizations produce something other than themselves
Answer-seeking question - A type of question (of secondary importance to designers?)
Apoptosis - The natural ability of cells to commit suicide when not needed
Attribution - We use this word in several important ways
Auspicious - Useful for describing creative, positive thinking
Auspicious reasoning - A less truth-based (more outcomes-oriented) way of thinking (download this article)
Autopoiesis - Literally means 'self-creation' (see also sympoiesis and apoptosis)
Bisociation - A term coined by Arthur Koestler
Bottom-up - Shows how grass-roots initiatives catalyse change
Business buzzwords - A list of useful descriptors used in industry
Care - Some preliminary notes on care in an economic context
Catalysis - A scientific term that can helpfully be applied to innovation / regeneration
Cellular logic - Notes and ideas on the systemic principles concerning cells
Climate Change Denial - How it works (and other related notes)
Comprehensiveness - An important feature of metadesign
Consciousness - The sense in which we apply it. (see also Organisational Consciousness)
Conservation - A term used in urban planning
Contagious optimism - Useful within a team context
Co-sustainment - A stronger alternative to 'sustainability'
Creative Democracy - Originally defined by John Dewey
Creative Ensemble - A non-solo opportunity-creating method
Creative Quartet - A Creative Ensemble in a team of 4
Creativity - Have we misunderstood it since the Enlightenment?
Debate - Political method of polarising, then choosing options.
Design - Defined here for our purposes
Designing miracles - Part of a longer process of creative thinking
Eco-mimetics - The art of being inspired by Nature as a system
Emulsifier - A metaphor for inspiring better teamwork
Entrainment - The natural processes by which things find accord
Entredonneur - A neologism that may usefully balance the word 'entrepreneur'
Feedback - An important factor in making designing work better.
Finding your element - A term used by Sir Ken Robinson
Fractal - Useful for making large systems more coherent
Holarchy - A way to understand complex systems
Intrinsic - Works in contradistinction with an attribute (Noun)
Intrinsic abundance - Another name for Fuller's 'constant relative abundance'
Invention paradigm - Re-thinking the genre & mindset of the inventor
Jeong - This Asian (e.g. Korean) word is difficult to translate into European languages
Keystone synergies - A term inspired by keystone species
Lýsingarháttur nútíðar. - Icelandic word loosely meaning 'grammar of now action'
The Lever - Some notes on this ancient idea
Levers for Change - A term coined by Donella Meadows
Languaging - Our name for a (cognitive) working style
Lemkinism - Our name for seeding change by inventing new words for certain important things
Manifold abundance - refers to our more complex model of innovation
Metabolism - links living systems with business and society
Metadesign - Always needs updating.
Metapurpose - Using purpose as a self-reflexive navigator
Negative Feedback - See feedback
Network Consciousness 1 & 2 - A useful concept inspired by Marvin Minsky
New Knowing - Our name for a (cognitive) working style
Ontology|See some notes on ontology
Optimism|See radical optimism and contagious optimism
Organisational Consciousness - Our own term (see Consciousness).
Outcome-seeking question - A type of question that invites more than theory.
Paradigm - Explains how the word evolved since Plato.
Paradigm change - A brief summary of our agenda
Positive Feedback - See feedback
Pragmatics - Deals with situated actions.
Pre-purpose - Latent opportunities may lurk in purposelessness
Pushing and Doing - Our name for a (cognitive) working style
Question-framing - Towards a new design grammar
Radical optimism - Seeks to create more opportunities
Relational design - A few notes towards a unified approach
Relational mathematics - Designing by focusing on relations, not things
Relevate (verb) - A term revived by quantum physicist David Bohm
Risk - - currently under development
Second Order systems - An interpretation of the idea of 'second order cybernetics'
Self-interest - Differentiating between common alternative meanings
Semiotics - Is important methodology for metadesigners
Serendipity - Is a concept that licenses optimistic action
Shubh-Labh - (Literally, 'auspicious profit') Indian term that moderates trading
Simple synergies - A loosely named (but handy) category of synergies.
Strategy - Some incomplete notes on this concept
Structural coupling - A term used by Maturana & Varela
Suboptimization|See richly inclusive mapping
Super-wicked problems - See also 'wicked problems'
Super-wicked solutions - Is just an idea
Sustainability - A dubious term that has lost almost all credibility
Sympoiesis - Uses co-creativity as a team bonding process
Synergy - in progress
Synergy-of-synergies - in progress
Systems Thinking - in progress
Team consciousness - in progress
Theory-practice 'opposition' - This misunderstanding urgently needs a radical remapping
Tetrahedron - A 3D form with special properties
Top-down - Discusses the declarative nature of hierarchal control
Trim-tab - A term used by Richard Buckminster Fuller
Ubuntu - An African word describing allegiances and relations.
Wu wei - The taoist notion of knowing how/when to act