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The natural world is staggeringly complex, and yet amazingly elegant in how it manages the multitude of interconnected parts into organized, unified wholes that thrive. What is the secret for harnessing this elegance for use in human systems? Tim Winton found that observation of the most common patterns found in the natural world led to the development of high level principles which can then be used to address the most complex challenges that human systems face.
After learning some of the common patterns found in all natural systems, we can then begin to recognize these patterns in human systems , and learn how to balance the ones that are skewed, and to integrate in the ones might add a greater level of enduring health. We can “make a deeper difference by changing the system!”
PatternDynamics is a systems thinking tool for creating systems level change that Winton has been developing over 20 years as he’s worked in diverse fields, including: environmental services contractor, organic farmer, sustainability educator, designer, project manager, consultant, executive leadership, and corporate governance.
What is unique about PatternDynamics is that it combines the patterns of nature with the power of language, to produce a sustainability pattern language.
In a recent paper by Barrett Brown, referring to a study he had done in 2012 of top performing organizational leaders, he observed that these top leaders “use three powerful thinking tools to design their initiatives and guide execution. They are (a) Integral theory, (b) Complexity theory, and (c) Systems theory. These models help them to step back from the project, get up on to the balcony, and take a broad view of the whole situation. They use these tools to make sense of complex, rapidly changing situations and navigate through them securely.”
And famed Permaculture teacher Toby Hemenway (author of Gaia’s Garden)recently posted on his blog the following recommendation: “To enrich our ability to use recipes and put them into context, without engaging in a full-blown design analysis from scratch, we can use pattern languages. The term was coined by architect Christopher Alexander to mean a structured grammar of good design examples and practices in a given field—architecture, software design, urban planning, and so forth— that allow people with only modest training to solve complex problems in design. … Like recipes, pattern languages are plug-and-play rather than original designs, but they allow plenty of improvisation and flexibility in implementation, and can result in rich, detailed solutions that fit. A handbook of pattern languages for the basic human needs and societal functions, structured along permaculture principles, would be a worthy project for a generation of designers.”[my emphasis]
PatternDynamics is firmly rooted in Integral theory, Complexity theory, and Systems theory, and as well contains Permaculture’s emphasis on patterns and principles (PatternDynamics was developed during Tim’s time as Director of the Permaforest Trust, a 170 acre Permaculture education center in New South Wales, Australia). In addition a fifth strong influence was Alexander’s ideas on pattern languaging. These five robust theories and practical application tools provide a very firm foundation that will continue to support PatternDynamics long into the future as it continues to evolve. It is probably not the recipe book that Hemenway envisions, rather the patterns are more like a set of key ingredients from which we are invited to collaborate to co-create the needed recipes for a given context. The goal is to facilitate collective intelligence.
“The key to complexity is systems thinking, and the key to systems thinking is patterns. The key to patterns is using them as a language – an idea I borrowed from architect and mathematician Christopher Alexander’s book ‘Notes on the Synthesis of Form’.”
– Tim Winton
Systems thinking itself is complex and difficult to learn, which is why the series of Patterns in PatternDynamics can be so helpful in simplifying that complexity – “If we don’t have a symbol for something, it does not become enacted in our reality” Winton says.
Secondly, as these Patterns become part of a shared language, this gives us the ability to collaborate with others –hence the facilitation of collective intelligence. Noting the increased complexity in our human systems, Winton states that “No longer is any one person brilliant enough to solve the complex problems we face; we really have to use our collective intelligence.” This innovative method of facilitating collective intelligence is proposed as an essential 21st century skill.
Speaking for myself, after completing the Level II training in PatternDynamics, I notice that I am starting to see “wholes” much more often, in extremely diverse systems. Everything from systems at work in my own body, to systems in organizations I’m involved with, to the systemic problems facing our world, and all the way up to long term processes going on in our universe. Being able to see these wholes then helps the next step – ideas are flowing more easily on how to balance and integrate to improve the health of the systems I am involved with.
Therefore, it is with some excitement that I am preparing to host a One Day PatternDynamics Workshop on January 26, 2014 here in Bellingham, Washington. Click Here for more information about this event. A workshop is also being held in Oakland, CA on January18th – more info here.
To read a longer article I co-wrote about an introductory workshop I attended last year, go here: Integral Leadership Review
There’s a Monetary Firestorm Coming | Capitalist Exploits – Frontier Markets Investing, Private Equity and IPO’s
By: Chris Tell
I’ve never been trapped in a fire before and trust me, I have had plenty of opportunity. Yes, I was THAT kid, the one who played with fire. The trick was, and still is to steer clear of the flames, to anticipate what and where. Fire is however notorious for doing what it wants and once its out of control even the best firefighters don’t stand a chance.
Each day that passes we come closer to the arrival of a monetary fire that threatens to dwarf anything in our collective living memories. Watching the Australian bush fires in New South Wales recently made me think of our monetary system. Funny that.
The Australian bush has been burning long before the Brits began exporting their best and brightest to the “lucky country.” Right now the fires are raging. It was inevitable. Like the business cycle nature too abhors excess and steps in to correct it, clear the dead wood and prepare for rebirth.
What is often forgotten is that nature has evolved to rely on bush-fires as a means of reproduction and new “birth.” Fires are an integral part of the ecology of the planet’s surface. Humans can try and prevent these inevitable fires by “controlled burnings”, clearing out much of the dead underbrush, but it’s not foolproof.
The fires now raging in New South Whales are in part due to an extensive build up of dry brush which is likely overdue a good burning. The longer the dry bush remains unburned, and the more that accumulates the greater the risk of an inevitable fire. The result will be much greater than that which would have preceded it should a fire have taken place sooner. This is a basic, easy to understand law of nature.
Financial markets are NO different. The dry brush of excessive credit, monetary stimulus, rampant fraud, and government interference, which has caused the largest sovereign bond bubble the world has ever seen, has not been cleared or burned to allow for regeneration. In contrast we’ve actually been ADDING to it, doing the exact opposite of the “controlled burn.”
The market, like nature, has attempted to correct these excesses many times, only to be met with central bankers fire hoses spraying liquidity at ever increasing volumes and velocity. As the outbreaks of financial fires increase so too do the tools and technologies used by the central bankers. This postponement of the inevitable leads to massive mis-allocation of capital.
That’s a lot of dead wood buildup there.
The above graph shows all the dead wood build-up. Quite a bonfire awaits us.
It is possible that the fires will continue to be contained, central bankers promise that this is indeed the case. We DO know however that it is not possible to contain it forever. This time is not different…or is it?
Let’s compare what’s different this time around in Australia and the world’s monetary system?
- The bush fires have invaded the suburbs. So too have the monetary bush fires directly impacted most western “suburbs”.
- The “tools” available to the firefighters are more advanced than at any time in human history. The tools that are at the disposal of central bankers are more “advanced” than at any time in human history.
What’s happening in New South Wales right now provides us with an instruction manual for how to proceed forward in a world of monetary madness. We need to BURN THE UNDERBRUSH. Simply hoping that the fires will fail to erupt simply defies history and mathematics. “Hope and Change” be damned.
The likely outcome is that we’re heading deep into asset confiscation mode. Government meddling will fail, it always has and it always will. The playbook from throughout history tells us that governments will steal anything and everything from the most productive before they default.
This happens either overtly (taxation, fines, penalties, asset seizure) or covertly via destruction of currencies (quantitative easing). Everything not nailed down is up for grabs. Don’t say you weren’t warned! If you need an example look at what’s happening in France. Hollande is insane, but he’s not unique.
As such, aside from structuring myself in order to protect what I have, which I hope I’ve done, ensuring that what I invest in going forward is structured properly is just as important. It makes no sense to invest intelligently only to have some thug steal the proceeds because I failed to set myself up to deal with the inevitability just mentioned.
So, how are Mark and I choosing to allocate our capital:
- Investing in private equity. We like businesses where we can get to know and deal directly with CEO’s and management, and where we are not at the whim of black box trading systems, plunge protection teams and assorted other “firefighters”. This is by far our most overweighted asset class. If you want to know more about how we do this, drop us a line.
- Trading the volatility created by these madmen. Our friend and colleague Brad Thomas, the new editor of our Trade Alert service, “The Capex Options Alert” is our guru in this area. You can get to know Brad a bit and sign up for this complimentary service for a limited timeHERE.
- Continuing to buy and store physical precious metals. This just seems a long-term no-brainer.
- Investing in agriculture. A guy’s gotta eat, right!
- Select real estate. Maybe some premium scorched earth in New South Wales, Australia. After all, the risk of a devastating fire is now significantly reduced! But seriously, a nice piece of land where you can escape the madness and “grow your own” if need be.
The above is neither a recommendation nor an endorsement of any particular asset class or strategy. Obviously everyone’s situation is different, and we don’t know yours. Some could probably do just fine with a couple hunting rifles, some ammo and a nice piece of land to grow food and run a few livestock. Albeit that’s not going to work for urban dwellers.
The bottom line is that we are just encouraging you to consider how to prepare for a monetary firestorm. Do it your own way, use common sense, but just don’t be the dupe who ignores the obvious.
“So just as I want pilots on the planes that I fly, when it comes to monetary policy, I want to think that there is someone with sound judgement at the controls.” – Martin Feldstein
- Fear that Australian bush fire turns into a ‘mega fire’. (caterinaess.wordpress.com)
- Australian Bush Fires To Be Among Worst Ever Seen (eurasiareview.com)
Thousands of Australians were told to leave their homes as dry winds created the conditions for a firestorm in mountainous bushland outside Sydney, where firefighters have battled for days to bring dozens of wildfires under control.
More than 200 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales state since last Thursday, when bushfires tore through scattered communities to Sydney’s south and west, razing entire streets.
One man died after suffering a heart attack trying to protect his home.
Wednesday’s fire conditions were shaping up to be the worst so far in the state’s bushfire crisis, said Shane Fitzsimmons, the commissioner of the rural fire service.
“If you don’t have a plan, let me give you one,” said Michael Gallacher, the state’s emergency minister. “Get into the car, drive down to the city metropolitan area and let the firefighters do what they can do to protect the community, should this turn for the worse.”
Temperatures in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney are expected to reach up to 30C, while in Sydney itself they could hit 35C. Hot, dry winds gusting up to 100km/h are also expected, posing the greatest challenge to firefighters.
“This is the day where we’ve been receiving forecasts of the worst of weather for this week and that forecast is still staying with those predictions,” Fitzsimmons told reporters, warning of extreme fire conditions.
Al Jazeera’s Jonathan Gravenor, reporting from Katoomba’s Rural Fire Service, in the Blue Mountains, said there were more than 3,500 firefighters still battling fires in the region.
There were still 60 fires burning across the state on Wednesday, with 18 out of control, our correspondent said.
Authorities ordered schools in the Blue Mountains to be closed, evacuated nursing homes and advised people living in the area to leave before conditions deteriorated.
The Blue Mountains, whose foothills extend down to western Sydney suburbs such as Penrith, are populated with a mix of farmers, small business owners and white-collar commuters who make the trip into the city every day.
Known for their spectacular escarpments, eucalyptus forests and scattered small communities, they are a popular tourist spot for Sydney residents on weekends.
- Wildfires Threaten Australian Towns, People Urged to Flee (bloomberg.com)
- Australians told to flee homes as dry winds fan wildfires (irishtimes.com)
- Cooler Temps, Rain Help Ease Australian Wildfires (abcnews.go.com)
- Cooler Temps, Rain Help Ease Australian Wildfires (abcnews.go.com)
|Firefighters in Australia are continuing to fight some of the worst bushfires to hit the country in a decade, preparing for worsening conditions.
In the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, one of the worst-hit regions in fire-ravaged New South Wales state, 300 homes have been either destroyed or damaged by the fire storm that peaked on Thursday, the Rural Fire Service announced on Saturday.
The damage toll is more than double the last count announced on Friday and will continue to rise as assessment teams and police move deeper into the destruction zone in search of survivors and victims.
Homes have been reported destroyed in other regions, but numbers are not yet available.
A 63-year-old man died of a heart attack on Thursday while protecting his home from fire at Lake Munmorah, north of Sydney. At least five others – including three fire fighters – have been treated in hospitals for burns and smoke inhalation, officials said.
Arson investigators are examining the origins of several of more than 100 fires that have threatened towns surrounding Sydney in recent days.
The Australian military also said it was investigating whether a major blaze was linked to an explosives training exercise.
The bushfires have been extraordinarily intense and extraordinarily early in an annual fire season which peaks during the forthcoming southern hemisphere summer which begins in December.
This year’s unusually dry winter and hotter-than-average spring have led to perfect fire conditions.
About 1,500 fire fighters have been back burning to contain blazes since winds and temperatures became milder on Friday. Several roads in fire-affected areas north, west and south of Sydney have been closed.
On Saturday, 83 fires were burning across the state including 19 uncontained blazes.
Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers described Saturday’s conditions as a “pause” before higher temperatures and increasing winds were forecast for Sunday.
“It’s just calmed down a little bit and obviously we’re bracing ourselves for these worsening conditions,” Rogers told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
“What we have is a time for the crews to anticipate the weather coming ahead and try and get as much containment as possible and prevent that fire threatening major population centres when we get worse weather,” he said.
In February 2009, bushfires killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Victoria state.
- 50 Surreal Images From Sydney’s Bushfire Crisis (buzzfeed.com)
- Australia bushfires destroy scores of homes (thedailyblogreport.wordpress.com)
- New South Wales fights worst bushfires in a decade (theguardian.com)
- Homes destroyed as blazes rip through NSW (abc.net.au)
- Sydney petrol prices pump up this week (bigpondnews.com)
- Petrol prices to hit five-year high (smh.com.au)
- Petrol prices to go up by Rs. 1.55 per litre (thehindu.com)
- Petrol prices surge again (radionz.co.nz)
- Analysts predict petrol price hike (bigpondnews.com)