The Au Links Page

These external links are threaded together in a narrative

Falling so fast  (external link)

We may feel pessimistic (external link)
Because it's easy to see the problem (external link)

So Utopia (external link) seems further away

When dreams seem unattainable (i.e. improbable) we tend to assume they are impossible

Miracles are not impossible...

...just improbable

You might like to take the Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge (external link)

We can act against climate change (external link)

Beyond Representative-led Politics

This might fit here? Design Will Save the World (but This T-Shirt Will Not) (external link) (interesting site - video on the home page, might be an idea? wink - jb)

Governance by Shared Envisioning

  • The idea of Social Enterprise has already shifted politics a little (see the Young Foundation (external link)).
  • A design-oriented example is the Sustainable Everday Project (external link) - an open web platform to stimulate social conversation sustainable futures.
  • In industry, Gerard Fairtlough describes the emergence of worker autonomy (external link)
  • Ricardo Semler speaks in a similar way about heterarchy (external link).
  • Transparent, participative consultation (external link) is important, but it is sometimes too pragmatic, bureaucratic, or even cynical.
  • Can the Independent Diplomat (external link) liberate government protocols by transcending the tools of diplomacy?
  • In the social sphere, James Surowiecki (external link) has shown how crowds can be smarter than individual experts.
  • Group actions can emerge from quasi-spontaneous groups as described in Howard Reingold's (external link) idea of smartmobs (external link)
  • the New Econonomics Foundation's (external link) research into citizen-led initiatives for democratic change, or democs (external link).
  • Arguably, the most important knowledge is group thinking (external link) that can lead to a kind of collective intelligence (external link), or 'CI'. (e.g. see knowledge garden (external link) and a working CI group (external link) in Denmark).
  • These initiatives may be crucial for helping us to maintain our place within the natural world. Ideas such as symbiosis and altruism are slowly entering the commercial discourse through initiatives like the Free Software Foundation (external link) and the more pragmatic Open Source (external link) movement.
  • This led to attempts to reduce monopolies in other areas such as publishing, where CopyLeft (external link) has challenged the 'copyright' approach. Other relevant initiatives include the wi-fi movement (external link), the Creative Commons (external link) and free access to resources such as Patents (external link) online.

If we believe something is impossible it can soon become 'unthinkable'

Diversity and the butterfly effect

  • There is a positive side to every problem.
  • One positive approach is to seek synergy (external link) (see our synergy ideas and what Buckminster Fuller called 'synergetics' (external link)).
  • There is also an environmental 'Tipping Point' (external link) by which - in natural systems - large improvements can be made with the smallest of interventions.
  • This means that everyone can make a difference.

When the impossible can be visualised by enough people it can be named

Make a difference

When we name the impossible it becomes a little bit more possible

in a smaller world

Where do you stand?

*If being happy (external link) with less means enjoying the way we live, then money and mobility may be less important than we thought.

Can designers create micro-utopias'?

A new sense of balance

*How to reduce our ecological footprint whilst increasing happiness and well being is our agenda

Be happy + healthy

In a consumption-orineted economy, the idea of ethical shopping (external link) - with companies such as Ecotopia (external link) - plus a healthier lifestyle, may make us feel better. The Soil Association (external link) can advise on organic food (external link) issues. Eating raw (external link) and local (external link) food may help to reduce waste and hunger (external link).

  • Because a few corporations 'own' the seed rights to 75% of the world's edible fruits and vegetables and have reduced their commercially available variety, it is illegal to buy and sell their seeds without payment.
  • However, you can legitimately swap seeds (external link) and maintain global gene diversity.

Making negatives into positives (external link)

Some research has shown that using positive language (external link) makes us feel better and enables us to act more positively. In a callous world of media scandal, newspapers such as Positive News (external link) may seem a bit bland, but they highlight the options for actions, rather than dwelling on the criticisms. Several organisations, such as Pay it Forward (external link), the acts of random kindness organisation (external link), (also online (external link)), the extreme kindness group (external link), or the Free Hugs campaign (external link) have made altruism more possible.

Act Lucky

Research has shown that some people not only seem to get more luck (external link) than others, but that - with a positive approach - anyone can learn to become luckier. This kind of good fortune can be transferred to groups with what we might call Contagious Optimism. If we consider this to its logical conclusion we may conclude that designing miracles is feasible.

Feel the Flow

Where Joseph Campbell advised his followers to follow your bliss (external link) in terms of choosing the right path in life, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (external link) made a more scientific exploration of happiness from 1963 onwards. This led to his popular book called Flow (external link) (1990). He claims that certain feelings - e.g. ‘joy’, ‘deep concentration’, ‘emotional buoyancy’, a ‘heightened sense of mastery’, a ‘lack of self-consciousness’, and a feeling of ‘self-transcendence’ - are virtually universal experiences. Csikszentmihalyi summarises his findings as a technique for regulating the subjective ‘flow’ of our daily lives. This entails merging our personal quest for optimum satisfaction with a common purpose. In maintaining, yet transcending our self-interest, we are thereby able to satisfy our quest for personal happiness.

Make it real

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