The Vision of Global Villages

See also: Definition, Special, Importance, Welcome

Translation Project:

translation is done: VisionTranslationEng


A Global Village vision by Tony S. Gwilliam:


Here are some notes on that context possibly for a Handbook for a culture of independent thinkers.

See also: Welcome

With our LocalCircles we are realizing our wishes, often in spite of our environment. This nourishes us, but does not satisfy us. We want to impact our reality as far as we can reach. We want our surroundings to resonate with our being.

GlobalVillages are the surroundings in which we live and which we ought to impact. Our environment can largely foster or hinder activities and the concept of GlobalVillages emerges as the answer to the question: What is the optimal environment for independent thinkers?

In its most evident form, a global village is a self-standing village located in a nourishing natural environment and embedded in a meshwork of supportive social networks. It can be physically felt as a soothing atmosphere. And yet, if we look thoughtfully, we may find a global village at work in many places we do not expect them.

The main points of global villages are

  • gaining space and time
  • having the natural and the cultural close together
  • slowing down the speed of life so you do have time to think
  • reducing material pressure by reducing cost of living
  • being able to manifest without going through formalities
  • sharing values with people
  • having resources in terms of workspace, natural terrain and materials
  • having the facilities to link to global networks
  • having the environment to deeply link to yourself
Because independent thinkers do not only live well in global villages, but global villages cannot exist without independent thinkers.

A village can be crushing and unforgiving on anybody who thinks or acts differently. That is why many people leave the villages and seek the anonymity of the metropolis. So most villages around the world are in decay. With the emergence of the Internet and the possibility to be connected, this trend can be dramatically reversed. Independent thinkers share an existential outlook that allows them to understand each other and support each other from afar. Their sharing nature also blends with the informal and flexible ways of social organization that villages have because they hold together a variety of people in a small area. Two or three independent thinkers working together can change the whole atmosphere of a village so that it is loving rather than crushing.

How do independent thinkers give life to a global village?

Principle: Being True to Our Values.

This in particular focuses us on the following values:

  • Self-sustainment
  • Definite agreement
  • Style, Coherence = Cultivating beauty
  • Reaching out
  • Looking beyond
  • Expecting more
  • Having something to share
  • Knowing what you have to offer

Discussion = 

Abdrius Kulikauskas:

- I am very moved by all of our work on "global villages" and "local circles" and I want to understand this as the next layer of society in which independent thinkers are keen to invest in once they feel able as individuals (which we are feeling). So I will openly investigate a question "What are technologies that support global villages?" and first I will ask "What is the spirit of global villages?"

My hypothesis is that a "global village" is a "state of mind" for participants of a local circle that is supported by their activity along multiple dimensions. My plan is to look for such dimensions that I think are essential to global villages, such as:

- How intensely do you (your local circle) develop a shared vision?
- How do you nurture and enjoy your own creative culture?
- How do you help each other address personal needs, crises, challenges?
- How much do you help the disadvantaged in your neighborhood?
- How much are you a base for social entrepreneurs?
- How much are you self-sustaining economically?
- How thoughtful are you ecologically?
- How actively do you participate in the global world?
- How transparent and sharing are you in social networking?
- How active are you in local political matters?

I think that all these questions (and more) are essential for global villages, and in each case it's a matter of degree. I think that we can discover these dimensions and then for each recognize "parameters" that express (in terms of recurrent activity) how vibrant that dimension is for a particular village. Generally, each global village tends to focus on just a few and forget the others. I hope to come up with simple common sense metrics (presumably based on intensity of activity) for each parameter that would help us size up a global village. (And perhaps bare minimum expectations). Then we could consider technologies (such as , Simputer, wikis, community currencies, ) in terms of how they are intensifying our global village activity along different dimensions, and how they are resolving conflicts amongst those dimensions. I hope this work might be useful for Franz Nahrada's and Jeff Buderer's work on a pattern language for global villages. I hope to conduct my investigation with all of our help collecting examples in ways that might be useful to all of our endeavors.

Shannon Clark

A few thoughts.

I've briefly worked at one of the large laboratories of the world (Argonne National Labs here in Illinois), set off in a remote suburb of Chicago, Argonne is a fairly good environment for academic research. Each major department had at least one free standing building - each of which were a maze of offices, labs, and research facilities.

The good aspects of the building were physical spaces well designed for the types of research going on within - the physics labs were spacious, with huge open basement areas for the building of complex machines - I'm proud that I disassembled a particle accelerator while I was there, and worked on a run of another accelerator - both very cool experiences.

The poor aspects were the isolation of departments from each other, and even within departments of specialties from each other, for example the experimental physicists were far removed from the theoretical physicists and rarely communicated with each other.

This was over 10 years ago, but email and computer systems were fairly heavily used (this being a national laboratory they had internet access long before most other places.)

So, where does this lead me.

First = The physical space should be arranged to provide isolation when needed (quiet rooms and spaces for thinking) BUT enough public spaces and arrangements to force people to interact and meet each other. If each department has a separate building with separate entrances people can go years without ever talking and meeting - but if there are common elevators, entranceways, coffee places, libraries, eating spaces, and other areas for common interaction then people will interact.

Second = Whether physical or electronic there should be means for conversations and interactions in one area to "spill out" into the other areas. Some of this occurs from people moving about - but as a system grows the spaces become more fixed with few people having the time to move about (either in a physical space because the buildings/wings are far away and there aren't reasons to go to the other areas - think a college, how often did you wander the halls of the departments other than yours? or in an electronic space the volume of messages and interactions grows to great to be involved in all of them. One option is to formally recognize this and make an organizational effort to have people whose involvements cross boundaries.

Third = For very "out there" research there is a constant push and pull around justification of allocating scarce resources. For science labs grants are applied for and then used creatively to fund the research (frequently monies applied for for one purpose purchase equipment or resources that of a generally useful nature). There is a constant struggle between research of a purely scientific nature and research with clear commercial possibilities both are needed to further the work in each - the commercial applications are based on the building blocks of the basic research - and the basic research especially the more "out there" and expensive to perform research is funded by in part the commercial returns of past research. In applying this model to the goals of Minciu Sodas I think there are some clear examples to look to carefully and learn from.

Example: The MIT Media Laboratory - now including spin-offs in other countries. Much of their research goals are an interesting mix of commercial and "out there" work, they have a funding scheme where Sponsoring companies pay a general fee - which allows them access to ALL of the center's research. They have the massive brand advantage of MIT's backing and some star power in a few of their researchers. More information can be found at their website,

I have attached below a selection on how they handle their sponsorship efforts - they have a $40M/year budget of which 90% comes from industry sources (the full document can be found here:

Franz Nahrada: Sep 20, 2007 I still want to underline that from the original idea our focus is Global Villages, which is LOCAL villages with GLOBAL connections. Its the place and living environment of the 21st century and maybe for much longer, its our new homestead for generations to come! (except those who seek to go to space or love the monadic city-ocean).... We bring in all the achievements that we gathered in the city era, we do not want to loose the good things that our mental - cultural - scientific evolution has brought about. We are still far from being masters of our destiny, we must fine-tune our achievements and make them really work sustainably, but many of us are pretty shure: Global Villages are THE next step in the evolution of human society, as important as city building, trains, cars and airplanes.

Its a theme that Marshall McLuhan did touch, though in this last meaning of the word he was not very well understood. He talked of the "big implosion" followed by the first Global Renaiscance (the quantum leap in science and technology). That means we are for the first time not motivated to run, to hit, to hurt, but to stay. We are not motivated to struggle, but to share. Global Villages is about empowering spaces. its about celebrating spatial limitations. Its for people that choose to increase their connection with mother Earth, not only in a material way, but also become more mobile with their minds than with their bodies. And at the same time embody their physical nature in sym-biosis with a humanly cultivated surrounding, an incredible wealth of partner - beings from the animal-plant domain, kept together by our newly acquired gardening skills and the ability to solve problems faster through exchange of knowledge.

I am glad this is an attractive ground theme or keynote, but the music played here consists of many elements: architecture, ecology, sociology, but of course also a sound bit of collaboration theory and technical practise. Minciu Sodas is thriving on the interconnectedness of likeminded venues, and we all need to know what is going on in Africa every now and then, see how we organize community currencies and of course know about tools of collective thinking, designing, mapping. (just to name three) Lets put it that way: Andrius is working hard to establish some very interesting basic norms that allow us to do multiple-venue work without having to "switch" to an entirely different audience. The great thing is that Minciu Sodas is unfolding a cross - venue culture that makes it very easy for me to assume some familiarities with people. There are some common rules, a certain netiquette - a unifying and positive climate accross all cultures. But sorry - I cant describe it, maybe others can.

It would be great if the Minciu Sodas ecosystem could unfold further and get stronger. I cannot explain it precisely, but its somehow a masterpiece that finds the right balance between theory and compassion, valuiing the individual on the other side and remind us that we all need support. We can show our weaknesses without whining. Maybe thats the point. For me, a working mailing list has a certain possible amount of traffic, too much and too little are rather bad. Themes come, have their lifecycle and go away again, hopefully being recorded by a wiki or something similar. I am not able to do the wonderful work that Trebor Scholz is doing as moderator of the idc (Institute for distributed creativity) list, but I see what quality means, and I love to NOT be present in the list, have people orchestrate themes themselves, because I am short of time - but yet I think I can contribute to a great source of information here and also pursue my central questions: How can we live together in small communities and experience the full potential of life, be in touch with the world and be effective in healing the planet? How can we be efficient in what we do, as are the plants or the forests that manage to live on sun, earth and rain? How can we be a living techno-Forest, a stabilizing and soothing skin for the planet, also allowing us to walk around in coinfidence and without fear wherever we go? - thats a very general theme and I seek answers from many directions.

I just want to have a general agreement on standards of quality and the purpose of the list. The list is in my best imagination an ongoing and prominent news source, one of the best sources in the world because of the people participating here. They constantly throw in and explain the building blocks that make Global Villages happen; and they are creative by knowing that a Global Village is not just a unity center with some houses around them, but rather a truly complete microcosm of complex relations of relatively few people that manage to create a life circumstance that is complete and enjoying. We have questions of sober nature like emergency preparedness (Hello Lucas!), we have questiuons of fascinating challenging nature like resource use (hello Rick Nelson!) and we must also consider political circumstances, that will allow us to increase independence and autonomy of our communities (is Tom still listening?). And then above all we have the questions of spiritual nature, because we feel we are on this planet because of a purpose, we feel that our own spirit is waiting for us as something bigger that calls us home. We are sick and tired of the separating nature of the cartesian - industrial age, that condemned us to eternal isolation in our outside existence and material limitedness. We want Global Villages because out of deep peace and relaxation - aka physical health - we want to take a journey into the infinite realm of the spirit and the incredible source of creation that we are all part of. (Well Benoit - I do not call this God, at least not all the time, I do not even know if it exists, but I know I have a deep desire for it)

We all know we hae a strange mixture here, its a "post ideological community", consisting out of Agnosticists, Leftists, Religious Ones, ....that work with elements of very pragmatic solutions and building blocks of various origins (we honor mastery) in all walks of life to combine them to something really reasonable, sensual, aesthetic, brand new, attractive!! Thats almost like a magazine with many authors, only here we all talk about our subject - about contributions to a globe of vibrant villages that interact with each other to make their peaceful pattern prevail. If you like, my dream is that each contributor to the list feels as if not writing to a few people, but to an audience of 200000 readers at least. So ist fine to have discussions, but we will not sort out discussions here, mostly they will be spun off to other worknets, Global Villages is more as you say a meeting point of ingredients in a soup.

Ian: I guess it's always for me about momentum and economy. And Material change is also about my spending 3 years on the internet. And trying, as Team Building points out, to flesh out the idea. I guess it's somewhat like with my take out window/general store. Unless I have products that people can identify with it won't be a success So unless people really see need for what I'm developing with material change it won't be time well spent. My support of the laboratory is somewhat like the source of the money is support for me. so if the laboratory contract could help me personally it would be ok with my brother meaning I can take it anywhere I want it to go

Andrius: I want to add, that even more important than "success" is that your own energy be well spent.

Ian: I think that's the key to success ... The job/work I have right now is, in a way, a culmination of what I have learned over the years. The only thing is to marry the job and the internet. That would hyper increase my productivity. I'm running a take out window that is situated in a pub. So I have all the infrastructure of a kitchen at my disposal. But I have my own patio. With no drinks. Because kids are not allowed in the bar. So I am servicing the people with kids or who don't want to go to the bar. Well retail is one area I have never worked in. The last thing to learn. and I control inventory and basically everything about "my establishment". and I am going to develop my product line of souvenirs. And I am the "point man" for the island. Because I think I should have been a librarian. So I will become a Librarian for the island who sells food and souvenirs. Because my strength is multi-tasking. and another thing about the island is that it is one of the first large native land claims that has been made on this island. because it is a sacred island to the indians because they used to bury their dead here and it is very important to me to continue to understand the native indian issue has and always will interest me.

Ian: I'm feeling that the "village" work you're doing maybe closer to my heart than Material Change. It is scary being a "human guinea-pig" right now it helps me to brainstorm and think about the relationship with team building Well what I'm thinking now is that having you under contract how can you help me best. OK priority 1 is to have regular brainstorm session. I made this one longer because it is the first but can be shorter in future. I think twice week for one hour would work. well I'm happy you understand my work better now and how having a database programmer might help me. so we'll be talking about that more just kind of wanting to put you on alert ... there are lots of problems in the village I am staying that require databases to develop solutions. Music is huge on this island.

I think I'd like to bring my internet/rudimentary idea of programming/open source/weblogging to this community. I'd like to sponsor some local PHP work here and get to know Drupal better. Develop web site for island. Start talking about transit. Showing what other village are doing. Struggling with same problems. That's why I say your village work is closer to my heart. I was joking that to boost business I'll put on my sign at the take out window. "Speak to me about refinancing your mortgage". gives my customers a topic to disucss. I need a Minciu Sodas T-shirt with "Weblogging and Wiki's" on the back.

Well I think villages do have synergies. And can share problems and possible solutions. And we might work ourselves into your network of travelling education. But we should also be helped with educating ourselves. Which is what internet can be used for.

Topic of good experience in Lithuania within 2nd Fleurop Discussion of FLEUROP (Women in rural areas learn for Europe), Gruntvig 2, Socrates Programme on 2002.06.01 Living in the countryside, the Sakalai family keep contact with the world by the means of the Internet. Since 2001 they have been members of the website Minčių sodas (Garden of Thoughts): (Laboratory of Independent Thinkers). The establisher of this website Andrius Kulikauskas expressed an idea that the Internet is indispensable in the countryside. Rūta and Saulius were thinking of having a website of their farmstead and they created it themselves. The members of Minčių sodas who take part in the discussion group help them to improve their website. The members of the group seek for topics for discussion and try to speak about everyday life and global issues and even look for solutions. The topics of discussions are various: self-improvement, science news, vitality of rural communities. Assistance to those who study, importance of websites and Internet connection, problems of pirating software, depression, poverty in the country, etc. The aim of Minčių sodas is to support the spirit of rural people, encourage their studies and activities, mutual communication and assistance. May 24-26 in Marcinkonys the members of Minčių sodas together with ITC enthusiasts, experts and users of the computers and the Internet from Vilnius, Kaunas, Anyk�čiai, Alytus, Merkinė, Varėna and Marcinkonys gathered to the seminar �Prospects of the Country and Information Technologies, their present demand and possibilities�. To summarize their ideas and basing on the experience of developing own business in the country, the Sakalai think that the future and survival of Lithuanian village depends on the rural people themselves, their abilities to use the ITC progress. It would enable the rural people to preserve their cultural heritage and integrate into the changing and improving EU community. [Note: This excerpt may be public domain, but may be not].

Ian Bruk and I chatted about a direction for our work: to see how you might catalyze your village in a way that we can try out elsewhere such as the Lithuanian countryside and, in particular, to use Material Change as a tool for participants to monitor the wisdom of their investments, and encourage thoughtful invetsment. I can design it myself and then we'd see how to implement and we'd organize a team around and could see how to distribute money to make that done. Would you be interested in organizing independent thinkers on Gabriola? And self-learners? Great. So one of my goals will be to back you up so that you have whatever you need for your work in organizing [Ian: to give them an online presence ] which can be through our lab and around it. Yes, that could be a first project.

One idea would be to use your village as a case for what we'd like for every village. You could work there, and I could work in the countryside of Lithuania to come up with a system for self-education, for organizing independent thinkers, and for creating opportunity for investors. We could flesh this out, and figure out what kind of software is relevant for this and I could write this up as a proposal for example, for the OSI grant for software for non-profits which I think is September 30th. Franz Nahrada had this vision for the network of villages He is in Vienna. And Stanko Blatnik here in Velenje, Slovenia is a practical hub, he knows a lot of people, and is interested the OSI is George Soros' foundation, Open Society Initiative But I think it would be good to flesh out what that system would look like and then it's easy to submit for such grants. I'd like to see how we could design this so "dream investors" could get a return for their dreams.

One way is to look at the software for Material Change as a way for people to see just how crazy but thoughtful their "rational" investments are. And to learn how to monitor them and see that they could apply the same methodology to very different kinds of investments like buying a summer home, or having a business. I think a great business would be to offer a service to your summer islanders to monitor the wisdom of their investments on the island are they getting what they dreamed of Also, to organize independent thinkers who attract self-learners who investors might rely on as good workers, responsible workers and would agree to pay a premium to them to support this community.

I think that we should focus on what you want and organize our efforts around that and accomplish something tangible that is a step forward. If you want to focus on the island I think we can organize the rest of your vision around that. I think Material Change can be a tool that is attractive to the wealthier islanders for monitoring the wisdom of their island investments by showing them what it can tell them about their investments elsewhere. So we can develop Material Change as a tool that allows you to catalyze resources for the island in a practical way. I think you'd be a fantastic point man, "guinea pig" for us to understand how a village might be catalyzed I think based on independent thinkers self-learners and dream investors. And your tool would help make this tangible for everybody.

So, is this good as a general direction, and we'll try to zone in on it? It would be: to see how you might catalyze your village in a way that we can try out elsewhere such as the Lithuanian countryside and, in particular, to use Material Change as a tool for participants to monitor the wisdom of their investments, and encourage thoughtful invetsment. I can design it myself and then we'd see how to implement and we'd organize a team around and could see how to distribute money to make that done.

Also, as this develops, I'll be able to put parts on the web. Either in Drupal, or alongside. I can take charge of that and I'll work on building more of a team for work on this together. Would you be interested in organizing independent thinkers on Gabriola? And self-learners? Great. So one of my goals will be to back you up so that you have whatever you need for your work in organizing

Ian: to give them an online presence

which can be through our lab and around it. Yes, that could be a first project.

I have spent a few weeks traveling deeper and deeper into the Balkans. I am very grateful to Franz Nahrada of the Hotel Karolinenhof in Floridsdorf, Vienna, Austria for opening the way for me to a network of villages. I want to gather and share my thoughts on the importance of such a network.

I came to Vienna for the conference. The organizers provided travel grants of up to 300 euros, and I realized that if I traveled by bus from my home in Lithuania, then I might cover quite a bit of Eastern Europe. My laboratory, Minciu Sodas,, serves and organizes independent thinkers around the world, and I am keen to keep integrating new perspectives. I would like to involve a variety of Islamic independent thinkers, so I thought Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania would be good places to look.

The conference attracted bloggers who are constructive, broad thinking, forward looking, and wanting to get things done. I was fortunate to meet with many, and to sign up 30 for discussion at our laboratory, so that we might have the chance to work together at some point.

At the hotel, after a long Saturday night of networking, I woke up surprisingly early, and got to hear Franz tell his life story to journalist Dan Gillmor. Franz is a pilgrim who was hypnotized by the Macintosh and Hypercard. He headed to California to seek out Doug Engelbart, the user interface pioneer. Doug told him to focus on society rather than technology. Back in Vienna, Franz brought together artists and activists, won funding from corporations and politicians, and organized a series of public exhibits that demonstrated how technology might change everyday life. They drew enthusiasts from the entire region.

Franz: When the Kosovo war broke out, I sent an old idea around, that we actually initiated in 1995. What if we could build a chain of understanding and compassion by organizing peace communities, where the practical intercultural exchange would be combined with the idea of building healthy, sustainable villages? And what if these villages would be situated alongside a kind of "camino real", the old californian monastic road, not too far from each other, so alongside the "chain of light" many people like you could travel to bring fresh views and perspectives with them.

Franz was delighted that I might travel down this road, and he got to work on the phone. That very night, May 25, I was greeted at the Studenzen train station by Franz Steinwender and his friend, who brought me to the village of Kirchbach, Austria. Here I got to see the kind of "monastery" that Franz Nahrada had in mind, a four story courthouse that five of the villagers had purchased to renovate as a business and cultural center. I was treated to great generosity, Internet access, wonderful food and much needed rest and exercise. Hansjorg Matzer and his sons then took me on May 29 to find Stanko Blatnik in Velenje, Slovenia, who had many contacts in Bosnia. Stanko took me in, and I was able to catch up with my work on the Internet, and sign up 20 of his students into our laboratory?s discussion, notably starting a group in the Bosnian language (which is almost the same as Serbian and Croatian). Meanwhile, Stanko arranged for me to meet his friends in Bosnia, and on June 5 I got a ride with one of his friends who was headed to Tuzla, where I am writing from. Here I have had great Internet access at CIT, , run by Adnan Salkic, who will take me tomorrow to Sarajevo.

Franz? dream has come true, at least for me, but I am very interested to discover a reality for nourishing a flourishing network. I therefore share ideas that came up through my travels.

The word "village" is appropriate in spirit, but not in fact. Yes, Kirchbach, Austria is a village of perhaps 3,000 people, still quite large by Lithuanian standards. But Velenje, Slovenia is a factory town of 30,000, and Tuzla, Bosnia is a well rounded city of almost 200,000. What is important is that each of these is not at the center, but rather is a part of the global periphery. In this sense, even the Floridsdorf neighborhood of Vienna is part of the periphery. As we say in Lithuania, this is provincija, the province, the outlying regions, which may apply to the countryside, but also to our entire country, especially when we want to emphasize our provincial thinking, our lack of fresh insights and broader view.

The periphery is dear to me because independent thinkers end up there. If you accommodate others, then you can be at the center, but otherwise you will be pushed away. This means that people in the center look to each other, and seem to be saying the same thing, but actually may not agree on anything. Whereas independent thinkers look inside for the truth, and can actually agree as to what it is, in that inside we are all the same.

Andrius Kulikauskas, December 8, 2002, MSEN#2764


Thank you for your response and encouragement! I want to add that Mohatmas Gandhi was a great inspiration to Martin Luther King Jr., and both were key influences in the early days of the reform movement Sajudis that from 1988 to 1991 lead to Lithuania's independence. I express deep gratitude for the miracle of nonviolence - as far as I know, not a single Soviet died, and fewer than thirty Lithuanians. Whereas thousands of people died in the partisan warfare by Lithuania's "brothers of the forest" against the Soviets from 1944 to 1953. This path was now respected, but consciously rejected. Ideas in people have profound effect. It's beautiful when loving ideas move back and forth. Thank you!

Greetings from Mumbai! I want to bring together my thoughts inspired by the "Development by Design" conference. The conference encourages innovation for the disadvantaged, so attracts wonderful people with the widest variety of concerns. I look to our concerns as the foundation for remaking our world.

Self-sustainability is the main concept that I came away with. Why does this attract me? I suppose it's because the things that are self-sustaining are the ones that I can take for granted. They free me to spend my energies as I like best. And if they break, they can be fixed, and if they depend on me, then I can understand my role, and accept it or even change it.

The key principle is that we should give preference to the smaller self-sustaining system. Smaller is better. If it is self- sustaining, it can be reproduced. The smaller the system, the more environments in which it can be adapted. I suppose that there are more small environments than large environments, at least if we consider the ones where we can participate as co-creators.

I was excited to find that the concerns in our papers fell into broad themes: well-being, communicating, learning, organizing. I was curious how they might match up with the directions in our laboratory to foster caring. We can care about others, and our relationship with others; we can care about God, and our relationship with God. How do these relate, and what does it mean to talk about God here?

I discovered it helpful to think of myself as a co-creator. (reminds me of Lucas' co-thinker!) Who is my fellow creator? I may empathize with a bounded creator, but also with an unbounded Creator. In either case, I rely on my inner belief that I might cooperate. I think of the bounded creator as an "other", responsible for a part, and the unbounded Creator as "God", whoever is responsible for the whole.

Concern for well-being is inspiration to foster our relationship with the unbounded Creator. Health, hunger, pollution, water, environment all affect our ability to work together with whoever or whatever set this world in motion. Certainly we did not create it ourselves, and if we are to play a constructive role, we need to get our feeble minds to respect the outlook, rules or love that makes sense of the world we find ourselves in. I really like the workshop on household means for clean water lead by Heather Lukacs and Rebeca E. Hwang. They compared chlorination, biosand filters, ceramic filters, solar disinfection. They also spoke of the distinct threats from viruses, bacteria and protozoa. A key principle is that well-being requires a wealth of solutions: - We need to have multiple solutions to choose from. - We shouldn't rely on a single solution, they should be redundant. - We should have a way of speaking about the problem and the solutions that is sound and simple. - There should be an individual champion who cares about the problem and the merits of the solutions. In other words, we should believe that we are working together with a wealthy co-Creator, one who allows for many ways of doing things. Otherwise we will destroy ourselves with a poverty of thinking!

Concern for communicating is inspiration to foster our relationship with other bounded creators. Here we are looking for all manner of channels to reach and encourage each other. How deeply we are touched depends on how deeply the interface reaches inside of us, what we invest ourselves most in. The deepest is our intangible beliefs, then our nonverbal concepts, our mind's opinions, our body's senses, our society's words, outward and outward. So a computer, or any technology, will always be awkward, by definition. However, technology allows us to bridge time and space, and bring us encouragement from far away and long ago. So technology is always a trade-off - using it diminishes creativity (because it is awkward), but having it inspires creativity (because it transfers encouragement). Some great ideas for communicating included encouraging literacy by subtitling the television song programs that are popular in India.

Concern for learning is inspiration to foster our fellows, the bounded creators. We wish that we grow, advance, mature. A person can grow wise only by looking inward, by finding and following the inner truths that are always with us. Ultimately, education must be self-education. We must find our own projects, and choose them and pursue them. But how does one find their project? How does one start on the path of self-education? It requires a wealth of stimulation from the outside. If nothing else, it requires a lot of love. Then all of the details of life become meaningful, whether we live in the countryside, or surrounded by books. When we have lots of raw material, then we can use technology to edit, arrange, and slowly but regularly we get ideas. I saw this at David Kaminski's class. Ultimately we find the ideas valuable themselves, and we can build with our mind and heart, draw directly on our intuition and experience, find media that we can master to express ourselves.

Concern for organizing is inspiration to foster our Fellow, the unbounded Creator, who cares not only for each of us, but for our entire society, the Creator's kingdom of creators. The smallest self- sustainable society is the independent thinker. So we look to the independent thinkers, who are pushed to the side into every niche, to recognize and support each other as we work on our individual projects.

How can we do this? When there are two projects, one smaller but self- sustaining, one larger with outside resources, then the larger should respect the smaller, and try to include its approach and efforts, rather than ignore it or snuff it out. A beautiful example of this is community radio in Kutsch presented by Shabnam Virmani She showed how the community radio project was able to support and spawn all manner of activity. I am also much impressed by Mikhel Pilv, , who has organized (as a successful business in Estonia!) an open source movement for classroom materials. He's a great inspiration for me to reconsider what we might do in Lithuania.

I'm happy to bubble over with so many principles. I wonder what they have to do with self-sustainability. I also hope to consider how to apply them in real-life. I look forward to our impressions from the conference, and to our inspirations for our individual projects, and for endeavors that we would like to see.


Andrius Kulikauskas Minciu Sodas

Dear George,

I am very inspired by your work as an innovator and that you have, through years of persistent effort, gained the support of many of the SIDS - and some of them have actually implemented your ecologically correct designs. Never the less you are saying that there is not nearly recognition of your ecological methods. You ask, how do we reach the professional practitioners and the people themselves who are in the mainstream and are overwhelmed by problems but are largely unaware of the errors of their way of life? However it is not really stupidity, because in spite of acting wrongly, it is a fact that many are concerned and are doing the best they can with the knowledge and training that they have to work with. For myself I can say that in my personal life I live in that same mainstream reality and for the most part my lifestyle is part of the problem. Not every person is positioned to take practical steps to build an Eco Living lifestyle - but together we have all the gifts and capacities and some have the situation where they can take action. This is the advantage of a collaborative community - the experience of one is shared across the community and gradually personal lifestyle change will become more accessible to everyone.

At this critical time we must be universally open and accessible - building a global family - a world where we are powerfully connected to each other. This used to be a utopian vision but now it is potentially our reality; because - due to the vastly improved communication of the internet - we can actually SHARE a global awareness. This means that we can reach past barriers that previously inhibited understanding. Our communication is not restricted to formal "channels" any more - we can reach out directly to speak our dreams and visions to the world. The internet is something of a leveler; a space where we are are all just persons looking for knowledge and to connect with ideas and people that are important to us.

In the past there was a dilemma of whether it would be most productive to work "from the inside" or to be a rebel and force revolutionary change on society or try to exert an evolutionary influence people from "the outside". Those on the "fringe" often had no effective way to speak to the mainstream and could feel very isolated and perhaps angry when it would seem that years of sacrifice would never influence "the system". Nor was there enough knowledge of what these pioneers were actually doing and why the efforts they made would be important. The "command and control" social and economic structures also tended to place communication barriers between the mainstream and the disruptive information and knowledge found on the cutting edge. Now this censoring of information is impossible because we are all able to publish our thoughts and our results to the world - and the stuff that is important will "bubble to the top" because each person has a network and messages of significance to our collective awareness are now multiplied throughout multitudes of networks so that any voice that resonates with truth can be heard. This is a new manifestation of human intelligence, collective consciousness and unity of spirit at a time when we urgently need to find global solutions.

Days gone by I worked in isolation and faced rejection by "the system" and lack of any response from the formal "channels" of communication that society and the gate keepers who protect the status quo. I was told that I would only get ahead by "protecting" my knowledge and positioning myself to seek leverage and status within the system through patents and by cultivating strong competitive traits. Success would go to the independent, ego driven and strongest - that is the paradigm of "the system"; it is designed to resist change by isolating and incapacitating individuals - especially those most likely to be the source of "disruptive" technical and social innovations. I was conditioned to keep my inventions to myself and disclose only on terms that would advance my personal gain and power. But, since the new millennium I have chosen to operate on the Open Source paradigm - and five years later I am beginning to see a big change.

We all need a greater realization of the power of the tool that is now in our hands - this tool that can provide so many benefits. We who are using ICT might be standing so close to this development to see the bigger picture - and to appreciate, not the details, but the larger opportunities that are now available for those on the fringes. The big change is that there is no longer any difficulty for a vast number of mainstream people to learn about our work and discover the most disruptive and change bringing innovations. Thus we pioneers are no longer invisible - we have all the exposure that could be hoped for. Suddenly the challenges are very different and we must adapt and become the example and living proof of the capacity of people to change. The question is: will our example stand up to such instant investigation. Those that only talk the talk but cannot deliver on what they say will not hold attention for long. But those who have achieved authentic but unrecognized success will become popular and their innovations, no mater how disruptive will be moved to the mainstream - certainly not without some difficulties and challenges - but I feel that progress will become more certain and rapid. Grass roots solutions with Do it Yourself? know how will diffuse quickly across the globe.

Once we begin to understand these new realities then we can also work in ways that will maximize the results and potential for benefits to be transmitted more directly and effectively to those in greatest need. The challenge is no longer to be heard, but to have something to say, or more importantly, something to show. And burning issue for those pioneering this new paradigm for change is to change our own attitudes about cooperation versus competition and to not only show results but share the know how - this is the Open Source ethic. The power of the internet collaboration will be released fully when we subdue the role of ego and empower collaboration by "working openly" and disclosing fully and transparently how everyone can duplicate what we are doing. This way of working will build the new "Gift Economy" and we must place our confidence such new patterns of living and new economic mechanisms will emerge for sustainable livelihoods. In an Open Source community where scarcity is no longer the mechanism used to value most physical resources - and where our time becomes the most valuable of resources - there is no doubt that the new economic paradigm will disrupt "the status quo".

Thus the rebels and radicals no long need to carry the banner of protest "against the system" nor should we cultivate anger against the mainstream - this is because we have no more excuses that we are not being heard. Our only problem is the question of whether our words, our lifestyle and our "success" with the innovations that we champion are powerful enough to attract the attention and the enthusiastic response of people everywhere. We do not need everyone, all at once to understand, support and adopt the changes that we propose and demonstrate. Since we can reach millions it is realistic to expect that within a short time hundreds and then thousands of the mainstream, who desire a better world will give the solutions a try. Broad success will then assure that the innovations will spread like a virus from person to person and group to group. With the strong networks that we can now form and rapidly extend, there is no doubt that grass roots innovations, no mater how "disruptive" they could be will become available without any possibility of the power of the status quo to impede or resist.

Therefore I do not need to argue or contend with any experts or gatekeepers of the system. If one can say that even the environmental and renewable energy communities have become conservative and resistant to new innovations (sometimes their own worst enemy) then this is not really a problem. These authoritative figures will be seen to be ineffective and the mainstream will find them uninteresting and self important and will by pass them because they now have the ability to connect directly with those on the fringes who are manifesting real change; who are demonstrating exciting and authentic new lifestyles. The real solutions will be found by the multitudes of individuals who are sincerely looking for answers to their concerns and among these there will be great numbers that cannot resist the challenge to "be the change". So, if we go forward with confidence in our work we can expect to see a radical departure from the limitations of the past century. We should forget about feelings of frustration and anger and avoid contention because it is simply a waste of valuable time and resources. Instead we must concentrate on welcoming new members into our global communities and supporting their local initiatives.

If this is the result that you have been hoping for; if you feel that the times are especially critical and that it is urgent to find ways to transform our world into a sustainable, peaceful and secure place for everyone then I recommend to you to put even more energy into networking among your friends and communities and to be one of the "eyes and ears" of our collective conciousness. When you see something that speaks to you of truth and reflects the dreams that you have for the future of your children - then spread the news - get excited and get involved. Grass Roots action is the effective way to change the big and threatening trends that we see in the world. We each need to find solutions that are appropriate to our situation and use them to leap frog the problems. The answers are already out there - believe me - there is no need to wait for breakthroughs and the hollow promises of government and big business - just find and put into practice solutions that have already been proven by pioneering individuals - many of whom have been implementing the solutions to our problems for a couple of decades.

Together we can BUILD a sustainable future - Rick Comments are very welcome! Link to your New Year Revolution from this page - speak your dreams here!

Dr.George Chan wrote:

Dear Jeff, JAN 11, 2005

Further to my earlier message, I would like to add some comments on the "stupidity of present development' in the small island developing states(SIDS) before I go to my meeting today.

Appropriately it will be on waste management, and the comments from you, Van and Rick have inspired me to explain my definition of stupidity:

FOOD -- the SIDS have to import petroleum products, chemical fertilizers, and NOW even seeds (not GM yet, thank the Lord) to grow and process foods that are not traditional. Why do we have to change our diets, which were healthy and nutritious to produce 100-yar old people?

My alternative is that we produce our energy, fertilizer, feed, etc by enhancing ALL natural processes to produce all the livestock, fish, cereals, fruits and vegetables we need, with maximum yield at lowest costs. I think it's stupid to do otherwise.

WATER -- The SIDS use river or lake water, which is impounded in costly reservoirs and need costly treatment plants copied from cold countries, with added imported chlorine, to remove the possible pollution.

My alternative is to use the natural groundwater reservoir (aquifer)where the water is protected naturally, build a simple gallery to collect adequate water in a protected sump, and pipe the safe water to the consumers, without adding anything. For obvious reasons, I think it is stupid to do otherwise.

WASTEWATER -- The SIDS have expensive treatment plants for the human sewage, with high operational costs to treat the sewage partially, and then dump the effluent into bodies of water and eventually to the sea. The costs are so prohibitive to treat livestock wastes that nothing is done even in USA and Europe, as they are left to rot on site or spread raw on fields, with the surplus finding its way to contaminate water supplies, as it is now done inthe whole state of Texas.

My alternative is to treat ALL wastes TOTALLY in anaerobic digesters first because they are the most efficient above 20 degrees Celcius, which is common in ALL SIDS, followed by cheaper shallow basins and deep ponds to make use of our ot sun and other natural resources, most abundant in th SIDS. I recover the bioas energy and all the useful nutrients as means of production, again having the highest productivity at lowest costs. Again, I feel that doing otherwise is stupid.

So I am talking about our basic needs, which we can obtain by utilizing our own natural resources. I have nothing to do with other developers, except to remind them that they can do anything they want provided they do not take more than their fair share, and that they respect the rights of others, including the protection of the environment, the climate, and other common things that God has provided for everybody . . .

Jeff, I know what I am going to talk about today. Thanks again for the inspiration! Maybe I should find another word for stupidity, and I will try to get the help of the audience today.


Christopher Alexander is an architect who asked, What makes a building alive? Why are modern buildings so cold and dead, why are traditional dwellings so warm and alive? Why are professional architects unable to do what ordinary people have always done throughout the world? He found the problem to be over-design. Architects are trying to do too much in their minds, rather than in the field. They are forcing too many steps, imposing their conceits, relying on standardized parts, experiencing only through blueprints, ignoring the surroundings, focusing on their own originality, neglecting the personal cares of those who will live and work there, and not optimizing for the situation as it unfolds. Instead, they should return to the timeless process - the natural process - of letting each step unfold completely in turn. (see The Timeless Way of Building, 1979)

Each step should be the laying down of a pattern. Each pattern opens up space for a person to be alive. This space is the slack between structure and activity which support each other. Recurring activity evokes structure, and structure channels activity. Washing dishes evokes a sink, and perhaps a window; driving a car evokes a garage which in turn constricts it. The sink should stand at roughly a certain height, the driveway should slope at roughly a certain grade. Structure and activity are related loosely in a way that can respect what is optimal with regard to all the other patterns. Therefore there can be no exact formulas except perhaps for each instance. However, there can be "rules of thumb", each of which profoundly captures how the relevant forces are resolved. A living participant makes the pattern complete, and so - being there - can find what is truly optimal for the actual situation. Once that pattern is optimized, it is possible to lay down another. We generate living surroundings only by such a pattern language. (see A Pattern Language, 1977)

"Many of the processes used today, sadly, are nearly bound to fail. We see the results of this failure all around us. The lifeless buildings and environments which have become common in modern society are not merely dead, non-living, structures. They are what they are precisely because of the social processes by which they have been conceived, designed, built, and paid for. No matter how skillful the architects, no matter how gifted, no matter how profound their powers of design - if the process used is wrong, thedesign cannot save the project. Thus we shall see that processes (both of design and of construction) are more important, and larger in their effect on the quality of buildings, than the ability or training of the architect. Process plays a more fundamental role in determining the life or death of the building than does the 'design'."

"The images, or schemata, which people use to guide their actions may be wholeness-preserving, or they may not be. ... Often the conceptual picture a person has of the reality in a particular place is an invented convention, or an image, sometimes even a willful invention, thought up, and then carried out. ... such conventions and images and inventions can too easily be at odds, with the wholeness that exists. In many cases it is even difficult for people of our age to see the wholeness as it is. ... What is made, what is built now, what develops in the world, is governed by images and rules. It is no longer automatically governed by the existing wholeness. It is now governed by what we decide." (The Nature of Order: The Process of Creating Life, 2003)

Surprisingly, Christopher Alexander's thoughts have had their greatest impact upon software developers. Over-engineering is the reason why most software is never used, and can't be used, by real people for real activity. The Design Pattern movement has, since 1994, offered a cookbook approach that honors software as a craft. However, there is a lack of understanding and rigor in distinguishing what insights are true, contrived, dubious or murky.

Christopher Alexander's main point has been ignored: that our subjectivity can be objective. Amazingly, people are able to agree on what is dead and what is alive, what is working and what is not. We need a way of collecting patterns which is rigorous and critical, empirical and structural, and affirms both the subjective and objective outlooks. Innovations in design - ecological, economic, ethical - are typically life-destroying, in that they favor one aspect with disregard for the whole. We can learn from every kind of mistake so long as we care for all that works. Project Deliverable: Pattern Repository

I request to work as an Open Source Fellow at the Open Source Ecology center in Madison, Wisconsin. I propose to create a repository of patterns for making buildings that are alive, with special attention to ethical, economic and ecological aspects. I will take responsiblity to: - create an open source web system for collecting the patterns - populate the repository with dozens of patterns and hundreds of supporting instances, all in the Public Domain - organize a global community for collecting patterns - train a group of local participants on how to make good use of patterns

I will develop our pattern repository as part of our "project management system for working-in-parallel"

For our repository, we will integrate and customize a variety of software tools for organizing thoughts, including The Brain?, Lucid Fried Eggs and WOW (Working Openly WOW) Our repository will be grounded in a work flow that distinguishes between personal experiences, conceptual observations, formulated patterns, critiques and evaluations, etc. We will use My SQL? and/or Python to create custom templates for helping content flow in this way. I will also design and implement a system for encouraging those who contribute.

I will work myself and as an organizer to make sure that the repository has a wealth of patterns that are relevant especially to home builders in Madison, Wisconsin. I will attempt to include patterns from the full range of issues, including: law, finance, insurance, ethics, ecology, ecological design, family, community, information technology, organizational technology, and building technology for electricity, heating, water, air, light, sound, sewage, landscape, etc.

I will rely on a team in Lithuania working openly on modest stipends to help me create software, add content and organize participants. I will work with Franz Nahrada of Vienna, Austria to foster a supportive online community around and I will design our repository so that and a variety of groups may access the same content through their own websites (this is straightfoward with Lucid Fried Eggs). We're also leveraging a variety of funds for our project management system that we have received for organizing web projects for ERDE (1500 euros), and Amanda Koh (600 dollars so far).

I will work on-site at Madison, Wiscosin to become familiar with home builders at Open Source Ecology and their particular needs for helpful content. I will focus my efforts to respond to their needs. I will share with them this outlook of pattern languages, and to the extent they are interested, will develop informal materials that will help them make use of the repository and participate in pattern documentation and exploration.

Project Process: Investigation of Investigations

I will pursue this work as part of my own wish to understand why and how people apply patterns that are sound or not. I want to document the various explorations by which we can know the extent to which a pattern is sound. I will do this openly, as a self-learner, and will try to bring my findings together as a collection of explorations which self- learners may fruitfully undertake. I imagine these explorations will apply critical thinking to various aspects of our work flow: - Identifying subjective accounts and the patterns they document. - Formulating patterns by stating them extremely as a balance of well-defined forces. - Collecting examples of patterns, and distilling the patterns from the examples. - Within patterns, distinguishing between structure and activity, between subjective and objective elements. - Uncovering structural relationships within and amongst patterns. - Presenting evidence both for and against the soundness of a pattern. - Distinguishing between what is constructive (patterns), destructive (anti-patterns) and irrelevant (nonpatterns).

My investigation will guide me in designing our work flow, our repository's software and contents, and any materials that I create. I hope to explore along with others, both in Wisconsin and globally. I will conduct my investigation openly and in the Public Domain.

I will likely publish an account of my investigation, but neither my account nor my investigation should be thought of as a deliverable.

Project Schedule: September 1 to December 31

I wish to work for roughly six weeks on-site at Madison, Wisconsin. I propose to arrive Tuesday, October 5th and leave Thursday, November 18th. I wish to be in Chicago for a wedding on October 16th, so I would like to leave for that on October 14th and return on October 19th.

I will lay groundwork throughout September so that I have thought through my approach, have set up a basic repository and can start responding to local needs. I will work through the end of December so that our repository is thriving as much as it can on its own. Throughout this time I will draw on our laboratory's team in Lithuania.

In Madison, I plan to work 20 hours a week directly on the repository, and have 10 hours a week for participating in other activities of Open Source Ecology. I will need to reserve 15 hours a week for my investigatory work, and 15 hours a week for part-time work I will bring, for which I will need Internt access, preferably broadband. I will work 6 days per week, and will want to take Sundays off.

Kerry Santo: We need to talk about facilitation

Franz, about the Virtual Communities, what I have noticed in being part of many and having to start my own soon is the unecessary conflict between community members that arises.

Now some of this arises in what has been posted and has been taking in a different way in which it was meant and it has caused a lot of friction and threatening and abusive behaviour.

What I would like to see in the RIC brochure would be facilitation skills, mediation skills and dealing with conflict online. I know its necessary to give people the technical tools and know how to run communities virtually but I feel the softer non technical skills would be useful. Would this be part of the coaching process?

That is definite. I call the coach also the "passive innovator" because part of the learning process is to bring people together that are complementing and potentially helpful to each other. Managing conflicts and making that productive is part of the game. I think that goes to chapter 7 and 8. I am not sure when I will have the structure ready but why dont you write some suggestions here:"

Kerry Santo: More thoughts on the passive innovator/coach role

In order to bring people together that are complementing and helpful to each other I think it would be helpful to have a set of questions to ask would be great to help me determine the values and what the person was looking for in order for me to make a match. I don't know whether that would be some sort of profiling system to find out weaknesses and strengths.

As at the moment I am kind of sensing who would get on with each other and who wouldn't this is kind of easier to do offline that is online. But a profiling system would help enormously as sometimes you can get things wrong.

As far as the mediation/facilitation/conflict skills I feel I need more guidance and education in this area but am unsure where to look for these as I have just been doing stuff naturally and building relations. I think actual scenarios would be a great way of learning this.

Also I sometimes I have problems getting my point across to government officials in an effective manner. So guidance in this area would be very welcome. Anyway Franz, just emptying my head with thoughts about this.

Kerry it is great having you think along with me Franz

HelmutLeitner: Online communication differs much from real life communication because it contains much more ambiguity. This comes from a lack of context and background information. Misunderstandings can be avoided by clearness, positive interpretations and asking questions in doubt. But not all conflicts come from misunderstanding and not all conflicts can be avoided. There are conflicting real interests and in rare cases you even have to do with sick people, although one should never utter or be sure of such a diagnosis. Conflicts also shouldn't be seen as entirely negative. No recipes can be given, but there are lots of experiences to learn from. Every single communication is new magic. Meatball Wiki ( is a great community caring about that and a rich source of such knowledge.


First of all congratulations and thanks to Franz for the large pile of work he has done. It seems to me that we now have a real good basis for the exchange of our differing minds on what RIC might and shall be.

As it turned out at our meeting with the DSTGB on 21st June. we have different things in mind thinking about RIC and how Regional Information Coaching might become true

What I am missing is the for my foundation most important thought of Regional Information Coaching as a means for realising equal opportunities to all.

The brochure describes RIC more as a means to support people thar are aware of the opportunities ICTs? offer to them. These are mostly well educated people, mostly younger ones and maybe those who come from urban areas and are dreaming of a life in rural areas. I admit that it is necessary to give opportunities of work to those people and to lure them to the villages. But what about the other ones, the disadvantaged, not or badly educated, without the skills to make use of ICTs? to improve their lifes.

To overcome the digital divide is it necessary to support the so called underserved, you really find them in rural areas and they need the support of RIC.

So I think we need to reshape the image of RIC to contribute to the goal of digital inclusion.

At the start RIC can not be a profession as is written in the Introduction. And I do not agree that the support of active entrepreneurial people is in the heart of Regional Information Coaching, it's one part of it but not the core one.

Please find my comments to the single chapters on the discussion pages.


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