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David Braden
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LSI Chronicles - Chapter 1

Posted by David Braden about 9 years ago

The only conscious power in the system is the power of the individual human to choose.

We begin a new year with a new name and start the Chronicles anew. What we do remains the same . . . exploring how to facilitate new interactions among the living things around us and teaching what we learn to others. We have set up a formal non-profit corporation with the name Living Systems Institute. We are in process of inviting people to serve as directors and advisors. We are in process of applying for tax exempt status.


We know that we are part of a single pattern of interactions we call “the system”. We are some of the living things in that system. We are the only part we know of that has the consciousness to choose how we will interact. We think of our habitat as that part of the system that affects us and that we can influence and the whole system as all the overlapping habitats.


Because each of us influences the condition of the habitat with every choice we make, we continue our educational efforts. We held bee hive builds in January and February . . . homes for 14 new bee colonies in our habitat. We have scheduled the four gardening events for both the LSI gardening team and the Crescent Grange gardening team . . . expanding the area of deep mulch gardens in our habitat. We continue working with bees, chickens and green houses . . . increasing our know how to organize ourselves to provide for ourselves. And, we have begun preliminary work on an integrated food production system . . . packaging what we have learned to make it easy for others.


All of this work is about demonstrating the power of the individual to create the world they want. There are many people concerned about the future. They may pick economic collapse, environmental degradation, over population, poverty, crime, violence, climate change, or peak oil as their primary concern, or they might be concerned with several or all of them. Many of these concerned people, and the advocacy organizations that they support, are looking to government to take action to address these problems . . . and there are things that government can do . . . if we can get a majority vote. That is a long, slow process because government represents the status quo, and the status quo is made up from the choices of everyone participating in the system. Real change cannot be imposed through government, from the top down, because real change is a threat to the status quo. These are systemic problems that cannot be solved one at a time . . . the solutions require changing the system.


We apply a concept known as think global/ act local, or as David Holmgren expressed it, “use top down analysis and bottom up action”. Bottom up action is about individuals exercising their power of choice. When we begin to analyze the way the system works, we see that the entire system is built up from individual interactions. It is the choices of individuals that creates the world that we experience. If we are going to change the system we have to answer these questions:


  1. 1.  What does the world look like without those systemic problems?
  2. 2.  What interactions take place in that world?

  3. 3.  What choices lead in the direction of those desired interactions?

We do not have all the answers but, in a world without poverty and environmental degradation, individuals are empowered to produce the food, clothing, shelter, education and health care they need, for themselves, through supportive community, including the community of nature that makes up our habitat. The interactions that take place in that world look something like community sufficiency technologies.   The first step is to understand your power to influence improvements to your habitat and choosing to do that.


You have the power to influence an increase in the number of individuals and species interacting in your habitat, making our world more lush and productive. You have the power to influence a decrease in the number of individuals and species interacting in your habitat, making our world more sparse and barren. Humans can work with nature to create beautiful places. We can also deplete nature and create places like Somalia. The one is possible when we understand that our individual well being is inseparable from the well being of our habitat. The other results from pursuing goals without an understanding of the consequences. After all, the only conscious power in the system is the power of the individual human to choose. You can choose to engage in these new interactions and create the world that you want . . . we can help.


Basic System ElevationBasic System Floor Plan

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