How to be human

From this beautiful, heart-rending piece in The Baffler: The most common objection to the theory of the Anthropocene is that this era of collapse isn’t the result of humanity as such, but of the capitalist mode of production, something that emerges out of human activity but not for human ends. This age should be called […]

Oldie but goodie

From systems-thinking theorist Donella Meadows’ eternally epic essay on Leverage Points: where to intervene in a system: Self-organization is basically a matter of an evolutionary raw material — a highly variable stock of information from which to select possible patterns — and a means for experimentation, for selecting and testing new patterns. For biological evolution […]

Doula Shoptalk

Alongside her work as a facilitator, futurist, and author, adrienne maree brown (about whom I wrote more here) is also a birth doula, for babies. In Emergent Strategy she writes: Birthwork teaches us to engage tension, but not to indulge drama. It is another form of facilitation, making the miraculous experience of birth as easy […]

One I Watch: adrienne maree brown

adrienne maree brown is a futurist and science-fiction scholar, a doula (for actual human babies, not books!) and a facilitator. She’s also a prolific writer, with regular appearances at the feminist playground that is Bitch magazine–here’s one of my favorite essays there–while her social media streams are a riot and a joy. Once upon a […]

Doula metaphors

Every now and then I get an email from someone who says they were thinking about the book they’ve always wanted to write, and suddenly they had this inspiration that what they needed was a “book doula,” and then they googled it, and– oh amazing happenstance– they find that such a thing actually exists, and […]

Storytelling in Sapiens

Late to the party… Still, I thought I’d share this bit from the book that “everyone” was reading last year, seeing as it relates to my work in the world: How did Homo sapiens manage to cross this critical threshold [150 individuals], eventually founding cities comprising tens of thousands of inhabitants and empires ruling hundreds […]

No More Heroes

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.     There you have it, the best quote from Jordan Flaherty’s book about the Savior Complex, No More Heroes.    

David Graeber’s Debt

What are you reading now? they ask me. I’m reading the most wonderful book! I tell them. What’s it about? You won’t believe it, but: debt. How could a book this massive on a topic this unlovable be so captivating? Here we come to the central question of this book: What, precisely, does it mean […]

Human Suffering vs. Political Suffering

Peter Block’s lamely-titled book Community won me over, finally, about halfway through. Among the many, many wise and elegant passages, there’s this: Human suffering is the pain that is inherent in being alive: isolation, loneliness, illness, abandonment, loss of meaning, sadness, death. These are unavoidable; they are going to happen to each of us, and […]

Laloux on Integrity

“In most organizations, we have too much conflict sparked by the ego and too little conflict sparked by the soul. The soul’s claims can be demanding: if we choose to listen, we often find that it asks us to speak a truth that others might not like to hear. Deep inside, something in us hurts […]