Getting to the point

August 22, 2007

Isaac Asimov edited a wonderful collection of short short stories which he introduced by explaining that novels had a point (or perhaps several) with a lot of stuff around them, short stories had a point with a little stuff around them, and short short stories had just the point.

Here are a few of my favorite point sources on the Internet:

One Sentence – True stories in one sentence

Post Secret – Honest (sometimes life-saving) postcards of secrets

Indexed – Thinking relationally without math

Alternative Creation Stories

July 28, 2007

At this time we only have stories (no confirmed scientific theories) about our “creation” (assuming that there was a beginning and not a “steady state” background for change) and our “becoming” (to where we “are”). These stories are “based” on some “accepted” “facts” of the cultures who live by these stories. There are no confirmed scientific theories about cosmological creation, although many good partial hypotheses. The Big Bang and the physical Evolution of the Universe hypotheses were not refuted by the “confirming” discovery of the “background radiation”. “SCIENCE” is a social-cognitive process in the (circularly based physicalist theories of biology and brain) that creates space-time causal models and associated narrative stories.


But, as pointed out by David Korten in THE GREAT TURNING, both the religious “creationist” story and the physicalist Big Bang and Expansion story relegate life, mind and spirit to late emergence, without “cause”. One of the universal assumptions among humankind today is that “time is one dimensional”. There are interesting speculation that life, mind, and spirit “were around” at the Big Bang and may have had some influence in cosmic evolution [but they still adhere to 1D time].


I encourage creating physicalist stories, as they do represent “one” possible theme of reality, and have powerful heuristic value. But the story should not be told so as to exclude other stories (the best don’t). Especially when they encourage a passive, go with the flow of evolution, perspective.


Consider a highly speculative story. Fact: most of what we know about the traditional physicalist, Big Bang and Expansion story is less than two hundred years old, most much more recent. Assume that some psi phenomena are real, such that collective minds might influence subtle variables in the matter-energy world. [I believe such phenomena have not been refuted by experimentation.] Our knowledge of the Cosmological Story comes from processed and interpreted data generated from complex physical instrumentation and computers. Imagine both the design and use of these instruments being created so as to create the Cosmological Story in the interpreted data. The origin or zero point of time is always NOW! We continually create both past and future! Our stories are fictional (created) reality! [I expect that this may be consistent with some spiritual-religious stories.]


The holarchical (nested hierarchical) story of living systems is a wonder totally independent of the cosmological evolution story. That is, just the story of steady (dynamic) state molecular-biological processes – without evolutionary change – is a challenge to comprehend and appreciate. Within accepted physicalist constraints, the field of creativity is wide open to life (mind and spirit).


SEED: The organization/learning details beyond viable communities and persons (from our evolutionary herstory) towards a global holarchical network of highly diverse communities, will need to be commensurate in complexity with the intra- and inter- cellular processes of known life. To date, we are orders of magnitude below this. In analogy, we individualized persons are as proteins, except that instead of being a 3D folded form from a linear string of molecular beads, we are a changing web of components with fractal-like depth – with high diversity. This is why viable and sustainable communities and awakened persons is necessary, BUT NOT SUFFICIENT, for long-term survival of Humanity/GAIA.


I conclude with praise for visual artists and other creators who celebrate the Cosmological Story. I eagerly look forward to viewing your creations at the conference. To think/speculate/plan beyond the Here&Now does not exclude augmenting and enjoying the present.


Larry (nuet)

Personal Computer Learning Stories

July 14, 2007

I believe it would be useful if everyone would share their personal story of learning to use and using computers, and relating to other computer users. A brief summary of my computer story follows:


I am not new to computers, or as I prefer: Systems of Intelligent Tools. I only began to use computers when they could do something for me: word-processing. In the 1960-70s I knew people who worked on mainframes and later people who were computer hobbyists. An Apple II with a Z80 card for using WordStar was my first computer in the early 1980s. Today I have digital documents that would collectively fill many books, but they remain poorly organized. On a single day, in one issue of The Futurist I discovered hypertext (via Ted Nelson) and online conferencing (via Peter & Trudy Johnson-Lenz). My life changed. I soon had a new IBM to play MIST+ and was trying to construct a hypertext online seminar system. It worked, but was too complex to get others to use. I was inspired by the innovative software of Neil Larson (MaxThink, Houdini, Hyper) and the augmentation visions of Doug Englebart. I grew up with the technology, but never learned programming and adding a hard drive was my limit with the hardware.


Yet, I became a consultant for those who could use what I knew – which remains very limited within the whole field of Intelligent Tools. I was online before there was The Internet and the WWW – and from the beginning was concerned with how others learned to use computers. I presented (on the potential of virtual projects and communities) at the national meeting of ENA (Electronic Networkers Association) in 1987, where the theme was “Beyond Conferencing”. The commercialization of cyberspace accelerated the technology in many dimensions, but retarded it in many others.


As the decades advanced I tried and used a variety of intelligent tools. Yet, I seem to have fallen farther and farther behind in my competencies. I devote more time today keeping my PC functional than I did with my old DOS computers. Today I experience more crashes and slowdowns than ever before. When I try using tools advertised to improve functioning, things get worse. Each new app tries to take over my computer and compete with other apps. At this moment I am contemplating buying a new computer, or reformatting my HD – but I want a system that I can keep stable and I don’t know how.


I find that the help systems get more and more complex and difficult for someone with my learning style to use effectively. There are many features on my applications that I don’t make an effort to use, even though I know they would be useful. Recently trying to set up a blog on WordPress I realized that the technology of conferencing and communicating had advanced significantly – primarily by those whose primary interest is system functionality and elegance. This is great, but it has generated a new vocabulary, a knowledge of which is often implied in the help systems.


A final word, that needs further explication. I know that the contemporary technology is grossly underutilized by all users – and there is a wide and expanding distribution of uses and users, and levels of competency. The number of computers owned today, and the number of people who go online is a deceptive measure of our collective competency with Systems of Intelligent Tools. This issue appears to be invisible, probably because it calls for an education/organization effort so far out-of-the-box that few can imagine it. Yet, I believe it to be an essential theme in our new story of The Great Turning. A first start would be learning our collective levels of competency with Systems of Intelligent Tools, and what we need yet to learn.

Traveling to One’s Vision

July 12, 2007

Each time I have connected with Puanani Burgess, she has gifted me with a story. I share her gift with you….

Hokule’a - long distance canoeHokule'a - long distance canoe

The photo is attributed to Ama Johnson and Monte Costa.

This is a photograph of the Hokule’a, the long distance canoe that has carried us back and forth to our place of origin in the Pacific. It is the canoe that Hawaiians, having been taught by our cousins in the Pacific from the Satawals, to navigate without instruments, like our ancestors, that has traveled over thousands of miles by being able to read the winds, waves, sky, birds and other animals. I use it to talk about the difference between vision and mission. Nainoa Thompson, the Hawaiian who was taught to navigate in the old way, stood for hours and days at a lookout on O’ahu, being exhorted by Mau Pialug, the Master Navigator, to look beyond the horizon, to see as far as Nainoa could to be able to see the island that he was going to, especially if he’s never been there before. Mau explained that unless Nainoa could see the island he was going to that he has never been to before, that he would never be able to get there. It seems to be a paradox, but it isn’t. You need to see where you’re going clearly, or you can never get there – that seeing is the vision. The canoe that you build to get there and the crew and supplies you put into the canoe are the mission – the way you get to the vision. I thought you would appreciate seeing this photograph. Whenever I see how small that canoe is and how vast the ocean is, I realize what an enormous feat of heart, mind, spirit and body it is to travel the long distance to one’s vision.

Early Future Histories

July 11, 2007

The nature of my mind and world and how it relates to my story creating is a longer tale, for another time. In this post I simply want to present links to some stories currently on my obsolete websites.


Although my longest, and most fundamental Future History, MISSION 2000, was written in 1974-5, the link to it will be found in the revision I made of that scenario for the Y2K movement. Although my primary focus has always been on the coming major emergence of humankind into Global Humanity, I was also deeply concerned about the detailed matrix of concrete actions that might occur – and the fore casted consequences of a Y2K disaster provided an opening. In reading my Y2K scenario (EARTH 2002), you may substitute any of the forecasted disasters we may face any day (e.g., the nuclear bombing of Iran bringing a full scale dictatorship to the USA; cascading global economic collapse, global epidemics, etc.) My primary concern is not survival or immediate recovery (although these ARE important concerns), but on the decades and centuries emergence of a truly sustainable Humanity/GAIA. What is revealed, is that this long term emergence perspective suggests a system of scenarios that if implemented now could greatly reduce the suffering expected in the traditional forecasts.

EARTH 2002. The Table of Contents of a large nested net of documents. Although it will take some time, it is recommended that you read each highlighted linked document as you progress through the posts listed in the TOC, which will include the book-long MISSION 2000. In many ways, this is a draft Story Field.

EDUCATION 2020. Written in 1995, in the format of a “future history”. It simulates a report written 25 years from now, in the year 2020, describing some of the happenings that transpired from 1995 in the evolution of Pima Community College. Initially submitted as part of an application package for Chancellor of Pima Community College. 1/18/1995. [Reformatting and minor editing 8/26/97] Although this document was composed specific to the future of Pima College, it presents a more general proposal for a future of education that emerges creatively for what we need and avoids the need to reform contemporary educational institutions.


Draft of article for issue of Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues Volume 6, Spring 1995, pages 435-462. Issues in the Constitution of Authority: THE CRISIS OF TEXT, From the 1995 JCLI Symposium. Edited: Paul C. Wohlmuth, University of San Diego School of Law. [Reformatting & minor editing 8/26/97]


I have many other stories, sub-stories, and story fields to share, which require collaboration for manifestation.

Hawaii’s Story

July 8, 2007

While preparing for this conference, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Puanani Burgess. She recently sent me this amazing story written by her son, Laameaomauna’ala Burgess. It brought me to tears. With his permission, I’m sharing it with you. It is still in process; being edited.

I hope you are as moved by it as I am.




Hawaii’s Story

By Laameaomauna’ala Burgess

Waianae High School

The Juarez family had lived in that house for longer than I can remember. Compared to the houses of the surrounding properties, the Juarez house was by far the most opulent; two-stories of sturdy maple, and verandas stretching from every side. Not only that, but they owned a truck! That was a rare sight to see for a work hand in the middle of nowhere.

My family and I lived in the bunkhouse, to the side of their home; a small, cozy place that would be called a mere shack to an outside observer. For a long time, life was just a routine. In the morning, I’d wake up, get to work, take a break at around noon, go back to work after lunch, come in at dusk for dinner, sit around the card table and play a few hands, and go to sleep.

One day, the Jones’ came down for a short visit. The Jones’ were business affiliates of Mr. Juarez, and said that they need to check that production was steadily under way. They took residence in the western side of the top floor, which is the nicest part of the house in my opinion having a great view, and the best breeze. I think they just wanted a few weeks of peace that was so natural to the calm, dry plains of Westbrooke. Originally, they planned to stay only for a few weeks, but as time went on, their stay grew longer and longer.

Of course, that was alright with me. With the Jones’ came their vivid stories of the city life. Grand buildings, taller than I can see, towns of pure light, and thousands of cars and trucks moving on roads of smooth stone. I have never heard of any of these things before. I would sit in front of feet after dinner, and listen to them tell these great stories of riches and leisure.

After a while, the ranch started to change as their influence became stronger and stronger. The first change came about when I came in from the field one day. It was very hot, so I came in a little earlier to get some water, and rest in the shade a bit longer. In the house, I overheard Mr. Juarez and Mr. Jones talking. At first, it was mainly about the daily doings around the farm, but slowly it evolved into a talk about the ranch’s managing. Mr. Jones said, “Well, I’ll be damned, I’ve never seen a ranch with so much output with so little help on the land. How do you do it? On every other property I’ve been on, they all have about three families, all demanding more of this, or more of that, but you just have a single family that seems to be, dare I say, enthusiastic to go to work! Your work family only has three good workers that can go out to the field, so they must work harder than an ox to bring out the quota’s you pull, but they act content with what you give them, which is basically nothing! That is incredible!”

“No, sir, you see, we do things a little differently on this ranch than what you usually see on other ranches. Here, nothing belongs to anyone, but everything belongs to everyone. Everyone here works their hardest to pull their loads, so everyone gets an equal share of the profit. If my work man has a daughter that needs a new dress, we buy her a new dress, if he needs a doctor, we get him a doctor. On this ranch, we are all a family. We only eat when we make sure everyone has something to eat, we only sleep when everyone has done their share of the work. No one gets more, and no one gets less, everyone gets their fair amount. I and my work hands know this, so every time we go to the field, we know that every cent we earn we earn for the family.”
Mr. Jones was speechless; he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. After a while he got his breath back and started to talk to Mr. Juarez about capitalism, stocks, salary, rent, taxes, ownership, supply and demand, and many other things I’ve never heard of before. Mr. Juarez seemed impressed, and started to look at some numbers Mr. Jones prepared. I don’t know math all too well, so I just went back to the field.

Later that night, when I came in to wash up, I saw Mr. Juarez and Mr. Jones shaking hands. I just finished washing up, making sure my children were ready for dinner, and went up to the house. We all sat around the table, and the food was served like usual. After prayer, Mr. Juarez started to talk about how the ranch was going to be run for now on. “There will be no more community sharing of supplies from now on. We will start using a system of salary, where you are paid according to the amount of work you have done. When you run out of your salary, that’s it, don’t come to me for any freebies. I will also start charging you for the bunkhouse you are using, the food you are eating, and the clothes you are wearing. I’m sorry, but everyone has been getting a free ride for too long, time’s have changed, so we need to change along with it.

“Also, I would like to announce that Mr. and Mrs. Jones will become our new business partners, and I would like to thank them for helping me open my eyes to how we should be running this ranch.”
Upon hearing his name, Mr. Jones stood up and began his speech. “Thank you, thank you. As you may have heard, I am now part of your “family”. I will start giving out the business orders as I see fit. Don’t worry, I’ve done this for a very long time, I know what I’m doing. Just leave it to me, I mean, us. Mr. Juarez and I will make a great team in leading this ranch into a new era of profitability. And if you are worrying about the new pay schedule, don’t worry, you will still be paid a fair amount, but this way, we can keep track of exactly what a fair amount really is. Enough of business, let’s celebrate, this night marks the creation of a new Brotherhood!”
For a few years, everything went well. At the end of every week, we would receive our salary. We would pay the Brotherhood most of what we got for food, clothes, and things like that. Whatever was left over, we would save, just in case we needed it for some emergency down the line.

After a while, the Brotherhood decided it was time to expand, so they built a few more bunkhouses, and the Jones’ brought a few more branches of their family in, inducting them into the Brotherhood. I didn’t really care for those newcomers; they had a mean air about them. I didn’t care much for this new system either, Mr. Juarez used to be a good friend of mine, but he said that lines had to be drawn to remain professional. The Brotherhood wasn’t all too swell for that matter. It always seemed to get bigger and bigger, and Mr. Juarez always seemed to get smaller and smaller.

Three years passed with a few bumps here and there. By that time, the ranch now had seven work families, and eight in the Brotherhood, one Mr. Juarez, and seven Mr. Jones. At this point, if Mr. Juarez wanted to do something that everyone didn’t agree upon, Mr. Juarez was put out of the picture. I remember Mr. Juarez once trying to argue with the Brotherhood when they decided that the Juarez family should live in one of the bunkhouses. The Brotherhood said that this business was a democracy, that everyone needed to vote, and that the majority has to win, and in this case, the majority said it would be better for everyone if the Juarez family lived in a bunkhouse so that they could deliberate without disturbance. Mr. Juarez recognized his defeat and surrendered to his bunkhouse.

And life went on like that for a while. Three years later, the brotherhood had become fifteen strong, with fourteen Jones’ and poor Mr. Juarez. I think Mr. Juarez could feel that his reign was about to pass, so he put up as best a fight as he could. He demanded that he be given special rights of power because he was the original owner of this ranch, and that as such, he should have the final say in what happens or does not happen on this farm.

The Brotherhood responded, saying that it sounded like he was trying to be a tyrant, that this wasn’t his ranch, this was everyone’s ranch. They said that Mr. Juarez should understand the virtues of democracy, that this is what is best for the people in general. They said, “Let’s vote on it.”
So, that’s what they did. The Brotherhood met together and held a very democratic vote to decide on the problem of Mr. Juarez. The votes were cast, and the first Mr. Jones’ read the results, “We, the Brotherhood, have finished the counting of the votes deciding the issue of returning special powers to our Brother Mr. Juarez, upon which if the majority voted in favor of Mr. Juarez, those said powers will be granted to him, but if the majority voted against him, Mr. Juarez will be denied those said powers, and will be furthermore dismissed from the Brotherhood at which point he may choose to leave and take his family with him, or to stay as a work family who will abide by the rules and benefits that all work families enjoy. The results are as follows, in favor of Mr. Juarez: one vote, in opposition of Mr. Juarez: fourteen votes. We attest that all numbers and deliberations are true and honorable before the powers that be, thank you. Mr. Juarez, you may report to the Brotherhood with you decision no later than six ‘o clock this evening. If you fail to report by then, you will be forcibly removed from the premises. Thank you for listening, you may all return to work.”

At six ‘o clock, Mr. Juarez reported to the Brotherhood.

The next morning he was out in the field, tending the cattle.


2017: Imagine Whidbey Island

May 24, 2007

Vicki Robin recently wrote a FABULOUS imagineering piece on the future of her home: Whidbey Island. While she won’t be able to join us for the conference, her story seemed too good to miss!

Here’s a link and a taste:

Today, April 14, 2017, is the tenth anniversary of the first nationwide day of action on Global Warming. There were, as I recall, thousands of local actions – including South Whidbey. And I want to celebrate with all of you – and say, THANK YOU. My borrowed grandson Toby is typing this for me (fingers too stiff these days which is tough for a writer) but it’s all my own words.

If you could see us now, you’d be so amazed – and proud – of what you did after the jolt of four blackouts in the winter of 2006 woke us up. Of course, Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth that played that fall at the Clyde also helped throw a big bucket of cold water on our old dreams of endless growth.

You sure got busy, and we get the benefit. Let me give you a snapshot of island life, 2017. Now some of it may seem like bad news to you, but really, it’s great!

Starting with those blackouts, people dusted off the old disaster plans from Y2K days and got us all in 20-household neighbor to neighbor clusters. We owe a big debt to the churches that adopted the motto “neighborliness is next to godliness” – whew, they were so organized and so giving. At first we called it “emergency preparedness” but there have been so many emergencies that we’re beyond prepared – we’re just taking care of one another every day. We share tools and recipes and elder-care and bicycles and game nights and book clubs. Each neighborhood has a name (mine’s called Winphia after my dear departed cat and my neighbor’s dog) and we compete on sports days. Lots have bands and singing groups. Mine, of course, is the best. But I digress.

Read on: