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Gardenworld Politics Chapter 3 Human Nature - draft
Chapter 3. Human Nature and design.
Vitruvius, in his Ten Books of Architecture, arranged building designs around the human body and its actions, .. As we move through the 21st century, we need to struggle to bring the human, as the design criteria, back into the center of design and policy.
– John Carl Warnecke.
The zen student, perplexed, asks the Zen monk, ‘So what is human nature?” The Monk, thoughtful, replies. “What isn’t ?”
Does civilized living arise from our nature or from society? This problem has perplexed the thought since… well. The answer needs to be, both. There are many splits in logic and we are taught to take one path or the other, but a better mapping requires that we take both. We seek a single world view and mode of operation but plurality and irreconcilability and the need for compromise, tolerance and appreciation might be more important.
spirit - material
nature - society
science - humanities
rational - irrational
emotion - logic
art - science
lets unpack them in their implications for the human nature Gardenworld is designed for.
spirit - material. Spirit comes from Greek, spire, breath..Matter comes from mother, source, and ldo from core wood, the productie part of the tree. Madera wine. Maternal. Both are thus rooted in core activities of the body. Aristotle wrote “The soul is the chief act of the body.” We have learned narrowly that that things most things, such as a washing machine are dead, plants barely alive, animals a bit more, and then us. I think this is being rethought. Life on the farm led to not naming the animals and keeping us separate from them. We did not enhance their quality of life.”They are only animals” Every animal - and maybe every living thing, has a desperate need to hold on to its life. The spread of pets in western society is leading to more people finding themselves in full empathy with theirs and struck by the way our affection for them, and their interest in us, are as thick as water is for fish. The words spirit and soul are old and maybe we need new vocabulary. But the words rational and material are equally old. Spirit is often called the ghost in the machine. Here is a different view. If I look at something, two things strike me (you should explore your own experience).First, I cannot see an object without being aware that it is in a universe. No computer needs this. Also any object looked at will affect my mood, the tone of the moment. All objects do this to us. In this sense they - what_? Contain a spirit? Such language keeps the material and its expression separate. Imagine a friend's smile. The person, their body, and their smile are not separable.
community - individual. No strong community without Strong individuals. No strong individual without a strong community. It is not a choice of one or the other but of both or neither. Communities argue over the meaning of strong. military or education, Arts or sports? This debate is vital.
nature - society: The way we group, the way we feed and poop, the way we are part of moving from photosynthesis to feeding and reproduction - the continuity with animals is obvious. We are all moving through a life cycle from birth to action to decline and - not death but absorbed back into the whole.
body - mind. No living body without mind. n mind without body. You can't take the color out of a painting. Gets complicated. You can take the pattern of the ches board off of the wood, but the pattern requires the wood. A body, living or dead, is a powerful experience. Our own mind seems total in the moment yet it can be cultivated. We all need to continually observe our consciousness for a deepr understanding o what mind is. Tis is a major cultural task for the future. One way of looking at Gardenworld is that its purpose is to create the Circumstances we're such reflection is encouraged and supported. This requires developing a surplus which requires good management which requires good regulations and good education.
science - humanities. Science is one of the great humanities. Yet another way of tying things together and “making sense” of them. Every scientific article is explicitly or more often implicitly embedded in a narrative but as of now we are not taught the ways to make a better narrative but to concentrate oly on the numbers and their manipulation. Science arose in the Renaissance when artists were looking for better ways to cast bronze or make attractive pigments. Drama for the Greeks was a way of talking about he play of politics and ambition. The modern novel is a window into real worlds that can be constructed in the mind. Compare a novel about Paris with a few days trip there. From which do you, hour for hor, learn more (while both are useful)?
rational - irrational. Rational tends to equate with cold, ded structured, logical, computer like. But we're talking about life. No action by a person goes unmotivated. Rational can mean the use of reason in the service of life. We are likely to call things like falling in love or anger as irrational, but they fit into the needs of life better than their absence. Peculiar that we call something that serves life “irrational”
utilitarian - beautiful. Useful? From coffee cups to homes to cities to landscape we prefer the attractive. To motivate people to engage and stay positive. Treating the useful as also beautiful is a great advantage. We have tended to approach problems from the “rational” side only, but it is not working and people are, with the increased consciousness and anxiety about the future waking up to their feelings and their awareness is increasing.
John Locke was wrong when he wrote “Nothing is in the mind which is not first in the senses” and that the mind is a tabula rasa, a black slate. A baby is much smarter than a cubic foot of air. Whence comes that smartness? Gardewnrold should look after the quality of both the child and the child’ experiences and their integration.
If we are going to be thinking about what kind of society we want we should start with who it is for, what kind of people. “Brave new world that has such people in it., ” asked Shakespeare in The Tempest in a drama about shipwreck and going on to create a new society. The key idea: people are never isolated but part of groups, from family to globe. The implication is that Gardenworld should support individuals as part of society and part of nature. All divisions which divide us “for the purpose of analysis' ' ignore the key thing we need to understand about ourselves: how our biology and psyche are intertwined with others and are part of, not on top of, nature. We should not stand on the earth with feet in dirt and mind in the sky.
Politics is in the title of the book because effort beyond policy and concepts will be necessary. We also need to re-think how thinking is part of who we are now, and how it could work. Our approach to climate change is very consistent with our culture by stressing linear causality, soloed approaches - and individuality. Many commentators say that the reason we make little progress on climate change is because our thinking is weak. Commentators assume two levels; individual and society. This leaves out the corporations and governments where real power lies and which are protected from citizen impact - remember the millions who marched against the war in Iraq. They had no impact.. These intermediate levels of organization are crucial for reform and we need to think how best to open them up, breaking through their protective barriers. Climate change reality is likely to do some of that for us but leave a resulting mess of contradictory initiatives.
Much thinking about thinking sees mind as a computer or computer like an ensemble of computer code and data. As if thinking without any emotion is possible. The alternative view is that mind is related to the body which is an ensemble of nerves and fluids organized around passions small and passions large in the context of nature and others of whom each person is intertwined. This intertwining is what all futures need to affirm. Iy is central to Gardenworld. Some see thinking as an activity of isolated persons but we must start with the idea that no human exists, can exist alone. We are looking for a future for such interdependent beings. The idea that we mature from dependent childhood to independent adults avoids the fact that our use of language, food, security and ofcourse relationships are highly interdependent. Remember this chapter is an exploration of who we are inderder to guide Gardenworld.
Human nature is often dealt with as meaning psychology and that has meant leaving politics, history and issues of power out of the picture. But each human is born into an existing society that is always a fairly stable society. Even in revolution the before and after are easily recognizable. .
For the deep thinking Eric Voegelin order of society requires five structures in thought: self, society, history, cosmos and thought about the unseen. The unseen or transcendent - the ground of being for example is one attempt to name it - what cannot be seen but we all experience: a beyond we can feel but can't articulate.. We are not familiar with these thoughts because we have not been taught philosophical thinking and our exposure to literature and biography is at best pretty thin except for those few who have aken their own education on themselves.
These thoughts are very important because, if ignored, people become restless and depressed. Personal thinking and dreams are mostly about our feeling life in relation to these issues. Our personal lives move from happiness and moments of love to tragedy and fear. Obviously we cannot avoid being part of culture, American, Japanese, Mayan, Sahelian, with others or you would be dead. Each culture tends to limit the range of what can be seen and ated on. Art for example, shows clearly the deep place of slowly evolving tradition. Think of how many generations were needed to develop the style of this piece of 4th century Mexican pottery.
This fellow is making the bowl, feminine, with a tool, masuline. The craftsman makes the world. This integrates the skills of pottery with consciousness of and with the universe.When we think of the possibilities for Gardenworld we don't start with food and habitat - that is what we achieve - but w start with the understanding that all human are complex, emotional and capable of participation at the level of culture and we are gathering to work out how such people can work together toward Gardenworld. The artist has thoroughly thought and worked through a tradition that informs each part and the whole to where each part is in harmony. This is not possible without being in a tradition and practicing that tradition for many years. Imagine what these craftsmen had to say to each other!
And we do not talk enough about these issues. Thinking about Gardenworld is a cornucopia of very challenging and interesting questions facing all of us. Don't reduce the experienced world of real people, children, parents, mature people tp social science categories alone. We need to learn how to take apart normal concepts that might no longer apply. For example, that the market is a free and easy exchange, but normal understanding or maket leaves out the differences of the two people in a simple exchange. One is usually making money and the other losing. And those without money can’t participate. An alternative is often expressed as a community within which need leads to distribution. This is a kind of fortress because it includes that those who are part of the group benefit and leaves out everyone else. We need to explore alternatives and that requires imagination. To a large extent, the more you know - through travels, reading history and biographies - the richer the garden of your imagination will be.
For example, what is the past and what is the future? If we start with the present, not as something described in the news, but as an experience, we realize we are surrounded by so much, like a fish is the river we swim in a very complex environment. Look around. Now compare this stream to the past. The picture is much thinner. In our present we use our senses. For the past and the future we use our memories and imagination. Really different. A reconstruction from memory is a vast reduction in scale and complexity from what you actually see sitting in your chair, the air, the light, the objects, the living things from microbes to people.You are in this in ways you cannot be in the past. The future too is a construction, thin by comparison. The picture is something like
past PRESENT future
though to be more accurate the present is much larger, yet we think of the past and future as larger than the present, or even larger for those who are focused on payoff such as business execs. Many questions that while seemingly beside the point, actually are part of the thinking of everyone. What is the reality we build on - and how we have a sense-making that can lead reasonably to decisions? - and how sense making depends on attention and how attention is enhanced and controlled by very complex forces in the present unfolding and enveloping us.. The place of emotion and reason, was split apart by Descartes and a supporting cast. Empathy and compassion are related to imagination and creativity. People can believe in god or justice and virtue. One and or the other. Mechanical reason diminished the role of emotion while trying to exclude it.
You will notice that the normal approach in Wstern official culture starts the questions of human nature in either of two ways. One starts from the body up, from biological needs, even at the level of DNA, to habit and programming. The other approach starts with thinking as a detached analytic logic mahine and basically avoids the body. Both in recent decades support the economic idea of rational man, devoid of passions, making decisions.What is left out is, what arey making decisions about? No interest, no action.
Three issues have moved into consciousness and are part of thee dstabilizing of th current society, which has to be seen as inadequate. Race, geneder, age, ineuality- violence.
There are numerous collections of people thinking through these issues. For a rich exploration of the technical AI approach take a scen through ome oft eh 200 plus podcasts at https://lexfridman.com/podcast. More on the human side but blending AI thinking is the series of podcast and interview with Daniel Schmanctenberger at
Sites that work on the implication of the humanities in the way these sites do AI and biology are missing. A start is at https://mythtake.blog/humanitiespodcasts
Let’s start with what human beings sachieve and work backward to the implications for Gardenworld. We start with humans conscious of themselves and of their environment. (Which is also true for animals) What we experience is always a mix of what is inside us, brain and the rest of the interconnected body, Memories and dreams cannot be understood except as interactions between what is in and out over time. The photon is not blue, but has a wavelength that is interpreted by the eye/brain as blue. Sn achievement, seeing trees for example, can't be reduced to brain activity alone or the forest alone. This is true of all human activity. It takes both. All humans are born into a world that pre-exists and into a family that takes care of this newborn. Any thinking about society has to support this complex combination.
How to proceed? The task is to use what we know about human nature to design, invent and assemble Gardenworld as a plausible and attractive approach. Obviously if new communities create unattractive conditions of living it will fail to attract loyalty. An alternative is to start with culture and experience and ask, what do social life and culture tell us about human nature? If we take this question seriously we will be in the realm of philosophy and its major branches, ethics, science, and religion - and art and find ourselves reading history, anthropology and biographies.
People gathering for a Gardenworld project are likely to be people who have left the familiar behind. Such people are quick to align with others in friendships. This is to be encouraged [link to Heyking on friendship s this already included?]
What I mean is, people - if we start with them - are surveying and assimilating their environment, looking for clues as to threats, opportunities and stories. A survey of knowledge in early GardenWorld would include much of crafts and arts but also the variety of beliefs. And they are doing this in the presence of others, taking clues from them as they take clues from us. We are not isolated individuals. This groupiness is the key fact that any culture, including Gardenworld projects, can support or pervert.
The political philosopher Erich Voegelin developed the view that any adequate thinking about humans must deal adequately with five issues.
Start with the last. Each person experiences and acts accordingly with the idea that what they see, where they are, the moment in time exists in a context that is not seen, not in any way directly experienced. There is a beyond and before and an after. We feel it. Societies all explore this reality, to name it, and through practices can turn the sense of wonder bordering on awe to science or religion. These two are more similar than those identifying with each effort suspects. Each group pushed for conformity to its views and both approaches become entwined with economics.The result is a mess, hard to deal with and probably with us forever.
Groups come to views about the nature of this transcendent reality and try to impose it on others as if we all believed the same thing most of our problems would be solved. The problem is that all descriptions fail as circumstances change and the desire of leading groups to hold on impedes a process that will continue anyway. Beliefs people hold and the way those interact with developing communities are obviously going to be important and htat importance will fluctuate between being conscious or avoided.
The word religion comes from re- (again) + legier tie or bound to. You can get a feel for it with neglect, which comes from not tied, avandoned. Science, in this analysis, is another way of tying things together. The problem comes- from the things each thinks are worth tying together, which dots to connect. Science deals with material facts while religion deals with moral facts and issues. Psychology rarely discusses the world people live in, nor does economics explore the impact of a badly managed economy on the lives of people. The environment that makes it through climate crises will be filled with altered conditions and fit human perceptions in new ways. If Gardenworld is to have a chance, it is in the human reaction to a vastly changed environment that will be the place . Our actions will lie between religion and neglect, typing together and not tying together. An easier approach for many is to talk about belief and avoid science.
Much is at stake. This night seem like a detour we could pass over but it is very important to understand,
Let's look at Voeelin’s other realms of social thought. The self. Is the self a computer? It is hard to imagine a computer saying “that's disgusting” It Might be programmed to say it, but it doesn't seem to feel it. If a computer plays chess and wins it had no experience of playing and no experience of winning. The tension we feel while contemplating a move and its consequences is not in any way part of the computer.
I have concluded that the drift of society toward virtuality and robots has severe consequences to which Gardenworld is a part of the answer. If you are talking with someone you each have a model of the other person in your body, an involvement that affects every neuron and the sea of hormones that surround them all. In this normal situation what is going on with you affects the other person and what is going on with them, manifested in small shifts of posture or voice have an impact. Every neuron is listening to the mutter of the crowd. This circle of cause and effect is broken if you are talking with a robot who (which) is not affected by what is going on with you the way another person would be affected. . Your body, used to psyching out the other person, finds that your activity is not affecting the other so you cease to use this human capacity. Over time, as your social world includes more robot interactions, robots who say “I understand complete sentences. How can I help you today,” your social capacity, so important for being a person, atrophies and dies. That robot person does not try to dig you nor does your attempt to dig the other create more intimacy.Gardenworld should increase human interactions and keep developing your interpersonal sese, skill and attractiveness to others also looking for interpersonal understanding.
“In truth, I believe that nature is not concerned about good and evil. She has two ends: the conservation of the individual, the propagation of the species.” This view of Diderot leaves out the drama of details in the search for simplification with bounded concepts . Our beliefs’ move between these two pairs, good and evil and individual and group adaptation, and both must be satisfied.
Spinoza thought that people’s vulnerability to religion came from ignorance of the natural. Elites use the religion as a cover for their own abuse of the rest of us and nature.. It is good to see this as objectively as possible, and not blame the person, but to understand their circumstance. “ We must see what life consists of, and the spirit . . . how they work and what forces drive them” Lucretious in
Excerpt From: Philipp Blom. “A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment.” Apple Books.
The classical Greeks understood that politics emerged from the friendships that cut across family lines and create larger communities. Politics is rooted in friendships which emerge from discovery of shared interests across families. Part of what is wrong with the modern world is the decline of interpersonal interactions and with this the loss of political feeling and an urge to move with like minded others. What it might come down to is we prefer to stay home than join others in preventing climate change or war.
I often said to groups of economists, “Can you conceive of a time when novels will be treated as legitimate facts about human behavior ?” I mean the rich texture of suffering, financial and relationships and health and the recovery to hope and awe and appreciation and the flow of time/space and the drift of the times that novels tell us about.
But what if most action that flows from people follows from the flow of human energy, not mediated through knowledge? Think of how thought patterns flow among minds. It is not mapped by concepts . Martha Nubssbaum wrote Love’s knowledge where she shows that love cannot be described in philosophical categories but requires literature.
We are not used to discussing what is the good life. Because we don’t discuss what is the good life we can’t discuss how institutions can be designed to encourage the good life, what Socrates called the fit life for a human, and how institutions support it, The changes being forced by climate disruption make this discussion vital, if we are to give directions for the future we work toward.
A major mistake made by smart people in thinking about us as humans has been to define us by intelligence and tool making - homo sapiens, homo faber, and to stress how we are different from animals, and to take that difference as the key aspect of our dignity as humans and what should be nurtured in our sense of self , as if pulling away from animals is a good thing. But when we think of a good society it is the way we are like animals, needing food, rest, shelter and parental care that draws our concern. The popularity of Youtube and instagram animal videos showing care and creativity and play are popular because they remind us that we are feeling animals ourselves, bright and playful and needing care. Animals are not smart about most of the things we are, but then we are not so smart about most of the things animals are. Anthropology of early humans suggests that we lived in trees and ate fruit and nuts. We were close friends with the animals that did not fear us nor us them. Much changed when we came down onto the more open prairie,
Gardenworld should be a support to the reality and the ambiguity of this. When I am in a conversation with you it's not just that our conversation takes part of our brains and speech, where every neuron in our bodies listens to the mutter of the crowd.and is itself modified, developed, and complexified. Each person then is an orchestra of voices, memories, anticipations. We are deeply organic and that extends into the heart and soul of others; to teir needs and judgements and imaginations.
Bruno Latour has brought forward the forgotten work of Gabriel Tarde, a 19th century French sociologist, who reversed some of our understanding. He says our brains are extremely complex but our channels of communication are thin. We can only communicate part of what we think, a very small part. I can say “I see that tree” but the fullness of what i see is only hinted at by the words. WE count on each other to fill out the picture enough that we can feel we are together. Learning how to share more of our experience is part of what maturity is all about.
Continuing our exploration of who we are, Imagine a group of people, say a hundred, and their interactions create a web of connections, but the people are not all equal, some people are more connected than others. This web has value and with time is under the command of some more than others. It is easy to see this in Gardenworld where new people enter and new relations are created. I am starting with the assumption that we are relationship seeking more than power seeking. The ills of modern society can be seen in the move toward isolating citizens into consumers moving around, not with friends but with the goal of buying and returning home to our private space. Our understanding of humans has unfortunately been based on emphasizing our mental capacity at the expense of our animality, our mammalian quality of caring for young and each other while flooded with moods and feelings.. Mind, along with symbols, speech, and graphics are certainly important. But Gardenworld starts with recognizing that the first and most important aspects of human lives start with food and habitat and that these cannot be done without something like a culture. Our life is dominated by the daily shift of day to night and impacted by the seasons. To sleep eight hours and eat three meals and many snacks a day does much to define us and to set the conditions that must be met by any culture and politics, including Gardenworld.
Each person has a brain and senses. These together create a world view based on those. Notice that most of the time they only get you a few feet from where you are. A walk outside may for a few seconds connect you through the senses to a larger frame. But the large frame we assume we are in is actually made from images from media and backed up yy a conceptual space made of stuff like culture, memory, and media. The local architecture also has a big effect on us, the quiet of a museum, the chapter in a restaurant..of town, state, country, world, universe and beyond. The conceptual space connects to our brains and gives the experience that we see a world. Our sense of the world is thus prone to error and is mostly local even as we experience what we think is the larger world. Gardenworld needs to support this organic sense of who we are, connected to the earth and each other through senses and that there is a beyond but needed in thought, not blind connection. And remember that the senses connect not only to our brain but to “every neuron is listening to the mutter of the crowd.”
Friendship and power are at play in this network.
Aristotle and Plato both put friendship as the key to social organization, especially politics. People in friendship share mental outlooks and are drawn to put their efforts into making that view work. Because they are in families and reach out based on common interests their friendships cross over into their village-town-city or as they name it, the polis. Politics of course comes from that - the social organization of interests worked out in community conversation and assemblies. (Of course part of the pathologizing of our time is that the Internet and easy travel by car or planes has broken apart that organic world of relationships.The more intimate nature of Gardenworld means that we will have more face to face and community meetings, not as unique events but as daily flow.
The word democracy was also developed by the Greeks. It comes from Demos, the people and - cracy rule. We think that democracy means periodic voting. The Greeks went further, taking literally the idea that the people rule. They had a lottery system for all citizens drawing lots for community jobs in administration for the next year. This had two main consequences for Gardenworld. First, it means that all citizens were educated enough to carry out the role the lottery assigned to them, and second, that the jobs were simple enough that they could be understood.
Greek social thought can be seen in the evolution within Greek society.
First, for the individual in conversation with oneself we have the Stoics.
For dialog between two we have Socrates,
For the town we have Aristotle and politics
That is elegant. It is being suggested we need a fourth level,
The earth conversation, now that we have globalization and cross boundary issues such as climate heating chaos and war through competition, that includes everyone. (Latour, Schmachtenberger, Heking)
For Gardenworld that might mean local living with the Internet, not of things, but of learning and shared experience around the world.
One key human (and animal) fact is that we desire to do over again what we have already done (what Freud called “the repetition compulsion”) The result is that evil begets evil, love begets love, walking and humming begets walking and humming. It follows that we should be aware of the choices we make because they are forming our character. Moreover, what we experience, say the sadism of a parent, becomes part of the repertoire of the child and can be the source of acting in the far future.
All These are suggestive of what our humans in Gardenworld will be living though. These hint at what kind of supporting society Gardenworld needs. The humans we deal with are specific people at a specific time in history, with specific relationships and specific physical surroundings. The way to understand all this is more like good reporting with stories about real people than abstracting social science.“The simple act of helping someone perform a job will often break down barriers far quicker than any clumsy utterances. It expresses goodwill and, like a dance or a song, it creates a communion of purpose and a harmony of experience
Gardenworld requires educating a new generation. Education will be central in Gardenworld, from recovering and passing on as much of the past as we can, and set the conditions for cooperation and creativity.
Roberto Unger has taken a bold leap and says that if we look at the current world, most people are organized into work, and the work divides into two interesting categories. The new work of the high tech companies tends to be relatively open team based, participatory, and interactive. It is hard to tell who is in charge. He calls these “The advanced mode of production.” The other is the old hierarchical do what you are told world of work that still characterizes large parts, in fact most of the world of work, organized from shops to mega corporations. He proposes that the advanced mode requires people to feel confident, independent, respected and enjoying the work. The advanced mode,requires more learning, more systems thinking, more imagination, more creativity and better group skills. In short, a larger self. This is perfect for Gardenworld that thrives on these qualities.
The education of children is crucial. We know that in traditional societies children carry out tasks of surprising sophistication. Such children gain inconfidence and the ability to cooperate. (though coercive child labor is to be avoided. Children want to imitate. Better way. And that happens mostly through parents for a number of years. It us vialy important that the parents feel supported in Gardenworld. School is part of that support and also engsging, if done well.The waldorf school, following from the work of Rudolph Steiner, who had a very broad view of the child. The first thing to note is that Steiner and Waldorf want to make art central to the child’s education, while mainstream US education have eliminated much art from school in the name of STEM. Steve Jobs was passionate about the need for arts in industrial/ technological innovation.
Steiner’s view was that the child should learn myth and its expression in art before reading. If the child has playevfvd with myth and drawn dragons,maidens and knights, then reading, when it is time, has a world of reference to connect new words together. Poetry is often taught “here is this great poem and this brilliant poet,” but much better to say “here is a poem, what does reading it evoke in you?”, and teach how to develop evocations from oneself, not the adoration of someone else’s creativity. Psychoanalysis is a learning environment for adults. “What is your story and where do you get stuck? Shall we explore that?” At Caltech science was taught mostly as “here are the equations, learn how to solve them for some set of data.”There was no reference to the awesomeness of phenomena nor to the work that people did to understand. Feynamn said the value of science is to the extended experience of the scientist, not to summarizing data.
Education at Waldorf begins with stories, myths from the great civilizations, and the child spending time making paintings or objects thta reflect on the stories. Reading and writing are not developed in the early grades. The idea is that the child needs to first develop a sense of the world that language can then refer to. Language without a solid foundation in real stuff (art supplies) or stories tends to be ideological and devoid of feeling. The result is that most students in the current schools, public and private, actually fail at being educated. In Gardenworld, children are closer to the ground, to plants, insets, to seasons, to multitudes of life forms, and a broader education is much easier to achieve. Such an education would mix what we call science and what we call art. The greek origin techne meant arts, skills., hand eye coordination, rooted in adnace and gymnastics.All science objects are beautiful, all art objects are filled with properties that can be explored.
Jean Piaget's work seriously helps us understand the experience and mentality of children. Most psychologists look at the child looking at the world and designing experiments to see what the child can do, Piaget started at the other end, looking at the child looking at itself, the newborn following its random hand movement with its eyes, building up a memory structure of how those go. But what emerges is the inherited capacity of the body to give significance to those movements. If you take your coffee cup and rotate it so you can’t see the hendle you know you can move the cup so the hendle returns to view. The object is seen as a solid and that solidity is based on the attribution of reversibility to the cup. The eye does not build up that perception pixel by pixel but attributes to it the same as when a dog can catch a frisbee by acting on the projection of a parabola onto it. Piaget’s work takes us empathetically into the mind of a child and shows how what appears to be without meaning is central to the child building up a repertoire of ways of acting on the world. Piaget’s work is an attempt to understand how knowledge: math, science, language emerges from one-celled biology. When we think of how who we are as humans fits into Gardenworld, his work is a grand approach. The message is the world we see is a mix of out there and brain. Our education should revolve around this understanding of the mind, first the child's, then the rest of us.
Creating Gardenworld would be helped if more people were educated to broadly think about society, nature and history. George Washington wrote
A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?
All writers on democracy have stressed two themes. Need for deep education and relatively equal in material possessions. We have a long way to go but must go there. The elites will try to talk us out of it.
Making Gardenworld work will require more of the same. Consider the work of Piaget, Montessori and Steiner (Waldorf schools). Piaget wrote a small book, v He viewed learning as a means to experiment with what you can do. Learning moves from mind into reality and back again in continuous loops of interconnectable activities.
Steiner’s view was that the child should learn myth and its expression in art before reading. If the child has played with myth and drawn dragons,maidens and knights, then reading, when it is time, has a world of reference to connect new words together. Poetry is often taught “here is this great poem and this brilliant poet,” but much better to say “here is a poem, what does reading it evoke in you?”, and teach how to develop evocations from oneself, not the adoration of someone else’s creativity. Psychoanalysis is a learning environment for adults. “What is your story and where do you get stuck? Shall we explore that?” At Caltech science was taught mostly as “here are the equations, learn how to solve them for some set of data.”There was no reference to the awesomeness of phenomena nor to the work that people did to understand. Feynamn said the value of science is to the extended experience of the scientist, not to summarizing data.
Gardenworld will work better if people appreciate experiences, imagine how they connect, and ask what new capacities of mind are evoked. Anthropology, literature, comparative religions are all helpful. Everyone is a bit of a philosopher and they should be encouraged. The eyes of children ae alive with wonder but mosof that seems lost when the pressures of sex and career come crahing un on such active minds.
A major error in thought about humans is to look for a structure that ties their thoughts directly to the world.This leads to a quest for theories that guarantee that the ideas derived from the senses are rock solid and guaranteed correct. But this is impossible and led philosophy from “what is the good life?” to “How do you know?” In this view thoughts about our immediate circumstances pass through senses and go immediately to mind, bypassing the gut. A more powerful view is that our thoughts ride on passions. “The mind without the heart cannot affirm anything,'' said Ibn Kaldun. We are tied to the world through the millions of years of history of the evolution of our senses always under the guidance of gut feelings and desires. The resulting organisms are, through this process, pragmatically tied to earth and circumstances. To see you have to first look. So what I am seeing is a result of first looking. Looking leads to see leads to new looking. Instead of a line of causality. Another example from personal experience. I do some painting, mostly landscapes, but wanted to try a portrait. I started a sketch and really liked it and wanted to “finish” so I started looking more closely and painting details. But the picture went sort of lifeless. Why? I realized that when I sketched I let the impression flow through my body, feeling the person's posture, and sensing their mood and mood in seeing this. But when I went to the details I tried to get the hand to paint exactly what I saw — but that left out the participation of my body in the inwardly felt gestures that connect what is seen between the seeing and the brush. You can easily notice that we have learned to see without paying attention to the feelings.
Take a simple example. Pick an ordinary object you can see in front of you. Notice how the light reflects off of it, how the color goes around is edges. With a little effort you can feel it is doing these things, it is throwing out photons into your eyes, it is standing in gravity which gives it weight.it holds the memory of what some craftsperson or machine did to it so it holds its form, ofen for years.
Why is this important? Because in Gardenworld we want to create the conditions that support the whole person, people in touch with their feelings, imagination and creativity - while enjoying the process.People whose experience is in nature rather than above it.
What is really at stake is learning that adds up to a culture, which is always an almost unverbalizable blending of the body and circumstances. “Yo soy yo y mis circunstancias” said Ortega y Gassset — I am I and my circumstances. The Greeks developed education around the core of music and gymnastics, and the idea that music was mathematical relationships, with the universe being the harmony of the spheres. The curriculum was the trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric, and the quadrivium: arithmetic , geometry, music and astronomy. The trivium was mind and the quadrivium nature. In Gardenworld we just might spend more time sitting around playing chess, doing music, preparing supper and talking about all of it.
We need to return to common sense and innocence rooted in a love for life. People used to live rich lives, doing more, playing many more roles, all before the advent of phones and technology with less means. Could we do without excess physical things — appreciating living with art, literature, people and creativity? Jefferson in “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” meant by happiness the number of happenings in your life, the range of roles you engaged in on the idea that this engages your talents. Sunday school teacher, craftsman, coach of the softball team. Volunteer fire department. Compare to your range of roles now. (see Gary Wills, Inventing America). The American Constitution, understood as an experiment, was designed to meet goals, and if the experiment is not leading to those goals, it’s time to revisit the design.
Politics begins with our values, what we care about when we are thoughtful and not driven by ads. If we have sufficiency in food, water and relationships, we do not need the dream house or dream car or dream holiday or dream job. Wanting less stuff means consuming less and creating relationships, growing each other’s spirit and character. It means less carbon emission and less damage to the planet. Planting gardens makes peace for neighbours, peace with the planet, rather than having to fight distant wars. In political theorizing there is the view that politics emerges from networks of friends where each group is an alignment of people with each other, and that the key motive underlying politics is friendship- who am I with. What each believes is a sign of who they are and people seek out similar beliefs in potential friends.
The other version of who we are stars, not with the bang but with us humans being storytellers - we have since early human times been storytellers - what happened on the hunt, who marries whom what seems to be happening to the sky, the seasons, the changing surplus or absence of things to eat. Among the stories we have, after a hundred thousand or so years, to tell is the big bang story . It's not that the big bang led to us, it's that our story telling led to the big bang. Are we better understood as ascenecendents of molecules or story tellers? Each leads to a different kind of society.
We have built a social structure that amplifies and rewards a limited kind of intelligence, maybe IQ is an attempt to name it. But other qualities, such as caring, mothering, rhyming, helping out have been ignored. This has probably hurt our chances of survival.
What we have become is two divergent and apparently irreconcilable cultures: that of tribal people, with a stress on kinship systems, and western civilization, with its stress on abstraction and theories about objets, pushing emotional life into thecorner.
There is lots of discussion about the meaning of individuals and the meaning of community and how they interact - on the ground and in the social mind. A shift from modern economics to Gardenworld messes with these distinctions because Gardenworld social organization will be a shift toward - not all the way - a more community based relationship centric view of how we can be, (the word community is simple: co meaning shared and mune meaning world.)
The extreme division of labor - such that those doing the parts have no view of the whole, is late, but Gardenworld will require, and lead “naturally” to cooperative efforts with far less specialization. The step from loneliness and alienation to intergenerational and sibling strife is not conflict free but seems promising as a way out of the lack of connection among people that defines our on time.
What of leisure? It was expected by Keynes and others that the evolution and maturity of the economy would lead to a surplus that would be used for leisure - time to relax, play, socialize. The dynamics of power took that supply and turned it in o portfolios for the rich, leaving all the rest of us relatively poorer and for many actually worse off then they were.
Since play is usually considered a part of leisure, it is important to understand its function in the developing mind of children, but also adults who as we now know keep learning. Play has a special role we need to understand. Piaget, the swiss psychologist of childhood, wrote extensively about how play is essential for learning and epistemology. Thinking mens “treat this as a that” and that knowledge comes from treating something new (a floating leaf in a stream) by a paradigm for something already known ( a boat) - and seeing what happens. The child will now know more about leaves, water and boats. This elevates play in its role in culture and education to a much more central and powerful place. (See Huizingha, Homo Ludens: man the player) It is a good place to start thinking about human nature because it has such powerful implications across all the efforts that will go into Gardenworld.
Human nature begins with us where we are at a point in the world where we do not see the whole world, at a point in history most of which we never knew, at a certain moment in our own life course whose beginning we do not know and whose end we can only speculate about.and facing the moment with practical concerns, finish this page, make breakfast, get to work We should never forget that most discussions of human nature are abstract and do not touch us. To get us started here is the wonderful path at the edge of Munthe’s garden on Capri, A mixture of nature and civilization that lets us feel at home.
For contrast to this calm, the world of Operas (Mozart, etc) is a world where normal human emotions are lifted out of the body and given extreme emotional expression, breaking them out of the locked in secret places in us where they normally hide. These have to do with love, betrayal, triangle relationships, at times exquisit and at times violent. The struggle in the story usually involves parents or the authoritarian state. This is the human as we are, but usually hidden. At any moment we are fairly flooded with feelings. We are always in a mood. Imagine if we could sing our moods, letting th chest carve the air with our feelings!
In the sixth century BCE, the philosopher Anaximenes described how “our
soul, being air, holds us together and controls us,” just like the “wind and air enclose the whole world.”30… Lent pattern
(Do pay attention to the nuances here. What we are going through has already changed much of our expectations and ways of being. We need to be prepared and attracted to thinking differently. In modern terms the meat of the body is moved by the nervous system which activates the muscles. Obviously the Greeks did not have that understanding but they did have an understanding of how motion and action required some agency in the body besides the flesh. )
“As with feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s demise will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.” - Paul Mason. “PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future.”
No major school of psychotherapy, including the older psychoanalysis, included in its investigation of a client's mind, the way the political and issues affect the dynamics of humans, the human mind and heart. The way we are embedded in the economy and politics goes unquestioned (1) but their influences and that of depth psychology have faded from the culture. But it could be the major source of what we need to be realistic about how to get through the bottleneck of unsolved problems of how we live with each other. Since almost everyone wants to live in the mixture of nature and civilization, why don’t we use our intelligence and our wealth to go there? It will be important to consider the aesthetics, the landscaping and gardening, as well as the pragmatic issues of feeding and habitat for all. We can consider Gardenworld to be a serious response to meeting basic needs while realizing such environments as being not only gardens for production but similar to vacations, more like summer camps than factories.
It just may be that the fact that climate change and the destructive aspects of industrial/commercial civilization are becoming clear at the same time may be an opportunity to improve both that could not have been engaged one at a time.
Humans are not mere observers of the cosmos but active participants in the matrix of life. It is crucial to be as clear as we can be about who we are, us humans. Such knowledge becomes the design guide for Gardenworld (or any other proposed future) because what we design should be support for human well being.
In the romantic period, a reaction against ugly factores, the argument was that people should see God behind the beauty and mystery of the universe, a beauty hidden by factories and pollution. Modern thinking at its best says we should pay attention to the beauty and mystery we see and reflect on our process of seeing, and see ourselves, not subordinate our ask to god. That 19th century rhetoric is part of subordinating ourselves to authority, not to reason. But the move toward reason tended to obscure the neuty , mysteries and feelings in our perceptions. Gardenworld will be a place where our feelings for nature, the universe and ourselves blend.
We tend to think we see the whole. - But we really do not see very far. We have a feeling for the whole, and imagination about it, but in practice our vision is limited. Look now. Perhaps ten feet or less to the wall, yet we assume a whole world. That we all can integrate ourselves into one world, one culture when we can only see ten feet, is powerful. That we are integrated with each other, like connected lego blocks, across the whole world contributes to that feeling that we are constantly in touch with the whole. I am typing now, my mind feels the space around my head. I know that beyond is the world I can read about it in the press, discuss with friends. I have a son in Australia, and I feel sane accepting the whole world and its reasonable stability.
Each animal is perfect in its own way but man is a bundle of not integrated capacities, so we should be careful to think through what one of our capacities suggests that may conflict with the needs of other capacities.
The division of labor is driven by the ambitious, offering wages to those who have needs they are not able to find a way - a place, a role - to work to meet their own needs. as the society is. The rage to accumulate for some replaces concern for the state of being of others.
Our lives are organized around food, sex and dignity along with details that are distracting, decorative, imitated.. Putting those together is not easy, and is the work of culture, man’s “second nature”. The slow evolving set of habits that make up our character have led to a social character that is too competitive, too mean, too destructive. Gardenworld is, through the needed cooperation Gardenworld requires, the situation for growing more cooperative and less selfish people, a second nature, shared character, that is quite different in feeling and tone than a competitive society of mostly isolated individuals - who by the way are not very happy in their isolation.
Our thinking is merged at every point in our body of feeling and experience. Us humans are about a hundred and fifty pounds of dead weight that can be put into motion by a well organized collection of neurons weigh perhaps an ounce that get themselves together to activate, move, the entire body. The reality principle, rooted in the body. the ability of the mind to assess the reality of the external world, and to act upon it accordingly, as opposed to acting on the pleasure principle. - freud
] do not believe that I can be happy if others are not. What we do should make a better life for all. The promise of democracy was short circuited by an economy that uses the state by some to exploit others. The happiness of all should return as a guiding template against which to measure all initiatives. By “happiness” I don’t mean frothy contentment. Jefferson (fn. See Gary Wells, Inventing America for a discussion of the origin of this idea in the Scottish Enlightenment of Fergusen and others.] , in “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of the Declaration means , from “to happen” , the range of roles, a person has in society, actions that nail the experience to the body and engage one’s talents.
That means looking at humans across the life cycle. We need to build environments good for children, parents and older people. Animals and insects too. Look at the environment as a whole that needs cultivation and management. It also means that we talk about philosophy: what is the nature of the world, (more than standard science), and what is human nature in it? To show how difficult and interesting this is, consider:
The struggle between democratic and rational methods.
At first thought, how could rational and democratic be add odds? It is because rational is without feeling and democratic requires felt interests to be at play. This “struggle” will constantly arise in Gardenworld.
There are several similar issues of importance also for lots of discussion.
Starting with our biological inheritance. We are not confined to our brain. Mind can only be understood when we understand its being a blend of brain and surrounding circumstances, including other people.We are like insects - eyes, legs, reproduction, hunger, and much more. We are like mammals adding compassion and care for young, a full heart of feeling and concern. Our primate ancestors developed hands and feet and tail to swing in trees, and avoid capture for hungry others. Then down onto the plains and fast running upright. Slowly we became us.
Play and learning
John Huizingha Homo Ludens (man the player) ad Jean Piaget’s Play dreams and imitation in childhood , and Rudolph Steiner’s Human Development, all speak to who we are better than most philosophy which is dour and antiseptic.
There is much thinking these days about post-humans, the move of thinking into computers. The interest is mostly concern about computers and I ep;acing human workers, but alo onern about our dignity as people whose thinking seems to shrink in comparison to computing. But note, when a computer “plays chess”, it has, unlike us, not experience of winning if it wins, and no pleasure in playing the game. It has no experience of playing at all.
Our brain is large, all of two pounds! Highly interconnected but capable of interaction with itself (close your eyes and imagine scenes from the past) that it tends to live in a substitute reality. This is complex.We think we are seen by others, but mostly we are dressed in clothes that have a style, reflect a culture and community choices. Very little of ourselves is actually seen by others. We have beliefs but they also cover our thoughts with ideology and so our real thoughts are hidden from others by that covering of ritualized concepts and grammars.
What is called “transcendence “ is that we are potentially bigger than we are now, more complex, more aware, more creative, more related. The fact that we can be more than we are is always with us. Society is not very good at supporting that potential, and may even be threatened by it. Our freedom gets in the way of group thinking. Garden world should support our being larger. I am convinced that we who are readers tend to discount the amazing intelligence of ordinary people able to mostly survive in a very complex world, much more complicated than the books we plow through. This will be crucial for Gardenworld challenges.
Early humans developed fire, weaving, pottery, kinship systems
, and much more, telling stories and singing (the birds as teachers). We might have stopped there, preferring to do what the group does than embrace new discoveries and patterns. But population created new anxieties and innovations, including choosing strong leaders, came to dominate.
Under these pressures the tendency of mind is to move off of major concerns - the philosophical and political - to the self serving of the little self, leaving the big self behind, what Fromm called Escape from Freedom. Our anxiety masters us and we get stupid.
Along with this tendency to avoid any controversy is our attitude towards ourselves and art. “I have no talent”. Did you ever try? “No”. If you did would the goal be to experiment and have fun or be famous? Part of Gardenworld is the continual rearrangement of the things we are using into pattens that are pleasing as well as work. Patterns that satisfy. Repurpose to better meet human needs rather than extraction from the land and from other humans.
We have developed a limited view of what a human is, citizenship and belief have given way to consumerism: the view that all a person’s needs can be met by things they can buy. Climate chaos will be a major disrupter of this pattern and it is important to see that we may come out of this better off than we are going into it. Though it will be a rough ride with many seriously hurt. Part of respect for human nature is to realize that much of life has to be lived, it can’t be solved.
Sex, food and shelter: We eat in order to reproduce. This is given by the deepest circumstances from one celled organisms to our most advanced self (short or robotic replacements where the prosthesis becomes the person). It is striking how much eating leads to cuisine and gourmet experiences. Along with sex comes love and sex becomes dressed in relationshis., so much that it is hard to get cause and effect between sexual dive and relationship drive. Sex is an “it depends” activity and hence very context sensitive to being respected along with curiosity and caring . Hence love becomes involved. We need to realize how powerful it is, and that there seems to be no perfect solution between marriage and promiscuity, from randy children to randy senescence. There is also the pain of not being able to perform to the level of our imagination.
A key basis for understanding our nature is our belief system. We are organic, not mechanical. The difference is critical for the world we need to build. For mechanical systems parts maintain their integrity (static properties) even when they become part in a larger system. For organic systems parts do not maintain their integrity when they become parts of a larger system. The flow, adapt, allow for emergent properties. Designing for the organic requires a kind of respect not needed for mechanical systems
Belief takes on the quality of religion, even for scientists - the way things are tied together”, and the result can be that people can be encouraged by leaders to be hostile to those who might have a different approach to life and obligations.
When I am talking with you, you have a model of me in you that touches all my neurons, flows with every hormone. And I am doing the same. Feel how a room changes when you are alone in it and someone else enters. Everything changes. This is much more interesting and complex than most discussions allow. This is a subject for another conversation but please take it seriously.
In fact, for all these questions, the best I can do is point you in the direction. The task here is to get you involved with Gardenworld as an intent toward future activity, not for me to be a university. You should feel an urgency to learn as much as possible about everything. Don’t be like the management consultant whom when asked if they read much said “Yes”. What? “Management books”. Gardenworld is an opportunity to be larger. Be a participant.
Religions and philosophy have tried to understand the human experience. In the search for security these systems seem to start with the idea that there is a solid ground on which to build thinking . What if there isn’t? The idea that there is a solid ground is the projection downward (turtles all the way down) seem to me to be projection of the idea of a solid object into the unknown. Part of the hope of religions and philosophy has been to escape the body - polluted - and reside only in the soul - pure. But this strategy leads in many ways to discounting the emotional and perceptions in ways that serve existing power. The Greeks took the idea that a rational God created the universe so the universe is knowable in principle, and by us hopefully.
But the idea that the universe is created by a rational god is clearly a projection driven by a wish - to find that rock bottom solid basis for understanding. I take the view that we should accept that we are our body and thoughts in the midst of a relatively unknowable universe. If we are to work to design a replacement for the culture we have had, dependent on fossil fuels and borders and dominating elites - we need to know who we are so we can design for us, not for an ideology.
There has been a tendency in society from fairly early to treat the body as somehow inferior. Often to treat the body as a shit bag, not as something marvelous made by god/nature. That we eat, digest and defecate is a marvelous arrangement. That we come to each other and fertilize is extraordinary. These issues say a lot about what kind of world to make, one that supports the idea of a sound mind in a sound body, not leaving the bad body to arrive at bodiless experience.
Another issue that will be played out in Gardenworld is social status. Like quick awareness of the sex when someone you don’t know enters the room, you know before you can catch the thought what their social status is. We need to accept that such a tendency to ranking and placing is human and cannot be repressed. But we can move its expression away from stuff.
We live thinking that property, as in private property, is a given, real and substantial, but history shows a different story. “Property” is what signifies social rank, what is Proper”) to qualities of the person, not their belongings. A move toward a more equitable property society need not mean a leveling of sense of self and person. In such a world differences in skin color become appreciated not leveling. We might develop a better appreciation for characters and characters, personality. The range of our actual skin color is amazing, and we can learn to see each color as a complement to each other and the environment. “How beautiful this tan, mauve, copper, sienna, umber, blue of the veins through the pink the skin.”,
Property used to mean the rank itse;f, the status, as in judgehip, and this ocul be sold/ I can sell my title. There was before the French Revolution no rperty in our sense, everything was roles and the stuff that went with it.
There is no solid ground on which to base our understanding of who we are. It requires continual rethinking, experiencing, conversation, art, experiment. Gardenworld is aimed at being a place where we grow healthy people who are interested in each other and can tolerate the anxieties of life - seeing themselves as part of the flow of nature yet aware of it all, seeing in war, with an easy smile for others. Cooperation, neighborliness, interest in helping others become, in Gardenworld, much more central to daily experiences. Circumstances of climate breakdown will force us to cooperate. At times it will be awkward and we will resist, but we need to do the hard work of being with each other for a new mode of survival. I think humans will be much happier in such a culture. Remember that as we make choices of what to build toward, what we build will in turn build us, because we are a reflection of our environment. I have further thoughts about design in Chapter 7.
Erik Erikson and the human life cycle.
I am going into a bit more detail. Remember the task is a better society for real people. That means understanding them. Skip this section if it is getting in the way, but do come back to it.
Erik Erikson, a psychoanalyst and artist, took a deep look at human development as he tried to put together his psychoanalytic experience with children and his travels in different cultures. I had the opportunity to spend time with him first in Berkeley and later at Harvard. I find his work helps to understand the way the social world and the natural world can support the development of individual human lives. Erikson’s perspective on the human life cycle can be very helpful in mapping human nature into institutions – and GardenWorld. Erikson, uniquely interested in children, was well aware that children are the core of the next generation. The path from childhood to maturity is thus a structure in time integrated with society and with surrounding generations. His simple model was self-body-society. This forces awareness integration across the key elements of a good life and a template for Gardenworld ideas - do they work across the life cycle for children, parents, the mature?
It is becoming common to talk about “cradle to cradle” (that is, the end of one life is the beginning of another) design principles for materials and buildings. We need to extend that logic to social design and the cradle to cradle life cycle perspective on human development and the interweaving of generations. Erikson worked out a roadmap, of what life is all about, how the biological interacts with the social to create the self. Most importantly, each stage is an achievement –or failure – to be integrated into the next biologically emergent capacity.
I am proposing that we use Erickson’s eight stages of life as a design template for GardenWorld. In his first work, Childhood and Society, he writes eloquently about the balance between the mind, the body and society. Any achievement or failure to achieve, by a growing person, involved all three at the same time. In that book, he presented the model of the human life cycle, the stages of life, with echoes of Shakespeare,
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
. The stages of life provide a framework for thinking about how society works and could work. We can use Erikson’s work as a design template for society –that is to see what social institutions are necessary and attractive at each stage in the human life. He saw that each stage could be characterized by an opportunity and the crisis and the resolution of the stage provided the platform for the next stage with its own unique qualities.
Writers like Erikson and Fromm are important in helping bridge between human nature, society and the planet.
His original model shows that each stage is built on all the major and minor effects of the success or failures at previous stages. The stages build upwards as a life does and each stage is characterized by the emergence of a new biological capacity that creates opportunities for success or failure and all the possibilities in between. As you read these, think of the implications for a good society.
Under 2 years
Trust vs. Mistrust
Can I trust the world?
Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt
Is it okay to be me?
Toilet training, clothing themselves
5-8 years 
Initiative vs. Guilt
Is it okay for me to do, move, and act?
Exploring, using tools or making art
9-12 years 
Industry vs. Inferiority
Can I make it in the world of people and things?
13–19 years 
Identity vs. Role Confusion
Peers, Role Model
Who am I? Who can I be?
20–39 years 
Intimacy vs. Isolation
Can I love?
40–59 years 
Generativity vs. Stagnation
Can I make my life count?
60 and above 
Ego Integrity vs. Despair
Mankind, My kind
Is it okay to have been me?
Reflection on life
But we can add to the stages for the child the social conditions that are necessary to support each stage. There is a famous quote, “But who will teach the teachers?” We see that at every stage adults are necessary to help the developing child, and these adults themselves are in a specific part of their own life cycle.
That is, healthy development requires parents, schools, work, and society.
* Our society needs to provide the conditions were ordinary human beings can, in their 20’s and ’30s be good parents,
* Our society needs to provide educated and humane teachers and the settings for the education of their students.
* Our society needs to provide work which provides for dignity and creativity at work and the resources for intimacy outside it.
* Our society needs to provide an interesting milieu that allows each person to bring together the threads of their life into a meaningful and attractive pattern.
Society is a complex mosaic of interdependent generations. My local county government is arguing with needs for new jails and the fact that jails are filled with people 70% drug dependent and 20% mentally ill, but the county has not talked to the schools about a joint program and joint metrics to cope with the obvious independencies.
These life cycle and intergenerational dependencies are essential guidelines for GardenWorld. Taken together they can be used as a design template, or guidance, or reference point when looking at any policy in the GardenWorld context. If the policy does not work well in one or more phases the legislation or policy proposition should be redesigned, or at least more integrated into policies or implementations that can balance the consequences. Not only do we need conditions that support the growing person at each stage but we need people who themselves are growing to be available at each stage. The picture is of the interdependencies of generations rather than of one just replacing another.
Children are really stressed in this society. Their choice of violence, drugs, and video games puts them in control in a world that is so afraid of them getting hurt, or causing hurt. Traffic, guns, and crowding have been lethal for childhood. Children used to be able to use the woods, fields, hills, and streams to come to know themselves in the context of nature. The lack of fit between children’s needs and the modern commercial environment is a serious design flaw.
The intelligence of a community is largely the ensemble of skills and routines that are part of the life activity of the people in it. Our reservoir of skills is shifting. It is not clear how. Kids play in the interface with buttons rather cooperating through family, school, sports or work. Adults are also button pushers rather than tinkerers. Old crafts, especially in building, are gone. Newer autos and computers do not support tinkering and home repair.
Using Erikson’s stages as a design template, and looking at the consequences for the older generation that administers each stage, we see a complex interweaving of generations with specific consequences age by age, that a good society should support. Put simply any social innovation should work across the lifecycle, having a positive or at least not negate impact, at each phase. This should be one of the frameworks for analysis any social policy ought to undertake. In parallel with environmental impact statement, we could have “Lifecycle” or “generational impact” statements.
As the person is integrated into society they become representative of that society, easily recognized. This is a complex process of character building and weaving of fate. This will happen in Gardenworld. Erich Fromm is famous for his Art of Loving and Escape From Freedom but I will make most use of his The Sane Society. He takes it as obvious that a society that can kill itself off is crazy. I agree, sort of. If part of human nature is to follow popular memes without question, then yes. But calling normal human nature insane feels important but rhetorical. Let's see what use we can make of this important thought. Fromm had a number of main ideas. First is Escape From Freedom, the idea that humans have created the possibilities of freedom (active mind unencumbered by repressive politics) but, out of fear and anxiety, avoided these possibilities and resulting in our conformity, meme-dominated minds (my paraphrase), mechanization and deadening of the self and those around us.
The second major idea is what he called social character. It is obvious that people are influenced by their families schooling and communities. What is less obvious is that many people share influences and tend to become a force in society.
If you have spent your life preparing for and occupying an eight hour job, with all its routines - walking down the hall for coffee - how totally alone nd disorienting it feels to be in a garden, trimming a hedge, deadheading flowers, checking soil for dampness, This is social character; the deep shaping of the habits of a life into a mode of being. Gardenworld (or any other future alternative) will have to cope with most people feeling uprooted and unsettle and grieving for a recent abandoned past.
This is not the place to lay out Fromm’s work, but I do consider it one of the frameworks to help us understand people’s resistance to change. Background to Fromm’s own thinking was his appreciation and critique of both Freud and Marx. The avoidance of both thinkers by moderns is symptomatic of denial and avoidance.The 19th century was rather closed in, “victorian.” Freud and Marx broke through to social and individual dynamics. The door was open, but we mostly , like stepping outside on a brisk day, went back inside. Sure there are dated aspects to their thinking, but social science threw out the brain with the haircut. His book, The Sane Society, draws out the implications of these two books for what our goals as a society should be, if we are to have healthy larger people. Fromm’s ideas about social character tell us a lot about how hard it is to change society - the momentum is built intoa the character structure of those socialized. But He also is clear that the energy of character, which is the glue that holds society together, when thwarted, can turn into the dynamite of destructive forces.
Fromm developed a powerful theory of how character structure (For example, liking to be on time, use of anger to control others ) is shared by groups in society based on their economic role. This is not yet the place to go into the details but they are profound. Such character structures are hard to change and are a conserving part of any society.
Issues to add.
Romanticism, strength and weakness.
[this is a repeated idea, do we keep it, move it?
A major error in thought about humans is to look for a structure that ties their thoughts directly to the world. This leads to a quest for theories that guarantee that the ideas derived from the senses are rock solid correct. But this is impossible and led philosophy from “what is the good life?” to “How do you know?'' In this view thoughts about our immediate circumstances pass through senses and go immediately to mind, but bypassing the gut. A more powerful view is that our thoughts ride on passions. “The mind without the heart cannot affirm anything”, said Ibn Kaldun. We are tied to the world through the millions of years history of the evolution of our senses always under the guidance of gut feelings and desires. The resulting organisms are, through this process, pragmatically tied to earth and circumstances. To see you have to first look. That I orient toward something to be seen. This process of looking is not analyzed in most theories that try to reduce the complexity in order to experiment with it. So the animal, person, which is in constant movement, is treated as not moving. What is lost is the way perception is part of a larger task.