Pattern #15

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Connecting Nodes of Life Energy

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Diverse life forms — especially people with diverse needs and passions — become increasingly potent as they are creatively woven together into ongoing interactivity. So weave networks — and networks of intertwining networks — that engage people, groups and other lives, so their dynamic shared life energy can evolve into vibrantly aware webs of experience capable of collective wisdom.

  • Who is really interested in the kinds of things we are interested in?
  • Who do we know who we could connect with those other people with a good chance that something productive or creative or fun would come out of it?
  • How can we set things up so that people with common needs or passions can find each other? What obstacles can we remove? What connectivity resources can we provide?
  • What would it take to weave these complementary networks together and help them work in concert?

Going Deeper …

This is an edited version of the video on this page.

Our ideal sitting behind this pattern is getting all sorts of people – and potentially other life forms, which I’ll talk about in a moment – woven into something that has a lot of synergy and interactivity and life in it. Now most people are already familiar with the basics of networking and networks – that’s part of what the Internet is all about. Most of those resources are used for personal and sub-group benefits. Various people want to get together around something. There is less consciousness of “the whole” so part of this pattern is going to be about how we can use the power of networks and networking to benefit the whole.

This is not just networking, this says “connecting nodes of life energy”. The Well-Utilized Life Energy pattern which comes later in this pattern language talks about different forms of life energy. To give you a sense, it is not just being esoteric, although that can be part of it, too, but people caring, having passions, purposes, values, visions, needs, willingness, etc… all the things that drive or move people to do things. If they are interested in something then they move into that area and work on it. If they are concerned about something they move into that area. Compassion, something draws them into taking care of someone or something because of suffering. All these are forms of life energy. The fact that we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, and the plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. We are compelled to do that; it’s an instinct and a form of life energy. So wherever there is some kind of life energy going on that is a source or resource for doing things on behalf of the whole.

And if there are many entities that have life energy around things, is there a way to invite those into coordinated action and to weave them together. Very often I will bump into somebody and find out that they’re interested in X and I’ll go: “Oh, I noticed somebody or some group or some article, whatever, about X. You should check it out.” I’m trying to connect up those nodes of life energy, expecting that out of that connection something “more” will result.

I tend to do that more with people whose work or ideas or passions or whatever seem to me to fit with the vision of benefiting the long-term wellbeing of the whole. Most networking by change agents or activists is oriented towards pushing their agendas. I know that from my own past and activism. I was a peace activist and tried to get disarmament and tried to stop wars,… You network and connect up with people, gather together to push that agenda. And the wise democracy worldview is associated with a somewhat different stance. Who all is involved with the issues of war and peace? How do we bring them together so that their life energies can evolve together into something that is better for the long-term wellbeing of life?

So it is a different kind of consciousness that uses the same kind of dynamics. Part of the reason this works or could work is that the people who are involved in the wise democracy adventure have access to resources and know-how to help life energy move in the direction of the wellbeing of the whole. Getting people from very different perspectives around an issue together in conversations and in studies to deepen their understanding of what’s going on and how they can function better together or how to serve larger visions of their domain better. We know a lot about how to do that. And the multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, multi-scale networks – there are other patterns that talk about Inclusive Network Governance – you have food systems: people who are growing food, people who are regulating food in its growing stages, how do you grow food, how you package and sell it, there are many government agencies dealing with that,… you have the people who are actually doing, the grocery stores, the advertisers, etc., you have the consumers, you have the farmers markets,… we have all these people who are involved. Farmers’ markets work together across boundaries and state lines, the consumer groups will be networked together, farmers or organic farmers network together in various ways.

There is very dense web of networks around food – and there are people who are saying “Let’s bring people from all those networks together to talk about the functioning, the sustainability and the future of our systems that deal with food. And then if they can come to an agreement about what to do, there is this tremendous alignment of life energy. These different parts of the system, these different groups and individuals who are engaged in the system, their passions to work on this, their interest to work on this, are all aligned to whatever they came up with.”

The weaving of these is an active form of leadership and change agency, rather than pushing a particular solution. There are many people in that web that you are weaving together that are pushing individual solutions. Well, set things up so they can bring that energy in with other forms of energy so that there’s a way they can evolve together and actually create something that is bigger than the sum of their parts.

There’s a larger view in mind as you are connecting these nodes of life energy. The dynamic you’re doing is aligning the energy of the parts – synergizing them into a larger energy of, by, and for the whole.

It’s interesting that there’s an ecological dimension to this. When you study ecosystems there are already tremendous amounts of life energy going on. An ecosystem is very diverse, it is competitive, cooperative, interdependent in so many ways! And there are people like permaculturalists who study these interconnections of the energies of life – what different entities need, how different entities behave in relation to each other – and use that understanding to guide their design sensibilities. Instead of just farming the land as if the corn is just there to provide corn for us and the land is just there to provide nutrients that we can pump into it for the corn, we go: “There’s a living system here. Let’s create an ecosystem here that can provide us with food while it is being very alive within itself, the system is being very alive. We are going to put different animals and plants in places in regard to the landscape, sunshine, the rain patterns. How do we arrange all that so that the life energy is maximized within the whole system. There is lots of life energy because these energies from these different entities and factors have been woven in a way that support each other. It is not just people and groups and organizations that are being woven together, it is also our relationships to the larger natural world and its relationship to itself and we have a lot that we can do to support that.

So think of synergies, this is fundamentally about the synergy of life energy on behalf of the whole and whenever you are faced with an individual entity, have the stance of “How does this fit with my energy on behalf of the whole? How does this fit with other entities?” and weave those. Make those links. And the more links you can do like that, the more potent the capacity of wise democracy becomes to serve the current and future wellbeing of all entities.