Hand Written
Notebooks of Matt Taylor
photo by Gail Taylor - January 3, 2004
@ Elsewhere kitchen table
and commentary

link: 1974 to 2001

Link: 2001 to 2005

Link: 2005 to...

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I have kept notebooks - on and off - since 1961. Unfortunately, I lost all of my notebooks and drawings in an unexpected and rushed move in 1971 [future link]. Since 1974, I have practiced extensive journaling in a variety of formats and virtually all of this material is still available. In total, this makes up an extensive record - several thousand pages covering the last 30 plus years. These notebooks document the roots of my present activities and the context out of which my future work will evolve.
Late in 2003, I decided that this web site’s electronic Notebook could not be complete without the inclusion and hyper-linking of these hand written notes and drawings. There is a caveat to their use [link] in that they are, in some cases, highly personal. However, any biography, without them, would make an unwarranted distortion by default. Since the purpose of this part of my web site is the exploration of what it means to attempt an honest, creative, serious and examined life in our times, an omission of this kind and scope will not do.
The scanning, entry and annotation process takes a few minutes a page. This means, given the time that I can devote to it, it will take about two to three years to complete the task of putting the entirety of my existing Notebooks on the web. Because of this, I am started this task strategically: first, the post 9/11 Series Notebooks, 1 through 7 in reverse order, which document the key transition period of MG Taylor and my personal life as related to our society, itself, in transition. And, in parallel to this, older notebooks (1974 to 2001) on a page by page basis as they are used by me for a communication or for some project.
February 5, 2005 Note
A new series of Notebooks are underway now that Notebook #7 of the post 9/11 Series is complete. These (as of the beginning of 2005) are all active and posting will be done realtime. The focus of these Notebooks is more “outward” than those than have come before. One, iteration6, will document (in part) the transition of MG Taylor from a company to a true ValueWeb. The second, FutureViews, will support my process of publishing and speaking on issues related to our global society and its transition (hopefully) to a sustainable culture-economy-ecology. The third, will focus on Architecture: ideas and projects (past, present and future) as I devote more of my time to this aspect of my work and our growing business.
December 30, 2005 Note
Since February, two more Notebooks have been added to the series: The Remaking of Matt Taylor, this will focus on personal changes I have to make in order to better respond to the conditions and opportunities ahead; and Decision Protocols and Actions which focuses on specific operational practices within MG Taylor to make it more fit to succeed at its mission.
September 16, 2006 Note
The Xanadu Series has been added. These Notebooks focus on the “Road to Xanadu” and the implications of this Project. Xanadu - as a mature functioning system - is my present “end-state” model; it “contains” all aspects of what I have set out to accomplish. This is an effort which will require, at minimum, two more decades of focus. It may be possible to see a virtual Xanadu in late 08, early 09 and the beginning of the material Xanadu a decade later.
June 15, 2007 Note
Added the Tipping Point Notebook series. These notebooks will document Tipping Point experiences on three levels of recursion: my personal life, The MG taylor enterprise and the cusp point of the ongoing transformation of our global society which I call THE HUMAN ENTERPIRSE.
Links to the INDEX of Notebooks prior to the post 9/11 Series (as they are scanned and posted) can be found at the bottom of this page as can the INDEX to the series starting in 2005.
The two best book I know on personal journal making is At a Journal Workshop by Ira Progoff and Writing the Mind Alive by Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon. I read Progoff in the mid 1970s and he inspired me to take up personal documentation again; his book has been on all 500 book lists ever since [rbtfBook]. I just recently [October 2004] discovered Metcalf’s and Simon’s work and this book has been added to the 500 list [rbtfBook writing the mind alive]. Their focus is in finding you own authentic voice and their method has application far beyond doing a journal and writing. I believe it describes a habit [link: creative habits] useful for all creative endeavors (including architecture), as well as, discovering how to live a life of value.
Robert Heinlein said that “if it ain’t documented is ain’t science.” Creating a life is certainly a broader challenge than science alone can address, and, there are many processes from science that can be directly transferred to business, the arts and personal arenas. This is one of the basic premises of our entire System and Method [futuer link]. There is great value in the process of keeping a journal in itself; however, life is greatly augmented [future link] if the journal is used in an active way and is used for feedback [future link] from the past to the present, as well as, the present back to the “past.”
I consider all of my Notebooks, since 1974, to be active; I keep them on a shelf by my writing desk, carry many of them with me when I travel, and continue to write in all of them in present time. Generally, I use the right hand page, progressively as I move forward in time, and go back to the left hand pages to insert comments from the “now” I happen to be “in” at any moment. Often, I will copy sections from old and new pages and insert them, as is appropriate, to make a connection - a physical hyper-link - across time [link: see example]; also, I insert pictures and drawings of completed products, processes and events connecting them to when the idea first emerged. As there is often years, even decades, between the birth of an idea and the first realization of it, this is very useful in holding the context of the idea, and the circumstances from which it sprang. This documents the implementation curve of of these ideas, their times and the effort necessary to bring them into being [link: see example]. All of this represents aspects of their story and the world of which they are a part. This is a key technique of Weak Signal research [link: weak signal research]. And, Anticipatory Design Science as Bucky defined and practiced it [rbtfBook: your private sky - fuller].
I know of no better way, than personal journaling, to hold context, over a long period of time, and to discover the deeper aspects of one’s own work and being. What you and I know of ourselves, no matter how introspective we are, is but a fraction of our true complexity. Keeping a journal is a major tool for building the ability to be The Observer of one’s own life and times. Life and life-like things cannot be understood, controlled nor directed; they are emergent [link: zone of emergence engine] phenomena. Jaynes believed that consciousness, as we now experience it, emerged with writing; the feedback from thinking, writing it down - creating an “outside” artifact - and then reading it and realizing the self in this process, was to him, the means by which our species became aware of our own mental processes [rbtfBook]. If this be true or not, it can be observed that the disciple does cause one to reflect upon one’s own processes and motives, accomplishments and failures, in a powerful and unique way. The act itself becomes a major means of what Lilly calls Meta-Programming [rbtfBook] .
This is one final aspect of how I use my Notebooks that I wish to note: I have always used them in real time, as a work-product, to go directly to production. My notebook pages have become pages in Taylor Manuals, AI products, DesignShop designs, Patent applications and attachments to e-mails to supplement ideas and their promotion [link for examples of this]. This technique promotes rapid work iterations, real-time collaboration and supports the entire prototyping process. It also exemplifies a major aspect of the Taylor Process which is to show an idea or design in the the visual language appropriate for its true developmental status per the Design Formation Model [link: design formation]. Publishing these Notebooks, on my web site, in conjunction with my electronic Notebook is merely the next logical step in a practice that I have used for over 30 years. This is particularly important when you consider the time it takes for an idea to come to realization; the fact that for every idea that does there are many “failures” that may have future value; and, perhaps most importantly, the reality that long after people die, nations decline and buildings and things crumble, the IDEA lives in the form of the written work and drawing. Think of Leonardo. Ideas can and do lay fallow for years - and centuries - and then leap back into existence brought to life and transformed by a bright mind who sees new potential in the old. This is the gift of civilization and holding this material and making it accessible is the great task of the Library. These Notebooks are, therefore, a product in themselves and may hold more long term value than even the executed works that flow from them [link: 20,000 steps to a planetary culture].
With this brief introduction, the INDEX to the post 9/11 Notebooks follows. It is organized in reverse chronological order #7 to #1. Other Notebooks (prior to and after this series) each has an unique order and numbering system. The completion of a master numbering and InfoLog system is still in the future. The beginning of an InfoLog listing of the materials put on this web site will be in place by the end of the second quarter of 2006 [future link].
Post 9/11 Series
This series was started just following September 11, 2001 as I was sitting in a hotel room in Holland watching CNN’s unfolding description of the event. Gail and I had just finished a wonderful week long event at the World Economic Form Headquarters with their Future Leaders group and had gone to Amsterdam, afterward, where we found the Moleskin® notebooks [link: moleskin us web site] which have become my standard. All My Notebooks, in this series, are Moleskin except for one when I ran out and could not find one. It just so happened that we discovered them, for the first time, the week of 9/11 - they were new on the market at this time being a restoration of a classic that was used for two centuries. I highly recommend them. Gail went back to the US and I stayed in Holland to do a DNA Dip session for European members of the Cap/EY ASEs. The news of the attack came during the last hour of the session and I returned to the hotel where I stayed, nearly a week, before I could get a flight home. I spent the time watching CNN, thinking and writing. My response [link: what if] to the sickening events of 9/11 are, because of prior experiences [link: queens die proudly 1947], somewhat different than the typical American - however, there is no question that 9/11 will turn out to be a watershed event in the history of our civilization [future link] - it just may be that history will view the cause and effects from a somewhat different vantage point than we typically do today - I certainly hope so. That this event, and many unrelated to it, triggered a tipping point in the MG Taylor Enterprise and, thus, in my life is also without question. This series of Notebooks, which was completed on February 16, 2005 in Washington D.C. - along with these web pages that followed, make a fitting follow on and remarkably coherent story. When the announcement was made, there were about 75 of us together having our final dialog. After a shocked silence, the first thing said was “Matt, this is what you have been talking about for three days.” This is true as I had in Chicago (where I specifically mentioned Osama bin Laden, the World Trade Center) and in New York in the weeks proceeding the trip to Switzerland. This came up in the context of explaining why Gail and I created NavCenters and their role is solving global scale, systemic problems [link: mg taylor mission]. I had mentioned that, in our mid 70s research into future threats, that the only question (of hundreds of them) we could not find multiple credible alternatives to was “how do you maintain a free and open society under the threat of terrorism?” Terrorism, and particularly religiously motivated terrorism, is unique in the problems it poses and the responses that are likely in response to it [rbtfBook to be linked]. All this is another story and documented elsewhere; it is relevant, here, in the context of the DNA Dips, where I was focusing on the WHY of our work, the time with over a 100 young leaders from more than 70 nations in Geneva, to the events of 9/11 that have radically altered the course of US history. This was convergence of great poignancy.
As of the first posting of these Notebooks (January 3, 2004), I was on page 464 of Notebook #6, of this series, in which the focus of my notes is on the goals for 2004 [link: page 464 post 9/11 series]. These goals are aimed at reaching a take-off point for our Enterprise and thus the reality of being able to do the work we set out a quarter of a century ago to do. We are at the convergence of technology, capability, skills required, network critical mass, social acceptance and historical need - remarkably, as we anticipated long ago [future link]. The question is if we will be able to rise to this occasion and become the agent of change and resolution that we have spent so long in training for [ future link]. The answer to this question will become clear over the next several years.
Quo Vatus?
9/11 Series 2001 - 2005
NOTEBOOK # 7 pp 503 to 552

from the

“... I am going to retreat - and think. There is the next 25 years to design - and resource.”


NOTEBOOK # 6 pp 452 to 501 ---[12-05-03 to 7-24-04]

from the POSTSCRIPT:

“The answer is the sucessful creation of the ValueWeb. All else follows from this act.”

NOTEBOOK #5 pp 402 to 451 ---[9-05-03 to 11-08-03]

from the POSTSCRIPT:

“Creativity is not easy - it is also not always enjoyable. Taken as a whole, this may have been the most creative three months of my life.”


NOTEBOOK #4 pp 351 to 401 ---[01-21-03 to 9-04-03]



NOTEBOOK #3 pp 242 to 350 ---[04-04-02 to 01-18-03]



NOTEBOOK #2 pp 122 to 241 ---[12-31-01 to 04-04-02]

from the Prolog:

“In retrospect, this probably was the low point in the history of the Enterprise in terms of prospect..”


NOTEBOOK #1 pp 1 to 121 ---[09-13-01 to 12-23-01]

from the POSTSCRIPT:

“It also marks my return to hand notebooks as a serious and consistent effort.”

As of March 5, 2005, Notebook # 7 of the “post 9/11 Series” is completed, scanned and posted. This Notebook is the last of this series. It is the bridge to the iteration6 [link: my personal view on iteration 6] process which will mark the closure of the 1979 to 2004 “start-up” period of MG Taylor and the finish of this autobiographical section of my web site - 1938 through 2004.
A number of professional and personal aspects of my life are coming to resolution [link: page 534 post 9/11 notebook]. On a personal level, I expect that my work associate with MG Taylor will radically shift from founder and principal to a participant and emeritus role. I expect MG Taylor will give way from a focus on itself as an organization to becoming the Systems Integrator of a viable ValueWeb [future link]. This means that I will be free to pursue my interests as an inventor, philosopher and architect. It means that MG Taylor - most likely called something else and given a new name - will be acting on a global scale and more directly directly serving its mission. Notebook #7 documents the staging work necessary to these transitions.
As I have noted elsewhere, 9/11 will prove to be significant both to the the history of western civilization, although in ways not apparent today, and to my own work. It is my belief that the end result of 9/11 will be a radical reassessment of our present paradigm and the policies by which we engage with the rest of the world. This means that 9/11 may be the catalyst - or one of a few - that will open the door for the kind of engagements that MG Taylor was created to facilitate. It is not without relevance that the RDS was employed at the 2005 WEF Annual Meeting [link: rds index]. This is on sign of many that the transformation is beginning. What remains in question is if we have started soon enough to avid the many negative consequences on our horizon.
These Notebooks #1 through #7 of the post 9/11 Series cover a little over three years of my nearly 49 years of working life (as of 2005). They constitute 552 pages of the nearly 10,000 pages of written material, hand-drawn and electronic notebooks that are available documenting my work and personal journey, as well as, the history of MG Taylor Corporation and its affiliate enterprises. As I have noted, I forecast in 1983 (page 511 of the Boulder Notebooks Series) that it would take about 20,000 pages of documentation to cover the history of this work to the point of significant social transformation [link: page 448 post 9/11 notebook]. If this turns out to be true or not will be answered in the future. These Notebooks make up about 5% of this effort to date and about two and a half percent of the projected effort. I think, however, they may turn out to be significant beyond their numerical weight.
I think we are at a social tipping point [rbtfBook to be linked] and there is no question in my mind that this is a significant transition period in my working life. The purpose of this biography in the form of a real time electronic web-based Notebook is to document those factors that compelled me to take the path I did and the lessons I have learned along the way. The purpose is to understand what it means to live a life that is significantly out of step with the present times while remaining committed to the ideal of contributing to these times with the minimum of notoriety, controversy and conflict. It is to document the consequences of seriously proposing projects of an enormous scale and “ambition,” even by modern standards, without attempting to make use of traditional organizational structures and uses of influence, wealth and power.
The soft approach has characterized my life ever since 1971 when I learned directly the consequences of confronting entrenched power [future link]. And, it has formed the basis of the low profile approach taken by MG Taylor since its formation in 1979. While we have had our successes and failures - ups and downs - organizationally and financially, for an agent of change who has promoted and facilitated transformation at the scope that we have - in the sensitive areas that we have - we have managed to avoid both controversy and retaliation to a remarkable degree.
We have has moments when we played at a large scale with issues of great weight. Enough to know that the method we have created can deal with both the inherent complexities and “politics” involved in issues of importance. I consider this history to be “proof of concept” but not sufficient to accomplish our mission. In order to accomplish our mission, we will have to be far more organizationally effective and socially transparent than we are today. To me, this is what iteration 6 is about [link page 493 post 9/11 notebook]. We must transform ourselves from an organization to a ValueWeb [link: page 500 post 9/11 notebook]. This task is without doubt upon us now. Notebook #7 will document our “final”steps toward this goal. The work coming our way is of far greater significance than the majority of the opportunities of our past. If we fail to transform our own Enterprise, I believe we will suffer a significant failure in accomplishing our mission, as well as, great negative organizational, social and economic consequences.
The times make organizations and leaders. There are many who have great talent and much to offer. It takes more than this. One has to step up to the specific challenges of the time and act in a way consistent with the nature of these challenges. This is not the time for a traditional “leader” nor is the time for a traditional organization. This is the time for emergent, self-organizing ValueWebs and a new form of “servant leadership” [rbtfBook to be linked]. Those that miss the real challenge of their times are relegated to the dust bins of history no matter their apparent success or failure by contemporary social/economic measures.
I set out to be an architect. I desired to build beautiful buildings. Along the way, I discovered issues of far greater scope than my personal ambition. I developed a case with my ReBuilding the Future seminars in 1975 [future link] and confounded an organization to carry out an agenda to deal with what I had discovered. The scope of this agenda [link: worthy problems] is far beyond reason. It is sensible to judge it the ranting of a fool or megalomaniac. I have wanted to turn away from this “insanity” almost every month of the last 360 months of this journey. The growing evidence, however, is compelling. Surprisingly, disappointingly, I see no better alternative being offered in the market place of ideas, services and goods. A global network of NavCenters able to facilitate GroupGenius to dissolve the growing conflicts and complexities that stand in the way of a healthy world seems to me to be the tool needed as people wake up to the true situation that humanity faces. This has to be the result of an emergent bottom-up process. This system of NavCenter with Xanadu as a hub has to be a truly neutral facility. It has to be free of traditional forms of power and control. It cannot be the expression of organization and ego. It has to be the expression of potential HUMANITY.
Return To INDEX
INDEX to New Series of Notebooks started in 2005
click on me to go to 05, 06 & 07 Notebooks INDEX following 9/11 series
To: this Series in chronological Order
To: Future Views Notebook #1
To: iteration6 Notebook #1
To: Remake Notebook #1
To: ARCHITECTURE Notebook #1
To: Decision Protocols Actions NB #1
To: ARCHITECTURE Notebook #2
To: Xanadu Notebook
To: Tipping Point Notebook
INDEX to Notebooks 1974 to September 11, 2001
click on p 568 graphic to go to pre 9/11 Notebook INDEX
To Renascence Era Notebooks
1974 to1979 - iteration1
To Boulder Notebooks Era
1980 to1983 - iteration2
To Acacia Notebooks Era
1984 to 1985 - iteration3
To St. Augustine - Hilton Head Era Notebooks 1986 to 1995 - iteration4
To EY Era Notebooks
1996 to 1998 - iteration5
To Palo Alto Era Notebooks
1999 to 2001 - iteration6
To Post 9/11 Era Notebooks
2005 through 2008 - iteration6
Matt Taylor
January 3, 2004


SolutionBox voice of this document:



posted: January 3, 2004

revised: April 19, 2008
• 20040103.451614.mt • 20040108.498231.mt •
• 20040814.543209.mt • 20040828.765422.mt •
• 20041101.345699.mt • 20050305.657620.mt •/
• 20051231.123409.mt • 20071225.878788.mt •

20080419.701109.mt •

(note: this document is about 99% finished)

Copyright© Matt Taylor 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008



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