2008 Papers Index
a FutureViews Exercise
by Matt Taylor
updated: April 29, 2010
These Papers represent an evolution of this Notebook and a bridge to the more public postings I will begin in the fourth quarter of 2008. I will remind the reader that this web site is a NOTEBOOK and a personal autobiographical statement [link: caveat]. While it does reflect my values it is a work in progress and does not necessarily reflect, in all details, the position of MG Taylor, its affiliate corporations nor all the members of its global ValueWeb. Nor do I “bring” - specifically - all of my personal positions to the practice of my work particularly my facilitation practice, which to be an expression of my values, requires an objectivity and space for the values, ideas, designs and plans of others if I agree with them or not. As an individual, like everyone else, I have my view of the world, ideas of what I think best, and goals which represent what I want to get done. As co-founder and CEO of MG Taylor, of course the corporation reflects these personal ambitions - and - those of many other people who make up the ENTERPRISE both as members of the corporate structure and the ValueWeb A corporation is a social system not the property of an individual. In terms of clients, we do not work for organizations and projects that fail to meet basic ethical standards; we always bring our values and ideas into the process and we do not compromise them; however, our work - particularly in with DesignShop® processes - is to facilitate the success of the client, in their terms, not exclusively in ours. We become part of their solution we do not impose a solution.
Clearly, this is a private site even thought it is published on the www. Many of the issues and concepts I am developing, in these writings will find their way, in appropriate form, to those “public” writings and to positions which will be legitimate for MG Taylor to represent. The FutureViews web site [future link], as example, will offer positive alternatives for a global humanity. As such, it is not the place for criticism nor my personal reflections both of which are appropriate here where it is necessary to convey, not only my positions, but how I arrived at them through direct experience.
The Papers which make of this set are 12 essays on a variety of issues all having a common set of patterns which which underlay each and ties the whole ensemble together. As a set, I refer to them as The Challenge of this Moment. As I always speak from personal experience and even though I do have significant experiences outside the U.S.A., these papers are necessarily centric to 21st Century North America. This is perhaps appropriate as, from my perspective, the majority of the rest of the world seems to be hell bent on adapting patterns of living which are clearly not working and I suspect will not export with any more success than what we are finding to be true here. These are seductive patterns, however. Their antidote is to be found in the perception the human race must learn that just because we have the ability to do something is not necessarily a good reason to do it. We have to learn a much greater level of discretion given the powers we are rapidly acquiring. It might have made sense in our evolutionary infancy, limited by the larger nature around us, to push things as far and fast as we could. Now, as we increasingly are the makers of our own evolutionary drivers, we will be prudent to consider things more carefully before we blindly push ahead. The challenge we face is not the liltingly of all the obvious issues we must deal with: climate change, global equity, water, energy, education, health and even our propensity to make war. No, the challenge is to understand and change the deep patterns which allowed us to let all these issues get out of hand despite decades of warning and an abundance of credible alternatives. Does this mean I am against innovation? Certainly not. Innovation has been at the core of my work from the beginning. Does this mean I wish to legislate risk out of existence. No. This does not work. Our vulnerability is our total inability to steward the human enterprise in a self-aware and reasonable way. Each of the various issues highlighted here are snapshots; windows into the deeper habits which, if not altered, will put Humanity at unacceptable risk. By risk do I mean that Humanity may cease to to exist? No. While not impossible, this scenario is unlikely. By unacceptable risk I am pointing to something far worse: a Humanity which has ceased to be human. In each of these Papers, there is a theme which brings focus to the questions: what is HUMAN in the 21st Century? Myself, I do not believe the answer to this question is a slam dunk. Nor do I believe that we will get to an appropriate perception of future humanness by clinging to old ways any more than we will by blindly betting that thoughtless reactions, to global conditions we ourselves have created, will somehow lead us to fertile ground. What is human is now something we have to decide for ourselves and act to make true. Although not recognized as such, this is actually the driving energy behind many political debates of our time.
12 papers
As noted, the 12 subjects of this set cover a broad range of human experience. I treat each one individually and also seek to pull out common themes and patterns which cut across all of them. Each of these are extensively annotated with links to other writings both mine and sources outside of this web site. The writing of these pieces spanned predominately from May through the end of 2008. The 12 papers, along with the material connected by links, compose a book-length essay which is both a criticism of our present human condition and a pointer toward a path rich with solutions. I believe that the human prospect has never been better yet, at the same time, the risk so great. Never, has Humanity held the outcome so much in our own hands. Never has it been so critical to challenge the the deep, unchallenged patterns of human behavior.
masthead in progress

No Place Like Home

The home as residence, workplace and community node is the hearth of civilization. It is out of the hands and out of the reach of the majority of humankind at the very moment when its definition and function is most ambiguous and debated.

Energy Soluton

Usable energy is the true cash of the universe. It is the measure of the cost of doing things. A society’s choice of energy and how it employs it is a fundamental unit upon which that society is built and determines its wealth and reveals its waste.

masthead in progress

Wage Slavery

No matter your pay scale from subsistence to what today we would call rich, if you fear losing your job and/or compromise your values and sense of what you want to do with your life to keep it, you are functionally a slave not a free agent.

Building Commonwealth

With the misconception of individual versus community we have lost focus on building commonwealth and overlook the opportunity to apply the organizing potential of corporations and market mechanisms to personal and community challenges.

Capitalism For the Rest of Us

What is done in the name of Capitalism today is not consistent with any legitimate political-economic theory of which I am aware. How do we achieve truly free enterprise and create a global yet level playing field?

masthead in progress

21st Century Pattern Language

What should be the pattern language of a sustainable and free 21st civilization? How can this be collaboratively designed with global participation? In what way, can these patterns, once identified, become real?

masthead in progress

First MegaCity-State

What might be an example of an advanced technological civilization and a natural landscape functioning together? Switzerland may offer some hints as the first nation-state-megacity on the planet. A perfect example? No, yet highly informative.

masthead in progress

How To Run For President

Not like it is done today as this “method” further divides society and compromises candidates winner and loser. In the case of the United States, billions who have no franchise will be directly affected by the outcome.

Organizational Transformation

Gail likens organizational transformation to riding a bicycle down hill while trying to repair it. Almost all of the conventional wisdom about transformation and management does not match the facts on the ground.

masthead in progress


Esthetics is a societie’s trim tab. A Planet gets ugly long before it is uninhabitable. Shelter for a building can work a few feet here and there; The utility of the space is measured in inches. Beauty, is accomplished at eye resolution.


New forms of war obscures the extent that it has become the day-to-day workhorse of both politics and the economy. The question is can we afford, spiritually and economically, organized mass destruction as an instrument of social policy?

masthead in progress


The Singularity is that moment when we humans by means of nanotechnology, genetics and computing capacity breakthrough the bounds of our innate biology. This is a prospect at once fantastic and full of promise and also fraught with danger.

There is much written here that may annoy many of you. This is not my intent. It is my intent to challenge the hidden design assumptions of our time. Nor is it my goal here to criticize individual people or institutions. We all own the past and our future equally. Moving toward a richer, more sustainable and just global society is a design and engineering challenge not primarily an ideological or political one. It is not the task of one party or one nation. It is the opportunity for all of Humanity. It will come about by collaboration of an unprecedented kind practiced at an unprecedented scale - what we at MG Taylor have called GroupGenius®. I do not talk about GroupGenius as an abstraction nor metaphor. It is a discipline, a way-of-working, a practice which renders a different result than - employing traditional means - the same people with the same values and objectives would produce given the same circumstances. It was this objective of creating a new way of working, as a global practice, why Gail and I started MG Taylor in 1980 and it has remained the work of the MG Taylor Team and ValueWeb® to this day.
The future of Humanity is not predictable nor subject to control by any segment of us. Nor will it be accomplished by some huge bureaucratic collective. These old ways, 10,000 years have shown, lead to violence and human tragedy. They also lead ultimately, if we stay on our present course, to the likely destruction of all species and Earth itself. A complex emergent system requires a response of equal variety which acts on the system as a system. This must be the process design strategy applied to the system-in-focus be a local school system or global climate change. Without requisite variety between the problem as defined and the agents of change, the results will always disappoint at best, more likely lead to a greater number of unintended consequences or outright disaster at worst.
The resolution of our present conflicts will not be found in the debate between polo bears or more oil, between one religion or another or no religion at all, between faith or science, red of blue states in the U.S. political landscape, by the dominance of one ethic group, one philosophy or one culture over another. It will be found in the synthesis of all of Humanities’ experience applied to the systematic exploration of specific issues tested by actual properly designed and executed experiments. The task ahead is to massively broaden Humanities’s options not narrow them. To encourage experiment and honestly share the results undistorted by old biases. To honor traditional and new cultures and look for the synergies between them. By taking the time to think deeply about our future and carefully test the boundaries of our present knowledge and capabilities. Success requires high frequency, low magnitude, systemic anticipatory design science - as Fuller conceived it - accomplished by millions of dedicated groups from all over the world on all levels of scale which makes up the HUMAN ENTERPRISE.
Humanity solves the problems it defines - thus creates both the problem and its “solution.” WORTHY PROBLEMS are those which identify - and lead to discrete projects with can solve them for good results - on a specific level of the global system - which adds to the storehouse of systemic solutions to be placed in Humanities’ global Solution Box. In the 1970s, Stewart Brand said that we keep going to the problem box for answers and all we get is more problems. He noted we have to go to the solution box if we want solutions. This is why Creating the Problem is the most critical step in the Creative Process. It is also why a global inventory of solutions is so important. We have far greater number of viable solutions then our present circumstances indicate. If we wish to have systematic innovation - what many are calling for today - we have to remove the barriers to innovation and these range from conceptual to technical to political.
These barriers are of our own making. This set of papers addresses many of them specifically and also the deeper assumptions and habits which gives rise to them as well as many others not addressed here. It promotes the proposition that all of the Vantage Points - from philosophy to task - have to be equally in play if we are to advance life as we know it - and can co-evolve with it - in this local part of the Universe and, ultimately, beyond our present physical boundaries.
FutureViews Snapshots is my BLOG highlighting future issues and options with a focus on ideas, technologies, people, organizations and systems which are promoting a healthy future.
Matt Taylor
August 28, 2008

SolutionBox voice of this document:

click on graphic for explanation of SolutionBox

posted: August 28, 20018

revised: August, 14, 2010
20080828.212299.mt • 20080831.29012.mt •
• 201004.343434.mt • 20100814.999919.mt •

(note: this document is about 55% finished)

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Copyright© Matt Taylor 2008, 2009, 2010

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