Dear Marilyn,

We have not met but I feel like I know you through your writings.  Integral Cities is a important book.  I first came to know about your work through Will Varey who spoke of meshworking and linked us to “The Art and Science of Meshworking” .  I was stunned and delighted to see the roots of this idea. For more than 50 years, when I first came to know how young children best learn, I have been practicing meshworking.  From classroom teaching I founded the Learning Exchange in KC, Mo.  Here I brought CEO’s, teachers, artists, scientists, kids, teachers (inner city and suburban), parents, professors from different universities together to design and put into schools programs that were missing from the curriculum.  Programs were designed from the bottom up … through playing with ideas, iterating possibilities, and mostly coming to know each other as co-designers of big ideas.  Then in 1981, I co-founded MG Taylor Corporation with my husband, Matt. Our focus became helping corporations and enterprises solve complex problems.  Against all odds we insisted on bringing all what we called “Value Web” members together – 40 to 100 people from executive to mailroom, from customers, board members, and suppliers together to forge new solutions.  Participants loved finding each other, being able to see how diversity of thought worked for them, not against them.   Now Tomorrow Makers is my focus.  Through it all, the future by design, not default has been the motto.  

 I always knew we were doing more than building networks but the word meshworking was not in our vocabulary.  It is a profound concept.  

Anyway, I could go on and on and I am sure we could have meaningful exchanges.  But I thought it would be fun to share with you a photo based on your paragraph:

“The brain builds itself by laying down large synaptic highways, which become the scaffold of communication corridors from which secondary and tertiary corridors emerge, until a vast “hairnet of axons” covers the brain. Once this hairnet is in place then we have a brain that is able to self-organize an infinite number of connections, thoughts, ideas, innovations and learnings while at the same time behave and direct behavior in dependable, learned ways.” 

We were working with a very exciting group, Circle of Blue, to create the next phase of their organizational and business model. Their assignment: 

This is a modeling exercise.  You have a box of resources.  Use them to create a multi-dimensional model that reveals the workings of the entire ecosystem and Meshworking capacities of COB.  In particular, pay attention to the idea that your work is helping the entire planet escape to a higher order.  What is the attractor that draws you – and thus the world – forward into this new order?

Anyway, there were many, many good playful ideas that spilled forth but I thought you might be particularly interested in this photo of “a hairnet of axons” 

My cohort and son Todd,  are also writing a chapter for a book on Evolutionary Leadership and our subject is Wayfinding.  

Our chapter is very much in draft form but here is our reference to meshworking: 

Wayfinders inherently know that all aspects of a social system must work together and come to know each other’s contributions through engagement, finding ways that very different fields of knowledge or expertise fit together.  They don’t exert themselves breaking down the stove pipe mentality, but rather help people reach through and across these boundaries.  They assist in finding the cross linkages and intersections. They create strange, yet vital connections and synergies between networks, willing to hold the creative tension of different vantage points together until these partners find common metaphors and create a language that makes their connection relevant.  Wayfinders dance with the flow of possibility.  They train their senses on seeing what others fail to see and on weaving these differences into the fabric of scenarios in the making.  

Marilyn Hamilton, in her book Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive, describes how the brain develops:

“The brain builds itself by laying down large synaptic highways, which become the scaffold of communication corridors from which secondary and tertiary corridors emerge, until a vast “hairnet of axons” covers the brain. Once this hairnet is in place then we have a brain that is able to self-organize an infinite number of connections, thoughts, ideas, innovations and learnings while at the same time behave and direct behavior in dependable, learned ways.” 

We think this is a wonderful and accurate description for how Wayfinders work. As one paradigm falls and another one emerges, tremendous transformational events and processes occur.  These changes are nonlinear, and cannot be “controlled” by nation states or institutional powers.  Rather they are a “hairnet of axons” growing throughout the global brain, taking root in the most unusual places, building and connecting entire ecosystems. Wayfinders are meshworkers, wiring and perturbing the global brain, hoping to reveal the shortest routes to a surprising, resilient new world.  As the meshwork grows stronger, more and more people recognize ways forward –  they begin to see Magellan’s ship.  As the new paradigm matures, extraordinary ideas become ordinary transactions.

My apologies for a long, wandering email. I have been meaning to write you for some time, but when I saw the photo, I knew it was time.  

 My best,

 Gail

Tomorrow Makers, inc.

gail@tomorrowmakers.org

Bringing There to Here

visit us on the web @

http://www.tomorrowmakers.org

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http://www.twitter.com/tomorrowmakers

By | 2017-04-07T02:57:42+00:00 July 1st, 2010|Meshworking|2 Comments

About the Author:

HI I am the Founder of Integral City Meshworks Inc. and Chief Blogger. Working with cities and eco-regions, I ‘meshwork’ or weave people, purpose, priorities, profits, programs and processes to align contexts, grow capacity and develop strategies for sustainability and resilience in the Integral City. You can read more details about me here http://integralcity.com/about/about-the-founder/

2 Comments

  1. marilynhamilton July 2, 2010 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Many thanks Gail — Your understanding of the self-organizing, generative, creative aspects of meshworking warms my heart – thanks so much for sharing while you are writing your book. And keep me posted on its publication – let me know when it is released.

    Meshful blessings in your wayfinding

    Marilyn

  2. Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer July 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Many thanks Gail — Your understanding of the self-organizing, generative, creative aspects of meshworking warms my heart – thanks so much for sharing while you are writing your book. And keep me posted on its publication – let me know when it is released.
    +1

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