How do you react to the word “Master”?

I have always associated “master” with mastery – the successful learning of some practice.

It represents a maturing of skills and experience and adeptness.

It is the top level of a series of stages from apprentice to journeyperson to master.

It represents a superordinate category that can be applied to all sorts of qualities and even codes. All of these nuances have been embedded in my application of the term to the evolutionary intelligence of Integral City that I call the Master Code of Care – caring for Self so that we can care for Others so together we care for our Places and all together we care for the Planet.

A Master Code that governs and aligns all other codes.

So, it has been a bit of a shock for me to learn that Master as applied to Master Planning is viewed by many of my colleagues as:

  • Dated: no longer appropriate or leading.
  • Gendered: male vs female, masculine vs feminine – certainly not neutral or inclusive.
  • Colonizing: implying slave-master relationships
  • Resonating with Class: referencing servant-master relationships.

So, how to proceed? Acknowledge that all these interpretations have validity in certain circumstances and for some people? Consider the etymology of the word as instructive but not restrictive?

Deepen into a fully contextualized, current application of the term, while granting to others this could be misunderstood?

This is a bit like toppling statues of historical heroes who are no longer venerated. Or re-forming one’s intentions.

What other words could be used to convey the intended meaning (not dated/gendered/colonizing/classifying)? I searched around and considered:

  • Mother Code of Care (popular with those who are biased to women, female, feminine)
  • Meta Code of Care (my first new choice because I tend to have “meta” views. But now the renaming of Facebook to Meta adds a whole other association if not nuance that I don’t want to reflect.
  • Mondo Code of Care – hoping that the embrace of the planetary scale could align. But the colloquial use of “mondo” could make this seem flippant or facetious. And this code of care belongs to Gaia. Maybe I have to let go the acronym MCC and shift to GCC.

Whatever choice I make to change, all of my books, articles, blogs and newsletters may become dated? Is this the price of waking up? Being willing to change the most sacred code of Integral City work? And allowing the tension of the disparity with earlier references to the Master Code of Care to generate energy to dive more deeply and understand its true meaning and not just the “trivial” nomenclature that will live on in the earlier works.

If I use Gaia’s Code of Care, will this mean GCC* needs asterisks * as a new term so that people don’t get confused with its alignment to the original MCC?

Dearest Gaia, let me know your Preference? Thoughts? Language?

Perhaps this “speed bump” of language recontextualizing is an opportunity in Master’s clothing? Giving us new chances to taste old wine in new wineskins??

(Even Melissae (pictured above – Alison Knox’s image of the Angel of the Bees and Guide to the Human Hive) smiles enigmatically – certainly not suggesting we could keep MCC if we renamed the term Melissae’s Code of Care??? (and no, I never contemplated Marilyn’s Code of Care)).


Post Script January 10, 2023: After much contemplation we have settled on Gaia’s Code of Care – and even shared it in a short New Year’s Address: Being in the World in 2023.