emergent strategy quote collection: 3

preface: see post #1.

adrienne’s explanation of emergent strategy and the structure of the book

“I like the word biomimicry, and I love knowing that the practices of mimicking the natural world have been happening since humans came into existence. This is actually an ancient practice, a recovery rather than a discovery.

“Biomimicry is basically taking a design challenge and then finding an ecosystem that has already solved that challenge, and literally trying to emulate what you learn. There are three types of biomimicry—one is copying form and shape, another is copying a process, like photosynthesis in a leaf, and the third is mimicking at an ecosystem’s level, like building a nature-inspired city.” — Janine Benyus

The elements I explore reference aspects of the natural world operating at each of these levels, though the bulk of examples aim at the systems and processes. For each of these elements, we spiral from the simple understanding to the more complex ways of thinking about applying the element to our movement work. I define what the element is according to a dictionary, point out some of the places we see this element in nature, then offer up writing I’ve done on the element, moving from the personal through organizational to movement or collective levels…”

note: this is where i realized i want to use this structure for my own book.

on fractals maybe being the most important element

“…this may be the most important element to understand—that what we practice at the small scale sets the patterns for the whole system.

Grace articulated it in what might be the most-used quote of my life: “Transform yourself to transform the world.” This doesn’t mean to get lost in the self, but rather to see our own lives and work and relationships as a front line, a first place we can practice justice, liberation, and alignment with each other and the planet.”

on learning to reconstruct and imagine

“I learned in school how to deconstruct—but how do we move beyond our beautiful deconstruction? Who teaches us to reconstruct?

How do we cultivate the muscle of radical imagination needed to dream together beyond fear? Showing Black and white people sitting at a lunch counter together was science fiction.

We need to move from competitive ideation, trying to push our individual ideas, to collective ideation, collaborative ideation. It isn’t about having the number one best idea, but having ideas that come from, and work for, more people.

When we speak of systemic change, we need to be fractal. Fractals—a way to speak of the patterns we see—move from the micro to macro level. The same spirals on sea shells can be found in the shape of galaxies. We must create patterns that cycle upwards. We are microsystems. (We each hold contradictions—my shellac nails vs. my desire that no one do the toxic work of nail painting, my family travel vs. my desire not to use fossil fuels, etc.). Our friendships and relationships are systems. Our communities are systems. Let us practice upwards.”

on learning and practicing through how fractal mentality shifts personal and systemic reality

“In 2012 I took a sabbatical, and I realized that I wasn’t upholding my end of the sacred bargain: My life is a miracle that cannot be recreated. I can never get these hours, weeks, years back. In a fractal conception, I am a cell-sized unit of the human organism, and I have to use my life to leverage a shift in the system by how I am, as much as with the things I do. This means actually being in my life, and it means bringing my values into my daily decision making. Each day should be lived on purpose.

This has meant increasing my intentionality about being with others. Adapting to the changes of life, yes, but with a clear and transparent intention to keep deepening with my loved ones and transforming together.”