emergent strategy quote collection: 5

preface: see post #1.

on water

“Water is versatile. It can be big and powerful, it can quench thirst, it can be healing, it can drown us. It finds its own level, always. That is, water is always seeking balance and has a place it has to go. It can be scarce, it is necessary. We’re utterly, devastatingly dependent on it. It’s beautiful and tragic and it feeds us sometimes. When we hold water back we can create power but there is danger when we remove the dam unexpectedly. It’s really flexible and adaptable. It takes the form of our containers. Bruce Lee says ‘Be like water…’ If we can understand fully the nature of water we can understand what we’re doing here.”

— Aisha Shillingford, Intelligent Mischief”

intentional adaptation, p. 68

oak trees standing strong during katrina

“When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, almost everything lost its footing. Houses were detached from their foundations, trees and shrubbery were uprooted, sign posts and vehicles floated down the rivers that became of the streets. But amidst the whipping winds and surging water, the oak tree held its ground. How? Instead of digging its roots deep and solitary into the earth, the oak tree grows its roots wide and interlocks with other oak trees in the surrounding area. And you can’t bring down a hundred oak trees bound beneath the soil! How do we survive the unnatural disasters of climate change, environmental injustice, over-policing, mass-imprisonment, militarization, economic inequality, corporate globalization, and displacement? We must connect in the underground, my people! In this way, we shall survive.”

— Naima Penniman”

interdependence and decentralization, p. 85

on the joy of being wrong

“The easier “being wrong” is for you (the faster you can release your viewpoint), the quicker you can adapt to changing circumstances. Adapting allows you to know and name current needs and capacity, to be in relationship in real time, as opposed to any cycle of wishing and/or resenting what others do or don’t give you. Sometimes there isn’t one definitive truth. (My favorite situations.) And sometimes there is one and you can’t see it. (Least favorite. Least.) Just at least consider that the place where you are wrong might be the most fertile ground for connecting with and receiving others. And in a beautiful twist, being soft in your rightness, as opposed to smashing people with your brilliance, can open others up to whatever wisdom you’ve accumulated.”

interdependence and decentralization, p. 94