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Field coherence discussion


As we exchange, define, refine, and circle back to ideas together, some of us may find knowledge synthesis useful. This document is a starting point for that synthesis. Distributed processing is much appreciated - decentralise labour and power!

🔮 Origin Story

The group chat space this document emerged from originated in a small spell. 🧙

Once upon a time, a knowledge ecologist met a spell-casting, community-fostering coder…

The code wizard, having not heard the term knowledge ecology before (ADD LINK, when ready), wanted to learn more. But the ecologist, busy with her research, daunted by the prospect and scope of conveying what she was still learning herself, was afraid to start teaching, or even talking much about what she’d been percolating on alongside her work. She had thought those ideas about her perspectives and methods of research safe on a back-burner for now, to be stirred later.

So she asked for patience.

Smiling quietly, the coder cast a small spell. 🎲 Turning that spot on her waitlist into a group chat space between them, added a friend for the magic of three, and - only then - waited.

Although it was a risk, the spell worked. ✨

The ice of fear around the ecologist’s heart melted, and she started to write. To herself, mostly, and adding occasional words out loud in the small space, along with a few of her most trusted collaborators.

The space grew. 📚 📑 📖 🕳️🐇

The code magician helped hold and grow the new space, adding a few more people with perspectives generative to what was emerging. And so it goes.

📍 This is where you are now.

Welcome to the magic. 💥

✋Boundary request

“The first thing to do is to eliminate things. It’s much harder to think about complexity when you’re thinking about things interacting with other things.” - Lauren H.

We’ll need others, and the tiny group chat we started with won’t contain multitudes, so before adding new people, please consider:


Below are some sections you can contribute to, but feel free to start new ones as well

🔍 Great Lenses / Questions

What questions did you hear asked which helped surface boundaries?

🌱 Future Sprouts

We saw some fresh seedings starting to peek out in this conversation. If you could start or continue to grow one, what would it be?

Within this context…

In wider contexts…

:thinking_face: Reflections

📚 Books

We have a knowledge ecology booklist on bookshop dot org. Let Christina know if you’d like something added there, or add books here:

🉑 Definitions

Several words will emerge that we need to ground with a common understanding of what we mean when we gesture that way. Here’s an emergent glossary of terms. 📕

Knowledge Ecology

initial takes


[digression on “ba”] (add link)


An ecosystem is a fuzzy-boundaried space with interacting agents (usually organisms) cocreating themselves in relationship to each other and the environment/ context. Ecosystems have networks, flows, cycles.

If we’re talking about the methods / study of / perspective on => ecology if we’re talking about a landscape / context / etc => ecosystem if we’re talking about just the interacting agents, it’s usu community or population, but those words are a bit fraught.


#map Map of health as dynamic balance christina made years ago from the Systems View of Health chapter of The Systems View of Life by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi


@lauren, want to add here?

boundaries in complex systems are arbitrarily defined. Really all complex adaptive systems are processes of transcontextual mutual learning… - lauren


on Worldview Cultivation, by Lauren H

Ecological fitness

… ?

There are three sorts of ecological fitness: the well-documented ability to compete, the ability to cooperate (as in mutualistic symbiosis), and a third sense of fitness that has received insufficient attention in evolutionary theory, the ability to construct.”


📌 Pins

You can use “pins” to mark comments as significant in some way. If you like, copy those comments in here, and mark them DONE in the chat with a “tick” ✔️

It doesn’t have a to be an ultimatum of “denounce or die”, it’s a subtle long conversation that teases out the many fibers that compose a person’s actions in the world. Maybe you can even influence them over the course of the conversation, but the main thing that influences people is their social network. So the flow of information around and through them as prioritized by who they call their kin really determines the structure their actions will take in the long term. “Denounce or die” causes people to distance themselves, which in the case of needing a safe space is fine, but it prevents the flow of information that could have a positive effect in changing people for the better. This is basically the kind of thing social media has done is to interrupt or monetize this flow of information and mediate how we interact with our kin. - Jillian Burrows

Find a link valuable? Add it here for leisurely exploration. Most folks can’t jump in to listen to a podcast, watch an insighful video, or read scholarly paper, as they catch up in a group chat. Let’s make it easy to circle back!