Fri 15 Nov 2019 5:42PM

Progress Update: Nov 2019

RDB Richard D. Bartlett Public Seen by 27

I was recently asked if this project is still active. The answer is "yes..." with a lot of dots...

When I started the writing process, I had a very clear set of information that I wanted to write down and publish. I got about 75% through that project during my summer break, so I published that work-in-progress in mid 2018.

I have not updated the published version since then.

This is mostly because my thinking has gone through a pretty significant change. I'm not finished with my own mental upgrade yet, so I'm not ready to articulate the new version for publishing.

The catalyst for my mental change was reading The Listening Society by Hanzi Freinacht.

Prior to reading that book, I was really in the grip of the "social justice" way of thinking about the world, e.g. society is shaped by structures of oppression, and we need to prototype structures of liberation, so we can make our way towards a more just society.

I still believe that, but The Listening Society brought another lens: we also need to focus on adult development (e.g. cognitive complexity, emotional intelligence, etc). The adult development piece is entirely missing from the published version of my book so far, and that now feels like a major error to me. If you follow my Microsolidarity project, you'll see that's a growing focus for me now: how do we get into relationships of growth, healing, intimacy, development?

I'm still in the process of figuring out how to talk about adult development in the context of the workplace. In January 2020 we're filming an online course for my training/consulting company The Hum. We're writing the script now. That script inherits all of the content from the Patterns for Decentralised Organising book, and includes more content about adult development.

I'm not sure yet how this will affect the book. One option is to make the book a close companion of the online course, essentially a written version of the video content that we're producing. Another option is to take the book in a new direction, more like an anthology of blog posts. For example, I think my blog post on power is much better than my book chapter on power.

I'm not sure yet, and happy to see how it all emerges. If anyone has paid for the book and feels let down, you can get an automatic refund within 45 days of purchase, or contact me and I will do it manually :)

Thanks for your attention and support!


Danyl Strype Tue 19 Nov 2019 4:52AM

> I'm not finished with my own mental upgrade yet, so I'm not ready to articulate the new version for publishing.

If you start revising this almost finished book, what will happen to it when you go through your next paradigm shift in thinking? Can I suggest that you just tidy up what you shared in 2018 - dot the 'i's and cross the 't's - and publish it as a record of where your thinking was at that point? Maybe with a preface saying so? Then you can either start an entirely new book, or a revised and expanded edition of a work that's seen a 1.0 release.


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 20 Nov 2019 1:13PM

Thanks Strypey, I've been thinking about this. Right now, my sense is: I've already published a record of my thinking! That was the intention of publishing my work-in-progress.

By the end of the year, I'll have the script for the new online course. At that point I'll have another think about how that content relates to the existing book.


Danyl Strype Tue 19 Nov 2019 4:58AM

that's a growing focus for me now: how do we get into relationships of growth, healing, intimacy, development?

I'm really pleased to see you bringing this up. Have you looked at David Chapman's work on Meaningness? Particularly as it relates to Robert Kegan's staged model of cognitive development?

A quick look at the Microsolidarity brings up a few points of reference for me. The first is that what you call a "crew" sounds pretty much like an "affinity group", so Andy Bichelbaum's 'Don’t mistake your group for society' piece from Beautiful Trouble may be relevant. The second is that your idea of crews nested in "congregations" of less than 100, nested in an "assembly", reminds me both of Dunbar's number (which I'm sure you're aware of), but also Rick Falkvinge's discussion of organizing scales in in his book ‘Swarmwise‘, particularly 'The Three Magic Group Sizes' in Chapter 3.

The third is an experience I had before leaving for China, where a friend and I formed a mental health support circle for activists. From memory, the size of our meetings was never larger than 10, usually more like 5-8, so at the scale you give for a crew. The focus was on building grounded solidarity and a trusted affinity group, by creating a private, face-to-face meetings where we could speak freely about how our activism has impacted our mental health and what we're doing about it. We used a talking circle process (whoever holds the "talking stick" as it's passed around, holds the floor) and took turns being the facilitator, whose role was to make sure the meeting space was booked, send out a reminder a few days before, and bring along a talking object. We made sure the net played no role in this group, as we identified the net as one of the ways activism negatively impacted our mental health, so we coordinated the group in group time, and used text messages for reminders. It was a really great experience for me.


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 20 Nov 2019 1:15PM

I'm enthusiastically collecting any resources related to small group support processes. If you have anything documented about your experiences, I'm keen :)

Also bigger conceptual stuff is interesting, like your book recommendations.

Either here, or on the Microsolidarity Loomio: https://www.loomio.org/microsolidarity


Ria Baeck Wed 20 Nov 2019 12:04PM

Thanks for the update Rich, much appreciated.

With love,


Pedro Reis Wed 20 Nov 2019 6:21PM

Thanks for the update, I was just about to ask the other day, and what about the book? :)

For long I've thought that we should focus on children's development since they are the (near) future of society and that's where we will have the biggest impact in changing the future. But I came to realize that we are all "children" in regard to our development levels in different areas - especially emotional intelligence. I'm also seeing the struggle that goes into trying to make things better when most of the people with power are older (in age and ways) than us. I've also seen adults, when they're needs are met, changing to enablers of the ones coming with good new ideas. So I agree with you adult development is important and maybe a better way to accelerate change.

I leave you this image that reminded me to come back here to your post.


Richard D. Bartlett Wed 20 Nov 2019 7:50PM

I had a moment some years ago, where I thought "oh wow we should work with children, they are so ready to embrace a different culture, they are not all messed up like adults." But then it wasn't long before I realised that working with children means working with parents! So we are back at square one.


Danyl Strype Thu 21 Nov 2019 7:22AM

Sorry, ignore that reaction icon from me. I'm using Loomio on a mobile. Damn my huge fingers! Just wanted to say you hit the nail square on the head there 😊


Danyl Strype Mon 2 Mar 2020 1:26AM

Kia ora @richarddbartlett , I see that even as a founding member of the Loomio Cooperative, the pay-what-you-can deal for your group has not been grandfathered in under the new compulsory paid plan regime. I would appreciate your comments (and everyone's) in the thread I opened about this in the Loomio Community group.