Tag Archives: power management

The Victory City Model — Why I Like It

A sustainable city?
A sustainable city?

For a number of months now, I have been presenting an extended series of postings on my vision of a mature society. Mainly I have done this as an invitation to the reader (and to myself) to undertake the thought experiment of what would life actually be like. I’ve often focused on the Victory City model in so doing.

I have also done this because I strongly believe that we need to have a positive vision to move towards. Essentially if you don’t know where you are going (i.e., towards something as compared to away from), “it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” (thus spoke the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.) From my perspective, most of the writings in global warming describe what we need to move away from, e.g., away from fossil fuels, away from global warming. Often there is a movement towards technology such as renewable energy sources, but seldom is there a discussion of where our culture is going.

Throughout this series I have been fleshing out the Victory City. Why?

There are a number of reasons.

  • First, I believe we must stop interfering with the ecology of the planet. It can take care of itself if we let it.
    • The total human population of the planet needs to be under 2 billion people. Let’s assume 1.2 billion.
    • I estimate that the physical footprint of any given Victory City (one of 6000 cities) would be approximately 50 square kilometers maximum).
    • The total human population (200,000 people per city, or 1.2 billion people on the planet) would occupy 300,000 square kilometers., or 0.2% of the land surface area.
    • Assuming each city set aside another 150 square kilometers for recreational purposes, then 99% of the world could be left as wilderness! Leaving nature to resume its natural ecosystems.
  • Second, the Victory City could be designed to be self-sufficient, and ecologically both sustainable and resilient.
    • Everything would be recyclable, and there would be no garbage, no waste.
    • The modular structure of the Victory City would allow maximal productivity with minimal “waste,” even though a use would be found for any “waste.”
  • Third, the proposed lay-out of the “villages” would be consistent with the requirements established in Future Primal as previously described — the Truth Quest: the seeking of wisdom (individuation), face-to-face discussion of important issues (intersubjectivity), shared decision making in trusted groups (direct democracy) and a narrative of meaning (mythic narrative).
    • The village structure would allow the various components of personal growth and mature governance to develop within the parameters of the Truth Quest.
    • From this village structure would evolve increasing levels of justice circles as the basis of governance, always with the intention of maintaining a grassroots village-like human contact process.

If we are to survive as a species, we must shift to a society that values wisdom (phronesis — practical judgment) via wisdom (sophia — useful knowledge), discipline, hope and playfulness.

The Victory City proposal is certainly not the only way in which our culture could thrive. Fundamentally, what I like about the concept is that it encapsulated so much that I think is essential to a mature culture.

In the next post, I will reflect on what it will take for maturity, and my thoughts on how difficult it will be to achieve.

Onward — what are the blocks that stop human beings from maturing.

Governance in a Mature Society, Part 4

This is our home! We must clean house.
This is our home! We must clean house.

Continuing the theme of governance in a mature society, my thoughts have changed little since the writing of my book Acedia; thus, I am mainly quoting from this source (pp. 204-205), with additional minor commentary as update.

The best example of governance I have encountered is that of Gaian democracies (Madron, 2008). Madron notes that “we have to transform our societies so that they are capable of learning how to co-evolve for many thousands of years as complex, adaptive, viable parts of the total Gaian system.” He emphasizes that citizens must understand, be committed to, and share, a set of purposes and moral and ecological principles. These purposes and principles must be developed through intensive participative processes—they cannot be handed down from above. This requires dialogue-rich groups, focused on action shaped by reflection, and such that local groups have the power and authority to create change directly. People are rewarded with active immediate feedback based on success, and leaders are committed to their own learning. [emphasis added]

To this, I would add the skills associated with holacracy as described by Robertson (2006) in “Holacracy: A Complete System for Agile Organizational Governance and Steering.” Holacracy is a modern development in organizational development concepts. It is based upon intense participative processes and local group authority. In a holarchical business, representation of interests is distributed downwards and upwards by double linkages at all levels, downwards by those responsible for the broad interests of a company and upwards by those responsible for specific aspects of the functioning of the company. Although designed for coordination with businesses, I suggest it to be ideal for the kinds of inter-group coordination that will be necessary at all levels of governance in a mature society; I know of no better process to encourage participatory leadership.

Is this type of mature culture possible? I do not know. Is it necessary? I maintain the answer is Yes—we have to come to terms with a zero-growth sustainable culture, one that honors all species on the planet. Need it have the characteristics I am suggesting? No, but likely something like this would be necessary. We need to live in peace with our world; we need to live in peace with each other, especially our differences. [And we need to live sustainably and resiliently.]

It will be difficult to achieve. I remind the reader of the difficulties identified by the project participants, such as “I’ve worked on these issues for 20 years, and am amazed at how hard I have had to work.” Our current civilization is in a state where all of the forces that oppose acedia are disparaged, and thus, conversion to a more mature state will require much time and effort. Consistent with the proposals put forth by Gilding (2011), I believe that we are capable of such conversion, once we decide to do so. However, whether we will do so in time to save our species in not yet clear.

Coming next: Why I like the Victory City concept.

Governance in a Mature Society, Part 3

This is our home! We must clean house.
This is our home! We must clean house.

Continuing the theme of governance in a mature society, my thoughts have changed little since the writing of my book Acedia; thus, I am mainly quoting from this source, with additional minor commentary as update.

As I reflect on what I have written so far, in this long series of posts on the nature of a mature society, I realize that much of what I have written is very utopian (one original meaning of the Greed word utopia is no-place). I will add my reflections on this at the conclusion of the series (another three posts from now).

How do we recognize maturity.

Sophisticated electronic communication, including frequent high-level polling of needs and ongoing values, would allow the government to stay in touch with the populace. Each member of the populace would have multiple votes—I was immensely impressed, years ago, by an idea presented by Nevil Shute in his novel In The Wet, Shute proposed that each member of the electorate had up to seven votes: one basic vote, and additional votes depending on family stability (1), educational level (1), foreign travel (1), success in business (1), and contributory service to society (2). This type of system then preselects individuals who are likely to have a degree of maturity and wisdom. Higher levels of government would depend on input both from lower regional governments and from polling of the general population.

This is one way. Another way comes from recognizing those people who deserve respect. Amongst the pre-conquest native American peoples, the grandfathers were recognized as leaders, but they obtained their authority from the grandmothers.

The judiciary system would need to be a justice system, not a legal system. There must also be a way to deal with terrorism (preferably identifying the predisposition of individuals to be rebellious before they become terrorists).

Finally, the judiciary system of such a culture would function at all levels in a fashion of justice circles, the intention being that any discordance is to be resolved in ways that support the rights of both individuals and the groups concerned. In such a culture, there will arise occasions where individuals repeatedly act contrary to the needs and desires of the group. I suggest that, here, more senior groups (groups to which earlier decisions might be appealed) would have the power . . . whereby such individuals are ostracized from the group, perhaps to live in enclaves not subject to the standards of the general culture. These alternate cultures would be free to develop their own standards, but would not be permitted to impose their standards on the main culture. If desired, individuals in these substitute cultures could transfer back to the main culture, but a requirement would be they demonstrate they have sufficient intention and maturity to live within the main culture.

To be continued.

Governance in a Mature Society, Part 2

This is our home! We must clean house.
This is our home! We must clean house.

Continuing the theme of governance in a mature society, my thoughts have changed little since the writing of my book Acedia; thus, I am mainly quoting from this source, with additional minor commentary as update.

. . . a mature culture would balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the group, not by imposition, but because the educational system would provide the deep support such that members of the culture would want to balance these needs (as per the previous priority). Training would be offered in decision making . . . for comprehensive social change. [Such training would focus on the long-term needs of community, rather than the short-term gains so typical of modern politics.]

A mature culture would also train its members to live the “laws” of experience (we want positive, it is easier to get negative, and negative is better than flatness) and the “laws” of relationship (I can change only what I am connected to, others will change if I change, change requires I stay connected), in ways that emphasize both the powerfulness (to create self) and the powerlessness (to change other) inherent in relationship.

The joy of living expands the individual.

Such a culture would live into the stance that the joy of living is in seeking wisdom, rather than domination. Such a culture would educate its members that each member is truly accountable for whatever he or she thinks, feels, and does, without shame or coercion of self or other—that the truly unacceptable is that of violation (restriction of freedom without permission, beyond public safety). Such education would include education on the pitfalls and traps of being human, challenging both individuals and the cultural systems at various levels to “walk their talk.” This would require the recognition that “therapy” is simply another word for the seeking of wisdom, and thus would be honored as part of the development of every human being and every group.

We need a mature democracy.

. . .  a mature culture would develop governance based on wisdom, on statesperson-ship. Our current “two-party” democracy is actually a one-party democracy (Friedman, 2009):

There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great  advantages.

I propose that a mature culture would actually be a no-party democracy, with individuals elected on the basis of perceived wisdom, and with interlocking regional governments, up to a world government. Individuals would be elected on the basis of perceived wisdom by appropriate regional groups to form a regional level of government, that government deciding within itself who would be the proposers of legislation and who would be the devil’s advocates. Leadership would be developed within this membership, based on what was required, and might vary with need. Elected members would shift periodically in their assigned tasks, sometimes legislators, sometimes advocates of resistance. Membership on task groups would evolve out of the skill level of the members as needed. If elected for three terms in a row (15 years, for example), these members would become part of a more senior advisory body, for various additional task assignments. If not elected for such a period, support would be provided to allow re-integration back into the regional group. Essentially, the government would function to be a sophisticated cooperative body, attuned to the needs of the populace it served, yet focused on what the populace needed long-term, not as based on election requirements. . . .

To be continued.

Governance in a Mature Society, Part 1

This is our home! We must clean house.
This is our home! We must clean house.

The word govern comes from the Latin gubernare (to direct or guide) and from the Greek kybernan (to steer or pilot a ship). Essentially it means to rule with authority; in democracy, that authority is assigned by the people. Authority itself is power to make decisions and to give orders so as to accomplish a task; it can be delegated, but the delegator is usually still accountable for the accomplishment of the task.

Thus, to govern refers to having power over power, the concept I have been referring to in the last few posts, The Nature of Power. Quite frankly, in the shift to civilization over the past 10,000 years, we have not done very well. Power has controlled us, rather than we having control over power.

We must learn to transform ourselves.

Given we are at the edge of the ending of our current civilization, if not the ending of ourselves as a species, this must change. We must shift from the dominator mode of power to that of a global embrace of personal power. We must learn to value the personal growth of individuals such that they advance in wisdom (phronesis, as well as the supplementary skills of sophia, discipline, hope and playfulness) — see Acedia and The Climate Lie, Part 1 for details.

I say personal power because, although governance largely has to do with professional power, it is the deep transformation of individuals that allows them to be effective leaders. Over thirty years ago, John Scherer[1] introduced me to the Adaptive Skills, the skill set that allows leadership, the skill set that makes you who you are, the core that people “get” when they are with you. A mature society will value the development of these skills in all people, and when well developed, from whence will come leadership.

In my dissertation (and subsequent book Acedia, pp. 200-205), I devoted a number of pages to the governance of a mature society. In re-reading these pages, I have changed little in my thoughts. I will therefore quote extensively from this source, adding some brief comments to update the text.

Challenging growth

As indicated in earlier posts, I suggest that in a mature culture, people would meet several times per week in small groups within their “villages” in order to discuss their own growth as well as the community issues of concern.

. . . they would also mentor each other, challenging both themselves, and the systems within which they live. This would be the place where people cross-link with each other, providing the maturity necessary for the resolution of conflict; it would be the source of growth necessary for the priorities of the [culture]. Such meetings might potentially sound communistic, and subject to the “crab-box effect” of togetherness, but when skillfully led, I know of no richer experience for human interaction — they are the platforms where people develop the skills of authentic relating. When skillfully led, such meetings can be places of immense playfulness and wisdom [as well as the development of leadership skills].

To be continued.

[1]John J. Scherer, The 1980 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators, pp. 152-156.

Slowly maturing. A number of items have impressed me recently.


Two recent news items have crossed my desk that have impressed me that our culture is slowly maturing. (I’ve never doubted this; my questions invariably relate to whether or not we will mature enough to survive the next 100 years of cultural chaos.)

The first came to me via an email from Avaaz; it quoted a statement by Pavel Poc, Vice-Chair of the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee, and key leader of the glyphosate fight: “Looking to where we were in the beginning of this year and where we are now, Avaaz is indisputably the driving force of the fight for glyphosate discontinuance.” (My caution here is my usual one— I do not have external validation of this report. Overall I trust it, but I do not have external evidence to corroborate it. I do however have a video clip of Pavel Poc that I found most useful: Glyphosate: Yes or No?.)

It is essential, I believe, that the voices of large numbers of people must be heard, especially when the voices of multi-national corporations are so strong, and sometimes so dishonest. I believe this to be so even when some scientific reports claim innocence; we are also in an era when scientific research is frequently manipulative and deceptive. I wish this were not so, but my wishing does not make it so.

Thus, I am heartened to see that the polling performed by such as Avaaz has had an impact. I also wish it had more.

The second news item was that “The Stanford Rape Victim Controlled The Public Narrative Without Giving Up Her Privacy.” (ThinkProgress, June 8, 2016). This is, for me, a major step forward in our society. The status of this woman can be corroborated (it is in the public record of the legal system) — but it is not in the public record of the media blitz that is so invasive. Separated from the injustices that possibly surround this situation, this prevention of invasion is refreshing.

I also say “possibly surround” — I am aware of some of the controversies, but again the limitation for me is to find ways of validation. It is such an insane world — a vast amount of information available, without a vast amount of knowledge to be gleaned (in this context, I consider knowledge as being the meaning I give to information), and frequently without much wisdom to be gained (wisdom here being the ability to make effective judgments).

This was originally posted to my Facebook on 20160609.


The games of advertising, such power.
The games of advertising, such power.

These posts are likely to be quite random in their content, at least for a while. I read a lot, and am often reactive to the content, especially when the content illustrates what I consider the insanity of our culture. Here is what I came across this morning: gamification, the latest gimmickry to sell you what you don’t want. For me, as a culture we are like teenagers who have not yet learned a sense of perspective, who are spaced out on the hype of experience. I often wonder if, as a species, we are capable of maturity.

This post was originally on my Facebook of 20160602.

Off-Shore Fracking

A technological dinosaur, inappropriate to global warming
A technological dinosaur, inappropriate to global warming

Hi folks. It is my intention to engage in the issues of climate change, especially those related to the emotional maturity of our culture. One of my struggles in retirement has been that of what do I do with my skills, my proficiencies gained over 25 years of being a therapist. We are so badly in need of maturing as a culture — frequently I feel powerless in the face of the cultural pressures that keep us trapped in the obvious duplicity.

Many people are focused on moving us to health; I want to be one of them. My skill set is that of encouraging emotional growth. So …

Once I get better organized, on most days I will make a comment or two. Sometimes I will link to articles I believe to be important. Here is one: “Off-shore fracking will have no significant impact …” What insanity to disturb the earth’s crust in an area where the risk of earthquakes is high! And even if the risk is not significant, why ignite such controversy in a world that must become carbon neutral?

This post was originally on my Facebook of 20160601

Energy Production and Storage


Two important posts summarize for me that we are moving towards much more efficient energy utilization:

  • David Suzuki’s summary of feed-in tariffs, which make small scale, local production both feasible and cost-effective, and
  • ThinkProgress’s summary on lithium-ion battery technology, somewhat speculative but still very likely to develop, making energy storage much cheaper and feasible.

Both are important indicators that we will likely stabilize global warming within the next century.

My questions remain as to the quality of life for my grand-children. There are still many uncertainties as to whether or not we have passed major tipping points (and the usual difficulty of finding trust-worthy data).

Welcome #2

We have a choice as to what happens!
We have a choice as to what happens!

Hi. I am re-evaluating how I use this blog, and have decided to resume it in a variety of ways.

I stopped posting (in every way) about two years ago, largely because I did not have a focus in my life as to how to proceed. However, I have remained deeply concerned about the issues of climate change, especially the emotional issues that underlie how we have created this problem, a super-wicked problem that may well lead to our extinction as a species. We must undertake the arduous work of maturing as a species — I do not believe we have much choice in this (the option remains extinction).

That said, in the past month, I have started working with a marketing consultant who believes (as I do) that my work is an important contribution to this process of maturation. I am therefore now re-establishing my workshops on emotional issues (see my website www.aplacetwobe.ca for details), and I am submitting regular postings both on Facebook (Dave MacQuarrie and Blowing Out the Darkness) and on LinkedIn (Dave MacQuarrie) — often duplicate postings in multiple sites. You can also watch a short video of me on my website, under “Who is Dave.”

Because these postings are difficult to search, and because many people simply do not want the hassle represented by such as Facebook, I want a primary location where my posts can be accessed. I believe this blog, as an independent site, will serve this purpose.

This site will therefore contain a wide variety of content:

  • my thoughts on the issues of climate change (please see my original home page).
  • my struggles and explorations as to how to respond to these issues.
  • my reactions to current issues — I read a lot, and when I encounter something that I believe important to the underlying issues, I will comment.
  • my responses to questions on an emotional nature — my experience is that the average person is overwhelmed with issues; when people ask me for assistance, their questions are likely of interest to many.

In the next few weeks, I will be adding copies of the recent posts I have submitted to other sites, mainly for consistency of content.

Thanks. I hope you enjoy this blog, and take value from my comments.

This post is part of what I am calling the core posts for understanding what I am attempting by this blog. For other core posts, click here.