Joanna Macy reviews Designing Regenerative Cultures

04-01-2018 medium.com 2 min #136651

To me as a life-long activist nourished on systems thinking and Buddhist teachings, this is one of the most intellectually exciting and soul stirring books I've read in years. I had the sense of drinking it, with pleasure and surprise, not having known what I'd so thirsted for.

By starting with questions and keeping to questions throughout, Daniel en- gages the reader, and by example frees her from striving for, or pretending to know, any final answers. This approach  in itself a rare lesson in systems epistemology  invites trust, openness, and a restructuring of the mind.

Among the gifts for which I am especially grateful are these:

Conceptual tools for perceiving and experiencing our mutual belonging, and especially what I've come to call the great reciprocity at the heart of the universe.

The ways Goethe, Bortoft, Bateson, Maturana, and Varela are brought in, and key insights mediated with economy and clarity.

The abundant evidence of the Great Turning, the manifold transition underway to a life-sustaining culture.

And, especially valuable to those of an apocalyptic bent like myself, the 'adaptive cycle' of resilient systems, showing that at 'the edge of chaos' comes opportunity for the emergence of greater complexity and intelligence.

These are but a few of the ways in which this remarkable book will enrich my thought, my teaching, and my life in this turbulent world of ours.

[This review was published as 'Joanna's Recommended Reading' in Deep Times, Issue Summer 2016 ; p.43]

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