Jeff, thanks for the Good News Exemplars. It has been a long while since I collected World Watch papers; good to see the more attractive cover. Such exemplars are widespread and in nearly all our Domains of Challenge. Marilyn Ferguson’s 1970s book, The Aquarian Conspiracy was a collection of such exemplars; which I called “Societal Imaginal Buds” in the metaphor of Societal Metamorphosis.
However, I soon created a cliche: “Exemplars never enter mainstream on their own merits.” Many decades later, most older exemplars (of future alternatives) have been long forgotten and we continue looking at the new, exciting exemplars with hope (naive?).
It is often not too difficult to identify some of the barriers to the distribution of exemplars: existing society and limiting paradigms. Many wait in hope for these barriers to weaken or disappear, maybe supporting movements attempting to fix or reform. Few have the inclination to look within as to what may be also limiting the spread of their exemplar – and the answers to this may point to some critically missing systems of actions that the innovators of the exemplar are not prepared to undertake; yet are somehow expected to do so by others aware of and supportive of the exemplars.
Case in Point. A few weeks ago at a Sustainable Tucson meeting, on Food Sheds presented by innovators of our (USA) exemplar of localization and Transition movements, I stood to make the above point. The MC of the event attempted to limit me to a question of the speakers, for which I simply said NO, generating laughter in the audience (~200). I pointed out that their frequent calls for more “education” was failing because they were using a limiting view of “education” as simply INFORMING others of their good deeds and potentials. Informing is never sufficient. They, the innovators and their supporters need to resume their own learning, in part about how others learn. My comments were well received, but I expect them to go nowhere – because I also only informed them
Another metaphor: SSS: Seeds, Soils, Scaffolding.
Exemplars are seeds; for seeds to sprout elsewhere they need fertile soils, and for the sprouts to grow and mature they need nurturing scaffolding. Today, many are so busy creating new seeds (books, apps, websites, orgs) hoping they will find fertile soil. IMHO no serious effort is being done to learn how to create fertile soils and nurturing scaffolding for our many excellent seeds. The paradox is that what we create to promote the need for learning to create soils and scaffolding are themselves seeds landing on infertile soils.
How do we untangle this knot?