Theory Engine

Changing the system I set out to observe

Reflections on Cook-Greuter’s Nine Levels

Back in 2017 when I was 33, I read Susan Cook-Greuter’s paper ‘Nine Levels Of Increasing Embrace In Ego Development: A Full-Spectrum Theory Of Vertical Growth And Meaning Making’ and recorded a short own-words summary of the stages and my personal reflections on them. I thought people interested in Kegan stages would like to see […]

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Protected: Cook-Greuter’s POST-conventional stage descriptions

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Protected: Cook-Greuter’s Conventional Stage Descriptions

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The Archetypes Inside Me

For a while I’ve been yearning to explore what might come up for me if I invent archetypes or personas for myself, along the lines of Internal Family Systems (a therapeutic approach popular with my corner of Twitter) but more heavily inspired by this post from Autotranslucence: https://autotranslucence.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/the-queen-the-engineer-the-poet-and-the-river-a-meaningful-life-on-de-institutionalised-time/ So I finally did it and wrote […]

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Tips for a longer life

Lots of people focus on living an objectively longer life by eating well and exercising. But just as important is living a *subjectively* longer life, no gym required.

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Maete-Space

When people gather for a shared interest they use meet-up to coordinate and have events, they are in meet-space and they are in social meet-up mode. And it’s also true that when humans of flesh and bone gather together the congregation occurs in so-called meat-space, as opposed to the cyber, the digital space we usually […]

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a shiny, mysterious digital art fleshy symbol

The Sensemaker Workshop

Here’s a PSA for my new project in London: a retail venue entirely dedicated to coming together to discuss ideas in convivial surroundings. It’s called the Sensemaker Workshop. Sensemaking is the activity of making sense of life, ourselves and the world. The frameworks and assumptions we use about the world shape how we can understand […]

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Contemplative Practice That Isn’t Meditating

More and more people are talking about meditation and even worse, suggesting that I try it. While I appreciate that other people like the activity, some of the woo-vocabualry and the way that people treat it as a panacea really scratch my face. But also, I’m kind of indignant about the fact that there are […]

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Hades, an egregore

This egregore is the god of the Unseen Seen. Things which it is possible to see, but which we prefer not to see. Things which we know are there, but delude ourselves into “knowing” are not there. If we see the unseen, by will or accident, we mostly experience shock and dislike, and we go […]

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Book Review: Impro by Keith Johnstone

Keith Johnstone’s classic is applicable to much more than theatre work…

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Reaction to: We’re A Niche, We Just Didn’t Know

A few weeks ago an essay by @TheAnnaGat exploded all over my Twitter-Blogger-sphere. It outlined a possible movement of people that she has noticed building. The essay landing, and the reactions, were so exciting that I quit my work contract and returned to full time thinking! Here’s the original essay: https://medium.com/@the_i_i/were-a-niche-we-just-didn-t-know-9561f662e127 And Anna has set […]

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A snowflake with blurred background by Aaron Burden

Meaning-Maker Manifesto (poetic version)

We are the wisdom seekers and the wisdom finders, the finders and the founders, the builders and the doers, the creators and the makers. The informed and enriched and sovreign narrators, the leaders and the workers, inter-connected collaborators, communicators, educators, entertainers, facilitators. Wise and learned, humble and mirthful, playful and responsible. We are maturing, evolving, […]

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A small stone

Unpublished Draft: The Trolley Won’t Be A Problem

Unpublished Draft Wednesday: Can we stop talking about the trolley problem?

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lego train with two tracks and a lego man holding a lever

Escaping the tyranny of the ‘no new ideas’ myth

I was reminded recently that a few years ago I chose to reject the maxim that there are no new ideas to be had. This truism comes in a variety of forms. I remember hearing it most often when it comes to stories. Apparently humans are all basically alike and any story about humans has […]

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Philosophy labels

  Crisis I have this problem where I get up in the morning or go to bed and worry about what I’m doing with my life or what I like or what my purpose is. It happens really regularly, it pops up in my diary all the time when I review it. This is particularly […]

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Philosophy of tool use

Causal Direction It has taken me a very long time to come to a fruitful understanding of tools. It was when I watched my artist housemate use a pen with a needle taped to the end in order to poke holes in clay that it finally fell into place. Tools are things that someone invented to […]

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Another opinion u-turn

I realised with a bump the other day that I no longer view a person being both a scientist and religious as a contradiction. This is another example of a u-turn of my opinions in recent years. I was watching TV and two characters were having a discussion. The person was talking about how they […]

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Summary of Kegan Stage 5 Principles

In order to compile my list of possible fluid mode institutions, I relied on a series of distilled principles about what Kegan Stage 5 is, or does. I have distilled this from my own reading, from sources I found particularly useful to me. At the bottom I will link to other bloggers who have found […]

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Crap Criticisms Of Elon Musk

I find criticisms of Elon Musk to be really annoying. They normally lie along two lines: Elon Musk is really mean and pushes workers too hard Elon Musk’s companies are not very profitable/they miss his crazy targets These criticisms are expressed in a sort of triumphant way, as if to say, “Checkmate! You cannot escape […]

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telsa car on star trek set credit to Twitter user:@Kenetor

My Favourite Ribbon Farm Posts 2017

Last month, Ribbonfarm released their 2017 post roundup and as a big fan I thought I’d share my favourite posts, ideas within posts (and maybe some posts I didn’t like). I’ve only been reading ribbonfarm since mid-2016, so this year is the first where I started to form opinions on my favourite writers there. I’ve re-read […]

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ribbonfarm recruitment poster

The Future Of Sexuality

(cross posted from my personal blog) Sexuality In The Past Sexuality in the Anglo and European West for some recent previous generations was a simple affair. In the Victorian worldview, when categorising things was the preoccupation, the population was divided into two categories, men and women. If a person (a subject), founds themselves to be […]

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More Strategies For Body Pleasure Management

This post is an investigation into the concept of pleasure or enjoyment as it relates to Kahnemans concept of the experiencing self and the remembering self. It is posted on this blog in the spirit of sharing strategies for pleasure, as mentioned by Sarah Perry in her essay Body Pleasure: I think that the best […]

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Get Past This Angst

Consider the following found in a recent email from Adbusters: How can we have spaceships and virtual reality and starving children at the same time? Weighing the almost magical technological advancement of recent years against the regression of our relations with nature and each other, one wonders what kind of life we will propel ourselves […]

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Primer: Systems Don’t Work

At topical moments in time, I have been comparing my views on things to those around me. This serves to hold up a mirror to the way I think about things, compared to the way others think about things. In most cases I used to think the way other people do, but now, somehow, I […]

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Utopia Acid Test

If you (or someone) are working on a theory for building a new way to run the world, good on you! It’s hard! But before you go to the internet with your new world order, here’s a short list of things that I believe are critical and must be considered.  If you don’t have a […]

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Britain’s unequal cities and the magnetic force of London’s social norms

City Size and Stability An acquaintance once told me that Germany experiences political stability in part due to the fact that all of its cities are roughly of equal size. I have no way to validate this claim, but Germany’s cities do seem to be noticeably uniform in their population and population density after the […]

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End Of Nations: Stage 5 Geography?

Can we go beyond nations into political fluidity?

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Stage 4 Quote Of The Day

“Anything that thinks logically can be fooled by something else that thinks at least as logically as it does.” – Douglas Adams

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Money, part 2

My emotional return to a world using money

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Emotionally Dealing With Cheaters

It’s time for some emotional maturity when it comes to cheaters in systems.

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Existing signs of fluidity

Required Reading Robert Kegan’s personal development framework, summarised here by David Chapman. You might also like to read my earlier thoughts about what Stage 5 or “fluid mode” is, or means, for individuals. This post will be taking huge liberties with material that is intended to describe personal, cognitive and social development of an individual by […]

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Postmodernist Territory

Cover Photo by James Walshe Intro: You already know this stuff Sometimes people feel they don’t grasp Postmodernism because they believe it must be complicated, when in fact many parts of it are “obvious”, “normal” or already part of everyday life. We live in a postmodern world and from the end of high school onwards […]

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What is Stage 5’s environment?

In Robert Kegan’s book, the fifth stage of cognitive, personal and social evolution is called  the Inter-Individual Stage. I find this to be the least useful of all the names for the stages. According to his framework, one moves from “being” one’s current environment to “having” it as a tool. At stage 3, one “is” […]

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Emotional challenges of Stage 5

Required reading This post uses a key framework of personal evolution by Robert Kegan.  It is summarised by David Chapman here. This post is in dialogue with, and an expansion on, Chapman’s recent post about moving through stages 3, 4 and 5 in modern society (and the lack of support for it) here. This post will […]

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Reaching Stage 5 – non STEM

Required reading This post uses a key framework: Chapman’s version of Robert Kegan’s theories of emotional, cognitive and social development, it is summarised here. This post is in dialogue with, and an expansion on, Chapman’s recent post about moving through stages 3, 4 and 5 in modern society (and the lack of support for it) here. […]

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Polyamory as stage 4 bridge

Required reading This post uses a key framework: Chapman’s version of Robert Kegan’s theories of emotional, cognitive and social development, it is summarised here. This post is in dialogue with, and an expansion on, Chapman’s recent post about moving through stages 3, 4 and 5 in modern society (and the lack of support for it) here. […]

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Eternalist problems with bisexuality

Preamble My thoughts in this blog post rely on other frameworks to better understand bisexuality. The first set of frameworks are eternalism/nihilism and  monism/dualism as outlined by David Chapman on his project called meaningness. Very briefly, Eternalism says that everything has a definite, true meaning. Nihilism says that nothing really means anything. I will be […]

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Money

From the title, this post seems to me to have too broad a remit but I wanted to document the changes in my relationship to money. This blog was started at the outset of a journey in which I refused to engage with money. Money was being used as a weapon of power, particularly in […]

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Literary reactions to propaganda in a structuralist world

Russian-born American writer Ayn Rand’s early novel Anthem was written and published in Britain in 1936*. The introduction to the revised text written by Ayn Rand that is still used in modern publications of the work was composed in 1946. British author George Orwell’s novel 1984 was written in 1948 and published in 1949. Both of […]

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Community Units

Community Units It is important to have solutions to human life that are of the appropriate size and scale. Additionally, some solutions are only appropriate for one scale and some for another. Most save the world solutions I hear are brilliant for their context, and I think the hardest part of all is envisioning mechanisms […]

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What I Know About Post-Structuralism

Post-structuralism is a branch of contemporary philosophy which sits in our current postmodern context, with its roots in Continental Philosophy (a loose term to describe a wide range of philosophies popular in Germany and France that were in some ways opposed to Anglo-American analytic philosophy in the 20th century) and informed by Structuralism, a philosophy […]

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Cross+Pollination Zine

I made a thing! Yay! Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it… it’s about the benefits rationalists and feminists could gain if they learned from each other. CrossPolli Issue 1

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Religious tendencies

I recently came across this post, an article criticising what the author calls “Pop-Bayesianism”, the first time I’ve really come across a critique of my one of my new interests, ideas around rationality derived mainly from the Less Wrong blog/London meetups of same. I also saw a link to this video, a trailer for a film […]

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The Lazy One Is Well Prepared

“The lazy one is well prepared” – a proverb I’ve enjoyed contemplating. It means that taking small actions in the present allows for greater laziness in the future. Truly lazy people optimise their life for overall idleness, inactivity or in my case, flexibility. Laziness all the time does not foster opportunities for future laziness: money/food/shelter/goods […]

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Life Isn’t Hard

In numerous ways, I have come to observe that people think something is more worthwhile if it is difficult to achieve, or even more strangely, if it is painful to achieve. Additionally, if ‘the norm’ is to do one type of thing and someone comes up with an easier thing that achieves broadly the same […]

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Theoretical Statements (1)

Bisexuality, feminism and trans thought/behaviour are all interconnected with the idea of gender, hence people from these groups are comfortable bedfellows (metaphorically and often, in my experience, literally). However there is an important difference; trans and feminist thought/behaviour is very invested in the idea of gender, and by this I mean the idea of binary […]

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