Today, we begin working on the solutions to the crises that we have designed for ourselves.

Ruined by Design
RUINED BY DESIGN A design ethics and activism book by Mike Monteiro

Life is Messy

A very bright clown, Lunette, once said, “Who made this big mess? We did. We have to clean it up. It’s only fair.”

First Principles

All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten.

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
  • Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
Excerpt from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten | Penguin Random House Canada
Essays on life that will resonate deeply as readers discover how universal insights can be found in ordinary events.

Love the Other

When we grow up, we learn about how cranky old men decided that only the things that they valued were worth counting. Ever since, we have been ordering our world according to some really gross ideas about how people are more valuable than other people because they have more money.

Economists tell us that we must grow our national economies and account for the wealth of nations according to a number we know as GDP: Gross National Product.

This idea became a world-wide religion where we all worship the idols we created with our own hands, the golden calf we call a brand or a corporation.

Best Brands - Interbrand
Ranking the world’s most valuable brands.

Some people even wrote on pieces of paper where they put their confidence. They meant to say, “In God we trust,” but, in practice, their money became their god.

In God we trust

They even killed a man over $20.

‘Make it stop’: George Floyd’s brother calls on Congress to act over police violence
Philonise Floyd makes impassioned plea to ensure brother’s death ‘isn’t in vain’ and urges US lawmakers to ‘do the right thing’

“Is that what a Black man is worth? Twenty dollars?” – Philonise Floyd

At the foundation of this belief system is the doctrine that capital has value and humans have value only in relation to their capacity to create or accumulate capital.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

— Matthew 6:24

Metaphysical Reality

Our reality is ordered by the capitalist ideology that builds our entire world on the premise that humans exist to create capital.

We have designed an entire social, economic, and political system that reduces a human’s most precious resources—their time, energy, and creativity—into a value exchange for money.

The metaphysical is that which is beyond the physical. That which is beyond what we can measure in the physical world of cosmology, geology, and biology is what we might refer to as the metaphysical world of human experience: perception, cognition, emotion, and action. That is our metaphysical reality.

Cultural Evolution, Social Physics, and Metaphysical Design
The spiritual vision of the Bauhaus was a faith in people’s ability to transform society for good by breaking down divisions and working together toward a common purpose.

How do we measure metaphysical reality? We follow the money. Large technology corporations have created a vast network of machines and devices to watch where we invest our time, energy, and resources. They have designed systems to track us, and algorithms to manipulate our attention and behaviour.

Naomi Klein and Shoshana Zuboff on the Rise of Surveillance Capitalism
Naomi Klein talks with Shoshana Zuboff, author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.”

If our value system is based on capital, we will have a belief in scarcity, profit, and surplus. The system is designed for inequality. People profit by taking more than they give back.

Monarchs enlist their subjects to explore the world for resources to enrich their empires. They make laws to justify their actions. They make corporations as the primary institutions for extracting resources from people and from the territories they had “discovered.” They create colonies of settlers to displace the original inhabitants. They create ways to keep people informed about how the commonwealth of nations depends on the civility of the subjects of the Crown.

After over 500 years since Pope Alexander VI issued the Papal Bull “Inter Caetera” in 1493, the Doctrine of Discovery has been imposed by monarchs upon their colonies, and they are continuing with the same colonial project to this day.

Doctrine of Discovery — Upstander Project
<p>The Upstander Project helps bystanders become upstanders through compelling documentary films and learning resources. Our films include <a href=”/firstlight”><em>First Light</em></a>, the debut film in a series anchored by the feature film <a href=”/dawnland”><em>Dawnland</em></a>, and <a href=”/…
Extraction Empire
Globally, more than 75% of prospecting and mining companies on the planet are based in Canada. Seemingly impossible to conceive, the scale of these statistics naturally extends the logic of Canada’s historical legacy as state, nation, and now, as global resource empire.
Canada is fake
What Americans think of as their friendly neighbor to the north, if they think of it at all, is a scam.
Capitalism requires inequality and racism enshrines it.
BBC Sounds - Rethink, Anand Giridharadas: Rethinking Capitalism
Author Giridharadas asks if now is the moment to rethink everything.

However, these monarchs lacked foresight. They lost control of the narrative. They lost control of their colonies. They inadvertently surrendered their technological advantages by providing their trade secrets to the slave labour they were using to build their empires.

The colonizers are being colonized by their former colonies.


Marilyn Waring on Politics

In 1975, 22-year-old Marilyn Waring became the youngest member in the New Zealand Parliament. At the age of 24, she became Chairperson of the prestigious Public Expenditures Committee, which reviewed all the parliamentary budgets of her government. She travelled to over 35 countries in this capacity, and discovered that the rules which governed the finances of her own country were operating worldwide.

Marilyn Waring on Women and Economics

In each country she visited, Waring spent a day with a local woman her own age. She witnessed the enormous, unrecorded, unacknowledged extent of women's work. Women remain more than 50 percent of the world's population, yet hold no more than 10 percent of the seats in national legislatures. In one government in three, there are no women in the highest decision-making bodies.

Thirty Years Later: Are We Still ‘Counting for Nothing’?

Marilyn will reflect on the GDP and changes and strategies emerging since 1989, the year her classic critique was published. What has been critical and radical, what has been sadly strategically astray, and what has added to the destructive power of this over-rated indicator?

Waring is professor of public policy, AUT University, New Zealand. She is an internationally-renowned feminist political economist, human rights activist, development consultant. Her best known work, Counting for Nothing: what men value and what women are worth, was the subject of the best-selling documentary made by the NFB Canada Who’s Counting: Marilyn Waring on sex, lies and global economics.

She was one of the “1000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize” nominations in 2005. Also in 2005, Waring was chosen by Attac-40 as one of 26 Voix Rebelles Du Monde, (Rebellious Voices of the World) including Jo Steiglitz, Maude Barlow, Arundhati Roy, and Vandana Shiva. Waring has been on the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and was one of two international members of the Board of the Canadian Index for Well Being.

She was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal, 1977; Amnesty’s Human Rights Defender Award 2013; NZIER Economist of the Year 2014; winner Women of Influence Innovation/Science category; and International Honorary Member Zonta.

BBC Sounds - Rethink, Brian Eno: Rethinking The Winners
Musician Eno investigates the kinds of leadership available to us.

Observations

  • Trump’s presidency has been a global awakening to systemic racism.
  • People are not able to recognize their own racism, let alone the racism of an entire social, economic, and political system, because it is the water we swim in.
  • We are making the invisible visible.
  • Intellectual property is a form of human abstraction that embeds human knowledge into a racist economic system designed for the enrichment of the individual that “discovers” an idea.
  • This is a racist idea, called the Doctrine of Discovery.
  • A corporation is a form of human abstraction that embeds the concept of property into a racist economic system designed to create monopolies of power and imbue these abstract organizations of human power with legal personhood, according to a racist ideology of a hierarchy of values that can be ascribed to human beings based on an individual’s access to capital.
  • Because I do not belong in this world, that has been constructed to destroy my identity and sense of self by proselytizing, neglecting, marginalizing, and silencing, I have learned that my role in this world is to act as a sort of cultural anthropologist, “a stranger in a strange land.”
  • “And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.” Exodus 2:22

Rethinking Economics

The 20th-century economists told us a story about who we are, based on John Stuart Mill’s persona of "Rational Economic Man" as purely self-interested, with little regard for the interests of others. “This value in self-interest and competition over collaboration and altruism, this model remakes us. It's incredibly important how we how we represent ourselves. It changes us.”

Kate Raworth argues that rethinking economics can save our planet
Endless growth may actually be hurting our economy -- and our planet. Economist Kate Raworth makes a case for “doughnut economics”: an alternative way to look at the economic systems ruling our societies and imagine a sustainable future for all. (Audio only)

Building a New House

A letter to Don Golden, Monday, November 18, 2019

Hi Don,

I listened to the RobCast this morning, and I am listening to “Building a New House“ again. Your story is compelling, and I would love to find out how I can get involved.

Bau is a Chinese name, meaning “abalone.” In German, it means “to build.” Thirty years ago, I learned about the Bauhaus in college when I was learning to be a graphic designer. It was a school with a vision to rebuild society. I worked for a couple years at a Vancouver design studio. Then I started my own design business to build the house of God, Bauhouse Visual Communications in 1991.

In 2015, I started a corporation called BLDRS Collective Inc to build leaders to design a resilient society. The vision of the builders collective is to connect a creative, collaborative network to respond to the social, economic, political, and ecological crisis. Inspired by the Bauhaus, the idea is to reimagine our social architecture, recognizing the evolution of design from a focus on physical artifacts to the metaphysical: the social, economic, and political in symbiosis with the living systems of the planet.

Cultural Evolution, Social Physics, and Metaphysical Design
The spiritual vision of the Bauhaus was a faith in people’s ability to transform society for good by breaking down divisions and working together toward a common purpose.

In your conversation with Rob Bell, you told the story of Stephen giving a history lesson to the Sanhedrin.

I am named after Stephen, and I have been pondering that story about building the house for most of my life.

Rebuilding Our World
I was interacting with a colleague regarding the process of capturing snippets of life through microblogging on Tumblr, and it made me think of r/place on Reddit. It makes me wonder what might happen…

In your discussion with Rob Bell, a missing piece was added to my understanding: the word oikos and the connection between house and economy. Sally McFague from Vancouver School of Theology just passed away. In memoriam, Tripp Fuller released a couple conversations he shared with Sally McFague. She mentions her studies in economics and her theological ideas about death, love, and God embodied in the world.

CBC Tapestry just released an episode about resilience.

Stop trying to do it all yourself: family therapist says self-help only goes so far | CBC Radio
Whether it’s yoga, mindfulness techniques or home remedies, there seems to be a DIY solution for every problem. Dalhousie professor Michael Ungar says that’s misleading. True resilience is about more than just the individual.

A couple of dancers were brainstorming ideas for the title of their performance and are considering “embodied.”

There is something about these connections that is saying something to me about the next steps in my journey.

I wonder if there is any way I can help you with your work on building a new house.

Sincerely,

Stephen Samuel Bau
(Meaning: “A crowned one heard from God: build”)

The Evolution of a Designer
As a designer, I have been adapting to the social, economic, political, and technological environment for fifty-one years.

Emailed to Don Golden. I had a conversation with Don Golden the day the news was released that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated.

‪“It’s almost like if an immigrant nation tried to build a wall to keep out immigrants.” (17:00) @donrgolden @realrobbell https://robbell.podbean.com/e/building-a-new-house-with-don-golden/

The Tribe of Plenty

I am taking a course with the Buckminster Fuller Institute to learn to be a trim tab on Space Ship Earth.

Buckminster Fuller’s Brilliant Metaphor for the Greatest Key to Transformation and Growth
“What you do with yourself, just the little things you do yourself, these are the things that count.”

After the Zoom meeting for the final module, featuring Bonnie DeVarco, the archivist of the Buckminster Fuller collection, there was a group of people who had been inspired by the ideas that I had proposed about reimagining our social architecture.

These ideas draw from the sacred text with which I was raised and that is still very much a part of our metaphysical reality in a world colonized by Western European Christians.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

— Hebrews 10:24-25

I suggested that the root problem is our global economic system that values capital more than humans. There is an asymmetry of power in the relationship between corporations and people. We have ascribed legal personhood to corporations. Corporations can accumulate far more capital than any single human being, and they can be potentially immortal.

We have been more afraid of homicidal machines built with artificial intelligence, but The Terminator has already been built in the form of a corporation. It operates like a perpetual motion machine on its own internal logic, afforded by the social, economic, and political systems that animate the incentives, motivations, and machinery to kill humans in a multiplicity of schemes. We are complicit in the ongoing genocide that started with the Papal Bull of 1493.

However, we have the capacity to change the stories that we have been telling each other for years.

Humans should not be grovelling at the feet of corporations for the privilege of a job, to be enslaved to the security of a pay check, for work that is less than meaningless. The work is to engage in actively enslaving and killing people.

Can we reimagine the kind of work that we do, where organizations need to bid on our time, energy, and resources, because each life is precious and short?

The Gods of Men

Corporations are immortal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. In comparison to humans, they are god-like.

Brands are symbols of trust. We put confidence in a brand based on the quality of the experience that we have with their products and services. We form tribal relationships with brands. They have become our own personal Jesus.

We pray to our phones and devices every day by giving them all our attention, time, energy, and resources.

Human time, energy, and creativity are the new currency. When our time and love are considered precious, as living, breathing human beings, then money, capital, property, corporations, and nations become worthless abstractions.

Mental Models for Human Experience
Transcending human-centered design, this is design that seeks to learn from nature, to put into practice the knowledge and principles of biomimicry to reimagine and redesign our environment, to reconnect ourselves to our own humanity and to reconnect us to the earth and all living things.

Turn on a Dime

If we now realize how we are worshipping the golden calf, the work of our hands, how do we now repent?

Repent means to physically turn in the opposite direction. Interestingly, Jason Reynolds and Krista Tippett were in a conversation recently about systemic racism and repentance.

Jason Reynolds – Fortifying Imagination
The writer on the “libraries” inside our bodies; “breathlaughter”; and why racism is the greatest hoax ever played on humans.

I remember someone speaking of systemic racism (now I cannot remember where), using the analogy of a circular above-ground pool where people have moved in one direction for so long that they have created a whirlpool effect. To turn around means to fight against the current. But, if everyone stops moving, the current quickly dissipates.

We have discovered the power of collective action, when we decide to value human life more than money. We are saving people’s lives by going to our rooms to think about what we have done.

Now, we can think a little longer before we try to go back to what we were doing before we realized that a pandemic had the potential of killing hundreds of thousands of living, breathing human beings.

Money is a story we tell ourselves

Jesus flipped the tables. It is time that we flipped the tables in this temple that was built to serve and worship the god of Capitalism. Overturn the tables of the money changers. The whole thing has been built on a lie.

Money, Then and Now | On the Media | WNYC Studios
How money didn’t arise from barter, and why gold isn’t as precious as we might think &mdash; the money myths are many.&nbsp;
Episode 2: The Economy That Slavery Built
In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.

The Death of Jesus

Crucifixion is a method of punishment or capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang, perhaps for several days, until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation. It was used as a punishment by the Romans.

I can’t breathe

The world witnessed one who was considered by the empire as “one of the least of these” die by asphyxiation in eight minutes and forty-six seconds.

Kadir Nelson’s “Say Their Names”
“Say Their Names,” Kadir Nelson’s cover for the June 22, 2020, issue of The New Yorker, reflects on the murder of George Floyd and the history of violence against black people in America.
“I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

— Matthew 25:40

The Earthquake

The death of George Floyd has been the social, economic, and political earthquake felt around the world.

“Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching
Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done,
they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.”

— Matthew 27:54

I had heard about it, but I hadn’t actually seen Dave Chappelle’s show in Ohio, so I started watching it. I was looking up the verse in Matthew that talks about the earthquake that happened when Jesus of Nazareth died, and Dave Chappelle said the following.

“In 1983, I’m not sure what year it was, but I was in LA. I had smoked a joint, and I was watching the movie, Apocalypse Now. Like, just after four o’clock in the morning, what would later be known as the ‘Northridge earthquake’ happened. It felt like it started in my apartment.”

The Riots

But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
Clarity
Ancient storytelling illuminates recurring patterns in the histories of humans when thinking about the never-ending struggle between the hierarchies they create and the people who serve them.
“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands.”
Class M Planets
The starship Enterprise provided a hospitable, self-sustaining environment for its crew of adventurers in the search for new worlds. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, created a television…
The Seed of Love
I recently received a request from a local Christian school to participate in a survey. So, I participated. There is a focus on creating a pedestrian community that connects the university with the…
Builders Collective
Lately, we have been learning about the long-term implications of the things that we create. We use technology to solve problems, but these solutions often have unintended side-effects that result in…
A Prayer for the Earth
I haven’t prayed for a while because I was wondering who I was praying to. I wrote a liturgy for Gaia, the incarnated universe, the divine feminine, Mother Earth.
“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
The Power of Love
I equated Christianity with shame, guilt, anger, blame, judgment, punishment, silence, depression, and hypocrisy. I remember, when I was quite young, making a trip as a family to proselytize to a…
I was thinking I should include something like this, but I thought better of it.
I was thinking I should include something like this, but I thought better of it. It just seemed too mean. Why do we take on the debts of Texas oil companies to build a pipeline that will pollute our…
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem…

The Monopoly on Violence

At around 6:00 p.m. on the evening of June 1, Donald Trump stood before a podium on the White House lawn and announced to the nation that he was prepared to use military force to quiet the demonstrations and riots that have swept the cities of the nation in the wake of last week’s murder of George Floyd by four policemen in Minneapolis.
Delete Facebook
The burning of the American Empire and the Earth is the responsibility of every Facebook executive and employee who might be saying to themselves, “I was only following orders to keep my well-compensated position at Facebook.”
Game
I played your game. I built your wealth. And you burned it to the ground. How can we win? How can we win?

The Future Earth

Eric Holthaus’s book, The Future Earth, was just released. It amounts to a manifesto for the movement to imagine, design, and build the future together: a builders collective, reimagining our social architecture for the good of all life on Earth. @EricHolthaus

The Future Earth - Eric Holthaus - Paperback
The first hopeful book about climate change, The Future Earth shows readers how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades.The...

There Is No Profit in this World. There’s Only Life.

There Is No Profit in this World. There’s Only Life
Tribute to Kay Sara, a young, indigenous actress from the Amazon. It’s time to stop the madness. Let’s become aware. Let’s be artist-activists.

The online series School of Resistance starts off with a speech by the indigenous artist and activist Kay Sara. Her speech should have opened the Wiener Festwochen live on the stage of the Burgtheater Vienna. But COVID-19 decided differently and Kay Sara sends a video from the Amazon. Her message is clear: today’s turbo-capitalist system poses an irreversible threat to the Amazon, the planet’s green lung, and therefore has to be stopped. An accusation, an outcry, a wake-up call.

Kay Sara, an indigenous artist and activist, grew up in the Brazilian state of Amazonas and is committed to the adequate representation of indigenous people and the preservation of their environment against the threat of mining companies and the agribusiness. She will play the role of Antigone in Milo Rau’s production of Sophocles’ Antigone in the Amazon.

Kay Sara - Wiener Festwochen
Die Wiener Festwochen sind ein spartenübergreifendes Kunstfestival, das 2020 von 25. Mai bis 21. Juni stattfinden wird.

Born in 1996, Kay Sara grew up in Iauaretê in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, close to the Colombian border. Her father was a member of the indigenous Tariano tribe, while her mother belonged to the Tukano people. At age 7, she moved with her family to Manaus, where, the same year, she performed in a film for the first time. As a young activist and performer, she is commited to the adequate representation of indigenous people, their way of living and mythological fundamentals in Brazil’s culture, and to the preservation of their environment against the threat of mining companies and the agribusiness. Acting is a tradition in her family and serves as a key strategy of her political involvement. Since her grandparents participated in Hector Babenco’s feature film Brincando nos Campos do Senhor (At Play in the Fields of the Lord, 1991), her parents and other family members performed in many films dealing with the life of the indigenous population of the Amazonian rainforest. Kay Sara appeared in several feature films and TV series, including Un giorno devi andare (There Will Come a Day) by Giorgio Diritti (2013) or Antes o Tempo Não Acabava (Time Was Endless) by Sergio Andrade and Fábio Baldo (2016. In 2018, she left Manaus in search of new opportunities and experiences. She is currently living in São Paulo and also works with several theatre collectives. In 2018, she developed her first solo performance PÊ'TÍA'NÃWE-EXTERMÍNIO.