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Visualizing Social Actions

Page history last edited by Christine Egger 14 years ago





Identify a number of metaphors and images that guide the design of Social Actions



To assist us in checking the development of Social Actions against a rich menu of ideals, images, and best practices.




  • Aikido practitioner
    • As we understand it, aikido is a martial art that leverages the force and energy of an opponent towards a certain outcome. In a battle, would mean turning your opponent into a pretzel through his energies. In a noncombative environment, it means being aware of how you can channel the energy (positive or negative) that your partners bring to a conversation to create whatever it is you've set out to create (to borrow from the other metaphors here, to create a soliton or to put wind in the kites that pull the ship). We see aikido practice as a means to engage our partners and create projects that they can see themselves in. Also, the concept for us is linked to nonviolence because the aikido master can have the strength of a fruitfly and sill be incredibly effective --  the strength he's leveraging is always his opponents' (in our case, partners') strength.
  • Soliton
    • "In mathematics and physics, a soliton is a self-reinforcing solitary wave (a wave packet or pulse) that maintains its shape while it travels at constant speed" (source). to be completed
  • Flying ship
    • This image suggests Social Actions represented as a flying ship. Inside the ship are all of the resources, skills, intentions, etc. that make Social Actions what it is. Ahead of the ship, at a bit of a distance, is the point at which Social Actions' vision is fully realized. Around us, at various distances, in all directions, are other ships headed in the same direction. This is our community, all kinds of individuals and organizations creating conditions that make this vision possible. The ship is being pulled along by a number of kites, each of which represents Social Actions' principles, that which we're passionate about, activities we excel at, etc. The image of this ship reminds us of where we're headed and the community we're surrounded by, in harmony with the environment in which it resides.
  • Permaculture
    • Permaculture refers to a way of farming that creates the conditions in which produce would be growing were they to be in the wild. It reflects a low impact, high yield form of agriculture, planting only those fruits and vegetables that are naturally occurring in an ecosystem. In the work we do, those practices can serve as guideposts for our work, too, in terms of grounding our work in very natural, human interactions (as opposed to artificial constructs). Difficult to think of permaculture and innovation at the same time. Innovation -- something new. Permaculture -- working with what's come before, not rocking the ship. Social Actions' work includes re-embedding traditional values into this very complex electronic cultures we now are bound to. In many ways, that's a struggle of permaculturists as well -- finding a way to scale their influence and production in the context of a mass agro-business world.
  • Lifelong apprentice of a craft
    • This draws attention to Social Actions as a practice rather than a product. Paying attention to the process of honing our craft, and constantly being open to learning and evolution, enriches our capacity to engage in our work in a way that reflects the other metaphors here: moving the ship forward; "working with" rather than "fighting against;" retaining the soliton's shape over space and time; nurturing the plant in a permaculture environment. If our work becomes stale and "templated," then we haven't satisfied our commitment to lifelong apprenticeship. 


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