human scale

original (1980) revisited (2017) by Kirkpatrick Sale –

Kirkpatrick Sale (born June 27, 1937) is an author who has written prolifically about political decentralism, environmentalism, luddism and technology. He has been described as having a “philosophy unified by decentralism” and as being “a leader of the Neo-Luddites,” an “anti-globalizationleftist,” and “the theoretician for a new secessionist movement.”

(on secession):

Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. .. a process, which commences once a group proclaims the act of secession (e.g. declaration of independence). A secession attempt might be violent or peaceful, but the goal is the creation of a new state or entity independent from the group or territory it seceded from

intro’d via Kevin‘s mention while talking – kevin on anarchism w/o adj:

3 min – mid 30s read human scale by kirkpatrick sale.. had a lot of info that got me started on further investigation into political/econ decentralization.. subsidies.. econs.. dis econs of scale.. thinking about how state shifts econ upward and how capitalism depends on state.. state intervention.. started thinking of myself as an anarchist.. read on artificial property rights and scarcity via state.. i considered myself an individualist anarchist or mutualist for quite a long time.

library only had human scale revisted (2017) – from amazon linked to book image:

Big government, big business, big everything: Kirkpatrick Sale took giantism to task in his 1980 classic, Human Scale, and today takes a new look at how the crises that imperil modern America are the inevitable result of bigness grown out of control―and what can be done about it.

The result is a keenly updated, carefully argued case for bringing human endeavors back to scales we can comprehend and manage―whether in our built environments, our politics, our business endeavors, our energy plans, or our mobility.

Sale walks readers back through history to a time when buildings were scaled to the human figure (as was the Parthenon), democracies were scaled to the societies they served, and enterprise was scaled to communities. Against that backdrop, he dissects the bigger-is-better paradigm that has defined modern times and brought civilization to a crisis point. Says Sale, retreating from our calamity will take rebalancing our relationship to the environment; adopting more human-scale technologies; right-sizing our buildings, communities, and cities; and bringing our critical services―from energy, food, and garbage collection to transportation, health, and education―back to human scale as well.

Like Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher, Human Scale has long been a classic of modern decentralist thought and communitarian values―a key tool in the kit of those trying to localize, create meaningful governance in bioregions, or rethink our reverence of and dependence on growth, financially and otherwise.

e f schumacher – small is beautiful

Rewritten to interpret the past few decades, Human Scale offers compelling new insights on how to turn away from the giantism that has caused escalating ecological distress and inequality, dysfunctional governments, and unending warfare and shines a light on many possible pathways that could allow us to scale down, survive, and thrive.



part 1 – toward the human scale

le corbusier: ‘units of measure are the first condition of all. the builder takes as his measure what is easiest and most constant; his pace/foot/elbow/finger.. he has created a unit which regs the whole work.. it is in harmony w him.. that is the main point’

paul d spreiregen: ‘the proper size of a bedroom has not changed in 1000s of years.. neither has the proper size of a door/community.. scale: by that we mean that buildings and their components are related harmoniously to each other and to human beings.. in urban design we also means that a city and its parts are interrelated and also related to people and their abilities to comprehend their surroundings’

constantine doxiadis: ‘the most important balance of all the elements in space is that of the human scale’

1 – parthenothanatos


as a genuine artifact of hellenic civilization, the parthenon is no more. what remains after the ravages of the modern world is a genuine artifact of industrial civ.. the monument that was – the shrine that even in tis imperfect shape excited for centuries – will never exist again, and at best the restorers can transform the temple into a kind of picture postcard, its sculptures no more than ‘authentic reproductions’ as the museum world’s contradiction has it, its interior barred to public experience. pilgrimages have no been made these many centuries so that the inheritors of the classic greeks could stand off in mid distance and gaze at the wonders of artificial stone


nor is this awesome devastation confined to the parthenon, or greece, or europe.. the monuments of the world’s civilization are being degraded and obliterated by misfortune of being located in modern industrial car polluted cities..

but parthenon stands out for two reasons:

1\ symbol of crisis to which western civ has come.. not some temp aberration .. but rather a fixed conditions.. can’t be stopped.. i am tempted to say it is too late to try to bring a halt to their crisis.. even if.. rethink/reorg our systems.. but if not too late.. only hope would be to reorder and rework our habitats and environs, our lives/civilizations, along such lines as original parthenon would suggest, a building built on principles of the human scale.. t

ie: 2 convers as infra

2\ greek philosophies/orgs built on notion of freeborn citizens (unlike peoples of preceding empires.. who worshiped omnipotent gods.. served mighty kings.. clusters selves into faceless urban multitudes..) .. w inalienable equality w/in community.. expected to participate for betterment of self/others.. in agora – amorphous and spontaneous movement.. a social axis on which rest of city’s life spun.. ecclesia.. freemen ( not women) meet to formulate decisions.. sports.. schools.. passion to development of human mind.. (at least those who had leisure for it) .. the day was org’d as much as possible, for individual’s intellectual, aesthetic, sexual, social and civic satisfaction.. in short.. athens was, in words of lewis mumford, a city ‘cut closer to the human measure’

need to go back further.. ie: red flags: decision making; school; intellect; et al

mumford non-specialized law

jensen civilization law


ie: cure ios city


there is an overarching cause (of crisis) that is the excesses in all aspects of our lives that have gone beyond human scale.. bigness, kin short, is at the heart of our predicament

begs we get back/to small is {ginormous} beautiful ness

smaller and more people sized institutions and arrangements are not simply necessary and desirable, but – despite myopic critics – are possible.. we have a means to achieve a desirable future as soon as we can apply the will


ef schumacher: ‘i called my book small is beautiful not because everything small is beautiful but because everything else is too big’.. t

and too perfect/calculated/ordered/preditable

small is {ginormous} beautiful

e f schumacher – small is beautiful

2 – crises of civilization

civilization ness


crises: global ecology – earth, social ecology – people, political order – govt/war/money


i say no one could have predicted – (how exponential crises are) – but that’s not true.. back in 1972 an outfit called the club or rome published an analysis called limits of growth, principal authors: donella and dennis meadows.. showed by computer models what expo growth would do.. dire prediction of limit reached in next 100 yrs

getting back/to enough ness – ‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

means we are not living thru a time that is markedly diff from that of the past.. so large/powerful/intrusive/unmanageable


solutions tried.. have done nothing to diminish the impact of expo growth.. indeed.. the solutions turn out to be problems.. or generate unforeseen problems.. that is why it is necessary to turn in a totally diff direction w a totally diff mind set and expectation.. a way, as i will show you.. to the human scale

we could do it if we focus on the human – the legit human – not whales in sea world.. ie: cure ios city via 2 convers as infra

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh

3 – the human scale future


the human scale alt: smaller, more controllable, more efficient, more sensitive, people sized units.. rooted in local environments and guided by local citizens

controllable? efficient?

yeah i don’t know

human scale was originally an architectural term.. used to describe the components of a building in relation to the people who use it..


(on human scale being foot, yard, as measured by body parts) i mean social arrangements, economic conditions, and political structure could all be designed so that individuals can take in their experience whole and coherently, relate w other people freely and honestly, .. not feel intimidated or impotent because there are any large hidden forces beyond their control or reckoning.. what it takes is a scale at which individuals become neighbors and lovers instead of just acquaintances and ciphers, makers and creator s instead of just users and consumers, participants and protagonists instead of just observers and taxpayers..

such an age would not be congenial to centralized bureaucracies or high tech conglomerates, would not permit multibillion dollar investments in nuclear plants of military adventures or useless space stations.. it would not allow the production of 89 million polluting motor vehicles every year or countrywide fracking that fouls drinking water and creates earthquakes, or metro areas of 24 million people, or a cabinet dept (homeland security) formed out of 22 agencies w 216 000 bureaucrats, or the manufacture of 387 brands in america, or a code of fed regs that at 175,496 pages in 2014 was 117x as big as the bible,.. or a single world trade org, governed by a secret court, regulating 90% of international trading..

may seem utopian dream.. and it will not come easily, but there are several reasons to imagine it possible

1\ it accords w some of the deepest instincts of the human animal, possible encoded in our dna, such as the need for tribal and community sustenance, for harmony w the natural world, for companionship and cooperation..

even more succinct/deep: maté basic needs 2018


2\ it accords w the experience of by far the greatest part of human history, from earliest settlements to most of world today, in which people lived in compact villages and self contained towns, crafting and hunting (and later farming and herding) for themselves, before some of them evolved into cities and empires

human history et al – but again.. deeper .. ie: garden-enough ness


3\ and it accords w much that is rooted in the american experience, such as the tradition of cooperation and self sufficiency that grew up i the early settlements.. the town meeting democracies that extended at one from from new england to virgina, the agrarian and anti authoritarian values of the founding fathers.. the jeffersonian understanding of scale and distrust of centralism, the drive for self sufficiency and independence that for generations led people from the cities to the frontier

yeah.. lost me there.. values of the founding fathers? town meetings of democracies..?

i don’t think those are human scale

4\ advantage of knowing the ills and errors of high tech in past decades.. the one ironic benefit of the super rapid expo growth.. a few.. quasi luddistic bent who realize that machines must be differentiated so that those that are of human scale – small, safe, simple, manageable by a single individual, along the lines suggested by ef schumacher’s ‘alt tech’ are not confused w all those that tie people into large, dangerous, complex and uncontrollable systems and webs.. thus a human scale world would have the advantage of knowing not to depend on tech that involved expensive and manipulable machines w/in large, widespread, even global complexes that would have no regard for the individual village, the community, the family

5\ evidence continues to mount.. that such a human scale future is at least in many tenets, doable.. models for almost every part of such a future already exist.. or have existed.. including our own: worker owned businesses, intentional communities, cooperative movements and banks; generations old independent communities, quaker meeting governed by consensual democracy, independent city states, basic to life in ancient greece, common in medieval italy, recurrent in modern times and extant today in many places.. societies w/o a state.. many of these entities have lived w/in the shadows of large institutions and states.. but that is only a testament to the fundamental and apparently eternal tenacity of the idea of the empowered community.. if it has been done.. it can be done..


there is much about the human scale alt that at first seems impossible, undoable. but that is largely because our culture has conditioned us in myriad ways over the last several centuries to thinking of certain kinds of solutions and disregarding – in fact not being aware of – others..

and too.. of thinking in terms of solutions.. rather than of being/living

part 2 – the burden of bigness

4 – the beanstalk principle


(on giant not looking daunting because his size not proportioned) if a mouse were to fall from a 10 story building, it would be only slightly bruised, get up and scamper away. a rat would be temporarily stunned and dazed, but probably not seriously hurt. a man would be killed, a horse splattered

haldane: ‘just as there is a best size for every animal.. so same is true for every human institutions’ ie: a committee meeting.. all that goes into the communication by which to arrive at intelligen decisions..

yeah.. i see no value to a committee meeting.. ie: public consensus always oppresses someone(s).. no need for it today.. we can let go of decision making over a finite set of choices and focus on daily curiosity

another ie.. the university

and yeah.. see no value of a uni.. it’s just a formal space for people telling people what to do.. and then rewarding them for doing it.. so size is totally irrelevant (talks about how big is too big for uni/class et al)

we’d be much better off to just listen deeper and facil us all in the city.. as the day..


ie’s of too big architect/city-planner – and levels of participation and bureaucratic job performance declining

like uni.. it’s just formal telling people what to do.. and not humane.. participation and job performance are cancerous/distractions/irrelevant to human being


on too bigness.. and how size maters.. and big size matters most – what the beanstalk principle (for every animal, object, institution, or system, there is an optimal limit beyond which it ought not to grow’) is all about

limits ness et al

5 – the condition of bigness


it has become part of the american character not only to accept bigness but actually to admire, respect, revere, glorify it.. size is the measure o excellence: in cars, tomatoes, houses, breasts, audiences, salaries, sky scrapers, muscles, meals..


when there is not time to pause and judge, to reflect, to measure, quantitative values must replace qualitative values.. margaret mead: ‘when speeding car rushes past.. only the size that we can judge; we have no way of knowing how well the engine works’

margaret mead

capitalism is a system that depends, quite simply , on growth.. long schooling in this system of continual growth has taught nothing so well as the lesson that more is better, size is value, and big is beautiful


too big to fail, military industrial complex.. et al


because we do not really know how much is enough, we assume that bigger is better.. t

so let’s focus on the conditions for 8b people to grok enough ness

lewis mumford: ‘in repeated breakdowns of one civilization after another.. after it has achieved power/control.. one may read the failure to reach an organic solution of the problems of quantity’..t

organic solution: cure ios city

6 – beanstalk violations


leopold kohr: ‘.. whenever something is wrong, something is too big

too big .. too much.. et al

today.. countless ie’s of difficulties/crises brought about by one form or another of overgrowth, excess, distention, enormity, or expansion, for which we are seemingly unable to contrive any solutions at all

testart storage law: ‘storage expresses a distrust of nature‘ – Alain Testart


necessary to add that despite the enormous size and reach of the fed apparatus (military, ed, energy, va, homeland security).. it is not particularly efficient at anything it does, except prolonging its own life.

the reason for this inefficiency, of course, comes down to one word: bureaucracy

B and b et al – too much ness and utopia of rules

end of those days of B business/boredom, that seem to require alcoholic restoration..

original question – why can’t we wait till 3 or 5 pm or the weekend..

carhart-harris entropy law – hard won order.. killing us softly w its song..

7 – prytaneogenesis


following the model from medicine, in which the term iatorgenesis refers to illnesses actually generated by a dr (iatro, healer), we may derive another greek coinage, prytaneogenesis – from the greek word prytaneum for the seat of govt – to refer to damage actually generated by the state..

ie: south bronx


the process long and complex.. but two disparate ie’s may serve to illustrate it: govt control of the postal service and govt dominance of ed.. today we generally assume both fall w/in province of state. it was not always that way

8 – the law of govt size


law of govt size: econ and social misery increases in direct proportion to the size and power of the central govt of a nation or state


lewis mumford.. from diff perspective.. has reached these same kinds of conclusions.. consolidation/rise in govts hand in hand w development of slavery, creation of empires, division into classes, recurrence of protests/disorders.. erection of useless monuments.. despoliation of land, waging of larger wars

‘specialization, division, compulsion, and depersonalization produced an inner tension w/in the city.. this resulted throughout history in an undercurrent of cover resentment and outright rebellion’

mumford non-specialized law


historical fluctuations are never exact.. nonetheless.. it is possible to ascertain certain broad trends over long historical reaches, certain valleys and peaks, and one can make some reasonable generalization about patterns and correspondences. or else what’s a history for?

today.. i think not much.. i think most of our data/history is of whales in sea world.. so spinning our wheels when we keep looking at it to make ie: patterns.. whatever..

i also don’t think we can make patterns of alive human beings.. i think that’s the human scale.. to not think we can control it with our patterning/predicting/explaining.. et al.. i think we have no idea what legit free human beings are like.. and i don’t think we ever can/should know.. i think the thinking we know is a huge part of what kills us.. what keeps us from us


and when plotted on a graph.. they give telling confirmation to he law of govt size.. again i must caution that what we see in this graph is only an approx.. open to mod/refinement..

yeah.. i don’t think we can/should do that.. no matter how much we say things like ‘caution to see it as approx’ et al.. the act alone (of graphing us) is killing us

of math and men et al


the processes are not mysterious.. as a govt grows, it *must expand both its civilian/military might, generally by extending the bureaucracy’s influence in domestic affairs and the armed services influence in external ones.. new money *must be found to pay for this expansion..

see.. none of that *must ness is legit


there must be an alt to nations grown too big, govts too dangerous, bureaucracies too inflated, systems too complex, enterprises too unwieldy, corps too immense.. production too massive, cities too crowded.. buildings too vast.. tools too complicated.. relations too distended (bloated)..

there is.. human scale

yeah.. and human scale would consider all of those irrelevant from the get go

part 3 – society on a human scale

edward t hall: ‘i think it will ultimately be proved that scale is a key factor in planning towns.. while very little is known about something as abstract as scale.. i am convinced that it reps a facet of human requirement that man is ultimately going to have to understand’

i’d say.. we need to let go of planning to realize/grok (as in live it more than know it) human scale

murray bookchin (from post scarcity anarchism): ‘if humanity is to use the principles needed to manage an ecosystem..’

yeah.. i don’t think we manage ecosystems.. and if we try to.. we kill them

in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

murray quote continued: ‘by no means is this concept of community motivated exclusively by need for balance between man/natural world.. it also accords w the utopian ideal of the rounded man.. whose sensibilities/experiences/lifestyle are nourished by a wide range of stimuli, by a diversity of activities, and by a social scale that always remains w/in the comprehension of a single human being’

or maybe not in their comprehension.. not because they’re not ‘grokking’ (living it).. but because comprehending/understanding/knowing/labeling/explaining/whatever it (social scale).. becomes irrelevant once we let go enough to live/be

9 – ecological hubris/harmony


in fact, it is just this challenge – establishing the balance between the human mode and the *natural, in which human comforts are secured w/o ecological disruption – that should stand as one of the central occupations of any rational society

again.. imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

believing that legit alive/free people are *natural.. that what we need to focus on is fittingness .. and trust that.. rather than trying to make things fit/secured et al


the hubris behind this accelerating destruction of the atmosphere is very powerful, nothing less than the capitalist system itself..


it begins to appear that what separates the human animal from lower orders is not a sense of humor or ability to blush.. but rather a fully developed conceit, the conceit that declares us to be the rulers/shapers of the world and all its workings..

perhaps wiser to contemplate a contrary course, the course of establishing a society based upon ecological harmony.. such a course is uncharted, to be sure, and until recently few have attempted to determine just what might be the limits of an ecologically balanced world..t but guided by the principle of the human scale and the matrix of the human form, i think it is possible to draw the rough outlines of what it must look like..

yeah.. needs a means/infra to remain uncharted.. or we’re messing/rna-ing/killing the dance..

let go

ie: determine sort of tech that an ecological society would require..t

one that doesn’t draw rough outlines of what it must look like


ie: tech as it could be.. with 2 convers as infra

(on oil.. and mono cropping stripping land) ritchie calder: a warning of the things you cannot do to nature and get a with.. on a small scale it would have been a matter for adjustment; on a large scale it was a chronic crisis’

issue is more about getting 8b people back/to knowing what enough is.. rather than size of anything

bush mono crop law et al

10 – human-scale tech


the question is not of eliminating tech but of deciding what kind of tech should prevail.. which of society’s values should it express..t

what we need is tech to undo our hierarchical listening ..

for there is no such thing as a neutral tech.. rather it comes w an inevitable logic, bearing the purposes and priorities of the econ and political systems that spawn it

well.. i think the tech could be neutral (as in .. perhaps we can have tech w/o judgment ie: tech as it could be).. which would render purposes and priorities of econ/political systems irrelevant

thus a reporter for automation at the dawn of the computer age could praise a computer system as ‘significant’ because it assures that ‘decision making’ is ‘removed from the operator and gives max control of the machine to management’.. a system that turns the user into a soulless factotum w/o any power and assures that management retains power to itself, quite what our manufacturing world desires..

i see both decision making and management as anti human scale – who/whatever does it.. (meaning even if we keep that ‘power’ we’re turning ourselves soulless)

we need tech to help us listen deeper.. and use that data to augment our interconnectedness.. nothing about power/decision-making.. more about daily curiosity


an alt tech is clearly necessary, one based upon the human scale, in the sense both of being designed for and controlled by the individual and being harmonious w the individual’s role in the ecosphere..t

ai humanity needs: augmenting interconnectedness

unnoticed phenom, just such a movement has arisen in last 50 yrs.. staring in 60s .. array of soft techs.. satisfies basic criteria of human scale tech as set out by wendell berry in 80s: a new tool, he says, should be cheaper, smaller, and better than the one it replaces.. should use less energy (and that renewable), be repairable, come from a small local shop, and ‘should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships’..

to which need be added only two other standards: 1\ fam/comm relationships embrace all other species/living-ecosystem 2\ considered w interest of next 7 generations

herbert read: ‘only a people serving an apprenticeship to nature can be trusted w machines’.. since tech is generally, by its essence, artificial.. not natural.. it tends to distance humans form their environ and set them in opposition to it..

in order to avoid catastrophe.. necessary to embed tech w a due regard for the natural world.. w a sense of humans as a species .. in natural world..


most of tech along these precepts has already been developed over last 50 yrs.. how to build underground houses, greenhouses, windmills, solar powered biked, organic food, urban homesteading.. land trusts, food coops.. how to construct anything you want

human scale tech is not some dream/illusion.. it exists.. and that makes the present age unique.. we no know it is possible to achieve a tech for wide range of human actions and still be kept w/in human dimensions.. w/o doing violence to planet’s resources/ecosystem.. we are on brink of truly alt tech paradigm and can enter if we but choose to

it should be obvious that there is no necessary contradiction between sophisticated tech and human scale tech. rational techs of the future would not discard everything about contemp systems .. but rather evolve from them.. leaving aside the dangerous and destructive aspects..absorbing the humanistic and communitarian ones.. in last 20 yrs or so there has been a strong trend in direction of smaller and more decentralized operations: miniaturization has brought about the silicon chip and the proliferation of sophisticated machines available to any home/office; the creation of machines that perform a multiplicity of functions, allowing a wide range of products to be built in a single plant has opened way from communities to have an increasing number of goods/power manufactured locally.. so.. no longer dependent on centralized plants


in age of high authoritarianism and bureaucratic control.. dominant tech tends to reinforce those characteristics.. it must be recognized that there are always many other tech variation of roughly equal sophistication that are created but not developed.. that lie(lay) ignored at patent office or unfinished in backyard because there are no special reasons for the dominate system to pick them up

indeed.. no need for dominant system to want a tech to undo our hierarchical listening.. but definite reason for all the people (even inspectors of inspectors) w/y dominant system to crave/want/need it

let’s give it a try.. and just see how easily/quickly it expo’s to include 8b people.. at last something legit accessible/resonating to all

ie’s: steam engine to replace slave labor not seeming necessary to slave owners.. so not realized until after slavery outlawed


gotta go deeper.. what we truly need


a human scale system would select and develop the latter kinds of machinery (equal sophistication /effectiveness but labor intensive).. for enhancement of individual worth and eco well being

? maybe reading it wrong.. seems to be missing the point.. ie: meaning/worth from labor.. and eco well being comes from 8b people knowing what enough is.. not from trying to be eco friendlier w our tech


ie inventor of small scale steam engine run by solar power (73) gets patent in 84.. but still never heard of it.. nsf spent 113 000 to try to develop huge version of it.. then gave up.. bob trupin: ‘ there’s no money in this country, despite all talk about the energy crisis, for a project that could end our dependency on oil.. they don’t intend to scrap any of their existing tech.. and there’s no way for the big utility co’s to cash in on nitinol.. it lends itself to a small rooftop unit where the sun can heat up a pan of water.. i guess small is what they really hate.. only big is good’..

the engine, like 100s of other kinds of alt hardware is there, should we chose to want it

what we need to focus on more is tech to set 8b people legit free to figure all that out.. to do whatever they want to do.. whatever they want to make.. and trust that.. (rather than the focus being to free up the experiments.. let’s do this first: free up the art\ists)

11 – we shape our buildings


(after chapter talking about measurements and height et al of buildings that are suitable to human being) bloomer & moore: ‘in this tangle the american single family hose maintaina curious ower over us in spite of itw well publicized ineffiecince of land use and erengy consump;etion.. it’s power surely comes form its being te one peice of the world around us which sitll speaks direlcly our or bodies as te center and the emasreu of that world’

we shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us

yeah.. i think we’ve got that all backwards.. iwan baan ness and bachelard oikos law et al

instead.. we’ve enslaved ourselves in the efficiency/measurements of houses that never satisfy.. because it’s again.. about the oikos ness.. not about the shape/size

12 – the search for community

(on first community being village/tribe rather than fam.. then onto what is idea number in community ie: dunbar et al)



as recurrent as this figure seems to be, i think what it best defines is what dunbar calls a ‘social network’.. close though no necessarily intimate relationship.. but i would argue that for unit that we would call ‘community’ meaning a group w political (in broad sense) as well as social cohesion, functioning in amore complex way than a simple network, a large number is requires.. and the great body of evidence suggests that this is more than 3x as large, or roughly 500

john pfeiffer goes so far as to call 500 a ‘magic number’ because it recurs so often in human evolution as the limit of a community (ie: ‘tribes cluster at 500 level)

this number, pfeiffer suggests, may have been *determined by the nature of human communication and culture sharing mechs.. ‘seems to be a basic limit to number who can know one another well enough to maintain a tribal id at the hunger gatherer level.. who communicate by direct confrontation and who live under a diffuse and informal influence, perhaps a council of elders, rather than an active centralized political authority’

yeah.. i think thinking we need to live under anyone is a killer to legit human scale.. ie: thinking we need people telling people what to do is a huge red flag we’re doing it (life) wrong

and.. *this has drastically changed.. ie: we now have means to undo our hierarchical listening.. to listen 8b people everyday.. and use that data to augment our natural interconnectedness..

i’m thinking black science of people/whales law – goes back before even hunter gatherers.. (garden-enough et al)


that number may also have been determined by the optimum number of people for mate selection

which we have all wrong too.. we need to get to a deeper human scale (aka: undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature) in order for 8b people to legit be themselves first.. before they could even think of mate matching or belonging anywhere

rene dubos: ‘bio and psych of moder man has certainly been influenced by fact that during past 10 000 yrs, most people have lived in villages of some 500 inhabitants’

so mixed that up with black science of people/whales law – number doesn’t mean so much.. fittingness does


on upper limit of tribe – 5000


coming down to the present, a range of 5-10 000 shows up w surprising frequency in the recommendation of architects and city planners for preferred size of community

clarence perry on optimal size of neighborhood – 5 000 – his theory as that a neighborhood had to be small enough so that everything important – schools, playgrounds, shops, public buildings – was w/in easy walking distance and large enough to support an elementary school and a variety of local stores/services

black science of people/whales law – school/shops – not fitting w humanity/human-scale.. let go.. makes all data illegit.. we have no idea

walter gropius: ‘size of townships.. organic planning has to reckon w human scale.. the ‘foot’ when shaping any physical structure. violation of the human scale will cause further degeneration of life in cities’


like perry, gropius observed the the max distance a person would walk comfortably for ordinary community affairs was about half a mile and thus he too came up w an optimum ‘township’s size of roughly half-mile square .. which fits w 5000 ish people

again.. we have no idea. that’s all based on people spending most of their time/day in school/work

leopold kohr aruges that 80-100 adutls provide convivial society.. ‘fulfill compansioship function to fullest.. and variety/constancy of relationship’.. but he says, wuld take more for effective econsociety.. in a society w basic specialization, a shoemaker anda baker and abuilder and so on.. need to be enough peopel to cconsume the goods/services during course of year.. and 80-100 too small.. he estimates..5000

yeah.. i don’t think any of that specialization is human scale

but people do like playing with number like this.. no?.. because then they know

he says this larger number allows for leisure and high standard of living.. and for optimal political society add a few thousand.. 7-12 000 to provide sufficient number who can be spared from basic econ routines to perfrom legistlative, legal, poltical, and security tasks..

yeah.. we need that.. inspectors of inspectors et al

this is the size, actually, o various real world states that survive quite nicely..

no one today is surviving nicely.. let alone quite nicely


what we have here, then.. w our tow ranges of ‘magic’ numbers.. is a rough measure of he tow basic kinds of community that humans have apparently found the most useful and successful over their many millennia as social creatures..

yeah.. i don’t think we’ve been successful or useful..

1\ face to face.. 400-1000 with 5000 as optimum – what we might call the common neighborhood..

2\ 5-10 000 that constantine doxiadis and i would call the polis.. greek word for small close knit city w shared customs..

let’s try something we’ve not yet tried (as whales no doubt) ie: 2 convers as infra

small – less than 10 000.. is simply essential to preserve values of community as they have been historically observed – intimacy, trust, honesty, mutuality, cooperation, democracy, congeniality

yeah.. all those are red flags we’re doing it (life) wrong

we have no idea what intimacy and trust and honesty are.. the unconditionality of them..

mutuality (as respect for each other’s expertise – per online dictionary) – has many issues – respect ness.. expertise ness..

same with cooperation (working together to same end).. because the only way we see it is that we choose a common project (from some finite set of choices) and then have to stick with it.. totally not humane/human-scale

democracy (dependent on those finite choices) and congeniality (dependent on that smile) – both killers of humanity/human-scale

historical scholarship on smallness including: bookchin, mumford, .. duany

murray bookchin, mumford non-specialized law, andrés duany


on felt need for community.. an inherent longing for what was a deep, perhaps bio imprinted, wish for the kind of support only a community can satisfy

missing piece #2

13 – the optimum city

(on politics, econ, being better in certain size city 50-100 000 et al)

all things i wouldn’t see as sign of betterness


the trend of the future, rather, seems clearly entropic. the big city, it is not too much to say, w very few exceptions has probably outlived whatever usefulness it may have had.. the traditional reasons for existence of the bit city – defense of the citizen, abundant employment, easy commerce, class and ethnic mix, creative innovation.. clearly no longer pertain generally..

ie: la – not a city, a place of defined spirit/cohesion, a place w a center.. and agora or a market or square.. a place w cityness..

murray bookchin: ‘cities steadily losing distinctive form and quality.. indeed what holds them together are the problems.. social breakdown’

murray bookchin

that’s why demographers have been forced to give new names to these things: metropolis, conurbation, megalopolis, necropolis.. no longer cities

14 – human scale services


how would a human scale society go about the business of providing the services that modern community would probably deem necessary and desirable, from energy to education, and including food growing, garbage disposal, transportation and health care? and can it be done w appropriate limits and optimal scales at which they could satisfy all the needs of a modern society w/o the dangers and expense of the larger and more fragile systems we have w us now?

only if we let go enough for 8b people to grok what enough is.. to get at their deepest needs

otherwise we’re just spinning our wheels.. w/in the systems now in place.. assuming they are a given.. ie: ed, waste, heal, et al

luckily at this stage the answers to both are relatively simple to discover..since all of the theoretical underpinnings and most of the practical tech is already known and proven.. t

perhaps if ‘known and proven‘.. red flag it’s not legit human scale .. not tech we need for legit free people

energy: solar

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people


food: family farm



garbage: recycle/reuse

upcyclingcomposting et al


transportation: less cars – urban design

transit ness.. walk\able ness.. bike\able ness


work where you live – no solution of the transportation puzzle is possible until work and home are put back together.. or at least w/in walking distance of each other.. t

ie: cure ios city

sans supposed to’s/travelings.. of school/work


in terms of translating energy into transportation, there is nothing, neither animal nor mechanical, that is superior to a human being on a bicycle.. t

bike\able ness


health: 4 processes at work

1\ nutrition – if foods free of all 3 000 necessary additives et al

bush herbi/pesticide law

2\ living patterns – exercise from ie: bikes, gardens; distance from diseases w smaller gatherings; et al


3\ self help – reduction of dependency on drugs/drs

bush health law.. bush immune system law.. et al


4\ facilities – ie: hospitals


on high tech machinery to sustain life.. ivan illich would answer – as he does in his medical nemesis that such machinery is never morally justified and that an adjustment to the inevitable process of dying and death is one sign of a healthy society..

ivan illich.. medical nemesis.. sicko et al.. healing (roots of).. bush heal law


education: small school

roger g barker calls it ‘behavior setting’ if there are a lot of people in any one setting, he says, a meeting, for ie, or a classroom – then each person has less influence on it..

let go of school ness.. people telling people what to do

let’s try cure ios city because in most all you’ve written in this chapter.. but esp in ed.. not so much about the size .. but about the agenda.. in other words.. you can have a group of 2 and if one sets the agenda.. it’s a compromise/cancer.. to that human energy we so need


the extent to which the small school interacts w its community is another crucial point in its favor.. large bit city school rarely establishes any contacts w its immediate neighborhood on any level above that of recurrent complaints..

again.. need to be all of us.. in the city.. as the day..


idea of ed w/o school is no longer such a heretical one.. thanks to work of ie: hold, goodman, illich.. deschooling society

yeah.. still very much engrained.. ie: virus and everyone going online.. with same agenda (ie: meetings all day.. where people are telling people what to do)

john holt – trust.. paul goodman.. ivan illich and ivan illich & detox et al

once again.. imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness..


thus it is possible to image children in a human scale society taking advantage of wide variety of other ed settings in addition to school..

again.. needs to be all of us.. as the day

ie: 2 conversations .. as infra

part 4 – economy on a human scale

the ecologist: ‘plainly people want jobs and beauty..’..t

people don’t want jobs.. they want time/space to do/be their art

let’s do this first: free art\ists

15 – econ of global reach


is there a realistic alt, some sort of econ built closer to the human measure.. w institutions designed more for human control?

answer is yes.. what human scale econ means, is perfectly simple.. it opposes to the present system a world of smaller, more manageable, more human enterprises that can provide us w all our needs a n most of our wants w/o sacrificing anything substantive in our true material standards.. it is founded on the all important concept , once deemed fit for economists to explore, of the ‘steady state’ econ.. one of stability rathe than growth, preservation rather than production..

yeah.. not buying that.. (have to let go more.. 10-day-care-center\ness et al) .. i’d say simpler.. has to do w 8b people grokking what enough is.. so that have\need ness becomes way simpler.. and non manageable because it dances on its own

we have to let go of thinking we have to control/manage things.. fuller too much law et al


on the nature of capitalism to be unstable.. exploitative.. wasteful.. over growing..


industrial system not working.. (or it is).. responses: some 1\ everything will shake itself out.. tech will come to rescue .. no need to make substantive changes.. others 2\ require thoroughgoing changes in econ and political systems.. particularly in direction of planning.. environ/intergovt planning

3\ decentralization.. small scale.. face to face..

16 – steady-state econ


(no one poor.. but no one has to get rich either) the art of living, not the art of getting on.. living instead of making a living..

yeah that

earn a living ness


(on garrett hardin and tragedy of the commons): no doubt this parable does suggest an important and unquestionable tragic truth.. but it contain something else as well: an indictment of the getting on econ and an appreciation of the steady state one.. true.. those who are operating out of self interest.. who do not see and cannot feel a communal interest. will almost inevitable proceed to their self aggrandizement and the destruction of their surroundings.. but if there were a stationary econ it would have to be grounded precisely in the perception of community interest.. quite unable to exist w/o a realization of the unity of the ecosystem and the simple centrality of ecol balance.. the shepherd would know the limits of the commons and its important to his fam.. neighbors.. and that overriding communal interest would easily outweigh the possible personal gain of putting another animal out to feed

well yeah.. mostly..

ie: thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman 

but i’m thinking the knowing what enough is .. is a more desirable/accessible/doable means to get back/to legit common\ing

ie: if we just want people to focus on good for all.. (before realizing that’s what they really crave).. we’ll need incentives (red flag we’re doing it wrong) to keep their energies up toward that goal.. if instead.. we focus on undo our hierarchical listening (esp here to self/gut).. energy level would be continually max (aka: no incentives needed)

tragedy of the non common.. tragedy of commons.. et al

this in turn is more or less a function of size..

yeah.. i think it’s way deeper than that.. more about listening . . deep enough

there can be no ‘communal interest’ among 325 million people or 20 million or even 2 million.. because no way for brain to perceive the interconnectedness.. we cheat on income tax and drive over speed limits and ignore beggars because we perceive no community at scale at which we live

yeah.. um.. first part relates to what i just wrote above – about needing to have 8b people listening to gut first (that will tell them about interconnectedness.. or actually.. how to be.. in order to honor interconnectedness)

and yeah to second part.. in a sense.. but ie’s are killers.. because human scale wouldn’t have taxes of cars even

only when shepherd knows his world and people in it and feels their importance to his own well being, only when he realizes that his self interest is indeed the communal interest.. .. will he voluntarily limit his flock.. only then will looming tragedy of the commons be avoided

again.. i think it’s deeper than that (at least our findings were).. i don’t think it’s about voluntarily limiting things (i think that’s still tragedy of the non common).. i think it’s about knowing what enough is..

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows


(on story of town idiot picking daily nickel over dime.. but his reasoning was that if he took dime they’d stop offering).. and just so w the stationary econ.. its riches might not be so great at first, and we might seem to be idiotic for settling for them; but over time they would be sure to accumulate. eventually they would far surpass those we know now

dang.. we have to get out of this mindset.. of accumulation and thinking about ‘surpassing’ what we now know (because most/all of what we think we know now is non legit for one)

we need spaces where we’re not thinking about any of this..

we need to let go of money (any form of measuring/accounting)


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

17 – the logic of size


a paul hare: groups between 4-7 are most successful at solving problems

what if that (solving problems) isn’t the point in life?

as groups increase in size they tend to take more time to come up w solutions, make less accurate judgments, produce fewer ideas, achieve less communication and stand less chance of reaching agreement

again.. to me.. not the point of life.. not reason to gather

all our talk on size has been about some agenda.. like we have the reason to gather (solve some group problem, make some group thing. ie’s are about office work and classrooms et al) before the desire/itch to find people to do the thing you can’t not do.. that to me is not natural/human-scale in the first place.. even olson (who said not so much size but quality) ie’s aren’t about natural gathering ness

so.. we have no idea – ie: black science of people/whales law et al


(on olson saying large orgs would not even exist in a country w true edon freedom.. wouldn’t survive w/o some form of compulsion).. that is an extraordinary thing to say about a country that prides self on being a ‘democracy’.. and it opens up what may be the most important element of all in a human scale econ: democracy – real, felt, active, democracy – in the workplace

wow.. see i think the workplace.. (and democracy) are huge red flags we’re doing life wrong – so to me.. whole/long next chapter .. is an irrelevant/distraction/cancer

18 – workplace democracy

(skimmed) – worker owners.. worker rules..

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

19 – self sufficiency


these basarwa (hunter gatherers) and their identical remote ancestors, led a life of perceived satisfaction: want not , lack not. who would not call it affluence.. what made them affluent was their self sufficiency.. there ability to satisfy all their needs w/in their own means

affluence w/o abundance


it is on breaking the terrible dependent upon imports/exports and the econ vassalage that results, that self sufficiency must depend.. a community grows and becomes more textures, as jane jacobs has noted, when it ‘replaces’ imports – that is when it manages to do on own what before had to pay others to do.

jane jacobs

us .. 2nd largest importer of goods..


i find that i am often taken to task for wishing to oversimplify things.. but in fact i wish to complexify, not simplify.. it is our modern econ that is simple: whole nations given over to a single crop/industry .. single job.. et al

bush mono crop law

diversity is the rule of human life, not simplicity.. diversify.. not specialize.. fullness of character

mumford non-specialized law


community of 10 000 can achieve self sufficiency.. by: sharing; recycling/repairing; local products/ingenuity; generalized machines; networking w other communities; doing w/o what is not needed..

part 5 – politics on a human scale

20 – the malaise of citizenship


the failure of ‘citizens’ even to vote reflects the unquestionable malaise that has pervaded the land for 1/2 century of so.. but in truth malaise goes deeper.. the crucial fact.. americans have given up their citizenship.. the act/right, of participating in public affairs, of making he decision that affect one’s life, of having a continual voice in civic matters, of exercising regular judgment on the daily business of the state.. has been sacrificed..

yeah.. that was never human scale.. let go

informed populace/citizenry... voting ness.. voice ness.. decision making ness.. all red flags we’re doing it (life) wrong

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)


fact is that in a system as large as ours.. it is essential that the inidivdual not have a regular voice.. to allow each of 325 million people.. to participate.. would be too unwieldy

yeah.. but that’s because the system is messed up.. it’s function is not to human scale.. nothing to do with the size (amount) of people

ie: we have the means today to listen to 8b people everyday.. if we let go of all that other distraction

we have sacrifice our citizenship to bigness

yeah.. not the problem here.. taleb center of problem law.. citizenship is part of the cancer.. # of people doesn’t have anything to do with it if doing the humane thing.. in fact.. has to be all of us.. or it won’t work


21 – the decentralist tradition


hannah arendt has studied this phenom w some wonderment how local councils and societies ‘make their appearance in every genuine revolution throughout the 19th and 20th centuries’

but they have always been about defense.. we need a movement about an alternate way to live..

hannah arendt

everywhere it seems to be case that the absence of govt does not lead to bewilderment and confusion and disorder,.. but rather to resurgence of locally based forms.. most often democratically chosen and scrupulously response

and same song ish.. we need a legit other way.. so much to let go of

they seem to be, as arendt says, ‘spontaneous organs of the people’ .. expressive of the natural human scale of politics and inheritors of the long tradition of decentralism

yeah.. not legit spontaneous.. not legit human scale.. not natural.. not legit decentralism

what we need is a means to undo our hierarchical listening ie: 2 convers as infra.. we’ve not done anything like that yet


it is striking to re read history w eyes opened to the persistence of this tradition, at once you begin to see the existence of the anti authoritarian independent self regulating local community is every bit as basic to the human record as the existence of the centralized, imperial hierarchical state

yeah.. i don’t think we’ve see anything anti authoritarian.. we’ve always held onto some form of people telling people what to do


the decentralist tradition.. no matter what, will not die.. for it is as wide in the american soul as the country is wide, as deep as the american psyche as the riches are deep..

yeah.. that’s not human scale.. and definitely not from the soul

22 – society w/o the state


ie’s of socoities that hav elived, and lived long and well, w/o the trappings of the state are sruprisingly common

yeah.. i think they’ve all had that subtle state ness of people telling people what to do.. thus ie: black science of people/whales law.. we have no idea what legit free would be like because we’re never offered a legit undisturbed ecosystem

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows


the town meeting, despite its look of formality,m was an instrument hardly more statist than the council of elder of the dinka.. nothing more/less than the regular occasion for the expression of community solidarity thru popular decision making

yeah.. not deep enough

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

23 – the necessity of the state


state’s initial claim to necessity was that it prevented warfare by erecting barriers of defense

let go.. siddiqi border law et al

what we need – gershenfeld something else law et al


another justification for state – stabliize econs

need to let go of money (any form of measuring/accounting)

bachelard oikos law et al

state for regulations.. public services

just more of people telling people what to do

24 – the importance of size: harmony

on state not being able to control criminality

wrong focus.. rather.. gershenfeld something else law

22 – society w/o the state


ie’s of socoities that hav elived, and lived long and well, w/o the trappings of the state are sruprisingly common

yeah.. i think they’ve all had that subtle state ness of people telling people what to do.. thus ie: black science of people/whales law.. we have no idea what legit free would be like because we’re never offered a legit undisturbed ecosystem

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows


the town meeting, despite its look of formality,m was an instrument hardly more statist than the council of elder of the dinka.. nothing more/less than the regular occasion for the expression of community solidarity thru popular decision making

yeah.. not deep enough

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

23 – the necessity of the state


state’s initial claim to necessity was that it prevented warfare by erecting barriers of defense

let go.. siddiqi border law et al

what we need – gershenfeld something else law et al


another justification for state – stabliize econs

need to let go of money (any form of measuring/accounting)

bachelard oikos law et al

state for regulations.. public services

just more of people telling people what to do

24 – the importance of size: harmony

on most fundamental reason for necessity of state.. on providing harmony and preventing criminal disruption.. and on state not being able to control criminality

wrong focus.. rather.. gershenfeld something else law

healing (roots of) et al


on living at small scale creating sense of friendship amongst neighbors, or at least of trust and honesty..

gotta go deeper.. ie: maté basic needs


what we know about human nature, in short, suggests that its better side is more likely to emerge in smaller settings that in larger ones

that’s key.. we don’t know anything about human nature.. ie: black science of people/whales law.. we have no idea..

again.. i’d say less about size.. and more about 8b people getting back to natural ness.. to legit human nature et al

that might discourage malevolent behavior.. but.. need to prep for what is to be done w ‘criminals’.. there will be deviates.. so then onto rules and judgment and

gershenfeld something else law


violence always begets violence

begs we let go of our structural violence.. which means pretty much everything.. moten abolition law .. your own song ness.. et al

we need a reset – art (by day/light) and sleep (by night/dark) as re\set.. to fittingness/undisturbed ecosystem

some sort of therapy or ‘re education’ can be sanctioned in the worse instances..


essentially all that such a method of justice requires is a sense of responsibility: to the individual transgressor, to the customs and patterns of the community, to the collectivity as a whole.. that is not a great deal to ask.. nor in the self governing community it is rare to find..

yeah.. not much to ask.. but poisonous as all else.. responsibility ness is a red flag we’re doing it wrong

and again.. i don’t think we’ve every had self governing communities..

of the general connection between the size and social control there is no disagreement whatsoever: the larger the group, the more difficult it is to keep pace

whatever keep pace means..

legit human scale is about all of us.. or it won’t work

and saying ‘no disagreement whatsoever’ is very fitting with the deeper enclosure going on here in an assumed/seemingly open/free stance/verbiage/ie on human scale


john pfeiffer: when a population reaches about 1 000 that ‘a village begins to need policing’..

needing policing is a huge red flag

confirmation comes from the new england towns, the great majority of which were under 1000 .. where harmony was the regular rule and ‘concord and consensus’ the norm

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

norms/consensus.. killers


or take our own country.. it is a universal truth, confirmed time and again by sociologists and criminologists.. that in general the bigger the city the bigger the crime.. in all categories

yeah.. perhaps true for whales in sea world.. but not for human nature in legit human scale (bachelard oikos law et al)

another red flags – using ‘universal truth, confirmed’ al.. mandating that you know


on gandhi – i despair at the thought of constructing system where people do need to be good.. all fail.. i would rather contemplate a system so simple that people would no longer need to be bad.. t

yeah that.. spot on.. ie: gershenfeld something else law et al

cure ios city

that is to say a system of support an sustenance. . of rough equality and comfort.. that would so guide and goad, chide and chivvy, prompt and protect.. that the individuals in it would be inclined out of sheer self and community interest toward morality and harmony

dang.. those added words.. all red flags.. esp guide/goad

the small community has provided such a system.. not modeled thru special design, nor guided by any millennial genius, or org’d by any part/sect, but come along for many 1000s of years.. i see no reason to think that, left alone, it could not do so again..

1\ i don’t see it ever working in past.. and even if it had worked in past.. 2\ leaving us alone now won’t work because we need to be set free from sea world.. first

the mistake is probably to try to devise systems that revise human nature, reforming people and making them moral and upright; the better part of wisdom is to take people as they are and determine under what conditions they are by themselves more likely to perform the moral act than the immoral.. to reform the conditions.. not the people..

dang.. some much countering verbiage here..

1\ we do (and now can) need to have a system/conditions to get back/to legit human nature.. which has nothing to do w moral/upright ness..

hari rat park law et al with 2 convers as infra

2\ that system does have to be able to take people as they are (mechanism simple enough ness).. but conditions can’t be about how they will then ‘perform moral acts rather than immoral’ .. has to be about spaces of permission where people have nothing to prove..

unconditional ness

dorothy: ‘you are a very bad man’

wizard: ‘no i’m a very good man.. just a very bad wizard’

just bad at being whales in sea world.. (or good at it.. but not fitting legit w human nature/scale)

as i see it, the idea of the human scale community is that it can provide the opp for there to be very good men w/o the necessity of there being very bad wizards

human scale community (has to be all of us or it won’t work/dance): an undisturbed ecosystem

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

good/bad .. irrelevant.. aka: not the point of humanity/life/fittingness

we get harmony from letting go.. and that’s why we haven’t yet seen it

gershenfeld something else law et al

25 – the importance of size: democracy


on ludicrous ness of govt.. to declare themselves ‘democracies’.. we do not any longer have ‘reps’.. people who rep our views/feelings/interests/lifestyles.. nor do we have the elemental qualities of citizenship essential in a democracy.. nor do we even have that democracy itself

ludicrous to think rep ing people is the point of life.. is how to do life..

i don’t wish to debate merits of democracy, since its merits have been amply proven by innumerable political philosophers over the last several 1000 yrs and one would think.. should be axiomatic by now

wow.. axiomatic: self evident, unquestionable.. that doesn’t even fit with verbiage around democracy

not that i think democracy is what we want.. but dang.. saying it is and don’t question it.. wow..

suffice it to say.. in tis uncorrupted forms.. and where the majority is kept severely in check – democracy provide more benevolence, stability, participation, responsibility, productivity, efficiency, diversity, justice, fairness, freedom, and happiness than any other known system of govt

uncorrupted forms? – the notion that there’s some finite set of choices is corrupt to humanity/human-scale

majority kept severely in check? stability? responsibility? productivity? efficiency?

maybe we don’t need a system of govt

nor is there much point debating what democracy is

i thought (by those purporting democracy most) that is the key point.. that we get to decide new everyday what it is

democracy means the direct one person one vote popular assembly of every citizen

wow.. so your democracy is even more limiting than how limiting i think democracy is.. dang..

ie: who decides what people vote on.. and today.. why do we even need to vote..


it does not mean bill of rights freedoms, it does not mean republican govt.. it does not mean federalism or pluralism.. above all, it does not mean representation: rep govt maybe a desirable expedient in a govt of great size, but as we have clearly seen it has nothing to do w citizen participation, popular decision making or democracy

popular decision making..? citizen participation..? all sounds like people telling people what to do

let’s try curiosity over decision making

rousseau may have been a great waffler on many questions, but about this he was alpine clear: ‘sovereignty.. consists essentially in the general will and the will cannot be represented.. either it is itself or it is something else; there is no middle ground.. the deputies of the people.. therefore, are not nor can they be its reps; they are merely its agents. they cannot conclude anything definitively . any law that the people in person has not ratified is null; it is not a law.. the instant a people chooses reps, it is no longer free; it no longer exists’

i’d said the minute we think we have to have some kind (no matter how small) of public consensus (as in for a law).. we’re not longer free.. ‘a people’ ness is too static for alive people.. and too prone to coercive ness

many disparate types of theorist have analyzed the nature of democratic govt, but virtually all are agreed on one point: a true democracy require a small society.. the human mind is limited, the human voice finite, the number of people who can be gathered together in one place is restricted.. from simply a human regard.. there is a limit to the number of people who can be expected to know all the civic issues, all the contending opinions, all the candidates for office

from simply a human regard.. this is so not natural to humanity/human-nature.. these are rituals (at best) cancer (at worsts) of whales in sea world.. and so then.. so oppressive

so many assumptions .. that already are against human scale.. ugh ie: candidates for office, knowing all the civic issues, civic issues, civic ness – (duties of people in town), that opinions are what we should base how we spend our days al

let go

greeks – agreed w Aristotle that the well run polis had to be small: ‘if citizens of a state are to judge and to distribute offices according to merit, they must know each other’s characters’ where they do not possess this knowledge, both the election to offices and the decisions of lawsuits will go wrong’

how is that human scale..? how is that humane?

human scale is about unconditional ness.. not about judge\ment ness

spaces of permission with nothing to prove

‘democracy in its full meaning is impossible in a large state which as aristotle already observed is ‘almost incapable of constitutional govt”.. this is exactly it

maybe exactly your idea of democracy.. but democracy isn’t it.. it’s not the more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. it’s not the ecosystem we keep longing for.. it’s not how we get to the energy of 8b alive people

next section about surveys and meetings and … such a time suck.. let go..

let’s try curiosity over decision making.. something more beautiful.. beyond finite set of choices


when it works, consensus has some remarkable effects

it doesn’t ever work.. public consensus always oppresses someone(s).. and none of us are free if even just one of us is chained/oppressed..


on diversity of nature/beetles et al

let’s try discrimination as equity

part 6 – conclusion


kropotkin (the idea of a future system): ‘defn of the ideal.. only 4-5 prominent features.. everything else must inevitably be the realization of these fundamental theories in life’..t

let’s go w just two fundamental essences of humanity/human-scale: maté basic needs

moos and brownstein (environ and utopia): ‘once utopia becomes a goal, the long and difficult undertaking of defining the content for a new society can begin’

why define it..? rather ie: revolution: as instigating utopia (however you define it) everyday.. ane

26 – parthenogenesis


kolakowski: ‘it may well be that the impossible at a give moment can become possible only by being stated at a time when it is impossible’..

not that a human scaled world is inevitable; i have no illusions about that.. if no change in current course.. will bring civilization to ruin: parthenothanatos..

if anything can halt that process it would be the sort of awakening that i have called for in these pages.. a swift recognition that our current paths and processes are unsustainable and an immediate attempt to reorder our lives in the *entirety, according the multiple postulate of human scale: parthenogenesis

yeah.. agree.. but what you’ve laid out.. not in *entirety.. we need to go deeper.. and we can..


the possibility of such an awakening is hard to imagine.. but not thereby less probable.. thomas schelling’ tendency to confuse unfamiliar w improbable.. what looks strange is thought improbable and so.. need not be considered seriously’.. it is exactly that syllogism used by those who find themselves in control of the dominant organs of society, so that they may ridicule what they do not understand.. ‘it won’t work and we know because we haven’t tried it’..t

this is not ridiculous ness.. martin be bold law et al

and.. to that.. when we keep going back to history ness and research ness as our grounding.. we’re sure to not try something new/diff

let’s be bold enough to let go enough and try something legit diff

i have no blueprint for how such a human scale world is to come about.. and obviously if i did it would be ripped asunder and trampled on by free individuals and communities deciding for themselves what they wanted to build and how they want to make it..t

that’s why the org/infra (blueprint if you must).. has to be such that everyone can do whatever they want.. (something we’ve not yet tried).. but do have the means for the ‘nuts and bolts’ of that


there is nothing more here than the clean, hard task of showing what the needed/preferable future is, and seeing that the complicated, exciting process of reaching it begins as soon as possible.. nothing more and nothing less

yeah.. i think the problem is in thinking we ‘show what the needed/preferable future is’.. that’s just more of telling people what to do

i do think today we have something more.. we have a means to facil that chaos.. of 8b legit free people (detoxing them as we go) via 2 convers as infra

there’s a nother way but it can’t be part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake.. has to be all of us


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

acknowledgments include: gar alperovitz


so.. guess this is a frustrating read.. dang.. was hoping for diff