peter block

peter block.png

taking Peter in here first.. 1 hr interview from jul 2018


9 min – it’s more than bleak.. it’s the belief that problem solving is why we’re here.. the shift is to decide that we’re here to imagine an alt future.. and we won’t find that future by doing more diagnosis..

1\ diagnosing whales in sea world  2\ unethical to diagnose w/o alt in place

10 min – 6 convers that take you to a diff place  1\ what’s commitment you’re willing to make w no expectation of return.. in that question i have put barter/quid-pro-quo/entitlement to sleep.. i’ve taken that whole body of language.. what’s the promise you’re willing to make.. making-a-deal/problem-solving ..not a creative alt future..

no strings/expectations is spot on.. but we can go deeper.. promise/commitment.. bad language as well.. (ie: we need the bravery to change our minds everyday) try 2 convers.. as infra

12 min – methodology is too small a god to worship

14 min – (on being ok w saying.. come to this space to solve this problem).. once we’re in the room we can do anything together.. why we don’t use ppt.. ppt is saying what we’ll do is predictable..

i don’t want to know your expectations..  what’s the world you came to create..

15 min – there is a place for problem solving.. after we get connected.. so connection first and then content

(fastest way for people to connect): sit in a group of 3 w knees less than 9 in from each other.. and ask them to answer one of these questions.. ie: why is it important for you to be here today.. if i can answer why i showed up today.. then i have a clue as to why i’m on earth

the best one is.. what’s the crossroads you’re at this stage in your life.. it’s an argument against the north star.. it’s an acknowledgement that life is messy

perhaps better.. asking everyday.. what are you curious about today.. as it could be.. 2 convers as infra

16 min – rooms designed for alive ness  – alexander – dead spaces create lousy outcomes

17 min – deadening to start w good funding.. clear outcomes..

langer outcome law

18 min – all these questions are ways of freeing people up.. the tragedy of the dominant narrative is we’re waiting for someone else’s transformation

19 min – all these questions are assaults on accountability

20 min – every culture values depth of relationship.. and small group helps you realize you’re not alone

21 min – the only place surprise in community occurs is when you’re sitting near a stranger.. if i’m w like minded people.. i’m never going to be surprised

fromm spontaneous law

so the protocol for small group transformation is.. be w people you know the least..

block helpful law:

22 min – another protocol that’s even more radical.. don’t be helpful to each other .. if the book’s anything.. it’s a cry out against help/charity/philanthropy.. against the idea that i know and you don’t.. so stop being helpful.. for most of us it’s.. well what am i going to do.. and being helpful is just a form of colonialism.. a form of saying i know and you don’t.. don’t ever tell anybody what you’d do at their age..

23 min – nobody’s made it.. so don’t be helpful.. instead be curious.. ask people why does it matter (?)

2 convers as infra.. for cure ios city

why we haven’t yet gotten to global equity.. we can’t seem to let go of control

they bring people together in 8 min

24 min – we’re not here for therapy.. it’s not a social event.. we’re here to re create the world.. and i can’t re create the world w strangers.. or if i feel i’m alone

25 min – biggest challenge.. to facil as little as possible.. let them be.. keep your hands off.. but also don’t put up w people who came to make speeches

26 min – one frustration is the language usage.. training people to do this.. ie: i tell them to ask.. why did you come here.. and they ask.. what do you expect to get out of this.. diff question..

what if we don’t even ask the question.. we just listen.. for 7bn questions..

the problem w this methodology is it’s too simple

maybe it’s not simple enough

block deficiency law:

28 min – when you’re isolated 3 things happen to you.. you begin to think 1\ you’re crazy   2\ you’re alone  3\ there’s something wrong with you.. so community tells you .. you’re not those things

29 min – you don’t have to work on your deficiencies because working on deficiencies makes them stronger..

rather.. again.. work on curiosities:

2 convers as infra.. for cure ios city

because .. what’s not normal..? (not a deficiency or whatever)

begs .. spaces of permission w nothing to prove

so.. i’m answering questions you’re not asking.. that’s what i do

q: how honesty and genuineness come into play.. how that’s a barrier when you’re wanting to convene small groups    a: it’s always a barrier.. and that’s why you do it.. to get people to trust each other.. you can’t market trust


block ideology law:

ideology is killing us.. ideology is the belief that they way i see the world is true.. people caught up in certainty

31 min – it’s hard if people don’t trust each other.. i’m not interested in these stories of why they (people) haven’t trusted each other


you can illude the anger if you can name the process that’s interfering w why we came.. the hardest thing for me is to not have opinions..  i have to sit there and listen to all of it and act interested.. i haven’t had to do that since gradeschool

32 min – q: can we talk about inviting people to re create the world..  a: that’s a nice thought.. that may be the only reason to come together.. now how you frame will depend on where you are..  i would rather re create our world.. i don’t like the notion of leverage..  ‘let’s create a model so other cities can follow’ .. cities aren’t watching you.. nobody’s watching you.. your parents aren’t even watching you.. so the idea of role model.. prototype.. no.. let’s just create something that will keep us

ha..  but.. graeber model law.. is valid if we have a model that follows the protocols.. no..? don’t be helpful.. don’t be certain..  just provide an open enough space/infra ie: 2 convers as infra.. so that we get to what we need most.. the energy of 7bn alive people.. because it has to be all of us.. [aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]

33 min – in business/corp world: we have to get along to get the job done.. that’s backwards.. we have a job to do so we want to get a long

chomsky serious things

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

thurman interconnectedness law

34 min – nothing is fundamentally new about the new addition.. i tried to make it more accessible..  there’s no reason to buy a second one.. i’m just more confident in these ideas now.. so made it less ambivalent.. pulled out 40 pgs of resources .. better found online now.. ie’s are more clear.. just to make it more accessible.. don’t have to wade through so much ambivalence.. great need for it now.. i didn’t realize that when i wrote first one.. 8-9 yrs ago

35 min – ie: if you do collab care.. moral goes up.. surgeon not so exhausted.. trying to connect real outcomes: more powerful healthcare; children learning faster; economies that are local/balanced.. less centralized.. are all based on the idea of community

children learning faster..? why faster..? i’d say deeper.. and i’d say for all ages.. in the city.. as the day.. via gershenfeld something else law

if equity is everyone getting a go every day.. redefining public education becomes revolution of everyday life.. aka: global equity

sans money.. and all other disturbances(to undisturbed ecosystem)/irrelevants

39 min – q: how do we scale to a public/state/national policy..   a: first of all.. thatnk you.. you’re a public servant.. you’re helping to restore the commons .. which is a bigger job.. why do any of this.. common interest has been under assault for a couple hundred yrs and it’s time we claimed it back in a gentle way..

common ing et al

40 min – (still answering question above) – i would start w the language.. the word scale means make it wide and large.. i would say how do you aggregate what you’re learning in the systems that you’re touching.. when i aggregate i bring things together that don’t have to be alike.. i can legislate a certain level of convening.. but it’s more.. how do we aggregate people who are co creating education that works for all.. w whatever language you have

how about.. how do we aggregate people who are co creating life.. that works for all.. ie: 2 convers as infra..   as it could be.. via idio-jargon as language

41 min – so you have the methodology w ie: world cafe; open space;.. and say.. this is what we’re going to do when people want scale.. say.. the fastest thing we can do is to begin investing time/money.. and later legislation.. the legislation always follows the innovation experience.. you can’t innovate thru legislation.. you can innovate thru experience..

so why ever have legislation.. other than ie: 3 and 30 as infra.. it (legislation – too much ness) will always keep us from ongoing curiosity et al

there are all kinds of people who are radicalizing ed.. so let’s find out who they are

rather.. let’s try something diff.. let’s find out who 7bn people are.. everyday.. and call that ed

as it could be..

and publicize.. how do you make visible the people that are doing something important.. but not w the idea of replication

that could be all of us.. if we were all (has to be all of us) set free..  let’s do this first

42 min – core curriculum is death to learning.. it’s great for consistency/control/predictability

of what..? consistent behavior of whales in sea world..?

43 min – q: what is the real purpose of community    a: to construct in the world the experience of freedom and accountability.. that’s what it works for .. that’s what social capital does

whoa.. love it .. except for (huge except) accountability..?  dang.. i see that as a disturbance to freedom.. to an undisturbed ecosystem

i take it for what your interested in (as well).. because i know that much of the violence/diaspora/migration are born of the absence of community..  and the colonialization of solutions.. really means we’re going to let rich people build it..

46 min – q: about your transition  a: i left corp and got into civic engagement.. i got invited by a lot of city managers and i fell in love w them.. for what they care about..  city managers and school supers are the worst jobs..  i just got drawn into their world and tried to say.. who am i .. in this world..

47 min – i was there for 7 yrs w/o writing.. just experiencing.. it was my decision.. that i was going to care about neighborhoods for the 2nd half of my life.. and i met john mcknight finally and he

neighbor\hood (govt)

and i met john mcknight finally and he changed my life..

mike butler.. was a police chief in longmont.. changed my life .. and then finally steve kept badgering me to write a book about it.. decided to write a book about it

holy cow.. still public safety chief – 1 hr interview from 2018 – taking him in  (and scott converse) – mike butler..

from community:


mike butler – mike has been inventing community policing for a couple of decades. he runs the police dept in longmont co..  which s based on the insight that safety comes from building a strong community.. w law and order as a backup strategy.. here is a recent note from him that gives a hint at what he is up to: ‘our local restorative justice project has evolved to a whole diff level.. we are on the front end of turning our criminal justice system in our area into a restorative justice system..

to belong rev – perhaps a quiet rev

50 min – q: what book do you think needs to be written

yours.. you won’t know what the book is about till after you write it.. so don’t fret.. and write your book to the most naive/simplest person that you know.. i don’t know what ie: brooklyn needs.. but what i do know is that what we’re all doing needs to be made visible.. because nobody considers it

i think.. (w a few tweaks) what you’re all doing is already in each heart/soul.. so what we really need is a mech to free us all up.. and then ground that chaos

51 min – so we need a journalist that says the things that ed says.. that we need relationship.. that that’s the point.. that leadership needs humility

52 min – on waiting for an invitation.. you (to jillian) exist as an invitation

invited to exist ness

53 min – how do you invite others who think people need to be fixed.. into getting to know the people they came to fix

54 min – ie: churches in cincinnati are proud they feed 5 000 people a week.. but they don’t know those 5 000 people.. can’t help people you don’t know..  that i know them and you (talking to a preacher) don’t is the biggest form of colonialism

59 min – you can’t let the small group go on too long.. 4 min ish..  people can get connected quickly.. can’t let people org just by interest..

i think you could if it was ie: curiosity .. everyday

i don’t worry about longevity.. (other than stay healthy) .. if you build something strong enough it will sustain.. how do you sustain over long period.. is the wrong first question

1:03 – only professionals would separate from permaculture.. old .. young..


intro’d to Peter and his book – community – here:

sandymaxey (@sandymaxey) tweeted at 6:16 AM – 27 Aug 2018 :
“All these developments keep telling us that building community and belonging is going to be our most powerful strategy for ending the displacement and isolation that plague so many corners of our world.” (


“When you reduce people’s isolation, they learn that they are not crazy and there is nothing wrong with them.” Peter Block, author of , describes how the time has come for .

article from aug 2018 – the moment of community has arrived

To restore our connectedness, we need to see clearly the isolation we are part of and begin to connect with and care for the well-being of the people around us.

Community building now seems to be an idea whose time has come. Its promise, though, is not well implemented. When it comes to gatherings, we do not act on what we know. At best we convene a social event, a block party, a reception, with food and music, and then most often huddle with like-minded people. Strangers remain strangers.

perhaps we tryai as augmenting interconnectedness for gathering in a space ness

less about solving problems.. more about cure ios city

The Rochester Health Foundation has an eight-year strategy to reduce major illnesses in the community by organizing residents in vulnerable neighborhoods to make their place better, addressing concerns that would seem to have nothing to do with major diseases. They are investing in projects like neighborhood beautification, community gardens, fixing up distressed buildings, pushing drug traffic out. What does having residents care for their six-block area have to do with fighting cancer, diabetes, heart disease? There is evidence that some of the major determinants of disease are social, relational, communal.

All these developments keep telling us that building community and belonging is going to be our most powerful strategy for ending the displacement and isolation that plague so many corners of our world.

The challenge in this enterprise is that building community seems too simple. If you choose to shift towards a context of possibility instead of staying with a context of deficiency, if connected people are the first order of business, you will discover how simple it is to end people’s isolation. When you reduce people’s isolation, they learn that they are not crazy and there is nothing wrong with them. And then can imagine together a future distinct from the past.

as it could be..

2 convers.. as infra

ie: hlb via 2 convers that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

the energy of 7bn alive people

undisturbed ecosystem

in the city.. as the day..

gershenfeld something else law


find/follow Peter:

link twitter

[hasn’t tweeted since 2015]

can get books et al here:

[my notes from community]

his site:

wikipedia small

Peter Block’s work generally focuses on alternatives to patriarchal beliefs pervasive in Western culture and his ideas proffer that cultural change can be brought about through consent and connectedness as opposed through mandate and force. Peter contends that cultural change is only possible when it is preceded by relationship and connectedness among its members. Peter is the author and co-author of several books (see Selected Bibliography below). His most recent, The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods (2010), is co-authored with John McKnight, emeritus professor of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. This book is a culmination of Peter’s work on community and the cultural change needed for the creation of a more sustainable future.

Culture and community

Regarding the changing of cultural beliefs, Peter Block argues that a “culture of accountability” is needed and feasible if attention is diverted away from leaders and refocused on citizens with a commitment towards the creation of a deeper sense of community and citizenship. Peter’s conceptualization of community is more complex, but he generally connects the term with reality outside of systems and institutions.

why change outside system

He also uses the term in reference to an aggregation of people or neighborhoods that have something in common. 

imagine aggregating this way: 2 convers

Peter builds on Robert D. Putnam‘s ideas around the practical importance inherent in a “sense of community”. As Peter explains, a community’s well-being relies on the quality of the relationships and the cohesion that exists among its citizens, known as a community’s “social capital”.

Ultimately, Peter Block challenges communities and their leaders to transform the isolation, fear, and self-interest prevalent in Western culture into connectedness and caring for the whole by starting with accountability and generosity amongst its members.

accountability..? killer

This is his notion of the “ideal world” where accountability is abundant, commitment is authentic, and a community consciousness is prevalent throughout the global village.

Citizenship and consumerism

Peter Block’s notion of a citizen is someone accountable and committed to the well-being of the whole and a participant in a democracy, regardless of their legal status.

imagining that we would take care of each other.. the world.. better if we let go of accountability.. and rather.. trust.. our one ness  ie: undisturbed ecosystem

Peter stated that a citizen is “one who chooses to create the life, the neighborhood, the world from their own gifts and the gifts of others”.

eudaimoniative surplus

 However, he points to a paradox: in the realization of citizenship today, many who have full citizenship rights wait for others to contribute to their life and yet themselves contribute little to democracy or the well-being of their community. Others without citizenship rights are major contributors to community and democracy. Nevertheless, Peter generally attributes citizenship to those functioning as full participants in a democracy.

His conceptualization of a “consumer” might be regarded as more contentious. In his words, “a consumer is one who has surrendered to others the power to provide what is essential for a full and satisfied life” and he goes as far as saying, “Consumerism is not about shopping, but about the transformation of citizens into consumers“. Moreover, Peter believes there is a growing movement of people who believe that a full and satisfied life is obtained within their communities rather than in the market place.

however you say it.. full life begs sans money/measure .. for sure

Stewardship and service

Peter Block conceives of “stewardship” as an umbrella term that encapsulates the means towards the achievement of fundamental change in the manner in which we govern institutions. His conceptualization of “service” is more complex. He argues that service is realized in both the “language of service” and the “experience of service”. The problem however, as he argues, is that we have the language of service, but lack the experience of it. He attributes this lack to self-interest present in ourselves as well as our institutions. He believes service is only truly realized when it is “authentic” and when the following characteristics are present: there is a balance of power; the primary commitment is to the larger community; and there is a balanced and equitable distribution of rewards.

rewards.. dang..

so to me.. accountability and rewards are two disturbances that have kept this (focus on community) from getting to global equity..

Peter argues that these notions of stewardship and service (see aforementioned definitions) are, however, not characteristic of how organizations are currently being run. He explains that although these notions are reflective of our intentions towards governing, they are not reflective of the reality. Block is regarded as a notable supporter, with others like Margaret WheatleyMax DePree, and James Autry, of the basic premise inherent “servant-leadership” implying that leaders should put the needs of followers ahead of their own needs.


Notable undertakings

In collaboration with Werner H. Erhard, Peter Block designed courses and trained clergy and grassroots leaders in transformation skills and perspectives in leadership and integrity to effect peace and reconciliation in the Northern Ireland Peace Process

again.. a movement toward peace.. w focus on *community .. should work.. we should have global equity by now.. but i’m thinking.. (just in this 2 day intro of him).. accountability and rewards are the cancer keeping him/us from global/soul peace..

for ie: maté basic needs – attachment could fit w his community.. but authenticity would be greatly compromised once accountability and rewards come into play..  for eudaimonia .. we need spaces of permission (unaccountability)..  w nothing to prove (reward)