Love & the Wise Democracy Pattern Language
Is there anything in the Wise Democracy Pattern Language about LOVING? A friend challenged me about that and I’ve finally found a way to talk about it that doesn’t involve making Love a pattern. Here you’ll find most of the current patterns organized in terms of what they have to offer to holistic, co-intelligent manifestations of love. May you find the inquiry intriguing. – Tom
Several years ago a close colleague challenged me about the absence of LOVE as a pattern in the wise democracy pattern language. I responded that patterns are basically design guidances and I was wary of framing “love” in design terms. But for her, love was so fundamental that its omission undermined the value of the pattern language.
The dynamic tension between our two views has persisted since then, ruffling the edges of my consciousness, hungry for a creative resolution bigger than both our views.
A few weeks ago, in a wee-hours insight, I sensed an approach that might work.
I’ve always FELT that the wise democracy pattern language CONTAINS love within its fabric, but I was unable to articulate that. Now I think I’ve found a way.
The first step is to think of co-intelligent love as co-realized, co-created well-being. (In many cases love may be more or less than that, but this provided a good beginning for this inquiry.)
From that starting place, I explored what most of the WDPL patterns could contribute to such a holistic, co-intelligent manifestation of love. I intuitively clustered the patterns into conceptual families that seemed to offer particular kinds of contributions. I then tried to summarize the essence of each family. (Note that many patterns could be in two or more families, even though I’ve placed them in only one. Each pattern has its own unique gifts to give for co-intelligent loving, which you can explore…)
I also wanted to bring the wise democracy Prime Directive into this inquiry. The Prime Directive instructs us to appreciate, evoke and engage the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole on behalf of the whole. To me this statement calls us to a kind of meta-loving, to recognizing the potential for love that resides in all kinds and sizes of living systems – notably all forms of human relationships, groups, communities and so on. The Prime Directive suggests that realizing this potential for love is itself a form of loving. (Note: I’m offering a 2-hour intro to the Prime Directive on Jan 10th, 2023 for N&S America & Europe and Jan 11th for Asia, Australia, NZ etc.)
So in each family of co-intelligent loving below I highlight how its particular essence manifests in the case of DIRECT LOVING between entities – especially individual people – and then briefly shift attention to enabling that same manifestation in others, in groups and in systems – the perspective and calling of the PRIME DIRECTIVE.
See what you think. You can do a quick scan to get a sense of it all, or delve into each category in greater depth, perhaps stumbling onto questions or further thoughts about love or these patterns in the process.
I don’t provide links to the patterns here. There are just too many. However, you can find a web page about each pattern through the alphabetic list of the whole pattern language HERE.
I hope you find this interesting and look forward to any comments you wish to share.
Direct loving involves generative interactions among those involved – interactions that nurture deep, life-serving relationships, understandings, and possibilities. Loving this way through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables that very loving capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
39 – Generative Interactions
92 – Whole System in the Conversation
48 – Integrity and Authenticity
27 – Enough Time
56 – Multiple Perspective View
96 – Working With Feelings
87 – Universal Participation (i.e., intrinsic co-creation)
71 – Realizing Essential Aspirations
79 – Spaces for Dialogue and Collaboration
80 – Story
65 – Privacy Guarantees
41 – Groundedness
OPEN FLOW OF MEANING AND ENERGY
Direct loving involves generative interactions where meaning and energy flow among those involved in ways that make life good. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables that loving capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
63 – Power of Listening
33 – Feeling Heard
64 – Powerful Questions
1 – All Concerns Addressed
42 – Grounding in Fundamental Needs
76 – Safety First, Then Challenge
GOODNESS FOR ALL
Direct loving involves caring – a desire for goodness in both ends and means, an orientation to that which is good and/or could become more so. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables that loving capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
2 – Appreciative Thinking
7 – Caring into Quality
62 – Possibility Thinking
89 – Visionary Attractors
69 – Quality of Life Indicators
CARING FOR SHARED BENEFITS
Direct loving ideally involves partnership in the continual co-creation of conditions of shared benefit – whatever is good for all those involved. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables that loving capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
61 – Partnership Culture
28 – Equity
81 – Synergy Between Part and Whole
13 – Commons and Commoning
20 – Cooperative Ownership as Stewardship
66 – Proposals and Outcomes Emergent
32 – Fair Sharing of Costs and Benefits
CHOICE INSTEAD OF FORCE
Direct loving involves willingness, choice and consent and an absence of force, domination and violence. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables those loving qualities in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
16 – Consent
18 – Consulting and Abiding by Willingness
37 – Fullness of Choice
70 – Range of Tolerance
68 – Prudent Use of Power Over
SUPPORTING LIFE ENERGY
Direct loving involves honoring each other’s spirit and supporting their creative agency and powers – for both individual and collective well-being. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables such a loving capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
90 – Well-Utilized Life Energy
91 – Whole Healing
55 – Multi-Modal Power
34 – Felt Agency
72 – Regenerativity
95 – Working the Field
75 – Sacredness
31 – Exuberance
77 – Self-Organization Fostered
59 – Optimizing Freedoms and Constraints
VALUE OF DIFFERENCE AND DISTURBANCE
Direct loving recognizes the uniqueness of beings, moments and circumstances and thus understands the inevitability and value of diversity, change and challenge. It taps into the dynamic potential of all these for greater wholeness by applying the interactive principles above to disturbances and differences. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables this powerful loving capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
26 – Diversity
88 – Using Diversity and Disturbance Creatively
43 – Healthy Competition / Cooperation Dynamics
44 – Healthy Polarity Dynamics
51 – Metabolizing Polarization
38 – Generating Shared Orientation
15 – Connecting Nodes of Life Energy
60 – Out of Many, One
RESPONSIVE HOLISTIC INTELLIGENCE
Direct loving involves a kind of responsive, flexibly interactive intelligence for engageing with the evolving complexity of life without losing touch with its fundamental wholeness and mystery. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables that loving cognitive capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
93 – Wholesome Life Learning
23 – Dancing Among Clarity, Inquiry, Mystery …
54 – Multi-Modal Intelligence
29 – Expanding Situational Curiosity
21 – Creative Experimentation
49 – Iteration
6 – Capacitance (the ability to tolerate irresolution)
5 – Bringing Understanding to Life
14 – Complex Identity
84 – Tackling Cognitive Limitations
86 – Universal Intelligence (the intelligences of nature and spirit)
74 – Rich Feedback Dynamics
94 – Wise Use of Uncertainty
30 – Expertise on Tap (Not on Top)
STRETCHING INTO THE BIG PICTURE
Direct loving stretches itself beyond what is immediate, obvious, and personal (and interpersonal) to embrace larger, longer, deeper realities, motivations, needs, and contexts in wise service to greater Life. Loving through the Prime Directive calls forth and enables that expansively informed and sensitive loving capacity in others, groups or systems. Both realms of loving involve patterns like the following.
4 – Big Empathy
57 – Nature First
82 – Systems Thinking
24 – Deep Time Perspective
19 – Context Awareness
35 – Full Cost Accounting
36 – Full Spectrum Information
50 – Life-Enhancing Enoughness
That’s it. This is a framework through which we can explore and practice many manifestations of holistic, co-intelligent loving.
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Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, POB 493, Eugene, OR 97440
Evoking and engaging the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole on behalf of the whole
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