Critical Networks

did you come across materials laying out a synthesis of very specific characteristics and requirements
around what I am tempted to call “critical networks” ?

Perhaps there is some other name for this ?

I think of “critical network” as distinctive from, yet potentially including , the concept of “critical mass”.

In the way I envision it,
“Critical Network” where the required “critical” properties for an operational or emergent networked system may not merely be a mass of users,
but specific properties ( such as measurable forms of reciprocity, physical location, resources, knowledge and skills, or other variables ) related to the constituents and context for specific intentional “process economies” to be enabled.

Including the mode of access to resources required for specific kinds of emergence.

I want to understand ( and have access to examples of ) various characteristics required to facilitate and multiply “local process economies” for viable and convivial living systems

as to document step by step strategy proposals,

not merely in a “enclosed” / monetized approach,

but rather within a larger wealth acknowledgment system

towards communal sharing in intentional economic networks.

I put an emphasis on understanding “starting points” for ( at first small scale )
“critical networks”.

I can find inspiration in homebrew revolutions ( and examples such as e-farm , open manufacturing, … ),
but also recommendations related to the set up of “transition towns”
( )

I can also find inspiration in ( reading excerpts online )
of books such as

and the p2p urbanism and p2pf blog , wiki and lists.


What I wish, is to define requirements more accurately,
offering post-industrial alternatives to sometimes publicly supported “gentrification urban development models” ( which I observe here in Brussels too ),
that seem to be aligned or inspired by Richard Florida’s Creative Class approach of development

I am also particularly interested in converging such understanding into building up “games” ,
and use such games as a form of synthesis practice to empower “critical networks”
for a intentional information and communication framework,
with incentives and related metrics, empowering collective intelligence and collaborative action.

I am aware such question may open up a large conceptual map, including the ones already layed out by you and p2pf peers.

I am interested in condensing it, into specifics, specific step by step examples.
e-farm may offer an example.

I want to know where and how to focus/aggregate attention as first steps,
and bring it into “real social” ( )
“real games”.

For the moment, I consider “Housing Cooperatives” and “Group Purchasing Organizations” as starting points in post-industrial frameworks, as some first aggregator layers, on which to build other relational dynamics around food and housing.

Food production, food logistics, but also food as aggregator, such as ,
and then alternative currencies and wealth acknowledgment systems supporting more and more complex transaction potentials.

I also like the approach of learning spaces as aggregators for bringing together “Critical Network” requirements and development practices, such as the “University” project promoted by Dougald :

Perhaps some of you read ( I did not ) the “integral city” book.

Is there a comprehensive list of requirements set out ?

Also , what are the capital requirements for such kind of “ventures”,
as to converge or purchase infrastructure requirements to enable the functioning of a critical network for a p2p resilient and convivial civilization of collaborative individualists?

In addition to development practices,
I wish to outline all of these requirement into modules,
that help define the costs on a context based approach for
“business plans”, packaged and sold as “use value insurance” …

Access to Contexts

Access to Contexts – Hoarding Vs Intentional Commons , in social networks

“Authoritarian Individualism” ( ? )
– or the cultural results of “Competitive Individualistic Culture” ( ? )

Is the ( provocative ? ) term I used today,
in an exchange with a friend living in Brussels,

for expressing the “hoarding of opportunities”
related to our shared context.

More specifically, a perceived “need of control” on surrounding contexts,
which can have as consequence
the hoarding of access to “space” and a potential “flow” of interdependencies.

Instead of a potential for inclusiveness,
enabling personal choice of ones own attention
without a specific sense of need for hoarding of one’s context.

A mode of “contextual property”,
which in my definition,
can enable a right of access to contexts we facilitated to converge or create,
as long as the other does not hoard, but contributes to such context.

Some kind of “copyleft/access” license which does not enable the other to hoard what we share in the first place.

In other words, the issue I underline may come from
a difference in “borders” set in our realities:


I may choose to constantly keep my reality “open”, day and night,
including all my resources, knowledge, social networks, and access to living spaces,

while my friend’s “borders”, and that of other people I met in a city such as Brussels,
currently seem to be limited to the direct perceived personal interests, defined in time and space by my friend,
and more often related to direct consumption of leisure opportunities,
which, according to my interpretation, complement while sustaining a lifestyle
of “psychological and emancipatory deficiencies”
of an apparently extrinsically motivated conditional working lifestyle,
compensated by access to an opportunity inter-dependency space conditioned by monetary transactions.

In yet other words,
my friend’s experience of an individualist lifestyle
seems to be different from my individualist lifestyle.

In my own case, All my resources are set available to a network of people “I choose” to connect with.
Usually people I share common intentions, values, objectives with.
In other words, I can set myself as an operational access node within a “intentional commons”.

The big question is “how to enable synergies” between such two modes,
while not enabling the control of “intentional commons” forms of autonomous / free association individualistic lifestyles,
by “conditions for participation” of a “hoarding type of individualism” ?

Conditions often related to personal consumption and gratification on the moment,
and not necessarily staying at the service of opportunity making towards shared intentions.

Such “individualist authoritarianism”, according to my own experiences,
often limits the sets of “choices” within the “conditions” and norms of such forms of “individualistic” memes.

efarm open source economy

Open Source Prototypes …

videos :

These video episodes help explain the concept of Open Source Ecology:

Factor E Distillations Episode 1 – Introduction

Factor E Distillations Episode 2 – Product Ecologies

Factor E Distillations Episode 3 – Towards an Open Source Tractor

Factor E Distillations Episode 4 – On a Technology Base for Evolving to Freedom

” we keep telling everybody to drop what they are doing now – and participate in producing the option of a viable, highly productive, open source economic system – which helps those with higher aspirations than a 9 to 5 to pursue their dreams. This has be be done once – and then the tools become available. So subscribe to this work – and put your money where your mouth is on realizing these ideals. “

Factor E Distillations – Episode 5 – The CEB Story


” is a movement dedicated to the collaborative development of the world’s first replicable, open source, modern off-grid “global village.” By using permaculture and digital fabrication together to provide for basic needs and open source methodology to allow cheap replication of the entire village, we hope to empower anyone who desires to move beyond the struggle for survival and “evolve to freedom.”

By our analysis, most of the technologies needed for a sustainable and pleasant standard of living could be reduced to the cost of scrap metal + labor. There is immense potential for social transformation once this technology is fully developed for building interconnected self-sufficient villages, since people will be freed from material constraints and able to seek self-actualization.

We understand that this is an ambitious task, but we have accomplished much and are making rapid progress. Factor e Farm is the land-based facility where we are putting this theory into practice. Our means of achieving these goals are meticulously detailed in the “Global Village Construction Set” and the OSE Proposal. ”

and also see 41 technologies

meaning through shared realities

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson
Date: Thu, May 15, 2008 at 1:43 PM
Subject: meaning through shared realities

I have grown up in a individualist society , and I feel that my heart and mind is not satisfied with competitive and consumerist individualism. In eastern europe I discovered a certain sensibility that resonated with my heart , yet at the same time I realize that I am part of a Paradigm that is not one of ( some mainstream socio culture in ) eastern europe , or not of western europe , but one that is in creation.

I realize that there are some precious people I meet on my road , and with whom I would like to build with.

I also realize that what has meaning is to share , and to co-create , yet that it is not easy in the current situation to find a way to share space in peoples realities , as often it is already packed with their obligations , or also because a lot of people are scared of the chaos of the unknown , which I might reflect to them through my attempts of creating new solutions , beyond the current structures ,

even when many of them do appreciate that I am trying to develop new solutions.

I meet a lot of people , but at the same time it feels isolated , as it is most of the time only for the time of a cup of tea , and not in a shared reality , towards a common intention.

Sometimes people are curious about my different approaches , but when i stay for longer then a cup of tea it seems to often make them feel threatened by my different approach , perhaps as it becomes a mirror to their reality , and to a potential of doing things differently , which re-questions their own structures , and re-questions the validity of what they considered being obligations.

Yet I am progressively developing the intentional networks with which I hope to co-create , and develop the bases that will facilitate alternative lifestyles , approaches , solutions – preserving and expanding our space to be different , while opening up the opportunities to empower each other through and with our differences – in a collaborative individualist approach :

Many people , including politicians and economics , are not satisfied with the current financial system , and the ways whereby we count economics and value creation , as we realize that it does not necessarily lead to ” development ” , but to destruction in the interest of a few.

To be able to cope with the complexity of the world of today , we need to empower each other while using the available tools , and learning and living approaches are very central.

Trust information systems and decision making are also very central ,

and today , compared with the past , we do not need to fight for control over land and people to have control on communication channels that enable such society building ,

we do not need to go through civil wars ( as the one that hapenned in Finland in the beginning of the 20th century ) ,

we can develop alternative systems that can provide solutions directly to the people , and , as more and more people see their interest in using it , it will grow by itself without having to take over control on any other system – in effect , ending up with multiple parallel societies and realities , and as individuals we could choose the multiple solutions and societies we are active in – complementing each other.

Anyway , hope this does not all sound too complicated. I hope soon we can develop some documentary that can illustrate and make such perspectives easily accessible.

Institution Vs Commons ?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson
Date: Fri, Dec 7, 2007 at 3:07 PM
Institution as part of Commons , and not Commons as part of Institution

in relation to our conversation of

” Institution ” versus ” Social Network ”
( or more exactly , I mean ” Commons of the Social Network ” )

me arguing that the ” Institution ” can potentially be part of a Social Network Commons , and feed it when there are shared ” Intentions ” ( and not ” Expectations ” )

The problem is that very often “Social Network Commons” and “Institutions” are being confused , and the Institution ( consciously or not ) often tries to reap the benefits of a Social Network in its own advantage , vampirizing the social network commons into the realm of its control ,

and imposing its own conditions and expectations to the social network commons.

Hence , the understanding of where ” The Institution ” lies is important , as to avoid the Intentions shared by the Intentional Commons Social Network to be taken over by an Institution.

Understanding of where the ” Institution ” lies , and where the ” Commons of the Intentional Movement of Social Networks ” lie , is not always easy.

But you can understand it from the moment you notice where there lies a specific expectation , and not an intention , and from the moment that you realize there is a consciousness of specific need for control …

A Social Network is more flexible , and rests on the intentions shared by individuals , and not on the expectations of Institutions.

Yet , Institutions may support a commons by opening up resources for it.

But again , lets stay aware of the consciousness.

By the way , also see this short text recently edited on the p2p foundation wiki :

” Iron Law of Institutions ”

“The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution “fail” while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to “succeed” if that requires them to lose power within the institution.” (

Build up of mutually empowered critical mass of prosumers ?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson
Date: Sat, May 17, 2008 at 1:52 PM
Subject: Build up of mutually empowered critical mass of prosumers ?
To: hc_ecology – at –, sustainable_solidarity – at –

I felt like writing some additional ideas , in relation to potential developments and projects I see around me , and question myself as to where to converge ” physically ” while being able to live, and facilitate the … ” Build up of mutually empowered critical mass of prosumers ? ” – while not disconnecting ourselves from the city / not fully living in autharcy – but being open to a globalised world , with a capacity for higher levels of mutual empowerment and collaborative creativity.

and how to facilitate the networking and collaboration of organizations , cooperatives , academic institutions , students , … any individual towards such intentions ?

When the picture is so synthetic and complex , where to start ?

a follow up on a previous thread and response which you will find below


I also notice another trend – the urban redevelopment trend around knowledge and creation centers.

this is my main reason for now visiting Helsinki , as there is a urban re-development plan , shifting a declined industrial neighborhood into a art/design/high tech – living , research and development , management , lifelong learning space.


also see another project in the united states :

if you have a good internet connection , you might want to view this very easy to read and informative 10 Mb pdf file :

if not , some more google entries related to

Remaking Cities Institute – Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture

One of the aims of mine and of many people I end up meeting , along these last years , is to connect further our intentional networks , with a variety of individuals from different backgrounds sharing it , activists , academic institutions, students , organizations , businesses , governmental organizations , representatives , etc

share practices , experiment , increase our credibility through joint projects , increase support and access to a variety of resources , …

There are a number of very interesting initiatives , in many OECD countries – for example here a japanese practice sharing platform :

Although sometimes it feels simple yet complex , and I doubt strongly that the verbal language tool , even when extended by information technologies , and emails like this one , can be effective enough – i feel more and more that what is needed is new forms of language , some kinds of dynamic mapping into which we can add , position , extract , compare , correct , …

beyond wiki s , yet including them , extracting available data from the internet , from our environments , and be able to visualize them through some post symbolic visual language.

I am also not surprised to see that many a case , as with the Arabiaranta Helsinki redevelopment project , the central synthetic and creative environment , the convergence space for trans-disciplinarity , are choses to be art universities , or more precisely , art and technology development oriented environments ,

dreaming and designing futures and the relations between all elements , including dreams about new esthetical forms of lifestyle …

Or am I wrong ? I am perhaps too young to have experienced it , but it seemed that in the end of the 60 ies , the social movements erupted from the humanistic faculties ?

Is this still te case ? I traveled all over europe in the last years , met a lot of students of politics and sociology , and often they would end up being the activist side of the movement , but often in an approach that is ” fighting ” and not necessarily with new visions.

It feels that Design and Technology Development / Research ” clusters ” are becoming ” fashion and being developed , not necessarily through grassroot movements , but because of the needs and evolution of businesses ( and consumerism ? ) into products that require such solutions.

Which perhaps sounds a bit contradictory to a prosumer spirit ?

Business seems to have been successfull in absorbing the individualist needs of the 68 generation into … consumerism ? ( I paste below some references to a BBC series of documentaries ” The century of the self ” ) ,

but will it take further control over current psychological , and potential structural developments ?

Or are we able to create the prototypes that can better deal with complexity and offer alternative modes of organization and lifestyle then the current dominant competitive , consumerist , scarcity creating , individualist models ?

A dilemna I feel is that the resources are still on the side of a capitalistic mode of production and managment.

Organizing ourselves , and connecting between each other , cooperatives , that can facilitate the mutual empowerment of individuals while creating some of the resources they need to live , eventually selling to a broader market , or even creating its own markets ( and own alternative – intentional ? – currencies ? more complex barter systems involving information technologies ? to trade between partners / cooperatives that share common intentions ? )

Can we inspire the creation of a critical mass ?

Where do we start to converge a critical mass ?

With food cooperatives ? With learning practices and school environments ?

I know that its in every different field that we can be active , and spread such socio-cultural memes ,

yet for some of us , it does not feed us yet –

The p2p foundation ( and other platforms and movements ), the convergence of various examples and ideas under the wiki , blog , ning , mailing lists

is where we seem to be now.

But how to connect a critical mass ? … as to empower ourselves with the resources needed ,
without having to be dependent on a capitalistic mode of organization and production ?


” The Century of the Self ”

part 1 )

part 2 )

part 3 )

part 4 )

About ” The Century of the Self ” :

extract from

To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?

some more videos on my blog

On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 1:01 PM, Dante-Gabryell Monson wrote:

Hi Marco , Michel , Sam , ( cc : Alicia , Marilyn , Steve , Synnove , Andrius , Josef , Franz , Jeff )

yes , I guess that the people that are fully interested in investing themselves in a shift of lifestyle patterns in such kind of approach – pro-suming ( ? ) – form some kind of sub-culture –

The eco-village movement ( such as ) might be one such kind of sub culture , although too often I realize they tend to reject information technologies and try to move to some more collectivist structures , going back to the past , trying to escape complexity and live a simple life ,

although there are also some examples of emerging networks , such as

and also emerging , existing , communities such as one I know about ( but did not visit up to now ) in the netherlands ,

they also organize a festival ( in dutch – Michel might understand : )

and where an acquaintance of mine met at a ecotopia camp ,
“alicia falvey” , has been ( and still is ? ) very involved in – I also remember she mentionned some other projects in Ireland ? –

I also paste below for Michel an extract in dutch extracted from :

De wijk EVA-Lanxmeer

De Culemborgse wijk EVA-Lanxmeer is een stadswijk, die is gebouwd op basis van gedachtengoed over integrale sociaal-ecologische stedenbouw en permacultuur. In dit gedachtengoed staat de kwaliteit van de leefomgeving centraal, waarvoor de bewoners en bedrijven die er wonen en werken zelf medeverantwoordelijkheid dragen. De inrichting van leefomgeving wordt gekenmerkt door ecologisch bouwen, organische vormgeving en architectuur, afvalwaterzuivering in de wijk, centrale parkeerplaatsen, landschapsarchitectuur, samenhang tussen privé tuin, gezamenlijke tuin en openbaar groen, behoud van cultuurhistorische elementen, ontwikkeling van natuur, biodiversiteit en biologische landbouw.

festivalist node ?

It would be really interesting to have some kind of ” life center ” ,
a complete alternative to ” job centers ” ,

as the main aim of a ” life center ” , compared to a ” job center ” ,
is not to find people that match demand that can be paid for ,

but the main aim would be to allow people to find what they are interested in ,
and how they can mutually empower each other in further learning and developing what they feel has meaning to learn more and develop.

I remember already seeing a ” volunteering ” center.

How can we best use information technologies to help people share their questions ,
and develop solutions together , empowering each other with learning and shared activities towards their intention and potential projects.

I m not sure if there is such a ” virtual center ” … ?

Although there are many points on the internet that do connect people according to their interests.

I guess this could also be the new forms of learning ” nodes ” …

some kind of ” information convergence nodes towards festivalist lifestyles ”

I guess this should replace our current modes of operation in universities and schools ,
and also be used for mutually empowered and challenging life long learning.

local boundary spanning and convergence – stigmergy and emergence of intentional networks

I am interested in developing interconnected media facilitating a trans and meta overview ,

and if possible , also a dynamic relative overview ,

within and between ” intentional networks “.

Towards such an aim ,

I believe , at first , in using existing technologies , and then progressively build collected materials and position them towards each other , collectively , eventually implementing new applications and solutions to do so.

Let me explain my approach.

In the last 5 years , I have been hitch hiking all over europe , developing different perspectives , interacting and living with people from various backgrounds , while staying in touch with these people , and also with other emerging intentional networks , through the internet , using email , wiki s , mailing lists , social bookmarks , …

I quickly realized the need for two approaches , beyond convergence and exchanges in online environments , connecting online interaction with real world spaces and interaction :

on one hand , the need to facilitate the emergence of interconnected networks of individuals that apparently may be called
” boundary spanners “

( expressed in some old brainstormings such as ” Open World ” :

and on the other hand , convergence spaces , which may also be living spaces , where such boundary spanners can converge , live , and develop their projects , while feeling at home , or having the opportunity to have several places where they feel at home.

Also , during my travels , the decisions concerning my moves depended on the options that would come to me along communication channels in the networks of people I met , and on information  from the networks of individuals to which I connected to online ,

opening up several options to me , from which I would constantly re-actualize my alignment of options ( several options making it possible to attract me rather in one part of europe at a certain time of the year , rather then another , according to the capacity to open up new opportunities , meet people , converge resources , and the efforts invested )

I would also use email to facilitate efforts of ” stigmergy ” with my networks of friends throughout europe ,
and optimize the opportunity and connection making through my hitch hiking low budget moves , by connecting with people along the way according to common interests , or complementary interests , I would feel.

Other important factors in my travels being the potential for having inconditional opportunities for reality sharing – feeling more often that I had more such chances in certain places in eastern europe then in western europe , as western europe , especially in its big cities , seemed to have its social organization based on much more conditional reality sharing.

After an estimated 300 000 km hitch hiking , I feel it is time to find opportunities to increase the resource base , and find ways to converge more effectively , using some of my experience , and try to implement the understanding and broader view of interconnected / inter related pieces of ” puzzle ” I would see , and the potential for new synergetic , or eventually , emergent relation making processes.

I am now back in Brussels , my home town , and a major center of decision making in europe and in the world , itself being positioned in between other major decision making centers in europe , such as London , Paris , Amsterdam , the Ruhr Gebiet and Koln …

I woud like to start very simply.   I am happy to see that there are projects such as ” The Hub ” that are emerging , new hubs opening up accross major cities accross europe and the world , inspired on the Hub London s success.

I am somewhat sceptical of its business model , yet like to promote the development of such transdisciplinary convergence spaces.
( I still feel such model might still too much be aimed at maximizing income , even though some hubs might choose to be not for profit – I am also concerned about ownership and control of communication channels related to these convergence spaces , … etc … but thats another debate. )

Together with some friends , such as Synnove , we also discussed the development of ” Convergence shared living spaces “.

These might also combine with other more temporary convergence/living intentional network spaces , such as ” collectives ” of a few days , or a few months , such as the Couchsurfing or BeWlecome Collectives , or the 24 hour or 24 weeks projects the espians develop :


In some of these projects , video , wiki s , and mailing lists are being used to facilitate collaboration between individuals from all over the world with convergence points such as collectives.

I would be interested in developing platforms , together with all other emerging technologies ,
that facilitate such collaboration ,

first at a local scale , such as at the scale of brussels ,

visiting different actors potentially sharing common or complementary projects and intentions ,

understanidng their needs and offers ,

and trying to position them by facilitating some ( audio-visual ) recordings , that would include meta tags ,

and facilitate the mapping of each of them towards each other.

I would also be interested , after using existing tools and mashing them together ,
while also using real world spaces , which can in effect also become ubiquitous as to interact with each other through the online communication channels and also through physical space , facilitating ” stigmergy ”

Ideally , grant makers , social entrepreneurs , researchers , people in the field , decision makers of all kinds , etc

can more eaisly allocate their efforts and resources , and collaborate with each other ,

not having to follow specific power structures of organizations , but directly working around common intentions ,
and optimizing the use of resources , facilitating also the understanding of mutual synnergies and the different inter relations ,
understanding priorities and how each element may further lead to new opportunities.

This would be complemented with data bases , and their immersive visualization – tools that still need to be developed , some of which I may briefly be detailing on


Another very important aspect I see to such emergence ,

is the inconditonality , towards common intentions.

Everyone does wat one can , and empowers each other , eventually leading to ones own empowerment through mutual emergence.

new forms of finance can emerge , including new forms of measurment , facilitated by the new holoptic capacity of such a intentional network.

By holopticism , I mean the capacity for everyone to see the bigger picture , and to evaluate as to better potion ones own actions and potential decisions in accordance to others , facilitating self regulation , in a non hierarchic way.

Everyone could be creative , and people having access to any kind of resource may decide to invest and donate to people working on various aspects of the broader intention ,

or on new understandings of opportunties that may rise into new initiatives and solution development.


For example , I might go and see various individuals , schools , universities, non governmental organizations , governmental political bodies , private companies , etc

and by documenting and inter relating each others needs and situations , make it easier for each of them to see potentials for synnergies , and new opportunties to create / solutions to develop together.

by doing so , some of them might see the ” value creation ” I can bring , and through a transparent donations platform ,
allow them to donate to me , while seing what my own living needs might be.

I can show , like in a video game , what my daily survival needs are , and how much of them might have been filled up within the next week or two , and if they want to support me , they may see for example that in one week time I do not have enough money to fulfill my estimated eating expenses , and they can decide to donate one or two euros – which then appears transparently on the online system.

more details about such a solution on


So to start with , I would simply need to go and visit local actors , and help positioning them , by fiding out about a series of question that could facilitate such positioning , and eventuallymake some short audiovisual recording , which can then be meta tagged and inter related with all other potential recordings and pieces of information.

This can facilitate local meetings in the real world ,

and if it really creates value , it can be a first step for me to receive donations and survive ,
while not being told what to do , whitout having to work for anyone , and without needing to set up any specific legal structure of my own ( I hope – we will see )

I also look forward to further use and include tools , such as potentially the ones developed by Joe Edelman :

weak ties are more powerful than strong ties

Granovetter (1973) argued that within a social network, weak ties are more powerful than strong ties. He explained that this was because information was far more likely to be “diffused” through weaker ties. He concluded that weak ties are “indispensable to individuals’ opportunities and to their incorporation into communities while strong ties breed local cohesion.”

Granovetter’s doctoral thesis demonstrated that most people landed jobs thanks to their weak ties and not their strong ones. It was the people that they did not know well, the ones with whom they did not have shared histories and did not see on a regular basis who were of most help. This is because people with strong ties generally share the same pieces of information and resources. Therefore they are of less help to one another.