Infrastructure, Armature, Scaffolding

| March 8, 2017

Plain and simple: Structure wins.  Paradigms create structures that over time become ubiquitous taken for granted and “the way” things are. They form guidelines that tell us how to behave and perform; what kinds of offices and communication tools to employ. They inform classrooms, and ways of thinking. They design much of our furniture and ways of communicating. They inform rules of conduct… cultures. Infrastructure is the skeleton, the support system for any given paradigm. Most of us don’t think much about infrastructure or we think of it as trains, rails, roads.

At this moment in time we are between paradigms trying to give up one and find our way into a new more promising one.  We are caught in the in-between. The old hanging on tight, badgering us with worn out rules, roads, words, ways of working, either/or mentalities. The new just emerging, still staying under the radar lest the old tear it apart and destroy its possibilities. Now, we are fraught with ambiguity, unknowns, yet with beautiful emerging visions for what we, as Humanity can now design and bring into being. As we design and iterate we will find much of what we have can be re-purposed, re-designed, re-cycled into a new context, creating armature. The infrastructure that will support the new paradigm is not yet formed or given priority.

Armature, a new word to many, mostly used in architecture, is for me, the essence of the people spaces we create. It is a reminder of where one is in time and space. It brings into environments the best of the past — memories – while bridging  and transforming  patterns into a new reality. It changes the way we see and create context. Armature is the aesthetics of nature, of beauty, rhythm, and beauty. It heightens the human experience. I think of it as a fascia.

Scaffolding is one of my favorite words. Today, I believe we are creating the scaffolding that can enable us to hasten the emerging paradigm into being.  Scaffolds are put in place to provide time and guidance for an ecology or network to grow and learn and manage phase transitions until the system is resilient enough to take hold and become its intent. Scaffolds hold work in progress up until the structure being built is strong enough to stand on it’s own.

Infrastructure, armature, scaffolding are three underlying parts of any healthy paradigm in formation. Best of all, it takes our many various ways of working and thinking to weave and entangle them into resilience.  There is not an expertise that cannot take part in this construction.  We need everyone bringing their talents and visions into the drafting room, working together. It will take years, but the first steps are perhaps the most important. The very young to the older wisdom keepers have parts to play.

Now is the time as almost all existing infrastructures, armatures, and scaffoldings are being thrown away or let go by the old. There is a vacuum. Let’s upCREATE together. 

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