Below you’ll find copies of all participant submissions. Click on the participant’s name to view their full submission.

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Participant Questionnaires

Your NameShaun McBride
Cohort AssignmentCohort A (Europe + MENA)
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

At this stage, I feel pulled to two ways of describing my work which might co-exist, or the former may be in mid-process of evolving into the latter, I'm not sure yet:
To evolve the capacity of people to generate living communities through life-enhancing transformations
To support minds & communities to rewild themselves following the imposition of monocultures upon them by the mechanical paradigm we've grown up in

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

Where invited, to facilitate a connection between people & the wholenesses in which they are nested, be they human or more-than-human, enabling them to feel the dance that the living system is doing and join in with it in a way that enhances Life, and to support people in generating their own language & ideas that resonate with them to describe that experience.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

To feel out ways to bring people on the above journey in a way that is alive, by all the time working with what's strong & not what's wrong, by dancing around at their edge in subtle & playful ways, avoiding the deeply embedded cultural scripts that tell us to pretend that the language & ideas I have are valid for everybody, to didactically transmit knowledge, to point out what is wrong and try to persuade or manipulate others into bringing about a world that resonates with my personal ideas.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

*To continue to cultivate my connection to the Self that is peace, love and free of attachment so that I can truly hear what Life is asking me to do to participate in its dance
* To continue to fall in love with the mechanical paradigm, mechanical design and its various manifestations. My limited view cannot, at this stage, understand rationally why Life has chosen to manifest in this way, and it doesn't resonate with me, but to remain in tune with Life, I've discovered that me it is necessary to recognise that it is Life that is doing mechanical design as equally as it is bringing some of us back to Life to do regenerative work, and I realise I cannot truly be regenerative while pushing away at mechanical design. To hear in the sharpest clarity what Life is trying to do so that I can enhance it, I recognise the need to transcend the duality of Mechanical/Living Paradigms and see the one force of Life behind it.
* To continue to nurture the aliveness of my own life so that I can breathe life into people, communities, ecosystems and my work.

5. And for professional growth?

To explore Coyote Mentoring and other paradigms for bringing the contribution I could make to the world in a way that itself enhances life - one big reason for doing this course.

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

Getting here involved knocking down the house that had been built for me through my childhood, nurturing the soil underneath back to life and cultivating a garden in its place.
My interactions with Permaculture taught me to listen to the language of Life. Life then guided me to see that before I could have any effect on communities & eco-systems, my own life (Zone 00) had to be regenerative. Over the course of the last few years, I cut down on outgoings, left my full-time job, and invested as heavily as I could in my Trust (gift) Economy and community. Life then showed me how I couldn't be regenerative in my life while still living in a place of fear, fragmentation & trauma as I would only bring about more of the same. So I spent the whole of the last year working on Zone 000, on an intensive full time healing & spiritual journey so that I could show up in the world from a place of love & unity, and thus infuse what I do with those same qualities.
While I'm sure there is still a long journey ahead of me in both Zone 000 and Zone 00, I now believe I've tipped over into "Net Positive" in both areas, and thus I am able to use the life generated there to breathe life into others - which is what I'm hear to learn! How to show up in a way that is itself alive!

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

Permaculture, which I learned not from traditional channels but from anarchist community gardeners, has had a profound impact on my life. In this community garden, we curated a space that was alive and breathed life back into people, our community and our eco-system. Most of my life since that point has been trying to figure out just what we did there and how we did it. We used Permaculture as a guiding light at the time, and this still profoundly influences my thinking, but we also recognised that we were applying it to new areas (Community Systems rather than simply Land) and in a way that felt more alive to us.

On that journey to describe what we did, I found and was also profoundly influenced by the language of Asset-Based Community Development, along with thinkers related to the movement such as Ivan Illich. However, I eventually found this language incomplete and set out in search

Weaved in with this journey, having dabbled in Western philosophy my whole life, I became influenced by Dialectical Materialism and Marxism as ways of understanding the world. It was the Marxian "Dialectic" that first broke me out of mechanical thinking and into Systems Thinking. Later, I found Dialectical Materialism incomplete, namely with respect to the question "Why am I suffering?", which led me to Eastern Philosophies of Zen, Taoism & Buddhism that I have found a much greater affinity with and have helped me to understand the world in a way that is more alive.

The latest chapter began when I found Dan Palmer's Making Permaculture Stronger Podcast, which included interviews with members of Regenesis and Carol Sanford, and which also introduced me to the work of Christopher Alexander. In these bodies of work, I finally found a language that could adequately describe what we did and how we did it back at the community garden, and how I can show up in Life to help others bring themselves, their communities & their ecosystems back to life too.

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

There exists a single living process. Some have called it Tao or the Universe, and I tend to call it Life. The only function of Life is to generate more Life, not merely in biological form, but also in the quality of aliveness. In order to do this, Life manifests as a variety of localised Living Processes that are nested within it and each other, each contributing to the generation of further aliveness. Each human is a living process, nested within a great number of living processes such as communities, eco-systems, societies, nations, species, etc, and as a manifestation of Life, has only the function of generating life.

Aliveness is not generated by any one particular action (as we tend to assume in the mechanical paradigm), but by a process that is itself alive. Outcomes seem to be infused with the qualities which are found in the process - so that a process that lacks life, and is from a place of fear and fragmentation seems to manifest in a form that also lacks life and only creates more fear and further fragments the world in our minds. It also seems from my experiences that aliveness is really the one quality we need to design for, as, when a space has the quality of aliveness, it is also regenerative, inclusive, love-generating, connecting, homely, healing, in energy surplus, antifragile and a whole host of other qualities that we could not design for individually with conscious thought.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, Life developed in humans the capacity for mechanical design and has been exploring that paradigm. From my limited view, I observe how this mechanical design seems to suffocate the life of individuals, communities and ecosystems. One manifestation is the monoculture that has been imposed not just on land, but also on minds, lives and communities. To take community development as an example, I observe how there is presented one way of developing a community which, when imposed rigidly onto a living system, begins to suck the life out of that community, as well as the individuals (workers, volunteers & those they "help") and the ecosystem. Perhaps this mechanical design was necessary to bring ourselves to a higher stage of development, or perhaps it was to show humans how lifeless Life can be with mechanical design, or perhaps there was no teleology at all and was simply an evolutionary, explorative process that Life is now selecting for.

Whatever the reason, I know I am called by Life to Living Design, which is just one language amongst many to describe a different way of showing up in a life-enhancing way, just one manifestation of minds rewilding. To me, the core of Living Design is listening to how a Living System itself is asking you to participate to enhance life within it.
Life is always inviting us to join in the dance and is telling us how to do so, if only we evolve our capacity to listen to it.
I am joining this course to sharpen my hearing with help from some of the regenerative thinkers I respect most in the world, so that I can tune in more clearly to how Life wants me to use my understanding and the lessons it has taught me to enhance life. Thank you for this opportunity, and I hope you find so much joy from reading all these different questionnaires!

Date CreatedJanuary 22, 2023


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