World Building 101

A dance between spirit and form

I was relating the dance of life between spirit and form to the jitterbug that we have been learning about from the book club reading through A Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller by Amy Edmondson. I have associated the three elementary forms of the Bauhaus, the blue circle, yellow triangle, and red square, to the design process: imagine, design, and build. Design sits in the gap between vision (imagination) and reality (architecture). In Buckminster Fuller’s understanding, the triangle is the metaphysical concept that we apply to our understanding of three-dimensional geometry and four-dimensional process, with the tetrahedron as the elementary form of Nature’s architectural framework. It was in the conversation between Rob and Kristen Bell that I heard them exploring the themes of his new book, Everything is Spiritual. Reminded of how Buckminster Fuller said, “I seem to be a verb,” I thought of the three-word title of Rob Bell’s book, focusing on the two-letter word in the middle, a conjugation of the verb, “to be.” Then Rob and Kristen were talking about how form needs spirit and spirit needs form. It is a kind of dance. The parables of Jesus were a dance between spirit and form. I was thinking that parables could be summarized by the phrase, “The physical is a metaphor for the metaphysical.” It was a play on the words meta, “beyond,” physics, and metaphor.

A metaphor is a comparison of two different things to relate them to an idea or concept, thereby connecting the physical to the metaphysical.

We use symbol systems in language to create mental associations between audible sounds formed by oral manipulation of the flow of breath past vocal chords and abstract concepts in the form of words.

Words are one of the ways humans engage in a sort of dance between spirit and form.

As a graphic designer, I found it curious that the language of business was mostly empty and devoid of spirit. It reduced every relationship to a transaction. Every act was in service of the work of targeting a market with a message to extract value: attention, interest, desire, action (AIDA).

So, I tried to leave the world of marketing and business to explore the world of art, a journey to rediscover spirit, a reality beyond the physical that is the stuff of conversation, literature, art, music, culture, and community.

What I discovered was a rare opportunity to participate in building a community, but with very little monetary reward. So, I explored the possibilities of combining both art and money, but soon discovered that the two are polar opposites and incompatible. They are like matter and anti-matter. When they meet, they obliterate the other. (The original cancel culture.)

In a world where we want to do something that matters, why is the world full of activity that leaves us with the feeling of having participated in something that really doesn’t matter in the end, and, even worse, has actually been destructive?

In community, we are rediscovering a vision of life and regeneration: a Re(ge)naissance. A New Bauhaus.

What is this new world that we want to build?

If words make worlds, we need a new story.

In conversation with some world-building collaborators, we have been exploring conscious linguistics.

Habits and Rituals

  • The Way of the Artist
  • A creative, collaborative, self-organizing learning community
  • The process is the project
  • The community is the design artifact

The mission for Trimtab Space Camp is to think about how to integrate what we are learning into a group project. The hardest part so far has been finding time to meet as a group.

That problem has much to do with a schedule that is full of meetings and little time for deep, system one thinking and time for focused, concentrated work where it is possible to enter a flow state.

Information Architecture

How might we build a creative, collaborative, self-organizing learning community?


  • Thinking
  • Habits
  • Skills
  • Methods
  • Tools
  • Materials
  • Productivity
  • Flow


  • Meetings
  • Project Coordination
  • Schedules
  • Deadlines
  • Work
  • Presentations


  • Decentralized Systems
  • Curiosity
  • Connecting
  • Networks
  • Shared Resources


  • Data
  • Information
  • Research
  • Hypotheses
  • Experiments
  • Prototypes
  • Testing
  • Iteration
  • Archiving
  • Documentation
  • Instruction


  • Connections
  • Relationships
  • Play
  • Conversations
  • Gatherings
  • Rituals
  • Celebrations

According to George Monbiot, to create a “politics of belonging,” we need to organize, organize, organize.

Designer, writer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective, Leading with Design.

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