Saturday, June 4, 2016

Serendipity and Coping with the Unexpected

Here is an excerpt from a proposal that dad wrote in the 70s for a community he planned to build on his father's land on Cape Roger Curtis.

The conventional planning process attempts to provide for all eventualities and thus the unexpected comes as a shock, almost an insult. At a time when shocks come with ever greater frequency, the result is dismay and evidence of dangerous fatigue.  
We suggest that an answer lies in reversing the thought process so as to recognize the inevitability of unexpected events and secondly, to organize small, flexible, diversified social units which can more easily adapt.  
It can be likened to preparing a ship for sea. If the vessel is sound and the crew ready, a storm can be supremely satisfying. For a crew 'programmed' for calm weather however, the result can be terror and disaster. 
At the Institute of Resource Ecology, an important part of the research program concerns resilience - how many shocks can an organism sustain, often without visible effect, before it collapses? How can resilience be maintained, in human systems as well as in nature?

There has been a tremendous outpouring at the passing of my father, mentor and friend. In his later years living on Amherst Island with my stepmother, Peggy Coulter, he worked very hard on a book that was very close to his heart and in many ways lit his path at the end of his life. This book was unfinished.

1 comment:

ESL=EverySingleLetter said...

Great questions. How, indeed?