20 Feb 2007
Designing Your Own Obsolescence into Transition Town Projects
One of the insights from John Croft’s Dragon Dreaming workshop which he recently ran in Totnes was that, as the person who dreamt of and instigated the TTT project, one of my first duties is to design my own obsolescence in the project at an early stage. According to John, each project, and also each stage *within* the project, has four stages, Dreaming, Planning, Doing and Celebrating. According to John, all projects start as the dream of one person, but 90% of projects get stuck in their inability to communicate that dream. Transition Town Totnes, for example, has to stop being just my dream in order to be able to grow. The way John put it was that as the dreamer/instigator, you need to die within the project in order that the project might be reborn, to have your own ‘Easter’.
This was very helpful but also, as you can imagine, a hard one to imagine in practice. I often liken the work of a permaculture project initiator as being like a pioneer plant, one that stabilises bare soil and alters it in such a way that other plants can establish themselves, but one rarely finds these pioneer plants in a climax ecosystem. In this way, developing these projects is really a lesson in lack of attachment, of trusting that the process will work and that the seeds you have sown are sufficient.
He talked of the need to move from a centralised model to one with a hollow centre, and I can see the power of this concept. We are planning the apply this concept to TTT, to the benefit, as I see it, of everyone. So how’s that for the thought for the day, that each person who inititiates a Transition Town process designs it in such a way that after a year they can step back out again. It feels to me like a key in stopping the process ossifying and in keeping the engagement up keeping the whole process much more dynamic.