Friday, April 14, 2006

Rhizome Theory: Directory

OK, so... I've published several rather detailed posts on the theory behind actually creating a rhizome economy over the last few days. Here's a little directory (in recommended order for reading):

1. Envisioning a Hamelt Economy. Big-picture concpetion of how a rhizome economy will function.

2. Creating Resiliency and Stability in Horticulture. A more detailed analysis of how to implement a hybrid-horticultural scheme at the level of the rhizome node.

3. Rhizome & Central Place Theory. In response to a comment, a more detailed discussion of how rhizome can grow amidst existing hierarchal structures.

4. Rhizome Network Defense. A review of a Cambridge team's analysis of potential tacticts to defend rhizome structures against hierarchy.


sventastic said...

Excellent posts, Jeff!
The holistic approach to skillfully and sustainbly working with the interdependent facets of ecology, ontogeny, community, organization, spirituality, et al is dynamic and expansive.
I also think this in tune with how rhizome seems to function: on an organic and natural level, (as opposed to one rooted in expectations based on logic, reason, belief systems, or any level of conceptual discursiveness, i.e. hierarchy).
Seems like as good a time as any to return to my diatribe:
To me, Hierarchy is to order as Communism (as manifested by the likes of Mao or Stalin) is to communism (as envisioned by Marx/Engels).
In other words, it's a perversion; one that is constructed and reinforced in individuals not only by the social conditioning they encounter and participate in their whole lives, but fundamentally stemming from a deeply ingrained sense of an independent, singular, continuous self or identity. One that needs to be protected and ameliorated at all costs. This selfish attitude is only inflated by societies that invest in such thinking.
Hierarchy, as social institution or stratification, is a an implicitly agreed upon convention, no more real than the water one believes is in the heat waves of a mirage. One struggles to get the water, but upon arrival, sadly discovers it was never there. Then one suffers.
I'm not saying the uniformed men with shotguns and their dogs and firehoses don't exist per se; they will of course tear gas us and pepper spray us any chance they get, and this will indeed suck.
What I'm saying is: the authority we project on to these folks and their corporate puppet-masters is a product of our own minds, not an inherent or truly existing power. People only have as much power as we bestow on them, and this is only more so in a "democracy". (and I mean this both politically and personally).
My sense is that we must individually and collectively wake up, and take some responsibility for our all our conditions and perceptions.
Sounds like rhizome is a good way of going about that.

peter said...

Last August, I came across a quote by Rudolf Steiner where he said that the best way to oppose evil, degraded institutions is by building good alternatives. It was an epiphany for me. This is what my life is all about now. The Rhizome is one of the major building blocks in cultivating these alternatives.

Yesterday, I was listening to a few of the Catherine Austin Fitts talks. (You have to buy them from In one she contrasts what people did in the old days, when faced with a pending disaster such as Katrina, to what we do today.

In the "old days" the entire community dropped everything and commenced sandbagging their towns and homes against the rising waters. In the modern age, the federal government orders everyone to get out of Dodge so that the "professionals" from FEMA and Hell-iburton can handle it. She described news footage of a large helicopter attempting unsuccessfully to drop a one ton sandbag into a breach in the levee.

While she didn't use terms like "rhizome" and "hierarchy", that's what she was talking about, in effect.

RyanLuke said...

Hi Jeff,
Just wanted to say again how great it is to have found this blog and community. Shambhala Buddhism and Anthroposophy (as taught by Rudolph Steiner) are my two primary spiritual influences. The healthy meshing of rhizome and hierarchy (or democracy and authority, cooperation and control, etc) is a driving passion for me. It is incredible to find all these interests represented by others in your posts and other's comments!

Peter said...

Speaking of Catherine Austin Fitts, I just put up this interview with her where she explains the inner secrets of what she calls the "tapeworm economy". Everyone talks about the phenonemom of big business and banks sucking money out of communities, but no one does it as well as she does.

The "tapeworm economy."

Now that's one helluva meme.

peter said...

I wrote a little more on this over at my blog.

Now if ever there was a meme worth spreading, it's "tapeworm economy".

Disillusioned kid said...

There's some fascinating stuff in them thar links.

That said, you would do a lot of people a favour if you could write a good introduction to the rhizome. It's one of those concepts I encounter a lot (it's very trendy in political theory circles), but which I have difficulty getting my head round. How, for instance, is a rhizome different to a network?

In the meantime, keep up the good work.

mike metcalfe said...

Is not rhizome theory rather similar to Self Organisation theory well studied in bilogy, eg. Camazine et al. which incorporates the small worlds network theory. How do ant and bee nests respond strategically to major environmental changes without a hierarchy? (The queen is really just a womb)This stuff is being picked up in the management literature: see

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