When Matt and I met in 1976, we talked often about what we saw as a lack of visioning. What is a culture without big dreams we wondered? Sending men to the moon and returning them safely was behind us. Building on that dream or any other was suddenly out of vogue. What happened? Our conversations shifted to “What keeps people from dreaming big?
My classroom experiences with young children taught me that kids know how to dream big, to imagine and create worlds full of beauty and possibility. They know how to build on each others ideas, piling one on top of others, seeing things never seen before, distant futures without end. Matt had come to study and get to know Frank Lloyd Write, the architect, who lived big ideas, ideas created not just for couples and enterprises wanting to live within beautiful organic surroundings, but ideas reforming culture and the ways in which people learned and created cities and communities. Wright gave people their dreams, often ones not seen by the people until the architect made them real, to be lived in and made perfect through use. This is why his legacy remains strong and attracting.
Our dream of "Recreating Earth as a Work of Art" grew out of our experiences with teaching and architecture. We wanted to bring big dreams alive again and this is one we believed in and recognized that it was large enough for many others to invest in as well. We saw this vision being realized within 25 to 30 years but timing was not as important as asking ourselves what could we do to help realize this dream? What was our part? What mattered and what needed to change to help big dreams come alive again?
Environments, tools, and processes became our focus. How could these three elements come together and provide a place for big dreams to unfold and be shared? We never thought of this as our work, just the framing and posing the possibility, and bringing our practices into alignment with the dream.
The late 60’s brought humanity our first look at Earth and the 70’s brought forth yearly Earth Day’s, New Games, and an awareness that peace was a possibility. The 80’s woke up some to the reality that humanity’s hunger for more and more was ravishing Earth, destroying her beauty and resource base at ever increasing rates of speed.
The MG Taylor process and method became a launch point for rethinking big dreams. Environments, tools and processes woven together created environments for emergence, collaboration, new ways of working and different ways of exploring possibilities. Here big dreams could be tended, linked, and used to foster entrepreneurial and group knowhow. Assumptions could be challenged and awakened with content and context. We could engage in mutual learning, and relationship creation with one another and all living systems. We could learn together.
Today we are far from realizing this big dream but it has not been dormant. Hundreds of others, perhaps thousands have heard either Matt or me share the dream. And today, now nearly forty years later it is gaining traction. No longer do peoples eyes glaze over as they smile and walk away. Today, there are thousands of initiatives being created throughout the world that have the intention to beautify Earth, to give back, restore what we have squandered and taken for granted. The concept of Earth Stewardship seems to be reaching a level of awareness where a tipping point is possible, where “Recreating Earth as a work of art” is reaching into schools, businesses, communities as an essential focus and products. Its a dream that speaks to hearts and minds with an impetus to join in. Big dreams give power to all who want to join and take further.
What's your big dream?
Also check out Big Mind by Geoff Mulgan on our Bookshelf.