About Cradle to Cradle

In 1998 William McDonough and Michael Braungart wrote an article called The NEXT Industrial Revolution. It was the start of a new sustainable design philosophy called Cradle to Cradle. Cradle to Cradle wants to restore the Natural Cycle.

Cradle to Cradle is based on three pillars: Equity (Social Justice), Economy (Market Viability), and Ecology (Environmental Intelligence).

 A citation out of the Next Industrial Revolution:

Many people believe that new industrial revolutions are already taking place, with the rise of cybertechnology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. It is true that these are powerful tools for change. But they are only tools-hyperefficient engines for the steamship of the first Industrial Revolution. Similarly, eco-efficiency is a valuable and laudable tool, and a prelude to what should come next. But it, too, fails to move us beyond the first revolution. It is time for designs that are creative, abundant, prosperous, and intelligent from the start. The model for the Next Industrial Revolution may well have been right in front of us the whole time: a tree“.

A citation out of Carl Jung, Prologue from “Memories, Dreams, Reflections“:

Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above the ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away-an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost the sense of something that lives and endures beneath the eternal flux. What we see is blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains“.

In the introduction chapter of A Thousands Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, characterize the rhizome by six principles:

  • Connectivity

The capacity to aggregate by making connections at any point on and within itself.

  • Heterogeneity

The capacity to connect anything with anything other, the linking of unlike elements.

  • Multiplicity

Consisting of multiple singularities synthesized into a “whole” by relations of exteriority.

  • Asignifying rupture

Not becoming any less of a rhizome when being severely ruptured, the ability to allow a system to function and even flourish despite local breakdowns.

  • Cartography

A method of mapping for orientation from any point of entry within a “whole”, rather than by the method of tracing that re-presents an a priori path.

  • Decalcomania

Forming through continuous negotiation with its context, constantly adapting by experimentation

Cradle to Cradle (CtC) is a Design Philosophy. Design (Mapping Ideas unto A Model) is the first step in a Cyclic Process or even better a Spiraling Spiral Process.

I don’t know what the Philosphy of CtC is about the other “phases” of the Spiraling Spiral. I have not spend the time to read the Book. I am almost sure CtC is applying the Paradigm of the Age of Enlightment that lies behind the Industrial Revolution. Cradle to Cradle wants to CONTROL Nature by COPYING Nature.

The Question is Do We (and CtC) really Understand How Nature Works?

Is Nature Working at all?

Is Nature Functioning “like-a” Machine?

Are we able to Copy something we don’t Understand?

What are We Copying?

Is Copying without Insight perhaps a Way to Create something New?

Does it Matter if we are Creating Something New without Knowing what We are Doing”?

Is Life Itself not just a Creating Force exploring Every Possibility Available?

What is Wrong and What is Right?

The most interesting point in the article about the Next Industrial Revolution is the Use of the Tree Metaphor.

The Tree is a very old Symbol. It represents something that starts at the Bottom (Earth) and Moves Up. When it Moves Up is expands into a Hierarchical Network. At the top of the Tree of Life (or the Axis Mundi) the Ultimate Power, the Giver of Movement and Measure, is situated. Behind the New Industrial Revolution the Hierarchy (UP) and the Part (One;Tree) of the Whole (Many;Forest) becomes visible. If we are Moving UP we are Abstracting (or Imagining with Reason).

Jung, Deleuze & Guattari look at the The Down, the Primal Source, The Unknowable, the Invisible or the Unconsciousness. The Invisible is covered by Dark Earth. It is indestructible, connected, divers, not-linear, experimenting and adapting. The Invisible is the Rhizome. Every Year out of the Invisible Rhizome A Beautifull Rose Grows and Blossoms. “What we see is blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains“. (Jung).

If we Move Down we are Acting In The World instead of Looking at the World (The Observer).

When we move Down we have to become Practical.

What is the Practical Use, The Engineering Perspective, of the Rhizome?

There are Infinite Perspectives on our Reality and Engineering is just One of Them. We could add a Social Perspective and an Ecomic Perspective just like Cradle to Cradle is trying to do but there is more. We could add a Poetic and an Artistic Perspective but there is more. We could add an Animal perspective. We could look with the Eyes of the Ape, the Cat, The Fish, the Tiger, The Bacterium, The Sea, The Clouds, The Weather. We could use our Empathy to Imagine how the Earth, The Sun, The Universe, Molecules, Cells, Atoms, Higgs Particles, Cars, Aeroplanes, Ipods are “looking” at the Ecology of My Garden, Our Village, Your Country, Their Culture. We could even Look at Ourselves.

Are we able to Unite all of these Perspectives? Yes and No.

No: they are Different.

Yes: They are Perspectives and Perspectives are Looking at the Same Thing.

They are looking at the Whole but the Whole is not a Thing. It is a interconnected Adapting Diversity. It is a highly Complex Dynamic Network of Networks of Events. We cannot detect Causality because Causality is related to a Liniair Perspective.  Every Act is the Cause and the Effect of any other Act.

If we look from a Distance (the Observer) we See Repeating Cyclic Patterns that are Self-References.

If we Find these Patterns (Frames of Reference) we Know where the Flow of Nature is moving to for a little while. The Pattern becomes Repetitive. At a sudden moment the Flow moves in another Way and we have to Observe again. If we Move with the Flow we will know Where we are “Allowed” to Build and to Grow. If we Feel the Field we will See that A Building or an Engine is already Designed and wants to Move to Reality. We don’t have to Design. The Design is Immanent. We just have to help to Materialize.

The most interesting Self-Reference to explore is I (You).

I am in the World and the World is in Me.

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