Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 10, No. 11, November 2014
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Paradigm Junction - a glimpse of what our future could be like

Don Chisholm

This article was originally published in
Paradigm Junction, 15 October 2014
as a synopsis of
Paradigm Junction: Life 50 Years After Paradigm Change
Revision F



Anyone who has taken a serious look into any one of these three key areas: (1) The state of the global Environment; (2) society’s perceived Energy growth needs vs. future supply; (3) Growing Economic and monetary conundrums, will recognize that we are on the cusp of paradigm change - a junction, a bifurcation point. To go past the tipping point of any one of the three interconnected “Es” - Ecology, Energy, Economics will bring about the end of a 150 year era of compound growth in human-activity that has been primarily energized by fossil fuels. Contrary to the most fundamental logic, “growth” has become normalized as society’s (un)holy grail.

Why have today’s governments, along with the United Nations, failed to take appropriate measures on this dire issue? The simple answer is that they cannot. They cannot now and they could not 50 years ago when a delegation of national leaders told the scientists of the Club of Rome (CoR) that they understood the implications of Limits to Growth, but could do nothing about it because the voters would not let them. This was explained to me in a letter from a CoR founder, Alexander King. We have a circular governance dilemma that leaves us collectively locked in paradigm paralysis.

Paradigm Junction is written specifically for individuals who are alarmed by what their future appears to hold and who may consider participating in a collective effort to break paradigm paralysis. The Paradigm Junction text suggests the creation of an expandable sociopolitical economic infrastructure that could bind together many of today’s localization initiatives and other compatible social change efforts, utilizing many of today’s institutions, corporations and laws, but using them differently, while conforming to well-established cybernetic management principles that are in wide use by today’s leading corporations.

This Synopsis summarizes the more detailed technical discussion within the chapters of Paradigm Junction and hopes to make clear that this is a request for various levels of participation in the Paradigm Junction Project (PJP).

Sprinkled liberally throughout this text are quotes from many wise people whose comments resonate and who have influenced the ideas presented. The main text of Paradigm Junction is accessible in pdf format on web click here. Each chapter has a revision number and may be updated from time to time as required by new or improved input data.

What is a paradigm?

Willis Harman states: A paradigm is the basic way of perceiving, thinking, valuing, and doing that is associated with a particular vision of reality. A civilization’s paradigm shapes how we see and understand the nature of reality, our sense of self, and our feelings of social connection and purpose.

John Croft of the Gaia Society, Perth Australia: Paradigms shape not only our thoughts, but our very perceptions and experience of life.

Zeitgeist, from German, has a similar meaning, which is spirit of our times. Zeitgeist is defined as the “general intellectual, moral and cultural climate of an era”…. Peter Joseph, of the Zeitgeist Movement.

The Gaia Preservation Coalition (GPC)

The Paradigm Junction Project is an initiative of the Gaia Preservation Coalition. GPC was a Canadian federally registered non-profit organization in 1992. The official registered status has since expired without renewal because it has become apparent this status will be irrelevant to any meaningful projects that we might initiate. Since 1992 Gaia Preservation Coalition (CSG) has mostly been an internet-based discussion and information exchange group. We have not initiated any projects to date because no possibilities were suggested that would seem adequate to deal with the compounding issues that decorate today’s interwoven social/political/environmental landscapes. Ominous clouds of fear and doubt hang heavily on the minds of growing numbers of aware observers. When blended with growing concerns around other developments of the past few decades, this growing angst may act as an enabling opportunity. It appears that the time is ripe to initiate the Paradigm Junction Project in hopes of fulfilling the GPC Core Purpose:

GPC CORE PURPOSE – as finalized in 1991:

To be a gathering place for people who
Consciously acknowledge the human
Predicament and who seek with others its
Resolution through the creation and
Exploration of ideas and actions that move
Humanity toward a more harmonious
Relationship within Gaia.

This synopsis version of Paradigm Junction is broken into five parts.

Part 1: Project Intent
Part 2: Personal Comment
Part 3: Circle of Issues
Part 4: Overview and Question & Answers - References
Part 5: Support for PJP

Part 1: Project Intent

Acronyms and definitions:

GNP = Governance by Natural Processes
GPC = Gaia Preservation Coalition
HA = Human Activity - both gross human population and resource throughput
MIC = Modern Industrial Civilization
PJ = Paradigm Junction
PJP = Paradigm Junction Project
PJ- SOS Team - Project – the founding governance group in the PJP.
The 3Es = Environment, Energy, Economics
Regions = States, Provinces or small countries of today
UR = United Regions ( a significantly changed United Nations)
ER = United Regions (equivalent of a very different United Nations)
050 APC = 50 years After Paradigm Change
[S] = Search engine Google, Yahoo or Wikipedia
[4c page7] = More detail in Paradigm Junction Section 4 Chapter c on page 7.

Paradigm as used in this booklet refers to the generally accepted: social, political, and economic world-view held within the expanding group of industrial nations and many developing countries.

050APC alludes to a backcast [S] (Section Four of PJ) of what a sustainable civilization might look like in 50 years if steps were started today to bring about essential change. The section also suggests potential initial stages.

Core Purpose of the Paradigm Junction Project:

To design, develop and implement an expandable, interactive, dynamic, social, political and economic infrastructure capable of making the transition from the unsustainable growth paradigm toward a viable sustainable paradigm.

Underlying Presumptions

1: The human ecological-footprint is significantly greater than the living systems of planet Earth that (Gaia) can sustain: We are close to ecological bankruptcy.

2: Today’s governments are not capable of bringing about the needed change. There are very many contributing reasons for this, but paradigm paralysis [S] is likely the best summary of our malady. (See parts 3 & 4 for more detail)

3: Without a peaceful, viable transition plan, war or revolution will only speed disaster.

4: We need only existing and well-tested technologies and procedures, many of which have been developed within the past several decades, to institute essential change. Combined, they open a brief window-of-opportunity to bring about a guided reduction in gross human-activity. Some of these developments are:

4a – The widespread use of dynamic systems as a means of management or process control, sometimes called cybernetics [see page 8];

4b – New communications techniques enabling interested individuals to exchange views and wisdom, and enhance recognition that humanity’s only viable option is to overcome paradigm paralysis and to change our course into the future;

4c – Scientific advancements enabling measurement of the state of Gaia, the state of the economy, the level of human well-being, happiness and real human wealth (not fiat $$);

4d – Advancements in understanding human nature, human spirituality, elements of human happiness, etc.;

4e – The development of safe, affordable and effective birth control;

4f – A growing recognition that the means of exchange of goods and services, i.e., the money system and its controlling agency, has been, is now, and can continue to be a dynamic cross-cultural regulator of human activity;

4g – A generation of informed young people who are totally disenchanted with their future prospects within the existing paradigm. Evidence of this is shown by: localization initiatives, the Zeitgeist Movement, the Occupy Movement, the Degrowth Movement, Idle-No-More, or low youth voter turnout in elections along with a growing number of calls for radical change by high profile spokespersons from many fields, especially earth scientists. And there is the movie called Growthbusters.

5 - To deal with the complex array of issues, governance in the new paradigm must operate in accordance with the principles of a viable dynamic system, similar to those used in today’s leading transnational manufacturers of complex products such as automobiles or spacecraft. It must embrace diversity, be modularly expandable, with each Regional module as self-sufficient as practical – meaning maximum autonomy at the lowest level. [See Q&A Q1 and Gaia Dynamic Systems]

6 – A large percentage of MIC (Modern Industrial Civilization) products and energy usage are wasted or unnecessary, likely over 80%. This difference could provide a significant energy buffer as human activity is reduced.

7 – Any system has: fixed components; non-controllable variables; and controllable variables. All need to be identified in order to diagnose today’s defective system elements and begin dealing with the primary fault(s). To date, with very few exceptions, all initiatives by the United Nations (UN), national governments or NGOs have failed to direct their efforts toward the controllable variables that are the primary cause(s) of the problem. To deal only with secondary symptoms guarantees the continual failures we observe.

8 – Of the 3Es, the economic system will likely crash first, hopefully before non-reversible tipping points in elements of other critical areas, such as global warming. An economic crash could be our leverage point. Energy issues may be a compounding trigger. But tomorrow other leverage points may arise. We need to be prepared. [Leverage points]

Means to accomplish Core Purpose

The Principal Design Architects

We invite individuals with appropriate aptitudes, attitudes and skills to participate in holistic design and documentary textual infrastructure to define the viable system elements. The design will outline the scientific guidance processes, feedback mechanisms and regional-through- to-global governance skeleton structures. This group will be in the spirit of a shadow government. They delegate tasks to specialty teams that are equivalent to government departments to deal with the many critical issues. Examples of these issues are: managing complexity reduction during periods of negative growth, establishing regional governance boundary guidelines; development of the Bank of Gaia and the basic guidelines for local currencies. The name of the design group might be the, Paradigm Junction Shadow Of Sanity Team – PJ-SOS Team.

Outreach Groups

When draft designs begins to appear viable, we will need to reach out to the thousands of splinter organizations who already recognize the dead-end nature of today’s governance and who promote localization and maximum trade and commerce within their own regions.

Reach out to individuals for support of the PJP possibilities in a wide variety of categories, and also to those who simply endorse the concept.

Reach out to those among the very rich who recognize the short term nature of today’s glaring income disparity and environmental dilemma, to encourage them to use some of their fiat money to establish essential technological infrastructure elements for eventual operation within the new paradigm and monetary system.

Strategic Opportunities – Rapid Response Group

As the future turns into the past both disaster and opportunity will arise. The disasters must somehow be accommodated. Analyze disasters for opportunities that may become available. Rather than acceptance of disaster capitalism, as named in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, the PJ-SOS-Team will search for any bright side opportunities.

The scenarios of the 050APC envisioning section of Paradigm Junction are offered as a straw man example for the PJ-SOS Team to use as initial guidelines when developing more detailed infrastructure essentials and procedures. The existing 050APC design can be significantly improved with the combined wisdom of others who are comfortable engaging in future design.

There are likely thousands of individuals capable of making valuable contributions to either the PJ-SOS Team or some of the many other needed portfolio tasks. Gender balance will likely create the best results.

Go to Part 5 to endorse or offer help.

Part 2: Personal Comment

The text of the booklet, Paradigm Junction, has been written by an Engineering Technologist whose career path visited a wide ranging variety of dynamic systems in troubleshooting, design, and auditing existing systems. Some of these were electromechanical systems, and some process control systems that include humans in the loop where human-nature and group dynamics are important parameters. [Biography]

About 30 years ago, after an epiphany-like experience regarding humanity’s exponential growth, I suddenly recognized that there will be a great discontinuity between our recent past and our future. I started a period of reading, information exchanges and writing. My continuing disappointment is that there appears to be no coordinated effort up to the task of dealing with humanity’s perilous overgrowth situation. There are thousands of worthy efforts, but no holistic framing structure that could integrate these diverse efforts into a synergetic system with a practical goal. It seems that no effort to date has targeted the primary drivers of the Circle of Issues at the root sources of our dilemma. (There are limited exceptions to this.) A wicked-problem [S] cannot be dealt with by piecemeal efforts especially when key driving issues are, in general, avoided.

In order to envision a relatively controlled paradigm shift, it has been necessary to design and draft versions of Paradigm Junction that deal with the primary interconnected issues. Another step has been to identify those components of our existing MIC (Modern Industrial Civilization) that are, and will continue to be, essential within an MIC with a viable goal.

Future planning also needs to address the interlinked energy and ecological issues while sustaining the essential manufacturing sectors of MIC, even though overall complexity and energy usage will eventually be significantly reduced. Economists like JW Smith suggest that 80% of todays’ MIC production is wasted or unnecessary. This gives us a large energy buffer during a planned human-activity reduction, to when flow energy could carry the load.

I recently learned that speculative thinking along these lines is sometimes referred to as a Post Normal Science. [Wiki]

Post-Normal Science is a concept developed by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, attempting to characterise a methodology of inquiry that is appropriate for contemporary conditions. The typical case is when "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent". In such circumstances, we have an inversion of the traditional distinction between hard, objective scientific facts, and soft subjective values. Now we have value-driven policy decisions that are 'hard' in various ways, for which the scientific inputs are irremediably 'soft'.

I play contract bridge from time to time. A long time ago I took some lessons from an instructor who made a rather off-the-cuff point that I think is very important both at the bridge table and in pondering escape routes from the human predicament. He said, when you find that you have arrived in a very bad contract that seems impossible to make, do this: Examine your hand and the exposed dummy hand, and then envision a combination of remaining cards in the opposition players' hands, even if quite unlikely, that could possibly enable you to make the contract and then proceed to play as if this were the reality. And sometimes it is! It seems to me that this approach is an appropriate philosophy as we begin the PJP. To apply this line of thought to our common predicament, a successful paradigm transition would likely require a sequence such as this:

- The SOS Team will be successful in gathering a critical level of support from at least a few sectors of global society before irreversible tipping points of any of the critical 3E categories.

- That the fiat debt-based money system bubble will burst before the others. This event could trigger a rapid rise in interest about the fledgling lifeboat regional units that have a basics monetary system to facilitate trade.

In the ’68 book by Buckminster Fuller titled, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, [S] the author comments on the nature of the spaceship:

Spaceship Earth was so extraordinarily well invented and designed that to our knowledge humans have been on board it for two million years not even knowing that they were on board a ship. And our spaceship is so superbly designed as to be able to keep life regenerating on board despite the phenomenon, entropy, by which all local physical systems lose energy. So we have to obtain our biological life-regenerating energy from another spaceship, the sun.

This is an important line: “.... not even knowing that they were on board a ship.” Today’s governance is blind to this insight. In the envisioned 050APC scenario the ship metaphor is translated in the operation global governance in a chapter named, UN Wheelhouse.

In the 050APC scenario the ship’s instruments contain scientific and social data needed to guide the ship toward a clearly defined future destination in the sea of time. The destination will be reached when human population is less than carrying-capacity, and scientific data shows that, Earth Overshoot Day, has changed to, Earth Payback Day [G].

Wheelhouse heading changes will be promulgated through to the relative autonomous regions of the world primarily by monetary flow-control based largely on resource wealth data from within the regions.

Today we can call the ship Titanic. The ship’s captain and crew are not trained to deal with the problems at hand. Surely it’s time to relieve them of duty – and rename the ship, Gaianicity.

Here are two quotes from, The Anarchist, by Irving Louis Herewitz,1964:

Page28 – The great Anarchist Peter Kropotkin, Modern Science and Anarchism ‘1912 stated: “There is no point at which anarchism is absolutely right. It is in considering the study of social institutions as a chapter of natural sciences; when it parts forever with metaphysics: and when it takes for its method of reasoning the method that has served to build up all modern science and natural philosophy. If this method is followed, errors into which into which anarchists have fallen will be easily recognized. But to verify our conclusions is only possible by the scientific deductive method on which every scientific concept of the universe has been developed.”

Page 166 – It is impossible to legislate for the future. All we can do is vaguely guess its essential tendencies and clear the way for it.

In his 1988 book, Dream Of The Earth, Fr. Thomas Berry tells us that we need a new story from which to take our collective guidance:

The industrial context in which we presently function cannot be changed significantly in the immediate future. Our immediate survival is bound up in this context, with all its beneficial as well as its destructive aspects. What is needed, however, is a comprehensive change in the control and direction of the energies available to us. Most of all we need to alter our commitment from an industrial wonderworld achieved by plundering processes to an integral earth community based on a mutual enhancing human-earth relationship. This move from an anthropocentric sense of reality and value to a biocentric norm is essential.

British cyberneticist Stafford Beer, a socio/political systems designer, built a primitive cybersyn system the early 1970s for the Chilean government. This led to the overthrow and assassination of President Allende by a US-fostered coup. From his earlier book, Designing Freedom, Beer wrote:

I am proposing simply that society should use its tools to redesign its institutions, and to operate those institutions quite differently. You can imagine all the problems. But the first and gravest problem is in the mind, screwed down by all those cultural constraints. You will not need a lot of learning to understand what I am saying: what you will need is intellectual freedom. It is a free gift for all who have the courage to accept it. Remember: our culture teaches us not intellectual courage, but intellectual conformity.

Members of the SOS Team will need to have the intellectual freedom to utilize the tools available to us during our narrow window-of-opportunity. As suggested by Beer, very many existing institutions can continue to operate much the same as they do today, but will do some things a bit differently.

About 20 years ago I spent an evening with Stafford at his home in Toronto and we carried on conversations by phone and fax for about a year.

End of Part 2 - A few references:

Regarding Spaceship Earth here’s an interesting essay:

Captain Paul Watson on Spaceship Earth

Regarding the psychological drivers of consumerism see:

Consumed - Is Our Consumer Culture Leading to Disaster?

Regarding cybernetics:

Ashby W.R. (1958) Requisite Variety and Its Implications

An entry in the International Encyclopedia of Communication, Klaus Krippendorff, University of Pennsylvania, 1997

Stafford Beer and the Humankind Future:

“Firstly, it is actually possible to redesign the institutions of government according to the principles and practice of cybernetics. These are not wild dreams. Secondly, there is a long way to go in dismantling bureaucracy, and I shall discuss the problems of effecting change later in these talks. Thirdly, the possibilities propose an urgent task for our next meeting: to discuss the impact of such scientific advance as this on the status and freedom of the individual.” [Link]

Part 3: The Circle of Issues

To almost any good suggestion about what we should do about the human predicament, the generally valid answer is, "But you can't do this because of that!"

Rooted in flat earth mentality here are a few elements of our highly interactive circular dilemma:

* The UN cannot help because its principle support comes from Nation members;
* National leaders cannot help because they need the support of voters;
* Humans tend not to like radical change, and....;
* Voters are highly influenced by their access to energy, i.e., money;
* Most voter's money comes from a corporation directly or indirectly;
* Corporations are designed to make money for their shareholders;
* The historic banking cartel has fostered a monetary system that will collapse without continuous economic growth;
* Universities appear to fail to teach holistic overview;
* 80% (estimate) of humans have no interest in long term or big picture issues;
* However, gross Human activity (including the 80%) is/can- be regulated by monetary flows;
* But monetary flows are controlled by corporate banks and the flow must always grow;
* Therefore human activity growth is designed into this human-created system.
* These issues represent a few of the parts of our dilemma, and they are highly interactive.

Some of these elements are represented within this simplified graphic:


We need to look at the combining elements human of the human predicament as one big problem. (The problematique, as coined by the Club Of Rome. It is the interactivity of element that makes it a wicked problem [S]. Therefore all elements need to be dealt with, or at least accounted for, in any proposed solution. Also, each significant system element must be identified as: variable; not variable; human-controllable, or simply affected by our human-activity – which is actually a long-term variable.


GaiaNot human-controllable

At the center of the circle of issues is our only home, a sun-energized planet with lands and oceans and a thin atmosphere enabling complex systems of live to evolve. But today the balance of sun’s energy IN to energy radiated OUT ratio is now disturbed by human activity, causing Global Warming and associated negative outcomes.

Human NatureNot human-controllable – but somewhat manageable

When governing ourselves we need to accommodate the good, the bad and the ugly because the mix of our wide ranging psychological characteristics is unlikely to change soon. However, we are relatively programmable by external suggestion and forces. Religions and our current corporate driven governance take full advantage of this using a wide variety of well-honed techniques. Nevertheless, we are not all the same, as explained by social psychologist Stanley Milgram who states: “We are puppets controlled by the strings of society. Yet what is also true is that not all puppets jump when their strings are pulled.” I find it useful to us an 80/20 guideline – 80% do this and 20% do not. But the line between do and don’t do is fuzzy and variable. It is genetic variation that enables evolution and it will also be a vital enabler of revolutionary social change – our survival as a species likely depends on it!

TOP LEFT, in purple

The Money SystemHuman created and controllable

Corporate Control of the debt-based money system:

Money, as a means of exchange of goods and services, is an essential tool to facilitate any form of civilization beyond hunter-gatherer. Regarding tools:

Man makes many tools and uses them effectively in various fields of his activity, but he is always exposing himself to the tyranny of the tools he has made. The result is that he is no more master of himself, but an abject slave to his surroundings and the worst thing is that he is not conscious of this fact. – By Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Zen philosophical writer in 1949

All organizations can be seen as human-created tools. A few examples are: religions; governments; games, corporations, and even the concept of land ownership. Anthropologist Gregory Bateson refers to these tools as abstract deductions. [2a page 9, The Triad]

Here are more wise words about the money tool that requires total redesign:

The few who understand the system will either be so interested from its profits or so dependent on its favors, that there will be no opposition from that class. ~ Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863

James Galbraith’s statement to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, 2010.

I write to you from a disgraced profession. Economic theory, as widely taught since the 1980s, failed miserably to understand the forces behind the financial crisis. Concepts including “rational expectations,” “market discipline,” and the “efficient markets hypothesis” led economists to argue that speculation would stabilize prices, that sellers would act to protect their reputations, that caveat emptor could be relied on, and that widespread fraud therefore could not occur. Not all economists believed this – but most did.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. – Thomas Jefferson 1860

Money plays the largest part in determining the course of history. – Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto (1848)

Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws. – Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the House of Rothschild.

More at The money Masters - Quotations and The Money Masters - Films

Krugerman on the persecution complex of the 1% - Tim Perkins

A three hour documentary about money magic

Historic economic meltdowns

Albert Einstein once stated, No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. We need to see the world anew. The task of the SOS Team is to collectively see the world anew and then create a Gaia-centric science-based money system. Many observers have indicated this is necessary. Riane Eisler offers the definition of wealth that is expanded in section four of PJ: Real wealth is a measurement of a robust ecology and the general health and happiness of the people.

The tentacles of the money cartel either influence or take advantage of all other blocks of the Circle of Issues. The old Pogo adage, I have seen the enemy, and it is us!, needs to be rephrased: “I have seen the enemy, and it is the 1% of us!” The rest of us are pulled by the strings.

The tragedy of the monetary system is dealt with at Gaia MCP

RIGHT SIDE, in yellow - from the top

Limited Regional AutonomyHuman-controllable

When explorers first started planting their nation’s flags on foreign soil, the golden rule prevailed (Those with the gold, get to rule). The human tool of land ownership, already entrenched in Europe, became the norm in the colonies, as individuals and corporations staked their claims to the bewilderment and alarm of the aboriginal people of the lands. (Mineral rights, another story!) As Reverend Desmond Tutu aptly put it: When the white man came, we had the land, they had the bible. They asked us to bow our heads and pray, and when we looked up, they had the land and we had the bible!

As in a monopoly game, historic economic cycles of boom and bust led to land ownership eventually shifting into fewer and fewer hands. Centuries ago feudalism with absentee landlords eventually led to revolutions. Today’s absentee landlords are generally corporations, able to extract minerals or food crops with little or no benefit to the regional people and usually to the detriment of the local environment. This must change. It is the region’s local people who have attachment to and a close relationship with the land, its waters and ecosystems. Are the conditions ripe for revolution?

Gaian or Human well-being is Not a Strategic GoalHuman-controllable

For Modern Industrial Civilization (MIC), today’s corporate money leaders continue to use the nebulous Gross National Product as bottom line goal to the peril of the living systems that sustain us. Our existing MIC is a dynamic system without a viable goal. The dynamic ingredient of time will cause any such system to crash.

When you have to classify the very capacity of the Earth to support life as an "externality", then it is time to rethink your theory. - Herman Daly

False Concept of WealthHuman-controllable

Virtually every level of human-activity is effectively regulated by the money tool, controlled by (a few of) the 1%. Money in hand enables us to buy some real wealth, which is usually a product related to food, goods or a human service such as health or entertainment. For the vast majority of us, personal spending is limited by our monetary income. Where women are free and equal, procreation choices are influenced by financial considerations. Even corporations and governments limit spending based on their bottom line. Credit, or borrowing computer generated fiat money, enables spending beyond one’s means while one’s interest payments on non-existent money from the debt-based system further increase the fiat $ wealth of the banks.

As economist John Kenneth Galbraith once famously observed, “The process by which money is created is so simple it repels the mind.”

Money is historically the master regulator of human activity, making the title of William Edghahl’s ‘09 book, The Gods of Money, very descriptive. It’s past time to open the curtain and dethrone 1% while we create a transparent monetary system that can become a controlling element of a science-based, dynamic governance system.

A few faults of today’s governance covered at Paradigm Flaws


Fossil Fuel DepletionHuman controllable

The discovery of fossil fuels energized the explosive growth in human-activity of the past two centuries. But the energy flow rate seems to have plateaued, as long ago predicted by geologists such as King Hubbert, creator of the Hubbert Peak graphic [S]. The cheap and easy fossil energy is gone, and now it comes at the cost of ever greater energy to find, extract, ship and process. [C Hall, EI:EO] In financial jargon this is called diminishing returns.

Corporate absentee-landlords frack and degrade our lands to add a few more years to the engine of growth, while exacerbating the ecological disasters of the next two green blocks.

Global WarmingHuman activity caused


Even if there are factors other than human activity, there are no other credible reasons for the spike at the end of a historical graph of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This issue is not just a game-changer, it may well be the game-ender.

Biodiversity DepletionHuman activity caused

As above, the dire nature and cause of this issue is likely well understood by anyone who may read this. (Google "Biodiversity Loss")


Human Nature not integral part of social designHuman-controllable

While human nature is not part of social design, it plays a major role in shaping corporate agenda to promote growth in resource throughput. For example, the consumer-generation, and Christmas-gifting have been carefully crafted by corporate media to take advantage of vanity, short term self-interest and peer-pressure. Regular fashion/style changes along with manufactured obsolescence and throwaway products are some of the many tricks, orchestrated through deceptive and targeted advertising. [See Story of Stuff]

Using techniques honed fifty years ago by the tobacco industry, the self-interest of fossil fuel giants now foster the FUD industry – Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt [S] – to sway the gullible public into the comfort of believing that environmental warnings are not real.

Books such as Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media delve into the ways we are manipulated. The social design of a sustainable society would blend human wants and needs with practical availability. It would focus on the concept of, Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered (a 1973 Schumacher book). A similar thought category, recently labelled as our trust horizon by Nicole Foss, is summarized here by James Kunstler:

As the economy contracts, Americans are gazing at the “Trust Horizon” for big government. On the other hand, more people are forging their own trust networks at a very local level. Topics include: local currencies, bartering, small transport networks, basic local healthcare and permaculture initiatives. [Link]

When voting at the national level, your vote is worth one in many million, whereas voting within a significantly autonomous regional government would have greater personal meaning and impact. On the more personal side of this concept, family and friends are the most meaningful to us, and then local community and regional issues which can be of personal concern. National voting?, not so much. [2a page 3]

Compexity Overload – isolation of issuesNot human controllable

Renowned cosmologist Carl Sagan wrote:

We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s clearly a prescription for disaster! [See Sagan interview – a short video]

While Sagan’s quote refers only to science and technology, the same applies to the shadow world of economics, banks, money creation and self-interests that affect cultural processes. Regarding the combustible mixture that Sagan speaks of, the explosion actually began in slow-motion as the industrial age first lit the fuse of the fossil-fuel bomb: and rapid growth in human activity became a normalized element of the paradigm.

Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun." R. Emmett Tyrrell in The American Spectator, September 6, 1992

Within this paradigm there continue to be no governmentally-implemented feedback mechanisms to limit growth, even when the general well-being of the environment and the people are negatively affected by growth-related issues: This is a defining element of addiction [2a pge5]. This issue is also summarized as Jevon’s paradox. About 1865 an economist called Jevon observed that smog from coal heating and industry had causing health concerns: This had fostered a new industry based on ways to improve furnace efficiency, hopefully to clear the air. But Jevon found that: Any increase in energy supply from any source or by any method, such as improved efficiency, will cause the economy to grow; and this will further increase the economy's energy demand! Jevon’s paradox remains valid today as arctic nations tussle to see which one(s) get to extract the rich oil reserves that are becoming available because of catastrophic global warming – full speed ahead toward the ice berg! Jevon’s Paradox is purely a management issue, but our primitive form of governance has no viable goal and it has no feedback mechanism to limit growth regardless of the eventual outcome.

But as noted at the beginning of this synopsis, even when a group of national leaders understand the fundamentals of limits to growth, paradigm paralysis cannot be broken because it includes the general public who display a rigor-mortis-like resistance to change – that is, resistance to change without clear cause. However, governments are quite capable of making a rapid shift in public attitudes when the need can be shown to be related to national sovereignty or security, even if it requires a false-flag operation to sway the masses to support a war effort. Now it gets personal!

Unfortunately, universities don’t help deal with this complexity issue - they are sometimes referred to as specialization silos, and also they are growing evermore dependent on corporate financing. Within the general public there are many specialists and practitioners of all the fields necessary to orchestrate a viable paradigm change, but to date there has been no central plan, or committee to act as a central hub to make the pieces fit together. It is the task of the SOS Team to begin this process.

Human enchantment with, and devotion to, abstract deductionsNot human-controllable

A short quote penned by George Lakoff:

The notion that people will give up irrational beliefs when presented with solid evidence is itself an irrational belief, unsupported by the evidence.

The glaring aspect of Lakoff’s observation most relevant to this discussion is the pervasive belief that the last 150 years of exponential growth can and must continue, even though a cursory look at solid evidence clearly indicates this is impossible. Many governments now respond to this with various tools to discredit or deny science, similar to an addict in fierce defensive denial of his or her addiction. Two decades ago the UK’s Margaret Thatcher used the phrase, TINA, There Is No Alternative to Growth. And she was right, because the growth model allows no alternative!

It is this alternative that the SOS Team must develop before the Economics component of the 3Es enters total meltdown and the computer numbers that represent multi billions of fiat $ wealth disappear forever. If we are ready, when this chaotic transition period does occur it can be seen as a time reminiscent of biblical Jubilee [4e page 5], when all debts are forgiven and lands are redistributed and the irrational growth belief is broken – the addict has bottomed out. And it is not likely to be brought about by evidence, but by abrupt situational change as the banks go down.

The economic meltdown can provide the opportunity for crew-change on Spaceship Earth, providing that there has been widespread acceptance of the shadow government’s regionalization initiatives, and compatible local currencies established.

With 7+ billion humans now on aboard, we cannot afford to lose all of our technologies, even though very many are not essential. It is the job of one of the outreach teams to work toward establishing these essential technology pools that will be required to sustain the tenuous period civilization loses segments of today’s complexity.

Human nature is covered at: [2a page 4, The Triad]

HUMAN ACTIVITY, top right in purple

Human Activity now beyond Gaian limits: – Human-controllable

The resource throughput component of human-activity can be regulated by intelligent government regulation. Economist JW Smith speculated that MIC could operate quite satisfactorily with an 80% energy reduction if we use what we need, rather than perceived needs and sheer waste.

Regarding the population component, a common wisdom among naturalists is that when any species finds a rich niche environment, overgrowth and die-off will occur. Humanity’s rich niche has been high energy-content fossil fuels and we have followed nature’s dead-end pathway as if human reason did not exist. Industrial nations often promote population growth to provide the labour needed to facilitate growth to provide low-cost labour. Large families are fostered by pro-natalist religions based on tenets dictated centuries ago. And also, there is nature’s strong impulse to procreate.

And yet we observe population decline in some nations. A scan of national population growth data shows the highest rates of growth are in counties where pro-natalist religion and/or poverty are dominant factors. Countries with low or negative growth rates tend to be relatively affluent, socially-oriented, societies where women are educated, free and equal. This suggests that the dire human population issue is principally a management issue, not a genetic imperative.

Now that we have entered the period of consequences, are we ready to enact?

On November 12, 1936 Winston Churchill grew so exasperated with the continuing failure of Britain to prepare for Hitler’s onslaught that he charged in a speech to the House of Commons: “The government simply cannot make up their minds, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decide only to be undecided, resolve to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all –powerful to be impotent... the era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

Part 4: Overview and Q & A

Some of the following questions have actually been asked and some are simply a lead-in to explain envisioned details about social, political and economic change as described in greater detail in the scenario of 050 APC (50 years After Paradigm Change)

Q1: Why is it essential that overall governance operates as a dynamic system?

The simple answer is that as a system, Governance by Natural Processes (GNP) has a viable goal, it measures progress toward that goal, and it provides dynamic feedback to adjust human-actively levels in order for the goal to be met in the future, while sustaining relative social order. All of these elements are needed, and they form the basic elements of a dynamic system.

A longer answer: Although not widely recognized as such, GNP is nature’s way of integrating a diverse array of parts into a functioning whole, giving a massive synergy gain over the sum of component parts. It requires an energy source and it has a goal. Examples from nature are plants and animals, each with its multitude of integrated component parts and sub-systems functioning semi-autonomously to achieve the goal. The goal is to survive as an individual in order to propagate the species. None of the subsystems can survive outside the body, and the body cannot survive without the subsystems, although a robust system has some built-in redundancy. This is a symbiotic relationship. Naturally, a government based on these principles should be called, Governance by Natural Processes – GNP.

Many human made machines have some dynamic system characteristics, i.e., toilets, cars automated processes, etc. Successful corporate conglomerates utilize the same basic cybernetic principles to manage sub-system human groups such as branches, or internal divisions, such as Engineering and Manufacturing: Sometimes included are independent subcontractors that must also meet the Quality Assurance requirements of the prime contractor. Individuals working within these semiautonomous sub-system groups tend to be more productive and happier than individuals that would be as just one small cog in a much larger wheel. Two-way feedback keeps all informed of the goal and the variations from it. Some of today’s large multinational corporations employ more people than some small countries. The corporate goal is profit and will do whatever it can to survive. The goal of GNP is long-term survival using a modified form of MIC. Dynamic systems are discussed in Chapter 2b dynamic system.

The existing arrangement of nation, state, city, county, of today’s global MIC, is system-like, but in many ways does not meet the requirements of a viable dynamic system. The most glaring fault is the insane goal of infinite growth, driven by major feedback loops promoting growth. In today’s world the division of power evolved out of feudal times, and founding constitutions remain cemented in place today, even though changed physical realities dictate they are no longer appropriate – leaving us stuck in paradigm paralysis. The original regulatory authority of national governments has been significantly eroded by years of corporate hegemony, enabling corporations to have significant influence in overall governmental management: Systemically, this is a fatal flaw. This shift in control is described in the titles of two books: John McMurtry's (U of Guelph), The Cancerous State of Capitalism and David Korten's When Corporations Rule The World. Also see Nitzan's website.

Section 4 of PJ is written in backcast , the reverse of forecast. It is looking back from the future 50 years after paradigms change. To graphically illustrate what governance systems might look like after 50 years of progressive steps, below is a simplified graphic of what Global Governance could look 50 years after Paradigm Junction finally occurs.

This figure is extracted from more detailed Figures 5, Chapter 4b Dynamic Societies
and Figure 6 Chapter 4c UE-Wheelhouse.

The blocks called Regions of the world in 050APC represent the lands of the world, where all the people live. These significantly autonomous Regions are likely to be quite different in geographic size, in human population numbers and in cultural underpinnings. As the transition from the obsolete paradigm begins in early 21st century, many of the Regions may begin as the relatively small countries of Europe, of Africa and South America. Many Provinces of Canada and the States of USA may also be starting points. But eventually borders would likely change when adjoining Regional governments agreed that it would be mutually beneficial to do so because of cultural or geographic realities.

During initial development of these Regions it is likely to be a chaotic process over several years. The initial push for change will come from today’s accelerating groundswell of social unrest from educated young people with many calls for localization and to become more self-sufficient, or locally autonomous. But if they do not have an embryonic shared vision, longer term goal and a plan to get there, a viable cohesive end result would be very unlikely.

A useful philosophy of the PJ-SOS team will be to: Build it and they will come!

The large greenish circle is the United Regions (UR). It represents a vastly changed United Nations (UN) and can be seen as the headquarters, or the wheelhouse of Spaceship Earth – just a pale blue dot in space, as viewed from away.

The State Of Gaia (SOG) section gathers science based data from all corners of the world is processed to establish ecological well-being guidance data.

The Human Activity Index (HAI) section gathers data on human well-being, including indices of human happiness and on the state of corporations and social infrastructure.

The Global Standards (GS) group deals with refined data from the other departments and it processes this data into legal and regulatory data. The legal rules for human-activity within “the commons” are established here. They also establish the basic legal requirements for Regional membership in this common global market place. And they establish recommended guidelines for human responsibilities and rights.

The blue oval, UR Defence, enforces the rules with the commons, and is the arbitrator of last resort in interregional disputes. The green oval, the Bank Of Gaia (BOG) regulates the supply of money quantity and flow rate in each Region of the world, based on each Region’s Wealth Factor assessment [4e page7]. As noted in the Rothchild quote above, “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.” Human-activity levels have been, and will continue to be, influenced by affluence, or monetary flow control, and Regional governments take a lead in helping their citizens make informed decisions in both human procreation and resource throughput.

The scientific, legal, economic, political and statistical personnel of the UE are elected by an association of Regional governments. To begin the dynamic processes, only a few regions, or splinters of regions, will be necessary to form the expandable nucleus for others to join after agreeing to Governance by Natural Processes (GNP) criteria for membership in dynamic governance. At the beginning stages, it will be rather a “pretend” dynamic process, still heavily dependent on the destitute Modern Industrial Civilization (MIC) systems. As support for GNP grows in size, elements of the dynamic system can begin to “test” processes to be ready when a critical number of regions adopt GNP, and eventually start the dynamic governance engine for real.

A useful term in understanding these processes is chaordic, coined by Dee Hock to describe relatively independent competitive systems that develop an essential governing body for the benefit of all participating members. The Hock reference was primarily about the banking cartel as a chaordic enterprise. The individual bank’s cooperate in the operation of the enormously profitable credit card systems, enable banks to now profit from the credit card transactions that represents a high percentage of consumer trade. In PJ, the chaordic elements are the world’s Regions that will work toward holistic governance for mutual benefit. Chaordic, as currently defined in Wiki:

The mix of chaos and order is often described as a harmonious coexistence displaying characteristics of both, with neither chaotic nor ordered behavior dominating. Some hold that nature is largely organized in such a manner; in particular, living organisms and the evolutionary process by which they arose are often described as chaordic in nature. The chaordic principles have also been used as guidelines for creating human organizations – business, non-profit, government and hybrids—that would be neither centralized nor anarchical networks.

Within the proposed GNP system there is likely to be a great deal of variation from Region to Region. Some may wish to maintain historic cultural or religious traditions. As a chaordic mix, it is likely to be more robust as a result of the overall diversity within the root networks. But they all must adopt the acceptance criteria and agree to participate in its essential processes to become members of GNP.

Details at: The View from 050APC & Dynamic Flows.

These chapters provide greater detail of how the overall dynamic system could be developed and how it might operate.

The brief summary below underlines the primary elements of the dynamic GNP system:

The goal is to reach the point when the human ecological footprint is small enough to enable Gaia to renew.

The means of regulation is by monetary flow control.

Measurements continually assessments of the state of Gaia, the state of the economy and the state of human wellbeing.

Feedback levels are determined by the short-term rate-of-change in human activity needed to minimize chaos and human suffering (maximum human happiness) while respecting the long-term needs of the Gaian mother system, and also with regard to available energy and other essential resources.

Without rapid implementation of a science-based regulated system there is virtually no possibility of a viable future for today’s young generations.

Q2: What are the criteria for Regional membership in GNP?

Before answering, it is necessary to understand a few other familiar human-created tools that need to change for systemic compatibility.

- Money will be issued as a commodity-based monetary system rooted in Regional wealth. The commodity package consists of a variety of wealth-factors such as: a Region’s capability to capture nature’s flow-energy (erroneously called renewable energy); or have manufacturing or research facilities; or to be stewards of large areas of untouched nature; or to have institutes for education; to produce food sustainably; etc. The wealth factor scaling system is such that both urban and rural are able to coexist symbiotically. [e4 page 7]

- The monetary limits for each Region are regulated by the UR Bank of Gaia, based on that Region’s (auditable) wealth-factor assessment.

- Corporate or private ownership of the commons must change to Regional stewardship of their commons. Regions may make renewing lease agreements with corporations [4e page 2];

- Corporate shareholding will change from ownership by private individuals, to corporate ownership by Regional governments [4e page 3];

- All citizens receive basic livable income regardless of earned income [4e page 5]. There is a ceiling on an individual’s total income.

- The local Bank of Gaia keeps tabs on all money in circulation, including individual savings.

- In order for Regional governments to have maximum autonomy and influence over their human-activity levels, Regions have some of the powers that are normally at the national level in today’s world. For example, a Region’s digital currency is not directly compatible with the currency of other Regions, but is suitable for direct local trade only. Cross border exchanges are facilitated through the local Bank of Gaia. Regional governments might wish to limit external trade to some Regions for various reasons. Trade is prohibited with areas of the world not within the GNP network. Illegal immigration is prevented because non-residents have no means of monetary exchange within any Region other than where they are a citizen. [e4 page 2]

With these changes in mind, here are the proposed criteria that a region must agree to prior to membership in GNP. [4e page 2]

  • To operate a Regional Government in accordance with democratic principles;
  • To participate in Regional wealth measurement and reporting;
  • To operate a Regional Bank of Gaia (BG-R);
  • To accept Gaia$ as the only means of exchange of goods and services, except direct neighborly barter. (There was a period of overlap in the early days as the blown bubble of the fiat$ standard drifted into oblivion.)
  • To publicly express total Regional wealth as Wealth Per Capita (WPC);
  • To hold public training sessions to explain why some ways of doing things must be vastly different from the way it was done BPC (Before Paradigm Change). A few of the new concepts will be, no private land ownership, money will be interest-free, and a basic living wage for all who accept Regional citizenship. The 12 Personal Gaia Principles are offered as guideline material.

The general management of a Region could be very much like the management of a corporation with an elected president and board of directors and a quality assurance section to audit key data flows, and keep the dynamic systems functional and in compliance with GNP standards.

“We hunger for communities of meaning that can transcend the individualism and selfishness that we see around us and that will provide an ethical and spiritual framework that gives our lives some higher purpose.” — Michael Lerner, The Politics of Meaning

Q3: How could corporations function within such an environment?

Many corporations will remain essential providers of goods and services in the operation of MIC. This includes cultural and entertainment enterprises, a requirement for a generally happy society that has significantly more leisure time than before, now that automaton works for community well-being rather than private corporate shareholders.

Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins. Pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacture of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as in the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all around instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined? - Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays, 1935

Corporate operations will be somewhat different at the management levels but at the worker level there will be virtually no change, except for the peace of mind that if their job becomes redundant, they will always have a living wage, as determined by their Regional government.

Regions of the world that value a company’s products will buy or sell shares much like today’s stock market. Corporations will remain in a competitive world where leaders and workers add to their basic income, although unlike today it would be to a limited degree [4e pages 3 & 4]. Many goods and services will be provided by non-profit corporations.

The business of agriculture is likely to require more manual labour than before fossil fuel phase-out began.

Q4: How does monetary flow-control regulate human-activity?

The resource throughput side of human-activity has been, and will continue to be, limited by the amount of money in circulation. The first stage of regulation will be set by the UR Bank of Gaia, based on that region’s wealth factors and their population [e4 page 7]. Those Regions with a positive wealth factor balance will have more money per capita than those with a negative balance.

Monetary transactions and accumulations are transparent, with all of a region’s money being accounted for at any given time.

A Region’s total money is always expressed as Wealth Per Capita (WPC), as a reminder that general wealth is inversely proportional to human population.

Regarding the gross population issue, it is up to the elected Regional government to influence procreation decisions. Local peer pressure can be a strong individual motivator. Also, Regional governments will be motivated to foster action because it is likely that Regions not making an effort to achieve a reasonable wealth-factor balance will soon lose the ability to trade with other Regions. It’s a matter of survival! [4c page 6]

Q5: A: How long would it take to get to the goal of having an overall human footprint sustainable within Gaia?

Q5: B: What would the global human population be?

This is discussed at [4e page 6]. Answers to questions A and B are not knowable with much accuracy. The key information needed now is that most regions of the world will likely find that their wealth-factor assessment data will indicate they are overpopulated, and the human numbers must be reduced for long term survival. Therefore, the dynamic regulation should be set to encourage reduced births. If a one-child-per-female policy were adopted globally, it may take 70 years to reach the goal.

Q6: How would GNP deal with regions that refuse to share their resources?

Membership in GNP is voluntary and requires continuous compliance with basic requirements. However, interregional trade agreements require the goodwill of both parties. A symbiotic relationship cannot be a one way street.

Q7: How do groups of GNP Regions deal with areas of the world with no interest in joining?

There may be a few self-sustaining aboriginal communities which should be left alone and protected. For other regions, GNP governments simply do not trade with them. But it is likely that the UR will need to maintain a distributed military force for many years to protect the global commons from poaching, and protect prosperous GNP Regions from invasion by other parts of the world.

Q8: Wouldn't a "sustainable" society have to live only on naturally-occurring vegetation?

Extraction of mineral resources is "unsustainable," because sooner-or-later, one is going to run-out of whatever one is digging for. Complete recycling of minerals is physically impossible.

Eventually extraction of non-renewable resources would need to end. But there could be a rapid large reduction in energy and resource usage, perhaps 80%, if corporate driven waste was ended. As total population is slowly reduced, and products are designed for a long useful life, the need for new extraction would be vastly reduced.

Today’s essential task is to redesign the sociopolitical structures in order to ensure that our next generations will have the opportunity to scientifically assess and deal with these issues when they occupy the wheelhouse of spaceship Earth. Our generation may still have a chance to end the growth paradigm with a relatively soft landing. Let us do our part!

Part 5: Support for PJP

If a viable society is ever to emerge out of the moribund growth paradigm, PJP will need a wide range of acceptance both from individuals of any age and from the many existing compatible group initiatives seeking pathways that might lead to a sane and sustainable future. Besides simple endorsement of the concept of PJP for the ray of hope it may provide, to begin the process we need a group of individuals with a variety of skills who will cooperate in online development of first steps toward laying out the organizational infrastructure of GNP.

Please note:

The ideas laid out in the 050APC scenarios are offered as an example of a dynamic system for governance that appears to work on paper which attempts to accommodate at least some common features of human-nature. This should be considered a starting draft, with scrutiny by others will no doubt find significant room for change and improvement.

To begin the development process, the Yahoo list serve will be the primary discussion channel.

For now, please send an email to to indicate your level of support of PJP and an indication of what part of the world you are from.

For example:

Level One: Please add your name as supportive of the Paradigm Junction Project.

Level Two: Volunteers are needed to assist with the Paradigm Junction Project . Let’s discuss possibilities.

Level Three: Provide a quotable comment on thoughts about the Paradigm Junction Project. {In a paragraph or two}

The index to all chapters of Paradigm Junction at Paradigm Junction Index

A poem by Dr. Karen I. Shragg:

~~ Think Like a Tree ~~

Soak up the sun
Affirm life's magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.

This and other relevant offerings can be found here: Chapter and Verse


Don Chisholm is a Director of the Gaia Preservation Coalition. He is a retired Engineering Technologist whose career path dealt with dynamic systems, maintenance, design, management and quality assurance auditing, generally related to the aviation industry. The past thirty years have been spent studying human behaviours, energy, and other areas related to the human predicament. For his complete biography and contact information, click here.

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