The Piraha People of the Amazon

Coquelicot's work has evolved through her more than 20 years of experience of being a minister with the Association & Integration of the Whole Person (AIWP). To every session, Coquelicot brings her intuition and vast knowledge base. Then she gets out of the way to let something else arise; she makes room for a larger knowledge, and invites grace to enter. Coquelicot has a capacity for deep listening, listening beyond the limits of her personality and academic learning. By dropping and melting into something much larger than herself, she becomes simultaneously a student and a teacher, a facilitator and a catalyst. From there, she supports people to free themselves from the internal obstacles that block their innate ability to access this source directly.

Weaving Patterns of Freeorder

Leif Smith, Founder of Pattern Research,
In Conversation With Yasuhiko G. Kimura and Laara Lindo

Leif Smith and his wife Pat Wagner live their passion for genuine communication working with thinking people with a spirit of quest and adventure—people who are passionate about moving beyond the stereotypical and obvious into new realms of more creative living.

Philosophically, Leif Smith is convinced that an effective way to change ourselves and the world for the better is through a return to under­standing and communicating from the substance behind our language. Of his life work in communications, Leif Smith says: Weavers of freeorder are pattern seers, connection makers, artists and entrepreneurs who work for all who discover that their home is an Open Network, a freeorder comprised of and arising from all aspects of in the world in which an explorer of sovereign spirit may rejoice. Freeorder is a balance among designed and spontaneous orders conducive to quest. Quest is an aesthetics-governed pattern of explorations in course of which resonance grows. Resonance is the expectation of magic. Magic is emergent, an awareness arising from a fusing through present action of intensity, sensitivity, integrity, and wonder. Open Network stations are looms whose users bring thread of astonishing variety. Weavers think about these threads and try to see patterns and make connections which will be of value to the explorers who brought them. — Leif Smith

An excerpt from an interview with Leif Smith at his home in Denver, Colorado:
YK: What is Pattern Research, and what do you do?
LS: I call our company Pattern Research because I'm interested in patterns of human beings' exploration. Every human being creates a distinct pattern, so needs to pay attention to what he or she loves to do. That's one reason I started the Office for Open Network. For creative thinkers — explorers—the problem arises in finding people who can understand what you're doing. So I started a kind of meeting place. Pattern Research is all about serving explorers.
YK: What is your definition of explorers?
LS: An explorer is someone with a passionate, adventurous mind who actually does something about it. It's not only passionate activity that characterizes people whom I call explorers, it's also passionate receptivity. If a rich pattern is going to be woven, it can only be woven when encountering many dead ends, backing up and starting off in a new direction.
LL: You mentioned that you came to use the name in connection with Andrew Carnegie and his "pattern weaving"—his family were weavers in Scotland.
LS: The reason I took the name had no direct connection with Carnegie, except that he was one of my heroes as an explorer, not only for his business achievements, but also for his life achievements, which covered far more than business. There are a couple of slogans I've always worked with: "Ex­pect the unexpected," "access to the unexpected," "tools for explorers," and "the Gods send thread for the web begun," which I got from a Carnegie biography. He had had that ancient Greek saying inscribed on the walls of the study in the last house he built in New York City. There's nothing truer.

There's something I think of as the "glass wall phenomenon" that people meet. When you have a large question that you're passionately excited about, it sometimes seems that there is a glass wall in front of you, with no footholds or handholds. How can you ever climb it? What you don't realize is that you are standing some distance away from it, and that if you walk towards it you will find footholds or handholds revealed on the wall, which you would never have seen if you hadn't just walked toward the wall. That is kind of like Carnegie's God sent thread for the web begun.

You know, you have to tell the world what it is you want. An astonishing richness comes to you from other people once you start telling them what you want.
YK: Going back to Pattern Research and your serving of explorers, where are you going to take them?
LS: The first rule of the Office for Open' Network is that I am not allowed to ask that question. My job is not to take people any­where. If you have an adventure, tell us about it. We are in the business of listening. I ask ques­tions, and get a reply. I look for things that I can speak back to the person in his own language. I invite people to tell me about their adventures, and I collect things from the conversation. As we talk, we start thinking about with whom they can share, whether or not there might be a productive encoun­ter. One time we introduced one of the world's leading advocates for nuclear energy to the leader of Colorado's very powerful anti­nuclear league, and in the con­text that we created of an open network, where the first premise is that anyone can be wrong about anything, we're all doing the best we can, we have different views. We had a con­versation that everybody learned from.
So that is the fundamental idea of the Office for Open Net­work—I listen. There is nothing to join, but you can have an ac­count with our office, which means you have a tool. We aren't going to tell you how to use it, all we're going to say is, tell us what you care about. Let's see what we can do about it. Let's see what we can do together.
YK: You use such words as weaving. I think we want to de­fine terms before we proceed. What is Freeorder, as opposed to free order?
LS: Freeorder is a balance among designed and spontane­ous orders which is conducive to quest, or which serves quest. Quest is a pattern of esthetics-governed explorations. Goethe said that the beautiful is higher than the good, because it in­cludes the good. That is correct. Freedom is the mother of order, not the daughter.
It occurred to me that explor­ers don't need a perfectly de­signed order or a perfect spon­taneous order, they need a bal­ance between these orders. His­tory is full of pendulum swings—cultures swing back and forth between being obsessed with designed order of one kind or another versus being obsessed by spontaneity and allowing the poetic spirit to flourish. I haven't found people who have bound those two words together in a single word and connected them to the idea of quest. The whole idea of quest has to do with liv­ing a life that is subjectively re­warding, and one which, at the end, will leave you with as few causes for regret as possible.
Many people suffer extreme guilt about being fortunate. It doesn't do any good to say, "Don't feel guilty." But it might do some good to say, "Here's what you can do instead of feel­ing guilty. There's a whole show to put on the road. We're in a position to do it. Let's do it. Let's spread the good fortune." When you talk to me about The Twi­light Club, I see the same spirit there, which is why I took to it right away, not just because of the glorious ancestry of the club, but because I could sense that intention in you. We are the heirs of something precious that the world desperately needs.

Let me talk about permission giving. The world needs an ava­lanche of permission giving. Lis­tening is a kind of permission giving. When you listen from a certain context to someone else, and they believe that a piece of them that has possibly never been heard is being listened to and is being treated as genuinely significant by another human being, it is a transforming expe­rience. They have been given permission. Whoever does that for someone has become a sig­nificant person to them.
YK: There is a profound simi­larity between your philosophy and mine, and ours. If you read the back cover of The Twilight Manifesto, I say, "Let there be you." In my seminars, that is what I do: give people permis­sion to be who they are, fully and abundantly, and they start to blossom. If you can do this on a cosmic scale, that is great.
LS: The fundamental work of the weaver is to listen. As a weaver, I never invite anyone to participate in Smiths Exchange unless I think I have a lot to learn from them. My job is lis­tening, but in the process of lis­tening things are drawn out of people that surprise them, be­cause you create a space that they're not used to being able to walk into. They will say some­thing that's very true for them, which they might have said at any time in the past ten years, but they haven't because they've never had the opportunity.
YK: You have Pattern Research and the Office for Open Network. Now you are using Smiths Ex­change. Our readers might want to know what this is.
LS: I've always known that what I mean by Open Network is ancient, where live minds and spirits have found each other. When we began espousing our philosophy more we created a company called Pattern Re­search, which hosts the Office for Open Network. By about 1988, the Office for Open Net­work had been around for about thirteen years, but was not a moneymaker. It was and is what I call a tacit forge, which means it's silent about its objectives.

So part of the systems archi­tecture of the enterprise of Freeorder generation, or forge building, includes another kind of entity which I called the fo­cus network generator as op­posed to an open network gen­erator. In 1988, I started Smiths Exchange. A smith is a tool-maker, and I don't put an apos­trophe in Smiths, so if people look closely, they understand it's an exchange for smiths or tool­makers. All the people I invite are smiths, or toolmakers—they serve other people.

Pattern Research is the family business. For twenty-five years there was formally an Office for Open Network, which we closed down last year, though it still exists informally. In the future, I'd like to set up a number of Offices for Open Network and help apprentice weavers learn what it is all about by having them staff these offices.

Another one of our slogans is: "We know almost nothing about almost everything." Pat defines the Office for Open Network as a black hole through which you enter a completely different part of the universe, where you find something needed or something fascinating.

Our office was a trap for un­likely coincidences. You tempt the random factor and it has very little will power. If it sees a good place to play, it will. We tried to create a wonderful place for it to play. One of the ways we did that was by being quiet and letting people pour their toy boxes out onto the big floor we created. Then all sorts of things would happen; the toy compo­nents would start matching up.

When I started the Office for Open Network, I thought that I'd have to have a hundred people before magical things started happening, but the magic started happening when we had twelve. I was astounded. The first experience was that of a man learning about composting. He had enough knowledge about earthworm behavior so that he could get the worms spontane­ously  to separate from their cast­ings, and to separate the young from the old worms in just the right way that he ended up with a fantastic potting soil where the worms did most of the work. He knew about the timing and lights and so on to get the worms to behave the way he wanted them to. But he needed food for his worms. Another person running a company called Colorado Biogas, was going out to feed lots to collect cow's effluent to con­vert to methane. He was won­dering what to do about the waste product stored in a hold­ing pond. I knew a very likely person to call, who would not be bored and who might be inter­ested in the biogas operation. Jim said, "What? That's food for my worms. Where can I get it?" Jim and Fred started talking and the worms were soon fed. This happened when there were twelve people.
LL: Would you provide some further definition of Freeorder and explain your long-range in­tent, along with some of the prin­ciples that are yours for devel­oping that concept.
LS: That's a big question. I use the word Freeorder the way a scientist might use the word physics, meaning that I don't think I know any final set of principles. I say that Freeorder is a balance among designed and spontaneous orders, which serves quest. It's actually a com­plex of balances that operate in many different ways and on many different levels. Freeorder, as I understand it at the mo­ment, can have to do with how a person thinks—with their cre­ative process—or it can have to do with how a social order or how a company works. So, if somebody asks me about Freeorder, I ask what's the con­text? Are we talking about cre­ating a poem, a small business, a habitat, a large company, a city, a nation, a network com­monwealth, or a planet? At ev­ery level there are things that are valuable in helping people to tune the balance of design in spontaneous orders.
LL: What you are describing is a living, creative process.
LS: Yes, one that is never fin­ished, always full of error, but set up in such a way as to opti­mize the chance that errors will be found and changes made which may extinguish old errors.
YK: What's the difference be­tween Freeorder and spontane­ous order?
LS: Freeorder is a balance among designed and spontane­ous orders, while spontaneous order is just that—spontaneous. There can be two defects in Freeorder: an excess of either designed or spontaneous order.

A good example of this was a New Age company, since the pendulum has swung far in the direction of spontaneous order in the New Age environment. These people had been very prosperous, but their prosper­ity was now seriously threat­ened, so discord surfaced, with disagreement and fear running through the company. What we saw in this company was a seri­ous excess of spontaneous or­der and a defect of design. Pat described the function of a leader and the nature of a hier­archy. They were shocked. This is a New Age idealistic com­pany—we can't have a leader! She told them they needed an entrepreneur, someone whose business and ability it is to grasp a large pattern and make a plan. This is an extremely simple ap­plication of the sense of Freeorder. I don't know any hard and fast principles. There are a lot of people who have articu­lated volumes of principles. If we are weavers and theoreticians of Freeorder, let's put all the infor­mation in our library, and let's bring out what seems useful when we need it. Freeorder is an art, not a science. Designed or­ders are essential, but when you over-define, over-circumscribe, bind, and constrain, sometimes you have a serious defect in spontaneous order. On the other hand, sometimes you are awash in spontaneous order, and you need a plan, a design, and a hi­erarchy — and someone in charge. You need a good systems architect.
YK: There are a number of key concepts that you have been defining. Now we want to see the connection. We have Freeorder, so now let's look at explorer, quest, weavers, and those con­cepts put together in a pattern. Then people can hold the whole concept.
LS: I wrote "A Philosophical Overview of Pattern Research, Freeorder Open Network," which is as close as I've come so far to putting the whole together. I have a conjecture encapsulated in the word Freeorder: If you are interested in a life of flourishing exploration that will gradually sum itself up into something that seems like a quest, that is, a pattern of exploration that has a governing essence of some kind, which has integrity and is rich enough to allow itself con­tinual evolution and seeming ascension towards something that feels divine—if that's what you want, pay attention to Freeorder; pay attention to the relationships between designed structures of all kinds and spon­taneous emergents of all kinds. See how the design can be vital to the next emergent and how something emergent can provide the seeds for the next coales­cence into a new structure.
My dream is a world where every explorer of sovereign spirit is truly able to flourish. Of course the early people of the Twilight Club expressed that in one way or another in their work or in their deeds, which is why they found each other and recognized each other's importance.
YK: Freeorder is a new con­cept, balance between designed and spontaneous order. There are orders that you can design
which will facilitate more genera­tion of Freeorder.
LS: Aristotle did that when he set down the design for logic. It's fascinating that if you accept one contradiction into a system of statements, there is no limit to the consistent statements you can then make. Aristotle formal­ized logic, which we presume people had been using for many centuries, but the Greeks intro­duced a strand into human thought that elevated it to a whole new level of attention. The thing about logic is that once you decide to try to abstain from say­ing things that are self-contra­dictory, you have just accepted a limiting design principle. One of my favorite books is The Power-of Limits. You couldn't have a spiral form anywhere in the world if the things that gener­ated those forms weren't follow­ing very strict limits as to where the next element placed itself. Sometimes those limits are very simple, but observing them cre­ates incredible form.

The interesting thing about nature is that these limits can­not be avoided. We can decide whether to think, we can decide to what degree harboring a con­scious contradiction bothers us. When you limit what you can say or do, you create something that I call "open space," space that wasn't there before. Because you pulled back and said, "No, I'm not going to be there, I'm not going to do that," things start appearing spontaneously. I learned logic from Ayn Rand and other logicians, and from watch­ing what I said myself, looking for contradictions. Korzybski, in Science and Sanity probably pre­sented the most daunting limit. I had already been reading Von Mises, who talks about intro­spection and looking inside yourself at things like purpose, ends, means, action, expectation in such a way that those words were bound to things which I couldn't get out of my mind, which were very real to me.

It's an amazing fact that for every­thing that we push or pull in­side or outside ourselves in or­der to get from a position we pre­fer less to one we prefer more there is not a word. Korzybski got me thinking about the con­nection between the word and the concept you hold in your mind. I started working back­wards through abstract words, such as "honor," looking at what  they truly meant. I was driven  back and back to fundamental words, such as "is." This new limit setting led me to a close analysis of how we use  language. I got the feeling that so much of what we say is empty, that we aren't really tallying about any-, thing. We are just exchanging tokens. This led me to a deep__ study of the problem of language  and concepts and how we use them. M conclusion was that "When I speak words, I must know exactly how ever word I'm saying is connected to something me personally is not a word."
YK: Give us an example of that which is not personally a word. Are you using the term words in the way that we use language?
LS: I don't know. Say some more.
YK: When you reach for this cup, it has a sentence structure. Then move it. There is an inter­action. Of course it is all taking place in a conceptual realm. But if you look at this, it is a kind of meta-linguistic structure to ex­istence, for which our language is a metaphor. So they are not the "words," but they have a lin­guistic structure, which our lan­guage reflects, for which our lan­guage is more like a metaphor.
LS: I understand that I was born in a sea of language. My entire perceptions and feelings have been shaped by that sea.
YK: What is the impetus for your trying to trace back to non-words for each concept or word you have?
LS: Because when I say some­thing that has general import —about, say, economics, where I advocate a free market—I want to know how I got there. How I got there has to do with what is inside individuals that you can­not see. The only way you can discover it is by introspection. Then I make the assumption that others probably can intro­spect the same way I can. That's a guess, I don't know, though I'm fairly confident.
LL: As an educator, I'm find­ing this an interesting conversa­tion, because I discovered the key to effective presentation was to teach my students, at what­ever age level, to visualize, and then teach them to realize that it is what they visualize in the larger picture that they should think about, not just the words in isolated context. Through this process I discovered a tremen­dous blossoming of student un­derstanding and improved achievement. This is what you are talking about.
LS: This applies to Freeorder. What you are talking about is what I call another workroom. Freeorder is about a balance between designed and sponta­neous order, and when you're doing this kind of imagery work, that's what poetry and art are all about.
LL: I didn't think about this particular visualization tech­nique that way. I think of it as exactly what you are describing: unless people can take the word back to what it is in visualizing a form, it remains too much sim­ply a "word."
YK: What you are pointing out is a "sentence"— a non-word component of the sentence itself instead of "words." Words arrive in sentences, sentences arrive in paragraphs, and paragraphs may arrive in books. So what
gives the meaning to the words is the sentence, which gives the meaning to the paragraph. Your approach is going towards the non-word component for the meaning. The meaning may not be constructed by the laying of the bricks of words, but the meaning is already in the whole architecture.
LL: That's right, and we hu­mans have the potential for vi­sualizing holistically.
LS: Yes, Freeorder is a balance among designed and spontane­ous orders, and this working backwards from the non-word image of the whole is very much engaging spontaneous order. When you talk about visualiza­tion, one of the exercises I rec­ommend to the explorer is to let one's imagination and visioning run wild with no regard whatso­ever for words, then to open the door between those two rooms, to see if something has appeared in your visioning that you have no word for. But maybe it needs a word, a mark of some kind, because I begin to believe that every human should build his or her language, and worry about communicating with others later. I've built a lot of my own philosophical language. Later I'd be reading something and would say, "Oh, that's what so-and-so has been doing with that word." But I never would have known it if I hadn't built the word for myself in my own terms.
Building our own language is important. If there is something inside yourself that is precious, a feeling, desire or memory, make a word for it, and make that word part of your internal world.
YK: In a sense you are defin­ing the meaning of the word meaning: what it means to mean.
LS: Yes, I followed that pro­cess. In order to connect with our own words we must be un­commonly insistent that we burrow under each word to its full meaning.
YK: This is similar to encodement, encodement of ex­perience. A word like God is a code word.
LL: What's interesting about what you're doing is that it's counteracting today's stereo­typed responses to words. People have stereotyped the lan­guage to such a degree that words are "boxed," vocabulary becomes boxed. As soon as you say a word people think they've got the meaning because they have a stereotyped reaction to it. So your ideas present a process of freeing from stereotyped re­sponses.
YK: Going through the process you are describing, you know what you are talking about, whereas in many cases people are using empty words. At least you know when you don't know what you are talking about.
LS: A lot of times I know that. It's one of the deepest, unshakable certainties I have. I think that if we're going to build the man before we build the city, as Edwin Markham said, I realize that nothing but the desires, in­tentions, modes of life of indi­vidual human beings can possi­bly transform the world. And the world needs to be transformed. Going back to "building the man," I have an idea that the recentering of language for each of us, in the personal nonverbal awareness is essential. People need to go into themselves and take themselves and their desire for a life of rich personal mean­ing seriously, and pay attention to their own non-verbal aware­ness, and bring their personal language into line with this: the recentering, the regrounding of language for true meaning.
One of my favorite sayings is that "there is more to the obvi­ous than the obvious." I first thought of that in connection with Beethoven's music, which is constructed with simple ele­ments, like atoms. "The map is not the territory." All our theo­ries are simply maps. What we personally are aware of is not necessarily what's really there. The "map" has displaced the center of language away from where it must be if one is to be a sovereign explorer. One must own one's language, not have one's definition of reality in a theory and then try to figure out how one's consciousness ac­cords with what is real. If you use the word "is" as an exact equivalent of "1 aware," you will bind everything to yourself per­sonally. This gives centering lan­guage for a sovereign spirit.
YK: What you are saying is very much like the message of Zen and Krishnamurti. Zen is a discipline, a tool, for people to get out of words and to get to the non-verbal experience. The second part is regrounding, recentering yourself in this non­verbal experience. As Alan Watts said, you don't eat the menu. Menu and food are two different things. Theory is like a menu, a map. Theory—theatre comes from the same root—is a way of seeing: it offers a way of seeing that which is not seen.
LS: A fashionable theory is like a fashionable costume. People wear it and are recognized by one another, whereas people speaking language that comes from their own non-verbal real­ity take a little longer to recog­nize one another. You're dealing with something unique in each instance.
YK: Each theory is a complex of patterns of thought. Some theories are very beautiful, and that beauty is actually experi­enced by those who understand them. For example, Einstein's theory survived so long because it was so beautiful, not neces­sarily because it was true. To add to what you said, there is a
non-verbal component to the sentence. Words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, the book, and the theory have non-word components. The process you describe is maybe the most cre­ative and useful kind of  deconstructionism.
LS: I've often thought of the mental processes one must go through to create the ground in which the sovereign spirit can be rooted as kind of a radical demolition.
YK: To me, the term is  authenticism. You become au­thentic.
LS: I once went to a Buddhist talk on logic. The lecturer took one fundamental term after an­other, and using other suppos­edly fundamental terms he would grind it to dust. He con­tinued doing that until there was nothing that could not be ground to dust using the mill wheels of everything you were not focused on at the moment. It was a wonderful space clear­ing. Your mind could no longer hold a lot of things that it seemed to easily hold before. I'd already been down this road, grinding everything to rubble, then dis­covering how big the world sud­denly is.
YK: It is also the difference between belief and knowing. When you have a coherent linguistic  structure with your non-verbal experience, it is knowing.
LS: Which, by the way, allows me to know astoundingly little. We have a world of unimagin­able complexity with enormous problems to be solved. Yet when we start thinking this way we are suddenly shockingly faced with the fact that an individual hu­man being can never really know very much. So how do we get a solution?
YK: Here's where the pattern comes in. There's a simplicity the other side of complexity, in a sense. For example, computer graphics is made up of very cornplex patterns. But they are only generated by an "on" and "off' mechanism. It is possible for us. to get into that "on and off' pat: tern of the universe. So once we can identify this pattern of the universe, it may be possible to know the essence, or cause, or fundamental cosmic code out of which the whole phenomenon takes place. Then maybe we can do something without knowing all the infinite variety of pat­terns, which can actually be re­duced to a simple pattern. In pattern research, we want to research the pattern that under­lies all the patterns.
LS: I want to analyze the pat­terns of solution machines that do not require that kind of knowledge, but that may yet continue to generate worthy con­jectures.
YK: In my late thirties, com­ing from a different direction, I came to the conclusion that in that realm of the problems of humanity I really didn't know very much. But one thing I real­ized is that what is missing on this planet amongst humans is what we can call thinking. People have thoughts, people have be­liefs, but I had met up to that point very few people whom I could call thinkers. You are one of those people who really think. So ever since then, my message to humanity is just one thing: the more thinkers, the better. We don't need to know the an­swers, but we need to think. I don't need to know the answers. I just want to provoke thinking by thinking myself.
LS: That's the most necessary thing about any entrepreneur­ial effort to set the world right; we have to build it on the premise that we don't have the answers. Given that realization, what do we do? What we do is what you said: THINK.

Winter, 2001 21
'The Cosmic Light

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Coquelicot teaches didactically, experientially and by example. She brings to each session a lifetime's worth of tools, exercises and practices that I use at home to further my own development. Her genius combines intuition, sensing and a comprehensive knowledge of human emotional and biological development. What I've learned from her has not only given me a deeper understanding of my own patterns, dynamics and behaviors, it's also enhanced my understanding of others. I am a far more compassionate person thanks Coquelicot. In fact to the degree that I am a more evolved being in any regard, Coquelicot was instrumental in my transformation.

-L. M. Artist and wellness ally

"Dear God:

Please untie the knots that are in my mind, my heart and my life. Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that I have in my mind. Erase the will nots,
may nots,
might nots that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots, would nots and should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life, all of the 'am nots' that I have allowed to hold me back, especially the thought that I am not good enough. Amen."
- Author unknown, The Knots Prayer

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