About Us

Collaborating for comprehensivity is an emerging initiative, but a not-yet-existing organization or program. It aspires to the following vision, mission, and values.

Vision Statement

  • To energize humanity's collective intelligence through group conversations that step-by-step compose ever broader and deeper and more integrated understandings of our worlds and its peoples.

Mission Statement

  • To foster a greater awareness, appreciation, and practice of comprehensive inquiry and action which is the forming of integrated comprehensive comprehensions about the operation and dynamics of our worlds and its peoples.
  • To establish and nurture a thriving community of practice developing comprehensive thinking as a tradition of inquiry and action that is "adequately macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive" and is accessible and available to people of all ages, beliefs, and cultures around the world.

Our Values

  • To make sense of it all and of each other.
  • “To understand all and put everything together” as Buckminster Fuller put it.
  • To foster the mindset and the practice of the Explorer in Universe.
  • To foster the child's innate comprehensivity: “in observing a little child, we find it is interested in everything and spontaneously apprehends, comprehends, and co-ordinates an ever-expanding inventory of experiences” as Buckminster Fuller observed.
  • To “Dare to be naïve” as Buckminster Fuller put it.
  • To aspire to a planetary or cosmic perspective.
  • To recognize that everything may be related to everything else and so all inquiry and action should begin with an adequately broad survey of all humanity's experiences, all our cultural heritage (the Ethnosphere as Wade Davis calls it), all humanity's traditions of inquiry and action, all peoples and their values.
  • To recognize that effective exploration requires that we examine relevant traditions, experiences, and related considerations with sufficient intensivity and depth that we have an opportunity to see through the superficialities of the world to reveal the depth of interrelationship existing among all things and all conceptuality.
  • To embrace the empirical view that experience, broadly considered, is the source, the basis, the ground, for all our knowing.
  • To embrace mistake mystique, the recognition that all our understandings include gaps where misconception, misinterpretation, and other forms of errant thinking interfere with our ability to understand all.
  • To recognize that our always tentative knowing can be best articulated as a comprehensive comprehension bundling our refined ignorance, that is, the standing together of our questions with our gathered experiences, principles, and their interrelationships to form integrated complexes of hypotheses or perspectives.
  • To recognize that these comprehensive comprehensions organize themselves into meaningful wholes that provide new springboards for further explorations.
  • To recognize that our exploration may be impeded by analysis paralysis if our desire for understanding leads us to endlessly gather more and more information without limiting the depth or intensiveness of our exploration.
  • To recognize that our exploration may be impeded by value paralysis if our desire for integrating all of our values and those of other stakeholders without limiting the scope of our inquiry.
  • To recognize that our exploration may be impeded by the paralysis of wholism if our desire for integrating the full breadth of all our sources of learning into fully integrated whole without an effective means to limit or contain our survey.
  • To embrace all our desires, our desiderata, as 'the “force” that provides us with intrinsic guidance and energy' as Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman put it in "The Design Way".
  • To foster group explorations where all participants examine assumptions, listen sensitively, speak and are heard, build ever broader and deeper meanings, identify new possibilities, and examine subjects that matter.
  • To appreciate that the integrity of the Universe (if it exists) involves accommodating every idea and every person into comprehensive comprehensions (which may manifest as multiple models that are partially contradictory).
  • To hone our navigational judgment to better guide our explorations, our lives, our communities and our civilization.
  • To appreciate that models help make our worlds more understandable and accessible.
  • To build a resilient, regenerative, and thriving society.
  • To foster the general adaptability of humanity all around our dynamically changing planet.
  • To improve the governance of our civilization.
  • To aspire “to make the world work for 100 percent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone” as Buckminster Fuller put it.
  • To understand each other as interdependent crewmates aboard Spaceship Earth.
  • To unify the world conceptually and physically.

A Pillar of Synergetics

We consider comprehensive learning to be a pillar of Synergetics as conceived by Buckminster Fuller. Comprehensive thinking can be abstracted from §217.04 in Synergetics: to foster "humanity becoming progressively exploratory" and the recognition that "there can be no finality of human comprehension". This quote from "The Wellspring of Reality" in Synergetics poignantly explains the importance of our mission:

Only a comprehensive switch from the narrowing specialization and toward an ever more inclusive and refining comprehension by all humanity—regarding all the factors governing omnicontinuing life aboard our spaceship Earth—can bring about reorientation from the self-extinction-bound human trending, and do so within the critical time remaining before we have passed the point of chemical process irretrievability.

Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous social behaviors that will avoid extinction.

What organizational support does our new global tradition need?

How could we define our organization, so you would join us?

Who We Are

Initial Organizer, CJ Fearnley

Collaborating for comprehensivity was initially conceived and drafted by CJ Fearnley.

CJ started organizing interventions to contribute to society with his first job in high school teaching chess to first graders. In college he helped organize the Math club and the Chess club, he started the Bucky Fuller SpaceShip Earth club, and he sat on the Mathematics department undergraduate curriculum committee as its student representative. As Unix SIG leader at PACS he organized more than 25 presentations and articles for their newsletter, he then helped form the Philadelphia area Linux User Group (PLUG) where he has emceed their monthly Q&A for nearly 25 years. He founded and continues to oversee a 20 year old computer consultancy and hosting company, LinuxForce Inc. He helped form the Synergetics Collaborative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, where he helped organize more than 20 workshops, seminars, and international symposia.

In organizing more than 150 events on such diverse subjects as design, anthropology, mechanics, philosophy, biology, literature, and more for the Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society, CJ gradually began to acquire a more confident comprehensivity. Recently, after rereading “Operating Manual for SpaceShip Earth”, he realized that a modified version of the Thinking Society approach to group conversations could be a basis for this initiative. Based on his experience in the Linux and the free and open source software worlds, he thinks Collaborating for Comprehensivity will adapt and scale best with a crowdsourced, open source model supported by a non-profit organization.

How should we build our organization?

What roles might you play?

Some of the Major Sources Inspiring the Initiative

The following resources have been significant in inspiring this initiative:

Countless other resources contributed but have not yet entered into a clear enough focus to be documented here.

Organizational Possibilities

Collaborating for Comprehensivity is a work in progress. As we think about what organizational services would help the idea start to take root as a new tradition of inquiry and action, we think these ideas may be worth considering:

  • Provide a resource center to help people form new groups around the world and to help existing groups develop their approach, skills, tools, and efficacy.
    • We plan to launch a mailing list to help coordinate the formation of collaborations around the world and an announcements-only mailing list.
    • We plan to launch a resource center as a community of practice blog with an ever growing collection of posts to help collaborations form and to help others develop their comprehensive practice.
    • Eventually, guidance and support of comprehensive practice would be provided for various life stages including young children, grade school, high school, college, post-graduate, and lifelong learners.
    • What other tools should we provide in the resource center?
  • What kind of institution would facilitate and enable spreading the idea of our comprehensivity as a social contagion?
    • Should the organization be more or less structured? How? Why?
    • Is non-profit or for-profit structure best suited for this initiative, this mission? Why?
    • Should Collaborating for Comprehensivity be independent or associated with another organization? Which organization? Why? Why not?
  • Iteratively experiment to create a business model to support the initiative on an on-going basis. Some possibilities:
    • Accept donations and/or other crowd funding options.
    • Mentor or train group organizers until they can confidently run their groups themselves.
    • Mentor or train participants to better develop their comprehensivity. For example, many will probably need help in curating topics to further their own and their group's explorations.
    • Organize groups for organizations: Would any oganization pay for comprehensive learning circles for their employees, clients, or customers? Would companies, non-profits, government, or other organizations be interested in such training? Who? Why?
    • Offer programs in schools: grade school, high school, college, and postgraduate are all possible. To be effective such programs would need to run for at least a few months to a semester.
    • Develop a presentation or "experience"-event with a titillating program to inspire others to attend to their comprehensivity.
    • Develop comprehensivity practice programs directly to the general public. What would make sense?
    • Offer certificates in comprehensive practice.
    • Write books, workbooks, newsletters, and other documentation.
    • Organize conferences, symposia, workshops, or seminars.
    • Apply for grants and other institutional fundraising opportunities.
    • Find investors, sponsors, or benefactors to help finance the organization.
    • Build a membership organization. How? What services would members receive?
    • Provide infrastructure services (for a modest fee) for groups such as a web site with a group scheduling and announcing services (like meetup.com) or negotiate free community meeting space for groups. What else might make sense?
  • Research Program: since there is a not yet a tradition of inquiry and action focused on our comprehensivity, it may be helpful to develop a research program to support its invention and development.
    • The global community of practice ought to be invited to report on their experiences and successes in developing their comprehensivity. These will both be reports from the field (as data for analysis) and as contributions for documenting our emerging tradition.
    • The nature and meaning of comprehensivity ought to be characterized (philosophically, sociologically, anthropologically, geopolitically, etc.).
    • Research into allied traditions and/or present-day and historical polymaths to inform our initiative and suggest new ideas to incorporate into our emerging community of practice.
    • Through design imagination, various hypotheses about ways to further comprehensive practice might be explored and vetted with ad hoc testing or through one of the various experimental methodologies to assess the validity and efficacy of hypotheses.
    • Since collaborating for comprehensivity is conceived as an unusual mix of conversational art, social engagement, philosophical and scientific exploration, spiritual practice (through engaging the values of omni-inclusiveness together with the integration of complexities and diversities into a whole), curatorial finesse, intellectual navigation, studio art (each practitioner curates and critiques their explorations with others), and other nuanced traditions, the nature and scope of the research program is not at all clear.

How should we form an organization?

What business models should we try?
Receive our announcements.
Participants and organizers discuss comprehensivity, organizing events, resources and skill-building, asking and answering questions, building a community of practice.