Paradigm Junction & 050APC


Glossary of Terms & Acronyms



Rev. C     

To Index



Paradigm Junction:

Abandonment of the Parasitic Paradigm of Growth

Toward a Post-Growth Gaia-centric Paradigm


Governance by Natural Processes (GNP)

Autonomous Interdependence Regional Global Networks that:
blend Science, Nature, Human-Nature
into a viable social political economy
that can serve human-kind today,
while preserving our natural world
for future generations to experience
the joy of life within nature.



Glossary Of Terms


This manual delves into a wide variety of subject areas and therefore uses a few expressions that may be unfamiliar to some readers.  And there are a few new word-sequences, sometimes expressed as acronyms.  This glossary is in alphabetical order.  Within the text, [GL] following a word or phrase indicates further explanation in this Glossary.


Within the text there may also be [Wicki], for Wikipedia as the source definition. 







   Systemic Goal

The pinnacle goal of the GNP processes is to eventually reduce human activity to until it can be sustained within the Gaian renewing flows of nature.  When this occurs, 3 Dimensions of human interest will be at either their optimum state or the optimum rate of change. 
3D-Optimum refers to optimums of human: population; activity and happiness.  While evaluation of each of these dimensions is subjective, scientific and statistical guidance will arbitrate. 

3D-Optimum is the goal of the overall system of human civilization.


80/20 guideline

  Pareto Principle

When stating that, under these circumstances, people will do that.   Generally, the 80/20 rules suggests that only 80% will do that, and the remaining 20% will not do that.  However, the dividing line is fuzzy with sometimes a wide range of overlapping views.  It might be 99% to 1% on some characteristics.   It applies to both physical and mental characteristics. Quite often these variations are expressed as a bell curve, with the “80” representing those within the bulk of bell, with the 20 being those at the skirt.  See: 

Social psychologist Milgrams illustrates this point when he wrote: “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.” 

This is one of the genetic variations within species that enables evolutionary change.

As the Pareto Principle, it covers a very wide spectrum of issues.


Abstract Realities




Abstract Realities.  Human created systems of beliefs and of agreed ways of doing things: constitutions, economics, religions, corporations, etc.  Gregory Bateson described in illuminating detail, the meaning of this in his ‘79 book, Mind and Nature.  Details at






After Paradigm Change: In the new era the dynamic society.  The time of PC was in 20?? (yet to be determined).  These expressions are used in the backcast section of the chapters on envisioning.

BPC = Before Paradigm Change – As spoken from backcast – times before paradigm change, before 20??. , or now.



This term is sometimes used in addiction recovery programs.  It means the point of despair at which an addict finally abandons denial and avoidance.  S/He then recognises that major personal change is now a do-or-die issue.  Our context refers an individual’s finally acceptance that industrial civilization’s addiction to growth in human activity will bring about collapse.

Growing numbers of individuals and groups have already reached this point, but has yet have no common viable goal to support. 





Cassandra was a Greek Goddess: The Cassandra metaphor (sometimes called “the Cassandra 'syndrome”).  Cassandra was blessed with vision to know what the future holds: And she was also cursed because no one would believe her.  The expression is sometimes used today when scientists give dire warnings but they are not believed (or will not be accepted, or are avoided or denied for a wide variety of reasons).


Carrying Capacity


The maximum number that can be sustained indefinitely within a specific bioregional system – or in the natural systems of planet Earth.  When population is in excess of CC, this is Overshoot – below.


Club Of Rome


  Limits To Growth

Club Of Rome’s seminal ’72 book, Limits To Growth, illustrated possible pathways into the future.  We have followed their business-as-usual projection that accurately civilization’s well-being would be on down-slope that leads into collapse early in 21st century. 

The Smithsonian Magazine made a study of the graphic projections in, Limits To Growth, and extended the projections from 1970 into today.  The old projections were remarkably accurate as shown at:

Also see:


Compartment-alized  mind

A term used by psychologists to describe our common ability to time share conflicting realities.  Sometimes we think and function in one mode, sometimes the other.




When discussing a specific issue that may be interactive with several other related issues (specialty subjects) one will focus on those most familiar, and ignore the rest, even though they may be more important. 




Expression used by Robert Ornstein indicating the requisite next stage of evolution if we are to survive.  Related to paradigm change, or epiphany on a grand scale.







System: a group or combination of interrelated, interdependent, or interacting elements forming a collective entity; (see synergy)

In all cases energy flow is central to things happening. 

A regulatory system controls the flow using feedback (plus or minus) in order to sustain the system output at optimum level.

A viable system has a goal.

System-runaway: uncontrolled positive or negative feedback will drive a system to limits. 

Chapter 2b-Dynamic Systems is devoted to systems and dynamics.




Our ecological footprint is a science/data based assessment of the human impact on a geological area.  Globally, humans began exceeding Earth’s renewing bounty in the 1970s.  (This may be optimistic)


Economic Growth

  ...includes both...

     Population &


Growth in both human population and resource throughput translate into economic growth.  Today’s paradigm, where growth must increase every year, is today’s principle paradigm flaw.   To expose the dilemma of exponential growth at all levels of governance has been the 30 year quest of Dr. Al Bartlett -



  Flow energy?

Energy is a very large subject, but only a couple points are raised here.   ~Energy flow makes pretty much all things happen on our planet including the living systems of Gaia and civilizations. 

~The term “renewable energy” is a misnomer, because the first Law of thermodynamics states that energy or matter can neither be created nor destroyed.   However, it is widely used based on:

~A renewable energy resource is from nature’s energy flows, therefore replenish-able.   Sun, wind, geothermal, tidal are considered to be renewable.

This manual uses, flow-energy, to categorize all of these sources.


Fatalist Denial
   similar to
   Group Denial

“Let us assume that a couple has a problem of escalating debts. They both agree that their prodigal lifestyle is not negotiable. Consequently, there is no practical solution to their problem. As long as they acknowledge the problem, they incur the social and psychological cost of avowal on top of the cost of the problem itself. Not only do they have to service their debt, but they also must acknowledge the uncomfortable fact that they are living beyond their means. At some point, they silently agree to stop talking about their escalating debts. They then feel much better. Their debts keep rising, but instead of lamenting their predicament they have now swept it under the carpet. Initially, this seems to work very well indeed. But over time there is more and more fallout from their skyrocketing debts, and at some point the entire situation is doomed to break down.


“The Figure expresses this pattern of “fatalist denial” in formal terms. There is an escalating problem bound to break down when the total cost resulting from the situation at any given moment hits the tolerance limit. Because acknowledging the problem comes with painful social and psychological cost, the total cost resulting from the situation at any given moment is lower when people are in denial than when they acknowledge the problem [cost denial (t) < cost avowal. It is therefore attractive for people to enter denial at an early stage of the escalation. Without denial, the tolerance limit would be reached at t2 . With denial, the tolerance limit is reached only at t3 . Thus, denial reduces cost and buys time.”

     Copy from, Peak energy and climate change: the double bind of post-normal science.  Written by Jörg Friedrichs, published in, the journal Futures.



The sun-energized interacting system of animal, vegetable and mineral.  Gaia was the name of Goddess of the Earth in Greek mythology, coined for Earth’s application by James Lovelock.



Gaiacide is the inevitable outcome of the human predicament if we do not bottom-out, collectively, and consciously evolve toward development of new and practical goals for humanity.  Of course we will not kill Gaia, but may extinguish humanity and an ever growing number of fellow specie.

The term ecocide is now used by lawyer Polly Higgins who has a campaign to make ecocide a punishable criminal offence.


Gaian System

Any dynamic system that humans had nothing to do with.  Systems of Gaia, include weather and biological system ranging from cells to internal organs and animals.  Gaian Systems are distinct from human created systems (cars, computers, quality-assurance, etc.) but similar principles of dynamics interactions apply to all. 


Golden Rule

Recent meaning: Those with the gold get to rule

Original meaning: Treat others as you want to be treated



Wiki: “Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes. These processes and systems are typically administered by a government.

“In the case of a business or of a non-profit organisation, governance relates to consistent management, cohesive policies, guidance, processes and decision-rights for a given area of responsibility. For example, managing at a corporate level might involve evolving policies on privacy, on internal investment, and on the use of data.”



Homeostasis VS


Homeostasis has to be understood for what it is. It is not at all the same thing as "equilibrium" as it is defined in thermodynamics. For example, a human being is a complex system. When you are alive but at rest, you are in homeostasis. If you are in equilibrium you are dead. Homeostasis is a dynamical equilibrium of forces.


"Peak Civilization": The Fall of the Roman Empire





This is the expression used in the Club Of Rome’s ’72, Limits To Growth.  It refers to humanity’s current pathways and obsolete beliefs that drive civilization toward Gaiacide. 


Human Activity

This expression is used throughout this manual.  It encompasses the idea of human population numbers and also our collective activities impact on the Gaian system. 

Credible scientists now considered by that today’s Human Activity is significantly beyond Carrying Capacity. 







This graph produced in 2012 accompanied by text indicating supply no longer met the economy’s needs in 2008.  This is often called peak-oil 





Coined by enlightened economist, Herman Daly, it refers to an individual in a specialty field who will consider the data or issues related to their specific speciality to have much more importance than data and issues in other specialty areas.  His examples were about the specialties within, “economics”, but it also applies across disciplines.  An example is that most economists have little understanding about energy supply issues or ecological issues, therefore they discount their importance.  Or a biologist will consider his specialty to be of more important than that of an archaeologist.


Jevons Paradox

Observation of an 1865 economist

The Jevons Paradox: 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.

With our current paradigm, this is sometimes considered to be a “wicked problem” – a multi disciplinary issue wherein corrective action would need to be taken in several regulatory jurisdictions, perhaps even a constitutional amendment would be needed.  The holistic dynamic nature of Governance by Natural Processes (GNP) eliminates wicked problems such as  Jeovns Paradox.




Mutual Coercion by Mutual Agreement.  This was Garrett Hardin’s suggested formula for dealing with the, tragedy of the commons, as described in his well-known essay by that name.  It is a way of reaching consensus on a thorny issue as an effective form of very local democracy.  It may apply to as few as an agreed protocol for two people sharing a common bathroom. [Kenith Boulding]





Optimum expresses the best possible condition under the circumstances.  When the optimum is not possible under today’s circumstances, optimum becomes a goal to guide dynamic processes in order to achieve that optimum in the future. 



   Population (OP)

The human population of a region that provides maximum human well-being of present populations, and of future generations.   OP will be somewhat below Regional maximum CC (Carrying Capacity)



    Human Wealth


See Wealth below.  In the GNP context, OHW today is balanced with scientific and economic measurements that result in regulatory control to guidance and adjust human activity levels

toward 3D-O.



    Rate of change   

Since it may take several decades to reach OHW, the optimum amount of regulatory pressure will be delicate balance.  All parameters will be continuously measured and adjustments made.  The monetary system will be the primary regulatory control device.



  (See Carrying


This is when a species population has grown beyond Carrying Capacity (CC).  When caused by a rich niche food (energy) supply, a very large condition of overgrowth can devastates the environment during die-off.  While in overgrowth, the system’s original CC may be drastically reduced to the point that the species may become extinct.









Webster Online dictionary defines this usage as "a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly: a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind.

Paradigm Paralysis represents the difficulty in changing a long held world view of how things should be: Even though strong evidence indicates it would be wise to change.

This is related to Tyranny of the Tools.




  (see IEA above)

This graphic is from the ’92 book Beyond The Limits to Growth, by the same team that prepared the ’72 report to the Club Of Rome, Limits To Growth. 


The Oil Age Poster provides a great deal of information about

the status of fossil


fuels, past, present and future. Free copy for schools at





This descriptive term describes a dynamic influence where total measured regional wealth (Wealth Factors) will be expressed on a per capita basis.  I.e., the fewer people there are in a region, the greater the wealth of each person, and vise versa.   The term Dynamics denotes that: Since Human-Activity can be influenced by wealth, feedback from WF will influence human procreation choices and resource throughput decisions.





Relocalization is about the possibility of building resilient community and stronger local economies now, where you are. It's also about finding a part in this change that really works for you.
   Relocalization builds local strength in the face of economic downturns, challenges from peak oil and climate change, profound ecological stress, loss of citizen control, resource depletion in an interconnected world - little things like that! You know the ones!


Personal Transition (PT)


This expression applies to individuals who have absorbed enough information about ecology, and or economics, and/or many of the other converging issues that clearly indicate the growth paradigm cannot continue.  They have gone through a form of bottoming out, and are now receptive to initiating or following a new heading.  To have an epiphany is similar.  Dirctinary: “… a sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence”.


Tombstone debt

(See Ch. 4d page 8) This debt is a loan against well-being today as an investment to a sustainable future.  It provides essential money per capita to keep essential industry functional during change toward 3D-Optimum, when the debt would be paid back.


Post Normal:



(ref in gaia/misc/) + Joerg

The idea of Post Normal Science was suggested by T. 5. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,1962 with various articles written since.  The idea suggested is that normal science is based on known facts where certainty of outcomes is high and the associated risks are not high.  Post normal extends what is known into areas that are quite uncertain and associated risks that are quite high.


Uncertainty of outcome and high risk are definitely associated with design speculation of changed social systems and governance with economics that could correct or supplant those systems we consider normal today: but which, unfortunately, are driven by a fatal growth addiction.


Quality Assurance


QA systems are a systems-based corporate tool to ensure product or process continuously meets the design intent.  See Dynamic Systems section for greater detail.





In the envisioned sustainable society, the world will be divided into hundreds of regions that operate relatively autonomously but are part of a cooperative dynamic interactive system.  APC, when referring to a region’s government, Regions will be capitalized when it represents the local top-government of the people.



Renewable energy - see Energy above.




(The Elephant in the living room)

Sacred Cow Syndrome:  An inhibition, or taboo against thinking about or discussing certain issues that may lead to an individual’s increase in anxiety or uncertainty.  Some areas may be, the inevitable results of human population beyond CC, or that infinite economic growth  not possible: or connecting the dots from now into the future when speculation on the results of issues like peak-oil, or global warming, or atmospheric tipping points, or of an increasing national-debt to GDP ratio.     I don’t want to think about it!  Used by Don Chisholm in the ‘95, A 21st Century Steward’s Handbook.



























World Scientists’,

    Warning to














Planet Under

    Pressure Group

Scientists warnings to humanity:

Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has predicted that the human race will be extinct within the next 100 years.  He has claimed that the human race will be unable to survive a population explosion and 'unbridled consumption.’


Sir Martin Rees: Our Final Hour is a 2003 book by the British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees. The full title of the book is Our Final Hour: A Scientist's Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future In This Century - On Earth and Beyond. It was published in the United Kingdom under the less dramatic title Our Final Century: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century?.


... and...

In 1992, the, Union of Concerned Scientists’, Warning to Humanity, which called for "fundamental change" to address a range of security and environmental issues. The document was signed by 1700 scientists, including a majority of de Nobel prize winners in sciences


“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.”

World Scientists' Warning to Humanity (1992) [g]


MIT scientists predict economic collapse about 2030


Welcome To The Anthropocene

A 3-minute journey through the last 250 years of our history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the Rio+20 Summit. The film charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes.
The film was commissioned by the Planet Under Pressure conference, London 26-29 March, a major international conference focusing on solutions.



To explain complex ideas in simple terms.  See Wiki


Silo Effect

The silo effect is the result of specialization.  It limits our scope and resourcefulness.  Accourding to a recent study, this started with the beginning of the agricultural era.


a phrase that is currently popular in the business and organizational communities to describe a lack of communication and common goals between departments in an organization. It is the opposite of systems thinking in an organization. The silo effect gets its name from the farm silo.

-Universities can be considered as silos of learning. 

-NGOs generally attempt to bring change on one or two silo issues. 

-But the human predicament is a multi subject issue.

What is needed is a multi disciplinary approach.



An inherent human characteristic, a part of our biological nature.  It may makes us feel in commune with nature.  Some religions associate spirituality with their deity.



When dealing with a specific issue, ideas among the public will be spread out, and a vote, or even consensus over time, may not choose the most accurate or reasonable solution.

Deliberations about Structured Dialogic Design, Systems Thinking,

- by Heiner Benking and Alexander Christakis



“...  of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged”.   Websters



When a group of separate components are formed into a functioning system, the usefulness of the total enterprise is greater than the sum of the individual parts.  This value gain, or total usefulness is call synergy.   As an adjective it becomes synergetic.

See dynamics above.


System Types

... see dynamic

Hard Systems are systems human create like engines, temperature controlled heading systems, cars, television, etc.

Soft Systems are human made systems to achieve a result over time, such as governments, quality assurance systems, etc.

Gaian systems are natural systems such as plants, animals, or mother nature.

Energy flow is essential to all systems, and they have many other common attributes.  See Dynamics in Background Reading section


Tombstone  Debt

After Paradigm Change (APC) the tombstone debt is the amount of money (Gaia$) in circulation needed to supports the Human Activity (HA) that is in excess of a sustainable level.  This debt is distributed among all of the Regions of the world, in proportion to that Region’s measured excess HA.  It will be paid off when sustainability levels of HA are reached. i.e., 3D-Optimum



The group of three primary subject areas, Gaia, Human Nature and AbRealities (Abstract Realities - human created institutes).



    of the tools

When humans become enslaved by AbRealites. See 2a: Triad Human Nature.



UR-Governance Design Team.  Members of a cyber effort to document the foundational framework for a sustainable civilization.



In GDP context wealth equates to human happiness.  Human happiness consists of health and general well-being.  This cannot be achieved without a robust and naturally renewing Gaian system.

This view of wealth is vastly different from today’s common usage that  refers to accumulation of fiat money. 


Wealth Factors


Wealth factors are items measured in each Region to assess its overall wealth.   Details in 4e: Envisioning E Dynamic Flows. 


Wicked Problems

The label Wicked Problems is given to cross-disciplinary issues because of the apparent impossibility of solving them within the current socio-political and economic paradigm.

[wicki] "Wicked problem" is a phrase originally used in social planning to describe a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.”


Wicked Problems

Structuring Social Messes with Morphological Analysis

“If you work in an organisation that deals with long-term social, commercial or organisational policy planning, then you've got wicked problems. You may not call them by this name, but you know what they are. They are those complex, ever changing societal and organisational planning problems that you haven't been able to treat with much success, because they won't keep still. They're messy, devious, and reactive, i.e. they fight back when you try to deal them.”


Wicked problems used in discussing fragility of civilization




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