Notes on Designing Aperspectivital Containers

This piece is an interesting permaculture/regenerative take on the 1969 Eames “Design Diagram.” I was initially struck by how it resembles the Calabi-Yau manifold I often use to illustrate the relational wholeness of Jean Gebser’s consciousness structures (archaic through integral).

Many of us in the Mutations community are, in some way, working with design. We’re artists, working in education or designing educational containers, writing (fiction, non-fiction or otherwise), and facilitating our own communities. So perhaps this exercise will be useful.

Charles and Ray Eames, “Design Diagram,” 1969.

The Eames diagram writes,

“1. if this area represents the interest and concern of the design office

2. and this the area of genuine interest to the client

3. and this the concerns of society as a whole

4. then it is in this area of overlapping interest and concern that the designer can work with conviction and enthusiasm.

NOTE: these areas are not static – they grow and develop – as each one influences the others. 

NOTE: putting more than one client in the model builds the relationship – in a positive and constructive way – “

The author of the blog takes the Eames diagram and reworks it, ever so subtly, into questions of biomimicry and regenerative design. There’s nothing too substantive in the piece, admittedly, but it’s a good start.

For instance, what if we playfully applied the Eames design process as a framework for what we do here with the Mutations learning community?

  1. Would be, if anything — and since we are not an aperspectival design school (this, however, sounds absolutely exciting!) — a mutual learning container for the realization of the primary themes of integral-aperspectivity (a. working with time, b. the supersession of Cartesian dualisms, and c. crystallizations of transparency and wholeness) according to our unique individual gifts, capacities, collective presencing and creativity.
    • We recognize that the underlying “integral world” we are already participating in is manifoldly expressed in and through art, poetry, science, architecture, and transdisciplinary forms of scholarship, as well as gardening, music, creativity, and individual/community flourishing (in other words, a pluralistic kulturphilosophie as a methodology and senseful practices as a relational way of being and becoming in the world).
    • As a “platform” within a media ecology, this mutual learning container’s role is very often pedagogical, aesthetic, and relational with other similar communities, offering an “audience” outside our container with the catalyzing fruits of our creative process. But this leads us importantly to,
  2. Communities we design for and their contextual interests/challenges. In other words, what are the unique pathologies of this mutational, interim period? What are the conditions and how might we
    • ameliorate the abstractive, atomizing conditions of the mental-rational crisis and address regenerative, remedial solutions through
    • modes of ‘senseful awaring,’ to intensify and empower these communities of mutual interest?
  3. All this done in relationship not merely with “society as a whole” (Eames) but extending that to the planetary and non-human context: the relational whole in which we participate, the more-than-human commons 1, and the mutational context which we find ourselves in — transitioning back “down” to the concrete (bioregional, place-based, magic-mythic structures), re-integration of the earlier structures of consciousness, and learning to become pluralistic planetary cultures. How might we transition from mental-rational collapse (crash) to an integral, regenerative “soft” falling? How can our containers and communities of practice contribute to this soft-falling, and what would that look like as a question of designing these containers? 2
  4. Wherever we find ourselves in this process — our cultural, temporal, historical, generational situatedness — is certainly where we find enthusiasm for our work and vocation!

This is just an initial, creative take on what we are, may be, and will have been doing here together.


  1. Andreas Weber, “Sharing Life: The Ecopolitics of Reciprocity.
  2. I look forward to sharing my conversation with Dare Sohei on Gebser and integral studies; Dare offers a brilliant metaphor from dance in that it would be helpful to frame this process of coming “down to Earth” with the body. Collectively, we are in a process of falling, but good dancers and martial artists know how to fall, roll, and absorb such shocks. Something like this falling is reflected in our civilizational and species-wide crisis. Modernist rockets have run out of fuel, and the principle of enantiodromia is in effect (a thing becoming its opposite). Reversals are occurring. And so, here is to soft landings.

Leave a Reply