Craft at work: weaving. Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

What holds communities together across generational flow?

How does craft generate meaning?

How can places become homes?

This blog post is an inquiry into the ideas presented in Sophia Maravell’s 2015 thesis as part of her Masters of the Arts in the Education School of Goddard College.

For her research, she spent about three weeks each in four different land-based craft communities:

I grew up in a land-based craft community of sorts. My parents settled in North Central Massachusetts in the late 1980s along with more than…


Myth and Meaning in “A Branch from the Lightning Tree”

I’ve been skirting around the work of Martin Shaw for many years now. While reading this book, I was also rereading Bill Poltkin’s Nature and the Human Soul — a different way of engaging some of the same inquiries. They both deal with the descent into soul and the return to community. Shaw sums this up as the “red, black, white” process, which might be summed up as passion, moving into darkness, maturing into integration. …


A Review of “The Ghost in the Shell” Manga

Somewhere around the age of fourteen, I saw The Matrix for the first time. I grew up in a household informed by the spiritual teachings of Gurdjieff and J. G. Bennett, so the core themes around consciousness and awakening were both familiar and intriguing.

A few years later my cousin-in-law was getting rid of some of his old anime VHS tapes, and I learned about The Ghost in the Shell—one of the primary influences for The Matrix. During this era I saw the anime film. Only this year did my friend lend me her copy of the original manga.

A Future Receding

The…


Building a Wood-Fired Barrel Sauna

For the past decade, I’ve been in love with extreme heat and extreme cold in combination. Some of my friends over the years have had wood-fired saunas that I would use in the winter, followed by rolling in the snow. I’ve also experimented with similar traditions: steam rooms, sweat lodges, hot springs in Iceland (followed by swimming in the 28º F ocean), and submerging myself in high-mountain streams. I find the effects extremely therapeutic.

In recent years, I’ve been a regular at the Sirius’ sauna (a nearby eco-village). …


Somatic Economics

Photo by Maryna Yazbeck on Unsplash

Plasticity

In his 2018 text, How to Change Your Mind, journalist Michael Pollan describes the plasticity of the quality of experience psychedelics can offer in different contexts:

The difference between these two experiences of the same drug [psilocybin mushrooms] demonstrated something important, and special, about psychedelics: the critical influence of “set” and “setting.” Set is the mind-set or expectation one brings to the experience, and setting is the environment in which it takes place. Compared with other drugs, psychedelics seldom affect people in the same way twice, because they tend to magnify whatever’s already going on both inside and outside one’s…


Looking back on three years of building a regenerative future

After three years with the Regen Network team, co-founder Will Szal is stepping back from a day-to-day role in the company. He will continue to serve Regen Network’s mission as President of the Board of Regen Network Development, Inc., and President of the Board of Regen Foundation.

During this transition in roles, he has taken a moment to reflect on the road Regen Network has traveled thus far.

Humus

Co-founders Gregory Landua and Christian Shearer surveying the site at what has become Walkers Institute for Regenerative Research, Education, and Design in March 2015

My passion for the past decade has been at the intersection of alternative economics and regenerative agriculture—two of the foundational domains of Regen Network.

I met my co-founder Gregory Landua on the…


By Will Szal
With the Regenerative Economy Collaborative

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Monetary theory, the study of money, is a key aspect of economics. It enables economists to analyze money and consider its function. As an economic theory, the technical literature on the subject generally concerns itself with traditional economic indicators: jobs, inflation, etc. However, these sometimes fail to adequately address the primary purpose of economics: people.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a specific branch of monetary theory that evolved as a result of a century-old inquiry into chartalism, functional finance, and the medium-of-exchange nature of money. It is characterized by a view that…


Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

V. Jobbing to Vocation

While systems of oversight operate at a macro-economic level, their influence is felt in multiple micro-economic ways with regard to the lives of people and their work. Although the term work can be used to describe both a job and a vocation, the latter implies meaning while the former only requires livelihood.

As currently configured, the economy assumes that provisioning occurs through jobbing. In other words, if you don’t have a job, you won’t be able to provide for yourself or your family. This arrangement overlooks the facet of livelihood associated with meaning; even if you have the good fortune…


Tracking the threads across three book reviews documenting the nascent regional textile economy

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Introduction: A Regional Textile Renaissance

In 2010, I joined the Slow Money community — a movement focused on moving investment money into local food systems. Not long after, I asked the founder, Woody Tasch, “what about all the other aspects of a local economy; will Slow Money someday expand beyond food?” Tasch responded in the affirmative—that food systems are the place to start, but that of course local economies need more than just food.

Ten years later, the nascent regional textile manufacturing movement is surging, and a crop of authors have been championing this development.

What can we learn from this, and what does it…

Will Szal

Regenerative agriculture, alternative economics, gift culture, friendship.

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