This posting is a piece I developed in conjunction with Lynn Hoffman and Lars Meyer. It is our attempt to prepare what we call a "manifesto" about the "rhizome way". It will be available soon as part of a new website (which is not fully functional at this time): www.rhizomeway.com.
The idea of the Rhizome Way originated with the work of family therapists Christopher Kinman and Lynn Hoffman. As opposed to the “system,” which was a founding metaphor of family therapy, the rhizome is a botanical metaphor allied to life and growth. It offers a triad of images that reveal new understandings of community, business, governance, helping and art.
One of these images is Rhizome – an underground root system or lateral network of branches, tendrils and nodes. The idea of Rhizome connects us to life-giving relationships, community-enhancing values, and vast resources of creativity. It is a key metaphor of the work of French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In addition, Rhizome mirrors and prefigures the defining invention of our day, which is the Internet.
The second image is the Gift Exchange, which affirms that each member of the rhizome has unique gifts or items of value that are offered to the rhizome collective. Gift language invites us into processes which build and create rather than tear down. Both Rhizome and Gift Exchange call for a third image: the Territory of the Alive.
Territories of the Alive
The “Alive” of life does not occur within the boundaries of a single journey or even a shared one. Instead, it emerges at junctions, at confluences, and at crossroads. These intersections are where people’s lives collide, meet and touch; where the Other or Others are encountered, and where serendipitous and unexpected shifts take place. Sometimes in these shifts, the animate touches the inanimate in such a way that both elements become more alive.
The Rhizome Way weaves all these strands together in the service of an unstoppable tide of invention, renewal and hope.