Evening Presentations

Community and the Social Nervous System

This 90min presentation is pitched at folk who already have some experience with community. You already know about consensus, about I statements and all that. It introduces a reasonably new framework for understanding community as a collection of nervous systems interacting using a mix of evolutionary modern and ancient interaction strategies.

So, people ask, why collaboration? Well, if we consider the state of the world, and a pressing need for change, then one possible answer is that change requires collaboration, and collaboration in turn requires connection.

Lets call this 'Theory C'. But what happens when people actually do come together and try to collaborate (and of necessity to interact), and friction comes up? What now? That friction could be seen as our calling to learn to work together, and to understand the nature of the barriers between us. And, that the capacity building of each of us is an obvious building block to any real movement of change.

This simple model is one that activists and change-makers can make sense of, but it only gets us so far. If we were to go deeper into this, we might look at the neurobiological evidence that we as humans actually need connection for its own sake. Its part of the wiring of our mammalian DNA, and yet over the so called "century of the self" we seem to have forgotten this.

The question that this presentation tackles is what might a framework look like, that helps us navigate the needs of the individual, AND the need to connect, AND, in bigger terms our need to consciously engage with the process of our own evolution. This 90min presentation offers a crash course in what Polyvagal Theory is, and how it can help us better navigate the path between our need for safety in groups, and our need to actually collaborate. There is some material about the art of relationships, some neuroscience, and a couple of experiential exercises.

Ecovillages - Another way of life is possible

Sieben Linden is a large ecovillage west of Berlin.


This is an inspiring slideshow of some of the amazing ecovillages projects happening right now in Europe. Peter and Sibylle share pictures and learnings from their recent visits to European ecovillages, as well as some from home grown projects such as Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, of which Peter was an early member. And as a native of Germany, Sibylle has detailed insight into what makes the German projects tick.

These projects are especially inspirational because large groups of people are managing to collaborate to build not only houses, and commercial scale gardens, but also businesses, outreach programs, and all around dreaming up and developing quite sophisticated self reliant, resilient, and sustainable settlements. Like nothing we have in NZ right now. At least not yet. We invite you to come along to this presentation (there is no charge), and for an hour or two, dream of another life, together.

collage collage


Whangarei, NZ
E- info@thebighouseprojectblablabla.nz
T- 021 0243 9081

© The Big House Project 2022

Photos: Pixabay, and The Zegg Ecovillage, used with permission. Line drawings: Shutterstock used with permission. Your email address will be used with care for the sole purpose of The Big House outreach.