Outcomes, Throughcomes, Roundcomes

Hamish Lindop
3 min readMar 17, 2024

I was in a session recently looking at health and well being outcomes of something. And suddenly it occurred to me. I’ve read books recently like The Future Eaters and The Dawn of Everything which help me think about human development in some of the broadest possible sweeps, across thousands of years (both of them great reads to get a much wider context on the development of society, colonisation, biological and social evolution, etc). What I notice is if you place “community development” (a few decades of history), or within that “participatory community innovation” (a few years), these movements are a couple of seconds, or the blink of an eye, respectively, in the long story.

We humans have been “tutu”ing (Māori for tinkering, experimenting, playing) and evolving our social forms for such a long time. Every time we change something, or play with, or fully implement, a new system, a new form, a new story, etc. it comes with different benefits, costs, traumas, etc. So then we try something else, we keep iterating, we’ve been iterating this whole time. Even before we were humans nature was iterating us.

So, in this context, it helps me notice how the concept of outcomes seems a little bit short termist. Impact is another one that’s around a lot, similarly short termist (that one sounds dangerous too; impacts have traditionally been something you want to avoid, like a bombshell dropping! I’m real careful with when disruption is actually a good idea too nowadays). It implies that there is a happily ever after, and it involves a project mentality; finish the project, fix the problem, and reap the benefits. But the boundaries of any project are imaginary and artificial. Everything is part of the stream. Every point we gets to points to the next points to get to. So I was in this session, and I said it outloud “there’s no such thing as outcomes is there?” So what else could there be? What about throughcomes? changes which are “good” or “bad”, (depending on who’s looking and what their stake is), but there is no end point.

And to take it even further, into a slightly more subjective space, in my spiritual practice and exploration I’m finding that death seems to be no end, it is transformation. And maybe that consciousness creates matter as much as matter creates consciousness. Or maybe matter=energy.conciousness squared; maybe matter is consciousness; they’ve done studies that indicate electrons have a very rudimentary consciousness, that they make “choices” in some way thats akin to our own more complex consciousness. And so, if we continue, on and on, through death, into further forms, always into further forms, maybe we go back around. In which case would it be useful to talk about roundcomes? This one’s right at the edge of my understanding, I’m more just jamming an intuition on what I might believe in the future.

What do you think about it all? Where are you at with this stuff?

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Hamish Lindop

Sharing insights from community building and social innovation, and reflections on ways of (well) being