Metapatterns: The Pattern Underground

The Pattern Underground is a working title for an organizational initiative focused on transdisciplinary and transcontextual research, theoretical development, and exploration of ubiquitous functional and/or meaningful patterns. These types of patterns have been referred to as metapatterns - a termed coined by Gregory Bateson (in Mind and Nature) and further popularized by Tyler Volk (in Metapatterns: Across Space, Time, and Mind). However, a number of other scholars and authors have explored such patterns from varying perspectives, such as the following:

  • Phillip Ball — (2009). Shapes. Nature's patterns: A tapestry in three parts. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Phillip Ball — (2009). Flow. Nature's patterns: A tapestry in three parts. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Phillip Ball — (2009). Branches. Nature's patterns: A tapestry in three parts. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Mary Catherine Bateson — (1994). Peripheral visions: Learning along the way. New York: Harper Collins.
  • Adrian Began & J. Peder Zane — (2012). Design in nature: How the construct law governs evolution biology, physics, technology, and social organization. New York: Anchor Books.
  • Fernand Braudel(Reynolds, S. [Trans.]). (1979). The structures of everyday life: The limits of the possible. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Mark Buchanan — (2002). Nexus: Small worlds and the groundbreaking science of networks. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  • James Burke — most of his work
  • L. Andrew Coward — (1990). Pattern thinking. New York: Praeger.
  • R. Buckminster Fuller — (1982). Synergetics: Explorations in the geometry of thinking. New York: Macmillan.
  • Douglas Hofstadter — most of his work
  • John Holland — (1995). Hidden order: How adaptation builds complexity. Cambridge, MA: Helix/Perseus Books.
  • George Lakoff & Mark Johnson — work with metaphors, etc.
  • Steven Johnson — (2001). Emergence: The connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software. New York: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster.
  • Jay Kappraff — (1991). Connections: The geometric bridge between art and science. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Scott Kelso & David Engstrøm — (2006). The complementary nature. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Peter Stevens — (1974). Patterns in nature. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press Book/Little Brown and Company.
  • D'Arcy Thompson — (1961) On Growth and Form
  • Ken Wilbur — most of his work

Our early planning has delineated several organizational characteristics and dimensions we to develop. These characteristics and dimensions are outline below.


Transdisciplinary membership — with people from the natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, education, architecture, computing and engineering, and others

Rigor and creativity emphasis

Focus on developing pattern thinking and the development of a science of metapatterns

Organizational Dimensions:

A relatively small group of interested people supporting a focused organization.

An online peer-reviewed journal.

A website for:

sharing works–in–progress,

sharing creative products,

discussing issues and other points of interest,

promoting pattern thinking and a science of metapatterns

Other possibilities:

A periodic (annual?) conference

If you are interested in joining in this effort, please contact me.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License