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29 May 2019 | Draft

Enrolling Winnie-the-Pooh's Companions in Climate Change Discourse

Key roles in the environmental psychodrama of Hundred Acre Wood

-- / --

Dramatis personae of the climate change psychodrama
Fabulous traditions of managing psychosocial change
Pathology of Hundred Acre Wood
Character strengths in Hundred Acre Wood
Systemic roles in Hundred Acre Wood
Enneagram roles and connectivity in Hundred Acre Wood
9-fold Political grouping within the European Parliament as a "Hundred Acre Wood"?
Psychodynamics among the "animal spirits" of Hundred Acre Wood?

Produced in commemoration of the recent destruction of the Hundred Acre Wood -- and in anticipation of further environmental challenges


Despite its widely acclaimed urgency, the debate on climate change could well be said to be a shambles. Different groups take radically opposed positions and advocate radically different agendas, with seemingly little prospect of fruitful reconciliation. Separately it is argued that those claiming the greatest expertise are effectively "in denial" -- despite their claim that those failing to appreciate their insights are themselves "in denial" (Are Environmentalists and Climate Scientists in Denial? 2019). There it is suggested that there is a strong case for a psychosocial perspective to review the tendency to "care fatigue" in relation to environmental claims and the "psychic numbing" of associated humanitarian appeals.

The following exercise endeavours to draw upon widespread insights underlying popular enthusiasm for Winnie-the-Pooh and his familiar companions, as described in a series of books (A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, 1926) and subsequently in a Disney film (Winnie-the-Pooh, 2011). This is consistent with an approach advocated by Volker Patent (Reading news about animals as modern-day fables alerts us to human beings' vulnerability to climate change, The Open University, 18 February 2019). Patent argues for restorying news of animals in the context of climate change in order to derive moral lessons about sustainable futures. The exercise here builds on the argument initially developed by Nik Darlington (Winnie the Pooh can Teach the Government A Thing or Two About Environmental Planning, The Huffington Post, 14 July 2011).

A number of studies of relevance are reviewed in a later section in the light of a variety of efforts to elicit governance insights from animal fables. These include: insights from the Winnie-the-Pooh series in the management literature; comparisons with 9-fold team role characteristics; correspondences with the enneagram 9-fold pattern of roles; and analysis by neuropsychologists of the characters inhabiting the Hundred Acre Wood of the tales. The implications of the argument have also been considered with respect to the 9 political groups in the European Parliament, since they are faced with the need to address climate-related issues -- in a political ecosystem, a "Hundred Acre Wood", namely one subject to global warming metaphorically understood.

The question is whether the familiarity with Winnie-the-Pooh's companions suggests that their traits may variously resonate with roles in the climate change and environmental debates at this time. Is it possible that they may offer a coherently memorable sense of a systemic perspective on the psychodrama in which people are variously embedded -- a perspective which otherwise appears to be completely lacking?

Whilst speculatively playful, the following exploration is intended as a means of inviting reflection on how the different factions in the climate change debate play off against each other -- each with their merits and limitations. No serious effort is made here to reconcile the nine characters with the Belbin team roles or the enneagram -- however suggestive they may be. The proposal is that the characters in the series are indicative of dynamics in the environmental psychodrama -- possibly meriting further reflection. Extensive description of each character is available from Wikipedia, where each is separately profiled.

The immediate purpose in what follows is to clarify in systemic terms the main roles (which are otherwise so widely appreciated), together with the psychological disorders from which they may variously suffer (if that is in any way relevant). Only a preliminary indication is given of the factions and exemplars of environmental discourse whom they may effectively caricature. A subsequent section considers how their dynamics in the Hundred Acre Wood may enlighten understanding of the responses to the issues of climate change.

The politics of climate change are one feature of the dynamics between political parties -- readily described as dysfunctionally divisive and marked by mutual deprecation. Mutual accusations of stupidity, irresponsibility and irrelevance are matched by variously manifested expressions of dismissal even hatred and demonisation. Since Winnie-the-Pooh's companions are widely recognized as functioning together reasonably amicably and symbiotically -- even delightfully so -- a larger purpose is to discover whether the typical array of political parties can be reframed in that light, beyond the specific focus on climate change.

Dramatis personae of the climate change psychodrama

Challenge of attribution: The indications below are best understood as suggestive, inviting reflection. How might factions and exemplars of environmental discourse be fruitfully associated with fictional animals -- as with the traditional use of totems, or possibly the use of mascots by sporting teams? There are several considerations:

Further clues are offered by the arguments of Edward de Bono (Six Thinking Hats, 1987; Six Action Shoes, 1991). In any discourse, he argues for donning and doffing cognitive hats (or shoes) according to the challenges of the theme and the dynamics of the process.

Winnie-the-Pooh: As the cuddly, loveable, fun-loving teddy bear -- "with very little brain" -- this role could be readily associated with the ideal self-image of the average person, especially a country dweller. Although framed as humbly naive and slow-witted, these are qualities to which he freely admits and with which he is comfortable. He is above all preoccupied with consumption (whether doing so, talking about it, or anticipating), preferably of things sweet, and most notably honey -- whose acquisition evokes a degree of relatively innocent cunning. Obviously susceptible to overeating, he tends to eat even when not hungry.

Christopher Robin: As the only "normal" human character in the stories, he has a "cheerful" and compassionate personality -- and is someone to whom Pooh and the others look up as a natural leader, if somewhat bossy. He socializes with the animals. Despite his childish nature, he is much wiser and more mature than many of Pooh Bears other companions. Pooh considers both Christopher Robin and Piglet to be his best friends.

Piglet: Uncomfortable in most situations, constantly expressing his worries and anticipative of problematic outcomes. Although timorous and small, gentle and shy, he is Pooh's best friend -- other than Christopher Robin. He only takes initiative in response to crisis when inspired by Pooh Bear -- overcoming his innate fear in the process.

Eeyore: Characterized as ever-gloomy, sarcastic and pessimistic -- always upset, although accepting of his condition -- with continuing difficulty in keeping his tail attached. He is more cautious than Pooh's other companions, often reluctant to go along with their actions. Self-deprecating and characterized by low-self-esteem -- evoking a degree of empathy -- he typically considers it futile to oppose the initiatives of others. With his bleak outlook on life, he manifests his lack of interest in the pleasures of daily life and a lack of energy to engage in them.

Kanga: The only female character in the set of roles, Kanga is kind-hearted, calm, patient and docile -- loyal to family and friends, but emotionally vulnerable. She likes to keep things clean and organized, and offers motherly advice and food to anyone who asks. As a mother, she is protective over Roo, almost obsessively, and treats him with kind words and gentle discipline. She also has a sense of humor.

Roo: Son of Kanga, Roo is a very small animal, the smallest in the tales -- but cheerful, playful and energetic.

Rabbit: He fancies himself the smartest animal in the Hundred Acre Wood, since he is not scatterbrained like Owl. He is a good friend, yet capable of being impatient and irritable, sometimes losing his temper. He insists on doing things his own way and is compulsively obsessed with rules, planning and keeping everything organized -- often bossing others around. Deep down, he cares a lot about his friends. He's very protective and often harsh, especially to Tigger, when things don't turn out perfectly .

Tigger: A good friend of Pooh. Inherently exuberant, outgoing, happy, less-than-responsible and sometimes a troublemaker -- bouncing around, and especially on others. Lovable and energetic, he likes to have fun and is easily distracted -- switching from topic to topic, being inherently unable to focus. Tigger is so overconfident that he thinks that any task is "what tiggers do best".

Owl: Has a superior but kindly manner towards the others. Believed by himself and most of his friends to be the most intelligent in the wood -- he presents himself as a mentor and source of wisdom. However he is really quite scatterbrained, confused and disoriented, with a tendency to misread, if not to mis-speak. He may bluff in order to disguise his ignorance. He is stuffy and talkative, often rambling on in long-winded speeches, using words that his friends do not understand -- which tends to result in him being annoyed, especially when they interrupt.

Attributions to specifically named people or organizations are of course potentially highly controversial, as indicated by the banning of Winnie-the-Pooh in China (Christopher Robin banned in China, in ongoing war on Winnie-the-Pooh, The Telegraph, 3 August 2018). This followed a spate of online posts comparing the "bear of very little brain" to the country's president Xi Jinping. In exploring such attributions with respect to environment/climate discourse, could this lead to the banning of Winnie-the-Pooh in the USA -- if Donald Trump was similarly compared to Winnie-the-Pooh -- given his current importance in the debate? Would this be avoided if he were compared to Christopher Robin in those tales?

Who is the deal-maker and breaker in the Winnie-the-Pooh tales?

More relevant to this argument, as indicated above and discussed below, is the sense in which everyone takes on one of the functional roles identified in the tales -- for some of the time, and to some degree -- before being identifiable with other roles as evoked by circumstances. In systemic terms, any other functional role may not be viable -- except as variants or sub-types of those caricatured in the Winnie-the-Pooh tales.

Fabulous traditions of managing psychosocial change

It is appropriate to see the set of Winnie-the-Pooh tales as a modern variant of other sets of tales and fables which have been valued down the centuries and in many cultures. Much-valued examples of complex sets of tales include the following, a number of which have been mined for management insights:

This is also the case with Winnie-the-Pooh:

As a feature of the emerging discipline of narratology, consideration has been given by Sandford Borins to the process whereby insight is derived from such fables (Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives. IAP, 2011). The author notes:

There is an extensive and growing literature on "management and narrative". Little of it, however, discusses how to create and communicate effective narrat. Most of it deals with how to use narratives to communicate other management concepts and skills. This literature encompasses a variety of forms, including presumptive guides for using extracts or "dips" for teaching purposes, articles espousing the research and pedagogical benefits or narratives, books or so-called lessons for managers drawn from an analysis of narrative sources as disparate as Shakespeare and Winnie the Pooh, as well as studies of the fictional depiction of public servants, politicians, and other public sector agents and organizations across a variety of forms novels, dramas, films, and television....

The point I would make here is that, with notable exceptions, all these studies tend to suffer from at least three significant limitations. There is a general lack of any rigorous, or even systematic, selection criteria to justify the choice or narratives analyzed. And this initial omission is compounded by an equal lack of a clearly defined analytic methodology capable of addressing issues of narrative form as well as content. Failing to address issues of narrative form, this literature provides no insight into what makes the narrative it studies effective and, therefore, how practitioners could create persuasive narratives of their own. The result, especially in the lessons' literature. too often amounts to little more than a superficial framing of characters and actions in the service of a random assortment of self'-evident "insights". (pp. 6-7)

How indeed to learn from the complementary tales in each such set of fables? Aspects of the challenge are discussed separately (Proportionate Response in the Eye of the Beholder: educational fables for faith-based global governance, 2006; Life-skill Learning from Animal Shareholders and Collaborators: cognitive opportunity for engaging radically with a complex world in crisis, 2014). The latter considers the following themes:

Clues to cognitive possibilities of "being an animal"
Varieties of animal behaviour of potential strategic value to humans
Implication of embodiment of the human mind in movement
Implications of animal-inspired proprioception and knowledge management?
Navigating the dynamics of information fluidity
Enacting a cognitive array of systemic functions

Existential choice and feasibility: freedom to be otherwise
Transcending genocidal objectification
Enabling imaginative possibilities

The humour triggered by many fables, and notably Winnie-the-Pooh, should trigger greater attention to this dimension with respect to the environment (Humour and Play-Fullness: essential integrative processes in governance, religion and transdisciplinarity, 2005; Humour and International Challenges: augmenting problem and strategy comprehension through psycho-cultural catalysts, 1998; V. S. M. de Guinzbourg (Ed.). Wit and Wisdom of the United Nations: proverbs and apothegms on diplomacy. Paroemiological Society, 1961).

Pathology of Hundred Acre Wood

It is appropriate to note that the characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh series have been "diagnosed" by a team of neuropsycholpoists as suffering from various psychological disorders. This study has been widely cited in a variety of web documents (Winnie the Pooh Characters Psychological Disorders, Flow Psychology; What Psychological Disorders Do the Winnie the Pooh Characters Have? (Reference); The Deeper Meaning Behind Winnie The Pooh; Winnie The Pooh Characters Represent Mental Illness; Winnie the Pooh: each character represents a different mental disorder, FanWiki; The Disorders of Characters in Winnie the Pooh, Winniepedia)

The original study from which these comments derived appears in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article (following "exhaustive" research) by Sarah E. Shea, Kevin Gordon, Ann Hawkins, Janet Kawchuk, and Donna Smith (Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A. A. Milne, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 163, 2000, 12, pp. 1557-1559). Given its leadership role with respect to environmental issues, wroth noting is a particular Canadian historical connection between Pooh Bear and Winnipeg (The real-life Canadian story of Winnie-the-Pooh, CBC Kids). Appropriate references are made to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1994) of the American Psychiatric Association, which (as "DSM-IV") was current at the time of the study.

Beyond the many references to the Canadian study, the conclusions of the latter have been recently reviewed in a thesis for Ball State University by Rachel Smith (Winnie the Pooh Characters and Psychological Disorders, 2015). This clarifies the results of the earlier study to a degree -- endeavouring to remedy its inadequacies -- most notably offering greater detail in the light of the relevant criteria in the updated DSM-V (2013). In a comprehensive table, Smith supplements the earlier analysis on points it had omitted or glossed over. The table details the relevant DSM-V criteria, matching them against the observed behaviour of each character in Winnie-the-Pooh.

Rather than confuse the presentation above, the diagnostic conclusions are presented separately below, enhanced by the comments of Smith where appropriate. An indication is also included to the enneagram role attributions, as discussed subsequently:

However it may be deprecated, such diagnosis is consistent with the current enthusiasm for the analysis of the mental condition of the leader of the world's greatest superpower -- a person with a particularly problematic view of climate change and environmental challenges (Shrinks Battle Over Diagnosing Donald Trump, Psychology Today, 31 January 2017; Mental Health Professionals Warn About Trump, The New York Times, 13 February 2017; Marie Rudden and Stephanie Brandt, Donald Trump as Leader: psychoanalytic perspectives, Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 15, 2018, 1; Jeffrey D. Sachs and Bandy X. Lee, Trump's Psychopathology Is Getting Worse, Project Syndicate, 3 July 2018).

To the extent that Christopher Robin is indeed understood to suffer from "multiple personality disorder", a remarkably detailed review from that perspective is offered by David J. A. Clines (New Directions in Pooh Studies: Überlieferungs- und religionsgeschichtliche Studien zum Pu-Buch. JSOTSupp 293, Sheffield Academic Press, 1998) -- of a style which would be appreciated by Umberto Eco.

This would tend to confirm one of the possible attributions of Donald Trump in the Winnie-the-Pooh psychodrama of Hundred Acre Wood (Donald Trump Diagnosed With Multiple Personality Disorder, 16 May 2016; Does Donald Trump have Multiple Personality Disorder? AboveTopSecret, 2016; Nathaniel Helms, Trump's multiple personality disorder is gonna get us killed, The Shinebone Star, 15 November 2017). But is such a "disorder" in fact one of the fundamental skills of any leader, or would be leader?

Of some relevance is the sense in which another set of tales has been extensively explored in terms of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Ruwan M Jayatunge, The Buddhist Jataka Stories and the DSM based Mental Disorders, LankaWeb, 28 September 2014).

Character strengths in Hundred Acre Wood

Such strengths are the basis for a well-known theory in positive psychology as a consequence of the work Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman (Character Strengths and Virtues: a handbook and classification, Oxford University Press, 2004). This is intended to provide a theoretical framework to assist in developing practical applications for positive psychology -- as a complement to the pathological insights offered by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

An extensive study to determine those strengths evident in the characters of the Winnie-the-Pooh tales has been made by Lizette Dohmen (A Bear of Very Little Brain: positive psychology themes in the stories of Winnie the Pooh, University of South Africa, 2016). Using content and thematic analyses, the study concluded that the excerpts from the tales indicated that all 24 of the defined character strengths are depicted in the text, but Pooh is the only character to exhibit them all.

Relationship between the characters of Winnie-the-Pooh and 24 character strengths
clustered in terms of 6 virtues
(Table 5.2 of Dohmen, 2016, p. 47)
Relationship between the characters of Winnie-the-Pooh and 24 character strengths (6 virtues)

The samples reviewed yielded examples of all 24 character strengths and virtues. The findings showed that all 24 character strengths -- and therefore all 6 virtues -- were illustrated by at leas five or more examples in the 20 stories under examination. As noted by Dohme, some findings were held to be unexpected and surprising. Several characters exhibited strengths that were not anticipated before; some strengths were not as prominent as first expected, whereas others were more significant. Although only Wiinnie-the-Pooh -- "the bear of very little brain" -- demonstrated all 24 strengths, the remaining 8 characters illustrated a variety of strengths to varying degrees of proficiency, but they are all present in all six virtues.

It is unfortunate that greater effort is not made to reconcile the defined positive attributes with the defined negative attributes (dsorders, pathologies) -- with which they may be particularly associated. Arguably a particular positive attribute may be especially susceptible to a particular negative condition -- and the latter may be significant in engendering the former through a learning process.

From this perspective it is appropriate to note the exploration of value polarities in the Human Values project of the online Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. There a table of 225 such "constructive-destructive" polarities is clustered in a 5x9 matrix. Whether the 9-fold ordering relates in any way to the 9-fold pattern of roles in Winnie-the-Pooh, and whether the 5-fold ordering relates to the 6 virtues of positive psychology, is a matter for further investigation.

Systemic roles in Hundred Acre Wood

: A further clue towards any systemic analysis is why the set of nine main characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh series "work" so effectively and meaningfully together. No extra key roles are called for; none would seem to be superfluous. This coherence has been specifically acknowledged (Robert Wood, How Many Characters Should A Novel Have? Standout Books, 14 January 2014).

It might also be asked, both with respect to the more general argument and with respect to Winnie-the-Pooh, whether nine "works" for reasons indicated in the much-cited study by George Miller (The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: some limits on our capacity for processing information, Psychological Review, 63, 1956, 2). This introduced an understanding of memory chunking capacity.

The set then invites comparison with the set of nine Team Roles identified by Meredith Belbin from the manner in which members of teams interacted during business games run at Henley Management College (Management Teams, 1981). This gave rise to the Belbin Team Inventory (also called the Belbin Self-Perception Inventory), since developed to identify preference for nine Team Roles: Plant, Resource Investigator, Co-ordinator, Shaper, Monitor Evaluator, Teamworker, Implementer, Completer Finisher, and Specialist.

Winnie-the-Pooh and his companions can together be understood to be a kind of "team" in an ecosystemic sense -- as the key inhabitants of the fictional "Hundred Acre Wood". This offers a useful reminder of the forestry context in which the environmental impact of climate change is increasingly evident. Drawing on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a relationship to the office environment has been explored by Bernadette Eichner (Understanding Your Team: Who's Who in Your Hundred Acre Wood, RecruitLoop, 19 October 2014). As argued by Eichner:

Hundred  Acre Wood can be anywhere -- the family home, the local village, the workplace.  Christopher, Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga, Rabbit and Roo are in every office everywhere, and when you get to know them you can more effectively motivate and manage them.

From this perspective, it is somewhat unfortunate that the neuropsychological analysis obscures the nature of the functional roles valuable in any team -- through the emphasis on "mental disorders". An alternative perspective would highlight the particular "order" enabled by what may be too readily described as a "disorder". This argument follows from the sense in which any particular functional differentiation is necessarily a form of disorder with respect to an integrative whole.

Could an extension of the Character Strengths and Virtues classification be envisaged to highlight the variety of psychosocial functions vital to the health of a psychosocial system -- and its engagement with the challenges of the environment (Memetic and Information Diseases in a Knowledge Society: speculations towards the development of cures and preventive measure, 2008).

Enneagram roles and connectivity in Hundred Acre Wood

Of further potential relevance, a degree of comparison has variously been made between the 9 Belbin roles and those of the 9-fold enneagram (Scott Jones, Belbin vs Enneagram, 25 June 2018; Tom Smith, A comparison of Belbin Team Roles and Enneagram profiling tools; Models of Management: Belbin Team Roles, Manage Train Learn).

As might be expected, a degree of comparison has also been explored between Winnie-the-Pooh's companions and the enneagram (Kendra Jernejcic, The Enneagram in the Hundred Acre Wood, 10 September 2018; The Enneagram According to Pooh, The Enneagram in Business, 23 December 2009; The Enneagram as Explained by Winnie-the-Pooh, Reddit, 2018). For Christopher Heuertz, the attributions of roles are: #1 Rabbit, #2 Kanga, #3 Christopher Robin, #4 Eeyore, #5 Owl, #6 Piglet, #7 Tigger, #8 Heffalumps, #9 Winnie the #Pooh (The #Enneagram of #Pooh, Twitter, 4 August 2018)

Suggestions as to how the Winnie-the-Pooh characters might be associated with the enneagram can indeed be noted. None of these appears to take account of the subtlety of that framework (or the questionable dynamics between those who promote its use). One valuable articulation in relation to dialogue is that of A. G. E. Blake (The Intelligent Enneagram, 1996; The Supreme Art of Dialogue, 2009).

Especially intriguing, in the seeming absence of any other initiative showing schematically and systemically the relationship between those in Hundred Acre Wood, are the relationships implied (and extensively studied) between the roles in the enneagram. This would take the following form in the light of the suggestions above. Of particular interest is whether the relationships in the Winnie-the-Pooh tales reflect those associated with the enneagram pattern. This could be explored using the methodologies deployed in some literary and dramatic studies, perhaps including the above mentioned study of Dohmen (2016).

Indicative attribution of Winnie-the-Pooh roles to enneagram
Attribution of roles in Winnie-the-Pooh to an enneagram
Asterisked items indicate minor roles in the tales

It would then follow that these are suggestive of the relationships between the factions and exemplars in environmental discourse, to the extent they are identified in relation to the Winnie-the-Pooh characters. Again it is unfortunate that no effort is made to consider the psychosocial diversity characterized by that debate (B. Evan Blaine and Kimberly J. McClure Brenchley, Understanding the Psychology of Diversity, Sage, 2007).

With respect to interrelating distinctive perspectives, as characterized by climate change discourse, a further possibility of potential relevance is the discovery of management cybernetician Stafford Beer (Beyond Dispute: the invention of team syntegrity, 1994). He noted the manner in which a 3D form of the enneagram was embedded within an icosahedron, as discussed and illustrated separately (Imagining the nature of cognitive "flight" in terms of the enneagram, 2014).

9-fold Political grouping within the European Parliament as a "Hundred Acre Wood"?

In the light of the above discussion, there is considerable irony to the fact that the political grouping of the European Parliament is of 9-fold form (at least prior to the elections in 2019). A degree of analysis of the relationship between the groups has been presented with respect to earlier configurations of the Parliament, as summarized by Wikipedia (Academic studies of the political groups of the European Parliament)

Political groups of the European Parliament Global systemic care for
the "Hundred Acre Wood"
Political groups EU Stance
European People's Party (EPP) Pro-EU Attentively pro-active?
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S-D) Pro-EU Attentively pro-active?
European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Soft Eurosceptic Mildly indifferent?
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Pro-EU Attentively pro-active?
European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL) Soft Eurosceptic Mildly indifferent?
Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA) Pro-EU, Regionalist Attentively pro-active?
Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) Eurosceptic Dangerously indifferent?
Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) Eurosceptic Dangerously indifferent?
Non-Inscrits (NI) ? Incoherent?

Less evident from conventional analyses of voting on issues and alliances (whether implied or explicit, temporary or longer-term), is how these enable systemic insight from a non-partisan systemic perspective. The European Parliament might itself be compared with Hundred Acre Wood, just as the global environmental challenge might also be fruitfully compared with that forest. Rather than the systemically limited insights offered by the third column of the table, there is a case for seeking correspondences with Winnie-the-Pooh and his companions. This could obviously include a sense of team roles, character strengths and potential pathologies -- even if these are focused on the here-and-now preoccupations of many voters, rather the abstractions of a global system and its future.

It is unfortunate that the different commentaries on the nature of that forest, in the light of Winnie-the-Pooh, offer only a "superficial" approach to its biodiversity, with few insights in terms of psychosocial diversity. Perhaps better explored in metaphorical terms, such commentaries include,

In the light of any such appreciation, the recent destruction of Hundred Acre Wood merits reflection as a metaphor of the times (Gareth Davies, Ashdown Forest fire: Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood ablaze, The Telegraph, 29 April 2019; Carol Kuruvilla, The Forest That Inspired Winnie-The-Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood Ravaged By Fire, The Huffington Post, 30 April 2019). Given his heroic potential, and as an overly dedicated consumer, what role is any "Winnie-the-Pooh" then called upon to play (Carly Mallenbaum, Why Winnie the Pooh is the living-in-the-moment hero we need right now, USA Today, 7 August 2018)?

Potentially pertinent is how participants in the environmental psychodrama are then able to see the wood for the trees.

Any such systemic recognition internationally may be enabled or inhibited by the aesthetic connotations of the translations of "Hundred Acre Wood" indicated below

Translations of "Hundred Acre Wood"
(reproduced from Wikipedia)
Translations of Hundred Acre Wood

Psychodynamics among the "animal spirits" of Hundred Acre Wood?

Functional mappings? In the seeming absence of functional mappings in the case of the set of Winnie-the-Pooh tales, what dynamics can be understood as highlighted in each -- rendering complementary the set as a whole. The first book has the following sections (as noted by Wikipedia), raising the question as to how environmental issues might be reframed in such terms:

  1. In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie the Pooh and Some Bees and the Stories Begin: Winnie-the-Pooh is out of honey, so he and Christopher Robin attempt to trick some bees out of theirs, with disastrous results.
  2. In Which Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets into a Tight Place: Pooh visits Rabbit, but eats so much while in Rabbit's house that he gets stuck in Rabbit's door on the way out.
  3. In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle: Pooh and Piglet track increasing numbers of footsteps round and round a spinney of trees.
  4. In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One: Pooh sets out to find Eeyore's missing tail, and notices something interesting about Owl's bell-pull.
  5. In Which Piglet Meets a Heffalump: Piglet and Pooh try to trap a Heffalump, but wind up trapping the wrong sort of creature.
  6. In Which Eeyore has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents: Pooh feels bad that no one has gotten Eeyore anything for his birthday, so he and Piglet try their best to get him presents.
  7. In Which Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest and Piglet has a Bath: Rabbit convinces Pooh and Piglet to try to kidnap newcomer Baby Roo to convince newcomer Kanga to leave the forest
  8. In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole: Christopher Robin and all of the animals in the forest go on a quest to find the North Pole in the Hundred Acre Wood.
  9. In Which Piglet is Entirely Surrounded by Water: Piglet is trapped in his home by a flood, so he sends a message out in a bottle in hope of rescue.
  10. In Which Christopher Robin Gives Pooh a Party and We Say Goodbye: Christopher Robin gives Pooh a party for helping to rescue Piglet during the flood.

Sequels formally agreed include:

Many other books have been variously inspired by the original tale. Of further relevance to the fabulous approach to environmental challenges are the fables produced by a pioneer in the field of operations research, systems thinking and management science (Russell L Ackoff.The Art of Problem Solving: accompanied by Ackoff's Fables,1978; Ackoff's Fables: Irreverent Reflections on Business and Bureaucracy, 1991).

It is appropriate to note that ten animal fables have provided the core theme of a performance art ballet by the New York-based Armitage Gone! Dance Company (Fables on Global Warming, The Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation, 2013; Bree Davies, Karole Armitage's Fables on Global Warming uses dance to talk about climate change, Westword, 2 October 2013).

From economics to environment: Animal spirits is the term used by John Maynard Keynes to describe the instincts, proclivities and emotions that ostensibly influence and guide human behavior (The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936). There is a case for exploring the relevance of that term to discourse regarding the environment.

The term has been discussed further by Robert Shiller (Animal Spirits Depend on Trust, Wall Street Journal, 27 January 2009; George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, Animal Spirits: how human psychology drives the economy, and why it matters for global capitalism, 2009).

Engaging with "Animal Spirits" in the global environment?
Conventional linear image
adapted from the cover of Animal Spirits, 2009,
by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller)
Cyclic image using the BaGua mirror
based on a Swastika dynamic
ordering the "animal spirits" otherwise?
Animation of engaging with "Animal Spirits" in the global economy?  (Linear variant) Animation of engaging with "Animal Spirits" in the global economy? (Cyclic variant)
Reproduced from discussion of Swastika as Dynamic Pattern Underlying Psychosocial Power Processes (2012)


Kathryn Aalto. What We Learn from Rereading Winnie-the-Pooh. Sierra Club, 5 April 2016 [text]

Russell L Ackoff:

Jennifer R. Adams. Using Winnie the Pooh Characters to Illustrate the Transactional Analysis Ego States. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health 4, 2009, 3, pp. 237-248 [abstract]

Paul Leet Aird. Loon Laughter: Ecological Fables and Nature Tales. Fitzhenry and Whiteside [contents]

George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller.  Animal Spirits: how human psychology drives the economy and why it matters for global capitalism. Princeton University Press, 2009. [summary]

Roger E. Allen. Winnie-the-Pooh on Management: in which a Very Important Bear and his friends are introduced to a Very Important Subject. Dutton/Penguin, 1994 [review]

Roger E. Allen and Stephen D. Allen:

Jason Arbaugh-Twitty. Pooh of Walden Pond. The Philomathean, a journal of Bridgewater College, 1996 [text]

American Psychiatric Association:

Stafford Beer:

Meredith Belbin. Management Teams. Routledge, 2017

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