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The Whistlepoints

What is necessary to catalyze widespread social change?

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After Summer ’71, we took the 385 proposals we wrote and related them again to the Social Process Triangles. We discovered that most of the problems in the Economic Process were healed either by the process called Anticipated Needs or by the process in the Political called Bureaucratic Systems. That is, what the economic needed to get itself on the track was very simple: Long­range planning and some way of controlling its immense power.

Five of the Pressure Points appear in the Cultural Triangle, three in the Political and one in the Economic. This relates to our insights about the imbalances in the social processes. The Pressure Points are our map, our wave chart. These nine points are the focal points upon which the New Social Vehicle will be built. The NSV will be built in Inclusive Mythology, creating a story, a new mythology, a way of talking about what it is to be a human being in society. It is being hammered out through Formal Methods, discovering a new form of social responsibility, in people hammering out modes of effective action. It is being built in Community Groupings, where people are coming together to re­do local community, where people are giving new significance to engagement in the local. It is being built in Basic Roles, where people are crying that every human being participate and be engaged in society. The NSV is being built where people are looking for Knowledge Access, giving people the instruments they need to make decisions; it is being built when the Washington Post is exposing or not exposing what is going on in the world. It is being hammered out in Deliberative Systems, where people are inventing new ways of making decisions, of forming consensus, of creating grassroots polity. The New Social Vehicle is being hammered out in Bureaucratic Systems, where people are looking for ways to act effectively in society, where they are breaking through the morass of bureaucracy. It is being built wherever people are doing, planning and daring to anticipate the future. Social Demonstration and the Pressure Points

The 9 Pressurepoints of the New Social Vehicle in the Social Process

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  1. I want to deal with the whole issue of the social avalanche. . . . We came up with the image that we were looking for the place you could stand in a field of snow and blow a whistle to unleash an avalanche. . . . In the midst of resurgence there is a weighty sense of being unable to move. How do you name the sign which will release motion?

We pushed one step farther, however’ and came up with the whistle points. These are the universal dynamics of practical social change. They are the nine isnesses without which society never has and never will be changed. The myth, the action, the order force, the cell force, the guild force and then the four systems: demonstration, interchange, impact and training are these nine whistle points.  THE MOVEMENT AND THE SOCIAL AVALANCHE 



Whistlepoints for Social Change, flyer

Whistlepoints Toward a Practical Transformation 1973

The Profound Function of the Whistlepoints 1973

Whistle Points, The – Toward the Strategic Systems of Movemental Formation, 1980


Jan Sanders The 9 Whistlepoints

THE ULTIMATE most holy form of theory is action.  Not to look on passively while the spark leaps from generation to generation, but to leap and to burn with it!  Action is the widest gate of deliverance.  It alone can answer the questionings of the heart.  Amid the labyrinthine complexities of the mind it finds the shortest route.  No, it does not “find”–it creates ites way, hewing to right and left through resistances of logic and matter.  Nikos Kazantzakis Saviors of God.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.  Margaret Mead


At exactly 0513, the 18th of April, 1906, a cow was standing at 123 degrees 20′ West longitude, 37° 20′ North latitude — somewhere between the main barn and the milking shed on the old Shafter Ranch in California, minding her own business. Suddenly, the earth shook, the skies trembled, and when it was all over, there was nothing showing of the cow above ground but a bit of her tail sticking up.  For the student of change, the Shafter cow is a sort of symbol of our times. She stood quietly enough, thinking such gentle thoughts as cows are likely to have, while huge forces outside her ken built up all around her and ­within a minute — discharged it all at once in a great movement that changed the configuration of the earth, and destroyed a city, and swallowed her up. And that’s what we are going to talk about now; how, if we do not learn to understand and guide the great forces of change at work on our world today, we may find ourselves like the Shafter cow, swallowed up by vast upheavals in our way of life — quite early some morning.

— “Dynamics of change”  Kaiser Aluminum News