We're not fucked

We're often told there's no hope. We disagree.

Black mirrors aren't a set path. Together we have the capacity to imagine, create and fully experience a new type of world. In this world the technologies we design help us thrive, together with everything that makes this beautiful planet what it is.

Language for systems change

SMILES, Symbio-Memetic Interwoven Language Embodiment System, is the blueprint for teams building technologies that are ecologically grounded, socially ambitious and economically relevant to humanity’s problems and opportunities today.

It interlaces language, imagination, and practice, reflecting the symbiotic relationship between humanity, technology, and the natural world.

SMILES is the foundation of the Tethix Biome

SMILES is the theoretical layer, the forest floor that nourishes the layers above with paradigm shifting language.

Elemental Ethics is the figurative layer, enabling us to grow trees and other vegetation, rich with stories and metaphors of responsible firekeeping.

And finally, the application layer produces life enhancing fruit. This is Tethix ETHOS, a unique suite of practical ethics products that infuses the spirit of agile software development with a language and culture of deep connection, radical responsibility and ecological literacy.

The Tethix Biome is a living system, capable of adapting to changing seasons and its environment, helping SMILES to evolve as a blueprint for human and planetary flourishing.

And thus, the cycle continues.

The DNA being sequenced

The DNA of SMILES is an intricate tapestry that encodes the essence of the system. It’s not just a genetic sequence but a poetic intertwining of ideas, philosophies, and practices that define how SMILES functions, grows, and evolves. It’s an ever-changing song and dance of many wisdoms, and an embodiment of nature’s beautiful complexity.

The properties of SMILES DNA

Embracing Complexity


SMILES isn’t about reducing complexity but embracing it, much like an ecosystem in nature. It assists in navigating the interwoven patterns and unexpected connections that underly the basis of human interrelations in the world and life.
Complexity Science, Systems Thinking
Connection to Nature

Web of Life

Rather than an abstract or intellectual exercise, SMILES enables a profound, embodied experience of being part of the greater whole, akin to the interconnected web of life in a forest.
Embodied Cognition, Deep Ecology.
Cultural Change as Fluid


SMILES is like the seasons guiding the rhythm of change. It’s not a static instrument but a dynamic process that aligns with the natural flow of transformation, growth, decay, and renewal.
Gene-Culture Coevolution, Transformative Learning
Emergence of Wisdoms

River Delta

SMILES is where different streams of wisdom meet, just as rivers merge in a delta. It bridges ancient and modern, intuitive and analytical, emotional and rational, bringing them into harmonious confluence.
Integral Theory, Transdisciplinarity
Dance of Ethics and Aesthetics

The Swan

SMILES doesn’t just prescribe ethical principles; it cultivates an aesthetic sensitivity to ethical beauty, much like the graceful dance of a swan on a serene lake.
Aesthetics, Virtue Ethics
Stewardship and Sustainability

Guardians of Spaceship Earth

Acting as stewards, not exploiters, of resources, ideas, and relationships. It’s about a sustainable approach that considers the welfare of future generations and life on this planet.

Indigenous Wisdom, Stewardship Ethic

Principles for SMILES reproduction

This cyclical process can be seen as a perennial garden of thought and action. Just as a gardener moves through the seasons, tending to the soil, encouraging growth, and harvesting the yield, so too does the SMILES framework operate in rhythmic harmony with the natural order that exists in the cultural context and domain for reproduction.

Phase 1: Language - Soil of Culture

In this phase, language serves as the fertile soil from which everything else grows. It’s the bedrock of understanding, the nurturing ground for the roots of human connection and meaning.

  • Sow the Seeds of Connection: Develop language that emphasises our kinship with nature and resonates with ancestral wisdom.
  • Till the Earth of Complexity: Seek nature-inspired metaphors that help us grasp complexity, moving beyond mechanistic views and weaving reason with emotion.

Phase 2: Stories - Growth of Imagination

Here, the figurative layer sprouts, stretching towards the sky, guided by the sun of inspiration. It’s the growth phase, where curiosity and creativity blossom into captivating narratives and shared meaning.

  • Cultivate Curiosity and Playfulness: Utilise language to co-design a figurative layer that inspires exploration and compassionate conversation.
  • Prune and Adapt to the Landscape: Tailor the stories to the specific cultural context, working with existing mental models rather than against them. Seek universality in myths that transcend boundaries.

Phase 3: Usage - Harvest of Transformation

The application phase is about reaping what has been sown, turning these growths into nourishing fruits. It’s where theory becomes practice, and the dynamic, living aspect of the system comes to life.

  • Nurture Cultural Transformation: Develop a socio-technical application layer that enables gradual change and continuous learning.
  • Tend to the Living Garden: Design the application to be vibrant and evolving, capable of monitoring and evaluating its effectiveness within its unique socio-technical environment.

The SMILES paper is coming...

Prepare to embark on a journey where language, technology, and nature dance together in a harmonious rhythm. Our paper introduces SMILES, highlights the transdisciplinarity of our work and explores its usage in the Tethix context. Contact us if you'd like a sneak peak!

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