Chapter Fourteen - Whither Goeth The World – Humanity or Barbarity?






This research has introduced and specified Neville’s Cultural Keyline as a potent new model and concept for the social and behavioural sciences. Neville derived Cultural Keyline from over 40 years of action-researched praxis. Cultural Keyline is potent, dense and multifacited; it is concurrently a model for sustaining wellbeing based inter-relating and interacting, a concept for the psychosocial sciences, a folk concept for enriching everyday life interaction, a worldview, a mode of being, a mode of sensing, and a mode of values based personal and social interacting. In this research I have specified Cultural Keyline firstly from my use of it in action research, and secondly, as an aid to understanding and synthesis of Neville diverse actions, and as an aspect of everyday life relating.


Cultural Keyline nestles with and co-enriches other models and concepts discussed in this research – NLP, connexity, connoisseurship, cultural locality, dichter und denken, emergence, free energy, Inma, kennen, Keyline, self organizing systems, social topography, sociomedicine, and stimmung. These have also been woven into the process of understanding and synthesis of Neville’s diverse actions and in my action research.



Neville adapted his father’s Keyline agricultural practices in evolving Cultural Keyline. Neville used Cultural Keyline in evolving a micro-model of epochal transition and in all of his life work – in Fraser House, Fraser House Outreach, and the Laceweb.


Self-organising grassroots networking action continues to be spreading in the Region. Epoch transitional action linked to Neville’s action research, on all accounts, seems to be alive and thriving. We are, at time of writing, fifty-five years into Neville’s 250 to 500 year timeframe. It seems we are ‘on schedule’. The outreach from Neville’s action research is evolving a transitional paradigm of human future.


I now give more specific conclusions.




Neville was evolving his transitional epochal processes grounded in humane values. These values framed connexity-based embodied knowingness, and also framed interpersonal interaction and inter-relating in the unfolding life-world. Values were not explicated and laid down in law – values were lived in connexity relating as part of their communally evolving lore. Neville’s way of moving onto the socio-topographical higher ground at the Keypoints with dysfunctional people (where their disparate informs merge as energy) is to be experienced - and when experienced, explanatory and descriptive words are unnecessary and superfluous.




When Neville and his father began taking nature and the unfolding context as a guide for action, they were exploring things beyond their competence. Neville evolved Cultural Keyline and associated ways of evolving exquisite relevant competences by competently acting in contexts that went beyond his competence. When in overwhelming contexts Neville would be very ‘open’ - in Wolf’s terms (1976); he would also have his actions framed by humane caring respecting values. Neville would be open in the sense of surrendering his senses to the context, and then catching the collective richness and wisdom of the living system context he was embedded in. Neville would catch the system telling him what to do. He received subtle cues - though sometimes obvious if you have eyes to see – as well as fully formed valued insights out of inner silence about what to do next.


I sense that Neville’s peak performing became activated – he become more fully alive – when his was ecologically in a zone beyond competence while caringly using his exquisite competences. This is where and how his new competences emerged. Neville engaged in entering into this liminal (threshold) zone for a lifetime and was evolving new exquisite competences daily.


Neville began constantly placing himself, staff, and patients where they were all acting ‘beyond competence’ and acquiring competences to do this functionally, valuably, and ethically. He passed on his ways to people so that they also gained new competences and could be effective when confronting overwhelming contexts. Neville was modelling how people together can be functional, valuable and effective when they were out of their depth. Big Group was structured overwhelm. The mood was:


We don’t know how we do this; we’re the best in the world, so lets get started again (Dec 1993, July 1998).


The mood when entering this zone was articulated by Neville:


Of course it was miraculous. We were the best in the planet, and we all believed this, so we would acknowledge our failings, as we were streets ahead of everyone else (Dec 1993, July 1998).


It was also articulated by patients (Yeomans, N. 1965a, Vol. 4, p. 51):


When both the staff and patients are working well together in the Unit, a peak of enthusiasm is reached at times when everyone sees almost any move at all as being gainful. New enterprises are embarked upon with an eagerness that is almost inspired and success is a certainty.


Before Neville, the wider system’s response to the dysfunctional troublemakers was confining them in asylum back wards and prisons. People who withdraw when they sense they are out of their depth have their current competence as a limit to action. Ethical codes state that one must withdraw from helping in contexts where one reaches the limits of competence. Neville complied with this protocol in drafting a code of ethics for people not competent in his way (Yeomans 1998). If Neville had used a model that relied on being competent then he too would have collapsed into incompetence, defence, withdrawal and resignation in overwhelming contexts. He would have been modelling patients back to themselves - all incompetent in overwhelm. Fraser House patients would have left the Unit incompetent in overwhelming contexts and nothing would have changed.


Having experienced and embodied Fraser House way, people leaving Fraser House would often be faced with overwhelming situations. After experiencing Neville’s way they had evolved processes for moving through these functionally - with the supplemental support of their local networks. Neville evolved Cultural Keyline in part as a way to go beyond competence ethically and ecologically.




As I introduced in my methods section, none of the people I interviewed who were connected to Fraser House - the staff, Alf Clark the researcher, the outpatient and the patient, and none of the other people who knew Neville well from outside of Fraser House - could articulate Neville’s way. None of the youth who I have interviewed at Geoff and Norma’s farm could articulate Geoff and Norma’s way. Neville never articulated his way.


Ross in his 1992 ‘Dancing with a Ghost’ article quoted by Tim Rogers (2000) refers to what I am calling ‘non-expressible knowingness’ as a ‘different form of reasoning’. Ross was writing of his experience of becoming able to know where the fish were feeding in an Ottawa lake (before the days of electronic detection). When Ross arrived to learn to be a guide, none of the experienced guides could tell him how they did it. After years he acquired the knack, and when he had, he could not explicate how he did it either.


Neville and the people who worked with him know enough to use this knowingness in exquisite action. They cannot put it into words. They are like me with ‘Cultural Keyline in Dec 1992. It is like people who have experienced the way have a metaphoric ‘fingerprint’ that others can sense in their actions, and one in the way, can readily sense when some one does not have the way; that these people have special knowing, understanding and way are evidenced by their outcomes in context.


Neville left me quite a challenge in suggesting I do this PhD. I have tracked down the majority of the things he evolved and what he did. I have documented his effectiveness. I have detailed much of his processes and the processes for using his processes (metaprocesses). In this thesis I have engaged in documenting, detailing, analysing and explaining. This thesis adds in most of what Neville left out of his engaging with people, and leaves out what is most vital and important – that is firstly, the experience of being immersed in Neville’s Cultural Keyline way over time in the types of contexts Neville constituted, and secondly, the embodiment that may flow from this. All of my explicating of Cultural Keyline is far removed from the experience of experiencing being immersed in the action research outlined in this thesis - and the embodied understandings that may flow from this. Neville took care not to attempt to explicate what he did. He rarely articulated his way. Attempts to articulate it miss the lived-life essence. Having a little of the way expressed in words outside of lived context typically has people drawing incorrect conclusions. The hallmark of Neville’s way is to experience and embody the experience. This thesis may provide a way to enter the way. I sense that here it is salient to again let Ward 10B in Townsville Queensland stand as a warning to anyone who may want to implement ideas culled from this thesis without allowing for the interwoven richness of Neville’s way and value underpinnings (Queensland Commission of Inquiry 1991).




I have presented evidence that Neville evolved many innovations that have been adopted and adapted in Australian society. Neville evolved a viable, effective and low cost complementary biopsychosocial model and complementary alternative (1993a; 1993b) to the current expert delivery of psychiatric and somatoform drug centred treatments. Neville’s alternative is supporting the dysfunctional fringe rich in potential, and enabling them to help themselves in a very particular form of total dispersed therapeutic community. 


Neville also generated effective processes for softening the existing mainstream way - in enervating society at large (non government) to work in ways complementary to government/non-government based expert service delivery, to create new forms of mutual help community interaction based on growth and wellness.




Psychological defence strategies work towards having people staying the same and hopefully not getting worse. Defence, control, and stasis tend to accompany each other. Rather than defence and stasis, every aspect of Neville’s work was evolving contexts for growth towards wellbeing in all its aspects; everything was geared towards growth and holding a space for growth. There is potential for growth in far from equilibrium states. Growth is typically entangled with increases in adaptation, emergence, integration, inter-relationship and complexity. Neville worked with this connexity.


This research has established that Neville created normative model contexts where enabled communities of dysfunctional mad and bad people under extreme stress, without expert ‘we do it for you’ intervention, generated their own growth towards wellbeing within and between themselves. This thesis has detailed a working model of how to generate humane growth in people systems under extreme stress.


History is full of world powers that have collapsed. Today we have a complex global politico-economic system integrated like never before with the consequent threat of a collapse having global implications. As a stark reminder of how close to the edge we can be, in September 2005 New Orleans began sliding into horrendous barbarity following cyclone Katrina. The onset of global or regional collapse would stress populations and heighten the stark option between humane regrowth and collapse into barbarity. Neville’s models outlined in this research embraces acts that are ‘perfect for the moment, which also contain the seed of realistic generalisable policy’ in times of societal collapse (Yeomans, Widders et al. 1993a).


In a world of rampant cross-cultural conflict, Neville evolved processes for intercultural peacehealing as well as processes for exploring transitions to new forms of cultures and intercultural syntheses that respect diversity – an epochal local-lateral folk-based transition process. Neville’s way may be effective for addressing many of the major issues facing life on Earth. This thesis may provide fertile ground for further research (refer Appendix 40).


Neville posed the question, ‘Whither Goeth the Law – Humanity or Barbarity (Carlson and Yeomans 1975). Today we face these alternative futures - Humanity or Barbarity. Neville has created a new model of human future - a way where the common-folk, as in ‘folk in common on the global commons’ on the margins are quietly playing a vital part together in whither goeth the World of human futures.