How can I learn apithology?

This is a such an interesting question, as it actually defines a significant part of the field of apithology research. The answer to how can I learn apithology is: ‘apithologically‘. This is not a tautology, rather it acknowledges that the field that examines generative dynamics is only accessible by making that specific phenomenon observable.

The experience gained in apithology learning suggests that traditional pedagogy transmits knowledge and methods of knowledge already discovered proficiently. However, the forms of generative learning used in apithology require a different pedagogical premise. This theory of generative learning is called ‘apithagogy‘ and will reflect apithology theory and practice in its structure and processes.

In essence this is the type of generative learning humans do when initially mastering language skills in infancy and the rapid development of mastery in an unfamiliar skill that can be guided expertly (e.g. mountain climbing, crafting, juggling).

In technical terms the learning of apithology requiries a conjunction of coherent foundational concepts, and orientation towards the unknown  generative, and integrations in orders of complexity through domains of relational ontology. In developmental theory terms the learning theory is beyond trans-disciplinary processes or meta-paradigmatic nominalism, using instead forms of humanity-scale para-paradigmatic constructivism.

Where can I learn apithology?

The only official location where you can learn apithology at present is at Apitholo ~ The Centre for Humanity Learning ( This dedicate learning centre replaces (and leads to) the practitioner training program that operated between 2008-2016.

The learning at Apitholo opens up a wider range of apithology techniques to a broader group of people. From this maturing of apithology practice the entry-level requirements have now become more flexible and the standards for continuance have become more rigorous and transparent.

More information is available here: (apitholo)

What is a decathalogue?


In support of the emcsr – avantgarde (2016) a ‘Apithology Decathalogue for Humanity‘ was held in Melbourne, Australia.

On this occasion the topic was “FutureThought! – What Life do we Wish?”.  This Decathalogue is a ten discipline conversation, where each participant brings to the table a health-of-human systems understanding. The seminar abstract says:

“In presentation there is a one-way exchange of information enabling conversation (Pask, 1975). In discussion there is a necessity to understand others for mutual communication and debate (Bánáthy and Jenlink, 2005). In dialogue there is a shared appreciation of different contributions in a mutual discourse (Bohm, 1990). In metalogue we proceed in a shared inquiry into new understanding as explicit learning occasions (Bateson, 1972). An apithologue is a ‘generative metalogue’ and begins where knowing ends. It uses generative dynamics and abductive constraint conditions to develop new meaning as a form of humanity-inquiry (Varey, 2013).”

How better to learn from each other, than to have a pan-disciplinary conversation on what benefits might flow from our thinking today, that becomes the future thought of a humanity of tomorrow.




What is apithology’s biggest challenge long-term?

This too is a challenging question.

The answer is counter-intuitive and the biggest challenge is (possibly) … having ‘good intentions’.

Apithology is a discipline of inquiry that looks with humility at vast complexity. It recognises that the practice of humanity-caring requires a dedication similar in scale to the scope of its questions.

In having ‘good intentions’ to make shorter-term benefits easily available, there is often a desire to simplify, promote, and make initially difficult concepts easier to grasp.

It is not clear that by making humanity benefiting ideas simplistic that anyone truly benefits. What may happen is the tension of a good question is reduced into our present thinking. The collapse of this generative tension is actually something that negates our very best asking.

In apithology the greatest benefits are gained by staying with our most important questions in a longer-term asking. The habit of hoping for quick answers to ill-framed questions as a form of instant gaining, is probably the greatest challenge facing any humanity-scale inquiry. As individuals we are often not practiced at asking well and waiting for our best (or better) answers.

It is a mistaken good intention that because others (like ourselves) may not be able to hold a worthwhile question, that we feel the need to make new ideas simpler, so there is no unfamiliarity in our asking.

Hoping to make apithology simple, possibly will make it permanently unavailable.

What are apithology’s short-term challenges?

In apithology mostly what is looked to is identifying essential actions with enduring benefits.

In apithology practice the biggest short term challenge is therefore ‘attentiveness’. It becomes hard to build on one thing, so as to enable the next thing, if we move our attention from – a random thing, to something else, and then on to another thing.

The response to the ‘speed with which the world is innovating’ misses acutely the loss of what we might actually be ignoring. It is hard to see in the ‘gratifications of distractions’ how we might build the capacity for a moment by moment sense of the presence of presencing.

However, this is a simple skill that can be learned by practice. The only question is what would be meaningful enough for us to learn to direct our attention, to this attentiveness?

What is apithology’s theory of change?

There is a maxim in apithology praxis that “The only valid theory of change is one that changes your theory of change.”

Apithology itself does not seek to change anything, or change anyone. As a generative system of inquiry it recognises that change occurs naturally. In healthy, growing systems transformational change is the norm – and so changing something into a normative ideal is not really acceptable or normal.

What apithology does believe is that by providing enabling conditions the potential that is presently available can be actuated. In enabling natural changes apithology privileges inquiry into the enablements of generative change that benefit all humanity equally.

It also asks that each practitioner of apithology has their own theory of change, so that this is ethically transparent and radically apparent. If a practice is ineffective or unrealistic, this becomes a basis for reflexive change of one’s own held premise.

The same principle applies to apithology as a discipline. It has been changed by its theory of generative change daily since its beginning – and continues to do so with each new learning.

What does humanity most need to know now?

This question was asked of apithology and is significant (just by its asking).

Mostly what humanity needs to know now is that there is available to humanity a way of caring for humanity. This provides hope for a future. This is a future that is vast and inspirational and intensely humbling and practical.

In times of personal difficulty, localised strife and global concerns there is a need to know there is a new hope for our times. In seeing beyond our present capacities, and deeply into humanity’s inspiring past qualities, there is the premise for a future trajectory in humanity’s potentiality. What apithology offers is a possibility. This is a humanity-centered future, that begins with each person, in their understanding held personally.

What does ‘apithological’ mean?

The description ‘apithological’ is commonly used to suggest a counterpart concept, or quality, to the pathological. Its explicit use often points us to an alternative horizon of possible inquiry.

However, to define something by what it isn’t, does not say what it is. To make statements about the ‘apithology’ of something does require that an inquiry to be done using the theory of apithology.

The descriptor apithological may also be used as an ‘attribution by association’. This use is acceptable, only it does not say anything of significance, other than in indicating the general direction of a personal preference. It is similar to describing something as ‘sustainable’ without using an informing conception of sustainability.

There is also a technical use of the term ‘apithological’ in formal apithology theory which describes when an analysis of a given phenomenon has attributes of sufficiency in an apithology inquiry. This involves being able to specify formal requirements; including the apithologia of generative trichotomies, the composition of expressions of orientations, and the points of integrative dependencies in a trajectory of actuation. In this formal context, the determination of apithological forms has a research rigour verifiable by a community of apithology practice.

What is the definition of apithology?

It is helpful to recognise the difference between the definitions of apithology as a concept, the field of apithology research, and the discipline of apithology as a formal inquiry praxis.

For those needing a simple definition of the concept the formal reference is:

api·thol·o·gy (a pith l -j ) n. pl. api·thol·o·gia

1. The systemic study of the nature of wellness and its causes, processes, development, and consequences.

Source: Varey, W. (2008) Apithology: An emergent continuum. Aspects of Apithology: The Journal of Apithological Practice. 1(1) p.3.

This definition is merely the antonym of the definition of pathology. It does not define the field, only the counterpart concept to pathology.


A formal description of the field of apithology research is:

“The research field of apithology concerns the study of the systemic causes and effects of generativity and growth in living systems. It is the counterpart discipline to the field of pathology, which examines the systemic causes and effects of dissipation and decline in degenerative systems.” (p. 596)

Source: Varey, W. (2013). Apithological Inquiry: Learnings from an Ecological Aesthetic. Systems Research and Behavioral Science30(5), 596-606.


The praxis of apithological inquiry is also a formal research discipline and may be described as:

“Apithology is the discipline that studies the generative causes of health and wellness in living systems.”

Source: Varey, W. (2008) Apithology: An emergent continuum. Aspects of Apithology: The Journal of Apithological Practice. 1(1) pp.1-7.


Footnote: Because apithology is the study of generative dynamics, the field itself is under continuous development. It is considered not particularly good apithology practice to propose definitive definitions for emergent processes. The reason for this is the phenomenon may have altered or moved on while our definition remains fixed. The desire for rigidity and certainty is not a useful function in apithology inquiry and observation. This is one reason why different definitions are used for the field of apithology as the field itself expands.

Interestingly, one early practice in formal apithology training is for practitioners to study their own definition of apithology – and then confirm which of 360 known categories of apithology conceptions it may fit within. This reveals important information about one’s own capacity for apithology inquiry and observation (and in particular, self-adopted categories of exclusion). For more information on this practice see: Aspects of Apithology,Vol.2.No.3.).


How do I reference apithology theory?

For those looking for a quick reference to the concept, without any further reading, the simplest way is to insert the following (APA Style) citation:

Varey, W. (2008). Apithology: An emergent continuum. Aspects of Apithology: Journal of Apithological Practice1(1), 1-7.

This original article is a re-print from a paper published on 16 October, 2004.

Being a short article (in a vast field) your use and understanding of the idea will be readily transparent from your use of this reference.

For the source of the concept (if interested) you can read and download the referenced article (in full) here:

Date: 12.04.2016