Want to understand Systems better? Check out Peter Senge, Russell Ackoff, W. Edwards Deming, or just search Google for some info
When I first started this blog, one of my goals was to bring a systems perspective to my posts. Circumstance made that goal a bit difficult at times, and my interests are a bit too eclectic for me to stay in a single lane, but it is a perspective I feel most comfortable with and believe is useful in understanding the world and human society and relationships.
It’s long been clear to me that many people haven’t the faintest idea how systems work and how not understanding the interplay of their aggregate parts makes it virtually impossible to make quality, informed decisions.
In order for democracy to be spread and actually implemented in ways that are meaningful to ordinary people (who are often really afterthoughts to our institutions and those who lead them) I am convinced we need to become not merely critical thinkers, but also “systems thinkers”, i.e. we need to learn how to “see” systems. We, meaning “the people”, need to recognize how all things are parts of systems and that smaller systems are parts of other, more encompassing systems. Whether closely or remotely, we need to recognize how things are related to each other, such that we can appreciate the ways in which they affect and sometimes transform each other.
When this happens without our fully (or even partially) understanding these effects, we call them “unintended consequences.” However, these generally come about not because we failed to appreciate their possibility, but because we didn’t even see how they were related. It is our ignorance — in the non-pejorative sense — that’s causing us harm, because we just don’t see the subtle interplay of forces or the way they interact with each other. I plan on continuing to touch on this subject, as well as the other things that interest me. Stay tuned!
So . . . I’ve just got to share this. In my mind, the feeling/realization described in this animated gif file is somewhat related to a post I did a while back on whether we would have any way of realizing we’re dead and, in so doing, somehow miss the life we had so recently departed from. What they’re calling a realization I think of as a feeling. I have often marveled at the tenuous yet, in some ways, deep connection I have with random people in random vehicles heading in random directions other than my own. My mind momentarily expands, seeking the trajectories of their lives and the countless people they interact (or not) with. This picture seems to convey the feeling rather well. It’s also evocative of a paper I once wrote for a Labor Law class, where I likened society to a living being and analogized commerce to the human circulatory system.
From Marcia’s piece in Fast Company
Today we celebrate the service and dedication of all who have worn a uniform of one or more of the armed forces of our country. Let’s be sure we keep in mind their service was – and is – not merely to protect corporate greed and power; neither is it for maintaining the salaries of CEOs nor the dividends and capital gains of shareholders.
Most everyone who serves does so in the belief they are helping to protect their nation – the people who dwell and work within her borders – from enemies both foreign and domestic. Those people are the strength, the vitality from which a healthy nation grows.
In a wonderful piece for Fast Company – “Is Your Company Ready to Make the World a Better Place?“, Marcia Conner reminds us that our obligations are, and must be, greater than to the bottom line. They are to the future of our world, our species, and the entire planet. Let’s honor our service men and women by taking stock of what we do and how it affects the entire system within which we live. Let’s resolve to truly make this world a better, more livable, and healthier environment for all who inhabit her.