Thursday, September 17, 2015

System Thinking Principles

Without the right set of System principles, the white can be taken as black, the round can be perceived as square, and the good can be translated into evil.

It is utterly important that a basic understanding of what an integrative system is about. Are we here to play at a game of "Systems Thinking" with outdated and limited definitions and rules set several decades ago, or to apply the best understanding of how the system works to fix the great problems we face as systematically as we can? What are the Systems Thinking Principles - the set of abstract and more “timeless” guidelines helping frame the questions in problem diagnosing and solving?

Hologram: Did You Know? If you tear an ordinary photograph in two, each piece shows only a part of the original image. If you break a hologram in two, however, you end up with two holograms, each of which shows the entire original scene, although from slightly different points of view. That's because each spot on a hologram contains enough information to show how the entire scene would look if it were viewed from a particular vantage point. ( So the idea of hologram makes sense in that it reflects the complexity of a system. The target is to match a picture inside the hologram, which requires massive adjustments and tweaking in positioning. Each mirror is really a story; we have to align stories that create pictures that become mirrors to the collective one. In practices, always listen to the two sides of the stories, and always understand things contextually and holistically.

Diversity in Unity. The system is a self-reflecting or self-observing unity, which functions in a distributed way through one’s ‘human’ forms in the rest of unity; but which also already enjoys a dynamic communications network linking most of the local cognitive filters as a system-wide filter. Imagine the problems we are having looking at just the parts. How complex does it get? In Systems Thinking, the observers who have the problem define the boundaries of the system to improve. Don't judge anything until you can engage with the flow, then look more closely at the mechanisms that are creating the flow. Then let it all whirl around the brain/gut/heart. Love and trust are the natural imperatives of the whole functioning without cognitive distortions, that currently result from systemic ignorance and neglect of the cognitive layer of the whole. It means knowing and developing oneself.

Wholeness: The system is more than its parts. Our visualization of complex systems is a sphere nested within another sphere within another sphere, etc. If you replace the picture of a "sphere" with a picture of a living cell, it is more accurate. As with any living cell, all the interesting activity happens with membranes. The membrane of mitochondria is nested in the cell membrane. Cells are nested in tissues, tissues in organs, etc. All bound in the "cell" that is defined by the skin. The starting point of our exploration would be to understand how any system, as a whole, whether natural or engineered, would disturb by a nonlinear event.
A system is disturbed in three possible ways, which are as follows:
a) A system loses energy till it reaches a tipping point
b) A system gains more and more energy until it crosses the point of system resilience
c) A part of a system emits more energy than it is normally supposed to, that is going beyond the linear response of the part.

Setting the right principles is important to perceive the system more objectively and holistically. Indeed, our whole world is a complex system; without the good principles, the white can be taken as black, the round can be perceived as square, and the good can be translated into evil. Emotions, not words, are the binding forces of human systems. It is much more difficult to expect empathy, emotions of caring, among masses of people, as long as the prevailing cognitive view of reality do not acknowledge humanity's de-facto evolution from our original state as cognitively closed individuals with silo thinking to a cognitively open, hyper-connected, and intra-active social systems. We cannot expect luck to generate positive emotion driven collective behavior, when the prevailing constraints of the dominant cultural ethos keep perpetuating our outdated state as autonomous individuals, instead of revising our sense of self to be consistent with the cognitively integrative humanity has already evolved into. Therefore, the right set of System Thinking principles should replace the outdated rules or customs, and become the guidelines to lift up the maturity of human society.


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