Heart of the Art

To the Heart of Living Systems

Author

Emma Loftus

Doing Change

Change will happen anyway, whether we like it or not. It has the potential to make the world anew. But that it’s not the change that makes the difference, but how we explore the possibility in the pain.

Dialogue- Isaacs

Often the typical meeting room is full of people holding a series of conversations that come preloaded with hidden paradigms of belief, expectation and personal ambition. What this means is that the communication taking place is driven by a mixture of agendas, with everyone seeking to direct and steer the conversation in ways that withhold their point of view. This is limiting.

Acceptance

Acceptance can lead us to normalise and even ignore situations and events that we should instead stand up and shout about. Acceptance removes our desire to be heard, to fight for the things we believe are right and just and moral. In acceptance we become stalled and static, frozen, unable to move, blind to possibility and the promises in the tension of change.

Kantor – 4 Player Model

The Four Player Model developed by David Kantor is at the core of the theory of structural dynamics. Structural dynamics is rooted in systems dynamics, and is specifically concerned with how human communication does, or does not work. Kantor explains that people behave differently in different situations, contexts and conversations.

The freedom of my lives

Over the years of my life, through the different lifetimes that I have lived, freedom to me has been an ever changing obscurity, that as at times been elusive in its presence, and yet it’s absence un-noted or a silent drowning.

The Philosophy of Freedom

The philosopher Steiner asked us to consider what is freedom. Steiner considered fundamentally that freedom is about relationship, about how we know what we know. In considering the world as a living system of living systems, in ‘systems thinking’ in our organisations we instigate the philosophy of freedom in its most basic and purest sense. Is it that as Steiner believed of children, that in doing this we allow them to grow and reach their best potential, unhindered by predetermined restraints and controls?

Wood Burning Fractals

Here, we see that despite or inspite of man’s arrogance, creativity, interference, nature will at the end of the day be present, hidden or explicit in everything we do or do not do.

Smart Bees, like us

We could learn a lot from the Bee. Here they show us their amazing cognitive ability and their ability to communicate the essence of change.

Emma- About me

It’s always an interesting question to wonder who am I? I could give you a list of adjectives, that while true enough, tell you little about me.

Controlling the waves

We as human beings have a need for control. It’s in our biology and it’s part of our survival. Over millennia of human existence we have developed a plethora of techniques, skills and practices that allow us in subtle and brutal ways to control our environment and ourselves. Yet in seeking to control we loose so much. In assuaging our fears, living the same rules, the same ways, we don’t experience the dance that is our potential.

What’s going on? Do you really know?

Self that is the beginning of stories in our systems. How self feels and how that’s responded to is the heart, and the art of building the core of how a system operates, succeeds or indeed fails.

Watts: The world is a marvellous system of wiggles

When we think of our world all too often we think of it, ourselves, and our systems as an ordered thing. We make these maps, in our minds and in the minds of our organisations as places made up of ordered linear, perhaps even hierarchical constructs of straight lines and hard edges. An image we try to understand, but that in no real way reflects the nature of reality.

For reality is far different, it’s dynamic, it shifts, and it’s not straight at all. Much is invisible, and what we see is simply a glimpse of a surface of what may be true. Nature is astounding both in its complexity and in its simplicity. It is one.

Those boundaries we draw or even perhaps feel are in fact just constructs of our mechanical minds in a world craving order from chaos. But what if, Watts asks, those boundaries don’t even exist at all?

‘Reality is a marvellous system of wiggles’. And trying to straighten them out to fit into our need for order simply creates a false map that is no reality at all. (Introduced by Emma Loftus)

Discovering my system

I used to think of my body as nothing more than a machine. A series of components that function in predictable and purely mechanical ways to get a job done. To hold me, nourish me and keep me alive. I was floundering around in a body that felt old, with a mind devoid of spark. And then something clicked. ‘What if’? I thought ‘Everything is connected’? It was with a wild leap of faith and not without some imagination that I began developing a picture of myself as a whole physical being. A machine that pulses. But here’s the thing, you and the world we are all in is a system too. And should we treat our world as a mechanistic thing, made up of a series of separate components?
This way of thinking is convenient. It gives us quick fix possibilities; address the faulty component, treat the symptoms and move on. But what if, just like me, everything in this world is connected in minutely, infinitely, unfathomable, impossible ways? All of them beautiful. (By Emma Loftus)

The Butterfly Effect and The Doll Affair

When we think about operating in systems, doing systems thinking, we seek to find and understand how systems work and how we may work within them. But of course there is another question we need to ask when considering this way of thinking. And that something is why? Why do we need to think in this holistic tangled way in the first place? When for the most, our lives and the organisations, tasks, roles and people within them, function perfectly well in the very lightness of thinking that is simple and linear, A to B thinking. (By Emma Loftus)

Systems Thinking: The Super Power of Autism

It’s a sad fact that autism is still viewed as a disability. A disorder. That mis-wiring that characterises the neurobiological connections (or often lack there of) in the autist’s brain is at best considered a failing. But what if we look at autism differently? The absolute chaos of normal everyday life that drop-kicks those with autism and sensory disorder into meltdown and withdrawal, is in fact a super-power. This is systems thinking at its absolute beautiful edge, where every detail of the world stands out in excruciating, wondrous detail that can’t be ignored. This response to the unfathomable, the ability to absorb obscurity and sense pattern is not rigidity at all. It’s simply gorgeously mind-blowing. (By Emma Loftus.)

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