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.
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.
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)
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)
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.)
A circus is a system of complex, beautiful chaos, but sometimes the chaos becomes messy. It’s easy as someone who cares deeply to want to control the monkeys and control the mess, seeking once more the simplicity of the complex chaos of a perfectly performing circus. (By Emma Loftus.)
In The Peace of Wild Things, Wendell confronts the reader with the universal fears of what may be, what may happen. The fear we have of the unknown. The power of doubt. He reminds us that the cost of being human is an imbalance of heart and soul; humanity confronted with the flaws of civilisation and modernism. But all is not lost.