Systems Thinking.. or Not? LO25009

From: Gavin Ritz (
Date: 06/30/00

Replying to LO24996 --

Dear LO ers and Rick

> Here is the perfect example of what I was talking about on another thread
> called efficiency & emergence LO24990, the moment somebody says the 3
> keys, or 20 keys to something, it is an immediate sign that
...snip by host...

> [Host's Note: That was just a bit too fast for me, Gavin. You're talking
> about whether a viewpoint is or is not a systems thinking viewpoint, and
> that's a very good topic here.
> In fairness, the web site relates to Tom Terez's book "22 Keys to Creating
> a Meaningful Workplace" and not "THE 22 Keys to..."

Yip I understand that.

Most of the posts including this one about the 22 Keys are not a systems
thinking approach. Even the systems thinkers get it mixed up (see Barry
Richmond the Thinking in systems Thinking, from Pegasus Toolbox series, a
classical reduction approach within Systems Thinking- I grizzd about this
one to the the lady from Pegasus on our list).

[Host's Note: Gavin, you're talking about Richmond's list of seven systems
thinking skills, right? I don't know the Pegasus publication of these, but
Richmond's classic paper on these is "Systems thinking: critical thinking
skills for the 1990s and beyond," System Dynamics Review Volume 9 Number 2
Summer 1993, pp. 113-133. The "seven skills.." part starts on pg 122. It's
on the web at

Tom's book is the classical reduction approach (this appeals to most
managers, it's the easy way out)

At de Lange's Essentialities is a reduction approach within a complexity

It is not the field within the field of all systems or the energy approach
(all energy is in existence forever and always has been). Now the fact that I
say this immediately brings it into creation therefore a variable (of some
I am now "become" reductionist ( but I am aware of this).

At and company are totally oblivious to this.

Many of the worlds complexity thinkers are aware of this hence the focus
on time eg (pschycological -kairos -the Greek for time (kinetic comes from
this word) & physical, chronos, or chronological time (clock time) ) (two
different meanings of time in Greek lost in the English lanaguage) and
things like the holographic theory.

It is a very subtle shift in consciousness but so subtle that we do not
notice it (e.g. letting the game play itself out through you or playing
the ball in the game-one famous Gridiron (quarterback I think) player
experienced this-name has just eluded me.).

It is the subtle meaning of "being & becoming". I argued this point (from
a totally different angle some months ago). I said the being and becoming
is meaningless, it is from that point of view.

This is also the reason that 30 years of Systems thinking has not gone
where most had hoped (see Checkland- a thirty year perspective).

It is also the reason why the Systems Thinking approach will never be
useful beyond 5 years. It fails to take higher levels of abstraction into
account plus it is a reduction approach within systems thinking.

This is not to say that it has not been useful it is and I like it, but
for it to reach the bifurcation point or explosive evolutionary point
(this is what is hoped the ultimate GST). The thinking will have to be the
systems approach within the systems thinking. As I mentioned before in the
thread on Emergence it is finding the spiral within the spiral or the
tension within the variable itself.

Those who wish to experience this and do are forever changed because it
changes forever ones thinking and consciousness. One is forced to look
from other points of view because non are the truth yet all are the truth,
all have grains of truth all have grains of falsehood.

What I have noticed is that when we come across some concept which opens
our eyes and removes part of the veil we want to share it with others and
"teach" the truth (our crusade) we are attached to our outcomes and our
truths they give us comfort. And hopefully those we teach will support us
we will have created our "citadel".

Here is a nice quote from somebody

Most founders of religions or concepts and our scientific models.

" All powerful initiators who have perceived in some moment of their lives
the radiance of central truth, but the light which they drew from it was
refracted and colored according to their genius, their mission, their
particular time and place"



Gavin Ritz <>

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