Being/Becomming and Senge's Systems Thinking LO25025

From: by way of Richard Karash (
Date: 07/04/00

[Host's Note: this is a short exchange I had with Gavin. With his
permission, I am now placing this on the LO list. ..Rick]

Rick wrote:
> Gavin wrote:
> >The whole issue of being and becoming is very simple to deal with at
> >an LO level. One is simply the discriminated object (a dog) "being"
> >that which we observe in the continuous field (the lives of all dogs
> >through history in continuum & their purposes, ideals and ends)
> >"becoming". The other is the continuous field with the discriminated
> >object in the background. and yes this does have a impact on systems
> >thinking. But the level of systems thinking in what Senge talks
> >about does not take this fully into account. The reasons for this is
> >a bit too long winded to go into here (could be done on the list).
> >Basically about complexity of information (the level of abstraction)
> >and the bi-conditional parallel variables (even boring for me). I
> >suppose like a vertical continuos cylinder and slices at different
> >depths and these slices having inter-connections at these different
> >slice depths.
> That was too quick for me... I would be delighted to have this thread
> on the list and I'll be a contributor to it.
> So, what is it that Senge is missing?

I would not be so bold as to say that Senge is missing anything but to put
ST to its proper uses, is to understand what specifically ST does. Missed
by many of those who use it. In my opinion it is the best methodolgy for
managers at a certain level in an organisation. The setting up of Learning
Labs is something I want to push for in some of the companies that I
consult to.

> There's something subtle here and I haven't understood it yet. Let's
> do this on-list. OK? Would you start the thread.

A list like this is not an easy place to do this but here goes.

All the fuss about these different approaches is to find a methodology
that deals with complexity and is useful for people to make good descions
about things that will effect their future and all their desires, ideals,
needs, wants etc.

Complexity can mean different things but what I mean is: complexity of
information that a human being can use to solve problems that is linked to
some future concept. So it means logic, processing of information and the
ability to abstract. Build useful previously unknown pictures, models
(most likely variables) to solve problems.

Complexity is a recursive thing so it replicates at a higher level and so
on into infinitely (the so called becoming stuff)

Each level of complexity is linked to a specific time horizon (see Elliot
Jaques) and each level uses a specific mode of processing (that is in the
human brain). A lot of this is continuation of Piagets work.

You can go to my website on Systems Thinking page and look at a slightly
more in-depth discussion on this.

[Host's Note: That is, I believe,
. Rick]

I personally needed to create a frame work to put all the methodologies
together so that I could use them in practice.

Anyway the levels of complexity of information (Boolean logic) start off
with or/or, and/and, if then, if and only if. Or if one wants to look at
our normal numbering scales it starts off with nominal variables, ordinal
variables, interval variables and ratio variables. (sort of the same
thing). These levels of logic then recur at higher levels of abstraction.
They all link to a specific time horizon, the capability that one can look
into the future or the anticipatory capability of a person.

So what does this mean to me or you, only that each methodology, Beers
viable systems, or Checkland (SSM) all deal with specific variables. The
key is to know what variables they are talking about and what is the logic
they are using. ST uses a level 4 (see E Jaques) logic or, if and only if
(that is Boolean logic) with variables acting in a parallel fashion ( that
is a whole lot of goodies all going on at the same time). But each effects
each other and if one variable goes up another goes up or down and they
effect each other (that is what ST, SSM and some others are also all

The catch comes in when things can't be quantified like human emotions,
psychological things, power, energy the so called intangibles. These are
not well dealt with in any of the methodologies. Or the big catch higher
levels of complexity. The abstracted variables.

Joey Chan in another thread talks about TOC which is probably only a level
3 (if then variable ) methodology. Goldratt is a disciple of Wolfgang
Mewes the originator of EKS. (Bottleneck Concentration Strategy)

Some methodologies like EKS try to unleash energy at a bottleneck in the
intangible or tangible realms. (far to complex to go into here). This
theory is only available in German.

This theory is a little different to the others as it attempts to do
"jump" evolution or the unleashing of energy at any level or process. I
would class it as cybernetic model. But not like Beers work.

The next level of break through I suppose.



Gavin Ritz <> (by way of Richard Karash)

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