Systems Thinking.. or Not? LO25045

From: Gavin Ritz (
Date: 07/07/00

Replying to LO25043 --

Richard Karash wrote:

> I think I understand your point... or at least one of your points... and
> it's something I can agree with:
> STATEMENT: When we
> 1. distinguish objects from the background
> 2. ..treat the objects as variables
> 3. ..and state a theory about these variables
> ..this theory (or model) may be helpful.
> But, if we start to think that our theory is "real," confusing our
> theory with reality, this is a serious error. That is, if we are so
> sure of our theory that we cannot actively hold the possibility that
> it might be wrong or incomplete, then we are in grave danger. (END
> Gavin, is this something you agree with?

Yes that is, there are no truths (as mentioned by so many systems
thinkers: there is no such thing as complexity truths). The problem is we
create a model of what we think the world is about but actually it is only
in our minds. When we say some thing is essential then it is indispensably
requisite, is this really so? I doubt it. If this is also so then we
attach value to this (our essentiality), it is now part of us, part of our
being, in the hope that it makes us satisfied, fulfilled, idealism, gives
us purpose (or whatever) therefore any other point is really an attack on
this and our being. We think we are it, it is part of us now. We seem to
be unable to be detached from it (this is because we are in it part of
it). This is the continuous field (it is what I mentioned about "time
binding" in a thread weeks ago). We seem to be totally oblivious to it (my
self included, the energy to overcome this is enormous sometimes)

How can anyone attack this (it is our truth) (is our natural response),
therefore it must be defended at all costs.

I will not discus this issue anymore after this, because of this very
thing. It is like threatening someone with violence in the mental realm.
Actually I am playing with fire. So I am now removing myself from this. It
is not fair what I have been doing it doesn't really matter what the model
is, if some are comfortable with it so be it. It is a free world (I hope).

> And, is this what concerns you about Richmond's 7 systems thinking skills,
> At's 7 essentialities, Senge's five disciplines, etc.?
> And, do I understand you correctly that your Problematic Paradigm Grid
> (though, of course, reductionist) is OK because you are aware that it is
> reductionist; others are in danger if they are not so aware? ..or if they
> don't emphasize this point enough to protect their followers from falling
> into the trap?
> You've already said that Senge's Systems Thinking is valuable, so I'm
> trying to understand what caveat you are placing on it.

It is really not useful when we need to have a level of abstraction that
is abstract and not symbolic (like an object). It cannot modeled the
intangibles but it does what it does where it does it, which I think is
good anyway. It cannot process in parallel which is needed in complex

> Finally, for whatever it's worth, I personally think all three above
> writers are quite OK on this point.

OK I think I will leave it for now.



Gavin Ritz <>

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