Systems thinking

The new sciences of chaos and complexity tell us that a system that is far from stable is a system ripe for change […] a whole new level of creativity after crisis […] in which we adapt to the Earth rather than the other way around.*
(Janine Benyus)

In a crisis, there’s maximum attention. And in a crisis, we often discard any pretense of caring about systems and resilience and focus only on how to get back to normal. This is precisely why normal is what normal is, because we fight to get back to it.**
(Seth Godin)

Normal is simply a system, a technology of our creating:

we live in a culture of compliance that we are ever more conditioned to accept orthodoxy as normal, and to accept that there is only one way of doing it^.

That we see only one way to do things shows it to be a prescriptive technology, being disconnected from the greater system we exist within, with ecological laws we dismiss or ignore at our peril:

We are still beholden to ecological laws, the same as any other life-form. The most irrevocable of these laws says that a species cannot occupy a niche that appropriates all resources – there has to be some sharing. Any species that ignores this law winds up destroying its community to support its own expansion. Tragically this has been our path.*

All of this is true at a personal level also. When the normal and prescriptive churns out “circus and bread” so well, who wouldn’t want to return to it? Or so the argument goes.

On a personal level, we are living more holistically when we move in the direction of our values, dreams, talents and energies. We can live in many ways with these tings, but some are better than others.

The simple truth is that some systems work and some don’t; some can be adapted and some need to be changed.

We can do this when it comes to our planet and also with our lives.

To open our minds, hearts and wills to more is to embrace holistic technology.

(*From Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog: When can we talk about our systems?)
(^From Ursula Franklin’s The Real World of Technology.)

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