systems theory Donella Meadow's
January 18, 2003 12:21 AM   Subscribe

Dancing with Systems: What to do when systems resist change. Is an excerpt from the late Systems Theorist and Enviromentalist Donella Meadow's unfinished last book. There is beautiful information here. If you are confused and wondering about some of the ideas that has infused the world-wide peace, enviromental, social justice and anti-globalization movements (That is of course Globalization as defined by the Washington Consensus policies) you would be very hard pressed to find a better place to start. Here are points in the essay. Listen to the wisdom of the system. Expose your mental models to the open air. Stay humble. Stay a learner. Honor and protect information. Locate responsibility in the system. Make feedback policies for feedback systems. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable. Go for the good of the whole. Expand time horizons. Expand thought horizons. Expand the boundary of caring. Celebrate complexity. Hold fast to the goal of goodness.
posted by thedailygrowl (9 comments total)
What a bunch of tree-hugging mumbo-jumbo. Blech.
posted by dagny at 1:03 AM on January 18, 2003

You forgot to include: Communicate CLEARLY!
posted by HTuttle at 1:49 AM on January 18, 2003

Samelborp pensa que si aixó és tot el que dagny te que dir, estaria millor callat, el tros d'ase! Qui collons s'ha cregut que és?

Nice link, thedailygrowl. I like Donella Meadow's work (most of it done with her husband) and systems theory applied to ecology and risk management.

There is an Internet Memorial dedicated to her, if you want to know more.
posted by samelborp at 2:11 AM on January 18, 2003

just a general point - it is possible to control chaotic systems (although the little i know of this is restricted to fairly "simple" cases). here's some info.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:52 AM on January 18, 2003

Samelborp - that's Catalan, isn't it? I'd love to know what it means. I know a little of some Roman languages, so I'm able to grasp at the meaning, but it escapes me.
posted by Termite at 4:25 AM on January 18, 2003

wild guess: maybe something about speaking more and saying less?
posted by andrew cooke at 4:36 AM on January 18, 2003

Rule five: NO POOFTERS

... I do agree with what she says, but when I read her "Systems wisdoms" I couldn't stop thinking about this Monty Python quote.
posted by Termite at 4:57 AM on January 18, 2003

There are some important concepts in this book. We've had great success in controlling and understanding simple systems. However, in feedback systems like the human body, we are much less successful. The solutions to some medical problems are exactly the opposite of what a non-feedback system would need: for example, if your grandmother has osteoporosis, she should take up weight lifting. But much of medicine is still mired in non-feedback thinking.
posted by mediaddict at 10:13 AM on January 18, 2003

a verbose desiderata .
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:34 PM on January 18, 2003

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