Notes on “Systems Thinking for a Better World”

From this video. Talk by Peter Senge at Aalto Systems Forum 2014. Also the author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of Learning Organizations.

There’s no such thing as “living separate”. We are all connected.

We get dazzled by technology, but we don’t think about (for example) where the power comes from when we plug in a device. As interdependence has grown, awareness of interdependence has diminshed.

The understanding of complex problems has progressively become more important in society. Increasingly we arrive at outcomes (like climate change) that nobody explicitly wants, but seem unavoidable, even predictable. (“Sustainability” is a bad term because it doesn’t separate social and environmental issues.)

Peter defines a new term “Systems Intelligence” and its opposite “Systems Ignorance”) to describe the above effect.

ALL species exist in a niche. What is humanity’s niche? (And what happens when we try to change it?) Existing in a niche inherently comes with certain ways of thinking and talking. For example, native people who have lived in the same culture for thousands of years tend to have much different outlooks than those in modern cultures.

The ongoing “Machine Age” is marked by a fascination with devices.

Fisheries: in the Pacific Northwest, increasingly managed. Who’s responsible for the successes? The fishers. Single most important thing to do: Find places where people are handling it well. This indicates innate systems intelligence that should be leveraged.

He recounts the journey of a fishery in Mexico. Their first revitalization improvement was to build a soccer field so that the kids had something to do. The second thing was organic farming. Both of these were of great help to the community, and kept people busy while the offshore clam population was steadily rebuilding.

We need to fall in love again with the world. “Agape“-type love.

We think our norms are mostly based on culture. Through our ability to extend our compassion & empathy & appreciation, we are making use of Systems Intelligence.

Children have incredible innate Systems Intelligence. We need to rediscover it.

This article (and all note-taking) performed by a 100% free-range human without use of AI tools.