FROM MECHANISTIC TO SYSTEMIC THINKING
Presented at the Systems Thinking in Action conference, Ackoff states that humanity is in the early stage of a transition from the Machine Age to the Systems Age. The Machine Age was characterized by belief in complete understandability of the universe, analysis as a method of inquiry, and cause and effect as a sufficient relationship to explain all. The dilemma that disrupted such beliefs was systems thinking. The Machine Age began to die when humanity gave up the principle of understandability. Gradually, it’s become accepted that there can be no complete understanding of the universe because nothing can be understood independently of its environment—all is environmentally relative. While analysis produces knowledge, it is synthesis that produces understanding. Furthermore, the Systems Age recognizes that cause and effect is just one way of looking at reality among an infinite number.From Mechanistic to Systemic Thinking – Russell Ackoff
Frame Control by Aella 27th Nov 2021Frame Control – LessWrong
by Aella27th Nov 2021
Crossposted from my blog
When I mention my dad’s abuse, I mention salient things – physical pain, insults, and controlling behavior. These are “clearly bad” – if I tell you that he often told me I was lazy and would fail horribly at life once I left home, you know it’s bad, because it’s concrete, easy to imagine and obviously unkind. But this wasn’t the worst of the abuse; the most terrible parts were extraordinarily hard to understand or describe.
In his world, I felt insane – I couldn’t tell what was real, who was at fault, or why my heart hurt so much. My sense of clarity around my own intentions crumbled; everything I thought or did might have seemed good on the surface, but that goodness became just a disguise for my true, darker intentions – all helpfully revealed to me by my dad. And none of it was salient or concrete or easily understandable; I remember my mom once telling me, “I can’t describe what this is like to other people. The individual things seem so silly, I can’t put the important thing into words.”
I’m going to try to put it into words, and the words I personally use for “the important thing” are frame control.
Continues in source
What Is Memory that It May Have Hindsight and Foresight as wellWhat Is Memory that It May Have Hindsight and Foresight as well | Semantic Scholar
What Is Memory that It May Have Hindsight and Foresight as well
- H. Foerster
- Published 1969
“What is Time?” According to Legend, Augustine’s reply to this question was: “If no one asks me, I know: but if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not.” Memory has a similar quality, for if not asked, we all know what memory is, but when asked, we have to call for an International Conference on the Future of Brain Sciences. However, with a minimal change of the question, we could have made it much easier for Augustine. If asked “What’s the time?” he may have observed the position of the sun and replied: “Since it grazes the horizon in the west, it is about the sixth hour after noon.”
When meaning loses its meaning, with Nora Bateson & Dave SnowdenMeeting Registration – Zoom
As the theory and application of complexity and systems thinking translates into new epistemological worlds and emerging ontological possibilities, there is an ever-growing need for rigour, attention and creative understanding of the language and metaphors that circulate.
We invite you to a series of conversations between Nora Bateson and Dave Snowden to explore the uses and shifting meanings of some of the key concepts and ideas in the fields of complexity and systems theory. We will dive into the origins and histories of concepts like abduction and ecology to explore how meanings stretch, transform and sometimes wear out across ecosystems of communication.
This journey with Nora and Dave offers unique perspectives – tracing the roots of ideas and discerning subtle differences – towards a shared curiosity in the integrity of cultural dialogue and tending vital connections across understandings.
EMERGENCE An International Transdisciplinary Journal of Complex Social SystemHome Page – Emergence: Complexity & Organization
Collected Works of Warren S. McCulloch Edited by Rook McCulloch– Emergence: Complexity & Organization
Warren Sturgis McCulloch Interview Canadian Broadcasting 1969 – Warren speaks of brains and thinking machines, science and his legacy, and the need to be ‘completely humble to the facts and completely haughty to man…’Warren Sturgis McCulloch Interview on Vimeo
Warren Sturgis McCulloch Interview
Canadian Broadcasting 1969 – Warren speaks of brains and thinking machines, science and his legacy, and the need to be ‘completely humble to the facts and completely haughty to man…’
What Is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell is a 1944 science book written for the lay reader by physicist Erwin Schrödinger.What Is Life? – Wikipedia
32-page version (lectures) http://www.whatislife.ie/downloads/What-is-Life.pdf
THE SECOND CYBERNETICS Deviation-Amplifying Mutual Causal Processes[PDF] THE SECOND CYBERNETICS Deviation-Amplifying Mutual Causal Processes | Semantic Scholar
THE SECOND CYBERNETICS Deviation-Amplifying Mutual Causal Processes
- Magoroh Maruyama
- Published 1963
Since its inception, cybernetics was more or less identified as a science of self-regulating and equilibrating systems. Thermostats, physiological regulation of body temperature, automatic steering devices, economic and political processes were studied under a general mathematical model of deviation-counteracting feedback networks. By focusing on the deviation-counteracting aspect of the mutual causal relationships however, the cyberneticians paid less attention to the systems in which the mutual causal effects are deviation-amplifying. Such systems are ubiquitous: accumulation of capital in industry, evolution of living organisms, the rise of cultures of various types, interpersonal processes which produce menial illness, international conflicts, and the processes that are loosely termed as “vicious circles” and “compound interests”; in short, all processes of mutual causal relationships that amplify an insignificant or accidental initial kick, build up deviation and diverge from the initial condition. In contrast to the progress in the study of equilibrating systems, the deviation-amplifying systems have not been given as much investment of time and energy by the mathematical scientists on the one hand, and understanding and practical application on the part of geneticists, ecologists, politicians and psychotherapists on the other hand. The deviation-counteracting mutual causal systems and the deviation-amplifying mutual causal systems may appear to be opposite types of systems. But they have one essential feature in common: they are both mutual causal systems, i.e., the elements within a system influence each other either simultaneously or alternatingly. The difference between the two types of systems is that the deviation-counteracting system has mutual negative feedbacks between the elements in it while the deviationamplifying system has mutual positive feedbacks between the elements in it.
McCulloch W. S. (1960) What is a number, that a man may know it, and a man, that he may know a number? General Semantics Bulletin 26/27: 7–18. Available at https://cepa.info/1821McCulloch W. S. (1960) What is a number, that a man may know it, and a man, that he may know a number? 
Not sure if the link to pdf above will render in WordPress so here it is again: http://www.vordenker.de/ggphilosophy/mcculloch_what-is-a-number.pdf
Lots of very nice personal reminiscences (including of Pitts) and some sharp summaries, a review of philosophy and relevant science to date.
Complexity and organization–environment relations: Revisiting Ashby’s law of requisite variety(PDF) Complexity and organization–environment relations: Revisiting Ashby’s law of requisite variety
Development of an Instrument to Assess Capacity for Systems Thinking☆ Author links open overlay panelKaitlynn M.CastelleaRaed M.JaradatbDevelopment of an Instrument to Assess Capacity for Systems Thinking – ScienceDirect
|We have a new webinar coming up! Join us for the second webinar in our free series on December 8th, 15:00-16:15 CET / 14:00-15:15 GMT / 9-10:15am EST.|
The most powerful lever to shift a system is to change what it is for, the purpose it serves. Creating a new system invariably involves establishing a new sense of purpose. But how do systems acquire a radically different purpose and how do system innovators go about developing a new purpose for an entire system?
To explore the answers to these questions join us for our next free webinar where Charles Leadbeater and Jennie Winhall, from the Systems Innovation Initiative at the ROCKWOOL Foundation, will set out a new, practical framework for how to shift a system’s purpose.
Register hereThey will be joined in conversation by a panel of practitioners intensively engaged in purpose driven systems change, including Stephanie Brobbey, from The Good Ancestors Movement, a social purpose venture which aims to shift the role and responsibilities of wealth in society and Karen Ingerslev, who is leading an ambitious programme of reimagination and renewal in the health systems of Jutland in Denmark. Karen and Stephanie will be joined on the panel by people pioneering practical purpose driven change in education systems.
We hope you will join us for what will be a fascinating, inspiring and helpful discussion.
Can’t make it? Subscribe to our mailing list for future events and early access to new practical frameworks and guides to systems innovators to be published in the coming months.
Did you miss our last webinar on The Power to Shift a System? Watch it here.
Look forward to seeing you on December 8th.
The ROCKWOOL Foundation
Open Sociotechnical Systems Thinking with Trond Hjorteland Unlisted 92 viewsStreamed live 5 hours ago 8 DISLIKE SHARE SAVE Virtual Domain-Driven Design 1.96K subscribers SUBSCRIBED The term “sociotechnical” seems to have gotten a bit or renaissance lately, which is a great thing given all the positive impact it has had on many organisations and their workers around the world over the years. It also seems to have gotten some traction outside the academic circles this time after being developed and pushed from there mostly using action research since its humble beginning in the post-war British coal mines. It is an entry into systems thinking for many, with its idea about joint optimisation of both the technical and social aspects of an organisation. A common example is setting up the team topology to match the service architecture in an attempt to cater for negative effects of Conway’s law. This is all well and good, but if we think about it, viewing the modern organisation as a sociotechnical system is a bit of a tautology; all organisations have social and technical elements that people deal with on a daily basis. As with systems thinking, the value of sociotechnical system design is more about perspective and understanding rather than any specific outcome. There is so much more to sociotechnical design than DevOps and team setup that we need in order to cope in our increasingly complex and hazardous “digital coal mines.” Disclaimer: This talk is a prototype and is loosely based on my lightning talks at DDD Europe and the recent talk at Lean Agile Exchange. Hope this will be more of a joint exploration system thinking in general and open sociotechnical systems thinking in particular than a pure lecture.Open Sociotechnical Systems Thinking with Trond Hjorteland – YouTube
Nice. Actual research from great sources, and he points out it’s a ‘beta’ presentation 🙂
Storytelling for Systems Change Insights from the field How can stories help us change systems?Storytelling for Systems Change | Centre For Public Impact (CPI)