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Dear Boris,

Is not a system's purpose what it does? -- or perhaps paraphrased -- it is, what is does.

Therefore this Listserv, in as much as it is a 'system', is meeting, by definition, it's purpose (declared or otherwise).

One possible purpose statement could be, to use modern internet parlance: to provide communication, entertainment, comfort and virtual stimulation for a healthy community of lurkers (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lurker).

One little interesting fact came to light at Metaphorum 2008 when the inevitable discussion came up about using something else more 'up market' than an old black&white teletext on a PC system (i.e. this listserv): only one person had asked to be removed from the Listserv address list (and he was at the conference I think). Other gripes, such as corporate memory, were quickly addressed by a new archive feature. So, there we have it: it works!

Yes, I also swore off it as well -- several times! 

But like all good addictions (if such a thing is possible) I cannot quite bring myself to actually request that my email address be removed. Although it works spasmodically, in fits&starts, with strange calling signals and communications rituals, and usually gravitates eventually towards the theme of "saving the world", none-the-less, my real world would be a little darker and colder without its virtual reality (or is it its reality virtually ? ... that one is for Luc ;-)

I realise there are men and women of gravitas here who may find it difficult to expose their careers and persona to the less than serious -- but I'm fully committed to not taking it all too seriously, but rather I try to take it artfully.

So, lurk on I say, until the force moves you to offer sacrifice at the temple: then offer freely and with or without complaint -- all seem equally served by public indifference.  

Russell
p.s. welcome back!

--- On Tue, 7/10/08, Boris G Freesman, Q.C. <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Boris G Freesman, Q.C. <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Stafford Beer] and Oracle
To: [log in to unmask]
Received: Tuesday, 7 October, 2008, 1:12 AM



 
 

"There is absolutely no shred 
of evidence that, given time, society will gravitate towards what’s best for its 
survival and advancement. There is no compelling force towards 
enlightenment-based action. Anyone can find the same miserable pattern of 
sabotage in the literature of a century ago..."
 
Thanks for that, sir!
 
It echoes the criticism I have levelled at this 
very group in the past... which is why I had sworn off this list: we are a much 
smaller group but subject to the same ailment.
 
As explanation-in-part, I offer one of 
Stafford's favourite quotes from Machiavelli:
"It must be considered that there is 
nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more 
dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer 
has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm 
defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness 
arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their 
favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in 
anything new until they have had actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on 
every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal 
of partisans, the others only defend him half-heartedly, so that between them he 
runs great danger."
 
It also corroborates my deep concern 
(fear?) that Prigogine's theories apply to our social systems, too: 
society must first collapse in the 
face of overwhelming complexity before we can reorganize it at a higher level of 
structural complexity.
 
And, finally, another quotation that I consider 
germane... this time, from G. B. Shaw:
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the 
world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. 
Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable 
man."
 
Can we, the Metaphorum group, learn anything from 
all of this?
 
Remains to be seen!
 
Boris
 
 
 
 

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: 
  William 
  Livingston 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  
  Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 5:09 
  AM
  Subject: Stafford Beer] and Oracle
  

  
  
  Thanks for 
  providing another round of data points about the sociology of inter-domain 
  technology transfer. What is significant about the vast collection of these 
  experiences of passive/aggressive rejections, over the ages, is that the 
  creation of this ubiquitous response remains undiscussed and unexamined. 
  Where is the clarion call saying “Hey, anybody see a pattern here? How come 
  there are no contrary examples?” None.
    
  Decades ago I made 
  it a point to visit with the living greats in systems think, including 
  Stafford. Near the end all would say something to the effect that – “Although 
  my concepts have not yet taken hold to any commensurate extent, in a hundred 
  years or so society would gradually get the message and the discipline of 
  systems think would become a cultural norm.”  I noted these mentors, and their 
  mentors, had tormented endings – to a man. 
    
  There is 
  absolutely no shred of evidence that, given time, society will gravitate 
  towards what’s best for its survival and advancement. There is no compelling 
  force towards enlightenment-based action. Anyone can find the same miserable 
  pattern of sabotage in the literature of a century ago – Thorstein Veblen 
  being but one example. What is striking is that the behavioral attributes of 
  institutions are exactly the same, century in and century out – oblivious 
  to circumstances. The institutional rejection of VSM, wholesale, is but one 
  instance of the institutional aversion to intelligence-informed management. Friday, 
  USA citizens bailed out Wall St. to the tune of a trillion dollars without 
  once investigating by what means this global emergency manifested, 
  unforeseeable, overnight. 
    
  “Oh, you had no 
  idea on Friday when you reported solid financial strength that by Monday your 
  institution would be down $300 billion? No problem. Here’s money for you to 
  keep doing whatever you were doing. After all, your $400 trillion in 
  unregulated derivatives makes out national budget look parsimonious.” 
  
    
  In view of this 
  stunning measurement of institutional ideology, it just doesn’t seem likely 
  that promoting VSM in the ways and means it has been promoted will fare any 
  better in the future. But, that’s another 
  undiscussable.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
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For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org

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For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org

For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org

METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html

Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
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