Sorry Frank. I did not ignore you; I forgot you!  ;-}>
 
I think we should be restructuring societies so that they can continuously adapt to constant complexification. People, too.
 
Yes... that is why the VSM was articulated... but, as you say, humanity is extremely addicted to rearranging deckchairs: yes, let's change everything, just so long as nothing changes
 
Until about 75 years ago, in what then was, comparatively speaking, a simple society, that seemed to suffice... who even thought, then, of accelerating change and complexity?
 
And I agree with you that human arrogance is a major (if not, the) problem: it stands in the way of letting go of what we think we know (but do not), to let something new come in... something that we don't think we know (but, in fact, do). 
 
Boris
 
 
 
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Frank
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 2:10 PM
Subject: Adaptation and Global Warming (Was Stafford Beer] and Oracle)

Dear Boris,
"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."
 
Isn't that what we are doing with our approach to global warming? In our antrhocentric arrogance we think we can change a huge system such as global climate by rearranging the deckchairs.
 
Shouldn't we be adapting socieities to changing climates?
 
Can VSM be used to help us?
 
Regards
 
Frank Wood
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Boris G Freesman, Q.C.
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 3:12 PM
Subject: Re: Stafford Beer] and Oracle

"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: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">William Livingston
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[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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