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If that challenge from Frank in March was to attract support, I would  
be more than happy to help facilitate such an event if the economics  
worked,

Roger
On 14 Oct 2008, at 00:15, Ern Reynolds wrote:

> Hello Frank and Friends,
>
>         I intended to be counted as one "single soul on this list  
> responded to the challenge in my e-mail of March 19, last:
> >"so my question and challenge to all here is this: are there thirty  
> people here who are ready, willing and able to engage in a full  
> fledged >Syntegration and begin meaningful progress in bringing  
> Stafford’s ideas to a world in desperate need of real change?"   1  
> down, 29 to go.  I only regret that I don't qualify as a "person in  
> charge".
>
>         My left-wing pals in Urbana, Ilinois who compose the  
> Performers Workshop Ensemble follow this dictum of their late  
> founder Herbert Brun: Wrap the kernel of what you love (social  
> progress set to music) inside a protective husk or wrapper (social  
> activism).  This is another way of saying the real core objective  
> needs the protection of the ostensible, or the strategic needs the  
> protection of a diversionary tactical thrust.  This said, it's not  
> so much a false agenda as a subtle thoughtful multi-step one.
>
>         Stafford carefully differentiated running experiments inside  
> the Viable System Model, as opposed to running them "in the flesh  
> and in the metal".  Much less pain and much less unrecoverable cost.
>
>         It has long been my observation and belief that political  
> people who are right of center should make better cyberneticians  
> than those on the left.  Rightists are instinctively more  
> conservative when building a regulator (legislating), so as to be  
> more nuanced and not be excessive about it.  I once had to explain  
> myself (schoolboy-on-the-carpet fashion) for writing "The Tory  
> Stafford Beer".
>
>         Leftists are much quicker to overdo regulation and make too  
> many sunnyside assumptions about the improvability of human nature.   
> Yet the cyberneticians I have befriended over the years most  
> typically turn out to be political lefties.  Before my time, the  
> most visible Republican among cyberneticians was Warren McCullough,  
> a mentor of Stafford's long dead.
>
> Ern Reynolds
>
>
> On Mon, 13 Oct 2008 23:24:41 +0100 Frank  
> <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> Dear Ern,
> I think in a case like that it's best to sneak under the defence  
> radar of the organisation. One way is to, so to speak, cover  
> yourself with corporate approved protein thus avoiding being  
> eliminated by the immune system of the corporation.
>
> And how to do that? Well, learn the vision of the corporation and  
> spout all their slogans at every opportunity thus making it  
> difficult for them to attack you without being seen to be also  
> attacking the company.
>
> In other words you go in with a false agenda and the quietly  
> introduce cybernetic principles without anyone noticing. I think  
> that process is called The Front End.
>
> Regards
>
> Frank Wood
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Ern Reynolds
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 8:28 PM
> Subject: Re: Adaptation and Global Warming (Was Stafford Beer] and  
> Oracle)
>
> Protagonists of Syntegration and the VSM,
>
>         I expect all of us have had the experience repeated many  
> times of energetically participating in a forum or process that  
> could not be translated into action by our clients and nominal  
> superiors.
>
>         Stafford himself had the ear of politically powerful patrons  
> -- who stiffed him on his bill and implemented none of his wisdom.
> As Stafford counseled, the client must also "swallow the medicine".
>
>         I have no doubt the Metaphorum collaborative could assemble  
> some 30 luminous intellects in a New York minute.  But none of the  
> 30 are "in charge".
>
>         In the US I have been deeply immersed in Republican politics  
> (national, state, local) almost continuously since 1964.  I've  
> worked on the ground politically in 43 of the 50 States.  I am  
> freshly trained to deploy with other Republican lawyers to wherever  
> needed in case of another 2000-style vote recount scenario or  
> litigation imbroglio, so I have maintained some "street creds"  
> within the party establishment.  And yet ...
>
>         I served a series of civilian subcabinet officials as a  
> staffer 1981-87 during most of the Reagan Administration.  Even when  
> I enjoyed an especially enlightened boss who would listen carefully  
> and with comprehension, none of my cybernetic advice got taken to  
> heart and implemented any further up the entirely civilian chain of  
> command.
>
>         Legalisms were respected but science was not.  As a  
> litigator I know something about persuasion, but management  
> cybernetics is a "missionary sell" requiring intuitive mystical  
> belief (rather than mentation or emotional jury appeal).  Military  
> people are much more enlightened about cybernetics than any  
> civilians I've dealt with in 40+ years.
>
>         There's a saying in American politics that you come to power  
> through the efforts of one set of people, but you govern with an  
> entirely different set.  The latter appointees and advisors are as  
> resistant to cybernetic management as elected officials themselves,  
> because model making, Syntegration and the VSM are outside their  
> experience.  "They have not the variety."
>
>         So, before 30 stalwart Syntegrators take on the question of  
> what to do (about global warming or any other large question), a  
> metaquestion is how and whether implementation could ever occur.   
> The stock answer is first identify the constraints, and second  
> remove them.  That result I've yet to witness.
>
> Ruefully,
>
> Ern Reynolds
>
>
>
> On Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:07:49 -0400 "Boris G Freesman, Q.C." <[log in to unmask] 
> > writes:
> Frank: "What I would like to see discussed here is how we can build  
> on the VSM in order to manage the challenge of global warming rather  
> than the panic stricken reactions we have now."
>
> No panic on my part!
>
> But also note that not a single soul on this list responded to the  
> challenge in my e-mail of March 19, last:
> "so my question and challenge to all here is this: are there thirty  
> people here who are ready, willing and able to engage in a full  
> fledged Syntegration and begin meaningful progress in bringing  
> Stafford’s ideas to a world in desperate need of real change?"
>
> Talk about the brain of Savannah man!... or, are you referring to  
> Savannah, Georgia?  ;-}>
>
> Boris
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Frank
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 9:42 AM
> Subject: Re: Adaptation and Global Warming (Was Stafford Beer] and  
> Oracle)
>
> Hi Boris,
> well as the saying goes:
>
> "No answer is an answer in itself" which can be interpreted in many  
> way :-)
>
> SNIP
> >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?
>
> Bill Livingston has a lot to say about this in his books "Having Fun  
> at Work" and "Friends in High Places". The main thrust of his  
> arguments is that we still have the brain of (say) Savannah man of  
> eons ago and yet we are struggling to make sense in a highly complex  
> world, both technologically and organisationally speaking.
>
> His books and Beer's Purpose of a System Is What It Does and Ashby's  
> "Law of Requiste Variety" saved my sanity and that's no  
> understatement! Once I began to understand the nature of the  
> organisational beast I could then have fun, do little controlled  
> experiments to provoke predictable reaction from "org man".
>
> And of course survive that reaction. :-)
>
> SNIP
> >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!
>
> One of the examples of the rearranging of deck chairs is that over  
> 130 million people have had their territorial rights violated by  
> conservation agencies so that parks could be set up and certified  
> logging concessions handed out and so on. Add to that alleged human  
> rights abuses such as massive forced resettlements, destruction of  
> property and farms and other violations.
>
> All this done by conservation agencies so that we in the West can  
> feel that we are "doing something".
>
> What I would like to see discussed here is how we can build on the  
> VSM in order to manage the challenge of global warming rather than  
> the panic stricken reactions we have now.
>
> Regards
>
> Frank Wood
>
>
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Boris G Freesman, Q.C.
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 1:00 AM
> Subject: Re: Adaptation and Global Warming (Was Stafford Beer] and  
> Oracle)
>
> 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: Frank
> To: [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: Boris G Freesman, Q.C.
> To: [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: 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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