Hi Barry,
I'm glad it does. However this is a bit vague and for me, a fictional investor here it does not motivate me to  invest.


On 1 Nov 2009, at 22:34, BARRY A CLEMSON wrote:


Nice question. 

My personal answer is that the discussions here inform my actions in at least two ways: 

1) my own understanding is deepened and that deepened understanding then informs the projects I work on

2) these discussions have directly influenced the theme for my next novel, which is very much aimed at changing the world.


On Nov 1, 2009, at 8:52 AM, Frank Wood wrote:

My response to this discussion is a question.

Can anyone give me hard examples of any ACTION that has come out of all the theorising, speculation and discussion there has been over the years on this listserv as regards cybernetics, especially VSM. I don't know George Soros but I suspect he might want to see how we have turned theorising into action and more importantly how that action has benefitted the community.

I know I keep banging on about this for which I'm totally unapologetic :-)


Frank Wood

On 31 Oct 2009, at 13:48, Roger Harnden wrote:


Several individuals have at various times expressed their frustration that this forum has not had more impact on the world of action, given the relevance of our ideas to the present global crises (both economic and ecological), and the resonnance of the insights and discourse of systems thinking and VSM with that of certain major players (such as George Soros).

Let's reflect a moment on why his might be so, and what (if anything) might be done about it. 

I feel there needs to be an understanding of the significance of  the nomenclature of the community from which this forum arose - Metaphorum. This isn't intended to frustrate or deflect  the call to action, but an attempt to release the latent energy that I am sure is inherent in this particular community.

As has been mentioned before, Listserve was established as a communication space for Metaphorum - a group of individuals who had in one way or another been close to Stafford or involved in his ideas. This group participated in a Syntegration held to celebrate his life and death. Metaphorum emerged from one of the topics generated in the Syntegration, a topic which discussed ways to explain, advance and disseminate Stafford's ideas and cybernetics in general (but with a focus upon managerial cybernetics in particular).

The name Metaphorum was chosen deliberately. There is a play on 'metaphor' and on 'forum'. But also upon 'meta'. I think we saw this entity as preserving and advancing the central ideas, but also as generating new understandings and initiatives. - spawning them, as it were. We saw ourselves acting as the proverbial acorn, seeding future ideas and initiatives that we presently (at that time) might not have been aware of. The initiative was very much seen as an opening up rather than a closing down -  a living laboratory or breeding ground to celebrate and launch a particular set of ideas; rather than a mausoleum to simply preserve them.

Given that we are all 'normal' human beings (well, more-or-less!), even though we try to think cybernetically and systemically we often find ourselves bedded within the usual constraints and habits of conventional thinking. And, as a community, I think there is a slight schizophrenia between a yearning for self-organisation, and a lurking recognition that in the social domain self-organisation is seldom enough alone., in questions such as 'What are we going to do?', and 'How are we going to do it?'.

And, my point is that the 'meta' of the name of this community (or nexus of communities), surely legitimises this through turning a tendency towards schizophrena into a healthful paradox (wafter all, the paradox lis central to cybernetic thinking). For instance, I personally enjoy sliding in and out of being overly intellectual, or else pursue flights of fancy in exploring and pursuing ideas. But this does not mean that I want everyone else to do the same thing, or feel that this forum should focus upon this. Rather, I would love the forum to evolve along its 'meta' lines' by providing both the person skills and resources for concrete projects, AND and theoretical underpinning for projects and initiatives. In other words to allow flights of fancy together with demand for application to co-existence in parallel, thence generating further synergy.

I know I tend to get bogged down by these details in a perhaps over-intellectual way (as oppose to 'getting on with things'), but  perhaps these issues need to be visible, rather than lurking as a blind spot. Thus, under the umbrella of 'meta' we might progress both the 'reflective' and the 'practical', and gain a better understand how these things work off one another. Some of us, after all, are more ''men' of action', some of us more ''men' of reflection', but surely all of us are a bit of both. But our commonality in this forum, is to do with the a loose sharing (or overlap) of a mindset. As history manifestly reminds us, few people are equally reflective and practical. There are obvious exceptions, and Stafford indeed lived both sorts of identity - reflection and action. But this Listserve is perhaps not itself a precursor to action nor to reflection, but rather a space that might generate reflection and action, at various times and for various purposes, itself acting as a launch pad rather than venue for such initiatives. Does that make sense?

And this would be a good thing.....a metaphorum.......But perhaps this means that its own effectiveness is as a space that enables synergy, interaction and that triggers (rather than carries out) further initiatives [whether commercial projects, co-writing papers of books, social events (such as conferences]). And as long as we accept this (provided we do) it should be able to provide both functions for different people at different times......

Mind, I do think that in order to effectively carry out such a dual function, the matter of protocols is important (as has been mentioned before);. That will help all we different and varied individuals with our different and various agenda's, to experience synergy rather the unpleasant sensation of stepping on each other's toes.

Anyway, that's how I see it, folks.


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Cybernetica Press Inc
Denmark Rising is now available at my web site

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For more information go to: For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For more information go to: For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~