System Cannot Understand Itself LO5987

John Paul Fullerton (
Tue, 5 Mar 1996 08:50:17 -0600

responding to Ron Davison who said, LO5973

"W. Edwards Deming often said, "A system cannot know itself." He
sometimes followed this up with a quote he attributed to Ed Baker, "You
can know all about ice and not understand water." "

Yesterday, I watched the conversation between Myron Tribus and Dr. Deming
from the "Deming Videos". The thought came to mind that Dr. Deming applied
continuous improvement to his management theories as well as recommending
it to his clients. Through imagination, it seems like he could have a
given observation, say, "a system cannot know itself". Then in practice
other considerations might become evident and some of those considerations
might not be "obvious". In fact, they might tend to NOT be obvious because
they would only be found through iteration or reconsideration of an
"explanation". The main point, that I mean right now, is that there might
not be an easily traceable route between his comments above or perhaps
between many of his or any other system developer's comments!

He said that when he talked to Japan's "top management" he later found
that they couldn't understand his confidence in the benefit of quality.
Yet they began to work toward it!

Maybe these comments will promote others. I know I'm not answering the

Have a nice day
John Paul Fullerton


John Paul Fullerton <>

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