Life in Organizations LO9843
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 08:57:04 -0400

Replying to LO9675 --

(I've decided to post this even though If made a very similar point, which
I've included at the end.)

In a message dated 96-09-02 (LO9675) Bill Hobler writes:

If Price wrote

> > I guess I am reacting to "people made a system" which occurs to me as like
> >saying a chicken made an egg; true as far as it goes but also true the
> >other way around.

> Whenever I analyze a system I find that people are the controlling factor.
> We provide the intent and direction of the system. All else is inanimate
> and without the ability to cause change. I then conclude that, if the
> 'system' has a grip on us -- we have allowed it to.
> ....
> My real intent in this is to offer a shift in viewpoint. The viewpoint
> that the 'system' is at fault (to blame) disempowers us. The viewpoint
> that ours is the responsibility for changing the system tells us to pick
> up the power we as creators have and do something to make the system
> better. Become an activist!


I think both you and If have good points. I agree with If's point that we
must acknowledge the existence of the causal loop of "the system" and
individuals - we are not totally free of "the system", whatever the system
may be. On the other hand, we are not totally bound by "the system",
either, and we have some freedom to be change agents. Your point that
focusing on our freedom to act creatively empowers us is very important,
and I want to expand on it.

The challenge, as I see it, is to know when, where, and how we have the
leverage to effect changes in the system. Blindly trying to change the
system without this essential knowledge is usually unproductive and leads
to a sense of helplessness and then to cynicism.

I'm reminded of the "positive mental attitude" thread - a
positive/activist mindset is a prerequisite, but not enough. In order for
that mindset to survive it must be accompanied by real results at some

If later wrote:

> The shift of viewpoint I am trying to offer is, I think
> at least, subtler. It is that the 'system' actually creates us, and until
> we realise it we do not have the power. I am not 'blaming the system' I am
> seeking to understand from whence the power comes.

- Jeff (


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