Thinking systems thinking…systems

I am pondering systems thinking. When I look at the meatloaf on the dinner table, rather than seeing individual ingredients, or even just a meatloaf, I see the interaction of each of the ingredients in making the whole. Considering my classes, I see the topics of discussion and assignment all blending together to develop a new understanding of a concept instead of see PSY 665 Assignment 1 and 2. Systems involve many working parts and processes. A system is greater than the sum of its parts, to put it Gestalt-ly.  Systems thinking therefore is looking at the interaction of each part and seeing them manifest in the whole.

Why systems thinking is beneficial is because it looks at everything rather than only one thing. Systems thinking doesn’t see a car, it sees a frame, an engine, a transmission, a drive train, axels, wheels, etc. The systems thinking mechanic doesn’t see a broken car, he sees a malfunctioning system and then gets to work to find the malfunctioning part. This mindset is valuable in all walks of life. I have used it while working as a client support representative for a software company. When I received a phone call saying that our program wasn’t working, I didn’t immediately consider the program broken and try to find a new one, I began to analyze the components of how the program works and what it interacts with. This allows for finding the issue and resolving it.

We all take this approach in many ways and in various situations. It could be beneficial for it to be applied more universally, however. As mentioned in an earlier post, the world is becoming ever more connected. If we all began to think more of ourselves as a team, all working with a common goal, perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss other people with differing beliefs or abilities. Perhaps we could see each other as working parts of the greater whole, humanity. If we want to improve humanity then we would try to improve ourselves and those around us. Not in a demeaning, self-righteous way, but in a way that has us honestly seeking to uplift another person. Perhaps then we would really see each other as brothers and sisters; even the ones who offend us.

If we take offense when someone slanders us or something we care about, or something we believe in, we need to take a look at the bigger picture. We are all here on this planet together. We can’t keep killing each other for disagreements, not even for outright offenses. If we do we are only destroying the system we are all a part of. We need to embrace systems thinking regarding all people and work to keep the system of humanity operational while simultaneously building it to be the best it can be.


About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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2 Responses to Thinking systems thinking…systems

  1. Who Calls Me says:

    You really make it appear so easy with your presentation however I find this
    topic to be really something that I feel I might by no means understand.
    It sort of feels too complex and extremely extensive
    for me. I’m taking a look forward in your subsequent publish, I’ll try to get the
    hang of it!

  2. Chris"TAL" says:

    I like this. There is one flaw, those of us system thinkers have a hard time finding the rest of the system when we’ve only been given one part, one spoke, or just the engine. I am a full on system thinker. I don’t like to focus on one piece but want to see the entire finished product visually in my head. Great post!

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