Russell Ackoff is a multifaceted academic and business thinker. Born in Philadelphia in 1919, he has been characterised as an architect, a philosopher, a city planner, an operations researcher and a problem solver. He is perhaps best known for making systems thinking understandable and accessible. But his studies began uneventfully...
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The talk of breaking things apart in order to understand them reminded me of a quote from Tolkien:
"...he that breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom."
Whilst this can be useful in science, particularly atomic science, when applied to people and organic systems it can be destructive.
I also reminded of the parable of the blind men and the elephant:
"It is a story of a group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before and who learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their partial experience and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is. In some versions, they come to suspect that the other person is dishonest and they come to blows. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to project their partial experiences as the whole truth, ignore other people's partial experiences, and one should consider that one may be partially right and may have partial information."
The ending analogy of "flying a plane in a hurricane" seems to describe the difficult situation American leadership has been in for quite some time... and a plane out of control has become a painful symbol for the troubled times we live in.
Let's hope that as a team the peoples of the World can 'weather the storm' and navigate to a calmer state...
The closing analogy of flying a plane in a hurricane seems to capture the state that American leadership has been in for quite some time...