Welcome to Rethinking Everything
I've been blogging for years, starting in 2007, under the heading "Question Everything" (QE). In that blog I raised questions about what is the reality of our world, how the world works, and more importantly, why our world works the way it seems to. My motivation was due to noting a difference between what people say and what they do. There seemed to be so many inconsistencies between, for example, what I learned in school and what I observed in the real world. Over the years I covered many different aspects of the human social system and where I thought I saw discrepancies. I covered issues as varied as energy and the economy, to societal collapse, to some deficiencies in the human psyche. This was possible to attempt because I had gained an extensive education (most of it autodidactic) in systems science, SS. With the tools of SS and systems thinking, I found I could quickly come to understand different specialized fields once I translated the terminology of that field into systems terminology. Over the years I have had professional successes in several different occupations from engineer to management to professor of computer science. This was all possible because systems principles underlie the seemingly wildly varied phenomena.
Over the years I sought answers to many of the questions. Using, again, the methods and principles of SS I was able to analyze phenomena and ferret out observations, if not outright answers. QE slowly transitioned from purely a question-asking exercise to offering some of the results of my analyses. I gradually formed a holistic view of the world and how it works. Now, I've decided to start sharing some thoughts on a variety of issues.
The pandemic was a major transformative force in making me think about what I had learned and what I should do with it. The pandemic has exposed so many of the dysfunctional aspects of today's human societies. We don't know how far this breakage goes, but if systems principles hold, we should expect a complete breakdown of most of what we have thought of as "normal." Many commentators have pivoted to talking about the "new normal," or how we need to rethink different aspects of our social system. For example, with COVID-19 forcing so many schools to close and carry on distant learning, people are now asking what kind of school system will we have post-pandemic? I suggest this is the wrong kind of question to ask.
Rather, I think we need to deeply rethink everything about us (Homo sapiens) and or existence. And by that I mean not only rethink specific subsystems (institutions) but the entire context of every subsystem. We need to rethink the whole notion of what it means to have a human social system. In light of global warming and peak fossil fuel energy this becomes an exercise of existential importance.
Whereas QE had simply become a quarterly reminder that things are bad and getting worse, Rethinking Everything (RE) will be focused on expanding some of the "answers" provided by questioning and analyses using systems science and systems thinking. For example, I will tackle the whole notion of what governance is and means for a sapient species that seeks to live in harmony with its environment. Many of these ideas will be incorporated in my new systems book in writing.
Its not that I've run out of questions. Questions are always the guiding light for trying to understand things better. I will continue to pose questions as they come up. But now I want to turn those questions around quickly to propositions about the nature of a reality that needs to be rather than the one we have clumsily constructed for ourselves, and gotten ourselves into deep trouble as a consequence. I want to see if we can derive systems wisdom from examining our evolution and history while also considering what natural systems suggest to us as ways to organize and run our societies. We are intentional beings. We make choices about what paths we wish to pursue. But we need to direct those intentions from a basis of knowledge, especially knowledge of consequences. We need to be strategic and far sighted as opposed to working to maximize short-term profits regardless of what the future brings.
These are the kinds of ideas I want to pursue in working on this blog. We'll see how it goes.