Stimulation (in combination with internal heterogeneity, structuring, functionality, and purposefulness)

In the initial sense, stimulation refers to the fact that any system, among its connections with the environment, has such connections through which the environment affects the system, causing some changes in its state. But for the subject, this opens up a wonderful opportunity to manage events for their subjective purposes, causing the outputs of the system necessary (target) processes by specifying certain (targeted) effects on its inputs.

All human practice is based on the use of this opportunity. Any desired change in reality is carried out by us precisely by applying control actions on the inputs of the controlled system. However, the same practice shows that it is not always possible to achieve exactly the process that is needed at the output of the managed system. When it is possible to determine the cause of the difficulties, it is possible to determine the way to overcome them (such cases are described in Section 4.3, Part I, as seven types of control).

Naturally, the more complex the managed system is, the more difficult it is to manage control problems. It is not surprising that many surprises are presented to managers of social systems. Even the notion of counterintuitiveness of the behavior of such systems has taken root among theorists of complex systems governance: they often surprise us and behave quite differently from what is expected of them.

As shown in Section 4.3, Part I, trial and error is a reasonable way to manage complex systems. For the management of the social system, it is often first reduced to trial attempts to find a “key”, “leverage” point in the system, the impact on which can lead to the elimination of the problem. Such points are among the controlled inputs of the system, and the problem is to determine which of these inputs is the best leverage point for solving the problem. This is where the counterintuitiveness of complex systems is manifested (especially, in the management of social systems): the impact on the “obviously key” regulated parameters of the system often leads to unexpected results. Examples of this are failures in management, failures of a number of reforms of different (including state) scale, obvious inefficiency of many laws, etc.

Of course, the main reason for this is the complexity of the controlled system (in the next chapter we will discuss the different types of complexities). However, an important role is also played by the fact that different points of influence on the system have different potential to influence the final result at the output of the system. Donella Meadows [5] considered 12 types of interventions in the system that can be made in social systems, and ordered them by increasing efficiency, the strength of changes made in the system as a result of intervention. Let us reproduce the main conclusions of this remarkable work.

By importance for management the key points, which make it possible to change the state of the system, are ordered (by the increase of the “lever” effect) as follows.

  • 1. Quantitative, numerical indicators: variables and constants.
  • 2. Stocks of material resources.
  • 3. The structure of resource flows.
  • 4. Delays in the control loop.
  • 5. Negative feedback.
  • 6. Positive feedback.
  • 7. Information flow.
  • 8. Rules of motivating people (encouragement, punishment, constraints).
  • 9. Self-organization.
  • 10. Objectives of the system.
  • 11. System of views and concepts (paradigm).
  • 12. Expansion of worldview (going beyond the paradigm).

Let us briefly describe each item from this list.

1. Quantitative parameters of resource flows. Experience with simple (technical) systems suggests that the behavior of the system can be changed in the right direction by simply turning the tap that regulates the flow of resources between some parts of the system. In the management of social systems, the vast majority of disputes about the choice of a specific impact on the system are around what values to give to the numerical parameters of resource flows. However, in complex systems (due to the multiplicity of different factors together generating a specific behavior of the system), the change in the flow of a resource in one of the channels often has little effect (and sometimes does not affect it at all) on the course of events. The increase or decrease in the number of officials does not lead to an improvement in the work of the authorities. The increase in the cost of maintaining the police or the increase in the punishment for crimes does not lead to the disappearance of crime.

It is not that the numerical parameters are not important at all: in the short term, their changes can be significant, especially for those directly affected by the regulated flow. However, the behavior of the system as a whole is almost never affected. Adjusting the numerical parameters, Donella considers the weakest way to control a complex system, and even compares it with the bustle of rearranging deck chairs on the sinking “Titanic” in the hope to stop the sinking of the ship. The only condition under which the numerical parameter of the resource flow can become a key point of impact on a complex system is that a change in this parameter should trigger some of the more significant factors in the following list.

2. The capacity of resource storage and the amount of accumulated reserves. Sometimes the problem is to maintain a stable system operation with sharp fluctuations in input and output resource flows. Then the key point is the availability of a reservoir for the accumulation of resources and the amount of reserves in it. The accumulation of resources allows not to reduce production during the decline in the consumption of its product, and vice versa, the presence of reserves allows not to reduce the consumption of the product while reducing its income.

The resource drive plays a stabilizing role and softens the impact of fluctuations in resource flows on the system; therefore, the drive is sometimes called a “buffer”. Therefore, warehouses and tanks are created in industrial, commercial, transport, energy, hydraulic, and financial systems. To abandon the cost of construction and maintenance of reservoirs can only be possible when ensuring the stability of the flow of resources, as is the case with the implementation of the “just in time inventory" system in construction, when the necessary parts of the erected structure arrive at the construction site just at the moment of their mounting. Storage capacity is a key parameter of the system in a changing environment, but this parameter is difficult to change: usually, the reservoir is a bulky physical structure (river dam, warehouse building). Therefore, this parameter is set only at the time of design and creation of the entire system, and if such a need arises later in the operation process, it is necessary to rebuild the system physically (as, e.g., in the construction of car parks in large cities). Therefore, buffers in the list of keypoints are important for strategic management but unpromising for operative management.

3. The structure of resource flows. The operation of the system is ensured by transporting the necessary resources from one part of the system to another. The nature of the system’s functioning depends heavily on how the process of transporting resources between all parts of the system is organized. Of great importance is the proper implementation of each individual flow between a particular pair of parts (determining the required capacity of each channel, the ability to control the flow rate in it, etc.). However, no less important is the structure of the entire network of channels.

In Hungary, the road network is created so that when you travel from one part of the country to another, you have to pass through the capital city of Budapest; this has created many problems that are not solved only by the regulation of traffic. It is no accident that in recent years, long-distance routes in Russia are built with a detour of settlements. The Rocky Mountain Institute (United States) has achieved a surprisingly strong reduction in energy consumption in the buildings of the Institute only by changing the structure of the heating system (they straightened extra bends in pipelines and changed the cross sections of some pipes). The efficiency of many management institutions is significantly increased by optimizing the structure of the document flow in them.

The structure of flows in a system can strongly affect the behavior of the system, and therefore is related to leverage points. However, because the change in the physical structure of the network of flows of material and energy resources is almost always associated with capital construction, it is preferable to take this factor into account at the design stage of the entire system.

4. Lag: delayed response of the controlled and controlling systems. All real systems are inertial: upon receipt of some influence on the system input, the formation of the corresponding new output state occurs only after a certain time, the duration of which is determined by the inertia of the system (“time constant”, “coming into being period”, “lag time”, “delay”). This fact is of particular importance in the management processes, the whole point of which is to develop by a controlling system impacts on the managed system in response to changes in the managed system and/or in the environment. It is obvious that the result of the control will depend on the ratio of the speed of the changes and the reaction rates of both systems.

The variety of final processes in the control system is very large: the slightest changes in the ratio of reaction rates can lead to a change in the nature of the entire dynamics of the process. The solution of dynamic equations of the system in the theory of automatic control demonstrates this variety, covering options from smooth processes, various damped and increasing oscillations, to changes catastrophically destructive.

Sometimes even without mathematical analysis it is clear what the consequences of delays in the control loop are. It is clear that a controlled system cannot respond to changes that are not commensurate with its time constant.

For example, in the 70s of the last century, the academician V.M. Glushkov fought for the computerization of the management of the economy of the USSR, considering the main reason for the difficulties of centralized planning of national economy, the delay in the feedback circuit: The State Planning Commission managed to form a cross-sectoral balance of production and consumption in the country of production only with a delay of three to four years. Another example is the electric power system of any country. The power plant is under construction for several years, and it gives power to the design capacity for several decades. With such a delay, it is impossible to track fluctuations in the current electricity demand. Therefore, the energy sector of any country in the world experiences long-term fluctuations between its overloading and underloading.

Delays at all stages of the management cycle are powerful key points. Here the main problem is the correct direction and magnitude of the change in delays. However, there are systems in which it is very difficult or even impossible to change the value of the delay. For example, you cannot accelerate a child’s development, or the growth of the forest in the logging of the timber industry, either the recovery of populations of commercial fish, etc. It is difficult to accelerate the construction of large facilities, the development of new drugs, the training of highly qualified specialists, bringing innovative ideas to commercialization, etc.

5. Negative feedbacks. We have already established that the processes at the outputs of the system are determined by the effects on its inputs and its structure. To get rid of the undesirable behavior of the system and get the desired process at the output, we are looking for a leverage (key) point in the structure of the system, the impact on which will provide the target result. Such elements of the structure include feedback loops. In many situations, it is the feedbacks that prove to be powerful keypoints of impact.

Their mechanism of action is that the signal sent by some element on its output channel to another element is forwarded further to other elements via the network of channels, and in the network structure, there is such a chain of links, which, starting from the first element, eventually forms a cycle closed on it (hence, the name feedback).

In this case, two options are possible: (1) the returned signal came in the same polarity (“in phase”) as the sent one, and when they are added, the initial change will be strengthened (this option is called positive (reinforcing feedback); (2) the returned signal arrived in the opposite polarity (“in the opposite phase”), and when it is added to the original change will be weakened (the name of this is negative (balancing) feedback). Both options can be used for management — of course, for different purposes.

Negative feedback is used when you want to keep the system in a given target state or on a given target trajectory despite external factors that diverge the system from a given target. Negative feedback suppresses these deviations, which is why it is sometimes called “stabilizing”, “balancing”, or “dampening”. The algorithm for using negative feedback for control is described in Section 4.3, Part I; the device implementing this algorithm is called a regulator. Leverage force can be both the creation of a missing feedback loop, and the modification of some operations in the existing regulator.

Negative feedback is a powerful keypoint and is present in many artificial and natural systems. Examples include various automatic control systems (thermostat, refrigerator, current or voltage stabilizers, autopilot, Watt’s regulator, etc.); sometimes the role of the regulator is played by a person (driver, pilot, machine operator), or an entire organization (legislative body, executive authorities), or a specially created system of relations in society (market economy, election of authorities); feedbacks play a huge role in the existence of living organisms, ensuring their viability in changing external conditions (adaptation systems, immune system, conditioned reflexes).

When choosing negative feedback as a keypoint for desired changes in a complex system, it is necessary to keep in mind a number of related features and difficulties in realizing this possibility.

First, regulation can compensate deviations from the target trajectory only within certain limits. Deviations can be so strong and fast that regulation simply cannot cope with them. Open the windows in the room and the air conditioner will not be able to maintain the preset room temperature. Hit the car on the ice and nothing will keep it on the road. Revolt the crowd and the police will not be able to restore order. The rate of logging, which exceeds the rate of forest recovery, leads to the loss of forests.

Second, we should not forget about the counterintuitiveness of complex systems. Often, even correctly found leverage point they begin to stimulate in the wrong direction. As an example, Donella Meadows [5] often cites erroneous government measures to regulate finances (prices, taxes, subsidies) in a market economy.

Third, there can be many different feedback loops in the system, and by stimulating one of them, you should consider how this will affect others. For example, some cycles most of the time are dormant, like emergency systems in nuclear power plants, fire extinguishing facilities in buildings, or our ability to sweat or tremble for regulating our body temperature. A serious mistake is to get rid of such emergency mechanisms because of their high cost and rare need. In a short period of time, the harm from this is not visible, but in the long run, we dramatically reduce the viability of the system.

As successful examples of strengthening negative feedbacks in social systems, D. Meadows cites preventive medicine, physical culture, high-quality nutrition, monitoring of controlled processes, taxes on environmental pollution, adequate penalties for offenses, etc.

6. Positive feedback. The result of the positive feedback is a sharp increase of the emerging trend in the behavior of the system. The more people become ill with an infectious disease, the more people become infected with it, this is how epidemics develop. The more money in your account, the more will run up the amount of interest. The more fast neutrons are in the radioactive mass of matter, the more nuclei they break into new neutrons, so the chain reaction develops, until the explosion of an atomic reactor or a nuclear bomb.

Positive feedback is consciously used as a keypoint in cases where it is necessary to bring the system into a nonequilibrium, unstable state, or even destroy it altogether. If you do not limit the positive feedback, the system will “go haywire” and destroy themselves (e.g., explosive weapons; the collapse of social systems, from families to empires; extinction of entire species of animals and plants).

You can limit its action in different ways. One way is to connect negative feedback to the process. The result depends on what you want to achieve and how you connect the negative feedback. Sometimes it is necessary to block the action of positive communication at all by applying a stronger negative one (such as vaccinations and blocking the channels of infection can stop the epidemic; or anticrisis measures in management; introduction of a progressive tax; or pressing the brakes in a dangerously accelerating car).

In some cases, it is desirable not to completely eliminate the effect of positive feedback and maintain some nonequilibrium state of the system. Then the negative feedback is introduced in such a proportion to the positive that the system is constantly kept in the desired nonequilibrium state (e.g., self-oscillating systems, oscillators; turbines of power plants; motors, engines; cardiovascular system of animals). Another way is to weaken the positive link itself (e.g., not to press the brakes, but to reset the gas; to reduce the growth rate of the population and economy; to limit the rate of consumption of renewable resources).

Of particular interest is the case when positive feedback leads the system into a chaotic state — violent, unpredictable, unique, but still flowing according its internal laws. This issue will be discussed later in the section on types of temporary changes in the system.

7. Information flows. The keypoints are those elements of the system, the impact on which leads to the desired changes in the behavior of the system. It is clear that different keypoints may correspond to different problems. Above, we considered the possibility of using as keypoints of different elements of the physical structure of the system: the numerical parameters, the volume of storage of material resources, channels of transportation of resources, various elements of the configuration of links in the network of these channels, etc.

However, in addition to the flow of physical resources, information flows play an important role in the systems, and the more complex the system, the greater is the role of information, becoming dominant in social systems. Therefore, the elements of the information infrastructure of the system are often powerful leverage points of influence on the system.

In full analogy with the physical points, in the information network, leverage point can be any of its elements, and the problem is to determine which of them is key to our specific situation, the supply of information in memory, or the capacity of a communication channel, or the structure of the network communication channels. Often the most powerful points of influence are information feedbacks.

In Holland, there is a block of identical houses, the only difference is that the electric meter in some houses is installed in the basement, while in others in the hallway, where residents could constantly see when they spend more energy, and when they spend less. In homes with a meter in sight, electricity consumption was 30% less.

This is a vivid example of a very sensitive leverage point in the information structure of the system. Here the parameter is not corrected, and the existing connection is not amplified or weakened, but a new loop of information negative feedback is created.

Another illustrative example is the requirement of the U.S. government (1986) that every factory polluting the air with harmful smoke must publish annual reports about it. From that moment on, everyone could know exactly what was erupting from the factory pipes in the city. There was no ban on emissions, no fines, no “acceptable” emission standards; it was only informing the public. But by 1990, emissions had fallen by 40%. One chemical company included in the list of “top ten pollutants” reduced its emissions by 90%, just to get out of this list.

The lack of information feedback is a very common cause of many troubles in the system. Creating an appropriate information flow is a very effective intervention, and, more simple and cheap than the alteration of the physical structure of the system. However, it is important to introduce the missing feedback in the right place and in the right form.

As an illustration can serve examples of possibilities to overcome the “Tragedy of the Commons” in fisheries and water supply. “The tragedy of communities” is the phenomenon of the depletion of renewable resources, where the total resource is consumed by all members of the community, each individually and uncontrollably. The tragedy that befell the world’s fishing industry has led to the disappearance of many species of commercial fish. As a result of improvement of means of location of fish shoals in the ocean and creation of highly effective fishing nets, ships began to catch jambs almost completely. The reason for the tragedy was the lack of negative feedback from the state of the fish population to investors for increasing the capacity of the fishing fleet. Contrary to popular belief, the price of fish does not provide this link: the smaller the catch, the higher the price, and the more profitable it is to catch. This is positive feedback leading to disaster.

Another example is the tragedy of using a common well. It is not enough to inform all users of the well that the groundwater level is falling. This can provoke a race, the desire to pump water more than the neighbors until the water runs out. It would be more correct to set the price of water, growing the more the rate of pumping water exceeds the rate of its natural inflow.

Many people have a tendency to avoid responsibility for their decisions. Therefore, social systems often lack feedback channels; that’s why these keypoints are so popular with ordinary people and so disliked by the authorities. When it is possible to persuade the authorities to open a feedback channel or to do it bypassing the authorities, there are big changes in the system. Recall Khrushchev’s report on the cult of personality, Gorbachev’s glasnost, Nixon’s Watergate, or the publication of secret government documents by Assange, Navalny, and Snowden.

8. Norms and rules of functioning of subjects in the social system. All processes in the systems follow certain natural laws. Relations between parts of the system are realized by flows of material, energy and information resources. In natural systems, they are established by objective laws of nature. In technical systems, they are designed by the designer with an orientation to the implementation of the subjective goal, but taking into account the laws of nature. In social systems, information relations between subjects are established by the subjects themselves in the form of accepted norms and rules in society — ethical and moral norms; legal laws, rules, legal restrictions; power relations with the corresponding forms of motivation of subordinates in the management — one-time factors such as reward (perceived as pleasure or even enjoyment) or punishment (causing suffering), or factors acting constantly in the form of restrictions (compulsion to certain standards of behavior). Since the structure of relations in the system determines its emergent properties, the intervention in information relations in the social system, and the change of norms and rules of human behavior are extremely strong leverage points.

When Gorbachev declared perestroika and changed the socioeconomic rules, the country changed literally beyond recognition. However, one should keep in mind the counterintuitiveness of complex systems: it is unlikely that Gorbachev himself expected what happened. Even now, many reforms are carried out without the necessary caution.

Discussing this topic, D. Meadows, in particular, writes: “When I was explained what is the new system of world trade, the WTO, my systemic intuition sounded the alarm. In this system, rules are created by corporations and applied by corporations for the benefit of corporations. In these rules, there is virtually no connection from any other part of society. In fact, all the activities of the leadership of this organization is closed even to the press (no feedback). The WTO involves states in positive feedback loops, forcing them to compete in weakening social and environmental safeguards in order to attract investments in corporations. All this leads to the unwinding of ‘success to successful’ cycles until they concentrate a huge power and create a global system of centralized planning, which in the end will destroy everything”.

9. Self-organization. A keypoint can be any feature of the system that can be affected, which leads to a change in the entire system. So far, we have considered the possibility of using as leverage points individual elements of the composition and structure of a particular system. But we can also consider the possibility of influencing the course of processes that occur not with a separate system only but with a whole set of systems.

A remarkable phenomenon in the world of living and social systems is the ability of a population (macrosystem, the totality of the same-type systems) to indefinitely prolong their existence, despite the limited time of the existence of each individual member of the population and changes in the conditions of existence in its environment. This phenomenon is based on two peculiarities of the population:

  • 1. its ability to reproduce and breed its components, providing the population with the opportunity not to disappear because of the insurmountable mortality of each of its members;
  • 2. its ability to survive in conditions unsuitable for the life of some of its individuals. This is achieved through a diversity of qualities of different components of the population, due to which individuals who have survived in unbearable conditions for others, and then pass on to their next generation their qualities that contribute to survival, can be reinforced in the population.

This macrosystem property in biology is called evolution, in agriculture selection, in economy technical progress, in politics and sociology social development, and in systemology self-organization.

Due to the stretching of generations in time, self-organization can serve as a keypoint for long-term, strategic management of the macrosystem. However, in the process of self-development of the macrosystem, an important role is also played by rapid, abrupt changes in its microsystems: mutations in individual chromosomes, discoveries in science, innovations in the economy, revolutions in states, inventions in technology, and transformations in organizations. Under certain conditions, these processes can also serve as keypoints for the management of the macrosystem (e.g., in the breeding work on the development of new plant varieties, or in carrying out a coup d’etat).

The key points in the management of the macrosystem can be both components of self-organization: self-reproduction and natural selection. For example, in ruling over the state, it is strategically important to ensure “preservation of the people” and numerous and diverse measures for quantitative growth of the population. However, this is not enough for sustainable development: it is also necessary to ensure the diversity of microsystems in the state macrosystem.

Unlike biologists and ecologists, who understand the key importance of biological diversity at all levels of the hierarchy of living systems, and who care about the preservation of this diversity, in the field of policy, the attitude to the diversity of cultures of different subjects is blurred on the scale of tolerance, and often shifted toward intolerance. While promoting diversity, variability, and experimentation is a strategic means of achieving sustainable development, it is generally perceived in politics as an indulgence for disorder and loss of control. And the lever is being pushed in the wrong direction: cultural, social, market, and biological diversity is being diligently destroyed. Perhaps the reason for this lies in the fact that every culture has a built-in belief in the superiority of their culture over others. But with the dominance of a single culture, the stability of the system inevitably decreases. And we find ourselves witnessing and participating in the historical process of the gradual extinction of monocultural social systems, and the simultaneous growth and strengthening of systems that proclaim the equal value and equality of everyone — communities tolerant to the difference of cultures of all subjects.

10. Goals and goal-setting. The keypoints are the various features of the system, affecting which, you can change the output state of the entire system in the desired direction. In other words, it is controllable inputs to the system. Potential and force of influence of each point on the made changes is varied, and in our description of leverage points, they are listed in the order of increase in their “power”. The potential of impacts on physical “points” is weaker than that of information “points”. But all of them are used for one thing: to ensure that the desired process is realized at the output of the system, the sequence of desired states of the system, culminating in the achievement of the final desired state. The description (model) of this process is the subjective purpose of the system (see Section 2.3 of Part I, the purposefulness property).

Quite often it turns out that the dissatisfaction with the current course of events is caused not by deviations from the target trajectory but by the fact that the goal itself has become unsatisfactory. In this case, the most powerful leverage point becomes the goal of the system, and the control action is the process of changing the goal, that is, goal-setting. The remaining points — physical reserves and flows, feedback loops, information flows, and even self-organizing behavior — will be used to implement the new goal of the system.

As in the management through other points, in the process of goal-setting (development of a new goal), wrong decisions can be made resulting in the wrong goal. There are several reasons for this.

First, it may be that the proposed subjective goal is in principle unattainable because it contradicts the laws of nature. A technological example is the goal of creating a perpetual motion machine; and in the history of social systems, because of their enormous complexity, many ideal purposes have been utopian.

Second, since the world is an infinite hierarchical set of interacting systems, subsystems, and supersystems, each of which has its own goals, the whole set of their goals forms a hierarchical tree of goals, in which each fragment is both the goal of the system and the subgoal of the supersystem, of which the system is a part. As a result, the target-setting subject may make a mistake in the floor of the tree, and determine instead of a new target, the means of achieving the real goal, its subgoal.

The damage from this error is aggravated by the fact that it ignores other subgoals, without which the true goal cannot be realized. The failure of many innovations associated with this situation (forcing scientists in Soviet times to engage themselves in implementation of their research results into industry; the recent proclamation of the purpose of development of the Russian economy — modernization of five high- tech industries, without reference to specific sectors of the economy and without attention to other necessary subgoals; the renaming of militia in politia; introduction of fashionable clothes in the army; etc.).

Third, the stable functioning of the system is provided by the necessary coordination of the actions of the subsystems: each subsystem plays a certain role and realizes its intended purpose, one of the many subgoals of the global objective of the system. In addition, the intensity of the performed subfunction should be within certain limits that correspond to the successful functioning of the entire system. However, in living, and especially in social systems, subsystems have their own goals that go beyond what is necessary for the system, and, of course, seek to implement them in the first place. This introduces instability into the system, which should be taken into account when developing a new goal of the system (and new subgoals for subsystems). For example, the primary, initial goal of living and social populations is the goal of survival carried out by the continuous population growth. The goal of corporations is to increase their share of the world market without limitations (with the help of the WTO); the goal of cancer is to grow, pushing aside and replacing healthy cells.

Managing the achievement of the system’s goal should include measures to maintain a balance between all the goals of subsystems (with rigid hierarchical management in social systems, the “vertical of power”, there is a departure from the system of accounting for the own goals of parts of the system).

11. Paradigm (General picture of the world). Any human activity is based on the use of models containing the information necessary for that activity (see Section 3.1 in Part I).

To manage technical systems, there is enough information only from those particular areas of knowledge that were used in the creation of these devices, and often even a very small part of this information is enough. For example, to control a car, a driver does not need to know everything that its designers needed to know: only the information necessary for successful driving is needed. Complex household appliances (TV, PC, gadgetry, etc.) are controlled even by children.

However, as the managed system and management objectives become more complex, the amount of knowledge required increases, and when it comes to the governance of social and environmental systems, it requires information not only about the system but also about its natural and artificial environment, as well as (most importantly!) about the attitude of the managing subject himself both to system and to the environment, including to other subjects. In other words, we not only need models of how reality works, but we also need models of problem formulation and models of ways to solve them. This part of the subject’s culture, the basic (for management) picture of the world, is called a paradigm.

The paradigm is primarily a set of convictions of the subject about how the world works. Most of these convictions are based on beliefs and subjective assumptions (Egyptian pyramids, religious tombs, and sacrificial structures of ancient peoples were built because people believed in the afterlife; skyscrapers are built because we believe that the land in the city center is extremely expensive). Some beliefs are refuted by science, and then a paradigm shift occurs (Copernicus and Kepler destroyed the belief that the earth was the center of the Universe, Galileo that earth is stationary, Darwin the faith in the divine origin and final perfection of man, Einstein destroyed the belief about the different nature of matter and energy, and Marx the faith in the immateriality of the nature of power).

The paradigm also includes generally accepted, historically established beliefs in the community of subjects, beliefs about the norms of the relationships between them: the concepts of good and evil, beautiful and ugly, civil rights and morals. Some of them are the result of a purely conditional social agreement (e.g., the main difference between different ideologies lies in the belief which one of possible attitudes to other, different from you subjects, is “correct”). Some of these beliefs are based on experience (moral and ethical standards are based on the belief, supported by practice, that their observance is good for society and violation is evil).

The paradigm determines everything in the created system and dictates what should be the goals of the system, its composition, and structure (storage and flow of material resources, feedbacks, information channels). The potential of the paradigm as a keypoint is huge: when the paradigm changes, the system is completely transformed. What is particularly important is that problems that cannot be solved within one paradigm can only be solved by moving to another.

But, although the paradigm shift does not require physical, financial, and even time resources, the subjects — individuals and societies — resist the challenges of their paradigm more than any other changes: it is a radical change of the subject’s culture. Society often gets rid of those who encroach on its traditional paradigm (Jesus Christ, Giordano Bruno, Martin Luther King, etc.). Section 2.1 describes the ongoing process of paradigm shift in management. The transition from one paradigm to another takes place in other spheres of human culture. In the field of education, the technocratic approach, which focuses on mass training of professional personnel for society, is replaced by a humanistic approach, focusing on the disclosure of the individual potential of innate abilities and talents of each person. The evolution of the political paradigm is the drift of socioeconomic structures of societies from authoritarian to liberal democratic systems. The process of changing the paradigms of society is slow and difficult as society becomes aware of the practical evidence of the ineffectiveness of the old paradigm.

12. Expanding world view: Going beyond any paradigm. An even stronger lever of influence on the system than changing attitudes and beliefs is the realization that paradigms themselves are merely models of the world order. No theory can claim to be absolutely correct: everything we know' about the w'orld is in fact only a small, extremely limited part of information about an infinitely diverse and amazing universe. Any paradigm is effective (adequate, allows you to successfully achieve the goal) only wuth a certain combination of the goal of action and objective conditions for its implementation. Therefore, of all the paradigms, one should choose the one that is most suitable for achieving the goal under the given conditions.

For example, the principle of unity of command is the most effective way to collectively solve problems in war and emergency situations; the principle of priority of group interests is the most effective way to achieve superiority of one group over others; the principle of priority of everyone demonstrates its advantages in the growth and development of satisfaction of all five needs of human communities — in the production of goods (economy), knowledge (education and science), governance (power, politics), pleasures (aesthetics in human physical and emotional actions), values in interpersonal relations (morals and ethics). However, questions remain as to whether the pursued subjective objective itself is in conformity with the objective laws of nature and society (see Section 1.4, Part I).

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >