a unique and completely new pattern, system or structure that once formed is impossible to trace back to its origin
… the manifestation of a unique and completely new pattern, system or structure that once formed is impossible to trace back to its origin or broken into its parent parts. While many people might perceive emergence to mean the same thing as change, there is a qualitative difference. Change suggests a sudden break away from what is known while emergence infers an organic process.
Imagine what you would say if you didn’t have words for “who” or “what”. After listening to and writing about Peter Senge’s lecture at the Aalto Systems Forum in Finland, 2014, I was fascinated by the idea of a language without nouns. When discussing this concept with a critical friend, we both agreed that this would make communication very difficult. Going a step further and attempting a poem without nouns, I can say that this type of communication is thought-provoking since it required a stronger focus on verbs and adverbs. I found myself questioning whether I could use adjectives or adverbial clauses since these syntactical devices require nouns to work.
At the Aalto Systems Forum in Finland, 2014, Peter Senge asked participants if humanity is going to be an agent of change that will shape the planet then what is the
consciousness that will be required to do this successfully? According to Senge, we cannot exist, as a species, without some thinking, some ethos, some set of ideas, some sort of overarching way of thinking and talking that will enable us, since language is so important, to exist in a niche (26:15). Senior Lecturer at the Sloan School of Management MIT, and cofounder of the Academy for Systemic Change, Senge made a very persuasive argument for why we need to teach systems intelligence in schools alongside math, language arts, and music. This argument made me look at the Redesigned BC Curriculum and the term “21st century learners” in a different light. Schools are not turning out future factory workers, we are educating mindful, ethical, conscious agents of change.
This morning, while enjoying my coffee and LinkedIn newsfeed, I stumbled onto an
intersection of thought that needed further pursuit. I have been reading All Systems Go by Michael Fullan (2010), a thought provoking text on how to create whole system reform in education. Although I’m dipping my toes into this debate 8 years past the publication date, Fullan’s message is timely and still sparks deep discussion. I, certainly, have much to mull over as an educator and member of the human system.
A found poem based on text from Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows.
We change by moving
Outside the system, seeing it whole, like a model of the universe
We stay unattached
When we realize no paradigm is true
That the universe is immense
And far beyond human comprehension
It’s a cosmic joke and all we can do is laugh
Unless we cry for not-knowing
Letting go into enlightenment is to realize the spacious possibility
Of guaranteed nonsense
You could pedal rapidly in the opposite direction
Like Fred Flintstone in his stone car
Barney at his side
For there is no power, no control, no understanding
Not even a reason for being, much less acting,
Embodied in the notion that there is no certainty
In any world view
Yet, Wilma might yell, “Fred!” in her red-headed way
And interrupt the exodus
For there is an obscure assurance that letting go
Can lead to radical empowerment
More powerful than two women racing through the streets crying
Choose the belief that will help to achieve your purpose,
Trust that it is only one amongst many
And that you can always choose again
From the infinite shelves of the universe.
Reading and writing are two activities that are often intertwined. There is nothing I love better than to own a book so that I can get intimately acquainted with its content. This habit is something that I’ve carried over since childhood. In retrospect, I am thankful that my parents had to buy my textbooks when I went to high school, and that I had radical English teachers who encouraged my scribbling.
So I underlined, scribbled, and dog-eared the pages to my heart’s content, learning without knowing, that I was having a conversation with the text and myself.
This one line from the 2010 movie, Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp has stuck with me for 8 years. It calls to mind the philosophical questions we ask ourselves on a day to day basis about our identity, our purpose, and our goals. As a teacher, and more recently as an administrator, asking these challenging questions of myself has led me through a few interesting doors. Like Alice, I have sometimes found myself in gardens where I am either too big or too small, and I’ve questioned my purpose for being there. On many an occasion, I have echoed the caterpillar’s question, “Who are you?”