Archive for September, 2017

Esteemed discipline

“Valuable collaborators in the evolution of this book have been the people in my [psychotherapy] practice who have worked so unreservedly to develop themselves and their lives. I am obliged not to name them. Perhaps, in another era, entering into psychotherapy will be defined not as remediation for personal failure, but as an esteemed discipline for evolving one’s ability to contribute.”

-Rosamund Stone Zander,
The Art of Possibility (Acknowledgements, p.203)

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Observing a system

“Before you disturb the system in any way, watch how it behaves… Learn its history… If possible, find or make a time graph of actual data from the system — peoples’ memories are not always reliable when it comes to timing… Starting with the behavior of the system forces you to focus on facts, not theories. It keeps you from falling too quickly into your own beliefs or misconceptions, or those of others…

“It’s especially interesting to watch how the various elements in the system do or do not vary together… Every selectman in the state of New Hampshire seems to be positive that growth in a town will lower taxes, but if you plot growth rates against tax rates, you find a scatter as random as the stars in a New Hampshire winter sky. There is no discernible relationship at all.”

-Donella H. Meadows,
Thinking in Systems (2008, p.170-171)

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