Help! I’m Stuck in a Tsunami Blonde Joke

Oh, No, Not Again!

March and April found us back again, sitting shocked, amazed, spellbound, and powerless in front of our TV screens – watching as hundreds of thousands flee their homes and the steaming nuclear reactors.b

Dumbfounded we stared, as crews carried out the Hail Mary procedure of squirting sea water on the nuclear core to try to slow its progress towards a meltdown and the potential contamination of millions of locals, not to the billions across the ocean those of us across the ocean. Then the terrible stories of those who lost everything nightly across our TV screens.

And here I am, having that eerie feeling, hearing that spooky voice that keeps repeating, “It’s happening again, its happening again . . .”

The Art of Helplessly Looking On

Back in September of 2001 we all were glued to our television sets impotently watching the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers burn and collapse to the ground and New Yorkers running from a giant ball of debris growing as it overtook lower Manhattan.

It wasn’t long afterward that we watched as corruption and greed led to the demise of Enron, Arthur Anderson, Countrywide, Jack Abramoff, AIG, and so on – the predictable result of behaviors that were not only dishonest, but criminal. But what could we do?

Then we looked on helplessly as the stock market plummeted toward the abyss created by credit default swaps, ushering in the near total collapse of the global credit markets, and following close on its heels, the boggle boggling multibazillion dollar bailouts and the pain of the so-called “Recession of 2008.”

And here we are now, well into 2011, feeling that feeling of despair as we tune in to the news of millions of hard-working Americans having lost their jobs and homes to the recession. And again we felt helpless. Here’s an interesting little video – Bill Moyers’ take on how all that went down: The epidemic fraud in the Economic Meltdown Video .

Well, we made it through the Almost A Nuclear Meltdown scare, but folks in my neck of the woods are pretty freaked about the radioactive particles wafting our way. What’s next?

Stuck In a Dumb Blonde Joke

Somehow I have the feeling I am stuck in one of those “dumb blonde” jokes:

The Wager

Bob walks into a sports bar around 9:58 pm. He sits down next to a blonde at the bar staring up at the TV. The 10 pm news comes on, and the news crew covering the story of a man on the ledge of a large building preparing to jump.

The blonde looks at Bob and says, “Do you think he’ll jump?”

Bob says, “You know, I bet he’ll jump.”

The blonde replies, “Well, I bet he won’t.”

Bob places a $20 bill on the bar and says, “You’re on!”

Then, just as the blonde places her money on the bar, the guy on the ledge does a swan dive off the building, falling to his death. The blonde is very upset, but willingly hands her $20 to Bob, saying, “Fair’s fair. Here’s your money.”

Bob replies sheepishly, “I have to confess, I cheated. I saw this earlier on the 5 pm news, and so I knew he would jump.”

The blonde replies, “I did too, but didn’t think he’d do it again.”

Bob took the money…

click image for more blond jokes!

Blonde Like Me

How like that blonde we are – being surprised to see the same thing happening again and again, but unable to see that all these shocking events are really the result of a single underlying process at work in our global culture. I believe that until we really confront the real issues and begin to think systemically and examine the root patterns at work here, we are likely to continue to see this parade of tragedies. .

I don’t know what is coming next, but it’s bound to be a doozy. Hang on to your seats, folks!

The Cure for Blondeness

Fortunately this kind of blondeness is curable.

To me, the recent events in the Middle East demonstrate the power we can all have over our lives. I believe technology is a key part of using that power. As we learn to communicate better, the we awaken the intelligence and wisdom we need to free ourselves. We are entering the era of global community now, where time never sleeps and unfathomable amounts of information are at our fingertips.

The time for collaboration around Things That Matter has come. Connecting in a meaningful way with others is best in person. Second best, the information highway is running an ever-closer second. The internet provides an excellent medium for making meaningful connections, and a number of people and organizations have created some excellent centers for connecting and collaborating. I will suggest a few that I think might well help you shift to a mode of thinking that can enable a deeper understanding of what’s going on and offer some very reasonable actions you can take to help change this.

The change we want can come amazingly quickly. As our communication technologies mature, I can see the same vision as Clay Shirky,( consultant, teacher, and writer on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies), alludes to in this fascinating video – why we are on the brink of change, if we will recognize and use it.

The recent peaceful revolts in Tunisia and Egypt demonstrate how effectively cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter can empower even people who live in these relatively deprived and primitive conditions.

I believe there are enough of us who want to change and that we already possess the collective intelligence and wisdom that can set us free. All that is necessary is for us to begin to play our part in the conversation . . . What are we waiting for?

Steps for Recovering Blondes

Below are a few suggestions for getting started. When you arrive at these links, I recommend you read what is online then, and also that  strongly recommend that you actually SUBSCRIBE. These are living sites and subscribing will insure that you will receive future postings. Or you may click RSS ; it will be uploaded to your RSS readers.

Tom Atlee’s Cointelligence Newsletter addresses the fascinating concepts and practices of Collective Intelligence and is a great place to start.

The World Café offers guidance , materials, and online support for free on how to create conversations that matter to your neighborhood, family, and/or workplace. Here’s one of my conversations with Juanita Brown , the co-creator of The World Café, and here is a video I’ve put together about the World Café .

Alan Briskin’s provocative and intelligent book, Collective Wisdom , introduces his readers to that special kind of knowledge and insight that is available only through group and community interaction.

The Collective Wisdom Initiative website was created to help broadcast the emerging field of collective wisdom, its study and practice. It came into being in 2002 with support from the Fetzer Institute .

And here’s a clever little animation Rebel Girl and The Vagina Report , showing the power of collective action.

And, of course, if you are subscribed to my eNewsletter, “ Healing Times ,” or click RSS in my blog site, I will do my best to send you updates. And I invite you to contribute, and to pass this site along to your friends.

The splitting of the atom has changed everything save our mode of thinking and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe .” – Albert Einstein

” If you only knew . . .” – Emmett Miller

Stages of American National Grief

Stages of American National Grief
The progression of stages of national grief is:

  1. Denial < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial > – “The country is fine.”; “Signs of decline are overblown by unpatriotic people.”
  2. Denial is usually only a temporary defense but while it is operative it is filled with rhetoric like, “Let’s take our country back to the way it was” which is largely a mythological construct of something that never was – a Norman Rockwell view of nationhood.
  3. Anger < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anger > – “Why us? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to us?”; “We are the greatest nation ever.” “Who is to blame?”
  4. Once in the second stage, the citizen recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the nation is very difficult to care for, think clearly about or to make plans for its future due to feelings of rage. Looking for scapegoats becomes a preoccupation.
  5. Bargaining < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bargaining > – “I will do anything to bring back the memory of what is an ‘exceptional’ nation. “God has established it with a unique destiny and surely he won’t let it die.” “I will pray to the Almighty who founded this country to rescue it from those who are out to destroy it.”
  6. The third stage involves the hope that the demise of the national identity can somehow be postponed or delayed. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life of that which has been known is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed and ideological pure state. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand that the nation as it has been constructed is dying, but if I could just have more time to live the way it was…”
  7. Depression < > – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “The nation as I know it is going to die… What’s the point?”; “I miss so much the American myths of a country that used to be, why go on?”
  8. During the fourth stage, the individual begins to understand the certainty of death of the national idea. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse to associate with others or read the paper or keep up with the news and spend much of the time grieving. This process allows the person to disconnect oneself from attachments and affection for the underlying myths of what s/he believed to be his or her homeland.
  9. Acceptance < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptance > – “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
  10. In this last stage, the citizen begins to come to terms with the mortality of not the nation but the national idea as it has been and begins to think of how the nation might be if it was less absorbed with itself and its excessive individualistic mythology and more concerned with using its assets to fully serve by participating in an international, global understanding of its role. It is the beginning of creativity and new opportunity.

But for now, it seems, we are stuck between rage (TEA Partiers) and helplessness (Liberals)

thanks to Bruce Vincent for this clever bit

They say there are just two kinds of people in the world, those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.

As a case in point, the world can be divided into two groups of people: those who see the world as divided neatly into Us vs. Them (Either/Or) – and those who do not.

Those in the camp who do not see the world as Us vs. Them instead see a whole spectrum of information, wisdom, knowledge, and power that comes from the perspective of Both/And.

More specifically, international crises caused by Greece, the banking industry, and BP Oil (to name just a few) have shown us two elemental forces are at work, each represented by its own camp of “true believers.”

Each of these two camps is fueled by a deeper guide/pilot. In Our Culture On the Couch: Seven Steps to Global Healing , I have referred to the side that sees only differentiation, opposites, fragmentation, prejudice, conflict and dis-integration as Violence (with a capital V), and the other side, the one that sees and favors unification, similarities, wholeness, tolerance, cooperation and integration as Love (with a capital L).

The epic struggle between these two elemental forces can be seen everywhere, from the Monsanto brouhaha and the oil spill tragedy in the Gulf ( see the spill superimposed on your city , to that between Israel and the Arab world, to that between the Far Left and the Far Right in our country.

The Far Right tells us this is a world of great danger, that we need to be stern, and to use deadly force and extreme rendition in order to get what we, the “In Crowd,” want, no matter how extravagant, how wasteful, how unfair and unequal. The Far Left often threatens to be foolishly naïve, economically irrespsonsible, tolerant of civil chaos, and would politically empower people in the underclasses, minorities, and welfare queens.

Each has its power base and wages war on the other. The confrontations are often violent, even at the highest levels of government, religion, business and media. (here RFK Jr. speaks to the death of democracy at the hands of media)

This Struggle Is Within Each of Us As Well

We can easily see these forces at war on the global stage, but if we look within, we discover the same conflict within each of us.

This then, is a philosophical struggle, a war of basic beliefs as to the nature of the world. Most of us fail to see the struggle within ourselves, because we have been hypnotized by the media to think that someone else is to blame – that the problem is out there. We have been trained to believe we are helpless as individuals. We have been so brainwashed that we do not even see that we have the ability to change the belief that we are helpless.

Our beliefs are behaviors, just like our thoughts and our emotions. And the truth is if we want to, we can change our beliefs. We don’t have to continue to believe and act according to some outside authority that is telling us to believe and do things that go against the common good. We don’t have to believe that it is OK to be a racist, sexist, and/or a religious bigot. We don’t have to suppress, torture, or even kill those who  have been labeled “Other.”

We can – if we want to – approach others with respect, acknowledgement and willingness to look for mutual values. Moreover, we can work together toward common goals and visions.

In one side of our hearts, we find a distinct set of emotions that are arousing, negative and intense in valence – anxiety, fear, greed, anger – in short, Violence. In this worldview, we see the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual violence that fills our news reports from locally and around the world. This serves to reinforce the Either/Or core belief.

On the other side of our hearts, if we look within, we see the world through the Both/And perspective that always seeks to open the door to the possibility of tolerance, acceptance and respect. This door leads to the ability to create peace, balance, a profound sense of oneness, and even Love.

The only kind of peace present in the Either/Or paradigm is the temporary calm between wars, arguments and conflicts.  True peace is only achievable when we embrace the Both/And paradigm (which, somewhat paradoxically includes Either/Or). Peace will only happen when we, in my nomenclature, embrace Love (as I have defined it in my book).

Models

Interestingly, those individuals who model this attitude and perspective of Love are those individuals who have devoted some part of their time to meditation, contemplation and more enlightened thought.

They include current-day teachers and masters as well as those we know through the sacred teachings of the major religions – Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna and others. (Of course, I am careful to point out the dramatic difference between their lifestyles and their words – and reject the distortions promulgated by so many of the religious cults that have disgraced and betrayed their prophets).

It’s the System, Stupid

Unfortunately, it appears that most of the world is choosing to ignore or misinterpret these teachings. Everywhere we see lies and polarization, abuse and Violence. We keep looking for that person or group to blame, but we always fail. This is because the illness we want to cure is systemic – the bad guy is not a person, but the System as a whole – the Matrix.

The shenanigans that took place when we tried to find the cause of the BP oil spill provided a demonstration that would have been laughable, if it were not being played out in terms of the human and environmental suffering the spill is creating in towns along the Gulf Coast. First we are told that 5,000 gallons per day are leaking out. Then a week later that it is actually 10, 000 gallons, then 20,000, and now 60,000 per day!

And who is at fault? BP said it was not their fault, because they had hired the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and crew, and it was they who screwed up. Deepwater in turn said it was Halliburton that was last working on sealing the well when it blew.

The Republicans say it was Obama’s fault for not being “on the job.” The Democrats say it was the result of Bush Cheney & Co. and their cozy relationship with the oil companies. And defying all logic, Rush Limbaugh blames the environmentalists . Meanwhile, the environmentalists blame us all for the expensive, energy intensive lifestyle we are living.

While finger-pointing and blaming are the staple of the Either/Or Us. vs. Them faction, the reality is that we are all to blame because we are all part of the System.

Partisan Wrangling

Do people really think they are helping anyone but themselves and their special interest group by perpetuating partisan wrangling?

We see the truth. All that saber rattling and foot dragging is just the floor show designed to keep us hypnotized and distracted while the treasury is looted and the middle class is liquidated to the profit of the few and the misery of the many.

Do they think we are blind to the Violence induced by the behaviors of our supposed leaders? How much clearer an example do we need?

One of the clearest examples is the series of events that have culminated in death threats and bricks being thrown through the windows of Congressional Representatives and Senators. Politicians, talk show hosts and insurance company executives may not personally chuck the bricks and make the threatening phone calls, but they are a vital part of the system that is responsible. Yet we seem incapable of seeing this or doing anything about this systemic problem.

History provides an excellent teaching moment. In 1170, Thomas Beckett, archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by four of King Henry’s knights. Beckett had been in ideological conflict with Henry II, whose frustration reached a climax when he yelled out in fury, “Who will free me from this turbulent priest?”

The knights answered him by their action. Clearly, Henry II never struck a blow or thrust a knife, yet it is clear that he was directly responsible.

How then can we conceptualize, and assign blame, when the bricks and death threats follow closely on the heels of a major politician publishing a map on her website with the hometowns of these members of Congress branded with rifle crosshairs, accompanied by a speech exhorting, “Don’t retreat, reload”? Immediately following her implicit call to Violence, there appeared another webpage urging people to toss bricks through their living room windows. ( click here to learn more )

This is a classic example of the systemic problem that arises strictly from the Us vs. Them paradigm we are using – it is systemic, and it seems no one is willing to take responsibility for it. The politician did not throw bricks. The fellow who put up the Facebook page never, himself, threw any bricks. Those individuals who threw the bricks are unknown. A perfect storm. Terrorism without a perpetrator.

These false prophets and false leaders can remain in power only as long as we are willing to let them. We need to find – and become – leaders who can see and seek wholeness and healing. And we must always be wary of those whose primary agenda is based on making us afraid and polarized. We are all in this boat together – and poking holes in our adversaries’ end of the boat will sink us too.

Change Begins Within

As usual, the changes start within. How well are you doing with avoiding unnecessary judgment, criticism, blame and anger – both toward yourself and toward others?

How can you express more Love in how you treat yourself, your environment, and those in your family, community and workplace? What candidates will you support or vote for? Which corporations will you buy products from?

What you learn from your own personal shift to Love will enable you to better recognize those candidates for leadership who are able to step back from the fray and see the system as a whole.

Only when we elect and become those leaders can we bring forth the creativity – and courage – we need to truly solve our national and global problems. We must not only do this for ourselves, but for the generations to follow.


We have been misled, and now it is time to look within, as presented in Awakening the Leader Within . Helpful in this process is the CD program, Abolish Anxiety Now! , because it is through anxiety and the temporary solutions we are offered that we are controlled by the System. we need to let go the anxiety so we can find the courage to face our problems, not deny them. The skills offered on The Serenity Prayer are useful in learning the balance we need to choose well.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Millers Workshop/Lecture Series, Healing Yourself Is Healing the Planet, Seven Steps to Personal and Community Transformation.

To find out more and to REGISTER for the event visit

A Brief History of Systems Theory

Because the notion of systems appears so often throughout this book, I would like to offer the following brief review of the development of logical and scientific thought, as an introduction to the concept of systems. It is based on the excellent ideas presented in Peter Checkland’s excellent  book, “Systems Theory, Systems Practice”,  which I highly recommend to anyone who would like a fuller treatment of this material. Although the more analytically-minded reader will find this information very fascinating, some may find it overly technical, and choose to skip it.

The central concept “system” embodies the idea of a set of elements connected together, which form a whole, thus showing properties, which are properties of the whole, rather than properties of its component parts.  (The taste of water, for example, is a property of the substance water, not of the hydrogen and oxygen, which combine to form it.)

The concern of systems is not a particular set of phenomena (as chemistry and physics), nor does it exist because of a problem area that requires different streams of knowledge — town planning, for example.  What distinguishes systems is that it is a subject, which can talk about other subjects.  It is not in the same set as the other disciplines, it is a meta-discipline whose subject matter can be applied within virtually any discipline.
The systems outlook assumes that the world contains structured wholes (soap bubbles, for example), which can maintain their identity under a certain range of conditions and which exhibit certain general principles of “fullness.”

Systems thinking notices the unquestioned Cartesian assumption: namely, that a component part is the same when separated out as it is when part of a whole.
The Cartesian legacy provides us with an unnoticed framework – a set of intellectual pigeonholes to which we place the new knowledge we acquire.  Systems thinking is different because it is about the framework itself. Systems thinking does not drop into its pigeonhole, it changes the shape or the structure of the whole framework of pigeonholes.

The Scientific Method

The scientific method is defined in terms of three characteristics: reductionism, repeatability, and refutation. Complexity, in general, and social phenomena in particular, both pose a difficult problem for science; neither has been able to tackle what we perceive as “real world problems” (as opposed to the scientist-defined problems in the laboratory).  These are frequent problems of the teleological kind, concerned with ends and means.

The Systems Approach

The core concerns of systems thinking are the two pairs of ideas: emergence and hierarchy, communication and control.
The system concept, the idea of a whole entity, which under a range of conditions maintains its identity, provides a way of viewing and interpreting the universe as a hierarchy of such interconnected and interrelated wholes.
Western civilization is characterized by the Judeo-Christian tradition, specific arts and crafts, and technologies. Especially unique is its having developed and organized human activity in a way unknown before – science. The reason for this involvement has social, economic, and intellectual aspects.

The Root of Science and Its Driving Impulse

Science is an invention of our civilization, a cultural invention — it’s probably the most powerful invention in the whole history of mankind.  Our world in the twenty-first century is essentially the world created by the activity of science: in cities, transportation, and communication systems and in our political and administrative procedures (the way we organize society).
Rationalism and empiricism, twin outcomes of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, have created enormous changes in all of our civilizations.  The fruits of modern science are now all-pervading in their influence.  It has provided us with at least the possibility of material well-being, even on a planet with finite resources … and it has also given us the means of destroying all life on our planet.
The impulse behind science (scientia, episteme) is the itch to know things, to find out how and why the world is.  This is different from the drive behind technology (techne), which is the itch to do things, to achieve practical ends. The urge to know and the urge to do are different motives.
The urge to know came from the Greeks — who gave us the art of rational thinking.
After the Greeks came the Dark Ages (5th to 10th centuries), then the recovery in medieval times, when scholastic philosophers brought Aristotle’s thought within the orbit of Christian faith.  The medieval world view, based Aristotelian science, survived until the Renaissance of learning led to its replacement by the new world view created by Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton — the worldview that is still recognizably our own.

The Quest for Truth

What is important is the spirit in which Greek speculation was proposed, and the critical debate in which they were discussed.  They argued for the sole purpose of arriving at the truth, with argument as to their chief weapon; used deliberately, consciously, and carefully developed into an effective tool.
Newton created a completely new worldview out of Kepler’s astronomy and Galileo’s mechanics. Urged on by Halley, the astronomer, published “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy,” the most celebrated scientific work ever written.
Newton stated the three laws of motion. He proposed a testable mathematical model, with the workings of the universe conceived as an elegant, ingenious, and majestic clockwork.  Animistic and teleological explanations were demonstrably no longer necessary, it seemed. (It is an argument out of Checkland’s book, Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, that in the last 30 years systems thinking has rehabilitated teleology as a respectable concept.)
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), not a practicing scientist, was a prophet of the exploitation of science to transform the physical world.

The Cartesian Influence

Descartes was a lucid exponent of scientific rationalism, the methodologist whose principle of reductionism has deeply permeated science for 350 years. (The Systems Movement may be seen as a reaction against just this principle.)
Descartes emphasized, not the facts of science, but the scientific way of thinking.  He rejected the untested assumptions of scholastic philosophy.  He sought the truth by deductive reasoning, from basic irreducible ideas.
He starts from the position of extreme skepticism, of absolute doubt.  The world he perceived, for example, might be a dream.  The one certainty is that I doubt, and this remains true even if I doubt that I doubt.  I think, therefore I am.  This is the only certainty.  He thought that by analyzing the process by which he had become certain of his own existence, he can discover the general nature of the process of becoming certain of anything.  In his second discourse, he gives four rules for properly conducting one’s reason:

1. Avoiding precipitancy and prejudice
2. Accepting only clear and distinct ideas
3. Orderly progression from the simple to the complex
4. Complete analysis with nothing omitted

The second rule is most significant: to divide each of the difficulties that he was examining into as many parts as might be possible and necessary in order to best solve it.  This is the principle of analytic reduction, which characterizes the Western intellectual tradition.  The core of his approach to science was reductionist, in the sense that science should describe the world in terms of “simple natures” and “composite natures,” and show how the latter can be reduced to the former. He says that finding simple natures in complex phenomena is what he meant by analysis.  He excluded any explanation that included terms of purpose.
The reductionist ideal is found in virtually all science of the 18th to 19th centuries.  Not until the 20th century have significant challenges to reductionism been made.  The Systems Movement is the most serious of these challenges.

The Death of Reductionism

The downfall of Newton’s model came in the 20th century through the work of Einstein, which can yield all of Newton’s results and more.
Experiments proved Einstein’s model better than Newton’s, although Newton’s is good enough for terrestrial calculations, and even for moon flights.
The results of scientific experiments are not absolute; they may be replaced by later models that have greater descriptive and predictive power.  Scientifically acquired and tested knowledge is simply the best description of reality that we have at that moment in time.

The Method of Science

Science is the human activity which is “the origin of the modern world view and mentality” and within which the systems movement has emerged within the last 30 or 40 years.
Science is a system, an institutionalized set of activities, which embody a particular purpose, mainly the acquiring of a particular kind of knowledge.  It is an inquiring or learning system, to find things out about the mysterious world we live in.  The Greeks invented rational thought, breaking with the idea of the irrational authority which is not to be questioned; medieval clerics started the conscious development of methodology, providing the beginnings of the experimental approach; the age of Newton united empiricism and theoretical explanation in a way that dealt with necessity and contingency at the same time and made the real world comprehensible through ideas.  The 20th century reminds us that knowledge gained is always provisional.
An account of science as an activity:  A way of acquiring completely testable knowledge of the world characterized by an application of rational thinking (to experience observations, experiments, concise expression of the laws which govern the regularity of the universe, expressing them mathematically if possible).
Three characteristics define the patterned activity: reductionism, repeatability, and refutation.  We reduce the complexity of the real world with experiments whose results are validated by their repeatability.  We build knowledge by the refutation of hypotheses.  These are the three senses in which science is “reductionist.”  The world is messy. To define an experiment is to define a reduction of the world, one made for a particular purpose.  The second way which science is reductionist; much is to be gained in logical coherence by being reductionist in explanation, using the minimum explanation required by the facts to be explained. Thirdly, breaking down problems to analyze piecemeal, component by component.  In this sense, scientific is almost synonymous with analytic thinking.

Hierarchy and Emergence

The reductionist ideal is expressed in terms of a hierarchy of the sciences – physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and social science – each dependent on the preceding.  No one would ever argue that the place for psychology is between chemistry and biology.  We see here levels of complexity.  Laws, which seem to operate at one level, seem to be higher order with respect to those of lower levels.  This is the kernel of the concept of emergence, the idea that at a given level of complexity there are properties characteristic of that level (emergent at that level) that are irreducible.
The debate of reductionism vs. emergence is a prime source of systems thinking.
The second characteristic of science is repeatability of experiments.  You might think that D.H. Lawrence or a particular kind of music is good or bad, depending upon the literary or musical tastes of society at a particular time, and ourselves.  Knowledge of this kind remains private knowledge in the sense that the choice is ours to accept it or not.
Scientific knowledge is public knowledge.  We have no option but to accept what can be repeatedly demonstrated by experiment.  The inverse square law of magnetism is the same all over the world.  What has to be accepted is the happenings in the experiment, not necessarily the interpretation of the results!  It is the repeatability of experimental facts, which places science in a different category from opinion, preferences, speculation (that iron filings are attracted because they are iron, not because of their shape).
Connected with the repeatability criterion for science is the importance of measurement.  Measured values can be repeated and recorded more easily than qualitative findings.

Paradigm Shifts

Kuhn (1962) refers to the body of currently accepted knowledge which makes particular experiments as “a paradigm,” and describes science as periods of normal science carried out under the influence of a particular paradigm interspersed by revolutionary shifts in the paradigm.  He sees a paradigm as an achievement or set of achievements which a scientific community “acknowledges as supplying the foundation for its further practice” achievements which “attract an enduring way from competing modes of scientific activity” and are “sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to solve.”

The Scientist Decides What Section
of the World’s Variety to Examine

Newton and Einstein were responsible for revolutionary paradigm shifts.  This is what happens when a piece of scientific work is planned and carried out:  The scientist decides what section of the world’s variety to examine.  He makes his reduction, designing an artificial situation within which he can examine the workings of a few variables while others are held constant.  The experimental design makes sense in terms of some particular view of or theory about that part of the world’s variety that he is investigating, and his particular experiment will constitute the testing of a hypothesis within that theory.  The question the experiment poses is: Will it pass the test?
In logic, we are more interested in the refutation than corroboration.  This is because it is not possible to prove anything by induction.  With deductive argument, there is no problem; we can prove that Socrates is mortal.  But we cannot prove that the sun will come up tomorrow.  Multiple confirmatory observations do not, in logic, get us nearer to truth.  Thus, a hypothesis refuted is a more valuable result.

Science and the Systems Movement

The present cult of unreason is not a surprising reaction to the astonishing success of the cult of reason as embodied in modern science, especially as to certain fruits of science and technology are to be seen at the material level only.  Descartes’ dividing of problems into separate parts assumes the components of the whole are the same when examined singularly as when they are playing their part in the whole, or that the principles governing the assembly of the components into the whole are themselves straightforward.

Coping With Complexity

The interesting question: To what extent can the method of science cope with complexity?  Where does it fall down and why?
Cursory inspection of the world suggests that it is a giant complex with dense connections between its parts.  We cannot cope with it and are forced to reduce it into separate areas we can examine.  Thus we get subjects and disciplines.  Because our education is, from the start, conducted in terms of this division, it is not easy to remember that the divisions are man-made and arbitrary.
Nature does not divide herself into physics, chemistry, biology, and so forth. Yet these concepts have been hammered into us, and are so ingrained in our thinking that we find it hard to perceive the unity that underlies them. Our need for coherence, therefore, demands that we arrange the classification of knowledge according to some rational principle. Systems thinking gives us a way to escape this trap and evolve more inclusive paradigms for understanding ourselves and our world.

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