#SystemsSpeak: Here’s How We Can Design Our Future

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I am often asked how we can design our future and change the state of our world. 

Start with words, I often respond to a perplexed audience. Yes, I need to explain. 

Words carry our thoughts and visions to expression. Our expression evokes feeling. When words expressing our visions evoke feeling, they provide us the will to act. Our acts, sustained by our will, shape the world we live in.

But not all words, belong to our mind. Not all words that belong to our mind provide the same thoughts or visions. Not all words express the our thoughts and visions.

The words that belong to our mind are the ones that we use to express our visions and experiences of our world. This expression evokes the feeling that feeds our will to act. With our acts, sustained by our will, we shape the world that we live in. The world that we live in, in turn, feeds our visions and experiences of our world.

No wonder we are trapped by the words that belong to our mind. The words we use to describe our thoughts and visions of our world. Trapped into the world that we have shaped, by the words that we have used to describe it.

When words do not belong to our minds, they cannot find expression. If they do not find expression, they fail to evoke feeling and provide us with the will to act. Without our acts, sustained by our will, we cannot shape the world we live in. The words that do not belong to our minds cannot shape the world that we could only envision, had the words belonged to our minds.

Systemspeak is a dictionary to express our visions and experiences of the systems in our world. 

Here are the top entries in Systemspeak. Can you express your world in Systemspeak? Does expressing your world in Systemspeak evoke different visions and feelings about your world? Does it provide you a different will to act? Is it able to sustain your action to shape your world?

Relationship: Actors connected with each other through interaction are in a relationship with each other. 

System: Identifies a relationship between those who interact with each other to serve their purposes. It separates their relationships with others from their relationship with each other. The buyer and the seller interact with each other to form a market system. The borrower and the lender interact with each other to form a banking system. The student and the teacher interact with each other to form a learning system. The representative and the represented interact with each other to form a representation system.

Actors: Identifies those who engage in a relationship with each other in a system. They are ones who came together with others in the system to serve their purposes through their interaction. 

Acts: Describe the interactions between actors that result from their reacting to their feelings about the events they experience in the system.

Purposes: Expresses the reason an actor participates in a system. It is that which sustains the will of the actor to interact with others in the system. Often implicit. Usually discovered by observing the will of the actor to interact, or the events desired by the actor, or the events that evoke feelings of satisfaction, accomplishment, or acceptance by the actor.

Common purpose: Describes a purpose that is common to all actors who participate in a system. It is that which is willed by all actors. Usually discovered through a shared mission of the actors in a system or by observing their joint celebration of events in the system.

Choices: These are options to act that are available to each actor, within the system they have chosen to participate in. Usually driven by events experienced by the actors within the system.

Events: These are the consequences of the acts of the actors resulting from the choices they make within a system.

Emergent behaviour: Expresses the recognition that the events unfolding over time are the result of interactions of the actors in the system, and not the result of the actors themselves.

Places to intervene in a system: Lists the components of a system where it is possible to alter the system to accomplish different emergent behaviour.

Leverage points: Lists those points in a system where intervention can alter the emergent behaviour significantly.

Sustainable system: Expresses the idea of a system that endures the interactions between the actors. For instance, the ability of the system to continue trading indefinately.

Resilience: Expresses the idea that the events in the system remain unaltered even when the system experiences an external shock or change in constraint. For instance, unaltered volume and value of trading even if a higher tax was imposed on transactions.

Anti-fragile: Expresses the idea of systems that can endure shocks and remaining sustainable.

Equality: When the actors in the system suffer similar and symmetrical consequences of their actions in the system.

Governance: Describes how the actors arrive at decisions about the places to intervene in the system. 

Just system: A system where the actors themselves, and not third parties, govern their system.

Symbiotic system: A system where, because of their interactions, the participating actors provide each other with experiences they desire.

Exploitative system: A system where, because of their interactions, one or more of the participating actors provide the others with experiences that are unpleasant, or even life threatening.

Co-dependence: Describes the ability of the actors to act independently of each yet ensuring the system is sustained.

Short Now: The lifetime of the actors who participate in the system. Hundred years, or the lifetime of a child born today for human systems.

Include these words in your mind. Use them to express your visions of your world.

Discover the change in feeling that the expression evokes. Discover the change in your will to act. Discover the change in your acts, sustained by your will, to shape the world you live in.

Discover the changing shape of the world you live in.

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#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and/or individuals or organisations that may be quoted and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same. 

Anupam Saraph

Anupam Saraph

Dr. Anupam Saraph grew up in a Pune that was possibly a tenth of its current expanse and every road was lined by 200 year old trees. He’s committed to the cause of de-addicting the short-termers.

He can be reached @AnupamSaraph
Anupam Saraph

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