Kara Springer created the image/public art above. A Small Matter of Engineering, Part II. "The attention given to the social construct of race and racism is four-hundred-year-complicated, the subject of multiple doctoral thesis, many excellent books, and legislation. On the other hand, there is an uncomplicated pre-systemic solution to racism for ordinary people available right … Continue reading Racism
Software, digital hardware, and the life-science industries are capable of adding jobs indirectly to a local economy as multipliers, in much the same way as the manufacture of autos and appliances, contributed decades earlier with one significant difference. The education of the workers. Job Multipliers Research and development firms in physical, engineering, and life sciences … Continue reading Jobs and Education
Part Five - Every Change is a Second Chance: Change does occur by chance, having a readiness for it, on the other hand, requires an eagerness to be fit for the job. Hitting a search engine with the phrase "Theory of Change," you get something like the mosaic below. My favorite is the Theory of … Continue reading Second Change
Smithsonian “Salute to the Wheel” Map of Mesopotamia (3500 B.C.) Introduction This introduction to five explorations of system change is about discoveries, then I take a look at malfunctions as the heart of the issue, and explore some critical thinking gambits and pathways. I conclude with the idea that every change is a second chance. … Continue reading System Change
In taking on a major malfunction, breaking it into smaller pieces is helpful, but whether in big parts or the little ones it is hopeless when it comes to constitutional jargon. American's observing the jurist legislators of our nation have nothing better to do than tie knots in their tongues. There are reasons to do … Continue reading Congress and the Constitution
Part Three - The Box Gambit: The “rule” of this gambit is to connect all the dots with four straight lines by not allowing your pen/pencil to leave the surface of the page. Solving this graphic riddle will require some thinking, and trial and error to be accomplished. Try it four times. Good luck. Pen … Continue reading Box Gambits
Attacks at over 200 mph for the kill The Economics of a Pandemic in NYC The impact COVID-19 presents one of the most serious recovery challenges New York City has ever experienced. It will require a system change as it will, without doubt, reveal a previously unknown range of malfunctions. A practical example of how … Continue reading Pandemic in NYC
Part One – Discoveries:
It was also in 1955 when the Montgomery Bus Boycott launched the beginning of the most unparalleled system change America since the authors of the U.S. Constitution finished their work. Martin Luther King was twenty-six years old when the boycott began. He would have just twelve years and four months more to live. The identification of when a system change will occur is an unpredictable choice of history. That means the only thing to do is begin in order to discover what you need to know.
Tossed up for all to see are the grand assumptions and harmful practices in our world that appear to be malfunctions. We say, “Do something about ending this tyranny or meeting that unmet need.” Democracy is supposed to be one of the best ways to solve a stubborn problem, especially when concerns and events threaten the well-being of many people. The argument to “do something” also includes authoritarian structures such as raising an army, running a business, oppression of a people, or ending a pandemic.
At the center of both methods, circles the question of efficacy. Is delay due to squabbling and bounded rationality, or is it due to the utter fear of error and power? The discoveries can be positive or negative in our efforts to define problems. Most of our findings concern the value of a prediction and mitigation of an adverse event’s most probable cause, time, and place. Individual circumstances cannot be assigned effectively in this way and lead to the acceptance of the unknowable as something more easily attached to an actuarial table of risk in anticipation of a long list of malfunctions assigned to social practices and a few natural events. The losses are, therefore, attributed value and paid to victims post-trauma.
It is occurring to us all that more engagement on questions of global impact events demands an entirely new regime. These events are grounded in climate change and the probable recurrence of global pandemic infections in which there may be other connections beyond comprehension. The risk to “all” in a post-trauma evaluation is an insufficient duality. Losses are measured in blood and cash, by good or bad locations, as lucky or unlucky, in life or death, for cultural survival or existence as subsistence. The trauma is further parsed into black and white, rich and poor, knowing and unknowing, educated or not. It divides young or old, able or disabled, using percentages drawn with an unknown, shifting denominator of dissuasions to proportionality. Tossed it up for all to see is the confusion of our times. (See: Crisis Management)
Still, much of our practical solutions come as a post-trauma payment to reduce future risks. Individual households and governments also pay individually with resources drawn by regional needs. A volunteer fire brigade works in one place, while another site requires a professionalized fire-fighting force. Predictable malfunctions reveal investments in first responders and a standard set of institutional providers. In these cases, the assessment of risks and costs, the selection of management protocols establish levels of readiness defined by the tools required.
Finding New Pathways
How can the world move steadily and permanently away from post-trauma payouts toward levels of resilience and enduring sustainability? How can the extensive democratic debate be grounded with more power in the equally slow and painstaking rules of science? Will it be possible to make science lawfully capable of overriding the procedures used solely to sustain political power? Given these practices, I can accept authoritarian rules to protect us all on the promise of a system change as structured in the Pathways to Malfunction Identification chart below. This is a failing system.
The chart below describes a bubble-up process established as components of local governance composed of “never doubt” groups. As small organizations, they will select a needed change based on self-interests. Examples are quality of life issues by residents or scientific groups to analyze specific problems. The chart also recognizes the formation of interdisciplinary groups skilled at acquiring and injecting capital resources. It anticipates coalition groups charged with aligning policy and program implementation schemes built on trial and error evaluations.
The final system change events in this model (upper right) are as unknown as their seminal beginnings (lower left). They will become known as the initial efforts bubble-up, and shared ideas spread like Whitman’s leaves of grass across the landscape of personal change. The bet is a simple one. People in small groups can pick their experience with a problem, become a never doubt organization, and build toward a system change of great value to themselves with recognized results. Should the malfunction be shared widely and require a more productive agency for an action, the process acquires funds and encourages never doubt coalition groups to seek higher levels of investment that implies a regional area of operation. Finally, if the malfunction has national effects, the proposed system change will have widespread consensus agreement as it is already in place and well-practiced locally.
The chart above suggests the capacity for system changes utilizing the energy in the “never doubt” idea. The widespread knowledge of “never doubt” comes from the work and words of anthropologist Margaret Mead regarding cultural transformations.
Whether the change sought is significant, dangerous, beautiful, or hideous, the cause of a difference (major or minor) can be the work of a relatively small group of people with an idea. The factor often left out is the change sought could be that of twelve apostles or twenty violent supremacists. Claims that this is the only way a system change occurs is logical and historically accurate, but it may not be a lasting one in the digital world. Given the flow of ideas, it is possible to conceive of a thousand groups that might identify and act on a common view of change that will alter everything all at once, whereby the source becomes irrelevant. Rosa Parks knew she was not the first person to be insulted on a public bus in Montgomery. She is known for saying, “I was just tired.” But, it became, “one and all” who wanted her to be the last person insulted and arrested on a bus in Montgomery. Historians can only speculate as to why the sit-in at the Woolworths, in Greensboro, NC in early 1960 by four untrained college students set the tone for the decade. Sit-ins at segregated lunch counters are well documented throughout the South, but this one began in February and ended in July.
The purpose of the chart (above) is, therefore, one aimed at trust in our better selves. It lays out a belief in discovering malfunctions for two extremely well-known reasons. Power concedes nothing without a demand. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. That was Douglass (1849). He was writing about getting more comfortable with change, even if every turn seems to be for the worse. Sensing the end of misery in the world is a powerful feeling and opens the mind to wonder and beauty.
The failures of power occur in its acquisition and thereafter in the keeping of it. In seeking change, it is logical to examine how the methods of public appropriations becoming private holdings. Here are three widely known global examples:
- Vast personal capital accumulation among a small percentage of people is now common knowledge. That the rate is fantastically beyond a measure of any one person’s productive capacity firmly suggests an economic malfunction worthy of analysis and action.
- Fossil fuels are irreversibly altering the thin layer of gas encompassing the earth. These added gases are causing climate change and several malfunctions.
- The endogenous formation of organic molecules capable of endangering all human life as a virus may be a natural occurrence. The failure of anticipation, prediction, management, and mitigation might be the most serious malfunction of all.
The chart has seven letters (GOS-3P RE) in the upper right corner. I developed it to describe a process for defining big problems like the three listed above. I use them in supporting the never doubt group idea with steps that mean something in the immediate sense, that can be put to practical use today, and to share or join with others on a similar path. Before this process can begin operationally, the issue must be continuously well defined and researched. In writing a GOS-3P RE, the use of the “future perfect tense” as a verb form of communication is best.
- Establish goals that address the problem(s) as defined.
- Form objectives that will measure purpose (s) as stated.
- Construct strategies (tactics & activities aiding goal and objective success)
- Select a broad range of possible projects (creatively imagine the future).
- Determine policy (the values and principles that will guide future decisions).
- Decide on priorities (which projects go first? what is the governing policy?).
- Budget the resource implications of the plan (projects, cost? and;
- Evaluate (is their measurable progress?)
The process above can be implemented with the many cautions offered by Alasdair MacIntyre, a Scottish philosopher whose book After Virtue (1981) brings insight to our modern problems. One observation remains especially useful now, “Questions of ends are questions of values, and when it comes to values, reason is silent; conflict between rival values cannot be settled.“
In this sense of change, it seems far more reasonable to focus the world on its malfunctions. They can be found among the powerful, among rivals, even amidst our regular day-to-day lives. People all over the earth joyfully engage a problem when confronted with a self-interest grounded in something as complicated as community survival or as simple as improving physical comfort. The task before us is to broaden this personalization of our place in the world and broaden it with digital communication tools at our disposal.
Communication action is occurring now, every minute and hour of the day. Will these face to face experiences spin our lives into the shadows of our home-based comforts? Will they be used to more aggressively share stories of survival? Will they help build the knowledge with the action needed to define and solve common problems?
From the mathematical genius of interpreting regression to the mean data to the inspirational voices of political activists, we can likewise fall to the floor in laughter at our ridiculous selves in a barrage of satirical media presentations that seem (and often are) far more accurate than a news broadcast. We are awash with the language for change, but finding a pathway to a real change, I want you to think about the Montgomery Bus Boycott or the sit-in at Woolworths in Greensboro and don’t look back.
Malfunctions are examined in detail in Part Two (here)
Part Four – Critical Thinking Pathways:
Research into the idea of malfunctions requires the insight of the arts well ahead of the imaginable political strategies around which there is so much negative sensitivity. Expanding “our reality” through the eyes and experience of others is often too esoteric, and not goal-driven. Not to worry, there are lots of ways to work on community building issues.
The visual literacy of our society, on the other hand, is expansive and growing. Because of this, a useful phrase in critical thinking is to say, ‘no one is as smart as all of us.’ Words are used to describe and share what we think we know with others, adding pictures to terms in structured settings will always enrich conversations about change.
We are experienced watchers, but everyone can be a better listener. Another useful phrase to use is “listen to be heard.” The habits of mind that manage ‘your thoughts,’ the sound of your voice, and the voice of others in conversation, represent three distinct wavelengths. Each one of them can block or overwhelm the other, building the skills for a disciplined separation of these frequencies produces a useful conversation.
In discussions of health, the word “critical” describes a “short term” condition. In economics, the phrase “short term” is a shareholder supremacy issue briefly discussed in discoveries (here). That led to lead to some ideas about malfunctions (here) in the second part. The third part had some fun on creative thinking, this one opens to a brief examination of critical thinking that speaks to the origins of the first three as a way to build trust and confidence in taking direct actions in the fourth part. These are exhibits of “crisis” under the heading of what I like to call, pick your own malfunction.
I take a brief “readiness” look on ‘thinking’ clearly when selecting a process. There are hundreds of them for sharpening up, so just pick one, adapt as needed. Here is a quick exercise to run on yourself, with friends, colleagues, and co-conspirators in getting woke on a problem.
There is little need for discussion of this exercise as the point is to cause a moment of reflection. If you had a rapid similar word definition response to each one of them know three things 1) you have some or all the skills listed below and 2) if it took even a bit longer than ten seconds you need more work on them when “critical” thinking is essential and 3) they are just words you can pick your own. Breeze through the following:
- break the whole into parts to discover correlation
- list the parts piece by piece
- sort the things into things, like with like
- apply criteria
- judge using well-known rules
- apply professional and social standards
- compare and assess the means
- recognize differences and similarities
- rank things together or separate in groups
- separate into categories or decern status
- seek information
- logical reasoning
- inference stated
- conclusions made
- basis of evidence
- predict (if that then this)
- envision events
- plan in the future perfect tense
- determine possible consequences
- transform knowledge
- changing conditions
- converting function
- alter concepts
Pick Your Malfunction Caution
A brief, am I thinking critically outline like the one above is a fine thing between you and your own head. Very different use of your thoughts will be needed if you are contemplating a step directly into a change suggested by No. 6 – predict and No. 7 – transform
Pathways to Justice
Not being curious enough is a problem. Inquisitiveness will take on the full exercise of your intuition on how to run some inference, demand integrity, and put contextual change in the imagination of ordinary people. Perhaps, the language used becomes more demanding or more visually inspiring to help people hear better in order to be heard well. Perhaps, direct actions and experience help define solve problems more directly because they can be shared. In these cases, the process forces the practice of sharing experiences with reflection leads to knowledge, and getting better at new questions.
Observers of this concept are encouraged to share the use of the Pathways Design. The one above is by Melanie Rayment. The design published (here) and inspired the “never doubt” design on the idea of identifying malfunctions parts two and three in this series. Be encouraged to share the use of it as part of the Creative Commons approach to social change in the world as has the Social Design Pathways network. Who knows, perhaps this too is a system change.
The chart captures the process perfectly. It is one of the easiest to read graphic illustrations of system change I have seen. It is the inspiration describing system change using malfunction identification in part two (here). Social Design Pathways offers the use of it, with attribution and with the hope that changes and adaptation in initiatives are shared with them.
Closing Thoughts on Critical Thinking
Just after the election of POTUS45, the message about the need to produce change at the local law level was a loud one. The term system change is not used often, but it was described. An idea like “ranked-choice voting” could become law in the cities, expand to county state legislatures. The proponents can then argue for it to become part of a national election system as federal law.
The system change example given most often was the demand to make law governing marriage far more inclusive. The changes began locally, but rapidly across the United States, concluding with a Supreme Court ruling. Marriage, women’s rights, voting, health, banking, consumer rights, and so on have important actionable components that go from local to national or even global.
The progressive changes tend to get the most attention, less well known, but also with impact are changes law (or new law) that alters or removes environmental, financial, and business accountability and liability regulations. Not one effort toward a more civil society vs. a free one goes unchallenged in law or legislation. All of them require the leadership needed to demand improvements in civil discourse and faith in laws that protect people, not just values.
System Change Part Five: Pick Your Malfunction is next. As an added source of motivation, I offer the following twenty-six minutes as a parting thought for reflection.
The exhaustion of the writer as an agent of change is described in a post submitted in January 2019 (here). This post attempted to write about and seek writers on the future of democracy. The post reviews Ta Nehisi Coates, David Runciman, Stein Ringen, Philip Coggan, David Post in a search. It looks at one-hundred billionaires who may live in the altered state of blind anticipation of goodness, and starts to list hot buttons, and fades into exhaustion.
Part Two - Introducing Malfunctions: System changes occur in an environment of malfunction. Four were recently recommended to "The Albemarle Report" for exploration. They are developed only partially below and in more detail (here). The response to the Great Recession of 2008 reveals errors compounded in the govern m ent sector response to the Pandemic … Continue reading Malfunction
Wait to discover what the new Democratic members in the House have in common. There are three unelected leaders working 24/7/365 to get more Democrats and Independents in the House and Senate. They are Nina Turner, the new president of Our Revolution, Maurice Mitchell, the new national director of the Working Families Party and Yvette … Continue reading Fighting for America
Persuasion is a responsibility of communication. The writer’s list project asks what can writers do with a list of billionaires coupled with some "hot button examples" and an interest in shifting the narrative in ways improve the focus of new media on questions of democracy and great wealth. ~ On the Future of Democracy ~ Hundreds … Continue reading Writers Wanted
Civic Engagement I’m a lifelong learning type of person, and every so often I find opportunities online that help me to think things through. Recently, I have been exploring the expansion of political engagement in the United States and discovered an easily audited MOOC (a massive online open course), or for $50 I could draw … Continue reading Civic Engagement
Getting more scientists into Congress has become a necessity of our time. Too many of our lawmakers are not making any sense. We need people who make evidence-based decisions that are outcome driven and measured by performance from day-to-day and century-to-century. There are many origins of human progress. Sharpened stones and sticks, fire, and the … Continue reading Media & Measurement
America has not seen an argument for affordable housing, and infrastructure since the post-WWII 1950s. At that time the incentive was in the service of veterans and a national defense strategy to spread out the population. The approach today would be to build on American capacity for diversity and building America's energy future. The civil rights … Continue reading A New America
Open Letter to MAA Re: Mathematics Competition At this writing, there are some 330 million people in the United States (see pop clock) of which 75 million are younger than 18, to yield 255 million adults that could own a firearm. Among this group estimate, 55 million of these adults wouldn’t touch a gun or be … Continue reading Guns, guns, guns
Wealth above all other social factors can push the door closed on people, especially when they are men without means or women, but only if they don’t push back. The righteousness of wealth will spin the story, wag the dog, and fake the news without fact or journalistic integrity. The “maleness” premise regarding errors of … Continue reading Truth in a Hurricane
We the People Series: The following paragraph summarizes history’s “maleness” through the lens represented by Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to SCOTUS. So here goes. Prehistory social relations served human needs. Safety was on top of the list, but since then it has matured into a desire to live free from fear. The demand for physically strong leaders … Continue reading Managing Change
You can get something from new representatives about the truth, even a Republican from Nebraska. On the first day of the Judge Kavanaugh hearing, Sen. Ben Sasse made a strong almost non-partisan point. He says Congress must stop pushing its power to the executive branch to avoid taking responsibility and promote reelection. He stopped … Continue reading Truth or Dare
George Monbiot is a writer that is paying attention. The news from The Guardian is as hopeful as it is accurate. I urge you to read and subscribe. A Revolution Has Begun Posted: 17 Jul 2018 06:09 AM PDT published in the Guardian 11th July 2018 "The little-known history of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in a … Continue reading Alexandria Stands