Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
5 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Why Do Our Problems Persist and Multiply?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H2 5/13/13
Become a Fan
  (22 fans)

opednews.com

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/44718928@N00/8616623320/: problem solving in program: solution underway from museum of mathematics
problem solving in program: solution underway from museum of mathematics by justgrimes

Recently I was in a conversation about our energy consumption and the damage done in the process of securing sufficient fossil fuels to satisfy our voracious appetite.

The light went on and there it was, an observation worth writing about: It's one of main reasons we have so much trouble solving problems.

What seems to be missing is an approach to problem solving called systems thinking. We tend to look at our problems as isolates that have nothing to do with each other. Oh, we suspect they're connected but it seems more politically expedient to consider them isolated and blame them on each other.

When I was   an organizational development consultant, I found this to be one of the most persistent reasons for organizational inefficiencies. One department could blame another department and never be concerned about how each contributed to the other's difficulties, never mind the ultimate inefficiency of the overall organization.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it, "Systems thinking has been defined as an approach to problem solving, by viewing "problems" as parts of an overall system, rather than reacting to specific parts, outcomes or events and potentially contributing to further development of unintended consequences."

Our favorite problem solving method is linear objective reduction, i.e., the process of   drilling down vertically to identify the elements that make up the whole.

This is the kind of isolated thinking it produces: Drive a gas guzzling vehicle as though it has no impact on the need for more oil production. Produce the oil as though it has no impact on the ecology. Protest the oil industry's damage to the ecology by producing the fuel you want as though you have nothing to do with it.

In each of these instances, we fail to examine the horizontal interactions and linkages that are all part of a complex system. It's seems as though one issue has nothing to do with the others.

Now for some bad news. Each of these issues is itself a complex system made up of other complex systems all the way down to -- somewhere. (I won't go as far as Carl Sagan did when he said, "if you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.")

Another excellent example is how we deal with social issues. We are plagued with a drug abuse problem. We declare war on it as though it's an isolate and then attempt to drill down to the causes, when it's horizontally linked to other failures in our society too. As an example, we imprison the drug abusers while defunding our educational system, not recognizing a failing educational system is linked to drug abuse, crime and society's failures.

Another contributing factor in our society is we don't need to fix problems. It's sufficient to fix blame. Look no further than our politicians to see it in full color, 3D. They are society's avatars for isolated, linear thinking.

In fact, they don't even link up their own actions in one instance with the problems they produce in another. A most recent example was the Republican led reduction in security funding for American Embassies and how it was linked to the failure of security in Benghazi, for which some now want to put all the blame on the administration. Oh and they'd all like to ignore the two unnecessary wars and current drone attacks that intensify the hate and terrorism directed at us.

So are these politicians dumb? No! We are. They depend on our short memories and linear thinking. They rest assured knowing that we don't connect up the dots. Usually because we don't know where all the dots are. And sometimes we just don't have the time and patience to dig through all the flotsam and jetsam to find all the dots.

From Wikipedia again, "In systems science, it is argued that the only way to fully understand why a problem or element occurs and persists is to understand the parts in relation to the whole."

You see, our problems persist because of our political system. We and our politicians are parts of the whole system. Our whole system is one that not only doesn't succeed in permanently solving problems but actually produces more by ignoring the links between and among our most pressing issues.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Author, columnist and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I am a certified ontological coach. I've studied clinical therapeutic practices in Gestalt psychology and am a Certified Birkman (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Illinois Is Now on Board. We Can Carry Concealed Weapons in Every State.

The Primary American Meme: Be Afraid.

What Jesus said and What the Christian Lunatic Fringe Hears.

This Pope Makes Me Want to be an Atheist

Don't be Fooled: Black Racism Causes White Racism

Ethan Couch: An Example of the Pathology of Wealth

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

I agree with you, Robert. The whole of the system ... by anna kakol on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 2:05:35 PM
Thanks. And yes everything you write contributes t... by Robert De Filippis on Monday, May 13, 2013 at 2:39:35 PM
the first representation should be about the whole... by David Chester on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 5:23:20 AM
Hi Robert,I really love the examples you used for ... by Jenny Zhou on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 10:28:49 AM
Thanks for the response. I've bookmarked your blog... by Robert De Filippis on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 1:26:17 PM