How can expanding our perspectives affect how we understand our systems?

Mikael Seppälä
Sep 15 · 3 min read

Have you ever wondered why most systems maps are flat and two-dimensional whereas how we understand “the system” actually depends on the mental models and paradigms that Donella Meadows outlined in her 12 leverage points?

In the Developmental Perspectives and Systems Thinking workshop we organised on 14.9.2020 we explore how changing Developmental Perspectives (mental models and paradigms) affect how we view a real-life system.

Mikael Seppälä from Systems Change Finland spoke briefly about how Adult Developmental Psychology, Metamodernism and Integral Theory can inform Developmental Perspective taking. After that we did a few group exercises on perspective taking.

The main point of the discussion was to explore what it is like to get an experience of Systems Being which could be described as the experience of systems versus the systems maps that we use to describe them very often in Systems Thinking.

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One take on Systems Being is that it is based on expanding our experiental aspects such as empathy, cognition or egos beyond ourselves to fit the systems we want to understand or deal with. We can expand our egos or self models to empathize with things and phenomena beyond our bodies like consciousness philosopher Thomas Metzinger explained in one of the videos we watched. that you can use to grow the ability to experience ever broadening systems.

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Adult Development Psychology, Metamodernism and Integral Theory explore the type of development that might happen. Moving into the 2nd tier, we can even empathize with planetary and cosmic aspects even though only a fraction of people are currently able to make this shift because our cultures don’t support this type of expansive, vertical development. But in our times planetary challenges such as the Climate Crisis, our collective consciousness should be able to reflect the scope of the challenges for us to be able to deal with them. In the workshop we explored how the ego might grow on the basis of the following model that reflects Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory.

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Picture and source: Sean Esbjörn-Hargens

Slides: http://bit.ly/devperspectives

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Systems Change Finland seeks to cultivate a society that can deal with systemic and complex challenges. The purpose of Systems Change Finland is to promote the application of approaches that help people, organizations and society understand and work with systems and complexity.

Systems Change Finland

Cultivating a society that can deal with systemic and complex challenges

Mikael Seppälä

Written by

Work: #LivingLabs Specialist @LaureaUAS | Igniting: @systemschangefi @sys_innovation #SystemsChange | On fire: #SystemsThinking #Complexity

Systems Change Finland

Systems Change Finland seeks to cultivate a society that can deal with systemic and complex challenges. The purpose of Systems Change Finland is to promote the application of approaches that help people, organizations and society understand and work with systems and complexity.

Mikael Seppälä

Written by

Work: #LivingLabs Specialist @LaureaUAS | Igniting: @systemschangefi @sys_innovation #SystemsChange | On fire: #SystemsThinking #Complexity

Systems Change Finland

Systems Change Finland seeks to cultivate a society that can deal with systemic and complex challenges. The purpose of Systems Change Finland is to promote the application of approaches that help people, organizations and society understand and work with systems and complexity.

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