on the power of systems

in my work i focus on how various elements (in my case people) interact with each other and for what reason they do so – their collective purpose. the entirety of elements interacting for a particular purpose is called a system. thus, once there is more than a single elements that does some work to achieve a particular purpose it requires some form of collaboration, which is defined by specific mechanisms of interaction. given this definition it becomes clear that almost all of what we do and experience in daily life is happening within various systems: from how we interact with others close to us (and even ourselves!), which is usually implicitly defined in our culture, to how we organize as communities, societies and our global civilization.

a core assumption within systems design is that the setup of systems and their purpose have a higher impact on the results than the elements and their individual behavior within those systems. the purpose of the system can be distilled by repeatedly asking why something is happening within that system until the answer is sufficiently high-level to describe why this systems exists. the setup of the system describes how the elements of the system are interacting. the interactions in turn are defined by implicit and explicit agreements, e.g. culture and laws, respectively.

to enable the change i long for in the world i focus on finding new sets of agreements that redefine how we collaborate and related to each other: with care, sharing of power and the flow of resources as the defining principles for us being together. together with those around me i aim to find new ways of collaboration that fundamentally serve life and which purpose it is to meet the most needs for the most people while staying within the boundaries of what our ecosystems have to offer.

why i am doing this

to avoid social and environmental collapse we need to radically change how we live and work on many layers. this is a tremendous challenge that humanity has not faced before and I believe one of the keys to solving it is by changing how we relate to each other and how we collaborate. to stop our domination and destruction of our environment we need to change how we relate to each other: from accumulating power and attending to the needs of very few to distributing power and attending to the needs of many. with the goal to attend to the most needs of the most people, i believe distributing authority and empowering people to collaborate in more decentralized ways is important.

to be effective and efficient within this new paradigm of collaboration we will need to unlearn a lot of old habits, embrace the new and uncertain and build specific structures, processes and agreements that make collaboration joyful and effective while caring for each other. building these structures and supporting others in doing so will be my contribution to the change.