The Unintended Consequences of Closed Minds
Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static snapshots.”
– Peter Senge, Pattern of Behavior
It’s a complex world and our choices have consequences beyond the immediate. I’m trying to see those patterns in our community. Frequently on this website, we discuss the problems of today without always fully realizing that those problems were yesterday’s solutions; at least, for someone.
Today those ‘someones‘ are all of us. Neighbors. Our actions are driving status quo as well as change; nothing stands still. Is what’s to come in the future what we intend? For example, we may fully intend to calm traffic along Division St., but our actions (unnecessary driving), preferences (NIMBY, speeding), perceptions (cut-through traffic is bad) may be getting in the way of present solutions and creating future problems.
Participating in and watching several community meetings lately has me slightly worried about the ability for Traverse City to improve its use of public space, in particularly improving our worst streets. Too often, we enter discussions with our position made-up, our perspective set, our preferences un-bendable and our assumptions solidified. I’m often guilty of it myself. What brings me around is stepping back and throwing out The Answer, and letting a solution present itself.
Answers aren’t acquired & collected, but heard, explored and implemented with open minds.