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accounting for dynamics

October 12, 2013


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The new sciences are filled with tantalizing and hopeful processes that foster change. But to learn these lessons, we need to shift what we look for…

We need to work with the whole of a system, even as we work with individual parts or isolated problems. From a systems consciousness, we understand that no problem or behavior can be understood in isolation. We must account for dynamics operating in the whole system that are displaying themselves in these individual moments (Wheatley, 1999, p. 139-40).

With the difficult goal of understanding the system in its wholeness being prevented by traditional analytic thinking, Wheatley advises us “to move past cognition into the realm of sensation” (Ibid., p. 141).

figures refit saturated

What might that involve?

  • pick up impressions
  • move into senses
  • look for images, words, patterns
  • take time to notice
  • tune into influences
  • see the interplay
  • “…allowing ourselves to be influenced by a whole we cannot see” (Ibid., p. 141).


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Heidegger describes the realm of sensation as a “building dwelling thinking” (Heidegger, 1971). Heeding silence here involves contemplation. Consciousness. Key activities that arise are cultivation and construction.

Wheatley terms the interplay of parts-to-whole a dance of discovery in reference to iterative process. Koesler refers to this interdependence as holonomy. Perhaps this New Hampshire Department of Education Steps to Success model best captures flexibility and flow:


Enter at any point, maintain consciousness, and act in harmony with the change dynamic.

Dance steps

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Selected references

Heidegger, M. (1971). Building dwelling thinking. Retrieved October 12, 2013 from

New Hampshire Department of Education. (2012). Steps to success. Retrieved October 12, 2013 from

Wheatley, M. (1999). Leadership and the new science: Discovering order in a  chaotic world. San-Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

photo credit: <a href=””>*BZd*</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>Crow Bead</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

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