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The marriage of story and systems thinking
Likely to be the last newsletter for the unforeseeable future - a look at the similarities between story and systems thinking
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I have been asked to not be political and focus on business storytelling in these Halo and Noose newsletters.
A week after this request was made South Africa sunk deeply into lawlessness and sporadic anarchy, rendering our future even less clear. My sense is that we cannot pretend that this perilous time is one of business-as-usual. The fact that KZN harbors have been trashed indicates that beyond the frustration and opportunism, the unrest has strategic intention as well.
We must take our blinkers off, say what needs to be said when it needs to be said, be alert, fashion our communities and societies according to the values and behaviors we hold most dear – and story has a huge role to play in this.
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(It is the easiest of processes).
Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” captures the times we live in beautifully. See: http://storytellinginbusiness.blogspot.com/2021/05/what-we-are-up-against-everybody-knows.html
The lead up to the deception addressed in Cohen’s lyrics and that have appeared in my newsletters and blog posts since the advent of the “pandemic”, and a simultaneous rush to control and coercion legislation in general by the South African government:
May 2020. To borrow an idea from Swiss-French psychologist and psychoanalyst Charles Baudouin, we have a tendency to (often unconsciously) hold onto our bus ticket for a long time after we have left the bus.
June 2020. Be Not Afraid (apt as the governments rule -by- fear campaign is kicked off
June 2020. Suffering. The looming spectre of a post-Covid-19 World as one of tight government regulation and control, and the acceleration of the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence and robotics – a combination that hints at the potential for more government by dictate and more than a degree of de-humanisation (if we stand by and let this happen) – and which in turn will invoke new anxieties, deprivations, separations and distress for many.
June 2020. Does our constitution belong in the waste paper basket as unalienable rights and freedoms are removed?
July 2020. Are we losing touch, and how frail are we in the face of being technologically led and even ‘augmented’, without proper restraint and ethics
Aug 2020. “It’s really using a hammer to kill a fly” - Swedish epidemiologist Anders Tegnell on the danger of masks and overcontrol.
August 2020. “Putting things right” was written as we began hurtling as a nation towards the edge of the precipice.
May 2021. Stay woke, stay alert.
June 2021. Making those big personal decisions about the pandemic in a climate of withheld information and false narratives
June 2021. “I did not realize” is no excuse
July 2021. Fear, falsehoods and force
The violence that has now broken out at a time when the country is already on its knees has a fair chance of spreading and escalating.
“Stories emerged as the great factories of meaning, creating it, transforming it, testing it, sustaining it, fashioning it and refashioning it” - Yiannis Gabriel
“Narrative imagining – story – is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend upon it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, or predicting, of planning, and of explaining” - Mark Turner
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