In my 3-day workshop on going beyond systems thinking we do make the distinction between a holistic orientation to complexity and what I am calling “systems thinking here.” There are several key factors in this distinction. For example, often in systems thinking there is a hidden mental model of homeostasis, or homeostatic regulation. What we know, however, is that complex systems operate far from equilibrium. Another example is the problem of thinking in terms of “operational closure” — which does apply to some systems, but not in the domain of complexity science. Third, most systems thinking, allows for agency in only some of the “actors” while deanimating other “actors.” Fourth ( I could go on) all systems thinking rely on picking a theory of causality — and in most cases, the theory that is picked, or actually operating in the mental model, doesn’t fix the actual case. I am currently writing a longer piece on some of this detail, which includes a way to think from a holistic orientation, without relying on so many levels of abstraction — a kind of kanban board for agile thinking.
Thanks for the read.