Friday, April 9, 2010

Donella H. Meadows Quote

"Purposes are deduced from behavior, not from rhetoric or stated goals."
Donella H. Meadows
Thinking in Systems

"An important function of almost every system is to ensure its own perpetuation."
Same as above

Donella is not speaking of software systems, but rather behavior systems. She's speaking about the war on drugs, welfare, health care, national security, the environment, or any other societal or natural system.

"Keeping sub-purposes and overall system purposes in harmony is an essential function of successful systems."
Same as above

"We misperceive risk, assuming that some things are much more dangerous than they really are and others much less. We live in an exaggerated present - we pay too much attention to recent experience and too little attention to the past, focusing on current events rather than long-term behavior"
Donella H. Meadows
Thinking in Systems

"Usually the greater the discrepancy between the goal and the actual situation, the more emphatic the action will be."
Same as above

"The most damaging example of the systems archetype called "drift to low performance" is the process by which modern industrial culture has eroded the goal of morality. The workings of the trap have been classic, and awful to behold."
Same as above

"We know what to do about drift to low performance. Don't weigh the bad news more heavily than the good. And keep standards absolute."
Same as above

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