Citizen Action Monitor

Our culture asks very narrow-boundary questions when challenges are wide-boundary — Nate Hagens (23)

Our culture fails to recognize that even local, narrow-boundary concerns may be related  to, if not rooted in, serious wide-boundary issues.

No 2306 Posted by fw, June 19, 2018

To access links to all other posts in this series, click on the Tab titled “Where Are We Going? by Dr. Nate Hagens” in the top left margin. 

“Each issue we encounter has different correct answers depending on how wide a perspective is used.  We can look at the impact of a policy on e.g. the taxi driver, on the taxi company, on New York City transport system, on New York City itself, on USA, on the world today, on future generations, on ecosystems etc.  Most current predicaments are viewed from a wider boundary perspective, but most cultural decisions are made using narrow boundaries.” Resilience.org

In yesterday’s post, Pt 22, continuum 21, Dr. Hagens’ first in his series of continuums in the “Our Culture” category, drove home the point that modern human cultures at various levels – individuals, corporations, nations — sees endless economic growth as “the plan”.

Carrying forward that thesis in Pt 23, continuum 22, Hagens contends that “the plan” infects the way our culture  perceives problems – we fail to recognize that even local, narrow-boundary concerns may be related to, if not rooted in, serious wide-boundary issues.

Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 22, continuum 21, runs from 34:01 to 34:53.

Alternatively, a video of Hagens’ talk, along with a “loosely related” essay on the talk, are available by clicking on the following linked title. This version, published by Resilience.org, also includes excellent readers’ comments, including responses by Hagens.

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Where are we going? by Nate Hagens, Resilience.org, May 8, 2018

TRANSCRIPT (from 34:01 to 34:53)

[OUR CULTURE] –

Narrow vs Wide boundaries

34:01[Continuum 22: Narrow vs Wide] Narrow versus wide. This just means that when you look at a question, when we look at a problem, there can be many correct answers depending on how wide of a boundary you put on the question. For example, if you have a new policy for taxis in New York City, they’re going to have some impact on the taxi driver, they’re going to have some impact on the taxi company, they’re going to have some impact on the taxi authority of transportation in New York, they’re going to have some impact on New York City, they’re going to have some impact on New York State, they’re going to have some impact on the Eastern seaboard and America and the world and future generations.

34:41 – It depends on what your boundary of analysis is when you’re asking a question. Most of our culture asks very narrow-boundary questions when our challenges are wide-boundary issues.

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[Resilience.org Supplement] — Narrow vs Wide – Each issue we encounter has different correct answers depending on how wide a perspective is used.  We can look at the impact of a policy on e.g. the taxi driver, on the taxi company, on New York City transport system, on New York City itself, on USA, on the world today, on future generations, on ecosystems etc.  Most current predicaments are viewed from a wider boundary perspective, but most cultural decisions are made using narrow boundaries.

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About Dr. Nathan John Hagens – Hagens, 51, worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers for 10 years before closing his own hedge fund in 2003 to develop a systems synthesis approach to the human predicament. At present, Dr. Hagens is a professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament. The readings and lectures cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole.

Visit Nate Hagens’ personal website at The Monkey Trap.

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This entry was posted on June 19, 2018 by in academic counterpower, counterpower of one, information counterpower, political action and tagged .
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