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All Blog Posts Tagged Systems Thinking

Why the Internal Family Systems Model is Valuable Despite the Need for and Difficulties it Poses for Research

March 24th, 2012 by Howard Ditkoff

Last year, in response to a podcast in which a call-in show host, Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio, attempted to employ the Internal Family Systems (IFS) approach to help a caller, I made a post in which I clarified many of the details of the IFS model that I felt this host may have misunderstood […]


Four Pages Regarding a Biological Basis of Evil: Introducing My Most Important Work to Date

March 15th, 2012 by Howard Ditkoff

Background information on a group of pages that deeply explore evil, its possibly malicious origins emerging from biologically-based empathy and conscience-reducing psychopathology and its role in the evolution and complications of tragic, seemingly intractable problems and suffering at all levels of our world’s systems. These pages, integrating a range of source material, consider and attract attention to evil’s cyclic, manipulative and deceptive dynamics and its contribution to and exploitation of modern civilization, its structures and technologies, and, in turn, much of its dysfunction, abuse, trauma, corruption, absurdity and injustice. They also discuss our best understanding of the variation in people’s responses to these phenomena and their implications for nearly every area.

Furthermore, the pages advocate for an objective, scientific and medical approach to studying harm, highly valuing critical thinking and investigation, technical insight, psychological knowledge, precise and widespread dialogue and modern wisdom. They urge us to enhance reform efforts by better identifying leverage points and cooperatively developing optimal strategies for transcending challenges and resistance and preventing, assessing, reducing and healing from vicious cycles. And they point the way toward the establishment of new healthy, sustainable forms of human systems, more conscious of and immune to pathological influences and capable of flourishing with creativity.

This work is the culmination of a lifelong progressive quest – fueled by an uneasy sense about our world and concentrated through the discovery of what may be the most important book you’ll ever read – to understand issues of ethics and power. Learn about the very personal stories that coalesced in its development.



Some Clarifications of Stefan Molyneux’s Internal Family Systems “MEcosystem” Approach

February 15th, 2011 by Howard Ditkoff

I’m impressed and excited that Stefan Molyneux is using his platform with Freedomain Radio to introduce the concepts of the Internal Family Systems model to so many people – especially thoughtful people committed to creating a healthier world - who otherwise wouldn’t know of them. I’m also very glad that he is raising important awareness of the fact that MEcosystem work, like all peaceful change techniques, has limits. But - based on the admittedly limited example of his “The Limits of the MEcosystem” segment from his February 6, 2011 call in show - I think that the approach will prove more powerful for him and his listeners if they broaden and deepen their understanding of the model’s technical details and gain a greater perspective on where MEcosystem work fits in the context of IFS as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »


My Scheme Team Dream: Partners Wanted for Shaping and Changing The World

September 19th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Scheming – or creating schemas – helps us shape a clear understanding of how the various parts of systems relate and connect. It then empowers application through developing strategic, intriguing, and often subversive plans to create innovative change in the world – for better or for worse. After a period of undefined frustration, a discussion with a friend helped me pinpoint my recent lack of partners with whom to co-scheme as the root of my dissatisfaction.

In this post, I discuss what scheming means to me and its central role in my worldview and throughout my life in areas ranging from math, medicine and sports to relationships, politics and business. I explore key examples of special shared moments, evolutionary factors and enviably successful teams that explain the excitement and rewards of co-scheming. And, in the service of initiating connection and dialogue with dynamic new “partners in crime,” I describe the similar and complementary assets and qualities that I and they would ideally bring to such an emergent and generative partnership. Read my thoughts on the process and goals of co-scheming at its best and consider whether you might be one of the fellow co-schemers I’m looking for.


The Challenges of Accepting Civilization as Unsustainable and Unhealthy

August 27th, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn in 1997 first exposed me to the idea that civilization is an inherently unsustainable and unhealthy social structure. But it took further reading of works by Quinn and Derrick Jensen, along with greater experience, to help me increasingly incorporate this understanding into my life. Most recently, Jensen’s work Endgame impacted me with a particularly convincing presentation of civilization’s shortcomings from the concrete and powerful perspective of physical resource dynamics.

In this post, I examine the paramount importance of internalizing the implications of our social structure’s fundamental flaws, the experience of facing the impact of this understanding, why it is to difficult to fully internalize, the variety of ways that people respond to the issue, and how my growing acceptance of it has influenced my life journey. I then discuss the process of finding our optimal roles in the re-emergence of health and sustainability and the invaluable role of community and support as we do so.


What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 8

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Conclusion (Part 8 of 8)

Note: This is Part 8 of an eight-part series. You may want to start at Part 1 of the series, Summary and Table of Contents.
There are tremendous challenges in our world today. Michael Moore’s films have been some of the most powerful channels through which many of us have become aware […]


What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 7

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

A Formula for Fundamental, Sustainable Political and Social Change in America (Part 7 of 8)

Note: This is Part 7 of an eight-part series. You may want to start at Part 1 of the series, Summary and Table of Contents.

The Inseparable Roles of Moral Courage and Campaign, Election and Media Reforms in Fundamental Political and Social […]


What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 5

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Campaign, Election and Media Reform: Levers and Leverage Points for Improving Our Society (Part 5 of 8)

Note: This is Part 5 of an eight-part series. You may want to start at Part 1 of the series, Summary and Table of Contents.

Moral Courage Alone Isn’t Enough
Clearly, moral courage, as discussed in Part 3, Moral Courage: A […]


What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

In his previous films, Michael Moore opened minds regarding injustices in deeply emotional areas including corporate responsibility, gun violence, 9/11 and the Iraq War. In Sicko, and his related appearances, he has pursued change in the American health care system. But Moore’s work and life embody two underappreciated themes even more central to social change in America – moral courage and campaign, election and media reform. In this eight-part series of posts, I explore the importance of these intertwined themes and their relation to Michael Moore. I then propose a formula for focusing influential individuals and organizations on these core leverage points to stimulate fundamental, sustainable sociopolitical reform in America.


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