A Great Way to Get a Better Handle on Things

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
Winsights No. 42 (June 2000)

A convenient way to understand much about yourself, about each other, about your firm or agency, and about the world, is to understand systems and how systems behave. Especially how one type of system behaves.

You are made up of millions of complexly homeostatic systems and physically are, yourself, a complexly homeostatic system. And you are part of many complexly homeostatic systems.

Everything in the Universe is caught up in many, many various systems. (No matter what your field or specialty, what you are studying and trying to deal with is the phenomenology of systems.) Most systems today are complexly homeostatic systems because any systems which are not, don’t usually last very long. What accumulates are the systems which somehow have the best staying power.

One of the very best strategies for lasting, for not returning one’s elements back to the soup for a while, is complex homeostasis.

  • Well, what is a complexly homeostatic system?
  • What do you do when you are really, really thirsty?
  • What do you do when you are really, profoundly hungry?
  • What do you do when you are bitterly, achingly cold?

Reflexively, you do what it takes to get back in balance, get back in your comfort zone, get back in equilibrium. So also the million-and-one systems within your body maintain or restore equilibrium with respect to your various hormone levels, endocrine levels, digestive fluids, physical balance so you are able to be sitting there in that chair.

The system will seek to return to whatever your brain and mind define as balance or comfort in all your muscle patterns (including the focus of your eyes, however warped that may be by your left-over “body english” from your situations in the past); whatever may be your psychological comfort; whatever it takes to maintain the many various roles you are playing; whatever it takes to maintain minimum balances in your finances…..

Psychologically, what do you do when you “keep your cool?”

Surprise, surprise. Your firm or agency is also a complexly homeostatic system and does what complexly homeostatic systems do. So do most longer-lasting situations within your company, including situations you are trying to change. A major breakthrough that would mean huge profits? Acting consciously from very different motives (usually), people act out the reflexes of that situation in such a way as to avoid or prevent such an upset, setting to naught what you had hoped to bring about. (And you may be one of those people yourself!)

So also for all the longer-lasting problem situations around you, including community, national and world problems — poverty, world hunger, traffic….

If you can understand this way in which situations reflexively act to restore their balance, mostly through people’s actions whose conscious motives are very, very different from such an outcome, you can begin to recognize, intercept, anticipate, redirect those responses in such a way as to produce a much happier outcome.

The Win-Win Finder Kit

I’ve developed a little “map-making kit” you can use to help make your hopes, goals and answers and solutions succeed…

Win-Win Finder helps you do that and to find your sometimes surprising sources of support as well as your sometimes surprising sources of resistance and opposition.

You are welcome to test and use this “map-making kit” for free. It works best if you have several other people besides yourself working on the same issue — except that version of Win-Win Finder where you explore your own psychological makeup and discover how to bring more of yourself into alignment with what you want to do…..

You can find Win-Win Finder right now, this very moment, under Creative Problem Solving Techniques in this website, where we are starting to erect, for free, a battery of the world’s best one hundred techniques for discovering answers and solving problems. More power to you!

Note:  Because the nature of systems generally is such a very convenient way to understand and work with the phenomena of every field of study, we strongly recommend learning general systems theory to better understand your own present field of work and to better enable to cross over into new fields and disciplines and lines of inquiry or work. We also seek both general systems theorists and writers to help develop versions of general systems theory for young children. The sooner one can learn those particular basics, the better for understanding all one’s subsequent studies.

Our own very basic published exploration, a somewhat idiosyncratic version of this topic, is found in our book, Toward A General Theory of Systems in the Books Online section of this website.