I feel challenged to think outside the leaf; or as some of you know it, the box. I think that is what Donella Meadows is trying to tell us in her article “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System.” (1999)
She speaks about finding mastery over paradigms. I had to google paradigms a few times to wrap my head around the thought, but eventually I came to the conclusion that what Meadows is trying to convey is that a system needs to be overcome. The paradigm of the system, or the typical standard model, needs to be overcome. Mastered. Transcended. CHALLENGED. When I think of a system, I think big. I think government problems, and world peace. But there are also simple systems. The system of school, the system of your daily routine, or the system of your favourite pen.
Meadows inspires me to say this: Consider the choice you are making, the lesson you are teaching, or the action you are taking and be thoughtful about the system of that item. Overcome the typical system. Be creative, think outside the leaf, do the unexpected and challenge the “should be”. Because based on what she says, “It is in this space of mastery over paradigms that people throw off addictions, live in constant joy, bring down empires, get locked up or burned at the stake or crucified or shot, and have impacts that last for millennia.” (Meadows, 1999) Those ideals sound pretty cool. Except, perhaps, getting locked up or burned at the stake or crucified or shot; those are a little extreme for my taste. However, on top of sounding cool, these things can create a society that thinks deeply, makes change, and instigates a challenge to the paradigm of systems. Let’s be that society.
Meadows, D. (1999) Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http://www.donellameadows.org/archives/leverage-points-places-to-intervene-in-a-system.