Every once in a while the internet delivers. I happen upon something through a random trail of breadcrumbs from link to link that tickles me so deeply I want to take to the streets and cheer the world wide web. And the idea of the Presentology Society did just that. I hope it is an actual club. I propose we get embroidered satin jackets. 
The following is a quote from big thinker and systems pioneer Russell Ackoff. 
I cannot stop thinking about it. 
"I have no interest in forecasting the future, only in creating it by acting appropriately in the present. I am a founding member of the 
Presentology Society."
Are you ready to become a Presentology Society member too? I LOVE this idea. I question exactly how much agency we have in creating the future, especially in a very complex systems, but I really enjoy this sentiment. What if we did become members? How would life change? How would our interactions shift? 
I propose quite dramatically. This is after all what we as consultants and clinicians point to in treatment, solution and overall strategy. This golden nugget of honoring the present is the reward of the work. And the honoring runs deep. When a simple noticing yields a movement toward change. Recognition, then understanding put into motion when we can digest that understanding and communicate it. Whether it is just inside ourselves, or to a larger system. 
The true skill of membership to the Presentology Society is the adept skill in being able to recognize the present, understand it, and then communicate it in a useful way to a system, be it large or small. And yeah, as you might imagine this takes practice. And Russell Ackoff has spent a lifetime investigating how to improve this process. 
The Ackoff piece, A Lifetime of Systems Thinking is a must read for those of us who like to feel our grey matter melt. It's full of big ideas and very provocative perspectives. It's also funny. Ackoff loves to poke the bear. While holding honey. And a picnic basket. 
A few other thought provoking gems from the piece:
The educational system is not dedicated to produce learning by students, but teaching by teachers—and teaching is a major obstruction to learning. Witness the difference between the ease with which we learned our first language without having it taught to us, and the difficulty with which we tried to learn a second language in school. Most of what we use as adults we learned once we got out of school, not while we were in it, and what we learned in school we forgot rapidly—fortunately. Most of it is either wrong or obsolete within a short time. Although we learn little of use by having it taught to us, we can learn a great deal by teaching others. It is always the teacher who learns most in a classroom. Schools are upside down. Students should be teaching, and teachers at all levels should learn no matter how much they resist doing so.
A student once asked me in what year I had last taught a class on a subject that existed when I was a student.
A great question. After some thought, I told him 1951. “Boy,” he said, “you must be a good learner. What a pity you can’t teach as well as you can learn.” He had it right.
Six Revelations
  • Improving the performance of the parts of a system taken separately will not necessarily improve the performance of the whole; in fact, it may harm the whole.
  • Problems are not disciplinary in nature but are holistic.
  • The best thing that can be done to a problem is not to solve it but to dissolve it.
  • The healthcare system of the United States is not a healthcare system; it is a sickness and disability-care system.
  • The educational system is not dedicated to produce learning by students, but teaching by teachers—and teaching is a major obstruction to learning.
  • The principal function of most corporations is not to maximize shareholder value, but to maximize the standard of living and quality of work life of those who manage the corporation.
How's that for poking the bear? 
PS, I love poking the bear.
Grab a stick and dive into the rest of Ackoff here. 

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