Systemirony #1. The Non-zero-sum.

Professional Systems Thinking, on the Flawed System.

In my first article since earnestly returning once more to “The train”, maybe it will be first of a series.

Each will be characterised by a shortness of time as something incomplete, something emitted vs omitted; taking precedence over a stack of other stuff going on, that I will probably never have time to fully explain, but which hopefully will be clear to those already familiar with my previous writings in Medium.

These articles might charitably be thought of as tips of some nuggets of wisdom, much as the tips of icebergs relate to icebergs.


A question I’ve been asked often, in response to the true account of my professional experience is “Why so many jobs? Why did you never just stick in one?”

My standard answer, as many Engineering freelancers will recognise, is that my own job is to put myself out of work. Each job is to assist in the efficient execution of an Engineering contract. The more effectively I do that, the sooner I am out of work, looking for the next contract.

Of course just putting myself out of work does not always mean a job well done. Another story for another day maybe.

If my accounts of my journey on and off of the train serve any designed purpose to readers, it is perhaps to save them some time, and maybe some pain, assisting in the realisation of the Non-zero-sum state, which by definition is not “Professional” in the conventional sense.

In that state, attained by experience, or research into such, we are richer in the intrinsic source of all value; knowledge.

Proven elite expertise in Systems thinking is characterised more by a drive to be out of the current system, rather than in it.

The more we attain that euphoric state of being able to see equally inside and outside of the box, the more we see the flaws, and the more we realise it can only be fixed from the outside, not from the inside.

For the moment, it might seem a lonely place to be, because there does not seem to be many of us here. But that again could be an illusion seen from within the zero-sum box.


An acute lack which I am aware of, is romantic compatibility.

For us to feel in love with someone, we have to respect their intellect.

Zero-sum thinking is exclusive to within the box.

Zero-sum thinking has no tolerance of Non-zero-sum thinking.

In the Zero-sum box, Non-zero-sum is an unthinkable impossibility.

Therefore the Non-zero-sum concept is a superset of the zero- sum.

Comprehension of Non-zero-sum thus requires an expansion of intellect over that used in zero-sum.

I think no matter whatever other chemistry and friendship might exist, zero-sum thinkers can never be sustainably romantically compatible with non-zero sums.

If you think I am wrong about that, please do say so. Whether you applaud or not; I am all ears, always up for a discussion.

On the other hand, if you’ve come to the same conclusions, congratulations, I know you will applaud.

Welcome to the Non-zero-sum.


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