The “In-moded” Way of Thinking

August 1, 2000

In this issue:

The “In-moded” Way of Thinking, by John Renesch


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Riane Eisler, author of The Partnership Way and the visionary who foresees a future where neither the masculine nor the feminine dominates but they exist in partnership, is the only woman named among the world’s twenty great thinkers including Vico, Hegel, Spengler, Adam Smith, Marx, and Toynbee featured in Macrohistory and Macrohistorians, edited by Johan Galtung and Sohail Inayatullah (Preager), in recognition of the lasting importance of her work on cultural transformation.



Bestselling author Gary Zukav is a contributor to this month’s eCHOICE: The E-Newsletter for Introspective Leaders, John’s “UNfree” newsletter. Gary’s article is entitled “The New Female.” John’s article includes his definition of “consciousness” adding to the various perspectives on the subject.



It was Saturday afternoon as I returned from my daily hike through the hilly streets of San Francisco, amazed by the traffic jam around the top of the world famous “Crooked-est Street” – the very steep, winding portion of Lombard Street – a block from where I live. People seemed very upset as I walked past them, waiting in backed-up lines of cars from all three directions – waiting for their chance to experience the landmark attraction.

As I reached the peak, where all the long lines converged, the cause for the out-of-the-ordinary back-up became apparent. The City had supplied traffic “controllers” to direct traffic. These re-deployed meter “cops” were “controlling” traffic while causing far longer back-ups, more frayed nerves and air pollution, and greater amounts of wasted gasoline than would occur if they were not “enforcing” their “controls.” Even the pedestrian tourists were criticizing the traffic “cops,” but they went about their “duty” undaunted.

In theorist’s terms, the attempt to make things better was, in fact, making things worse!

Sound familiar? Of course it does! We’ve all witnessed (and even been impacted by) this sort of ‘system dysfunction’ – when a social system doesn’t function the way it was intended to, or in ways that no one really wants. Social systems are a series of inter-relationships which include processes, beliefs, rules of behavior and other expected activity. Many of these intrinsic “rules” may have evolved outside of anyone’s consciousness, unintentionally put into play but nonetheless being a huge influence. Examples include companies, families, governments, associations, and any other network of people who come together to achieve some explicit purpose. We’ve all bumped heads with these systems and, in fact, we all are members of at least a dozen of them.

Most people want easy answers to their questions about how things work, how to deal with them more effectively, and what to do under problematic circumstances – especially in business situations. Naturally, there is no simple answer to all those questions but there is one suggestion I can offer than comes close: learn how systems behave (or misbehave) and one will have a much easier time dealing with this complex world. I believe that people would have a much easier time if basic systems theory were taught in school, along with the three R’s. Otherwise, we grow up expecting one result from our actions and often getting a different one.

Einstein warned us of our “outmoded ways of thinking” decades ago. Linear, cause-effect thinking is truly outmoded in today’s complex society. And, our society is getting more and more complex every day, making this simplistic thinking even more “outmoded.” Thinking systemically (more complex but not more complicated) is by far more “in-moded” for our present situation.

I’ll write more about systems behavior and misbehavior in the next issue of Aha!


Should People Commit Themselves to Companies that Aren’t Worthy of that Commitment?

This question is the theme of John’s editorial in this month’s eCHOICE: The E-Newsletter for Introspective Leaders (see details below). John cites comments from several colleagues, including Peter Senge and David Korten.



The Presidio to Host Three Evenings on Consciousness and Business:

Stanford’s Michael Ray, The Park founder Brent Hunter, Net Impact’s managing director Daniel O’Connor, holistic lifestyle consultant Elizabeth Bloom and John will share the podium in three separate evening “fireside chats” at the Presidio Alliance building in the Golden Gate Recreational Area’s The Presidio. Three of the presenters will appear on each evening, August 22, 24 and 30. The theme for all three evenings is “Me, My Self and My Work.” Tickets are $35 in advance/$45 at the door for each evening. For more information, call 415-924-3004.







John was just interviewed by Good News Broadcasting founder and host Paul Sladkus, focusing on his new book – Getting to the Better Future. Good News is based in New York City and features positive news for a refreshing change. The interview was aired Wednesday, July 19.



“Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of Conscious Choosing”

by John E. Renesch from New Business Books of San Francisco…

Foreword by Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop.
Rave reviews by Warren Bennis, Neale Donald Walsch, Peter Russell, Sally Helgesen, Michael Ray and others…..

For preview, go to Getting to the Better Future



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eCHOICE: The E-Newsletter for Introspective Leaders:

eCHOICE is SENT DIRECTLY FROM JOHN, not through the automatic system of his Web site – – like issues of Aha! Subscribers receive eCHOICE in two formats – as text in the body of the email AND in MS Word as an attached file so more attractive copies can be archived by subscribers.


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About John Renesch

Aha! is prepared monthly by John E. Renesch, a San Francisco writer, futurist, and business philosopher. His new book – Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of Conscious Choosing – is just out. He served as Editor-in-Chief of The New Leaders business newsletter from 1990 to 1997 and has created a dozen business anthologies on progressive business subjects, including consciousness, intuition and leadership. These books include New Traditions in Business, Learning Organizations and The New Bottom Line.

He is also an international keynote speaker, having addressed audiences in Tokyo, Seoul, London, Brussels, Budapest as well as many cities throughout the U.S.


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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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