Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2013 HaiPhong, Vietnam, 2013

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Nurturance Spaces: Twelve Places to Intercede in Apithology Systems

Will Varey


One of the most powerful contributions to the systems discourse has been the concept of systemic leverage points. These places of counter-intuitive focus enable opportunities for change in situations where significant change might otherwise not be possible. The identification of systemic leverage points provides the means for small interventions to trigger larger-scale transitions in complex systems. On rare occasions this can result in the emergence of entirely new paradigmatic structures.

In counterpoint, the discipline of apithology is used to provide a systems analysis of generative systems, where new emergences are the norm, instead of the exception. Rather than places of resistance, the systemic features of primary interest are the sources of contributions. These are the specific locations of causal effects that provide generative functions for whole of system well-being. These features are not usually identified (or identifiable) by other epistemological inquiries. The discipline of apithology examines, not for the pathology of loss, but for the presences of the necessities of sufficiency in systems of generativity. This acknowledgement of a distinct difference in emphasis presents the question: what is the equivalent concept to ‘leverage points’ in apithological systems theory?

To examine this question, a wider inquiry was made into the causal relations of systemic dysfunctions in macro-scale sustainability transitions. Various causal loops were identified in a multi-tiered system of pathological conflicts and disjunctions. From this analysis, a map of causal relations was developed to examine, at a higher-order of abstraction, the relationships of apithological contributances. This analysis was specifically done within the discourse of apithology theory, which looks at the humanity-level impacts of causal relations in systems of conceptions. This provides a general systems approach to the ecological relations in the ontonomic domains of human conceptions. That process generated twelve distinctive and inter-related junctures of significance.

In this paper the twelve primary junctures identified for complex apithology systems are explained in more detail. First, the specific definition within apithology theory for each juncture is distinguished from the common usage of those descriptive terms. Second, the significance of each juncture is contextualized by the causal relationships of its adjacent junctures. Third, pre-existing contradictory assumptions are qualified with reference to the work of relevant systems theorists. Lastly, the implications of the inclusion and omission from consideration of the twelve junctures are described in an apithological systems inquiry.

The result of this paper is the portrayal of a landscape of systemic relations for whole-of-system health. It discloses the complementarities and contingencies in a generative ecology of contributive intentions. The unexpected finding is that, unlike leverage points, the ‘spaces for intercession’ are actually numerous. The closing reflection is how valuable contributions to systemic health might be found possibly, less in levers of change, and more in the contributive nurturances of new systemic becomings.


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