…today’s secret…Isaac or Stephen?

When it comes to organizations helping marginalized people work and play well with others…two belief systems are in play.

1) Blame Isaac Newton for the first.

Newton’s ‘Cause-and-Effect’ system assumes that the universe is organized and life is just a canoe ride on the river of time. The sun rises and sets. Some times there is a storm.

Every effect has a specific and predictable cause. Every cause or action has a specific and predictable effect.

Helping organizations following Newton gathers information about a marginalized individual and then develops and follows a plan to its successful conclusion.

If ‘Newtonian’ helping organizations were cooks they would be cooking by recipe. If they were artists they would be painting-by-the-numbers.

2) Blame Stephen Hawking for the second.

To Hawking, life is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.

Helping organizations following Hawking’s believe marginalized people live life in a clothes dryer. Life tumbles in a black hole, unknown and chaotic. You must act in concert with chaos if you are to succeed.

If ‘Hawking’ organizations were cooks they would work with what they got from what they found in the kitchen. If they were artists their work would be like an accidental mess of paint.

I have seen both belief systems work when helping marginalized populations work and play well with others… they either (1) create a step-by-step plan and then do the things to make it work or (2) take what is available and organize it for best results.

It’s interesting that neither side, planning nor improvisation, can convince the other that their belief system is stupid.

It is also interesting that it is the people who operate in both belief systems that make or break that system.

Mix in a little cognitive bias, logical fallacies, and data misinterpretation into the one-on-one decision making and you have an organization that probably isn’t cooking or painting very well at all.

How’s a person with a heart for marginalized people really succeed with all this going on in the background?