Introduction to pragmatic system state theory

systems theory philosophy diagramPragmatic system state theory is a conceptual model of the human experience that integrates general systems theory and pragmatism to produce a framework for practical therapeutic application…

wait…WAIT! I can’t do this. I can’t write this. There’s too much pressure. How the hell am I supposed to fit years worth of thought experiments into a single blog post? But I can’t weasel out… not when I’ve promised a paradigm shift. You’ll begin to feel it as I’ve felt it… or I’ll fail… epically. No escape. Prefrontal cortex shutting down… everything is panic…torture to think… losing my words… mind paralyzed, body fidgety, sweating, fighting to flee this one awful clawing question of how do I write this when words only tell us what we already know?

An idea. Not new, but seen through a different lens and a different language. I am alone, yet I am everything and everyone. I am the least and the most important expression of our universe. My time is infinite, yet quantized to the space of a single breath. In… Out… Each cycle a life lived in full.

Concept One: Our universe is expressed through time as a system – a set of elements that form a whole – whose boundary can be drawn at any expansion beyond a single point. From micro to macro, our nested human system can be subdivided by our human consciousness from single cell all the way out to the edge of our individual viable worlds. Common patterns, energy transformations, and feedback loops can be observed as consistencies throughout the whole.

Concept Two: Regardless of where our own system boundary is drawn by our consciousness, each enclosed element can be conceptualized as having equal, infinite importance to the definition of the human experience during a single quantization of time. All outside elements become environmental concerns. Since all possible boundary descriptions coexist through time, all system elements within our universe possess, concurrently, both infinite and insignificant value to the human experience.

Concept Three: When this conscious system boundary positioning is exercised to increase its flexibility, the brain (mind/personality) trades in its seat as master to become equal in importance to all other system elements in the human experience. If we value our own unique existence, the conceptual conclusion of this equality is unrelenting compassion for all elements forming the total universal system.

Concept Four: Accepting this equality of value allows an individual human to consciously engage with his/her system elements (including the brain’s concept of self) with unrelenting compassion and the freedom to assign importance/influence, ranging from infinite to insignificant, according to the choice of system boundary position. This concept eliminates the cognitive dissonance arising from the conflict between our yearning for universal unity (bliss) and our need to assert our individual importance (ego). What was once a struggle becomes a conscious dance between equally valuable expressions of the human experience.

Concept Five: Pragmatic system state theory is concerned with the development of practical exercises and tools for increasing our system boundary flexibility and negotiating our personal system states – where system state is defined as the communal interactions of a set of equally valued elements within a described boundary during a specific quantization of time.

As with any branch of pragmatism, ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Words are just words until they change the way engage with our humanity. A selection of Blank Canvas Living’s upcoming posts will highlight the remarkable therapeutic possibilities of pragmatic system state theory (taking full advantage of current neuroscience and neuroplasticity) in the fields of addiction, mood disorders, relationships, weight loss, productivity… and that’s just the beginning. But for now, perhaps the best argument for this conceptual model is how quickly and efficiently it helped me shift my own system state so I could get my shit together and write this blog post!

28 thoughts on “Introduction to pragmatic system state theory

  1. I’m intrigued. I always think the world we interact with is very much a more integrated system than we are classically taught. Look forward to your posts outlining your concepts in more detail!

    • It’s so liberating when we allow ourselves to question our experience of reality from outside the usual (dare I say ‘classic’) human perspectives. But be warned – these types of thought experiments should never be performed while driving in traffic or having a romantic evening with your partner. Projecting one’s consciousness into a mid-blast supernova can be, rather, how do I put this… distracting. I’m looking forward to bringing you along for the ride!

  2. You have a unique way Cymbria of drawing a reluctant reader into a new paradigm of thought…concise, yet humorous, human, and compassionate….bravo!

    • Thank you, Lynn. It’s always such a challenge translating the abstract into language – which is, by its very nature, such a concretely human form of communication. True paradigm shifts only happen when we discover that the way we live and tell our stories has fundamentally changed. It’s a privilege to have you, a master at using words to bring the abstract to application, as a partner in this exploration!

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  4. Very interesting ideas you’ve got going on here! I plan to touch on some of the same concepts in my blog, though I have a bit more philosophical brick-laying to do before I get into the interesting stuff 🙂

    • So happy you’re enjoying them! And I’ve been enjoying your own philosophical journey. You have such a great aptitude for complexity – which is a high compliment in all fields except dating lol. Just promise me you’ll be careful with all that brick-laying. You don’t want to box yourself in with a wall too high to climb over into your own vision of the world ~wink.

      • lol, thank you 🙂 I have a (not so little) list of all the topics I still want to cover, but the foundation’s almost done. And if I’m building myself a philosophical box then I’m afraid I’m already trapped; I have so much of this layed out in my head already that the limiting factor is my time to write it down coherently.

        At least with a blog I can easily write posts tagged “changing my mind” – I expect there will be more than a few of those as I keep going 🙂

  5. Dear Cymbria,

    This is a magnum opus, a complete and new look at life self and everything included.

    I need to read it a few more times to get the full understanding. It gets deeper each time.

    I will respond with greater grace a demain.


    • “Greater grace” than this comment? My goodness, David, t’would call for a magnum opus all it’s own lol. I can’t thank you enough for your words. You’ve got it, dig as deep as you dare! But be prepared, this excavation carries the risk of shifting more than sand. Philosophy is all playful abstraction until you feel your world begin to change as new perception pathways are linked together in the brain. Come on in, the water’s fine…

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