Systems Thinking: Seeing How Everything is Connected

“People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


Nowadays, most people seem to be aware of the ecological crisis facing our planet. We understand that our consumer lifestyles create toxic waste that pollutes the air, water and land. We understand that these come back to us and may account for the rise in health problems such as cancer, asthma and allergies.

We know that animal species are going extinct because of the forests we have cut down in order to raise cattle and grow popular “consumer” foods such as cocoa and coffee. Most of us grasp that the increase in carbon dioxide in the air (from our burning of fossil fuels) is making the earth warmer, which creates more hurricanes, melts glaciers and will lead to rising ocean levels and flooding.

We can understand how deforestation leads to an expansion of deserts, which then creates dust storms in Beijing and food shortages in Northern Africa. Thanks to the media and schools most people (not living in denial) understand the connections between these problems.

desertificationThis is systems thinking, recognizing how everything is connected ecologically and interdependently, using our imaginations (visual intelligence) to understand how unwise actions in one area frequently lead to problems in another.

For several decades, human beings have been at a turning point in our evolution. We have started to view the world more ecologically, but still face huge problems that will not go away. Our challenge, I believe, is to encourage one another to think and behave more wisely, to listen to (and learn from) the wisdom of our greatest scientists, artists, writers, poets, philosophers, spiritual teachers and sages.

In order to change, it would be helpful for all of us to explore how the materialistic values and beliefs of  “civilized” societies have contributed to problems such as racism, sexism, slavery, political corruption, environmental destruction, wealth imbalance, drug abuse, war and crime.

We need to consciously question and re-think the predatory “ego-logical” worldview that has been passed down to us across the ages. Together, we have the opportunity to become wiser as a species, to either get back in tune with the more balanced and “eco-logical” Ways of Nature, or prepare our children for endless catastrophes in the future.


We need to gain a more complete grasp of root causes, to understand how social, economic and environmental systems become imbalanced, how problems begin and then grow because of how human societies think, behave and instruct their members.

A good place to begin would be to question the dominant “Humpty Dumpty” approach in the media, governments and schools that divides human reality up into disconnected compartments and topics, presenting the world to both adults and children in fragmented pieces, with little emphasis on how everything in human society and the natural world connects interdependently and functions together as a coherent whole.


Knowledge without deep comprehension, imagination and compassion is just a more complex form of ignorance. The human family has a profound opportunity now, to use our hearts and minds (wisdom and compassion) to understand and then solve the countless difficulties that we have been grappling with.

We have to encourage our children to think and learn more naturally, to understand how the systems that surround us all flow together and are connected, because until the true nature of a problem is understood deeply (and cared about) it cannot be solved, creatively.

We need to shift paradigms, to grow wiser, all of us, especially the dominant cultures and civilizations. We are good at taking tests and building machines, because we have learned to think mechanistically. Such thinking got us to the moon, but it’s never going to solve the social, cultural and ecological problems that it helped to create.

~Christopher Chase~

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 8.09.09 PM

“I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified. The tree outside is life… The whole of nature is life… The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.” ~Albert Einstein, How Einstein Saw the World


“I think the difficulty is this fragmentation.. All thought is broken up into bits. Like this nation, this country, this industry, this profession and so on… And they can’t meet. That comes about because thought has developed traditionally in a way such that it claims not to be effecting anything but just telling you the way things are. Therefore, people cannot see that they are creating a problem and then apparently trying to solve it… Wholeness is a kind of attitude or approach to the whole of life. If we can have a coherent approach to reality then reality will respond coherently to us.” ~David Bohm, Wholeness: A Coherent Approach to Reality


* How Wisdom Grows – Educating Hearts & Minds  * Systems Thinking – Rediscovering Nature’s ParadigmLove vs. Power: A Tale of Two MindsetsToward a More Creative & Holistic Model of Education * Perpetual Curse of the Warrior MindsetThe Universe is One Harmonious Whole  * It’s a Pink Floyd World – Welcome (Back) to the Machine *  How We Participate in the Creative Life of the Universe  *


We all want to touch the sky
We all ask the question
How do I survive will I be strong enough?

We all need a helping hand
We all fall but then we stand
And show the strength I see in all of us
Every single day

Feel your hurt and feel your pain
We have lived a life of blame
But leave it all behind
Don’t be frightened by your love
Always learn to rise above
But leave it all behind
Can’t you see we’re a part of destiny?

~Sean Lennon~


About Christopher Chase

Co-creator and Admin of the Facebook pages "Tao & Zen" "Art of Learning" & "Creative Systems Thinking." Majored in Studio Art at SUNY, Oneonta. Graduated in 1993 from the Child & Adolescent Development program at Stanford University's School of Education. Since 1994, have been teaching at Seinan Gakuin University, in Fukuoka, Japan.
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53 Responses to Systems Thinking: Seeing How Everything is Connected

  1. Bob OHearn says:

    Thanks, Chris!


  2. Reblogged this on Daily Mindfulness and commented:
    Great read..

  3. Nameless appreciator says:

    Thanks for this, cannot put to words how important this kind of information is. This is really, REALLY crucial wisdom to each and every human being, since this natural way of seeing things doesn’t come naturally to humans for the most part, apparently. All the best, love and peace!

  4. Makere says:

    Reblogged this on The Turning Spiral and commented:
    “We need to shift paradigms, to grow wiser, all of us, especially the dominant cultures and civilizations.”

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  8. govindarajs says:

    Liked the post, it makes sense

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  22. Reblogged this on For the Earth Blog and commented:
    A well written essay on systems thinking by Christopher Chase… A way of thinking and living that could bring health and balance back into our culture. xoxox

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  33. Hi Chris, Beautiful post. I’d really like to re-use your Ego-logic vs Eco-Logic illustration on a blog post I’m writing on how Greenpeace is trying to be less ego-driven. it will be put on line here

  34. yocahuna says:

    Hi Chris,
    Have loved your work – Tao & Zen, Systems Thinking, etc. – without knowing who was behind it. Now i know. You may resonate with an economic approach i’ve cobbled together using a holistic, systems approach. There is a schematic parallel to your Ego-Logic vs Eco-Logic juxtaposition.

  35. Elena Gogou says:

    I would love to translate this into Greek and post it on my blog, with a link back to this blog and full credit to you, of course

  36. keesav says:

    You’ve inspired me! I’m so glad my curiosity of biomatrix systems thinking lead me here. Definitely subscribing.

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  39. Jas'n R. Rainbow says:

    Truth has always been a part of the wild fire that burns constantly. Controlled burning is by no means a deterrent for those who would smother the flame. In our own hearts and minds we think alike when it comes to The Survival Of Mother Earth. Burn The Eternal Flame.

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  44. Simon says:

    You message does not align with the advertising you allow on your blog.

    • Hi Simon. I agree but unfortunately have no control over the advertising sorry. I have not monetized this blog, but use for free, so WordPress puts up advertising, and makes some money. I make nothing.

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