A nonconfrontational strategy for social change

If we want to heal the world, we might look for an effective treatment or therapy. In this context, Roth contrasts solution-focused and problem-focused therapies. A problem-focused therapy, which is the traditional approach, seeks greater understanding of the problem—the diagnosed condition. But greater understanding or insight doesn’t necessarily alleviate the pain or save the patient.

Luhmann and Matter (unfinished draft)

When discussing organizations, which Luhmann argues consist entirely of decision-based communication, one might ask about buildings, desks, chairs, telephones, computers, electricity, as well as human beings. Aren’t these things essential to most organizations? Shut off the electricity or the Internet access and most organizations stop functioning. Thus, a common criticism of social systems theory relates to materialism or material agency.

Hedda Gabler and the specialist

The only way to manage the explosion of knowledge in 18th-19th centuries was through specialization. In premodern Europe, the amateur or “gentleman scholar” could be respected. A person of wide learning who studies for the pleasure it, not as a profession, would be much sought after in upper class society, which is the world Hedda Gabbler is accustomed to and wants to return to. When she can’t find it–and other characters’ desires start closing in on her–she shoots herself.

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