So, thinking freely, what’s the PhD about then, and who cares?
It’s really about helping people to see systems. To many people, systems are invisible. UV rays are invisible but they will still burn you, and so will systems if you’re not careful. At the same time, since social systems are really just made of people, when ‘the system’ does something to do us, it is really people who are doing it. And this also means that each of us is part of systems that do things to other people. This raises questions of responsibility, especially when things go wrong. Because most of us are not good at thinking about systems, when something goes boink, we are usually tempted to assign responsibility either to an individual, or to ‘the system’. This doesn’t help us very much if we want to understand what went wrong, or how and why it happened. Instead of looking at objects (this person, this group, this system), we should be looking at the relations between objects. It is how the objects relate to each other that makes a system. If we understand how the different parts of a system relate to each other, then we can act to change things for the better.