Beliefs drive results

It was Einstein who told us that “You can’t solve a problem by using the same level of thinking that created that problem in the first place.”

And Gregory Bateson pointed out, “The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think [it works].”


The world today faces several major problems, in economy and business, in energy, environment, food, water…

As we plan how to respond, our actions are driven by our beliefs. So it makes sense to be open to the idea that those problems may have been caused by mistakes in our very thinking in the first place. Rather than making things better, our ‘solutions’ may be making the problem worse.

This linked article describes how a different approach is having better results.

It proves that the received wisdom can be wrong — wrong to the extent that it actually has the opposite effect to the one intended.

And it shows that strong, healthy nature can coexist side-by-side with better results for humans.

You can read the full article here, and a brief extract below.

What we call ‘problems’ are actually an opportunity to improve our understanding of how the world really works.

In Africa and in West Texas, the standard technique for reinstating overgrazed land is to allow that land to rest. But this leads to desertification, something that the arrival of man has done since ancient times.

What is needed instead is a tight herd of grazing animals. This concentrates their fertilising manure and urine into a relatively small space, and churns it into the ground with their feet. In nature this happens when large herds of grazing animals (such as wildebeest) face healthy numbers of predators (such as lion).

A cattle farm in Africa has been mimicking nature’s way. Cattle are managed in tight herds, and the result over 45 years has been to increase the number of cattle the farm can support from 100 to 500 animals. That improves the land for wild animals, which are then kept in herds by predators, again improving the soil. Even elephant are useful — they push over trees during the dry season, eating some foliage and leaving the rest as fodder for the cattle.

The result: “A successful cattle operation, depending for its success on masses of wildlife — it flies against all common livestock management techniques.”

Meanwhile a piece of rangeland on the farm that has been managed according to orthodox techniques is turning slowly into desert.

The world today needs to question orthodox approaches and beliefs.

And the most fundamental belief of all that needs to be reintroduced is to realise that good quality human life and good quality natural life can coexist.

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