Sostenuto hopes to bring a systems-thinking approach to every aspect of culture. By its nature, this approach keeps an open mind, acknowledging that it can never know everything about anything. At
the same time, inherent in this approach is the ability to arrive at insights and knowledge not always possible through other methods. The Sostenuto perspective is characterized by this duality — the constant search but also the satisfaction that comes from actually finding things along the way.
As long as our global culture seems on the whole to be ignorant of the systems perspective, Sostenuto will spend time revealing the ways in which this ignorance perpetuates itself and creates social ills. Even when good things are happening, though, the systems perspective will continue to illuminate. Toward all these ends, what follows are some planks in the Sostenuto platform, a platform that will evolve along with Sostenuto and the rest of the world.
- Everything bigger than the fundamental building blocks of matter is a system — including the universe itself. Everything smaller than the universe itself is a part of a system — including the fundamental building blocks of matter. In other words, for all practical purposes, everything is both a system in itself and a part of any number of larger systems. Everything affects everything else on multiple levels.
- In a system, the line between fact and opinion is often blurry. The better the system as a whole works or the more a thought explains reality, the closer you probably are to fact. The closer you get to fact (as long as you’re willing to accept and act on your findings), the more reality is explained by your thoughts and the better the system will work. Beyond this, there’s not much need to quibble about absolute fact.
- In a system, what works best for one part is what must also work best for the other parts. Whenever this doesn’t happen, the system crashes. Whenever we think otherwise, we need to either acknowledge that we’re not thinking clearly or get out of the system, because we’re never going to find our place in it. Sometimes, the second choice is viable. Most of the time, the first will serve us better.
- Much of the time people ask a question and pose an either/or answer, the answer is actually both. For example, everything evolves as a result of both whatever is in its own history (heredity, “nature”) as well as whatever circumstances it finds (environment, “nurture”).
- Much of the time people ask a question and pose an either/or answer, the answer is actually neither. For example, neither liberals nor conservatives will ever make everybody happy or ever be able to make everything anywhere work out well. This doesn’t mean that people — even systems thinkers — can’t be liberals or conservatives. It just means that one person’s sacred cow is another person’s hamburger, and the only way to get everybody on your side is to wipe out everybody who’s not, and that’s just not going to cut it as a solution to anything.
- The single biggest lesson humanity needs to learn puts together much of what’s above. We often seem to think we have a choice between saving the world or saving ourselves. We think it’s environment or jobs, nature or people. In reality, while the world certainly would get along fine without us, there’s absolutely no reason that we can’t get along famously well. We did it for hundreds of thousands of years, and we can do it again. Once we realize that people and the rest of nature are not opposed to each other but instead can actually thrive off each other, everything will begin to fall into place.
- The more we can use these ideas to look at anything and everything, the better off we’ll be, and doing precisely this is Sostenuto‘s reason for being. We will attempt at all times to be as factual as possible, but we do not pretend that we are either objective scientists or (supposedly) objective news reporters. In part, it is our unique perspective — and the unique perspectives of each of our contributors — that will make our content worthwhile.