I scraped the side of my car last winter. I mean in the bad way with scratches and dents, not the good way by chipping ice from the side window.  I said it was an accident. I thought of it as an accident.

It was the word “accident” that I should have scraped – not my Prius. Because “accident” is one of hundreds of words frozen in time.

The meaning of the word “accident” failed to accurately describe what occurred. I was not careful, I was going too fast for the situation, and I should have avoided the damage to my car. The word “accident” was misleading. I had a measure of control that could have avoided, prevented or minimized the damage. The car itself could have been built with better features that would have lessened or eliminated the damage. No matter the dictionary meaning, the word “accident” is used by most of us to mean that a bad thing happened that was not intentional. Neither the cause, blame or circumstance of the situation are communicated by the word “accident”. My message is not that the word “accident” is THE problem. Although there is a nationwide effort to minimize the use of the word “accident” and instead refer to the incident as a crash or collision or injury due to some behavior. The problem is that we do not have a better way to accurately and usefully communicate systemic failure that educates all parties and reduces future occurrences toward Zero.

There are various kinds of systemic human causal factors leading to accidents and mistakes.

Failure to Create Failsafe Resilient Systems
Failure to Communicate Failsafe Resilient Systems
Failure to Pattern & Program Failsafe Resilient Systems Into Others
Failure to Fully Understand Systems & Complexity
Failure to Select & Apply All Necessary Resources

Failure to Prepare
Failure to Anticipate/Be Aware
Failure to Concentrate
Failure to Understand Systemics
Failure to Act


Failure of Senses
Failure of Reaction
Failure of Motivation
Failure of Emotion
Failure of Resilience
Failure of Programming
Failure of Identification/Pattern Recognition
Failure of Processing
Failure of Transfer to Conscious & Corporal 




Failure to Sense
Failure to React
Failure to Perform/Act 

But what word do we have in our language that is more accurate and comprehensive to describe these situations? I can’t think of one.

When hospital personnel make horrible errors, we call them mistakes. 
    Checklists save lives.

When economies have horrible problems, we call them depressions, or at best, recessions.
    Rigorous systemic monitoring could have prevented the most recent global depression.

When something goes terribly wrong in our body, we call it a disease.
   Reducing the introduction of foreign materials into the body systems would reduce dysfunction.

When well performing employees are terminated, we call it a layoff.
    Creating Nurturing Systems of enterprise valuing the employee equally with shareholders and customers would reduce human trauma.

When people die in a war, we call them casualties.
    Preventing war by early aggressive interventions would result in no death by war.

Every one of the following are examples of the failure of those most responsible and empowered to apply Nurture, Equality, Truth and Systems.

We use words such as accidents and mistakes as shorthand for these complexities- they deliver a quick understanding. It takes much more effort to describe the cause and effect, the systemic framework and the science and logic associated with each of these negative incidents.

At Y Worlds, we believe there needs to be a better shorthand and longhand way to understand and communicate systemic failures. Those empowered individuals who neglect to fully and comprehensively advance Nurture, Equality, Truth and Systems should understand that they are personally and professionally accountable for that failure.  The Proof Process for adherence to NETS should not wait for the tragedies to come, The Proof Process means objective, well trained third parties should provide constant oversight. Absolute power corrupts and kills – absolutely. Even my “minor” car “accident” should be a major systemic wakeup call that my inattention and casual consciousness could under other circumstances become the cause of great harm. My conscious vitality and conscience are the third parties helping me to monitor and improve my attention and commitment to drive safely.

Lets stop relying on simple words such as accidents and mistakes. Lets focus responsibility and accountability on organizational leaders and ourselves to ensure that harm does not occur from accidents, mistakes, poor judgements, failures and errors. The use of words like accident or mistake allow us to abdicate responsibility for our own behavior, individually and institutionally. These words mean the leaders of an organization, and the consciousness controlling our own behavior, did not systemically do their job.

These same reflections apply to good things as well as bad. In the English language we have one word for love and one word for systems. These are two incredibly complex constructs with a spectrum of variations . One word for each?! Think about it. The problem with words is profound. We invented words through an incremental evolution. Our words are a symbolic language. We can certainly continue the invention of language with an assist from computer visualization, allowing us to reach unprecedented channels of communications.

Our language defines what we think and how we think.

It is hard, maybe impossible, to imagine a cornucopia of new words. They would change the way we think.

Positioning for Future Performance Model

It may be even more difficult to imagine a new language consisting of systemic graphics, linked to but not dependent on words. Semiotics has the power to convey meanings heretofore unrealized.

In complexity is the realization of our consciousness.

Let’s consciously and effortfully begin to talk about important things without the blinders of words. Listen to any dialogue about complex topics. We must find a better way to communicate. Our future depends upon it.

At Y Worlds, we believe it is the universal right of all people to understand the systems of the world, beginning with their own body. We are in the process of introducing universal models that communicate complexity’s essential meanings.

Join the process.    

Learn more about Y WorldsY Worlds Models, and work on the Proof Process.
Sign up to receive a fresh Daily Y in your inbox.

3 thoughts on “We’d Like a Word with You

  1. Accidents and Mistakes!

    What I hear in the post is some representational judgmental assumptions as to what is ideal behaviors, conduct, good and bad or/the ideal systemic logic patterns guiding knowing in the current trajectories within cultural societies and commercial enterprises.

    What is ideal thinking within a behavioral clearing for learning? (Accidents & Mistakes)
    What future language do we agree upon to build this new languaging to navigate the increasing exponential complexity of unintended complex consequences in our current conditional situations? ( I am getting a headache)

    One way to approach this appreciative inquiry and dialog in my assessment is to question first the distinction called “complexity.” What the hell are we talking about? Is life and living complex? (Depends on point of view)

    I submit that the distinction of complexity is uttered by a “human observer” in a process of emotioning using language, and does not exist as an objective reality independent of the observer making the assessment. When one makes an assessment of a conditional situation as objectively being complex, I submit that complex is speaking about an emotioning hidden under the accident and mistake, and never listened as a communication of a state or mood of the observer. The disowner emotioning voice is “I am confused and don’t know what to do in this situation because its too complex. I am overwhelmed, stressed out with too many demands and no authority to solve the disturbance, disorder, or breakdown appearing.” (Relevant to Spousal Relationships)

    When an observer meets up with this challenge accidents and mistakes are actually learning experiences. If one stays consciously aware within the anomaly the convexity of continuous disorder and chaos begins to provide clues as to how to navigate and design living successfully. The observer takes on a positioning of an observer suspending immediate expectations or logical gratification in being successful in some narrow minded outcome. As Thomas Edison said “Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Most people want certainty within uncertain and unknown conditional situations. They rely on what they know already in some indoctrinated belief system of reality and expect human conditions to meet their representational assumptions in one’s mental envisioning. The result is continuos disappointment because they create the blind spot and deny they don’t know what they are doing, when they do, the things they do.

    I invite you to consider this notion of reflection can be applied to your car accident and you can stop beating yourself up about making a mistake and having accident. So what! What are you learning is the key and what behavioral growth changes are you making internally following the learning event as an observer as a 1st person experience. One of our problems is we extrapolate an accident or mistake into a catastrophe and believe we are a teacher for the entire world. (Big Mistake I Made)

    No wonder I was living in a complex world, I was creating it unconsciously. Questions, accidents and mistakes don’t need answered rather an opening in authentic living speech acts with others where we hear others assessments of what we say as valid in their worlds not as a speaker dictating or expecting a certain outcome in living.

    On a human level I make lots of mistakes and fortunately have women that consistently point them out to me as a recurrent pattern. The latest one entering my life is my 3 year grand daughter and it’s starting to amuse me, rather than frustrate me. I have suspended my notion of life and living being logical and am actually enjoying encounters in a simple child centric manner of curiosity. I consider myself a late bloomer at 62!
    Thanks Mushin

  2. Thanks Mushin. I have parented a child and have taught preschool children.
    I find an incredible purity to child curiosity and observation that helps cleanse my mind of all of the slant I have acquired.
    As you have said previously, children are not born with hate. Children make lots of “mistakes”. That is their introduction to the world. That we make lots of “mistakes” is helpful if experimenting, experiencing or stretching, less helpful or simply harmful if due to a conscious dereliction of potential.

  3. Alan,
    I offer a starting point in this Y Worlds languaging focus on 3rd grader creative intelligence where simplicity is intersecting future complexities and as learner’s we still have the capacity in our curiosity as child centric learners to say no to bullshit in educational demands for obedience and negation of our social beings. By 6th grade we have are overcome with music, games, and hormones. From there on out the continuous accidents and mistakes become the never ending story we are attempting to clarify in Y Worlds.

    Great stuff happening here and will touch base within a few days. Consider this if we eliminate the distinctions of accidents and mistakes as asserted judgments in the cultural matrix of our languaging in Y Worlds and say “accidents, mistakes and breakdowns are wonderful learning events” regardless of the sweet or sour experience as 1st person observers, what happens in gathering our collective trust and harnessing responsibility in committed effective actions in a P2P ethical sense of our encounters with one another? And taking one further step what are the permanent domains a 3rd grader could learn to navigate responsibility in their autopoietic identity and narrative throughout the rest of their life in living?

    I have some notions in this regard and invite your help in designing a Y World Team interested in creating a $.99 cent app for this emergent 5th generative mobile wave.

    We have all the time in the world and not a moment to waste on 3rd grader’s today!
    Thanks Mushin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>