Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2009/05/02 Farewell to G.A., Cookeville, TN

When G.A. Swanson released the news that he would soon been passing on, a group of us quickly scheduled for a visit.  Convening at the Nashville airport, Jennifer flew in from the UK, I flew in from Toronto, and Gary drove down from Kentucky.  We rode together to Cookeville.  Paulette had been visiting G.A. to help out, and hosted us with a welcome in a show of southern hospitality.

di_20090430-181100-cookeville-welcome.jpg

I first met G.A. at the 1998 ISSS meeting in Atlanta, which I’ve cited to many as the single best educational experience of my life.  G.A. had encouraged me, as well as Jennifer and Gary, to become more and more involved in the systems community over the years.

We spent the evening catching up on news, and reminiscing.  In his home, the photographs and souvenirs of world travels suggested not only a man who was known internationally, but who might also have been a Southern rebel in his youth.  The next morning, we moved a few things around to take G.A.’s car to the university.

di_20090501-101134-cookeville-heathrow-drive.jpg

While I first met G.A. in his role as ISSS president in 1998, he had long been a professor of accounting at Tennessee Tech since 1982.  His office was in the College of Business at Johnson Hall.

di_20090501-103332-tntech-johnsonhall.jpg

We helped G.A. finish cleaning out his office.  He had sent in his last paper for publication, and said that he wouldn’t be needing any more references.  In the inner room were years of books not only on systems research, but also on accounting.

di_20090501-103934-tntech-gas-inner-office.jpg

G.A. had a complete archive of systems research.  Jennifer packed up some of the old artifacts that are hard to find.

di_20090501-104014-tntech-archives.jpg

In addition to the papers, there were videotape copies from James Grier Miller — from his time at the University of Louisville — when he interviewed key systems thinkers of the time.  Gary took the tapes to coordinate with Louisville, later discovering that this collection would fill in a few of their gaps.

di_20090501-104150-tntech-library-cleaning.jpg

We cleaned out the last of the valuable content from the outer office.  The photograph of James Grier Miller on the wall is a reminder of G.A.’s strong association, described in his 1989 book on Measurement and Interpretation in Accounting: A Living Systems Approach.

di_20090501-103956-tntech-outer-office.jpg

The school term was coming to an end.  Outside G.A.’s office, a student stopped by to check his grades.

di_20090501-103738-tntech-johnsonhall-corridor.jpg

Extending some more southern hospitality, G.A. took us by Bobby Q’s to pick up some Tennessee barbeque.

di_20090501-122102-cookeville-bobbyqs.jpg

G.A. didn’t have much of an appetite himself, but enjoyed watching us experience the local cuisine.

di_20090501-190822-cookeville-heathrow-bbqlunch.jpg

On the Saturday, we made a road trip up to the Highland Manor Winery, in Jamestown.  I wouldn’t have expected a vineyard in Tenneesee.  This is the oldest winery in state.

di_20090502-153444-highlandmanorwinery-entry.jpg

We sampled the variety of wines, including the muscadine that is unique to the region. We bought a few bottles that would be hard to fine elsewhere.

di_20090502-153338-highlandmanorwinery-gate.jpg

Gary, Jennifer and I were glad to spend weekend visiting with G.A.  He was happy that he could rely on us to lead the systems community after he would be gone.  In a few weeks, his extended family would gather to see him one last time.  He passed away a few months later, in July, having lived a full life.  The systems movement owes G. A. Swanson a large debt for rejuvenating  the  community

[Start a large-image lightbox screen show over this blog post (in a supported browser)]

[See the webphotos album (with a slideshow option)]

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on Coevolving

    • Doing, not-doing; errors of commission, errors of omission
      Should we do, or not-do?  Russell Ackoff, over many years, wrote about (negative) potential consequences: There are two possible types of decision-making mistakes, which are not equally easy to identify. (1) Errors of commission: doing something that should not have been done. (2) Errors of omission: not doing something that should have been done. For […]
    • Systemic design agendas in education and design research
      The final publication of the October 2016 Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium workshop "Some Future Paths for Design Professionals: DesignX and Systemic Design" was published as “Systemic Design Agendas in Education and Design Research” in FormAkademisk, following 2 years of rewrites, reviews and revisions.
    • A federated wiki site on cPanel
      Federated wiki is deployed on a node.js server, an environment which has become available on some cPanel shared hosting providers. Here are some instructions written while restoring a wiki site originally installed in 2014-2015 on a cloud provider.
    • Artificial intelligence, natural stupidity
      Reading The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis, reminded me of a PhD course at UBC with Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, before they were recognized as Nobel prize candidates.
    • The impacts of platforms
      Platforms have had only a short history, so much of the research is still definitional, with proposed frameworks.
    • Platforms, an emerging appreciation
      When the term "platform" is used, today, what does that mean?
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on Ing Brief

    • Contextual dyadic thinking (Lee, 2017)
      Contextual dyadic thinking is proposed by Keekok Lee in her 2017 The Philosophical Foundations of Classical Chinese Medicine. This is as a way of appreciating Chinese implicit logic, as an alternative to dualistic thinking that has developed over centuries in Western philosophy.
    • Dao, de, wei, wuwei (Lai 2003)
      Appreciating wei and wuwei has led to the context of dao and de, in the writings of Karyn L. Lai. The scholarly review acknowledges prior interpretations of de and dao.
    • Engineering Resilience vs. Ecological Resilience (Holling, 1996)
      For @theNASciences in 1996, #CSHolling clarified definitions of resilience, with engineering seeking one equilibrium state, while ecology recognizes many. Those who emphasize the near-equilibrium definition of engineering resilience, for example, draw predominantly from traditions of deductive mathematical theory (Pimm,. 1984) where simplified, untouched ecological systems are imagined, or from traditions of engineering, where the motive […]
    • Service coproductions as reciprocal activities
      In addition to extrinsic economic exchange, #JohnMCarroll #JiaweiChen #ChienWenTinaYuan #BenjaminHanrahan @ISTatPENNSTATE say service coproductions relying on all participants to collaborate in both economic exchange and social exchange. Service coproduction is a special case of service provision in which the roles of service provider and service recipient both require active participation. Examples include healthcare, education, and […]
    • Science and Society in East and West | Joseph Needham | 2004
      In researching #SystemsChange, fundamental differences in science and philosophy in the west and the Chinese were surfaced by #JosephNeedham. A useful translation of wéi and wú wéi (i.e. 為 and 無為 , or 为 and 无为) is the ways of "human will" and "nature" as juxtaposed.
    • Wiki as computational platform
      Thinking forward on #federatedwiki, rather than backwards by @wardcunningham. > [Federated wiki] is a computational platform for the collaborative construction of things that work and will continue to work as platform technology evolves underneath it. > Too much thinking about wiki as a note-taking system will just hold it back.
  • Meta

  • Translate

  • 
  • moments. daviding.com

    Random selections from the past year
  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal