The symbol of the atom was one that John Veitch chose in 1981 to represent an idea proposed by Jonas Salk; (Salk Polio Vaccine) that "Relationships are fundamental".
The atom as represented by a nucleus and electrons illustrated above is a simple version of atomic structure. Those who now study particle physics would understand it as even more complex. The current modern understanding of the atom reinforces even more strongly the principle of relationships. An atom has a nucleus that is a set of electrical particles of no size, called quarks, held together by strong and weak forces in a relationship that is more or less stable. Scientists would agree that the standard model of the atom is messy, difficult to understand and incomplete. In this context an atom is almost pure information, or a set of relationships, rather than "stuff".
That's a very useful idea in the "information age". The Internet would be a good model of the principle of relationships. Like the atom, the Internet is really too complex for us to understand. At yet at our own level we do more or less understand it, and our degree of understanding or not understanding is itself part of the whole. Perhaps we can imagine web sites as weak forces and email from personal friends as stronger forces, while shaking hands is stronger again. Each of these forces has it's place.
Because "relationships are fundamental" a decision maker needs to consider how individuals, groups, known facts, and resources make the whole picture. One also needs to understand that missing facts may be critical to one's ability to make a good decision. In our life experience it's commonly the "facts" that later prove to be "not facts" that account for many decision failures. The atom as a model has all of these elements. In spite of 100 years of research, the atom is not fully understood by physicists, much less the public. There have been several versions of the "facts" about the nature of the atom, yet always the thing we are describing escapes full analysis. So it is with all the problems that face us. The key is to understand the "relationships" but the facts will often be "changeable" or "missing" and no amount of research can be guaranteed to produce quality information. Given this situation the existence of principles and values that we can use as guides in the face of uncertainty is important.
The Veech Success Model is my way to put this understanding to some practical purpose. One of the basic laws of economics is the principle of scarcity. Regarding the Veech Success Model the principle of scarcity applies in this way:
Personal: Each of us have strictly limited time. We must use the body and brain we have, wishing we were more beautiful or more intelligent is not a useful strategy. In spite of the popular myth, reality dictates that I can't do "everything". I have to choose, I may need to choose now, even though the information I need is not yet available. What I can do has limits. My time and energy are scarce.
Community: It impossible without help to shift community attitudes. It's very hard for any person to communicate new and novel ideas, whereas the old entrenched ingrained ideas keep reappearing like weeds. Every community is inherently conservative even when that is not desirable. Without the support of others success is not possible, but the support of others slow to accumulate and is always scarce.
Best Ideas: Without the right mix of ideas practical things won't happen. Unrelated "good" ideas are without the power to be useful. In contrast closely related, linked and tested ideas can generate confidence and provide a core of ideas that other people can become committed too. Most people think their own ideas are already "perfected". This is a form of self imposed blindness to better ideas. Unless you know your ideas are or might be faulty you can't even begin the search for better ideas. I use a quote from the film maker Waldo Salt to remake that point. "To search for truth you must first have lost it." Getting the best ideas sometimes demands partnership with other individuals. Repeated failure is often an indicator of faulty ideas, particularly acceptance that something is "obviously true", when in fact it is false. A complete set of integrated ideas will always be useful and will make one's work more productive, but such an ideal situation is always rare.
Resources: Too often the shortage of resources is interpreted as a simple shortage of money. That might be valid if all the things you need can be purchased "in the market". Commitment to a task that is ill defined and has uncertain prospects isn't a product one can buy. New ventures normally have to borrow, beg for, or find volunteers, to supply and transfer resources from owners to the new venture entity. The resources needed for new ventures are often available in the market only at prices that are un-affordable. Venture capital is often available but only on unacceptable terms. Generally, the proposal should be well advanced before the stakeholders begin to ask outsiders for money. As basic economic theory predicts, resources are always scarce.
Desirable results: What causes Failure? According to the Veech Success Model, failure to achieve success is always caused by a failure to integrate these four elements of any project. That's not on it's own very helpful. It's more useful if we can understand in which of the four areas of the Veech Success Model the project is being most starved. That understanding may allow you to give attention to the right problems.
The atom is used here as a symbol to show that "relationships are fundamental". When considering any situation consider not only the ideas, assets and people involved, but also how they are related. Understand what the strong and weak forces are.
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