The case against power and control
H ow did I begin this journey? In 1981, as I was finishing Foundations of Family Therapy, I was trying to write an epilogue for that book and had the problem that my prophetic abilities weren't working. The reason was that the road ahead had a ninety-degree turn in it, which I at that time couldn't see. However, clues were appearing, as if to a cosmic puzzle. I was fascinated by Harry Goolishian's and Paul Dell's interest in applying the ideas of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ilya Prigogine to family systems ( Prigogine & Stengers, 1984). Prigogine believed that time was a one-way street into the future and that change was not the exception but the rule. However, which change would happen depended on how far the system in question was driven from equilibrium and which pebble in the dam, so to speak, began to crumble first.
I liked that notion. I had come to feel that human events meandered messily like bad eighteenth-century novels instead of occurring neatly in nice repetitive turns. So instead of imposing upon them the feedback loops of cybernetic theory, I began to contemplate them as if they were like waterfalls and streams. I said to myself: "Don't think of repeating cycles, think of rivers in time."