Introduction to the Dueling Loops Video Series

An Introduction to Systems Thinking in 103 Minutes Flat

Seeing is believing. The videos give a quick but thorough introduction to systems thinking. The 12 videos provide 103 minutes of vivid instruction in how to think in terms of feedback loops as you look at the world.

You won't be an instant expert. But after thoughtfully watching the videos you will be able to start thinking in a new way, by seeing the previously invisible feedback loops that control the world you live in.

First Dueling Loops video diagram with Congaree Swamp background

Click the image to start the first video. The 12 vidoes average 9 minutes apiece. It's best to start with the first one and watch them all in sequence.

Here's the list of the 12 videos in the series.

The hand drawn diagram is from the first video. This is a simple model of why there is such strong resistance to solving the sustainability problem.

The model is also THE fundamental structure at the root of why all political systems behave the way they do. The Dueling Loops model explains why there's so much corruption, why there's so much deception in politics, and why it's so impossibly difficult to change that.

The reason for all these things is so simple it's a mind blower. It's because the has an inherent advantage over the . It's that simple.

The Dueling Loops model explains why there's such strong resistance to solving the sustainability problem and other problems whose solution would benefit the common good. The model shows the low leverage point that problem solvers are presently pushing on and why that doesn't work. It also shows the high leverage points they must push on instead and why that is much more likely to solve the systemic change resistance part of the problem. The video allows you to see how all this works with your own eyes. Night will become day. The scales will fall from your eyes. You will at last be able to clearly see WHY the opposition is winning and WHY popular solutions and grassroots activism are failing.

What activists are saying

Here's what people are saying about the Dueling Loops. Most watch the videos first and then read the Dueling Loops paper. Some go on to read the Dueling Loops book.

After watching all the videos: "Hi Jack - love your work. Looking at opportunities for US-based 1% for the planet in the UK and how to support other NGO's. You've really got me thinking. Thank you. Be good to be in contact. All best, Lisa" - Lisa Drewe, UK.

"I'd like to order ten more Dueling Loops books. I was reading the one you mailed me, and I kept getting all these Ah Ha's. I know several professors, managers, and other contacts who I think would love to read this. ... It was a real page turner. I couldn't put it down, which is not something you can say of typical academic works. They tend to be heavy and hard to read. By contrast, this was easy to read." - Rhonda Durlacher, Solsberry, Indiana, US.

"When I read the Dueling Loops paper, I felt enlightened." - Philip Bangerter, Global Sustainability Director, Hatch, Brisbane, Australia.

"I discovered your website and The Dueling Loops while doing research for content to drive a major community public radio station initiative on sustainability issues in partnership with the University's Environmental Studies Program. [The Dueling Loops are] fascinating, thought provoking and caught my interest as a possible content focus for our campaign. Would you be interested in discussing the possibilities?" - Leigh Carrigan, Salt Lake City, Utah, US.

"I just received the Dueling Loops book—thanks! From what I’ve read so far, your premise is spot on.  I really don’t see another process which is more compelling—especially since your analysis of the political powerplace is so thorough and logically appealing to me." - Michael Hollcraft, New Carlisle, Indiana, US.

"Your work on the dueling loops [videos and paper] is brilliant. Nice analysis. ... Could you send me the Dueling Loops book, please?  I'd like to see how I could contribute to your effort, and obviously need to know a lot more to have a sense of how I could best do so.  I think you're on to something important, as our present approaches to sustainability are too incremental to have the wide-reaching impact needed to deal with the climate change crisis." - Peter Hess, President, CHANGE Partners Inc, Lambertville, New Jersey, US.

Are you and your organization ready for a whole new way of thwinking?

Feedback from down under in Australia

Here's what the first viewer of the first 11 videos had to say about them on April 6, 2007.

Jack: What did you think of the full set of 11 videos?

Glenn MacMillan of Melbourne, Australia:

Jack, I've really enjoyed them.

I must admit, when I first read the book, I was getting a little confused. If I had the videos to look at back then I think it would have been a less stressful journey.

However, I'm actually glad I did it this way as it has now allowed me to sit down and watch the videos, then grab the book and thumb to the relevant part and read even more detail.

I am now going to sit my wife and close friends down to watch it. I've tried to string them all together to create a continuous video, but I have not been successful yet.

Your commentary is also very helpful. It helps put in perspective some of the 'vocabulary' throughout the book. I am now trying to capture the sound of the video to put onto my IPOD. It actually helps me draw the loops in my mind rather than seeing you do it on the video.

I'm looking forward to the remaining videos to be done... I hope this doesn't put too much pressure on you. :-)

Keep up the great work.



The background photo

The background photo behind the Dueling Loops diagram was taken on Cedar Creek in the Congaree Swamp National Park, US. Here it is without all that clutter. Click on it for the gorgeous full size photo. This is but a small part of the world we are exploring, enjoying, and protecting by doing our best to help solve the sustainability problem.

Cedar Creek in Congaree Swamp

Paddling on Cedar Creek in Congaree SwampImagine yourself paddling along that creek, just as you may be paddling along right now trying to help solve the sustainability problem, when you come around a bend and there, hanging in the air, is a simple, understandable diagram of the very problem you have been working on. It explains so much that you stop and snap a picture, so you won't forget it. That night back home you read the Dueling Loops paper, ponder it a bit, and then study the Dueling Loops videos as you've never studied them before. All night your dreams are visited by feedback loops dancing in the air, saying strange and mysterious things....

The next day you share the photo you took (it's the one at the top of this page) with your fellow activists at lunch and explain how the Dueling Loops model works, and before you know it everyone is excitedly pointing out which loop has been causing what, and my gosh, why don't we start pushing on that high leverage point?

That is the potential of the Dueling Loops model.

The background photo for the Dueling Loops sketch and the photo of George and Wilma Turner canoeing were taken in on Cedar Creek in the Congaree Swamp National Park on March 30, 2007. The mosquito alert level was a mild 3.5 on a 1 to 6 scale that day, though we have visited other parks with a scale of 1 to 16, where 16 was "no survivors reported."