The Progressive Paradox Film


This is a full length high definition film. It runs 123 minutes so it's a huge file, about one gigabyte. If you have a new or fast computer you should do fine with the fast computer version of the film ZIP . This is a zip file. Download it, open it to a suitable folder, and run the file. The recommended player is Apple Quicktime.

Otherwise please see How to Download the Right File for Your Computer.

The Message

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." ~ Albert Einstein

A whole new way of thwinking is necessary, because as the third edition of The Limits to Growth lamented in 2004:

“[The second edition of Limits to Growth] was published in 1992, the year of the global summit on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro. The advent of the summit seemed to prove that global society had decided to deal seriously with the important environmental problems. But we now know that humanity failed to achieve the goals of Rio. The Rio plus 10 conference in Johannesburg in 2002 produced even less; it was almost paralyzed by a variety of ideological and economic disputes, [due to] the efforts of those pursuing their narrow national, corporate, or individual self-interests.

“…humanity has largely squandered the past 30 years…”

In 1972 the first edition of Limits to Growth identified the global environmental sustainability problem. The simulation run above shows approximately what will happen if business continues as usual. The book became an international best seller and brought the problem to the world's attention. Ever since then, millions of dedicated environmentalist's have been trying to solve the problem.

Why is this? We hypothesize a deceptively simple reason. It's the same reason why science was unable to advance much at all before invention of the Scientific Method in the 17th century. It's the same reason why businesses were unable to run efficiently before double entry accounting was invented in the 15th century. The reason is sustainability problem solvers have not yet adopted a process that fits the problem.

Every field needs the right foundational process or theory to solve its central problems. Without the process of the Scientific Method, scientists would still be alchemists. Without the process of double entry accounting, business managers would still be bumbling around in the stone age trying to keep track of their profits, and the modern corporation would probably have never come into existence. Without a process that fits the sustainability problem, environmentalists have been trying one intuitive trial-and-error solution after another. Despite heroic and sometimes brilliant effort, they have made no more than a negligible difference on the global trend of the sustainability problem, as the Ecological Footprint below shows.

The Ecological Footprint graph measures how many planets it would take to support our environmental impact. The data shows Homo sapiens entered overshoot approximately in the 1980s, and in 2003 hit about 25% overshoot.

Starting in 1961, the year before Silent Spring was published, the curve has been as unstoppable as an elephant. The efforts of the environmental movement have had no more than a negligible impact. Why is this? Why is the system so strongly resisting change?

There is a better way forward. It's the same path science went down 400 years ago and business chose 600 years ago. They adopted a process that fits the problem.

If this argument appears promising, then you may be interested in taking a look at Cracking the Mystery of the Progressive Paradox. The two hour film (in high definition and chock full of serious facts, tools, and insights) explores a new strategy for analyzing and solving not only the sustainability problem, but all social problems whose solution would benefit the common good.

In a nutshell, this approach uses a custom process designed from scratch to fit the problem. The process is used to find the root cause of systemic change resistance, and then to find the high leverage points that problem solvers can push on to resolve the root cause. Of interest is the high leverage points have never been tried, because activists have been pushing on a low leverage point that is intuitively attractive and should work. But it has not.

The Purpose

Three months in production, Cracking the Mystery of the Progressive Paradox is the best in-depth visual introduction to the many novel ideas at, especially the concept of a meta analysis. It's the perfect way to turn your colleagues on to a whole new way of thwinking. Download it, watch it on your laptop during a long lunch, and show it around at your next meeting.

Note - On this website and in this film, progressive does not denote political party affiliation, but something much deeper.

Cracking the Mystery of the Progressive Paradox was released on September 14, 2007. The film runs 123 minutes. It introduces the conceptual approach is taking to solve not just the sustainability problem, but the entire progressive paradox.

The film is designed for serious self-study or to be viewed by groups, with discussion during intermission and afterward. One member of the group should be familiar with the concepts.

The film can be viewed on your computer or presented to a small group using a high definition television as the presentation screen, or a projector for a larger group.

The Progressive Paradox

The film frames the sustainability problem as a symptom of a bigger, deeper problem: the progressive paradox. This allows our analysis to more properly focus on finding the root cause of the sustainability problem. To understand what the paradox is, consider this definition:

Progressive philosophy is a comprehensive rationale and value set whose goal is optimizing the human system for the common good of all and their descendants.

Also consider that solving the "big four" problems of sustainability, war, poverty, and corruption would clearly benefit the common good. However the system has been strongly resisting doing that, for thousands of years. None of these problems are new. Not solving them benefits numerous special interests. For example, war and preparing for it is extremely profitable.

Given this, we arrive at the paradox with this line of reasoning:

1. Most people are progressives.

2. The goal of progressive philosophy is to promote the common good.

3. In theory this is also the goal of democracy.

4. Why then do democratic systems so strongly resist changing their behavior from what benefits the special interest few to what benefits the common good of all?

How we might best go about solving the progressive paradox is what the film is all about.

How to Download the Right File for Your Computer

The current version is release 7 , October 14, 2007.

High definition video causes the average personal computer to play the film too slowly. To resolve this problem, the film is available in three versions listed below.

CAUTION: The full length files are very large, 0.8 to 1.0 gigabytes, so you will need a high speed connection to download them. However the test files are small, 14 to 25 megabytes.

Slow - For slow computers, 1024 by 576 pixels at 15 frames per second. Here is the test file ZIP and the full length file ZIP .

Medium - For medium speed computers, 1024 by 576 pixels at 30 fps. Here is the test file ZIP and the full length file ZIP .

Fast - For fast computers, 1280 by 720 pixels at 30 fps. Here is the test file ZIP and the full length file ZIP .

If you have a slow connection and can't download the huge files, contact Thwink and we will mail you all 6 files on a DVD disk. (NOTE - This is not a DVD. It is merely video files shipped on a DVD disk.)

In general, try to play the fastest version possible. To determine which full length file to download, first download the slow test file. If it plays well, download the medium speed test file. If that plays well, try the fast test file. If a file does not play well, see the tips below for how to speed up your computer's video playing ability. When done testing and tweaking your computer, download the preferred full length file.

The video is in H.264 format. The recommended player is Apple Quicktime, which is free. You probably already have the Quicktime player installed. If not, download the free player here. (You don't need the iTunes option and there is no need to enter your email address as requested.)

Eventually the film will be offered on Blu-Ray disks for viewing on high definition televisions. Then it will have scene selection and extras.

Resolving Playback Problems (Troubleshooting)

Try the slow computer test file first. If it runs fine, then try the medium and fast versions. The fast version is preferred if you have a screen wider than 1024 pixels, because you will see more detail. The medium version plays visual motion smoother than the slow version.

High definition video files push the limits of what personal computers can do. Your video playback may look jerky, blocky, or even suffer from sporadic audio. If you are having trouble playing a video file, try these methods to solve the problem:

(Some of these tips apply only to Windows XP. We will try to get descriptions of how to fix the problem on Vista and Apple.)

1. Copy the file to your hard disk. Do not try to run it off the DVD disk. If you are using a downloaded version, unzip it to your hard disk. When you open the file in your preferred player, give the large file time to fully load before starting to play it.

2. Run the video at normal size. Running it larger or smaller greatly increases demands on your CPU.

3. Determine if CPU usage is the bottleneck. If running at normal size doesn't fix your playback problems, then your CPU is probably running at 100% and cannot keep up with the video. On Windows, open your Task Manager with the Control + Alt + Delete key combination and click on the Performance tab. Watch the CPU Usage during playback. If it's around 100% most of the time, your processor is too slow. This is common on older machines.

4. On Windows XP, if CPU usage is the bottleneck, reducing hardware acceleration will probably solve the problem. See this link on how to get to your hardware acceleration control. It has six positions, which we will call positions 1 to 6. The default setting is 6, all the way to the right. Changing from that to 2 will probably solve your problem for the slow computer version. It did on my 3 year old Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop, which has a 1.5 GHz Celeron processor. Before the change it stayed at 100% CPU Usage most of the time. After the change it rarely went above 90% and played the slow computer file just fine. Experiment to find the setting that works best for you. (The change also fixed the washed out colors problem with QuickTime.)

5. Try Nero Showtime 3. If the above doesn't fix the problem, then you can try something besides Quicktime. The video compression format is H.264. This is the same format used on Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. Nero Showtime 3 plays H.264 video so efficiently on my laptop that I can play the fast computer file. Nero requires you to set hardware acceleration to at least 4. Or you may discover that you need 5 or 6.

While Quicktime is free, Nero is not, unless you get it with a computer, DVD player or such. If you already have Nero, the version you have may or may not be able to play H.264 video. Try it. Congratulations if it can. If not, see this link for buying, trying, or upgrading. What you need is Nero Showtime 3, which is part of the Nero package. The update is $13, which requires a serial number. The full version is $80.

If all of the above doesn't work, then:

6. Try another computer. Or maybe it's about time to upgrade that 10 year old clunker you've been coaxing along for far too long....

Enjoy the movie, and let us know what you thwink!