1-0 OVERVIEW OF COURSE 1: Deconstruction of Sick Systems

On This Page:

  • Overview of “Do Good Plus Do No Harm” Training Series
  • Overview of COURSE 1: Deconstruction of Toxic Systems (Field Guides #1 and #2)
    • Field Guide #1 and #2 Summaries
    • Course 1 Key Issues
    • Course 1 Top 10 Outcomes
    • Visual Guide to Course 1 Sections
  • Condensed Tables of Contents – Field Guides #1 and #2
    • Field Guide #1: Classification – Figuring Out Toxic Systems
    • Field Guide #2: Detoxification – Dealing with a Sick Past and Present
  • Image Licensing Notes


I designed this course overview page for those who process information better “globally,” by seeing the big picture first. This page provides them a framework for plugging in details later. It begins with an overview of the entire training series, then overviews Course 1, and ends with condensed tables of contents for Field Guides #1 and #2.

For those who appreciate working “analytically” from the details up to the big picture – I include additional elements and information for each Field Guide, plus give a summary for each section and chapter. Links to detail pages for: Field Guide #1. Field Guide #2.

As a sidenote: Field Guide #3 covers aspects of learning styles. In that volume, we will explore these complementary approaches of big-picture (global cognitive orientation) and details (analytic cognitive orientation), how both are likely present in any team situation, and how to composite them for stronger organizational strategies.

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The Do Good Plus Do No Harm training series from Opal Design Systems consists of two Courses:

COURSE 1: DECONSTRUCTION OF SICK SYSTEMS focuses on how to identify individuals and institutions that are harmful instead of helpful — what toxic systems look like, how they work, and why.

COURSE 2: (RE)CONSTRUCTION OF ROBUST SYSTEMS focuses on how to start up or transition to an organization that intentionally works to do good plus do no harm — what healthy systems that make a constructive impact look like, how they work, and why.

COURSE 1: DECONSTRUCTION consists of two Field Guides:

Field Guide #1: Classification – Figuring Out Toxic Systems covers what systems are made of, what systemic abuse is, how to identify malignant leaders and sick systems, and issues of responsibility and accountability.

Field Guide #2: Detoxification – Dealing with a Sick Past and Present covers tactics and traumas of abuse, how survivors recover from them, forms of advocacy to support survivors, forms of activism to challenge abusive systems, rehabilitation for abusive individuals who choose to change, and remediation (repair work) for organizations where abusive practices have become institutionalized.

COURSE 2: (RE)CONSTRUCTION consists of two Field Guides:

Field Guide #3: Transformation – Mapping Out Paradigms, Problems, and Possibilities covers issues of paradigms, learning styles, and cultural perspectives that can either cause conflict or lead to greater creativity, what paradigms shifts are about and why they are necessary, and what practical tools for transformation we can take from strategic foresight/futures studies.

Field Guide #4: Engagement – Setting Up Spaces That Empower covers practical working principles for setting up organizational spaces that empower participants – shareholders and stakeholders – instead of harm them, plus indicators and metrics for “measuring what matters” in the quality of impact from our personal and social transformation endeavors.

Each Field Guide has five sections of chapters, with about 16 chapters total per book. Sections and chapters typically have workbook sections that include case studies. Additional case studies and other resource materials are located on this Futuristguy’s Field Guides companion website.

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(Field Guides #1 and #2)


Field Guide #1 and #2 Summaries

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COURSE 1 Key Issues

  • Systems, Systemic Abuse, and Societal (Historic) Oppression; Freedom versus Control
  • Survivor Recovery, Victim Advocacy, and Social Activism
  • Individual Rehabilitation (When Appropriate) and Institutional Remediation

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COURSE 1 Top 10 Outcomes

Here is a list of what students should be able to do by the end of this Course, if they read the written content, explore the movie or other media case studies, and engage the personal reflection and group discussion questions.

1. Create a must-have/can’t-have grid of character and behavior issues for potential participants, and applying it to a range of leadership types.

2. Identify four key leadership characteristics (conscience, compassion, coherence, and congruence) and how people dealing with narcissism and sociopathology do not have these, but often want to be in roles of ruling over others anyway.

3. Categorize distinct roles played by people in a “Pyramid of Abuse” versus a “Pyramid of Advocacy,” and the typical kinds of tear-down or build-up tactics used in each.

4. Understand and practice the dynamics of group discernment and decision making.

5. Explore some of the most subtle and brutal forms of positive and negative conditioning (such as perks, prestige, love-bombing, gaslighting, minimizing, deflecting) and how to counteract/heal from them.

6. Function in different kinds of high-demand cultures/organizations and their underlying systems of social control.

7. Cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, in part through the ABCs of recovery: Arts, Beauty, and Creativity.

8. Resist authoritarian regimes.

9. Pursue societal reconciliation in the aftermath of deeply-rooted abuse of power.

10. Find people and principles that create a trustworthy working environment for social transformation.

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Visual Guide to COURSE 1 Sections

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Volume, section, and chapter titles have been finalized for Field Guides #1 and #2.

Field Guide #1: Classification ~ Figuring Out Toxic Systems

Section #1 – Orienteering to the Opal Design Systems

  • 1. What is “Do Good Plus Do No Harm” All About?
  • WORKBOOK: Orientation to media usage, case studies, and teamwork activities.

Section #2 – Basics of Organic and Organizational Systems

  • WORKBOOK: General journaling topics and questions.
  • 2. What are Systems and Systemic Abuse?
  • 3. How Do Systems Get Energized and De-Energized?
  • 4. What Goes Wrong When All the System Parts are Present, But Disconnected?
  • WORKBOOK: The Koyaanisqatsi trilogy – organic systems, interconnections, and consequences.

Section #3 – Basics of Systemic Abuse

  • 5. Why Don’t All Abusive Systems Look the Same?
  • 6. How Do Abusive Systems Get Going and Maintain Momentum?
  • 7. Why Could We Consider Systemic Abuse as Being “Parasitic”?
  • 8. Who Plays What Roles in a Fully Developed System That Benefits the Few and Takes Advantage of the Many?
  • WORKBOOK: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – contrasting abuse versus advocacy.

Section #4 – Key Identifiers for Malignant Leaders and Their Toxic Systems

  • WORKBOOK: For-Profit Case Study. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room – a system of corrupt individuals and institutions.
  • 9. What Historical Research Defines and Describes Such Systems?
  • 10. What are Essential Indicators for Discerning Whether People in the Public Eye are Qualified, Unqualified, or Disqualified?
  • 11. What are Essential Indicators for Discerning Whether Organizational Systems are Trustworthy/Robust or Toxic/Sick?
  • 12. What Elements Form an “Industrial Complex,” and How Do They Fit Together for Ever-Increasing Systems of Social Control?
  • WORKBOOK: Non-Profit Case Study. The Mennonite Denomination Deals with the Tainted Legacy of John Howard Yoder – a systemic approach to remediation, and a composite of critiques about it.

Section #5 – Analyzing Abusive Systems; Assessing and Addressing Responsibility / Accountability

  • 13. What Kinds of Evidence are There, and How Do They Relate with Identifying Evasion of Accountability?
  • 14. Why is Discernment Key to Counteracting Evil, and How Do We Do “Discernment in Stereo”?
  • 15. How Do Responsibility and Accountability Fit Together in One Framework?
  • 16. What Does it Take to Make Things Right, at Both the Individual and Institutional Levels?
  • WORKBOOK: Irina Ratushinskaya and Grey is the Color of Hope – individual and community in counteraction against toxic systems, its perpetrators, and its perpetuators.
  • WORKBOOK: Gregor the Overlander Series by Suzanne Collins – serious issues linking personal and social brokenness and growth, for young readers.

Back Matter (Tentative)

  • Reference Guide to the Series.
  • More About Movie Case Studies: Three Kinds of Case Studies, and Other Workbook Elements in These Training Courses.
  • Getting the Most from a Movie Case Study, as an Individual and as a Team.
  • Resource Bibliography.
  • Fotolia Image Catalog and Copyright Data.

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Field Guide #2: Detoxification ~ Dealing with a Sick Past and Present

Workbook topics to be added.

Section #6 – Authoritarians Who Steal Our Stories

  • 17. How Do People Develop into Malignant Leaders, and Then is it Even Possible for Them To Change?
  • 18. How Do Utopian “Social Experiments” Turn into Dystopias with Psychological Terrorism?
  • 19. What are Personal, Social, and Organizational Consequences When Someone “Steals Our Story” with Their Destructive Symbiosis?
  • 20. What are Typical Tactics That Overpowering People Use to Draw People In and Keep Them There?

Section #7 – Destructive Impacts of Trauma and Terror

  • 21. What are Some of the Deepest, Darkest Personal Impacts of Trauma and Terror?
  • 22. What are the Essential Personal, Social, and Cultural Freedoms that Get Repressed When There is Abuse of Power?
  • 23. What Does It Look Like When the Three Core Freedoms are Repressed – and When People Resist the Repression?

Section #8 – Abuse Survivors Find Resilience and Recovery

  • 24. How Do Victims of Abuse Reverse Course and Redeem the Evil They have Experienced?
  • 25. How Do Survivors Endure the Dark and Keep Reaching Toward the Dawn?
  • 26. How Do Survivors Develop Resilience and Engage in Resistance?

Section #9 – Advocates and Activists Resist Evil, Amplify Redemptive Movement

  • 27. How Do We Create a Personal Advocacy Network to Come Alongside Survivors, and What Roles Can They Play?
  • 28. What Can We Do to Counteract Systemic Abuse Through Social Activism?
  • 29. What Can We Do to Crack Through the Industrial Complex that Keeps Systemic Abuse Going?

Section #10 – Remediation for Sick Organizations

  • 30. When it Comes to Remediation, Who Needs to “Make Things Right”?
  • 31. How Do We Deal with the People Issues When an Abusive System is Exposed?
  • 32. How Do We Deal with the Structural/Organizational Issues When an Abusive System is Exposed?

Back Matter

To be added.

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Usage of the following images licensed to Brad Sargent.

The following are all (c) Scott Maxwell / Fotolia.

COURSE 1: DECONSTRUCTION ~ #6929682 – Control Center. #1395334 – monitor frame. #5968325 – Web Builders Internet Construction ORG In Wheelbarrow. #888778 – puzzle balance.

Field Guide #1: Classification ~ #8944945 – Gears Concept Puzzle.

Field Guide #2: Detoxification ~ #9624888 – Gas Mask Family.

COURSE 1 Sections

  • Section 01 – #938646 – compass balance.
  • Section 02 – #5602939 – Green Industry.
  • Section 03 – #5984083 – Wannabe Converter 3000.
  • Section 04 – #6928299 – Isolated Virus Under Microscope.
  • Section 05 – #6928539 – Infected.
  • Section 06 – #6928244 – Isolated Virus Chasing Victim.
  • Section 07 – #6928217 – Isolated Virus On Biohazard Symbol.
  • Section 08 – #1157677 – scooter tour.
  • Section 09 – #5965787 – 3D Giant Hand Head Concept Volunteering Group.
  • Section 10 – #5891011 – 3D Home Improvement Construction Realty Concept Moving A House.

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