On a system’s purpose

From this book:

If infecting the patients is one of the things the system does, the uncomfortable and unpalatable truth is that this is one of the system’s purposes. It may not be the intention of anyone working in the system, and it is certainly not something that anyone in their right mind would consider putting in a mission statement but nevertheless in reality it is a purpose of the system as a whole, because that’s one of the things it does.

Far too many people forget that once a system is set in motion its purpose is what the system does, not what it was funded to do. And quite often they mistake what they want the system to do as the system’s purpose, where in fact what the system does, is its purpose. Good systems converge to the intended purpose.

[Thanks to @SystemsFunking]

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