The evolution of evolutionary systems design

World Futures 58 (5 & 6):351 – 363 (2002)
Abstract
This article presents the genesis of Evolutionary Systems Design (ESD) as a praxis that draws on General Evolution Theory and Social Systems Design methodology, in addition to Critical Systems Theory, to engage in lifelong learning and human development in partnership with the Earth. The contributions of Bela H. Banathy to the creation of ESD are portrayed as bridging evolutionary consciousness and evolutionary action. Following a brief description of the inspiration and mentorship provided by Bela in this regard, the roots of ESD are traced back to General Evolution Theory. It is described how notions of evolutionary stewardship grew out of encounters with Bela and his work at the International Systems Institute, and were given operational viability through the methodology of Social Systems Design he developed. The fundamental tenets of ESD are presented and discussed by way of a four-stage evolutionary learning framework. Finally, the vehicle of Evolutionary Learning Community through which ESD operates is shown to embody the potential for individuals and groups to think, live, and act in harmony with the dynamics of which they are a part as a means to guide the conscious creation of sustainability.
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