This article represents a concerted Laszlo effort. What you will find here is a collection of autobiographical reflections written by Ervin Laszlo that speaks to his involvement with the field of systems thinking and his impact on it, interspersed with comments and illustrative examples on points of special interest. As such, this essay should be read as a reflection piece?one in which a new generation of Laszlos muse on the power and inspiration of the vision that has served as a (...) platform not only for them but for many others in the systems community as well. To understand Ervin Laszlo and his contributions to the systems view of the world, one must place him in context?both ontologically and epistemologically. This narrative will do both, first presenting a chronological overview of his personal history up to the present and subsequently exploring the world of ideas and ideals that he traversed (and continues to traverse with unrelenting momentum). However, this narrative will inevitably be nonlinear, and bits and pieces of his adventure in thought are woven into his chronological development and vice-versa. (shrink)
The theory of consciousness proposed by O'Brien & Opie is open to the Sorites paradox, for it defines a consciousness system internally in terms of computationally relevant units which add up to consciousness only if sufficient in number. The Sorites effect applies on the assumed level of features.
The conflict between science and religion is not irremediable: the world concept of science is changing, and the change brings about a rapprochement with religious beliefs in some fundamental areas. One such area is the question of original creation. Recent findings regarding the nature of the universe show the improbability of its having arisen in the course of a random process. The perennial religious intuition of a transcendental act of creation is a logical entailment of the randomly entirely improbable fine (...) tuning of the natural laws and processes that the observed universe manifests. (shrink)
This book is about aesthetic processes and play from the perspectives of psychologists, philosophers, and semiologists. They explore the underlying processes from many viewpoints, including the prehistoric roots of language and art; the historical evolution of artistic, literary, and musical styles; the structure of artworks from both gestalt and semiotic perspectives; the biological and psychological processes underlying production and appreciation; the appeal of sentimental art; emotional responses to art and other aesthetic forms; personality in relation to artistic style; the testing (...) and measurement of art-related skills; the relations between social life and literary understanding; literature in relation to media; as well as neurobiological, developmental and individual growth perspectives on play activity. (shrink)
Science, and with it our understanding of evolutionary processes, is itself undergoing evolution. The evolutionary framework still most frequently used by the general public to describe and guide processes of societal development is erroneously grounded in Darwinian perspectives or, at the very least, draws facile analogies from biological evolution. The present inquiry incorporates fresh insights on the general systemic nature of developmental dynamics from the most recent advances in the transdisciplinary realm of the sciences of complexity (e.g., general evolution theory, (...) cybernetics, information and communication theory, chaos theory, dynamical systems theory, and nonequilibrium thermodynamics). The description of the evolutionary trajectory of complex dynamical systems as irreversible, periodically chaotic, and strongly nonlinear agrees with certain features of the historical processes of societal development. But there are additional features of the evolutionary dynamic of natural systems that are seldom portrayed as part of human developmental deportment. These features include elements such as the convergence of existing systems at progressively higher levels of organization, the increasingly efficient utilization of environmental energy, and the complexification of system structures in states that are progressively further removed from chemical and thermodynamic equilibria. The sciences of complexity offer insight into the laws and dynamics that govern the evolution of complex systems across a variety of disciplinary areas of investigation. Through a study of the isomorphisms across disciplinary constructs in the theoretical analyses of the principles governing the evolution of human societies, it is possible to enrich the account of developmental dynamics at the socio-civilizational level. Such an account would further our understanding of the phenomenon of societal development and provide the means for the purposeful guidance of this phenomenon in accordance with general evolutionary principles. This article sets forth the type of considerations, and outlines a general research agenda, for inquiry toward an operational model of the evolutionary development of social systems. (shrink)
The growth of the modern corporation from local and nationally centered origins to the multinational and then the global level is traced on the one hand to global flows of matter, energy, and information, and on the other to the geographic and political constraints exercised by nation-states. The emergence of the global corporation follows basic laws of evolution applicable to all complex systems, whether in nature or in society. Thus the global corporation is a new but not an anomalous phenomenon (...) on the stage of history. (shrink)
As we enter the 21st century and the new millennium, our collective evolution reaches a critical threshold. We cannot go on as we did before: our world has become unsustainable. Sooner or later many local ecosystems would collapse, the climate would change adversely for agriculture and habitation, species incompatible with a large and dense human population would profilerate, and resources critical for human health and survival would become scarce, or at least beyond the reach of a critical segment of humanity. (...) We need to shift gears, moving from the kind of evolution that characterized our scientific-technological civilization, to the kind that is compatible with the human condition as it evolves on this planet. This shift requires a corresponding shift in our concept of the world. The dominant mechanistic and atomistic paradigm no longer serves us: it is not only factually incorrect in view of the latest discoveries of the sciences, it also inspires dangerously misguided behaviors. We need to find a deeper and better view of the human condition. We must no longer just see the trees: we must also see the forest. That is, we must learn to see the planetary socio-ecosystem with all its subsystems, diversities, and also its actual and potential unities. What we need is a holistic view, a view of the human being as part of her or his community, which is part of its local environment, which is part of its society and culture, which is part of the system of cultures and societies in the human family-which is part of the global environment: of the biosphere. (shrink)
A major obstacle to chemistry being a deductive science is that its core concepts very often are defined in a circular manner: it is impossible to explain what an acid is without reference to the complementary concept of a base. There are many such dual pairs among the core concepts of chemistry. Such circulation of concepts, rather than an infirmity chemistry is beset with, is seen as a source of vitality and dynamism.
The mission and goal of the Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University is to provide education to young people that is affordable and meaningful and enables young people to be self-reliant and responsible members of society. To develop new thinking and a new consciousness is the challenge awaiting the young generation. Meeting it calls for questioning established values and dogmas, much as Giordano Bruno did in regard to the Aristotelian view of the cosmos embraced at the time by the Catholic Church. Bruno's (...) ?heresy? laid the foundations for the modern scientific worldview, and it continues to inspire the view that will rise above it. It inspires the Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University to question the dominant materialist and reductionist paradigm in science and society, offering in its place a holistic, dynamic, and evolutionary view, and foundation for a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable world. (shrink)
The notion of development has been permeated by concepts and methods from positivistic science. As a result, many development initiatives are reductionistic, myopic, and with little or impact on the improvement of the quality of life and the sustainability of communities and societies. This article marks the beginning of a transdisciplinary inquiry among the authors, motivated by direct interest in the issue of development, per se, and in particular, Mexico's development. Our inquiry departs from and weaves together our various areas (...) of expertise and experience, including: systems theory, general evolution theory, economic development, technology transfer, social innovation, sustainable development, environmental behavior, social systems design, and education. The article reviews the concept of development from an evolutionary and systemic perspective. It outlines the foundations of evolutionary development in terms of theory, philosophy, and methodology and provides a conceptual framework for future research aimed at the articulation of a practical model for evolutionary development. (shrink)
Science is recovering its basic mission of making sense of the world. As a search for meaning it is similar to spirituality. The difference between science and spirituality is not in the end they seek, but in the way they seek it. Science uses rational thinking in analyzing and interpreting what experience and experiment discloses, whereas spirituality combines experience with the immediacy of an intuition that speaks to a reality that underlies the world conveyed by the senses. (...) In our day science and spirituality, the great streams of human endeavor, are on a converging course. They share the realization that the cosmos is not a domain of unconscious matter moving about in passive space; it is a dynamic, self-evolving whole, integral at all scales and in all domains. This convergence is important in itself, and it is also important in regard to its consequences. On the one hand it tells us that our intuitive insights about the nature of life and reality are not illusory: they are confirmed in their essence by cutting-edge science. On the other, it offers motivation for entering on a positive path to our common future because wholeness is a defining characteristic of the kind of civilization that could overcome the problems created by the mechanistic manipulative rationality of today's dominant civilization. (shrink)
Paradigm-shifts, termed scientific revolutions, occur periodically in the course of science's development The twentieth century witnessed a number of revolutions, first by Albert Einstein and then by Niels Bohr in physics, and subsequently in biology, cosmology and, through the pioneering work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, in the transdisciplinary area that includes human mind and consciousness. But scientific development did not come to a standstill: while the spirit of Einstein and Teilhard is as present as ever, their specific theories are (...) subject to the dynamics of theory development through periods of "normal" and "revolutionary" science. Today another revolution is about to occur, bringing science to the threshold of a more comprehensive and integrated account of the observed phenomena. The currently emerging transdisciplinary unified theory is consistent with the goals and vision of both Albert Einstein and Teilhard de Chardin. It penetrates deeper into the domains of reality than the 20th century's mainstream physical, biological and psychological theories did -below the level of the quanta that populate space-time, to the quantum vacuum, better termed cosmic plenum, that generates the quanta and interconnects them throughout space and time. In the twentieth century Einstein's general relativity gave us the relativistically interlinked universe, where all things are connected by signals propagating across the geometric structure of space-time, and Teilhard de Chardin laid the foundations of a unified theory where life and mind emerge consistently out of the physical world. In the twenty-first century transdisciplinary unified theory will extend these conceptions and give us the coherent universe, where all things are intrinsically connected by a fundamental information and virtual-energy field at a fundamental level of physical reality. /// A mudança de paradigmas, a que frequentemente damos o nome de revoluções científicas, ocorrem periodicamente no decurso da evolução científica. O século XX testemunhou uma importante série de revoluções científicas, primeiro por Albert Einstein e depois por Niels Bohr no âmbito da física, e subsequentemente em biologia, cosmo-logia e, graças ao trabalho pioneiro de Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, na área transdisci-plinar que inclui os fenómenos da mente humana e da consciência. Mas o desenvolvimento científico não estagnou: enquanto que o espírito de Albert Einstein e de Teilhard de Chardin continua certamente presente, a verdade é que as suas teorias têm-se necessariamente submetido à dinâmica própria do desenvolvimento das teorias, o que acontece ao longo de períodos de ciência ditos "normais" quer "revolucionários". Segundo o autor do artigo, a humanidade está hoje a ponto de assistir a uma nova revolução, a qual colocará a ciência no limiar de produzir uma narrativa mais compreensiva e integrada dos fenómenos observados. Nesse sentido, a teoria transdisciplinar unificada é perfeitamente consistente com os objectivos e a visão tanto de Albert Einstein como de Teilhard de Chardin. Com efeito, esta teoria penetra mais fundo nos domínios da realidade do que as teorias mais comuns que o século XX produziu seja no domínio da física, da biologia ou da psicologia — passando do domínio dos quanta que povoam o espaço-tempo, para o quantum vacuum, mais precisamente designado plenum cósmico que gera os quanta e os interconecta através do espaço-tempo. No século XX, a teoria da relatividade generalizada de Einstein deu-nos um universo relativisticamente interconectado, no qual todas as coisas estão conectadas por sinais que se propagam através da estrutura geométrica do espaço-tempo. Por seu lado, Teilhard de Chardin lançou os fundamentos de uma teoria unificada em que os fenómenos da vida e da consciência emergem consistentemente do mundo físico. Agora, no século XXI, diz o autor do artigo, a teoria transdisciplinar unificada destina-se a alargar o âmbito destas concepções geniais de modo a dar-nos um universo coerente em que todas as coisas estão intrinsecamente conectadas por uma informação fundamental e um campo energético virtual ao nível mais profundo da realidade física. (shrink)
The tides of change constantly surface new currents in the world of business. No longer is it sufficient to seek the static positional advantage offered by classical Porterian analysis. This article explores the emerging direction of business strategy as expressed by the concept of evolutionary advantage. It examines first the major forms of business knowledge over the last century, then considers mainstream frameworks for strategic analysis, and offers, as a compelling alternative, the emerging notions of evolutionary development and evolutionary learning. (...) Through application of Evolutionary Systems Design, it is shown how an organization may cultivate strategies for sustainable success. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
To overcome sociopsychologism and historical relativism, the growth of science is deduced from the combined effect of postulated invariant controls, in the form of enduring ideals of science, in their interaction with nature. The thus constituted "cybernetics-of-science" concept permits extrapolation from present to future states of science. The ideal scientific theory is the goal or target toward which the scientific process is oriented, by virtue of its invariant controls. The form of the ideal theory can thus be extrapolated, and some (...) speculative hypotheses advanced as to its contents, taking those of the recently emerged constructs of science as basis which best accord with the predicted form of the theory. (shrink)
This article-as part of a broader evolutionary inquiry toward human fulfillment, societal wellbeing, and environmental sustainability-explores new frontiers for business. In a rapidly changing global environment, corporations can become evolutionary change agents for the creation of a sustainable global civilization by fostering financial, social, and environmental results. The contemporary metaphors used to describe the business world can be limited in times when an emergent paradigm calls for new visions and actions. An evolutionary understanding, grounded in evolutionary systems theory, can open (...) possibilities for leadership and innovation toward sustainability. Complex systems, such as organizations, need to learn to learn in harmony with the dynamics of their milieu in order to co-evolve and create value. The paper concludes with a reflection on the implications of the evolutionary paradigm for business education. (shrink)
Evolution in the sense of the new paradigm embraces not only the emergence of biological species but also development in the cosmos and in history. It means ?grand synthesis,? or general theory of evolution. Its roots lie in the search for meaning that inspired systematic thought since its inception: its historical antecedents go back to the Ionian natural philosophers. Today the evolutionary paradigm frames invariant scientific concepts that appear in specific transformations in the physical, the biological, and the human and (...) social disciplines. The new general laws of evolution exhibit overarching orders that encompass nature as well as humanity and respond to a perennial search for unity and meaning in experience. (shrink)
Communist ideology is evolving away from its original mould. One of the decisive factors in this process is the rate of acceptance of the 'Classical' doctrines by the intellectuals of East-European countries. In determining the dynamics of the process, the original doctrines and the thinking of the intellectuals are taken as sets of sentences constituting the premisses, and the manifest actual discourse of a Communist country as the set of sentences representing the conclusion. To demonstrate the conclusion from the premisses, (...) heuristic laws are formulated accounting for the various factors conditioning the process of the interaction of Classical Communism and the thinking of the intellectuals. A logical schema of general applicability results, demonstrating the various phases of the evolution of Marxist-Leninist ideology in East-European countries. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophers tend to examine basic philosophical issues as though scientific evidence were irrelevant to these issues. they rely on everyday information and on the language in which such information is stated. the wisdom of such procedure is questionable, especially in the light that scientists are taking on themselves to consider substantive philosophical issues. since they are not trained to handle philosophical issues, and most philosophers disregard scientific findings, we now get either well-founded but naive, or poorly founded but expert, (...) philosophies. the rift between the sciences and the humanities is with us, and it behooves contemporary philosophers to overcome it in their field and analyze empirically founded information rather than merely each others' pronouncements or the language of everyday discourse. (shrink)
The rift between science and religion needs to be assessed not merely on pragmatic grounds, on the basis of the effect of scientific versus religious beliefs on people's behavior, as John Caiazza's essay does, but also and above all in regard to the cogency of the respective beliefs in reference to what we can reasonably assume is the true face of reality. About such truth value, the conflict is not irremediable; there are elements of belief regarding the nature of reality (...) that are strikingly similar regardless of whether one arrived at them on the basis of faith in revealed knowledge or on the basis of knowledge acquired by reasoning from or in reference to experience. Two such items are selected here by way of example: belief that in certain states of mind and consciousness individuals can experience union with something larger or deeper than themselves, and belief that the universe we inhabit is the result of an original creative act. (shrink)
At the top echelons of contemporary business, managers are becoming concerned with the unsustainability of the way companies now operate. A transformation of basic business strategies appears more and more indicated. For such transformation to be effective, the culture of the enterprise?the goals it pursues and the vision of these goals entertained by managers and collaborators?needs to change. Consequently there is a growing questioning of the viability of the typical culture of today's enterprise, and a search for more functional and (...) timely concepts for creating a new and more timely cultural pattern. (shrink)
(2000). Transition from logos to holos: The challenge of civilizational change. World Futures: Vol. 55, Challenges of Evolution at the Turn of the Millennium: Part II: The Chllenges of Civilizational Transition, pp. 1-13.
(1998). The new enterprise culture in Hungary: The role and responsibility of global companies. World Futures: Vol. 52, The Evolution of the Culture of the Enterprise: Lessons for and from Hungry, pp. 111-113.