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Thoughts on the General System Theory - [ 2 ]

Imre von Soos

        The Copernican demolition happened to be of the geocentric world, but the anthropocentric world is more in full swing than it ever was.

        The studies of the principles of the general systems of microcosmic and macrocosmic existence have been around since timeless times, on which religious and philosophical theories were built by scattered tribes and great cultures. These theories were based on their observational and intuitive knowledge of Nature, trying to arrive to how the world was constructed, giving it even an infinite quality. They didn't involve themselves and their social systems in this study. These were the approaches which characterized also Ludwig von Bertalanffy's work, who has founded his General System Research on the study of natural laws to be found in the natural sciences. "The pioneers shared and articulated a common conviction: the unified nature of reality… They developed a trans-disciplinary perspective that emphasized the intrinsic order and interdependence of the world in all its manifestations." Bela Banathy.

        The wildly spreading equality-, mass-adoration- and human chauvinism virus has by now infected their initiatives to the extent, that the study of human social and commercial interactions became the foundation of the actual General System Sciences, as if any other existing system would be so subordinate as to be either ignored, or adjusted to serve human social and commercial purposes.

        Indeed, the Principia Cybernetica Project within ISSS itself holds, "...that in our time, the age of information, it is systems science and cybernetics, as the general sciences of organization and communication, that can provide the basis for contemporary philosophy."

        The newly emerged specialist generalists - focusing on sociotechnical systems - are looking for property- and structural similarities between existing man-made systems - regardless if they are good or bad, function or not - instead of looking for harmony between them and the general universal system. They want to establish a "common system" founded on materialistic and anthropocentric premises, and then call it the General (Universal-, Natural-, Life-) System, after the pattern of which all natural systems will have to be perverted.

        Here are some examples of what I am talking about:

        "The general scientific nature of systems inquiry implies its direct association with philosophy. This explains the philosophers early and continuing interest in systems theory and the early and continuing interest of systems theorist and methodologist in the philosophical aspects of systems inquiry. In general, philosophical aspects are worked out in two directions. The first involves inquiry into the WHAT: what things are, what a person or a society is, and what kind of world we live in. These questions pertain to what we call: ontology. The second question is HOW: how do we know what we know, how do we know what kind of world we live in, how do we know what kind of persons we are? The exploration of these questions are the domain of epistemology. One might differentiate these two, but ontology and epistemology can not be separated. Our beliefs about what the world is will determine how we see it and act within it. And, our ways of perceiving and acting will determine our beliefs about its nature." Bela Banathy.

        Note, that both the "what" and the "how" are self-centered on the "we". And what about the WHY?; looking for explanations, for the reason and logic behind, for the cause and the purpose of it all? How can we see the world and act in it, and develop our beliefs about its being and nature - and thus about our being and nature - while ignoring the key question? The description of a mechanism does not define its being: the what and the how do not answer the why, and without the why nothing is answered. How can a General System of the Universe be researched while considering only its human agglomerations, and negating or ignoring its spiritual background?

        "The ancient questions of whether the mind is immanent or transcendent can be answered in favour of immanence." Bela Banathy.

        This statement - implying that the mind is the product of the brain, and ceases to exist with its death - is a materialistic, dogmatic and a negative affirmation without the slightest concrete proof: not even the most prominent and determined neurosurgeons, who themselves firmly believe in it, could come up as yet with one, and are certain only that "within the next hundred years this proof might be found". But here is an even better statement: "That mind cannot exist independently of matter and energy I take as axiomatic: that mind assumed certain properties radically different from organizations of matter and energy I take as empirical fact. The reconciliation of these two I regard as a mystery upon which I throw no light." How, for crying out loud, can, not a famous neurosurgeon, but any simpleton, who claims to be able to think at all, take something as axiomatic - a self-evident truth, an established principle -, if he is unable to reconcile it with empirical facts? The negation of the transcendental nature of the mind negates the spiritual dimension of the World, disregarding - for being inconvenient - the contrary proofs of all the recorded personal experiences of expanded consciousness and out of the body experiences, and the findings of the new scientific branches built on these, extra-sensory perception and Past Life Research and Therapy. In opposition to that belief I contend, that all matter - and thus the brain - is created by the mind acting on energy at the various levels of the Universal Order, and that the physical Universe - as any part of it - is formed by order imposed over the primordial Chaos by the Mind, the Ordering Principle, which pervades and transcends it. All action is by the mind directed energy exerted towards an accomplishment. In other words: free energy and differentiated Universal Mind are the two common denominators of everything in the Universe. Their interaction produces the flux of events and processes we perceive as our material universe. Quantum-physics has already proven this at its own level.

        "Others emerged as branches of the main-stream . . such as Living Systems Theory developed by Miller. The theory is a conceptual scheme for the description and analysis of concrete identifiable living systems. It describes seven levels of living systems, ranging from the lower levels of cell, organ, and organism, to higher levels of group, organizations, societies, and supranational systems. Living System Theory presents a common framework for analyzing structure and process and identifying the health, the well being of systems at various levels of complexity. The theory has been applied by a method--called Living Systems Process Analysis - to the study of complex problem situations, embedded in a diversity of fields and activities."

        The above described "Living Systems Theory" is another éclatant example of the most blinkered anthropocentrism, as it considers only humans and human systems, which serve as "a common framework for analyzing structure and process and identifying the health, the well being of systems at various levels of complexity." Quite obviously all the existing human systems will fit into this framework fabulously, and shall be considered as natural and correct. I contend, that after the level of organisms - which includes all individual elements of flora and fauna from the earth-bacteria to man - follow the ecological communities, the major ecological communities and the Planet. The ecological community consist of all the various individuals and groups of organisms, living together as symbionts of various degree in an ecological harmony. A natural human community (wherever there is one) is an integral constituent of an ecological community, as are all the other constituting species of flora and fauna, right down to the earth-bacteria. The major ecological community consists of various ecological communities and is completely self-sufficient but for the energy of the sun. The statement that "A natural human community is an integral constituent of an ecological community" implies, that an agglomeration of humans, which is not an integral constituent of an ecological community, is not a natural human community. The GSR serves exactly to establish the what-s and how-s of an ecological community as a living system, which then can serve as a base for establishing a science for a natural human community. The actually existing human groups, organizations, societies, and supranational systems are not "natural systems", therefore cannot be included in the Living Systems Process Analysis for the study of complex problem situations, embedded in a diversity of fields and activities. Their unnaturalness is, in fact, the cause of the actual human predicament, manifestation of the human pathology. They are the ones to be drastically remodeled on the paradigm of the true natural systems.

        Human/Social Systems are not open systems, similarly to the cancer-tissue. They are not sustained by their internal and external relations and the process of regulation. Their unsustainable conditions are the causes of their instability. They depend on, but do not contribute to their environment, but are exploiting it and are detrimental to it. They are not wholes as far as holistic thinking understands them, neither are parts of larger natural systems, only parts of each other, and only their individual dissidents may be constituents of true natural systems.

        I completely concur with Jantsch, that "Evolution is an integral part of self-organization. True self-organization incorporates self-transcendence, the creative reaching out of a human system beyond its boundaries. Creation is the core of evolution. it is the joy of life. it is not just the adaptation, not just securing survival."

        All this, in my view, leads to the answer to von Bertalanffy's following considerations: "There are only individual brains that may be nurtured in order to be creative. . Teamwork can be productive and even indispensable in the application of ideas but not in their origination because it is impossible for a group of people to have a mind or spirit excelling that of the component individuals. . . Individual emergence refers to the reverse of collective emergence, i.e. the phenomenon that the sum of the parts may be more than the whole. The aim ... is to study what permits parts to be or become more than any whole constituted of these parts."

        The statement, that "the whole is more than the sum of its parts" is proven by quantum-physics, chemistry and the biological sciences, where "more" refers to complexity, function, organization and to the levels within a system. It also clearly implies, that "only that is a whole which is more than the sum of its parts". Follows, that the various human collectives are not organismic wholes but pseudo-wholes, their declared superior status being created only through "the adoration of the herd". Thus the fallacy rests not in the statement established by the natural sciences, but in the theories based on the prevailing sociological - I should say socialistic - foundations.

        "Homo sapiens" is a biological definition of a species, like is "Cucurbita pepo". From a holistic point of view an individual member, or any organismic unit formed by the association of individual members for a particular purpose, or a "major human community" that is intrinsic part of a "major ecological community" can epitomize a holon. Every holon on every level is a universal, natural free and alive, unique being; an individual and integral part of the Universe, the self-expression and integrality - self-transcendence - of which are inseparable, and are functions of the faculties of its own mind. "Humanity", en masse, as an emotionally founded concept, makes no natural sense, unless it represents the auto-orchestrated cooperation of "major human communities" with the purpose of planetary evolution. The actual movement of "globalization" is never intended to create "one great human brotherhood", but a totalitarian, centralized, commercio-economical control over a behaviouristic, stimulus-responsive, robot-model man of consumption and voluntary submission.

        The above presented thoughts concur with the following two quotations from The Premier Project:

        "The major problems of our time...are all different facets of one single crisis, which is essentially a crisis of perception... - it derives from the fact that most of us, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated world view... - I believe that the world view implied by modern physics is inconsistent with our present society, which does not reflect the interrelatedness we observe in nature. To achieve such a state of dynamic balance, a radically different social and economic structure will be needed; a cultural revolution in the true sense of the word. The survival of our whole civilization may depend on whether we can bring about such a change. It will depend ultimately, on our ability to...experience the wholeness of nature and the art of living with it in harmony. . the world-view emerging from modern physics can be characterized by words like organic, holistic and ecological. . The universe has to be pictured as one indivisible dynamic whole whose parts are essentially interrelated and can be understood only as patterns of a cosmic process". Fritjof Capra

        "There is this hope, I cannot promise you whether or when it will be realized - that the mechanistic paradigm, with all its implications in science as well as in society and our own private life, will be replaced by an organismic or systems paradigm that will offer new pathways for our presently schizophrenic and self-destructive civilization." Ludwig von Bertalanffy

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