IFSR Newsletter 1983 Vol. 3 No. 1 Spring
A Summary Report by Bela H. Banathy
Global Learning Symposium – Fuschl (Austria) 1982
SPONSORS: Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development – Intersystems – bsterreichische Studiengesellschaft fOr Kybernetik – Society for General Systems Research – Systeemgroep Nederland.
VIEWING THE GLOBAL PREDICAMENT
As we approach the end of the 20th century, social changes caused by unrestrained growth or technological advance are no longer viewed as the route to a better future for humanity. These changes have occurred much faster than the corresponding rate of adaptive social behavior and/or ability to guide them. They put man on a collision course with his own creations. We can now look back to two decades of research and analysis of this predicament.
For twenty years, scientific inquiry has addressed practical world problems – involving enrivonment, population, agriculture, pollution, and health care, and issues related to transportation, management, economics, and the human habitat in general. However, each one of these problems and issues has been analyzed alone, as if it would be and could be isolated from the others.
Systems science and systems inquiry present a new scientific paradigm: a science of organized complexity which, through its integrative and transdisciplinary orientation, allows for the comprehension of connectedness and the management of complex systems or problems.
Pioneering work in systems science has provided us with a new understanding of our world, much of which is based on the ever expanding knowledge about global systems. This understanding can provide the ground rules for implementing changes without being entrapped by attempts at social engineering our utopianism. It defines present conditions and alternatives in the following manner:
- Man and his global environment constitute an extremely complex system, which is more than and different from the aggregate of interactive components. All human activities express themselves through these dynamically connected components which mutually influence each other. Problems affecting mankind’s future can only be studied and resolved in the context of the entire planetary system.
- Accelerated and uncontrolled change for which little or no societal adaptation exists can lead to breakdowns which multiply their effects throughout the entire world.
- Mankind needs to manage the global community system with as much or more care and planning than has been observed within national boundaries.
- We must be guided by the broadest possible world view that enhances a deep understanding of the complexities, the perils, and the potentials of our collective action.
The solutions to mankind’s major problems require unprecedented efforts to develop global perspectives for global action. A disciplined exploration of the outer global limits and the inner human potentials during the last decade, provided us with enough understanding to give direction to evolution by creative planning and intelligent purposeful action.
The Fuschl symposium reported here, is aimed at creating an evolutionary vision of the future and to counsel human activity systems on how to implement it.
(To be completed in our next issue)