Asociation Argentina de Teoria General
de Sistemas y Cibernetica
Libertad 742 1640 Martinez Argentina
One of the strangest features of the cybernetics-systemics movement is its nearly total lack of coordination. Recently I took part in the 33rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS in Edinburgh, and in the 12th Congress of Cybernetics in Namur. It completely dumbfounded me to discover that, notwithstanding the closeness of both meetings in time and space, I was the only person participating in both of them.
Moreover, it was strange to note a neat cleavage along geographical lines. Numerous Americans were in Edinburgh, but only twelve in Namur, none of whom were connected with the ISSS. There were only two French and one Dutch participants in Edinburgh, while nearly fifty French, more than ten Dutch and at least forty Belgians appeared in Namur. For some mysterious reason, the Hungarians, Swedes and Australians went to Edinburgh, and the Rumanians to Namur. Moreover, that peculiar (but international) group of Esperanto enthusiasts under the leadership of Helmar Frank appears at every Namur Meeting.
If we now turn to the 1st European Congress on Systems Science in Lausanne (October 3-6, 1989), we once again find that the connection with the ISSS is a scant one. No more than eight members of the ISSS were in Lausanne and of theseonlyGeorge Klirappeared in Edinburgh. Only about fifteen Namur people came to Lausanne, nearly all of them Frenchmen. Moreover, Spaniards, who nearly ignored Edinburgh and Namur, were more numerous in Lausanne.
In all three meetings it is strange to note the near invisibility of the Austrians, who have a very lively systemics cybernetics movement, and of the Russians, perestroika notwithstanding.
When reading the programmes of the meetings, one remains, however, struck by their close common approaches on many subjects. One gathers the strange and disturbing feeling of different groups of people groping in the dark, isolated from each other, but searching for a common understanding.
This is strange, because all of them obviously have the same goals: understanding complexity, finding a common transdisciplinary language, seeking good epistemological foundations, looking for tools for practical action. None of these groups seems to suspect the existence of the others and their community of endeavours. They conform to unconnected systems; they do not offer each other the richness of their variety and they do not provide each other with feedback. The same is, of course, also true of other organizations not explicitly mentioned here.
This is disturbing, because these small bands of systemic cyberneticians quite probably possess the keys to a reintegrated futurefor mankind and, in some cases, they do not even seem to suspect it.
Shouldn’t we all unite somehow? Or, at least, establish communication channels? We are in dire need of each other.
Can we really be “international”, “federated”, “worldwide”, etc. while we are living in reciprocal ignorance? Couldn’t and shouldn’t we forget our particularisms, without losing our identities?