Thinking Systems Thoughts

Gary’s ISSS Mini Symposium (Talk) 29 June 2024

Everything can be seen as organised systems that are part of greater wholes.
(Organised in terms of functional relations – systemic interconnectedness).
Everywhere and everything.

We see complexity and confusion that can be organised as a learning system.
Complex Adaptive Systems as “Learning Organisation” (Argyris & Schon)?

Troncale’s cycle of emergence and diversification. (See also Kondratiev and Schumpeter)

Volk’s grand sequence. Sillito too (Pirsig!)
(The language of levels of static patterns – the fields we give names to – and dynamic quality – the potential and actual evolutionary change processes of interaction with the world – AIC?.)

Tom Marzolf’s hierarchy from broadest / least-constrained to narrowest / most-constrained “definitions” of systems. (Too much definition can be destructive – requisite variety and ambiguity – constructor theory, the creativity of constraint)
“3-Bears – Just right” “Points of Inflection” (Sigmoid curves) per Hrvoj Vančik 

An organising structure (as moving from Alchemy to Chemistry)
An architectural view. Facilitating opportunity. (Good architectures are lucky) Architectural is my own viewpoint – Hierarchic to Holarchic and Relational – always relational / functional relations (relations that DO something) / any holarchy is simply many overlapping binary-based taxonomic hierarchies – a “thicket”)

What, Why and How to emergent Wisdom – Psybertron

Being Better Better – Finnish Systems (?) group
(Better, Quality – Pirsig, do we need anyone to tell us these things, Phaedrus?)

Buddhism – Yin & Yang, the Tao the Tao Te Ching – aphorisms.


Jackson’s Pragmatism vs the … “AIC” framework.

SIG = Special Integration Groups – not fragmented interests
Managed / Grouped … Social > Political > Technical

(Far too long / too much … 45 mins and still going)

Outreach alignment – “a better world through a systems approach” shared with so many orgs. (I’ll say)

“Spiritual Stuff” – The Science of Spirituality !!!


Measures of success / traffic lights ! – Let’s keep “project” management distinct from systems thinking about strategic planning? (Levenchuk)

SIG Chair possibilities & responsibilities.

15 mins for Jamie.

Manel – philosophy missing the human sciences domain.
Catholic Church – long-history Jesuit / World Education.

Coherence – (Kerry) – is a good word. (Alignment too.
Integration needs to be processual, not direct physical unification – see plans)


Massively comprehensive detail – positive work, positive acknowledgement of every contribution … great, but …
Plan > Rubber > Road – too much detail – won’t survive day #1

Need to separate strategic intents and strategies from multiple “plans” rather than one master plan – coherence better than physical integration at detail level.

Science AND Spirituality (Gary’s language) …
can’t be Science (by any definition).
Response to Jamie – Sure they both evolved through human interaction and understanding in the world … but we have a good fence, a good reason to see them as different ways of viewing the world, different bases for understanding the workings of the world. Arrogant to presume one will entirely replace the other. (My ISSS2024 Session – in fact Jamie’s response is an example of the defensive position that rejects the value of spiritual talk – 2 years of which prompted my session.)

Aphorisms are more Koanish than explicit. Making them explicit completely misses them. (Gary – The Tao that can be spoken / described / defined is not the true Tao) My ISSS2024 Session (obviously, hopefully)

See earlier post – Gary mentioned.

And previous suggestion: ISUS rather than ISSS
International Society for Understanding Systems
Understanding / Epistemology is more than science
Philosophy is more than science
(Even if we don’t seriously propose changing our name – need to be honest about our scope?)


Post Notes:

[An email thread has ensued, but we’re all busy / asynchronous until we find a live synchronous opportunity. It boils down to:

(SCIENCE (plus) SPIRITUALITY) (cannot equal) (SCIENCE)

That’s illogical captain.

Find better words to make a more useful, positive, true statement … etc. Spirituality is bullshit or “woo” doesn’t actually help, does it?


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