Illustrations of the usage of this
General Systems Theory
Reinventing the World
(Part 2) through a New Way of Thinking (Warren and Senge)
through Transformational Leadership
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Emphasis added in bold letters
Systems Theory - GST): "GST
was originally proposed by Hungarian biologist Ludwig von
in 1928. He proposed that 'a system is characterized by the interactions
of its components....' Kuhn (the
originator of the “paradigm shift”) applied the GSP to culture and
society, and he saw cultures as
interlinking subsystems of a broader planetary society. In 1980,
cosmologist Stephen Hawking then expanded systems thinking to the global
platform by introducing the 'Chaos Theory' that claims the
'interconnectedness of all things'--- (i.e. the
beating of a butterfly’s wings in Asia creates a breeze in America).
As a result, GST becomes very esoteric
when taken to its logical conclusions:
symptomatic of a change in our worldview. No longer do we see the world
in a blind play of atoms, but rather a great organization.”
Religions: Purpose-Driven Apostasy"
Politics, co-authored by Corinne McLaughlin,
the first task-force coordinator for President Clinton's
Council on Sustainable
Development (New York: Ballantine Books, 1994), page 150.
"Seeing Whole Patterns. . . . It’s time
for us to make the next leap in consciousness to wholistic thinking — to
patterns. In contrast with the prevailing linear paradigm, the New Paradigm sees
everything as interconnected and interdependent . . . .Thus it is critical to keep the
large picture—the whole system—in mind in order to create any kind of lasting
solution and to avoid undue focus on effects, rather than dealing with causes that may
be part of another system altogether.
"This is not really
'new' thinking. Many
traditions of the Ageless Wisdom have taught wholistic thinking for centuries. For
example, in the Native American teaching of the
medicine wheel, each person begins life
starting at a certain direction on the wheel.... To achieve wholeness, we have to move around the wheel, to see life from
other perspectives, in order to understand the interconnection of all the parts. Native
Americans resolved conflicts by sitting in council, in a circle of wholeness, where each
voice could be heard in turn. Similarly, the Hindus and Buddhists have long used
circular mandalas to teach about wholeness....
"Wholistic thinking or ecological thinking — seeing how everything
affects everything else — is finally beginning to influence other national policies,
such as economics, where piecemeal solutions never work, since all sectors of a
nation’s economy are interrelated and interdependent with the world economy. The
systems view sees the world in terms of relationships and integrated wholes whose
properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units."
Corinne McLaughlin's Spiritual
Politics is largely based on messages from spirit guide Djwhal Khul, the
"Tibetan Master" channeled by theosophist Alice Bailey. She
taught her mediation strategies at the Department of Education and the EPA. See
"Celebration of the Spirit"
"Closing the Feedback Loop between Matter and Mind"
A Conversation with Dr. Peter M. Senge, MIT Center For Organizational
Peter Senge: "It seems to me that deep down the deepest questions for me have to do with the
evolution of human systems....
"Did you ever see David Bohm's little book Changing
Consciousness? ... It has
David's text about the way collective thought evolves, the role of culture in creating
deep imprints in thought, and the effect this all has on our experience of life....
"To me, the essence of what
systems thinking is all about is people beginning to consciously discover and
conceptually explain and account for how their own patterns of thought and
interaction.... Not "you," not "them," but we.
"The challenge, when you are dealing with
larger-scale human systems, is that collectively people have to take some
responsibility. ... De Maree used this term
"The systems perspective is really
fundamentally all about discovering the way we create our own reality.
... It connects very
directly to the particular philosophy of organizational learning... which is, at its root, a systemic philosophy. Now it had different tools.
"We have been taught that one thing is more important than
another. See? That's fragmentation. ... If you can
convince someone that one thing is more important than another and if, secondly, the
thing that's more important is harder to achieve and you can convince them of those two
premises, then you can make fear the dominant emotion, because then you will always be
fearful of not having it, of losing it. ...
Senge’s research interest concerns the
evolution of human and systems and how to help people collectively tap into the reserves
that exist for profound learning and change. The mind and matter story of Master Nan
opened the space for rearticulating the essence of systems thinking as relinking matter
and mind in the social world: to help people and organizations close feedback loops
between collectively enacted behavior and the consciousness of those who act. Science,
when performed from this deeper perspective, focuses on bringing forth new realities,
for "you can’t understand a system unless you create it." Likewise, leadership, when
performed from the same perspective, is about accessing and operating from a "deeper
force" related to the "capacity to live in the world you want to create"
.... It's about
showing up and being present."
Peter M. Senge is a Senior Lecturer at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Founding Chair of the Society for
Organizational Learning (SoL). He authored The Fifth Discipline and co-authored
The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, The Dance of Change, and
Schools That Learn.
Senge's work articulates a cornerstone position of human values in the workplace;
namely, that vision, purpose, reflectiveness, and systems thinking are essential if
organizations are to realize their potentials.
Commitment: The Heart of Learning Organizations" by Fred Kofman
and Peter M. Senge
"Fragmentation, competition, and reactiveness are not problems to be solved--they are frozen patterns of thought to be dissolved.
The solvent we propose is a
new way of thinking,
feeling, and being: a culture of systems. Fragmentary thinking becomes systemic when we recover
'the memory of the whole,' the awareness that
wholes actually precede parts.
Competition becomes cooperation when we discover the "community nature of the self' ...
"Together these changes represent a new "Galilean
Shift." Galileo's heliocentric revolution moved us from looking at the earth as the center around which all else revolved to
seeing our place in a broader pattern. In the
new systems worldview, we move from the primacy of pieces to the primacy of the whole,
from absolute truths to coherent interpretations, from self to community, from problem solving to creating.
Thus the nature of the commitment required to
build learning organizations goes beyond people's typical 'commitment to their organizations.' It encompasses
commitment to changes needed in the larger world and to seeing our
organizations as vehicles for bringing about such changes.
"But a systems view of life suggests that the self is
never 'given' and is always in the process of transformation.
"How those predisposed begin to know each other and to work together involves an
ongoing cycle of community-building activities and practical
experimentation. The former must be
intense enough and open-ended enough to foster trusting personal
relationships and to lay a foundation of knowledge and skills....
"Moreover, it is a
journey that we are all taking together. There are
no 'teachers' with correct answers....
Each of us gives
up our own certainty and recognizes our interdependency within the larger community of practitioners.
humble, and purposeful 'I don't know' grounds our vision for learning organizations....
"Those not predisposed to systems thinking
should not be excluded, but they may play less important roles
at the outset. Over time, many people who are initially confused,
threatened, or nonresponsive to systems thinking and learning often become
the most enthusiastic supporters.
are not included, because they raise difficult questions or disagree with
certain ideas, what starts as a learning community can degenerate into a
The Spirituality of Systems Thinking
by Lynn Stuter
"Whether we call it
change or transformation, the two are the same.
Our society is being transformed; we are in the midst of a 'paradigm
In state and federal documents, the process to be used
by business to achieve the sustainable global environment is made very clear.
It's called by several names: Total Quality Management (TQM), Continuous Quality
Improvement (CQI), the High Performance Work Organization (HPWO).
the Church, Part 2
Systems Thinking in the Twenty-First
Century: "...further development
of systems thinking necessitates overcoming the contradictions between different
schools and unifying them into a single systems conception. With this in mind, systems
problems are examined in light of the theory of knowledge. It is suggested that
the gnosiological definition of the notion 'system' should be used as a basis for
a single approach."
Laszlo is the founder of the Club of Budapest and attended Gorbachev's
State of the World Forum
in San Francisco in 1997.
"We are transiting into a new kind of society.... What we are now living through is the transition from nationally based industrial
societies to an interconnected and information-based global economic and social
"In the past, our lives have been shaped mainly by information processed
in human brains. ... But in the course of the twentieth century, the information
processed in human brains has been increasingly supplemented by information processed
in technical systems.
"In the last decade of this century, we find ourselves not
only in a social but also in an informational environment. Our societies have become
more than social systems: They have turned into information-based sociotechnological
ones. ...time has telescoped.... Suddenly, standard values and beliefs became irrelevant --
assumptions about the nature of the contemporary world have collapsed. This world
is no longer an arena of the struggle between capitalism and communism led by two
superpowers; it is a more complex world..."
New Thinking for a New Era:
"Ervin Laszlo time has telescoped.
We are precariously poised in a present full of challenge and change; the future
is upon us before we can look around and realize that the past has disappeared.
"Who Is Ervin Laszlo?" by Lynn Stuter at
"Ervin Laszlo's name comes up frequently in the context of systems thinking,
systems theory, and general systems theory. Protégé of Ludwig von Bertalanffy,
whose biology text books were used by Hitler, the following is appears on the
back cover of Laszlo's book, The Systems View of the World:
"A pioneer of systems thinking in philosophy, Ervin Laszlo is an
interdisciplinarian and integrator.... Born in Budapest in 1932, he achieved
international fame as a concert pianist in his early teens.... Currently he is
Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York's College of Arts
and Science at Genesco....
"Laszlo serves not only as President of the Club of Budapest and head of the
General Evolution Research Group, which he founded, but is the former President
of the International Society for Systems Sciences, an advisor of the UNESCO
Director General, Ambassador of the International Delphic Council,
member of the International Academy of Science, the World Academy of Arts and
Science and the International Academy of Philosophy. He also held and holds
positions as a board member or extraordinary member of numerous international
associations, including, at one time, the Club of Rome.
by James H. Furr, Mike Bonem, Jim Herrington
( San Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
This book, largely inspired by
Saddleback's success, gives us a detailed look at the change process
itself. "This is a book you ought to read before you change
anything," said Rick Warren in his hearty endorsement. See
Groups and the Dialectic Process
"Congregational leaders can become more effective by mastering the
learning disciplines of transformational leadership--creative
tension, mental models, team learning and systems thinking."
"...our perspective is often incomplete. We take our experience with
one part of the system and generalize it to the whole. In systems
thinking (chpt 10), we learn that dealing with one part of the
system gives an inadequate picture of the whole.
in overcoming our limited view is that we are often unwilling to
learn from others who interact with other parts of the system....
change leaders learn to listen empathically, they learn to see
the world differently."
"Self-awareness lead to an increased capacity for
self-disclosure. A third key personal skill, the skill of
dialogue, build on thee first two.
Dialogue is also essential for team learning
and is discussed in depth in the next chapter."120
"Using critical thinking intentionally to challenge the mental models
of an organization is a key skill. Critical thinking is the process
of taking a fresh look at a problem by stripping away the
assumptions and constraints that may have been imposed in the past."120-121
"We thank Rick Warren... for the opportunity
to reach and refine our understanding of congregational transformation
as part of Saddleback Valley Church's Purpose-Driven Church Conference.
We are also grateful to Bob Buford.... and others at Leadership Network
for the many ways in which they have stimulated and facilitated our
Chapter outline for
the accompanying Workbook:
Relational Vitality: The Driving Force of Transformational
Change (Four Disciplines)
Generating and Sustaining
Harnessing the Power of Mental
Enabling Team Learning
Practicing Systems Thinking
The Eight-Stage Change Process
Making Personal Preparation
Establishing the Vision
Discerning the Vision and
Determining the Vision Path
Communicating the Vision
Empowering Change Leaders
Implementing the Vision
Reinforcing Momentum Through
Heritage 'Protection: UNESCO's War Against National Sovereignty"
In the eyes of UNESCO, private owners can't be trusted to guard "a World
Heritage which belongs to all humanity" any more than parents
can be trusted to raise their own children. The rights of the
global collective must replace the old Western individual rights.
To persuade the public, a new revolutionary way of thinking-often
called holistic, integrated, or "systems thinking" -- must
replace the contrary old Western thoughts and ways.
"The real enemy is a dysfunctional way of thinking," said Al Gore in
Earth in the Balance.
His solution? "A worldwide education program... We should
actively search for ways to promote a new way of thinking about
the current relationship between human civilization and the earth...." UNESCO is leading the way....
Joe Baylis' gold mine was outside the boundaries of Yellowstone
National Park. It fulfilled all state and federal environmental
requirements. But those facts didn't stop UNESCO from exercising
its authority over Baylis' land. According to new holistic interpretations
of the World Heritage treaty, UN jurisdiction now also includes
"critical buffer zones." So when World Heritage Committee
members from Europe and Asia appeared in Wyoming in 1995 to help
radical environmentalist fight the environmentally friendly mining
company, they claimed -- and won -- the right to censure human activity
within the entire ecosystem. In other words, "systems thinking"
rather than scientific facts and logic prevailed....
To gain control, it added new meaning to the agreement. In
the seventies, the World Heritage Convention had defined "natural
heritage" as "precisely delineated areas...."
For Yellowstone, that "precise" delineation was a site
measuring 2.2 million acres. Now the World Heritage leaders were
claiming the right to "protect" what environmentalist
considered an entire ecosystem of 14 to 18 million acres
World Heritage Committee Chairman Adul Wichiencharoen of Thailand
explained the new terms. He suggested that Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) being prepared by the US Forest Service was taking
a "fragmented" rather than a more "holistic approach"
to the Yellowstone ecosystem.
"It's a bit too much piecemeal, doesn't speak to the
biological interactions outside park boundaries,"added Executive Director Bernd Von Droat, of Germany.
Forum for the Future:
The Forum's mission and values:
We believe that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. We strive to build a mutually supportive and creative environment in which we foster each other's development, and share our skills, knowledge and experiences.
Partnership, participation, consultation and dialogue are core to the way in which we operate.