Quotation Index

 General Systems Theory 


       Systems Management creates Purpose Driven organisms


See also Reinventing the World | Systems Thinking

Creating Community through a New Way of Thinking

The Issues of Management: "Control & communication - the key to purpose driven activities. ...

       "At the heart of the issue lies not only our notions about organizational structure, but our operational paradigm of what constitutes a functional, effective organization....

       "The philosophical underpinnings come from a focus of study known as General Systems Theory. Ludwig von Bertalanffy,  a biologist, is considered the father of General Systems Theory, and almost every field of science (physical, social, and mathematical) has contributed to its development. 

       "The basic tenet of General Systems Theory is that all systems share certain characteristics that allow them to function as systems, regardless of their type or level of organization. General Systems Theory attempted to identify and document the characteristics common to all systems. ...

       "For a system to function as a system, rather than a collection of parts, it must have ways of self-organizing and even directing behavior. ... A wild ecosystem is chaos driven. An organism or organization is purpose driven. ... The distinction between chaotic and purpose-driven systems is important because it relates to the decision / communication models discussed above."

Systems (General Systems Theory - GST): "...there exists a very logical explanation for the esoteric nature of the Drucker/Deming methodology. These individuals based their philosophies on 'General Systems Theory' (GST). GST was originally proposed by Hungarian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy in 1928. He proposed that 'a system is characterized by the interactions of its components and the nonlinearity of those interactions.' 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:
 “GST is 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.” (13)

  • “According to GST, nothing can be understood in isolation but must be seen as part of a system.” (14)
  • If one accepts the theory that the world is an interconnected and interdependent holistic system (and within that system is an infrastructure that is analogous across systems), one must logically conclude that the Gaia Hypothesis is true.
  • “James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis first appeared in 1979 and evolved into Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, published by Oxford Press in 1982. The Gaia Hypothesis contends that the earth itself is a living organism, the source of all life, which has the capacity to regulate or 'heal' itself under 'natural' conditions. Lovelock's contention is that the human species has developed the technology to overwhelm Gaia's capacity to 'heal' itself, and is therefore doomed to destruction unless the human species stops its technological assault.” (15)
  • The Gaia Hypothesis is, in essence, nothing more than ancient worship of the Mother Earth Goddess...

"...one can conclude that GST is an esoteric belief system based on a merger of Darwinism and eastern mysticism—much like what one would now term 'New Age'. GST contends that man is moving to the next level of evolution, but in order to reach this plateau, mankind must be ascribe to a common, universal consciousness, or belief system (“old beliefs” must transition to “new beliefs”). Drucker confirmed his adherence to this concept by the development of the '3-legged stool' model. The legs are representative of the corporate system, the state, and the 'private sector.  He top of the stool signifies the reaching of that which he terms as 'community' or consensus of these three separate sectors (or subsystems) of society. Drucker has spent the last half of his life concentrating on this 'private sector' (churches and non-profits) because this segment offers the platform for the dialectical consensus to unite all of humanity to bring about the 'jump phenomenon' (16) to the next level of “societal evolution”. According to the GST and the Gaia Hypothesis, the 'old system' must break down in order for the “new system” to break through."

"...In his book, With No Apologies, Senator Goldwater described the strategy of the Trilateral Commission, Council for Foreign Relations, and other globalist entities as an attempt to control the “Four Corners of Power” in order to transition the world into their perceived planetary model. He described these “four corners” as political, economic, theological, and intellectual; and contended that those who control the Four Corners of Power control the world. (17) Drucker’s “3-Legged Stool” simply combines the theological and intellectual corners of power into the “private sector/ non-profit” leg of the stool. Goldwater theorized that control of the Four Corners of Power would result in a new world system, just as Drucker’s model to achieve “community” will bring forth a new society. However, the fact is that the non-profit sector --and the Evangelical Church in particular, posed the greatest threat to achieving the synthesis of “community”--or at least it did-- until Hybels, Buford, Warren, and Co. began to transition their constituents by the hundreds of thousands to a position that aligned with the whole systems model."

     From "Outcome-Based Religions: Purpose-Driven Apostasy" by Mac Dominick. Please read his complete article and find sources in his footnotes at http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1506ch13.html. Then read Social Change and Communitarian Systems.


General System Theory - Its "Humanistic" Features: "The Bertalanffian GST is inherently ethical and ecological because it aims at increasing the awareness in every human of the need of being functionally interconnected with each other, with his or her community, with the whole humanity, with the immediate terrestrial surroundings and with the biosphere.

      "As an ideological tool, scientifically structured it may help to conceive, design and implement the research needed for allowing every scientist to develop his intuition and capabilities, for learning consistently to discover the laws that govern the manifestation of biological, psychological and social systems. For dealing humanely with all kinds of local concerns supported by and taking into account the global circumstances and terrestrial limits. ....

      "Being GST de facto a kind of reconciliation between humanities and science, between materialism and idealism, between body and mind, it has become a humanistic alternative that may help overcome frameworks determined through mechanistic values; an alternative that recognizes frankly that 'the organism is not a passive automaton reacting to stimuli but rather is an autonomously active system', a conceptual interpretation indispensable for the healthy evolvement of human interactions.

     "GST will play necessarily a humanitarian role in the continuous evolvement of a civilized humankind, because it aims at creating the circumstances needed for offering reasonable, then humanitarian perspectives for all the members of the Homo sapiens sapiens who need to be continuosly aware of the role that humans ought to play on the planet sharing every aspect of every terrestrial space with the members of all the other living species. .... In the domain of GST the humans, should not see each other as embodiments of one or several human traits, but instead as complex and ever changing systems that may achieve a revolution of harmony, if and only if every human learns to view life with a certain awe. Then everybody might tend to treat life with reverence, and also tend to treat each other with respect."

General System Theory: "General Systems Theory aims at seeking principles common to systems in general that may allow scientists and researchers to think more clearly about the goals of any possible system and about the methods for reaching them....

       "The Systems Movement has evolved and is getting increasingly involved in processes organized under the assumption that they may improve the manifestation of human actions related with the development of the civilization that prevails at present....

        "Many 'systems' are constituted according to interests and motivations of people located in powerful positions related to privileged situations. Other systems remain in operation and even improve it simply because they are considered necessary stimulii for the evolvement of trends of the prevailing civilization. Many 'intelligent' human affairs do not improve at all the civilizing processes, neither the human way of life.

       "In recent years an increasing deterioration of the way humanity is still surviving has become the main challenge for the Systems Community. The General Systems Theory conceived originally by Bertalanffy need to be developed from now onward through a systematic confrontation with the numerous problems that composed the most serious crisis ever faced by humankind. Systems scientists must engage responsible in discovering the laws intrinsic to the dynamical features of:

  • Those problems that nowadays are increasing the deterioration of the human society: unfair trade, poverty, hungry, intolerance, violence, corruption....
  • Those policies that need to be conceived and designed for reducing the gap between rich and poor people and countries, for solving gradually shortcomings in education and health care, for negotiation among conflicting entities, for embeding ecological questions into economic intentions and also vice versa for embeding economic questioning into ecological intentions...
  • Those programs needed for recognizing humans as creative and responsible wholes, who need to develop their physical, biological and psychological capabilities for learning how to perform actively in every community in order to contribute consciously to increase the survival chances of the human species on this unique planet." http://meanie.iguw.tuwien.ac.at/bertalanffy/pages/bertalanffy1.php

Karl Ludwig von Bertalanffy: Founding Father of the General System Theory

Excerpted from General Systems Theory

Who was Bertalanffy?: A scientist inherently ethical who aimed at improving the human condition A philosopher, ahead his time, who searched universal laws of organization A man acting as a citizen of the world, then learning to be aware of humanity's enigmas The founding father of General System Theory http://meanie.iguw.tuwien.ac.at/bertalanffy/pages/bertalanffy1.php

  The Issues of Management : For a system to function as a system, rather than a collection of parts, it must have ways of self-organizing and even directing behavior. If command and control is distributed to the subsystems, then we must look elsewhere for the self-organizing capabilities of the complex system. What the complex system provides is coordination and communication for the self-stabilizing subsystems. The paradigm shift, then, is one of moving from a central command and control model to a distributed command and control model with central communication and coordination.

Core Paradigm Differences in Tools: "First, enforcement of a single brand of tool on an entire organization for compatibility reasons is no longer an issue. Second, if the organization is standardizing on a brand of authoring tool for contractual or support reasons, the decision is less monumental."


Systems theory: "...the world is a system of subsystems (also called systems), interdependent and interconnected, to form a wholistic or holistic system; that within any one system is an infrastructure that is analogous across systems, irrespective of physical appearance.
    "The Gaia Hypothesis, in different words but saying the same thing, adds a spiritual dimension to systems theory, stating that the world is a living, breathing, organism, irreducible to its parts; that what affects one part affects all parts; that in the name of saving spaceship earth, we must change our society.
    "These are the two hypotheses which undergird systems governance and the transformation of American society to the total quality, outcome-based, environment of a managed economy in a communist society in which every aspect of that society is micromanaged by the all powerful government to achieve goals established to attain a humanist 'created future' — the sustainable global environment.
     "This is happening nationwide, in every branch, office and department of government; in industry; in health care; in education at all levels; in property rights, growth management and land use planning; in ecology ... there is nothing that is not being affected by this. This is a total and complete transformation or paradigm shift of our society." Lynn Stuter, http://www.learn-usa.com/sga.htm


Systems thinking: "...the idea that changes need to be conceptualized in the context of the total system. Most educators are no accustomed to thinking in a systems fashion. I suggest that Total Quality Management is a means by which systems-level thinking can be both encouraged and translated into action. Next outcome-based education is introduced, described, and analyzed as the framework within which systems redesign can occur....
    "Variations on the outcome-based model are appearing with ever-increasing frequency due in part to the fact that OBE is a systems approach to change. All elements of program and practice must be reviewed, reordered, and reinforced to ensure that desired outcomes are achieved.
    "Outcome-based education, like Total Quality Management and systems thinking, requires a reconceptualization of the organization at a fundamental level." David T Conley; Roadmap to Restructuring; Eugene, Oregon: University of Oregon; ERIC; 1993.