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Unity in Diversity
Ludwig von Bertalanffy 100th Anniversary Conference
University of Vienna, November 1-4, 2001, Vienna, Austria
 

Towards A General Theory of Systems and Congruence?
Spacial and embodied mapping and modeling
of Autonmy, Wholeness, and Congruency

Heiner Benking


 
 
Whoever imagines mental barriers 
which actually do not exist 
and then thinks them away, has understood the world. 
As space is entrapped in geometry's network of lines, 
thought is caught in its (own) inherent laws. 
Maps make the world comprehensible to us; 
we are still waiting for the star-maps of the spirit. 
In the same way that ambling through fields 
we risk getting lost, the spirit negotiates its terrain.

Friedrich Rückert, Wisdom of Brahmins

"The organismic view is at the same time perspective --
that is, aware of its limitations,
not a nothing but philosophy believing to know
and to have told everything,
but tolerant of other philosophies and other experiences --
in arts, morals, religion --
which may mirror other facets of an unfathomable reality."
Ludwig  von Bertalanffy

There are few philosophers and practitioneers you can agree with full heartedly, Ludwig von bertalanffy is definitely one of these as he was aware of the dimesnions and limitations and still was striving for common denominators, common frames of references and understanding. When reading the Alpbach 1968 beyond Reductionsism series, the discussions with Koestler, Weiss, Bertalanffy, ... carefully you see that these people were rooted or grounded in reality, int problems and curious to go forward, overcome oversimplifications, overclaims 8 footnote BADEN BADEN) and reductionism. You see the same in Jay Klines "Beyond reductionism and synoptism***" as he is trying to share realities across scales and levels, share the basic assumptions and models the pros and cons of the various approaches, with his "hierarchies of constitutions.

But the outcome of this overview and insight of people like Bertalanffy, but I also want to mention, Weiss, Gerard, Smuts, Gebser, Koestler, Kline and should add many other names, is marginalised, as we do not follow the essence of their concern, and instead in a nominalistic way, fight over words, or use the signs and displays which are not adequate to "map" or communicate the problems and issues at hand.

As Paul Weiss has shown, the interaction along and across scales see Folio KLI , and the ermergence of Time as a 4. Dimension needs other ways to communicate, we can not anymore draw on a piece of paper or add numbers, when we speak about living things, cultures, ideoms, and emergence. The author has summarised ways present the realms of system sciences in his KLI presntation in order to show that for example Taylor has tried to show the levels, as Bronffenbrenner and Vygotski do also, to show holarchies in a more than "falt" simple help schema, but in a 3 dimensional realm. To be sure, or schema, mad or model is not a theory of everything, but a hopefully simple, practicable, open and sharebable way to come to realizations about something not at hand, "not given" in the sense of Schwarzkopf (*****), but with possibly much proportion and consequences for the survival of living things.

Please take this as an insertion
to give some details to show what we mean by a model, embodyment, shared exploration of issues and consequences of the issues of "general systems".

The author in desperation has built a model "a Rubics Cube of Ecology" in 1990 as it was impossible to accomodate different disciplines, times-scales, and scale platforms we have to consider, when try to outline the issues at hand regarding natural and societal and cross- cultural systems. This as an extra-space beside the "given " "a-priori" natural space of out direct vicinity and experience was met with some opposition ! as it was new and not easily or denoted to one field or area of reseach or experience...
 

It is not enough to have another model, a model needs to be grounded and linked in order to have some relevance and creating not only questions but allowing new answers and views. That is what we did by showing that through the different scale platforms. In this way we can link to the natural world and have a common reference schema for not onyl 3 physical dimension x,y,z, but also are able to add another explorable and "immersible" conceptual "space" namely with the above mentioned subject-dimension (disciplines), scale-platform –dimensions, and the "governing" time as the 6th dimension.

But this was not enough to come to "common frames of references" (brown in : benking 19***) we still had Babylonic confusion over terms and different languages. And as we had seperated in the built Rubic’sCube in.-animate, animate, nature and culture sphere – we were able in 1991 to identify the work oF I. Dahlberg in Classifiacation, Terminology Research and Swichting Systems with eyxactly the same "subdivisions, allowing us to easily "fuse" the 6-d space-scapes with a semantic spaces-scape, which allows us to find issues and topics in overview and switching system mode in an "extra" space for topics, but a space where all our metaphorical expereince is applicable, we can have positions, areas, bodies, overlap, and views, just as in the natural "topos" world.

Dear Reader excuse this seperated short glimpse into one possible help schema or model, as we need to make what we mean concrete. We have more and in further detail presented at a recent Gebser conference, or during the years, with the Council of Europe, the system science community, or in agood synopsis in a recent "Knowmap *******" Knowledge Management specialized Magazine..
 
 
Objektive Erkenntnis

Am Anfang objektiver Erkenntnis
steht also nicht ein Experiment,
sondern die Beobachtung
und der Entwurf
eines ganzheitlichen Bildes,
in dem alles Wissen und
alle Beobachtungen integriert sind.

K. R. Popper

Objective Knowledge 

The beginning of knowledge is not experiment 
but rather the observation and 
design of a complete picture 
on which all knowledge 
and all observation are integrated


 
K. R. Popper / I. Kant

So what we wanted to show that in the modern age, we did not only have the impact and introduction of modern tele- and information technologies, but we have expanded our reach in time and in scale. That Ecology has always been a cradle for transdisciplianry thinking, linking and interacting across scales and that it can provide a basis to help us not jsut metaphircally but throught built analogy, to make real what is emergent, and in this way move the boudnaries between the real and the intangible. (see Nowotny 2000). We have underliend this need for mental mobility, see Rückert above, to share what is at stake and develop anntenna for the thing we can not touch but are relevant for survival and co-existence.
Others like (Earley **** ), not just Schwarzkopf, have shown that we need to like in the coeccistence of realms to "map" or make concrete issues like Autonomy, Differentiation, Wholeness,... and that we can not show all these components in one pictures, list or diagramm, specially when we see issues and people communities connected, a communion of subjects instead of collection of objects (Thomas Berry)
Others like Osmo Kuusi have shown in their General Theory of Consistency (GTC 1974, 1999)
Konrad Lorenz has met Bertalnaffy in Vienna after the war when he did his lectures in the INSTITUT FÜR WISSENSCHAFT und KUNST.
I see Lorenz as an important influence – vice-versa !? – as Lorenz was a "natural or native" ecologist and environmentalist and spoke of "retten – bewahren – heilen" (safe – preseve-heal) and with Campbell saw the evolutionary and wider perspectives. The following citation defining a biological systems theory i feel needs to be digested, applied and put into the broader context defining common frames for systems thinking and applications:
Die biologische Systemtheorie is eine im bereich der theretischen biologie angesiedelte Betrachtungsweise des Lebenden, die entgegen dem Reduktionismus – Lebewesen als komplexe, hirarchisch organisierte Systeme mit Wechselbezügen auf und zwischen den unterschiedlcihen Ebenen Definiert.
Siehe hier auch Paul Weiss, Emergenz Serie im KLI und JAY KLINE !! und JEAN GEBSER 2001 paper BENKING/STALINIKI 2001
Siehe hier auch den KLI Vortrag BENKING 1996: Concreteness in Integral Worlds
http://benking.de/gebser2001.html
Peirce INDEX, Guildford..Castri !!!!!!!!!!!!!1, Leibniz !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ADD "spaces of intelellect" VELTMAN etc....
Other cultures..
Veltman  und !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Space as potential , and move boundaries...  Helen NOVOTNY..
Boundaries
Ehtics
Sytem sciences
Castri ecology  and psycholalalge VICO und MANCUSO...
Jay Earley...
ARGUMENT DELPHI’s --- and learning
Jonas
overview ORIENTATION !! context and coherence not jsut content !!!
HUMAN RIGHTS ETHICS  TIME jonas and GEBSER !!
Integration or seggregation  - knowmap ...
Novotny
Popper
weiss
Ethical and ecological
Positions of statements  GTC "general theory of consitency"  Osmo Kuusi

Smuts Discussion [Open in New Window] [Open in Full Window]  [Preview]
THE PRIMER PROJECT An activity of the Primer Group A Special Integration Group (SIG) of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
(ISSS) originally SGSR, Society for General Systems Research. and IISII INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE for SYSTEMIC INQUIRY AND
URL: http://newciv.org/ISSS_Primer/asem03sd.html

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Wirklichkeit hat Grenzen. Aber nicht das Überschreiten der Grenzen, sondern die Annäherung ist reizvoll. Und gerade durch die Annäherung werden die Grenzen immer wieder neu verschoben. Wissenschaft verändert unsere Sichtweisen. Gebiete, die vorher im Dunkeln lagen, werden sichtbar. Vorher Unsichtbares wird durch wissenschaftliche und technische Methoden visuell darstellbar.

Neu ist die Geschwindigkeit, mit der die aktuelle wissenschaftliche «visuelle Kultur» verschiedene Räume beeinflusst. Sie durchdringt Arbeit, Alltag und vereinnahmt gesellschaftliche Strukturen wie Politik und Medien. Die Grenzen verschieben sich. Wir sind auf dem Weg zu einer «virtuellen Realität».

Autoren und Autorinnen aus verschiedenen wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen machen sich Gedanken zu diesem Thema. Die Beiträge - in deutscher, englischer oder französischer Sprache - sind anlässlich des gleichnamigen Symposiums vom 27.-29.5.1999 am Collegium Helveticum der ETH Zürich entstanden