A message to the 11th Congress of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 1 February 2000



Jiménez-López, E. (2000), "A message to the 11th Congress of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC)", Kybernetes, Vol. 29 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/k.2000.06729aaf.002



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

A message to the 11th Congress of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC)

A message to the 11th Congress of the World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics (WOSC)

Keyword: Systems, Social systems

Editor's note: Published for the information of all readers.

I am now deeply committed in finding out how I may contribute as an individual to find out how the human society at present may organize its performance towards a sustainable development. Such an intention of mine has evolved in my mind, while trying to answer properly the question "for what purpose am I living?", because I am one of those fellows, still rather few, that have been noticing how the dynamics of the prevailing civilization has become quite evidently a paradoxical phenomenon. Among the various features that characterize the pretended evolvement of human activities along the twentieth century, let me mention here briefly one of its most contradictory aspects: "magnificent" technological innovations generated by a "superb" scientific knowledge that should be the tools for increasing the survival chances of our species on this planet, until the disappearance of our sun, have been and are still conceived, designed and built against the development of human individuals, communities and the whole society.

Bertalanffy believed that the overall fate of the world depends on the adoption of humanity of a new set of values, based on a general systems Weltanschauung (worldview). He wrote:

We are seeking another basic outlook: the world of organization. This [outlook] would profoundly change the categories of our thinking and influence our practical attitudes. We must envision the biosphere as a whole ... with mutually reinforcing or mutually destructive, interdependencies. [We need] a global system of mutually symbiotic societies, mapping new conditions into flexible institutional structure and dealing with change through constructive reorganization.

Bertalanffy advocated that we dare to broaden our loyalty from nation to globe, that we become patriots of the planet, endeavouring to think and act primarily as members of humanity, that we must begin protecting the individual and cultural identity of others. He advocated a new global morality: "an ethos which does not center on individual good and individual value alone, but on the adaptation of mankind, as a global system, to its new environment". The need for this new morality, he said, was imperative:

We are dealing with emergent realities; no longer with isolated groups of men, but with a systematically interdependent global community: it is this level of [reality] which we must keep before our eyes if we are able to inspire large-scale action, designed to assure our collective and hence our individual survival (Uncommon Sense. The Life and Thought of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Father of General Systems Theory, Mark Davidson, 1983).

An updated initiative of this kind, arising necessarily from some members of Systems community, has become indispensable for ensuring that the evolvement of sciences and technologies may push ahead the development of our species taking into account the presence of many other living species and the features of Gaia, which means to conduct the manifestation of human affairs by means of all kinds of systems, which should function in accordance with ethical, ethological and ecological criteria determined by every individual actively engaged.

Elohim Jiménez-LópezAustria