ISSS Integrated Systemic Inquiry Primer Project (ISIPP)

A TASTE OF SYSTEMICS

Edited by Tom Mandel


WHY A SYSTEMS VIEW?


By Bela Banathy

The second half of the twentieth century is marked by massive changes affecting all aspects of our lives. We are experiencing the major societal TRANSFORMATION from the industrial machine age to the post-industrial information/knowledge age. These changes and transformations are reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are part, the environments in which we live, and THE WAY WE VIEW the world.

A world-view (window to the world) is like a lens through which we perceive the landscape of life that becomes our reality. Those who look through the lens of the previous era see their own reality very differently from those who use the lens that the new era has crafted.

This "view of the world" (world-view) has many dimensions: the socio-cultural, the socio-technical, the socio-economic, the organizational, and the scientific just to name a few. These dimensions interact and mutually influence eachother expressing that interaction as an emergence of a NEW world view very different from the previous era - the era of the industrial society.

This change from one era to another is often called "PARADIGM SHIFT."

When a new stages emerges in the evolution of society, such as the case around the midpoint of this century, the continued use of the old paradigm, the old-world-view-lens, creates ever-increasing problems. For example, the social systems such as our educational activity systems that still operate by the design of a bygone era. They operate in a continual crisis mode, and eventually face obsolescence. But they could frame a new mind set, learn to use the new lens of the new era, and acquire a new thinking, knowing, and doing based on the new world view.

Over the last four or five decades, we have been faced with increasingly more complex and pressing problem-situations, embedded in interconnected systems operating in dynamically changing environments. In addressing these problem situations and working with their relevant systems, we have learned to recognize the limitations of the perspectives, methods and tools of the traditional scientific orientation.


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