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Section A to C

Parviz Ahari Systemic Usability Engineering Experiences from a software development project (I

Lars Albinsso Three shifts in power caused by the Internet

Gary C. Alexander Open Systems: Sustaining the Living Organisation: an Open Systems Perspective
Sistemas Abiertos Sosteniendo la Organización Viviente: una Perspectiva de Sistemas Abiertos

Dan Moonhawk Alford Language As The Ultimate Living System

Antony Arcari The Colors of Consciousness

Armando Arias Object Oriented and UML Enterprise Models for Academic Programs & Communications

Joe Arteaga and David Ing The purposes of (and within) Virtual Communities Towards Development in Society

Erin Artigiani Can Community Design Turn Criminal Hot Spots Into Neighborhoods?

Nikitas A. Assimakopoulos Structured viable Systems with Human Development: the case of STIMEVIS

Guohua Bai A Cybernetic Model of Social Activity Systems

Kenneth D. Bailey Subsystem Competition in Complex Societies: Bureaucratic goal displacement and secondary entropy

Dr. Norman J. Bashias Dr. Miriam R. Tausner On a Systemic Measure of Consistency

Ken Bausch Choreographing and Dancing Life

Ken Bausch The Fifth Influence A Self-Referential Epistemology:
Beyond Circularity to Rigor

Mieczyslaw Bazewicz The Social Vision
of the Communication, Information and Knowledge Era of the XXI century

Bryan P. Bergson Can Weather Be Stabilized?

Eli Berniker and Fred Wolf The Thermodynamics of Organizing: Information and Noise in Terms of the Second Law

Assoc. Prof. Søren Brier On the Conflict between the Informational and the Communicational Paradigm

Sylvia Brown Disseminating Systems Thinking; a preliminary review of the role
Opportunity Initiated Systems Design might play

Alden Bryant Climate Stabilization: Awareness, Direction and Progress

Pille Bunnell and Kathleen Forsythe Intelligence Arises in Relationship

Glenn E. Burress How to Restore the Promise of Systems Theory

Jong Heon Byeon Application of Chaos Theory to the Political Systems Transformation

Michel Cabanac, Rémi Cabanac, and Harold T. Hammel The Fifth Influence

Tyrone Cashman Does the Darwinian Game Change When the Large-brained Primates
Become the Mirror of Evolution

Eric Chaisson Ethical Evolution

Phillip Christian An Application of Hierarchy Theory to Web-based Applications

Paul Cilliers Complexity, Ethics and Justice

James Clover Five Strategies For Using Computers to Spread Systems Ideas
from K-12 to the Public

Arne Collen The Genesis of a Meta Methodology for Human systems Inquiry

Arne Collen and Gianfranco Minati Seven Activities to Engage Systems Thinking

Allan Combs Information and the Subjective Brain

Louise K. Comfort Complex Systems in Crisis: Anticipation and Resilience in Dynamic evironments

Peter A. Corning, ' Devolution' as an Opportunity to Test the Synergism Hypothesis

Ron Cottam, Willy Ranson and Roger Vounckx Life as its own Tool for Survival

James Steve Counelis, Systemic Metatheory, Casuistry and Artificial Intelligence:
Is there a Possibility?

F. Scott Cowan , Janet K. Allen , and Farrokh Mistree Employing Perspectives with Living Systems Theory in Engineering Design

Peter Cox, Paul Mason and Mak Solieng Agricultural Research and Extension Systems in Cambodia: the Management of Change

Gary M. Cunningham Budget Effectiveness in Multinational Companies : A Configuration/Systems Approach

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Subsystem Competition in Complex Societies: Bureaucratic Goal Displacement and Secondary Entropy

Kenneth D. Bailey
Dept. of Sociology, UCLA
405 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90095

There is a latent assumption in much social systems theory (including at least partially in living systems theory), that internal subsystems all function for the good of the society as a whole, and that such subsystems complement each other. Thus, in living systems theory, the 20 subsystems have separate but complementary functions for the larger system as a whole. There has been much less attention given to the fact that in complex societies, subsystems may not always function smoothly together in a coordinated fashion, but in fact one or more subsystems may compete with others, and further, may subvert the functions they are supposed to serve for the larger system in favor of furthering their own internal autopoiesis. In this case, a supposedly subservient subsystem begins to act autonomously, putting its needs before those of the system it is supposed to serve.

In so doing, these components may also take resources from other subsystems, thus not only subverting their own efforts on behalf of the whole, but also those of other subsystems as well. This may be less of a problem in less complex systems, where the needs of the whole can easily be made to dominate the needs of the components. However, as social systems become increasingly complex, it becomes increasingly difficult for the decider subsystem to continuously and accurately monitor all internal flows to all component subsystems, thus allowing some of them to divert resources for their own autopoiesis. Another phenomenon that is more evident in complex social systems than in undeveloped ones, is that sometimes the development of one component subsystem within a large society, while representing a decrease in entropy for that subsystem, results in an increase in entropy for neighboring subsystems. The first phenomenon, where a subsystem diverts attention from its original goal of holistic system service to the service of its own needs, I will term goal displacement. The second phenomenon, where entropy decrease in one subsystem results in entropy increase in a second, I will term secondary entropy. The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss these new concepts. I will also provide examples of each from contemporary complex societies.

Intelligence Arises in Relationship

Pille Bunnell and Kathleen Forsythe
Contributed from ASC
(1) LifeWorlds
2366 West 18th Ave
Vancouver, BC V6L1A8 CANADA

Intelligence is a basic phenomenon that has to do with the plasticity for participation in changing relations. Intelligence is pertinent to us when this plasticity in behaviour has to do with us. When we say a person is intelligent, we refer to the plastic flow in whatever relationship the person is participating in, including relationships in various conceptual domains. In this sense, intelligence does not take place in the brain, although intelligence does require a central nervous system to be experienced. The possibility for an open ended expansion of domains of consensual behaviour arises with languaging. Thus human intelligence arises in the conversations we have in language. It is the quality of our conversational interactions that gives rise to the behaviours that we call intelligent.

From a biological point of view we humans are all equally intelligent. Our languaging brain is enormously plastic, able to generate endless recursions in language, creating endlessly new domains of living. The fundamental neuronal plasticity needed for living in language is so gigantic that we are fundamentally equally intelligent.

Emotions modulate the operation of intelligence as a concrete aspect of everyday life. Thus, envy, fear, ambition, and competition restrict intelligent behavior, because they narrow our attention and our vision (in all our senses). These emotions prevent us from seeing the other, or the circumstances we find ourselves in. This we know in everyday life, we show this when we say "he is blinded by ambition" or "she is frozen with fear." The only emotion that broadens our vision is love. In love we accept ourselves and the circumstances in which we live, thus expanding the possibility for intelligent behaviour. In this sense, love is visionary.

Intelligent living is broadened when we live in the emotion of love, that is in acceptance of the legitimacy of ourself and the other in coexistence, and it is restricted or diminished when we live in fear, competition and ambition. If we, as parents, teachers and caregivers, are not aware of this, we are blind with respect to what happens with our children, and we deny them in creating situations that diminish their intelligent living.

Seven Activities to Engage Systems Thinking

Arne Collen and Gianfranco Minati
Saybrook Graduate School
450 Pacific, San Francisco, CA 94133 USA

Seven activities to engage systems thinking, taken from the authors book INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMICS, are proposed, described, and discussed in a dialogue format.

The seven activities involve the creation and discussion of (1) sets in contrast to systems, (2) a simple device to mix colored waters, (3) harmony in music, (4) storytelling, (5) playing in contrast to designing a game, (6) language games, and (7) a strategy that selects in contrast to combines.

Each activity is first described, followed by a dialog between the authors that serves to present their points of view about each activity in relation to the conference theme in general and human systems inquiry in particular.

Language As The Ultimate Living System

Dan Moonhawk Alford

Since its founding as a university discipline in the early 1800s by Baron Wilhelm von Humboldt, linguistics has considered language in terms of living systems -- at least until a more sterile Chomskyan autonomous notion of language became dominant in educated circles during the latter half of this century. Languages are born, grow and change over time, even die: they are in us as we are inside of them.

The same Humboldtian line of thinking on linguistic relativity also holds that science, philosophy, logic, reasoning, and more, grow from the structure of the language/-culture complex they have their origin and formal descriptions in; hence no universal human logic, science, etc., is possible.

Human language, when unshackled from its recent Chomskyan straightjacket, is seen as the orchestration of four evolutionary/developmental languages, corresponding to the time-dimension of brainwave rhythm levels: the betawave level of formal syntactic operations (also called UHL -- the uniquely human level of language); the slower alphawave level of social talk and idioms; the thetawave level of emotional expression; and the deltawave level of physical gestures and facial expressions. These time levels have their own functional brain "homes," and correspond to the developmental levels of thinking proposed by Piaget.

IHL, integrated human language, also abbreviated HL, or the human kind of language, includes all four of these languages. *Language* by itself then refers to all of these levels at once, and can in this model no longer be used as a shorthand term for Uniquely Human Language alone, as is the common speciesist linguistics habit. "The Old Language" consists of the levels of language common to other animals and life forms.

Living language thus stands revealed as a magnificent orchestration of at least four simultaneous systems of form/meaning dynamically integrated into a seamless whole, each with its own operating frequency-range and brain-space -- the ultimate living system, happening primarily in the non-physical realm of reality.

Information and the Subjective Brain

Allan Combs
University of North Carolina at Asheville
1 University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804, USA
Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco

It is unlikely, at least in the near future, that a unified information paradigm will emerge that incorporates both the objective sciences of information and the human sciences of experience. The reason is that the former deals in objective facts while the latter concerns subjective meanings, and neither can contain the other. What separates them is the old chasm that divides mind and body, recently rephrased as the hard problem of how subjective experience, termed consciousness, is so enigmatically and intimately tied to the objective world of extended reality and to the brain in particular.

It would seem, however, that a truce, or even simpatico, might be achieved between the objective and human sciences if a common topology can be found which maps the attributes of both in a way that does not violate the properties of either. Since objective information is always conveyed by some physical carrier, it follows that the carrier, in this case some aspect of the brain and its processes, must allow a sensible resemblance (or mapping) to attributes of experience itself (though not necessarily in an obvious way). This in mind, it is reasonable to examine theories of brain function in hopes of finding one or more that hold the requisite potential.

What would seem to be needed is a way for the brain to encode analogue aspects of experience, such as sensations and emotions, as well as performing logical operations involving categories, as exhibited in language. Computational models are weak in the former, though strong in the latter. Neural network models are the opposite, though offer hope for explaining categorical operations as well. At the same time they hold forth the possibility of a more veridical representation of the brain itself. Considered dynamically, neural network operations can encode analogue processes and also represent logical ones, though with some difficulty--a situation that seems quite human. Karl Pribram's holonomic approach deserves special note as a brain model that takes advantage of the neural network approach in a unique paradigm designed to represent the actual dimensions of subjective experience. Other more speculative approaches include recent models that draw on quantum physics either for their overall logic (Henry Stapp), or for working details of how the brain encodes experiential events (e.g., Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose).

Fortunately, these latter approaches are not developing in isolation, but despite controversies within the neuroscience community are enriching each other in the laboratory and on the theoretical drawing board.

Key words: information, brain, metaphor, model, subjective experience, analogue, computational

Five Strategies For Using Computers to Spread Systems Ideas
from K-12 to the Public

James Clover
Programmer-Manager, ISGE Project
Institute for Advanced Systems Studies
California State Polytechnic University
3801 W. Temple Ave., Pomona, Calif. 91768
(909) 869-4038 or

The recent revolution in activity on the Internet, improvements in computer performance versus cost, and widespread use of computers by the educated public presents the ISSS with a unique set of opportunities. This paper will describe five such opportunities and develop specific suggestions for how to capitalize on those opportunities. First, the Institute for Advanced Systems Studies is planning to organize the many publications and periodicals on a range of topics of interest to the systems sciences in a single, computerized database. This database will be offered to libraries and institutions around the world. The database will be organized in the form of a SYSTEMS SCIENCE ABSTRACT Series like so many abstracting services already in operation. We have a listing of over 60 periodicals that would be covered monthly. The key point here is the attraction and allocation of resources to do the abstracting eahc month and induce the necessary cooperation among the publications. This paper will discuss the practical ways we intend to accomplish this in the near future. Second, we will present our plans to convince the pre-service and in-service teachers taking the Integrated Science General Education (ISGE) program across the country to become authors of K-12 books and workbooks. These K-12 ISGE-based publications would invade the vast K-12 market that is now very receptive to “integrated” approaches. The availability and use of these workbooks will spread the awareness of systems concepts and mechanisms, because ISGE is organized according to these concepts. Third, we will present information about our negotiations with a major publisher to produce two series of popular science texts on “[Systems mechanism] Across the Sciences” and another on “Systems Processes in the [Biological Sciences]” where the bracketed phrases each have seven variables. This would result in two book series of 14 titles, all advancing systems awareness. Fourth, we will explain how we are introducing the use of the systems dynamic computer language (of Forrester) in our ISGE program so that hundreds of its pre-service teachers will use the modelling language to teach about science in their classrooms after graduation. We will introduce the ISSS audience to the successes of Forrester’s Systems Dynamics Society and its Creative Learning Exchange as a model of how to effect systems and conventional education. We will comment on the political and human reasons for the divorce between ISSS and the systems dynamic devotee’s. Fifth, we will describe how the systems basis for the ISGE program has effected change in two conventional biology curricula and attracted $500,000 from the Keck Foundation, and $200,000 from the Pew Foundation in the last two years. Besides the funding, we will show how this will change the way biology is taught in a department which has more than 1,000 biology majors and discuss the implications this has for spreading systems awareness in the world.

Choreographing and Dancing Life

Ken Bausch
2747 Arbor Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30317

What is a living thing? What is the difference between living and non-living? These are not easy questions. Eigen defines a living cell, the basis of all living things as a compartmented hypercycle. Csanyi defines life as an autogenetic development of replicating chemical networks (RCNs). Maturana and Varela define living things as autopoietic unities that constantly re-create themselves. What are the connections among these three answers to the question, "What is life?"

Eigen and Csanyi describe life from the viewpoint of an observer and try to choreograph the dance of life. Maturana and Varela try to describe life from the viewpoint of an immersed organism that is oblivious of the systemic procedures it is following and just dances its life. Goertzel, building on the work of Csanyi, advances a cognitive equation that identifies the essence of the dance. Luhmann describes the role of expectation in ongoing autopoiesis and finds the source of society in the frustrated expectations caused by the situation of double contingency.

The principles of life are the principles of gracious living. This saying was borne out in some recent research that applied Warfield’s science of generic design to the process of designing. The laws of generic design explicate the processes that enable fruitful decision-making in a pluralistic milieu. Using those laws as they are employed in the CogniScopeTM methodology, I generated an enhancement pattern that portrays the relative influence that accepted rules for designing have on each other. In this pattern, the deep drivers influence all the standards for design that are above them. The deep drivers are the needs for comprehensive inclusion of stakeholders, to regulate the flow of information, to encourage creativity, and to recognize that there is no metanarrative accepted by all the stakeholders. These deep drivers compel the principal process tasks of designing: managing diversity and generating learning organizations.

The activities that generate a humane process of designing can be generalized. They can be understood as the interpersonal foundations of a humane lifeworld.

Keywords: component-system, autopoiesis, law of universal cognitive motion, double contingency, the science of generic design.

The Colors of Consciousness

Antony Arcari
Saybrook Graduate School
Allan Combs
University of North Carolina at Asheville, 1 Univ. Hts., Asheville, NC 28804, USA
Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco

We present a three-dimensional model of consciousness, mapping it into states, structures, and planes, while pointing out some of the liabilities of similar previous models such as that of Ken Wilber. In our view states of consciousness represent unique configurations of psychological functions such as thought, memory, emotion, body image, visual and auditory perception, etc. Examples include dream and meditative states, drug induced states, and the state of ordinary reality. Structures of consciousness are broad noetic modes of experience by which we understand our lifeworlds. These have evidently "evolved" across human history. First recognized by Jean Gebser, they include archaic, magic, mythic, mental, and emerging integral structures. Planes of consciousness represent broad perceptual/emotional horizons which in certain Buddhist and other traditions are said to define the quality of one's lifeworld, both during and between incarnations. They are commonly referred to as bardo (transition) states and are given many names, including annamaya (physical), pranamaya (breath associated energy), astral, manomaya (lower mind), manas (higher mind), buddhic (love/wisdom), maha-deva (Atma), the monad, and the void. Here we articulate them separately from the noetic structures of consciousness because there is reason to believe they present a different and more or less independent vector of experience, one that is not determined by the noetic structure. We also articulate them separately from states of consciousness, though on first appearance they would in fact seem to be states. Their resilience across traditions, and throughout a broad range of human experiences, however, seem to lend them an independence of ordinary psychological processes that is not characteristic of states of consciousness. Indeed, we argue that states of consciousness appear at the junctions of structures and planes. We present a graphic illustration of our model.

Key words: Consciousness, evolution of consciousness, bardo, states, structures, Wilber

The Fifth Influence

Michel Cabanac, Rémi Cabanac, and Harold T. Hammel
Département de physiologie
Université Laval, Québec, G1K 7P4, Canada

When they compare the human body to its environment, Philosophers recognise the cosmos as the Large Infinite, and the atomic particles as the Small Infinite. The human brain reaches such a degree of complexity that it may be considered as a third infinite in the Universe, a Complex Infinite. It follows that any force capable of moving such an infinite deserves a place among the forces of the Universe. Physicists have recognized four forces, the gravitational, the electromagnetic, the weak, and the strong nuclear forces. Forces are defined in four dimensions (reversible or not in time) and it is postulated that these forces are valid and applicable everywhere. Pleasure and displeasure, the affective axis of consciousness, can move the infinitely complex into action and no human brain can avoid the trend to maximize its pleasure. herefore, we suggest, axiomatically, that the affective capability of consciousness operates in a way similar to the four forces of Physics, i e. influences the behavior of conscious agents in a way similar to the way the four forces influence masses and particles. However, since a mental phenomenon is dimensionless we propose to call the affective capability of consciousness the fifth influence rather than the fifth force.

Ethical Evolution

Eric Chaisson
Wright Center, 4 Colby St.
Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155 (main)

We are entering an age of synthesis such as occurs only once every few generations. The years ahead will surely be exciting and productive times in the world of science, largely because the scenario of cosmic evolution will give us an opportunity to systematically and synergistically inquire into the nature of our existence--to mount an integrated effort to build a modern weltgeschichte that people of all cultures can adopt. We are on the road toward becoming wise, ethical human beings; we are beginning to experience ethical evolution.

The Genesis of a Meta Methodology for
Human systems Inquiry

Arne Collen
Saybrook Graduate School
450 Pacific
San Francisco, CA 94133 USA

The interests and expectations of researchers in a wide range of disciplines and fields of study that bear on the human condition and the state of the planet must be ambitious today. The ability of researchers to organize and conduct successfully forms of inquiry that advance our knowledge and understanding as well as better the prospects of sustaining life as we know it confronts ever more difficult challenges in the face of humanity that continues relentlessly to propagate and colonize the biosphere.

While global climate change seems repeatedly to be news-worthy, in reality and subtlety, it is human globalization that shall be the widely accepted and single most evident emergent planetary phenomenon that drives and underlies many visible global changes. The consequent problem contexts in which research is to be done necessarily becomes more macro and complex than previously imagined. The considerations and extent of inquiry to produce massive results that can regulate and guide human activity at the global level will furthermore likely be extraordinarily profound and difficult.

The reality of human globalization is an emergence that demands trans-disciplinarity among the arts, business, humanities, professions, sciences, and body politics. Globalization will inevitably demand more complex and sophisticated approaches to inquiry itself than is now the case.

The thesis of this paper stems from a recognition of this predicament. Its logic and argumentation follows that, for as both causal agents and stewards, human beings could favor an emergent approach to research methodology in accompaniment of globalization. Such an approach compels a more human ethic, orientation, and human-centered inquiry that is also characteristically more convergent, integrative, pragmatic, and systemic.

The reformulation of human inquiry in meta and principled terms provides the genesis of the approach and introduction to the body of the paper. The inception of meta level inquiry opens the way towards the trans-disciplinarity. Human inquiry described represents an approach, attitude, and way of thinking about humanity and the human condition. Some trends to be discussed in regard to the conference theme are human inquiry as a system, methodolatry, miscibility of research methods, systemic methodology, the praxiology of human inquiry, and the trans-disciplinary research team.


Object Oriented and UML Enterprise Models for Academic Programs & Communications

Armando Arias
California State University Monterey Bay
100 Campus Center, Seaside, CA 93955-8001 USA

Our models result in what we refer to as management "mission centers" or "situation rooms." They enable administrators, faculty, staff, students and other relevant stakeholders to visually understand the program elements in relationship to all others at every level. Our situation rooms are multilevel active models, which capture all agents, roles, relationships, organizations, processes, stakeholders and global environments relating to an enterprise. We refer to them as Communication Knowledge Models (CKM) because they communicate activities or enterprises in interrelated knowledge dimensions through aspects and views. Using CKM, university administrators are able to configure any proposed or real change at any level in their institutions to understand, measure and control effects throughout the entire system. Then, once understand with all relevant objects represented, we are able to represent the system in the Universal Modeling Language (UML) to generate applications for all parts of the higher education life-cycle, from student enrollment, administration, financial management, course management, student assessment, credit articulation and graduation/matriculation.

Our modeling approach, CKM, is a significant advance in problem solving and decision support. It permits visual reasoning about systems otherwise not available in text and algebraic driven reports and analyses. In so doing it has profound implications for the effective management of highly complex and complicated systems. It captures all components at multiple levels within an enterprise, program or project. This enables the configuration and analysis of any change, and accurately measures direct and shadow costs and effects across the entire enterprise.

The CKM will provide universities with a visual situation room giving them a systems perspective view of the academic enterprise at every level. A novice user is able to quickly gain ability with the tool can quickly begin to model and configure change within an enterprise. More advanced users have access to more customized level languages which enable them to tailor the tool both in design and function to meet any educational requirement. The basic knowledge of the model and our education specific templates are the result of organizational enterprise research from our many successful engagements.

Systems Perspectives

Our visual consulting methodology and tools are invaluable resources for the concurrent design of distance education, IT educational networks, software/courseware development and the administration of programs across academic institutions. In most collaborative educational and research environments teams must relay on paper based support processes and tools. However, complex systems can no longer be effectively represented on paper. Communications of complex relationships and dynamic behaviors require software. The uses of visual software representations are now standard for mechanical design. However, the use of models in the management of product development is still mostly in the paper stage. Academic institution management situations are complex and it is difficult to readily evaluate alternative decisions that depend on relationships between processes requirements, schedule, risks and educational outcomes. Such evaluations require many different experts working together often on an "ad-hoc" basis. Isolated software tools support each task. The integration of the work to communicate for action is difficult.

The enterprise based object oriented and UML modeling makes it possible to build the needed visual environments. In our modeling approach, the focus is on "things and relationships between things" described in commonly used terms. The modeling software bridges the so-called "semantic gap" between the people and the computer language. An object can be a product, course, schedule, process, a person, a department, school, an application or the inter-relationship between other objects. Objects can be pictured on the screen as maps formed by personalized "icons" with their relationships. Once a "map" of objects has been produced, users can navigate and visualize very complex relationships. Objects can hold data, such as, cost, schedule data, weight and other relevant information.

An important property of an object is its ability to perform work scripted in "methods," such as, performing computations, gathering data from other computers, showing video, or accessing a drawing for viewing. This"active model" is more than a map for navigation in an abstract process model. It becomes the actual work environment for individuals and teams. It is an environment for learning, assessing issues and impacts, communication, configuration management, assessment, control and more. In short, it is the user interface or academic administrative control panel from where to manage the university.

Our approach allows the management of distributed academic programs using this kind of processes perspective. Process integration is represented as active maps that allow dynamic behavior to be communicated through simulation. Faculty and administrators are now able to describe work both in abstract forms and to simultaneously perform the actual process in the model. Over time CLM can eliminate the need for abstract inactive process modeling.

Managing Complex System Environments

COMSOLINC is particularly effective in the process modeling of complex systems. We are able to model all component subsystems, and capture alternate perspectives and conflicting processes. We identify and connect multiple elements and agents within an enterprise or social system, locate how they interact at each level within and between hierarchies of aggregates, and the specific ways they relate to the goals, visions, laws, norms of the organization or culture. This permits the identification of sources of inter cultural and organizational culture conflicts. We capture agents and their interactions within the most complicated system and interfaces with simulation models of system complexity. These models contain alternative possible trends or scenarios based upon any number of simulated runs comparing relationships between possible intervening, uncontrollable and unpredictable variables. Each of these trend scenarios are configured to observe how they would each respectively affect each agent and its relationships with other agents and aggregates within the system. This enables academic institutions to develop long range strategic plans or policies, and to make just-in-time adjustments to their as-is environments to take best advantage of projected changes in the global environment.

In this presentation we will demonstrate several prototypes of academic models, and how specific applications can be developed for a range of purposes from administration to course content delivery over widely distributed global distance education networks.

A Self-Referential Epistemology: Beyond Circularity to Rigor

Ken Bausch
2747 Arbor Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30317

Natural epistemology is a necessary consequence in any theory that denies a priori assumptions. Any assumption utilized in such an epistemology is recognized as being (a) the at-one-time hypothesis of someone (b) that has been tested and (c) has been found to be reliable. In a systemic, evolutionary account of the social world, the norms for judging a theory’s validity have to self-consciously reflect the evolutionary processes that generate those norms.

This paper relies heavily on the thoughts of Luhmann, Goertzel, Maturana, Varela, Kampis, Artigiani, Treumann, Habermas, and Warfield It develops several aspects of a self-referential epistemology. It examines relationships with the naturalized and social epistemologies that are derived from Quine. It considers the hermeneutic circle and the ways it is expanded. It describes the roles of redundancy and asymmetry. It explains the autopoiesis of knowledge in terms of the cognitive equation. It portrays the surprising validation of deterministic science that is offered by deterministic chaos theory.

The key ideas of epistemological rigor are derived from Luhmann and Warfield. The criteria for evaluating statements and belief systems are mined from a variety of systemic authors.

Keywords: Self-Reference, Natural Epistemology, Hermeneutic Circle, Redundancy, Science of Generic Design.

Open Systems
Sustaining the Living Organisation: an Open Systems Perspective
Sistemas Abiertos
Sosteniendo la Organización Viviente: una Perspectiva de Sistemas Abiertos

Gary C. Alexander,
Boise Graduate Center
University of Idaho, Moscow, USA

Walter Enloe
Hamline University, St. Paul,
Minnesota, USA

This paper briefly examines three fundamental forms of explanation or metaphors of the relations between subject and object, organism and environment. It is through the third of these explanations, the organic or constructivist epistemology, that a link to education from an open systems perspective is made.

Key Words: Metaphor, subject, object, organism, environment, open system, epistemology, constructivism


Este ensayo brevemente examina tres maneras fundamentales como explicación o metáforas de la relación entre sujeto y objeto, organismo y ambiente. Es a través de la tercera de estas explicaciones, la epistemología orgánica o constructivista, que se hace el enlace con la educación desde la perspectiva de sistemas abiertos.


Palabras Clave: Metáfora, sujeto, objeto, organismo, entorno, sistema abierto, epistemología, constructivismo.

Disseminating Systems Thinking; a preliminary review of the role
Opportunity Initiated Systems Design might play

Sylvia Brown
Open University Business School
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. UK

At a one day open event on Educational Systems Design following the 1997 UKSS conference, participants were called upon to commit themselves to means for practical dissemination of systems ideas that might be more effective than the traditional conference which most had just attended. A group of four colleagues currently working in the U.K. did make such a commitment and decided to begin in their own workplace by getting systems thinking onto the agenda for the Senior Team Management Development Programme. This paper reviews some aspects of the progress they have made so far, from the perspective of Opportunity Initiated System Design (OISD), which is a modified version of Banathian Idealised System Design.

'Devolution' as an Opportunity to Test the Synergism Hypothesis

Peter A. Corning,
Institute for the Study of Complex Systems
119 Bryant Street, Suite 212
Palo Alto, CA 94301 USA

"Devolution" is a political buzzword these days as empires, nations, bureaucracies and even business-firms collapse, divide, downsize, outsource and in various ways become less than they once were. But what does devolution mean? And how can we measure it? And, most important, how do we explain it? Some years ago it was proposed that synergistic functional effects of various kinds have been the underlying cause of the evolution of complex, teleonomic (purposive) systems at all levels of biological organization, including human cultures. (The term "synergy" refers to otherwise unattainable combined effects that are produced by co-operative interactions among various elements, parts or individuals.) Support for this theory has continued to mount over the past decade or so, and we will briefly review some of the evidence. One important corollary of the theory is the proposition that all teleonomic systems require cybernetic control processes which, in human societies, are conventionally referred to as management systems, political systems, or governments. In accordance with the synergism hypothesis, it is postulated that the fate of cybernetic control processes is ultimately contingent upon the underlying functional effects that these systems produce; the functional synergies are the very cause of the differential "selection" of complex systems. Can this theory of "government" qua social cybernetics be tested? It is argued here that the phenomena referred to as devolution provide just such an opportunity. Indeed, a causal explanation of political systems should be able to explain not only various "progressive" trends but also the many cases in which "regression" (devolution) or collapse occurs. Here several examples of devolution will be analyzed and the evidence for various competing hypotheses will be considered.

The Social Vision
of the Communication, Information and Knowledge Era of the XXI century


Mieczyslaw Bazewicz
Polish Systems Society
Wroclaw University of Technology
50-370 Wroclaw, Wbrzeze Wyspianskiego 27, Poland

In our present-day systemically open association with the reality, subject to transformation, we realize the more and more increasing role of informatics and the importance of broadly comprehended communication. This is connected with the development of the technology of a multi medial communication, and the scale and rate of our interactive access to knowledge resources being implemented in transcontinental information networks, e.g. Internet. A general character of the access to information inspires our imagination, enriches our cognitive capacities, permits a multi criterion categorization of the globally and locally integrated (perceived) reality, and the making of conscious and responsible decisions. Thus, the following questions arise: What is information? What is an information system and what is its nature? What are the conditions of relationships between information nature and the intellect of the human being and his/her knowledge, consciousness and maturing wisdom? What is the educational role of information technologies and how information systems should be comprehended? Should the education of an engineer studying the domain of information technology applications and information systems design, assure him/her a knowledge about the nature and role of information in the humanity life?
Keywords: information systems, evolution, education systems and knowledge

The Thermodynamics of Organizing: Information and Noise in Terms of the Second Law

Eli Berniker and Fred Wolf

Pacific Lutheran University

The biological metaphor for organizations that evolved from Shrodinger’s concept of negentropy through Bertalanffy to shape our understanding of organizations has not provided a fruitful basis for further research and development of organizational theory for all of its early promise. The critical point was Bertlanffy’s equating negentropy with information. Information is not simply order and the existence of patterns and order in the universe do not imply that information characterizes nature. Understood as negentropy, information became a fuzzy concept and we were not able to richly interpret the thermodynamic models in terms of organizational phenomena.

We proceed from Shrodinger’s treatment of entropy and negentropy through Shannon’s work on signal theory, both of which relate to the same Boltzmann equations, to organizational phenomena without invoking a biological model. Living systems may feed on negentropy but organizations feed on information. Negentropy or order and entropy are understood as physical phenomena that can be measured and observed in the universe. Information exists in symbolic media and represents mental phenomena. Information is the discovery and appreciation of order and pattern in the universe. The informational counterpart to entropy is noise which can be understood as ambiguity and equivocality in information. Noise may be a product of the information itself or a result of the channels through which information is communicated.

The impetus for this approach came from the operationalization and testing of Perrow’s Normal Accident Theory by F.Wolf. Perrow models technical systems in terms of their complexity and degree of coupling. We tested this theory on oil refineries to see if it differentiated them with respect to reportable quantities of hazardous emissions. From an engineering perspective, such emissions are evidence of high energy systems increasing their entropy by leaking energy and materials. The probability of such failures is suggested by Boltzmann’s equation [ Entropy = k log D ] where D is a measure of the number of potential states of the system or its potential for disorder which is also a measure of system complexity. The research strongly supported Perrow’s model with an extremely high degree of confidence. Highly complex tightly coupled refineries failed roughly thirty times more frequently than less complex and loosely coupled refineries. This is an example of organizational and technical systems failure

After developing the logic of this approach and reviewing the research results, we propose applying Normal Accident Theory to organizational phenomena. The model suggests that there may be a limit to organizing beyond which failures must occur.

What do we mean by Organizational Thermodynamics? Weick tells us “Organizing is directed toward removing equivocality from the information environment. The basic raw material upon which organizations operate are informational inputs that are ambiguous, uncertain, equivocal.” In physical terms, organizing is about removing or filtering noise from signals which is what Shannon has modeled. Metaphorically, the bridge between physics and organizing is better seen as Cognitive Thermodynamics than biology. The subject of Cognitive Thermodynamics is not sensemaking in organizations. It is the organizational noise within which such sensemaking must take place.

The paper will develop the above discussions using the various models cited, exemplify Normal Accident Theory with the research on oil refineries, and propose a model for a thermodynamics of information in organizations. We will try to demonstrate the organizational counterparts of physical phenomena and then venture some propositions that the model implies.

Our thesis is that as organizations become increasingly complex, they become more entropic or noisy with respect to information exchanges. This often induces managers to introduce more controls and more organizational units to exert control. The effect is to tighten coupling and further increase noise exacerbating the problem. With complexity noise levels increase. With tightened coupling, the capability to filter noise decreases. At some level of noise, an organization cannot easily hear itself, organizing may become incoherent to actors, and sensemaking fails. Organizational change efforts may also be subject to the same thermodynamic principles that mandate increasing entropy or noise. What we have so long defined as resistance to change may be nothing more than the result dissipating in organizational noise for lack of enough energy to be heard as a clear signal. We will end by suggesting further research.

On the Conflict between the Informational and the Communicational Paradigm

Søren Brier
Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University of Copenhagen
Dept. Of Economy and Natural resources
Section for method and project Work

Since the Second World War a universal informational paradigm has been developing as a supplement to the material-atomistic-mechanical and the energetic-thermodynamical paradigms. There is a growing plea for a universal information theory, lately supported by Tom Stonier’s trilogy. The paradigm is either based on new concepts - like logical depth of information - built on a development of Shannon’s entropic information concept. On Wiener’s (and Schrödinger’s) neg-entropic information concept uniting the entropy concept of thermodynamics with the informational entropy concept seeing objective information in nature - in a general evolutionary systems’ ontology - as organizing ”power”. Ontologically, you can see rather mechanistically looking concepts as Stonier’s or rather organismic views as Goerner’s, but none of them having an explicit reflected ontology. Many researchers today use Bertalanfy’s general systems theory without reflecting on its origin in organismic ontology. But one may loosely say, that the modern systems vision seems to be based on an evolutionary systems’ view that combines matter, energy, and information as objective ontological components in an emergent dynamics. The hope is to explain qualia, life, and consciousness as emergent phenomenon as results of the evolution of material, energetic and informational systems. The modern versions often use non-equilibrium thermodynamics, non-linear systems dynamics, deterministic chaos theory and fractal mathematics as descriptional tools. But again there is seldom reflections on how they differ from a mechanistic view. The problem is whether this paradigm will ever get a reasonable and consistent description of the nature of meaning, signification and communication in living and social systems.

From this end a communicational paradigm mainly based on Peirce’s evolutionary, pragmatic and phenomenological semiotics, the cognition of living systems (ethology and biosemiotics), and pragmatic linguistics such as Wittgenstein’s language game theory, and Lakoff’s cognitive semantics has been developed within the last twenty years. It is mainly based on the study of the existence of meaningful communication in living and social systems. It looks into cultural historical dynamics and evolutionary ecology for explanations of the dynamics of signification and communication. In the form of biosemiotics its view is now penetrating biology as an alternative to both mechanistic and purely systems’ dynamical explanations. Work has been made in biochemistry and organic chemistry, but so far not in inorganic chemistry and pure physics. But in Peirce’s triadic objective idealistic philosophy feelings, qualia, habit formation, and signification are basic ontological constituents of ontology. This means that the communicational paradigm should be able to penetrate all the way through chemistry and physics.

In my own Cybersemiotic paradigm I have attempted to unite the two paradigms by using the information concepts denying its objective character, but without going into a radical constructivism. With second order cybernetics I claim that reality is full of innumerable differences, but information is something created inside autopoietic systems in the moment that a biologically or culturally meaningful interpretant is established. Based on Peircian semiotics information is not seen as transferred through communication, only representamens are transferred. Information is partly recreated in the reinterpretation of signs by the receiver of intentional communication. Consequently, meaning and information are connected, but still seen as different items as pointed out by Luhmann. Items and actions can only become informative on the background of a field of meaning.

But in the informational paradigm meaning and information are not connected and information is an independent objective entity. So another way of viewing the problem is to see the informational paradigm as ‘bottom up explanation’ and the communicational paradigm as a ‘top-down explanation’. Further you could combine this with the epistemological stand that no final scientific explanations can be given on anything in this world. All we have - according to Niels Bohr and Thomas Kuhn - are complementary explanations working well in different situations. We will never get a full view. According to this we should not try to unite by manipulating basic definitions into unifying compromises, but instead continue to develop each paradigm to its fullest.

But one of the consequences of this is that the concepts of meaning and information are defined in two completely different paradigms making the informational aspect of communication an objective and quantifiable entity completely independent of any meaningful interpretation from the recipient and any intent from the sender. In linguistics this opposition is seen in the view of analytical philosophy that semantics is a question of the represental truth function of a token where pragmatic linguistics sees meaning as coming from the use of signs and words in real life situations.

The Cybersemiotic paradigm avoids this difficulty through a non-mechanistic universal evolutionary semiotic approach to epistemology, ontology and signification combined with a systemic and cybernetic approach to self-organization, drawing among other things on Luhmann’s theories of social communication. Thereby, in the theory a semiotics of nature can be combined with pragmatic linguistics in a second order approach that always reflects the role of the observer as the producer of meaningful contexts that makes processes and differences informational. As Bateson stated: Information is a difference that makes a difference and with Peirce we will say: by creating an interpretant.

Life as its own Tool for Survival

Ron Cottam, Willy Ranson and Roger Vounckx

The Evolutionary Processing Group (EVOL)
Laboratory for Micro and Opto Electronics (LAMI)
VUB-IMEC Electronics Division (ETRO)
Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Does life emerge “spontaneously” from a predetermined inanimate background, or is it a basic characteristic of all of our environment? Living entities must respond to external threatening stimuli in order to survive in a hostile climate. If we set aside the pre-supposition that inanimate and animate structures and agents are fundamentally different, then this criterion applies to all recognisable entities.

An entity depends for its continuance not only on awareness of its surroundings, but also on self-referencing as a means of stabilisation. It must exhibit not only external consciousness but also a degree of self-consciousness. Uniquely external consciousness can engender incongruous or self-destructive internal development; self-consciousness on its own will leave the entity wide open to incomprehensible attack by external agents. The duel between these two facets constitutes the process we refer to as life.

We can describe the natural living world as, and by, a nonlinearly-scaled hierarchy of concepts, each of which maintains its autonomy by relying on its precursor as a tool. Life uses biology; biology uses chemistry; chemistry uses quantum mechanics. We propose that at the head of this hierarchy the universal background of causally chaotic communication makes use of consciousness, which uses life as a tool in its auto-propagation. Darwin-Szamosi evolution modulates the emergence of hierarchically-related most-fragile-dimensional approximate objectivisations which facilitate agent survival in an otherwise insufficiently-computable complex natural environment.

We identify the entire field of near-equilibrium physics as the minimal description of the universe when it is considered as an "inanimate" system, or more explicitly as its “ground state”. This then recognises that the ground state of any agent is equivalent to its description as an "inanimate" object, higher unoccupied states presuppose higher degrees of a latent or implicate capability for coherent consciousness, and higher occupied states correspond to higher degrees of explicate consciousness itself.

Employing Perspectives with Living Systems Theory in
Engineering Design

F. Scott Cowan, Janet K. Allen, and Farrokh Mistree

Systems Realization Laboratory
G.W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0405 USA

Keywords: design, engineering systems, living systems theory (LST), perspectives

During the collaborative design of complex engineering systems, how may relevant perspectual information be modeled and communicated at the functional level of design abstraction?

Engineering design is defined by Mistree and coauthors (1990) as a process of converting information that characterizes the needs and requirements for a product into knowledge about a product; hence, design is largely an information-processing activity. Complex engineered systems (e.g., aeronautic vehicles and automobiles) consist of many different interfacing subsystems and are subject to numerous constraints and requirements regarding operability, safety, manufacturability, maintainability, economics, etc. The design of complex engineering systems requires the collaborative teamwork of specialists from a variety of disciplines and subdisciplines - each retaining relevant information and knowledge about the system under design in the form of different but necessary perspectives. A successful solution to such design problems most definitely depends upon successful collaboration of the multi-perspective laden team. However, design teams often experience difficulties and setbacks to various degrees, stemming from these very differences in perspectives which hinder communication, sharing, and learning during design activities.

Scope and Approach:

We answer the preceding question in the context of the early stages of design as prescribed/described by engineering design theory (e.g., Pahl and Beitz, 1996). During this important period along a design timeline several levels of abstraction are negotiated as abstract information such as the needs and requirements for a product is changed into more concrete forms such as the specifications of a product. One of these first levels is that of function where design requirements and systems are represented generically with no mention of conceptual or physical realization (Koch, et al., 1996); designers model the intended purposes, processes, and tasks of systems and their subsystems, related by input and output flows. In this paper, we describe a functional modeling scheme that employs Living Systems Theory.

Living Systems Theory (LST) is the conceptual framework developed to integrate the findings of system theorists and scientists in biology, physiology, neurology, the social sciences, economics, and management, to develop a unified theory that deals with hierarchical systems (Miller and Miller, 1992; Miller, 1995). LST is a general systems theory that has also been successfully utilized to model nonliving engineering systems as there exist comparable analogies between the two types. In the Systems Realization Laboratory at Georgia Tech, we have successfully employed the principles of LST as a functional modeling scheme in the design of nonliving engineering systems, including a lawn mower (Mistree, et al., 1995), lubricant cooling system (Koch, et al., 1995), and aircraft evacuation system (Koch, et al., 1996). Additionally, software has been created for Macintosh computer platforms which facilitates the creation of such graphical models utilizing the LST icons (Koch, 1994).

In this paper we review our previous work with LST in the domain of engineering design. Subsequently, we introduce new techniques for modeling relevant knowledge, space, and time perspectives of engineering systems at the functional level of design abstraction. Here, LST serves as a core lexicon and representation scheme with which these differing perspectives may be modeled and communicated early in engineering design processes.


A design strategy employing perspectives with Living Systems Theory is illustrated through Project B.U.G., a problem from our introductory mechanical engineering design course. In this problem, students are required to design and build a self-contained and autonomous device capable of transporting a payload of powder to the top of a track then releasing the payload. In the context of this engineering design problem we present various knowledge, space, and time perspectives modeled with the LST icons at a functional level of design abstraction.


Given the enormous and diverse amounts of information and knowledge required for the design of increasingly complex engineering systems, the ability to systematically model and communicate various perspectives early in design is significant. Our approach is one that fosters systems-hinking and holism as a means to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of designers in a collaborative environment. Further, these techniques are firmly rooted within Decision-Based Design (DBD), the principal tenet of which establishes the role of a designer as a decision-maker (Mistree, et al., 1990). With regards to DBD, such an approach is significant as it allows for better informed decision-making by human designers who are able to make explicit their own individual perspectives while understanding those of others.

*1 NASA Graduate Research Fellow
*2 Senior Research Scientist
*3 Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Corresponding Author
Phone (404) 894-8412; Fax (404) 894-9342; email

On a Systemic Measure of Consistency

Norman J. Bashias
Manhattanville College
2900 Purchase Street
Purchase, NY 10577

Miriam R. Tausner
College of Staten Island / CUNY
2800 Victory Boulevard Suite 1N-215
Staten Island, NY 10314

When is the reasoning of an expert consistent? What do we mean when we say that a person is consistent in his/her reasoning? It is intuitively obvious that consistency is a highly desirable characteristic of human expertise, and that a way to measure the various aspects of modeled
expertise would be a useful feature in modeling problem-solving techniques.

In this paper, we explore the concept of a measure of consistency, in terms of our systemic formalization of human expertise - the Systemic U-Knowledge Framework. We look at the development of mathematical constructs for measuring consistency in knowledge modeled using the systemic constructs of our formalism.

As consistency is not of a boolean nature, we explore various ways of mathematically measuring the degree of consistency among a set of knowledge structures. Specifically, we discuss various methods for measuring the consistency among sets of knowledge structures. We show some examples of measuring consistency in terms of a case study.

Climate Stabilization: Awareness, Direction and Progress

Alden Bryant
Earth Regeneration Society
1442A Walnut Street, #57
Berkeley, CA 94709 USA

Since July 1998 the accelerating losses around the world from climate change are forcing a change from the simple "warming" talk to a growing media response, corporate response, and public awareness of the full climate change. Since 1985 ISSS, with its Special Interest Group (10), Systems Studies of Climate Change, has brought forward the full nature of the climate change, the end of the interglacial period, and the rapidity of change. The Tribune SIG adds strength to this effort. The Worldwatch Institute recent publications, with figures, add insight into this headlong rush toward extinction. It is time to review the physical conditions, the extent of the damage and the human responses through (a) direct suffering, (b) mass actions for survival, (c) scientific and social action conferences, (d) coalition building, (e) demands for government action at all levels, and (f) the responses of governments. It is time to summarize some of the most informative and effective literature now available. The intensity of climate change is an integral part within the whole environmental degradation. This is all being put more clearly now by word of mouth and through the many channels of television, radio, newspapers, magazines and books. It is like a final integrating of a four-variable system into a five-variable system that will allow the continuation of the human species. The working basis for climate stabilization lies with the establishment by the whole United Nations of physical targets for forest and energy change for each country, based on the history of each country. The Earth Regeneration Society book referred to in the ISSS paper, July, 1998, "BROKEN PLANET -- BROKEN SYSTEMS, 15-Year Climate Stabilization Program for Humanity," sets forth such targets, and is pending final publication

A critical systemic participatory action-research approach, for interorganizational network development process toward a holistic and sustainable transformation of communities

Ignacio Peon Escalante
Seccion de Estudios de Posgrado e Investigacion
Escuela Superior de Ingenieria Mecanica y Electrica, Unidad Zacatenco
Instituto Politecnico Nacional
Explanada 705, Mexico 11000, DF

This paper describes the application of two recent systemic methodologies: Metamethodology C5 (Geocultural Context, Life Cycle, Complexity-Conscience, Quality), and the MESOC methodology (Methodology for the Evolution of Social Organizations toward a higher degree of organization or Complexity) on a UNDP Project for integral, and sustainable development, with the participation of NGO networks, and gubernamental agencies .The name of the Project is: "technical Cooperation for Social, Indigenous, and Non Gubernamental Organizations-Ba Asolay (transparent water in the yaqui dialect)". It has a national scope, 160 small projects have been implemented by NGO networks working on different issues since 1993.

The main objectives of the Ba Asolay Project is to design, and experiment creative alternatives to fight against the structural roots of poverty from a holistic and sustainable perspective, and to empower 15 social, and environmental networks with hundreds of NGOs working in 16 states of the country on small projects in different rural and urban communities to improve their human condition. It has been a conflictive transformation process involving social, and political organizations with heterogeneous points of view under a turbulent economic, and political context. It is a complex experiment of cooperation between United Nations Program on Development, several agencies of the Mexican government, and the NGO networks to help grass roots groups experiment small scale solutions for each geocultural context. The design, and implementation of the Project, has been through a critical heuristic participatory action-research approach under the guidelines of the C5, and MESOC methodologies. It has been a difficult, and also enriching learning process for all the social actors involved. This paper describes some of the learning experiences under conflictive circumstances, and a few of the systemic strategies for organizational development we have designed, and implemented in the last five years by consensus.

How to Restore the Promise of Systems Theory

Glenn E. Burress
Director, Center for Economic Justice
306 25th Street
Sacramento, CA 95816 USA

When National Income Statistics became available after World War II, they revealed that John Maynard Keynes was the seminal socio-economic systems theorist of this century. However before statistics were available, Keynesian economists had institutionalized the rejection of Keynes’s system theory as contrary to principles of the behavior of individuals or microeconomics. During 1941-64, successful policy applied his systems theory. But the political power of Keynesian economists was threatened. They responded by reversing successful policies after the 1964 elections. It soon became clear that U.S. economic system policies based on even interdisciplinary principles of the behavior of individuals oppresses the middle class and poor worldwide much as the policies of racists oppress minorities. Members of Congress proposed the Nobel Prize Program in Economic Science to send a signal to heads of states to identify which scholars were the scientists. Which scholars showed how to reverse political oppression and increase the prospects for world peace? More than forty prizes have been awarded. Each has gone to an economist, historian or others who recognize only system policy that is validated by behavioral science principles. In short, the Nobel Committee sent the wrong signal to heads of state of the world. Federal politicians tried to intervene. Four times the US Supreme Court has refused to order lower court hearings on alleged US crimes against humanity. The issue is being taken to an international penal tribunal. The economic base of the global economy has been seriously damaged by criminal US policy. Participation of parties from other nations in the lawsuit against the U.S. in a world court is solicited.

Keywords: Keynes, Keynesian economics, political crimes, philosophy

Budget Effectiveness in Multinational Companies :
A Configuration/Systems Approach

Gary M. Cunningham
Associate Professor of Accounting
University of Minnesota - Duluth

Budget effectiveness in general, especially in multinational companies, has been a topic of continuing research interests. Previous studies, mostly using a contingency approach, are limited to bi- and tri-variate analyses of the variables considered. New systems/configuration methodology, which has not been used in accounting research before, has emerged that is suited to complexities of multinational companies. This study uses a systems/configuration approach to address budget effectiveness in general, and budget effectiveness in multinational companies. Four theoretical holistic profiles are constructed using configuration attributes of reliance on budget control, budget communication, budget influence, budget goal difficulty, and agreement on performance evaluation criteria. The profiles are a conventional wisdom profile, a profile for domestic subunits, a profile for foreign subunits, and an antithesis profile. Comparisons are made using actual data from a multinational company to assess the effectiveness of the budget with respect to subunit performance. The comparisons are made for both conditions of high and low environmental dynamism. Results show that the profile which includes high reliance on budget controls, high budget communication, low budget influence, moderate budget goal difficulty, and high agreement on performance evaluation criteria is associated with high subunit performance. There is no significant difference between foreign and domestic subunits and little significant difference between conditions of high and low environmental dynamism. The study is limited by involving only one company. A major contribution of the study, however, is demonstrating the efficacy of the system-s/configuration approach in accounting research.

Can Weather Be Stabilized?

Bryan P. Bergson
27020 Cedar Rd, #104-1
Beachwood, OH 44122

Industry contends that weather is beyond human control, thereby justifying their worsening it via environmental abuses. Atmospheric warming has been exacerbated by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration about 100 parts per million during the past century. Acid rain destroys the world's forests, and surviving forests are wiped our by forestry leaching the fertility from the soil. Industrial pollution destroys life in lakes and streams. Seas are poisoned by radioactive effluents and toxic wastes. Mining exhausts mineral deposits and fossil fuels. Industry reaps their profits by mortgaging future generations, but pollution itself reduces the capability of posterity to carry that mortgage. If they default, all life may perish. We can fool each other, but we can't fool nature. The contributing cause of many environmental disasters lies in the tragedy of the commons. We now treat our atmosphere, waters, and much of our lands as if they were free, but famine awaits posterity then their viability is lost. History has demonstrated that the most effective remedy for the tragedy of the commons seems to be centralized regulation.

Industry should reap profits from sources other than irreplaceable natural resources and pollution. Those industries that derive profits vial pollution and natural resources should return such profits to nature through natural improvements, but nearly all living things , not just industry, are polluters. How can we replace the equivalent of what we steal from our environment and remedy the abuses? If humanity hopes to survive, it must develop counter-polluting industries. Can we replace carbon dioxide with oxygen? How can human wastes enrich the soil? Coal and petroleum are irreplaceable. Replaceable sources of energy must be developed: solar energy, geothermal energy, tide and wave energy, wind energy, and fusion energy. Yes, one unbounded energy source still remains to be explored, the quantum vacuum field.

Does the Darwinian Game Change When the Large-brained Primates
Become the Mirror of Evolution

Tyrone Cashman
5 Kent Way
Mill Valley, CA 94941

There is a great temptation for the human species to take control of evolution at this point. Such an effort, however, misses the point. It is likely that the continuing of the Darwinian game is essential to the well-being of human and ecological process both on this planet and during the exploration of our neighboring region of space, should that occur over the next centuries. Conscious human control, as we know it, cannot help but be derived from a self-interested and too narrow (read “ignorant”) point of view. The Darwinian game, where random variation occurs by the roll of metaphorical dice with very many faces, and where this variation is unrelated to selection pressures from the environment, is inefficient enough and undirected enough to allow for the possible functioning of larger, longer-term corrective loops. The paper proposes that the functioning of these larger loops is required for the continued survival and well-being of the organisms of the future, including our species.

To test the truth of this macro-scale claim, it will be helpful to examine the effects of conscious interference with Darwinian process in smaller-scale situations. In the time since our species became the mirror of evolution 150 years ago, we have begun to observe micro-scale
Darwinian processes at work at various levels of biological, social, intellectual and even spiritual life.

An examination of how the invasion of conscious purpose into these micro-Darwinian processes weakens and skews them suggests what is to be expected from a human take-over of the processes of evolution in our region of the galaxy. The paper examines four Darwinian processes: the
mammalian immune system, Smithian market economics, the generation and selection of hypotheses during scientific investigation, and the Buddho-Taoist disciplines of inner liberation based on practices of awareness without judgment.

The question is raised whether Darwinian processes and conscious purpose processes may perhaps occur simultaneously at different levels of hierarchy, without deleterious effect.

Agricultural Research and Extension Systems in Cambodia: the Management of Change

Peter Cox1, Paul Mason and Mak Solieng

1Cambodia-IRRI-Australia-Prpject (CIAP), PO Box 01, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2Cambodia-Australia-Agricultural-Extension Project (CAAEP), PO Box 1239, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The agricultural research and extension systems in Cambodia, to the extent that they existed at all, were decimated during the Republic of Cambodia (1970-1975) and the Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979) periods. During the 1980s and 1990s, a period of agricultural reconstruction was supported by international aid programmes. The development of a renewed capacity for agricultural research and extension within government institutions is closely associated with the work of two projects funded by AusAID, the Australian Agency for International Development: the Cambodia-IRRI-Australia-Project (CIAP) and the Cambodia-Australia-Agricultural-Extension-Project (CAAEP). These projects have had a very different history, but both have made use of “systems” ideas in formulating their programs. Both emphasize the use of science and technology for human betterment in Cambodia, which is still one of the poorest countries in Asia. A farming systems research approach has informed the research work of CIAP, even though this approach has become widely defunct both in the international agricultural research centers and in development circles. The severe resource constraints have also imposed a systems approach on the development of extension activities. In this paper, the basis of these differences, and their implications, are explored. Particular issues include: the complementarity between different systems approaches (technocratic, human-centered); the use of unfashionable systems models; convergence between the two perspectives (the move towards a more participatory approach in research planning; the role of the extension system in facilitating technology evaluation at farm level); the role of evaluation in a systems context (how is it incorporated in the two cases); the contribution of systems thinking to agricultural development in Cambodia; and the impact of the Cambodian experience on the systemic thinking and practice of agricultural practitioners. We envisage greater use of systemic approaches, in both research and extension, as the capacity of the Cambodian government and quasi-government agencies continues to develop.

Systemic Metatheory, Casuistry and Artificial Intelligence:
Is there a Possibility?

James Steve Counelis,
Professor of Education Emeritus
The University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080 USA

Improving the human condition is the framework for this paper. And within the Human Systems Inquiry SIG's second purpose, I wish to present a paper tentatively titled, "Systemic Metatheory, Casuistry and Artificial Intelligence: Is there a Possibility?" This writer raises this question because in summary volumes, such as, Mind Design (1981), Mind Design II (1997), Gardner's the Mind's New Science (1985) and Franklin's Artificial Minds (1995), I have yet to find any attempt at modeling casuistry and deriving therefrom the appropriate normative ethical behavioral principle. From my viewpoint, to derive a normative ethical behavior principle from a particular ethical case is not an induction as Holland, et al., (1989) believe and practice. Nor is it an extrapolation of common elements from biographical cases as Kolodner (1993) practices. Rather the derivation of an appropriate normative ethical behavioral principle from particular ethical cases is the reading of metaphor.

I raise the following questions: (1) Can casuistry be modeled for metaphorically deriving a normative behavioral principle therefrom? (2) Can the metaphorically derived normative ethical behavioral principle be applied in such ethical fields as medicine, penology, and genetic engineering, given appropriate background data? (3) Is there a qualitative method for dividing the required modeling of a particular ethical case and the metaphorical derivation of a normative behavioral principle between computer hardware architecture and software programming, were that necessary?

Complex Systems in Crisis: Anticipation and Resilience in Dynamic Environments

Louise K. Comfort
University of Pittsburgh

Increasingly, public organizations confront conditions of “permanent whitewater;” that is, social, economic and political environments that are fraught with risk and rapid change. Such environments require a different mode of organization, information processing, and leadership skills from the traditional forms of management and control. The problem is how to increase the capacity of interdependent public organizations to anticipate risk and demonstrate resilience in dynamic conditions.

This problem intensifies for public organizations that interact with private and nonprofit organizations to protect a community at risk from natural or technological disaster. Organizational performance repeatedly declines in environments of increasing complexity, and previous efforts to address this problem have considered it essentially insoluble. Increases in organized complexity require significant increases in information flow, communication, and coordination in order to integrate multiple levels of operation and diverse requirements for decision into a coherent program of action. Yet, human decision makers have limited cognitive capacity. In rapidly changing environments, they are often unable to process the amount and range of information required to make timely, informed decisions essential for adequate coordination among the multiple components of the response system. Accordingly, organized performance in complex environments has been viewed as necessarily limited by human information processing capacity.

Advances in information technology and telecommunications allow means to overcome the long-observed decrease in organizational performance in complex environments. Technical capacity to order, store, retrieve, analyze, and disseminate information to multiple users simultaneously creates the potential for innovative approaches to collective learning and self organization. These means extend information processing capacity beyond the limits of single individuals, and provide decision support to multiple managers addressing the same problem at different locations at the same time. Linking organizational capacity for mobilizing the resources of a community to appropriate uses of information technology creates a `sociotechnical system' in which technical capacity to exchange timely, accurate information among multiple participants increases organizational capacity to solve shared problems that require action at local, regional, and national levels.

This paper will present the concept of self organization in the mitigation of risk and mobilization of response to disaster. This concept depends upon the design and implementation of a socio-technical system that integrates the technical capacity of information technology with organizational design and communication processes among major actors in a community response system. This paper will present findings from a pilot project to design and test a prototype interactive, intelligent, spatial information system (IISIS) at the University of Pittsburgh to anticipate and reduce risk from hazardous materials for a community of 32,000. The prototype will identify possible ways to improve inter-organizational and inter-jurisdictional performance in risk reduction and response through the appropriate design and application of information technology. This research is supported by a grant from The Buhl Foundation.

Complexity, Ethics and Justice

Paul Cilliers
Department of Philosophy
University of Stellenbosch
South Africa

The behavior of complex systems (like language, or the social system) cannot be described fully by means of an explicit set of rules (Cilliers 1998). Such a position necessitates a reconsideration of a traditional understanding of ethics, and the notion of justice. Not only does it problematise all forms of rule-based ethics, it also denies that justice can result from the application of the law (as a system of rules). Despite the fact that a system of rules can never be adequate, we have no option but to use them, and therefore we need to reconsider the status of the rules we use (in science as well as in ethics).

The notion of justice will be analyzed from the perspective of complexity theory, and some remarks on similarities and differences with postmodern jurisprudence will be made. It will be argued that although a legal system that guarantees justice can in principle not be designed, this does not imply that we can dispense with the notion of justice.

Cilliers, P. 1998 Complexity and Postmodernism, London: Routledge.

Three shifts in power caused by the Internet

Lars Albinsson

The number of people who have access to the Internet has exploded the last five years. Many of these do not only have the access to information put on the net by others, they also have the possibility of producing information available to others. It’s now possible to see a number of effects in the distribution of power and influence, caused by this new medium. The author describes three types of effects called The Democratic Force, The Gap and The Managerial Shift. The Democratic Force are the increased individual power based on the possibilities of being informed, even in non-democratic counties, and the subsequent weakening of the centralism. The Gap is the gap between the technology-have, and the technology have-nots, which both increase the traditional rich-poor division, but also allowing for a rapid growth of a knowledge-based power-group, not necessarily born amongst the rich. The Managerial Shift is the increasing power of the IT-departments of large organisations, changing the traditional carrier ways and also affecting ownership influence over these organisations.

These effects span the whole world as well as the life within organisations. Their border breaking character is also causing a shift towards, or even demanding, a more systemic view of the world, in order to deal with them. The author has been working as a consultant for the last twelve years and while working for global Scandinavian companies as well as for the Swedish government have been a designer of many internet applications that has caused a radical shift in the relationship between organisations, governments and people. The study is based on the author’s first hand experiences in the field.

An Application of Hierarchy Theory to
Web-based Applications

Phillip Christian

Systems Design - 11310 Ohde Circle - Kirkland, Washington 98033


The World Wide Web is rapidly becoming the information infrastructure of choice for many organizations. Unfortunately, most web-based systems are not designed and developed with a clear understanding of the role of the observer (user) nor of the nature of their engagement with the various levels of the system. In addition, Web applications continue to be built as collections of technology components ignoring the various levels and logical types of their existence. Further, a lack of understanding of these couplings makes observation and conclusions about the emergent behavior of these system difficult.
In this paper I will describe an alternative approach to the design and understanding of complex, Web-based systems based on hierarchy theory and the nature of complex systems. I will argue that the observers are a composite of many types and that by understanding this we can begin to comprehend how they engage with our technology-oriented systems. The observers engage with these systems at various levels from the lowest layers of technology components to the highest layers of signs and metaphors. I will further argue that only by recognizing the complex nature of the observers roles and the existence of different levels of the system can we begin to make sense of the behavior that emerges from the observers engagement with these systems. I will use a case study to demonstrate the confusion that often occurs from not understanding this complexity and present opportunities to escape this dilemma.

In summary, hierarchy theory gives us a way of observing complex Web-based systems that accounts for the observers and the role they play in the behavior of the system. By understanding the hierarchical existence of these systems, the roles of observers, and the multiple levels of explanation that may be necessary to understand emergent behavior, we can design more effective, predictable, and useful Web applications.

Keywords: web, emergence, observers, hierarchy, system

Application of Chaos Theory to the Political Systems Transformation

Jong Heon Byeon
Department of Ethics Studies
Cheju National University of Education
4810, Whabuk 1 Dong, Cheju, 690-061 KOREA

Summary and Keywords

There are remarkable developments within the contemporary sciences to overcome disciplinary boundaries and create transdisciplinary research programs. These recent trends of sciences are taking shape in a new paradigm. In accordance with the paradigm shift, a new scientific perspective has emerged of how order is created out of chaos. This view has meaningful implications for both theoretical and practical aspects. For chaos theory not only foreshadows major scientific achievement, but also offers a much clearer understanding of what happens and what can be made to happen in a time of complex crises of human systems. However, though it may be our interest to bridge the gap between the hard and the soft sciences and to make a transdisciplinary leap, it could be impossible without certain stepping stones. The purpose of this research is to suggest a socio-political equivalent to natural scientific chaos theory. In this regard, transformation theory could be one of the appropriate alternatives. The term transformation can be defined as a process out of or through which order gives way to chaos and chaos again leads to order. Thus the term subsumes both chaos and order and focuses on the critical aspect of social/political changes over time. Also, because it can be meaningfully applied to both hard and soft science levels, it avoids the linguistic problem, which much of scientific terms have. Even all the more, transformation theory as a socio-political equivalent to chaos theory in hard sciences can provide humanity with further understanding of political transformation and insights to overcome crises of a political system.

A Cybernetic Model of Social Activity Systems


This paper is to delineate a cybernetic model of social activity systems. A cybernetic view of social activity systems is to describe and explain social activities from systems perspectives of communication, feedback, and goal seeking.

The paper is divided into three parts. First part describes briefly some key concepts and model of first order and second order cybernetics. The second part defines fundamental social-activities based on activity theory. The last part integrates the above cybernetic model and the fundamental social-activities into one sociocybernetic model. The model provides a holistic and macro view of social activity systems and their mutual referential relationships.
Keywords: sociocybernetics; communication; feedback; activities; social

The purposes of (and within) Virtual Communities Towards Development in Society
Joe Arteaga and David Ing
IBM Canada Ltd., 3600 Steeles Avenue E., Station H5, Markham,
Ontario, Canada L3R 9Z7
IBM Advanced Business Institute,
Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964

Virtual communities can be described as a modern extension of traditional communities, through a new medium. The mediation of communications through computers does, however, have systemic effects on the behaviors of the members of the community. Many of the misunderstandings which people have about virtual communities in which they participate may be resolved through a better understanding of their purposes.

This paper outlines some of the differences between virtual communities and physical communities which result from use of the intermediating technology. The purposes of the virtual community are then described in terms of the four ideals suggested by Ackoff & Emery (1972), applied both to the community in its parts (i.e. the members) and of the whole (i.e. the community). The "five ways of knowing" -- categorizations of inquiring systems, as suggested by Mitroff & Linstone (1993) -- are then applied to describe the interaction, development and maturity of virtual communities. The article concludes with a categorization of key roles required to maintain the purpose of the virtual community, as a whole.

Keywords: virtual communities, computer-mediated communications, purposeful systems, inquiring systems

Structured Viable Systems with Human Development:
the case of STIMEVIS

Nikitas A. Assimakopoulos
Department of Informatics,
University of Piraeus,
80, Karaoli & Dimitriou Str.,
GR-185 34 Piraeus, Greece


In this paper we shall present the Viable System Model (VSM) of Beer by examining its effectiveness in practice using a different and structured design. In order to support better viable systems, we shall deliver briefly our Problem Structuring Methodology (PSM) in strategic and procedure level through Case Tool applications. The conceptual environment of VSM within PSM will be presented as a systemic methodology called 'STIMEVIS' using the principles of 'Total Systems Intervention' methodology. In the new viable and operational system we shall analyse organisational structures in strategic and procedure level where control and meta-control systems are used for decision and meta-decision making. For this methodology, we shall present a real application for an Internet Service Provider. Finally, I shall deliver my personal aspects for Total Viable Development including Human Development.

Can Community Design Turn Criminal Hot Spots Into Neighborhoods?

Erin Artigiani
Center For Substance Abuse Research
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland


A wide range of socio-economic factors interact to transform a population and its geographical space into a community. In American cities today there are also many disintegrative factors at work. Maryland has initiated programs to help people arrest decay by revitalizing their "neighborhoods". Neighborhoods are systems, and to restore them requires leadership from community associations. When community associations self-organize, their members assign themselves new "social roles" as they, e.g., develop and implement anti-crime strategies. Becoming neighbors fighting against forces of decay, people living in the same area may acquire for themselves identities transcending their immediate personal interests. These roles are discovered, explored, and defined at association meetings, community events, court hearings, etc. Although individuals must choose to internalize roles changing them from residents to neighbors, their behavioral attributes are, as Stuart Kauffman says of the components in biological cells, "determined elsewhere in the system". No outside agency can impose scripts appropriate to particular neighborhoods, because enduring solutions emerge bottom-up. But state governments can implement comprehensive anti-crime strategies that, by re-inventing the criminal justice system, empower people at local levels to change their behavior and become partners with established authorities. Once rules for describing "social roles" like community activist prove effective, they tend to survive the charismatic individuals who first performed them. Experimental programs in Maryland will be examined to see if their relative successes validate fundamental systems principles.

Systemic Usability Engineering
Experiences from a software development project (II)

Parviz Ahari
Studentbacken 25-011
115 57 Stockholm

In this paper problems and difficulties which were faced during the software development in a project are discussed from the systemic usability engineering point of view. Systemic usability engineering integrates living systems theory, and breakthrough thinking principles with usability engineering and project management methods. The examples show how and why organizations will benefit from the application of the systemic usability engineering method.

A better understanding of what is required for a proper functioning of a system and of what principles govern the planning and design approach enables us to make a better use, among other things, of people, machines, materials, time and information, which are needed in any product development activity. This understanding enables organizations to develop products with less costs, high quality, and within short time.

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