Factors forming the original Society for General Systems Research (SGSR)
Posted on March 7, 2022 2:00 PM by Peter Tuddenham
The SGSR was the name of this society before it was renamed the International Society for the Systems Sciences. Dr. James Grier Miller was at the beginning of the SGSR. He recounts factors that were influencing colleagues to form the SGSR. One factor stands out for me and it was the reaction of scientists who had been involved in creating atomic and hydrogen nuclear bombs who wanted science to serve mankind, not destroy it.
Dr. Miller recounts these conversations in his first lecture introducing Living Systems Theory. at the 11 minute mark he calls these scientists "a very interesting group. They included, Enrico Fermi and Harold Urey, both of whom had been involved in the development of the plutonium bomb". And at minute 14 and 25 seconds he goes on "Certainly a feeling of of deep responsibility for being the father of the plutonium bomb and for the work he was doing at that time, on the development of the hydrogen bomb. I don't think, as far as I could tell from talking to him and his, some of his friends and, on one occasion to his wife and reading what his wife has written about him, and he ever talked much to people, generally to physicists about this inner sense of guilt that he had."
Sense of guilt Miller implies is one of the factors that brought scientists together to form the SGSR.
Today Russia and Ukraine are at war and the prospect of a nuclear accident or nuclear war event is present I think reflection on one of the founding purposes of the now ISSS was to understand how humans get to this situation and how to prevent it. Some 68 years on we still have a lot to learn.