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Open-mic: What is "Systems Thinking" in your view?
Saturday, February 5th, 2022, 7am to 9am at online
From Wikipedia:
"Systems thinking is a way of making sense of the complexity of the world by looking at it in terms of wholes and relationships rather than by splitting it down into its parts. ... Systems thinking draws on and contributes to systems theory and the system sciences."
I have at least a half dozen books that are about systems thinking and how to apply it to various problem domains. But one thing I noticed in these books is that there is much variation in definitions and methods (e.g., from Senge to Meadows). There seem to be a number of favored methods for applying systems thinking.
There is also the question of how much of practiced systems thinking is based on explicit systems science knowledge. Do systems thinkers derive their methods from definitive systems knowledge?
Finally, are there levels of competency in systems thinking? What is systems literacy (Tuddenham) vs systems sensibility (Ison)?
It seems to me this could be a fruitful area to explore and share understanding. What do you think?
Potential Systems Science Contributions to Shifting the Human Extinction Trajectory toward a Positive Direction
Saturday, February 12th, 2022, 7am to 9am at online
Russell Boulding
Abstract: The current human population overshoot curve trajectory is toward a catastrophic collapse of human population and greatly reduced planetary carrying capacity. In a best-case scenario a quantum leap in human consciousness could allow rapid necessary decline in population and harmonization with the Earth's carrying capacity without pain and suffering. Between these horrendous and sublime scenarios lies a possible future where systems science has the potential to help flatten the overshoot curve in a way that brings Homo sapiens into harmony with each other and all life on the planet. Especially relevant systems science concepts for flattening the overshoot curve include (1) systemic leverage points--SLPs--which may serve to counter pathology or be life affirming in ways that create positive change and (2) systemic nurturance spaces that create the conditions for widening positive change. Drawing on an ongoing compilation of systemic leverage points, eleven LPs are identified with high potential for positive systems change as well as a half dozen systems models that focus on creating positive system change. There are five types of systemic nurturance spaces that are able to complement and enhance the application of SLPs. Kenneth Boulding's two laws of the universe provide a way of looking toward a positive future for humanity.
 
Bio: Russell Boulding got a start in the environmental field  helping the Environmental Defense Fund set up their Denver office in 1973 and spent forty+ years as a free-lance environmental consultant working with citizen and public interest groups and government agencies to address environmental problems from coal-mining and use and the assessment and remediation of soil and groundwater contamination. His clients included most of the major national environmental organizations, many regional and state citizens groups, the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. EPA Handbook of Groundwater and Wellhead Protection and Pocket Field Guide for Description and Sampling of Contaminated Soils are among his many publications. He is a relative newcomer to ISSS having joined in late 2020, though growing up with Kenneth Boulding as a father gave him a natural tendency to approach all that he did as an environmental scientist with a systems perspective.
As soon as there was life there was danger.
Saturday, February 19th, 2022, 7am to 9am at zoom
Time is listed as USA Pacific Time
 
Professor Joesph LeDeux
Abstract:  Organisms face challenges to survival throughout life. When we freeze or flee in danger, we often feel fear. Tracing the deep history of danger gives a different perspective. The first cells living billions of years ago likely had to detect and respond to danger in order to survive. Life is about not being dead, and behavior is a major way that organisms hold death off. Although behavior does not require a nervous system, complex organisms have brain circuits for detecting and responding to danger, the deep roots of which go back to the first cells. But these circuits do not make fear, and fear is not the cause of why we freeze or flee. Fear is a human invention; a construct we use to account for what happens in our minds when we become aware that we are in harm’s way. This requires a brain that can personally know that it existed in the past, that it is the entity that might be harmed in the present, and that it will cease to exist it the future. If other animals have conscious experiences, they cannot have the kinds of conscious experiences we have because they do not have the kinds of brains we have. This is not meant as a denial of animal consciousness; it is simply a statement about the fact that every species has a different brain. Nor is it a declaration about the wonders of the human brain, since we have  done some wonderful, but also horrific, things with our brains. In fact, we are on the way to a climatic disaster that will not, as some suggest, destroy the Earth. But it will make it inhabitable for our kind, and other organisms with high energy demands. Bacteria have made it for billions of years and will likely be fine. The rest is up for grabs, and, in a very real sense, up to us.
 
Bio:
Joseph LeDoux is a University Professor and Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at New York University, and directs the Emotional Brain Institute at NYU. His work is focused on the brain mechanisms of emotion, memory, and consciousness. LeDoux has received a number of awards for his research, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences USA. He is also the author of several books, including The Emotional Brain, Synaptic Self, Anxious (2016 APA William James Book Award), and The Deep History of Ourselves (finalist for the 2020 Pen America E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing). As a sideline, he is the lead singer and songwriter in the rock band, The Amygdaloids, and in the acoustic duo So We Are.
Past Presidents' Reflections:Allenna Leonard, 2009
Saturday, February 26th, 2022, 7am to 9am at online
Past Presidents' Reflections:
In this series we invite Past Presidents of the Society to share their reflections on the history, the current state, and the future of the Society. This will be a free-form conversation and an opportunity for newer members to meet and get to know more about some of our past leaders that have gotten the Society to where it is today. Come and hear the accumulated wisdom from the last several decades.