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Summary of Presentations: Aspects of the Global Problematique (7:00 am GMT-8)
Saturday, January 8th, 2022, 7am to 9am
We will resume our Saturday/Wednesday mini-symposia/open mic sessions on January 8th and 12th.
Through the end of 2021 we've heard from a number of scientists from various fields regarding several aspects of what has come to be called the Global Problematique, or an array of global-scale wicked/messy problems that are interrelated to such a degree that there can be no solution to any one of them without finding ways to mitigate all of them simultaneously. In other words, we are observing a massive systemic situation. And, that situation has existential consequences for civilization, for humanity, and for the rest of the biosphere.
I have frequently heard from various members of our society that systemic problems, even wicked ones, should have systemic solutions. Or, at least, such problems should be mitigatable using systems thinking. Its time to step up to the plate, not just to offer marginal interventions, such as tweaking capitalism or governance, but with realistic feasible approaches. Can systems science and systems thinking actually be used to prevent the worst-case scenarios currently anticipated by a growing number of thinkers? We've heard aspects of the Problematique. How should we, as a society, make a substantial contribution to this situation?
One of the special tracks for this next conference is: Special Track 2: Confronting Systemic Global Challenges in the Present. We seek proposals for papers that show how recent advances in systems science and systems practice can be applied to addressing the Global Problematique.
This will be members' opportunity to put forth proposals for making real change.
So, Saturday the 8th of Jan,, to kick off the new year, I would like to recap on some of the presentations that have been made and have an open discussion about this idea of what systems science and thinking might do. I'd recommend watching Bill Rees's presentation, especially, since he did cover the breadth of issues in the Problematique. Throughout the winter and spring we will periodically revisit this subject in the run up to the conference in July. So, members, put your thinking caps on.
What do you mean by "System"?
Saturday, January 15th, 2022, 7am to 9am at zoom
Every one of us uses the word "system" with great facile. OK, what is your definition of a system? And how do you justify that particular definition?
In discussions with a number of members of ISSS I have begun to realize that some of us use this term in ways that may not actually be mutually agreed. It appears that there are a number of different conceptualizations in our community as to what the term actually means. In this open-mic session lets explore this. What do you think the word system means. And why do you think you have the best definition of the word? If we are ever going to be an influential society, don't you think we need to have agreement on the meaning of system? Or is it OK to have multiple meanings? Where do you stand on this question?
The Nature of System Boundaries
Saturday, January 22nd, 2022, 7am to 9am at Zoom
Tyler Volk and George Mobus have had numerous discussions on the topic of system boundaries. Volk's book Metapatterns and Mobus' book (with Mike Kalton) Principles of Systems Science address the concept of boundary. There are, within the systems community, some mixed and often conflicting views about the nature of boundaries. Donella Meadows famously went so far as to say that they didn't really exist (Thinking in Systems)! Yet, living cells clearly possess a membrane and we humans are encased in skin on the outside and gastrointestinal lining on the inside (also lungs are membraned on the inside).
Volk and Mobus will each give a talk on their conceptualization of boundaries followed by a conversation between the two to look at the applications of these ideas with respect to many of the complex subjects we've been discussing. Q&A/Discussion to ensue thereafter.