Bertalanffy emphasized the role that our species can play in shaping its own destiny, as he believed that humans may develop their abilities to direct their own evolution on ethical values determined while noticing the emergent realities created by an interdependent global community and creating environments out of symbols which may become human values after being cultivated. In his view human survival was the paramount purpose for cultivating the uncommon sense of general systems theory, as he believed that the need for a general systems consciousness was a matter of life and death, not just for ourselves but also for what historian Arnold Toynbee computed to be 77,000 future generations that are possible on this planet before the death of our sun.
The concept of system is nowadays well rooted in most disciplines; many different systems approaches are used extensively for pushing ahead the evolvement of the prevailing civilizing process through decision making that aims at managing efficiently the economic concerns of humankind. The so called systems sciences are engaged increasingly in supporting the evolvement of many disciplines and even to generate, by means of interdisciplinary actions, superb scientific achievements and magnificent technological innovations for being inserted and managed efficiently everywhere according to economic aims that aim at globalizing the interrelationships among all kinds of human societies.
Meanwhile the adventure of Homo sapiens sapiens on earth does not seem to be really successful:
- Billions of people essay to live in miserable circumstances: searching desperately no more than surviving; accepting sometimes even starvation; learning to emigrate whatever the means; stealing and killing as if it were another reasonable option; …
- An increasing number of living species are simply classified as endangered ones because the prevailing decision making aims at assuring to maintain the trends of civilization.
- The terrestrial circumstances that make possible the existence of life are increasingly disturbed because the world suffers the effects of pollution of air, water and soils.
“I heartily agree that the main objection against current philosophy is its … reliance on so-called common sense … Society [has] become so complex that traditional ways and means are not sufficient anymore. Approaches of a holistic and systems nature have to be introduced”
Could knowledge about all kinds of systems provide humans with the power of prediction and control that is needed for a conscious evolvement of civilizing processes?
Nowadays it is urgently necessary to examine how and why the original Bertalanffian ideas which generated the ‘systems movement’ and made possible the emergence and evolvement of the ‘systems community’ have been interpreted, because it is increasingly worrying to notice what has produced the impact of the ‘systems approach(es)’ during the last four decades. A systems practitioner has commented recently: “The world has changed a lot, for better and for worse, but — allowing for a gross simplification — the improvements are rarely “due to us”, while the deterioration (poverty, gap between rich and poor, intolerance, violence, shortcomings in education and health care) are precisely the areas where the systems approach should have had an impact.” It seems that something is going seriously wrong in the utilization of this approach, as it seems evident that it is theoretically right. However necessary to identify what is wrong in the utilization of this approach, it is convenient to recognize that the serious problems that are disturbing today the evolvement of the prevailing civilization — which are reaching nowadays a crisis point — have been generated by human actions intelligently conceived and skilfully implemented, during several past centuries and even millennia, while the systems thinking could arise explicitly only around 50 years ago.