Wednesday, February 01, 2006


last year, when we set this blog up, I also made a 'sandpit' blog in parallel, where we could try things out. In June 05 I posted the text below in that alternative universe, but didn't follow up on it. As I consider this blog intermediate between the permanent publication of Maybe Quarterly, and the semi-private interaction and discussions in the MLA forum, I thought I would repost the notes, to invite any feedback towards finalising a piece for the Spring MQ, and to share the links I have found.
Disclaimer: WORK-IN-PROGRESS (scroll on)

Analog and Digital Systems

Whole Systems - ecological systems

Open and Closed Systems

8 system (circuit) Model ETC.

Here you can find a list of some of the most influential people in the systems field - I have a particular soft spot for Bateson, von Bertalanffy, Watzlawick, Prigogene, Bucky Fuller and Shannon.

Oh, and Mr Korzybski's General Semantics:
"The origin of this work was a new functional definition of 'man', as formulated in 1921, based on an analysis of uniquely human potentialities; namely, that each generation may begin where the former left off. This characteristic I called the 'time-binding' capacity. Here the reactions of humans are not split verbally and elementalistically into separate 'body', 'mind', 'emotions', 'intellect', 'intuitions', etc., but are treated from an organism-as-a-whole-in-an-environment (external and internal) point of view. This parallels the Einstein-Minkowski space-time integration in physics, and both are necessitated by the modern evolution of sciences. - Alfred Korzybski

Ludwig von Bertalanffy worked on General System Theory - International Society for the System Sciences

Watzlawick makes me laugh. Shannon made juggling machines, so I have to love his mind. Bateson, as a grand master, often displayed the difficulty of thinking about systems in the Aristotelean language of Either/Or, and would mumble self-referentially about preferring Both/And [I may have made that up, but Niels Bohr famously mumbled when asked to explain his model of the universe - I heard that on the radio, so it must have some truth (!)] Prigogene turned me onto chaosmics (Joycean word) or, how order can spontaneously (almost inevitably) arise out of disorder without some Great Architect in the Sky having anything to do with it.

I find 'general models' interest me most. A few Quotes to indicate what I mean.

A lot of work on 'whole systems' belong in the ecological realm

And, of course, as buzz words they may simply turn up in sales pitches in Google

This page seems like a good place to start, if you don't know much about the subject
And you can find a great book list here

Oh, yeah. Systemantics comes from John Gall, who wrote a rather witty book with that title - still available from Amazon, etc - I believe - or the General Systemantics Press.

One's Own View of Reality as the Only Reality is the Most Dangerous of All Delusions.
"As I have already said, the belief that one's own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous or all delusions. It becomes still more dangerous if it is coupled with the missionary zeal to enlighten the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world wishes to be enlightened or not. To refuse to embrace wholeheartedly a particular definition of reality (e.g. an ideology), to dare to see the world differently can become a think crime' in a truly Orwellian sense as we get steadily closer to 1984." Watzlawick


Member of the NEW TRAJECTORIES webring