A new way of thinking.
The truth can be known. The world can be understood.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Everyone is an expert at a system, some system. Whatever it is we work with every day, that’s what we do. That’s the system we know. Or do we? Suppose you’ve just been born and are given a book, and only one book. That’s what you then learn. That’s what you know. It becomes your life. Whatever the topic of the book, that’s what you become expert at. That’s all you become expert at, although perhaps more so than anyone else in the world. Nevertheless, the truth is you haven’t made any connections longward, or outward. You haven’t taken the first baby steps toward seeing the grand scheme. You’re isolated, thrown in solitary. Your world has empty libraries. Though your umbilical may not yet be severed, it connects to a preconceived “vacuum-tube” cyberspace: your browser is blank.
Thankfully, most of us are actually graced with some knowledge of the outside world—the world outside our heads. But these days, specialization is the name of the game on many levels. The saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” is taken to heart to avoid the pitfall of mastering nothing. And in a world lined with scrolling distractions and blinking diversions, that wouldn’t be too hard of an accomplishment. But in the process, this goal is often taken a little too far. The broad parallels that exist in all the systems around us go largely unnoticed when viewed from the silos that we work in, or they are not recognized as having any more than metaphorical significance.
In the aftermath of 9/11, expert analyses revealed that one of the main intelligence failures was due to the silo structure of U.S. government operations. One group concentrated on monitoring people, another group on satellite images, another on phone-call activity, etc. While these operations worked well to gather data, the real intelligence comes from putting these various puzzle pieces together to form a larger and more cohesive picture of the reality we are facing. This piecing together is the work of systems analysis.
So too is this finding true in general. If we are just concerned with advances in physical systems and engineering, we can easily lose sight of the impact of new technologies on social systems. And if we just pay attention to the health of economic systems, we may ignore the potential effects of economic change on geopolitics, which can easily turn around and devour all economic gains. And if we just focus on social affairs, we can forget that free enterprise and the entire free-market system do not rest on the politics thereof. Instead, broader holistic viewpoints that extend beyond the system proper are required to fully understand the “jigsaws” at work before they saw us in two.
The Quest for Life in the LAWS OF ALL™ Book 1, Part I, begins to solve the riddles of life by arriving at Laws of Life and Laws of Immortality. And puzzles of the universe are tackled in Parts II and III. But this is just the results of one lone researcher. These holistic general-system concepts are so fundamental to learning that they should really be introduced at the grade-school level. Everyone should know how to think in these basic terms.
In the context of the Laws of All systems, one could turn the above saying “sideways” and say, “Master of general system concepts, or master of nothing.” That is, to truly become expert at a system, the first step is to gain a firm understanding of what the system should look like. And this requires knowing well the broader terrain in which the system resides, and the laws that govern it.
Applying general system theory, it is possible to garner such insight residing on the most general level, a level applicable to all systems. Naturally, more-specific details are also required in most cases. However, when we start taking things in at a higher level applicable to systems in general, understanding new systems and concepts is hastened by the parallels and commonalities. One sees further and gains new insights. This goes beyond merely trying to work in multiple silos at once. It involves taking in the more fundamental factors that govern them all.
Analyzing our world of problems through the prism of general systems is like having a satellite view of the Earth: higher levels of understanding emerge about processes taking place throughout the larger system. Weak points appear that may often play a fundamental role in the system’s dysfunction. Moreover, solutions may be readily suggested that actually add to the system’s structural integrity rather than taxing the system with yet another experiment in futility. It pays for itself to have a good hold of the broadest perspectives.
Understanding at the most general level helps avoid broad-based blunders that can threaten a system’s very foundations for existence. Even mankind is at risk of liquidation if its managers are not adept at maintaining the viability of critical life-supporting systems. If the foundation is made unsound, one is hardly an expert. So it is both wise and necessary to have a good hold of the full panoramic view.
In the worst case, humanity steers itself into a “black hole,” ushering in a dark age of civilization that extinguishes the species. This may seem like an unlikely possibility. However, analysis of the Laws of All indicates that it is more the miracle that mankind has gotten this far. There are many roads to a dark day. Keeping things growing in a healthy, life-giving balance is where the challenge rests. And a drought of knowledge at the general-systems level weighs heavily.
When you learn about general systems, you are literally learning about everything—all.
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