A new way of thinking.
The truth can be known. The world can be understood.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The phrase systems thinking refers to analysis of a given problem from the perspective of a system’s attributes. It means thinking about issues in terms of system parameters—inputs, outputs, structural makeup, composition, functionality, etc.—as opposed to considering separate entities within the system.
Anyone who practices holistic analysis is employing systems thinking. This can be contrasted with analyzing individual system components on a standalone basis. Using the latter alone is often shortsighted, missing obvious interlinks crucial to the overall operation. But component-level analysis is also important to avoid missing problems that are not at all systemic.
Systems thinking is a powerful method of analysis. Often it allows accurate predictions of the outcome just through simulation. In engineering, this is particularly helpful since it allows the design of large-scale projects that work reliably in less time: bridges, skyscrapers, airliners, ships, and spacecraft, etc. Systems though are pervasive. So systems thinking can be applied far more broadly. Consider social systems, political systems, economic systems, biological systems, and the ecosystem, to name a few.
Despite the utility of systems thinking, on an even deeper level, we need to learn to think how systems “think.” This is referring to the way systems unwaveringly abide by their governing system laws, even to their own extinction. This is not always the literal and rational type of human thinking that we are used to. But it often gives inanimate systems a mind of their own. So in effect, it is the way the system thinks out its next move. And it is what dictates system behavior. In the vernacular, arrival at general principles of systems is the subject of systems theory, which is applied to various systems by systems science.
Normally, psychology is limited to the behavior and thoughts of man and beast. The above concept though extends the reach of psychology further to cover the “thinking” of all systems. It is easy to imagine this encompassing robot algorithms, virtual assistants and artificial-intelligence machines. But can we grasp that it also applies to the “thoughts” and behavior of socio-politico-economic systems, the ecosystem, or even the universe?
For some time now, renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking, has been warning of the risks to humanity’s existence from developing artificial-intelligence thinking in an uncontrolled fashion. The concept of thinking systems in general forces one to extend this warning to what is often the cold and cruel “thinking” of the various critical systems needed for civilization’s survival. Just as the best intentions of men could easily be undermined by machines of the future whose brain power far surpasses that of humanity, so too can man be “outthunk” by the complexities, instabilities and vulnerabilities arising from the world’s systems of politics, economics and society.
One can add to the above list the systems of technology in general, and the Earthrsquo;s natural environmental system with its capacity to change in a direction not conducive to life. None of these systems have to “think” faster to outthink us. All that’s required is for them to behave in a manner that we don’t yet understand at a fundamental level. Without this, it is difficult to predict disasters far enough in advance to avoid them. And in an increasingly interconnected world, disasters have greater impact.
This is the nature of applying general system theory: the specific blossoms into a broader range of connections with a much further reach than is initially considered. So the topic of “general-system psychology” here melds psychology with systems into the way all systems “think.” Note, the field of systems psychology is concerned with human thinking in systems as opposed to the “thought processes” of the system itself.
In the LAWS OF ALL™ Book 1, new general laws are arrived at that are at the core of system existence. This offers the chance to think in new ways to better predict a system’s behavior—to think more like the system and perhaps prevent a disaster or two. Furthermore, this leads to new testable physical models that offer new ways of thinking about the system of the universe. In turn, this can lead to new ways of thinking about other systems that perhaps behave in some analogous manner.
In some cases, thinking like the system can generate new concepts so revolutionary that a psychological barrier of sorts is imposed, especially for those who have already formed an informed opinion. This is because it is far easier to learn something fresh than to unlearn something “stale.” Or as Einstein put it, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
In Part I, Chapter 3 of the book, the Laws of Delusion begin to describe the geometry of this psychological barrier. This prepares the mind for an even deeper investigation into the gray matter in Part II. This all begins to point to new ways of thinking to avoid old ways of thinking.
Access the full version of the Preface [pdf] for LAWS OF ALL™ Book 1 for free.
Check the availability of Free Access to other excerpts or files.
Use the link on the Publications page to find synopses and other information, or to make a purchase.
Find articles of interest in the Article Index.
Access news releases on the News Releases page.