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What is General System Theory?


von Bertalanffy’s Panoramic Vision

The topic of general systems, or general system theory, refers to the notion of Ludwig von Bertalanffy from last century that a common perspective of systems that holds across all scientific disciplines should be possible. This suggests that gaining an understanding of this perspective and the related precepts should provide a model that holds generally across all possible systems in all fields of endeavor. Since this would automatically imply a most fundamental model of systems, insights that are deeper and more monumental would be inevitable. Knowledge of systems of all types and how to best improve on them would be increased across the board. Solutions that strike closer to root causes with lasting results would become the norm.

Whenever one needs to solve a problem, it is always best to first try and understand the most fundamental cause of it. Otherwise, there's a risk that the solution is superficial and that it just treats symptoms. If true, the fundamental problem is allowed to persist and may cause other problems that may lead to yet more treatments of symptoms. An understanding of systems from a more general perspective often allows one to arrive at more fundamental causes of problems. This in turn improves the effectiveness of the solutions devised. System health is advanced.

Everything we come into contact with is a system. Systems are, and should be, a topic of utmost importance, especially at the most general level of abstraction. Yet few are probably aware of general system theory, and even fewer are adept at systems analysis. One key obstacle may be that von Bertalanffy’s quest remains unfulfilled. And without a most general perspective to apply across all systems, the field of general system theory is like a rocket waiting for fuel.

Apollo 11 Saturn V Rocket on Pad

Apollo 11 Saturn V Rocket on Pad

Image Credit: NASA. Source. 5/20/1969. Public domain.

The Universe and the Social Fabric

The field of general systems does not study the specific. It studies the general. It does not analyze particular systems. It analyzes all systems. Instead of providing a method for analyzing just one system, general system theory works to highlight the parallels between different types of systems. This then enables analytical methods that are applicable to all.

Arriving at new truths and parallels about general systems adds simultaneously to the toolbox of everyone who is interacting with and managing a system. The LAWS OF ALL™ Book 1 arrives at such truths and parallels down to the most fundamental levels of system existence. These are then applied to specific systems.

Where the concepts presented are general in nature, some may find them applicable to various aspects of their personal lives as well. However, the applications in Book 1 focus on matters of some gravity. These are namely challenges to the persistence of civilization, and challenges in understanding the physical nature of our world. The former includes harnessing the ever-larger powers of man in what amounts to an ever-smaller world. The latter includes harnessing the awesome powers of the material universe for a civilized world ever more dependent on energetic resources.

Parts I and II of the book use examples in socio-politico-economics in the presentation of general system laws and principles. Part II then begins to investigate the physics of the universe’s Physical Fabric based on the general findings. Part III completes this process with even more detail. And Part IV begins tugging at the threads of the Social Fabric ruling mankind’s social, political and economic systems.

Major subtopics such as in system management, energy, system health and psychology, are also included along the way. The work of understanding systems though is not done, and perhaps never will be. But Part I through Part IV each provide a new echelon of understanding the world of systems around us.

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Explore Further

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.

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