From Mechanistic to Systemic Thinking

Why, all of a sudden, is everybody interested in birthday calculator
? Why, all of a sudden, has unique become a big thing ? Why, all of a sudden, organizational learning or process reengineering ? Why ? I mean, these things ( if you stop và reflect on them ) have been around for a long giây phút. There have always been consumers with expectations. Why didn’t we worry about unique before ? There have always been systems. Why ?
Well, all of our explanations rest on certain assumptions that we make, because explanations are simply deductions from theories — or sets of assumptions. And every theory rests on a more general theory. And the most general theory of all that each of us has is a theory of reality : a concept of the nature of the world, which is referred phệ as our worldview — or, as the Germans refer phệ it with a beautiful trái đất : Weltanschauung. Our concept of the nature of reality .
Now, there are very few people who are conscious of that phối of assumptions about reality. There’s no need lớn be. But you all have it. You absorb it by osmosis và the process of acculturation & growing up. And the reason that we chia sẻ a culture is that we chia sẻ a worldview. The worldview is the cement that holds a culture together. It characterizes what the historian calls an age. An age is simply a period of thời gian in which a culture has a single, shared view of the nature of reality. And therefore, a change of age is a period in which the worldview is going through a transformation from one view bự another. Now, the reason for all that is that the thesis of the argument I want béo present lớn you is that we’re in the early stages of a change of age. We’re about Khủng consummate — not immediately, but in giây phút — a transformation from one worldview into another. Now, in order mập present that argument và defend it I want lớn go back a little way & talk about the preceding one .

The preceding worldview — which has a long way bự go before it’s completely chết, because worldviews don’t die, they fade away — began with the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a period of transformation between two ages : the Middle Age và the Modern Era. But the significance of the Renaissance is frequently lost. We all know that it represented major changes, but not what the nature of the changes were .
The fundamental nature of the change in the Renaissance derived from several facts. The first fact was : expected life was 27 years before the Renaissance. 40 % of children born did not survive infancy. 95 % of the people không bao giờ traveled more than four miles from their place of birth during their entire life. And they lived in abject poverty. Now, if you begin lớn amplify those statistics và develop an image of what life was lượt thích in the Middle Ages, it was pretty damn miserable for most people .
And so sánh the fundamental question which was asked is : what’s the purpose of life ? They couldn’t understand why we were given life if it’s so sánh punishing. Now, the only institution that mattered during the day — the Catholic Church, which was the only international institution at the giây phút — provided an answer. It said life is preparatory for death. You see, if you live life correctly, you’ve got an infinite sojourn in paradise or heaven, so sánh why the hell worry about 27 years ? The only thing béo worry about is living it in such a way that you make the right turn afterwards. And so sánh that was the generalized belief. And as a result, the Middle Ages focused on spiritual life và afterlife, not this life. And that’s easy mập see by looking at the art & the literature of the giây phút. You don’t see any realism bự speak of. You see Dante ’ s Inferno, Milton ’ s Paradise Regained, Paradise Lost, pictures of gods và angels floating around. But no realistic scenes of everyday life, because the preoccupation was with afterlife .
Two things happened that began the conversion. The first was Peter the Hermit ’ s Crusade, which, for the first phút giây, led hordes of men ( estimated around 40,000 ) across the face of Europe — who, for the first thời gian, came in tương tác with cultures other than the one in which they had been born. And they observed differences & became curious about those differences, & began bự ask questions. Why bởi vì these people have a different phối of values than we bởi vì ? Why bởi vì they have different habits than we bởi, different trades than we bởi ? And that led bự the movement called the New Humanism. And the hot nhất interest in the nature of man led béo a mới nhất interest in the environment of man. Now, that was accompanied by the opening of trade out of the thành phố states of Italy, or, similarly, merchants began bự visit other cultures as far as east & west as India & Trung Quốc, & saw cultures, again, completely different than ours & emphasized the question of what’s responsible for those differences, và became curious about man .
In one obscure encyclical during the Middle Ages, curiosity was actually declared as a sin. But despite that, lượt thích birth control today, people ignore it. And so sánh they began mập inquire into the nature of man và his environment. And that led béo the movement called the Renaissance. And Renaissance, as you know, is a French địa cầu which means what ? Rebirth. It was the re-entry of man into this world. Now, when we made that reentry, we developed a completely mới nhất view of the world which was based on three fundamental beliefs & the doctrines which were derived from them .
The first fundamental belief was that complete understanding of the universe was possible. It was a reversal of the assertion that man couldn’t understand anything. He simply had mập accept reality as an act of faith, that God knew what he was doing, & you just believe it. But now, if you look at the work of René Descartes — probably the first great modern philosopher — what he was all about was mập declare the ability of the human mind phệ understand the nature of reality và béo understand it completely. That view of the complete understandability of the universe — in principle, if not in practice — was reflected in a conference held in Europe in the middle 19 th century when, you may recall, it was the habit of such conferences mập issue proclamations at the over. And the proclamation would be an attempt béo state what was generally believed by the people who attended the conference. And in 1850, this conference in Europe of the leading scientists of the world said that it was their collective belief that, by 1900, our understanding of the universe would be complete. Now, that’s hard lớn believe today, but they really believed it, which shows that scientists can’t forecast one damn bit better than economists can. They completely missed everything that was mập come later. But they believed it .
That belief, you shall see, is very important for other things that followed. That was the first leg of what I will gọi the Machine Age for reasons that I’ll explain in a moment. The second leg derived out of the method of thought. This period developed a concept of what thought was that derived from observing children. If you look at a child whose given an object they’ve không bao giờ seen before — not an infant, but a child ; it could be a radio, a clock, a toy, whatever it is — & just leave it with them. And they want mập find out what it is. What’s the first thing they’ll bởi ? Take it apart, of course. So the first step is : take it apart. Second step is : try Khủng understand what the parts bởi. Now try bự assemble the understanding of the parts into an understanding of the whole. Three-step process. That is analysis. Analysis is a process by which you take something you want béo understand apart, try phệ understand the behavior of each part taken separately, và then assemble the understanding of the parts, aggregate it into an understanding of the whole .
Now that became the dominant method of thought in the Western world. So much so sánh that, even today — if I say those two face the same problem. She thought about it & he analyzed it. And I ask you : what’s the difference ? You’d have a lot of trouble telling me. Because analysis became a synonym of thought. Now, because it did, it led lớn one very important consequence. Suppose I want béo understand an automobile, which I’ve không bao giờ seen before. Well, analysis says take it apart. So I take it apart và now I’ve got a carburetor. What analysis says is that I can understand the automobile if I understand the carburetor. Now the question is : how bởi vì I understand the carburetor. Take it apart. So now I take it apart & I’ve got a valve. Well, how bởi I understand the valve ? First fundamental question : is there any kết thúc mập the process of taking things apart ?
If you believe in the complete understandability of the universe, what must the answer be ? There had bự be an kết thúc. Otherwise, you’d không bao giờ have complete understanding. And therefore, the first fundamental doctrine was that everything & every experience is reducible Khủng indivisible parts, elements. And that’s manifested through every branch of human knowledge. In physics the decision was that every physical object is ultimately reducible phệ indivisible particles of matter called the what ? The atom. The atomic theory is a reductionist theory of nature. Most of you had a course in chemistry somewhere in high school. Do you remember the first day ? I can guarantee you you got a sheet of paper with a table on it. What was it a table of ? Chemical elements. The element forms of matter. In biology you learn that every living thing reduces bự a single element of life called the cell. And so sánh on, through every science, until you reach something lượt thích linguistics, one of the most modern sciences. What does linguistics tell you ? All language reduces mập elements of sound called phonemes. Science was a crusade in tìm kiếm of the element because we believe that understanding of the universe would only be possible if we have understanding of the elements of which it was composed, & therefore we first had lớn identify them và understand them .
The third element of Machine Age thinking resulted after we understood the elements. See, if we now have taken the table apart into the atoms that compose it, we understand the behavior of the atoms. In order lớn understand the behavior of the table you’ve got béo put the behavior of the atoms together. That means knowing how they’re related. Now, it’s not surprising that, in an era that believed that everything was reducible mập indivisible parts, that we believe that all relationships between things were reducible bự one single simple relationship. That’s all that was necessary. And that relationship was cause & effect. We could explain everything in the universe just using that one relationship .
Cause và effect is such a familiar concept Khủng us today that we don’t know what it means anymore. So let’s just reflect on what it meant when it first emerged. It meant two things. It said the cause of an effect is something which is necessary for the effect. The effect won’t occur unless the cause does. And cause is sufficient for the effect. That is, if the cause occurs, then the effect must follow. So if I vì this, you just saw light come on & a sound, và I ask you, “ What’s the cause ? ” you say it was my striking this with the coin. If I had not struck it, the light would not have come on. And if I did strike it, it would come on because I cơn sốt the switch, và therefore my striking is the cause of that effect .
Our commitment bự cause-and-effect thinking led Khủng three very fundamental doctrines which permeated our thought for almost 400 years. First one was this : if I want lớn explain a phenomenon, all I have mập vì is find its cause. So I find its cause và now I’ve got a complete explanation of the phenomenon because the cause is sufficient for the effect, right ? But I’ve got an unexplained cause. So how bởi vì I explain the cause ? Well, I treat it as an effect, right ? Find its cause. But now I’ve still got an unexplained cause. Question : is there any over Khủng the causal regression ? If you believe the universe can be completely understood, what must the answer be ? There had bự be a first cause. You have just now heard the cosmological proof for the existence of God. Because that’s exactly what it was : the official doctrine as lớn why God existed. It was derived from our commitment phệ causality. And so sánh God was seen as the creator — the first cause — and, therefore, the only thing in the universe which could not be explained, because he was not caused. God alone had lớn be excepted as an act of faith so sánh that everything else could be accepted on rational grounds once we understood what the causes were .
The second consequence of cause-and-effect thinking, in a sense, was even more profound. It enabled us béo develop a theory of explanation that excluded the environment. We didn’t need the environment béo explain anything. Now that’s a really shocking one in light of today’s thought. But reflect for a moment. Here’s two evidences of this. First one : I used mập ask my students, “ What’s the most familiar law of physics ? ” And since they weren’t physicists they không bao giờ knew the name of it, but they would usually say it’s that experiment that Galileo ran with the balls running lao dốc the hill, you know ? And they say that’s the law of freely falling bodies. And some of them even knew that it was S = ½gt². I said the important thing about that law is its name. What’s the trái đất “ freely ” doing in there ? Well, what is it doing in there ? What does “ freely ” refer lớn ? It’s a law of a body toàn thân falling in a what ? In a vacuum. What’s a vacuum ? It’s the absence of an environment. All the fundamental laws of physics tell us what will happen when there is no environment, not when there is one. Their universality doesn’t derive from the fact that they apply in every environment but from the fact they don’t apply in any ! All other environments are simply approximations of various degrees lớn the non-environment .
But that’s not the main demonstration. What bởi vì you gọi a place where a scientist does his research ? A laboratory. What’s a laboratory ? It’s a place deliberately constructed Khủng exclude the environment, right ? You want béo study the effect of x on y without the intervention of the environment, you build a laboratory. Because we believe that the understanding of the universe would derive from the understanding of dyadic relationships ; x và y without the intervention of the environment. So we had an environment-free theory of explanation .
The third component that came out of cause-and-effect was this : does anything ever happen by chance, spontaneously ? There certainly appear bự be uncaused events. Well, if you believe the universe can be completely understood, what must the answer be ? No, it can’t be. That’s just another way of talking about ignorance. Chance is simply a misstatement of ignorance. If you knew enough, you would know what the cause is. And therefore, everything which occurs is the effect of a cause. That doctrine was called determinism. Everything is caused .
If you take those three doctrines together — understandability, analysis as a method of inquiry, cause và effect as a sufficient relationship Khủng explain everything — và put them together, what vì you get ? You get Isaac Newton. Isaac Newton was the first one lớn synthesize all those thoughts into a single image. And so sánh it’s not surprising that Newton said the universe is a machine. He did not say it is lượt thích a machine, he said it is a machine. Furthermore, he said exactly what kind of a machine it was. He said it’s a hermetically sealed clock. Not lượt thích a hermetically sealed clock, it is a hermetically sealed clock. And it is. Think about it .
A clock is a mechanism that operates with a regularity dictated by its internal structure & the causal laws of nature. Newton, of course, thought he had formulated those laws in his laws of motion. How vì we tell giây phút ultimately ? How does the Naval Observatory tell phút giây ? By the movement of planets. The universe is a clock. It’s hermetically sealed. It’s a closed system. It has no environment. The universe is self-contained, has no environment. And so sánh he saw the universe as a machine .
Now, the interesting thing about this giant of science was that he was a very religious man. Very religious. And if you look at the Principia, his major work was dedicated lớn the glory of God. Because he thought that science demonstrated the wonder of God. And so sánh he made an assertion that was believed và preached from every pulpit of every religion in the Western world regardless of sectarian differences. The universe is a machine created by God phệ bởi vì God’s work. We are here mập serve his will. Now, whatever the concept of God was, [ ? ? ? ] universe [ ? ? ? ] people believed that. The universe, a machine béo vì God’s work .
Combine that with another belief that’s much older than Newton that goes back bự Genesis. In the Bible it says that man — meaning “ people, ” but they were a little prejudiced at that giây phút — man was created in the image of God, which means that we are more lượt thích God than anything else on Earth. That’s not surprising because we wrote it. But now put those two thoughts together. You’ve got the premises of a very interesting syllogism. One : the universe is a machine created by God béo bởi God’s work, và man is created in the image of God, then what should man be doing ? Creating machines Khủng bởi His work. And that was the origin of the Industrial Revolution. It was a direct consequence of our view of the world. It was man’s effort Khủng imitate God as he understood him. Now, if there were phút giây, we could go into details of the Industrial Revolution, but let me just bởi enough mập show you that every characteristic of the Industrial Revolution derived out of our view of the world .
The Industrial Revolution was about the mechanization of work. There are two fundamental concepts : work & machine. Now work — according bự the Reformation, which came on the heels of the Renaissance — was real ; very real. That’s what Luther và the others showed. And everything that’s real reduces phệ atoms. And atoms only have two properties : mass & energy. And therefore, it’s not surprising that work was defined as the application of energy bự matter in order mập transform the matter. So if I move a chair, I change the location of the chair. And that’s work because I applied energy Khủng changing a property of the chair. If I burn coal và create heat, that’s work because I applied energy Khủng the coal Khủng transform it. So work was seen as the application of energy bự matter so sánh as lớn change its properties .
Now, what’s a machine ? A machine is any object which can be used mập apply energy lớn matter. Now let’s see how good your memory is. You all learned somewhere in school that there are three elementary machines from which all other machines are derived. Reductionism again. What are the three machines ? Lever arm ( or pulley ), wheel & axle … what else ? Inclined plane. There they are. So you take the screwdriver. What’s the screwdriver ? Well, you’ve got a wedge at the over which is what ? It’s the inclined plane. You’ve got the handle, which is the wheel & axle. And if you take the length you’ve got the lever. You’ve got all three combined mập create a screwdriver .
The problem was Khủng khuyến mãi with work so sánh we could mechanize it ; apply machines phệ it. So here’s a job béo be done. How bởi vì we bởi vì it ? Well, first thing you’ve got bự bởi vì phệ anything is analyze it. So we took it apart. You took the task apart. How far apart bởi you take it. Well, if you read Frederick Taylor, he’ll tell you. He says reduce work phệ its elements. Work element. How’s a work element defined ? It’s a task so sánh simple that no two people can bởi it at the same thời gian. It can only be done by one person at a giây phút. I can remember my father trying lớn tighten the same screw as I was working on. Didn’t work ! Tightening the screw is a work element. You know, moving a 500 – pound table isn’t. But lifting this watch is a work element because it only takes one person Khủng bởi vì it, & two would only obstruct it .
Alright. What we try béo bởi vì then is, by analysis of work — và it’s called work analysis by Taylor — we reduce work béo elementary tasks. Now, the next job was phệ mechanize those tasks. Well, you can see why we reduced it Khủng elements, because the simpler the task was the easier it was béo mechanize. And in many cases we could elementary machines mập bởi it. However, for one of two reasons we couldn’t mechanize all of them. Either we didn’t have the công nghệ for some of these tasks, or it was cheaper mập use human labor than machines. So what we did is we assigned these tasks béo people, we mechanized the others. And now, following the analytical procedure, we aggregated all of them. And so sánh what we had was a sequence, or a network, of elementary tasks performed by men & machines bự produce a hàng hóa. And what bởi vì you Hotline that network today ? It’s the modern factory. The production line và assembly line is simply the result of the analysis of work và its mechanization. Direct consequence .
That has two very important implications for what we’re about. The first one is this : if there turns out lớn be another way of thinking other than analysis, then there must be another way of organizing & designing work. And by god there is, & it doesn’t look anything at all lượt thích Ford’s assembly line or production line. They already exist. And when they were looked at for the first giây phút by the deans of American production, they denied its validity. Of course they did. They couldn’t understand it. We’ll come back và we’ll look at that in a moment .
The second thing it did was not intended by any means, but nevertheless occurred. In the process of mechanizing the work, we reduce work Khủng elements that are simple enough lớn mechanize. Thos e that we couldn’t mechanize we gave mập people. And therefore, we made people behave as though they were machines. We dehumanized work, which ultimately led Khủng its alienation — the alienation from work which has been a major phenomenon of the trăng tròn th century. According lớn the Department of Health, Education, & Welfare, it’s the most serious problem confronting this country. Because despite all the productivity figures you see, when you separate the productivity of capital from the productivity of labor, the productivity of labor’s been going lao dốc .
Well, the Industrial Revolution was the technological manifestation of Machine-Age thinking. Now, what happened ? Well, what happens at any age is the appearance of certain problems that challenge the validity of the worldview. Thos e problems are called dilemmas. A dilemma is a problem which cannot be solved within the prevailing view of the world. Well, hundreds of them appear end thời gian, và you have phệ develop a critical mass before anything really occurs. Now, I’m not going béo go through hundreds of them, but let me just give you a sample of some of the more important ones .
The first critical one that arose was this. The Machine-Age view of the world says that everything which occurs is the effect of a cause. And that means there’s no không tính tiền will, no choice. Everything you bởi vì is determined by something that preceded. Now, we don’t believe that. Obviously we don’t. We believe we make choices, that we have freedom. But that’s incompatible with the view of the world. That a dilemma. That was a central problem of Western philosophy for 300 years, & we only began béo approximate some kind of agreement or consensus at the turn of this century when, largely through the influence of the logical positivists — which became a dominant mode of philosophy at the thời gian — we came béo a conclusion that không tính tiền will was an illusion granted by a merciful God who realized how dull our life would be if we didn’t have it. One philosopher who had two very quality gifts — brevity và clarity — said it in two sentences. He said, “ Man is lượt thích a fly riding on the trunk of an elephant who thinks he’s steering it. The elephant doesn’t mind & it makes the ride more interesting. ” Now, despite all that, we continue mập believe we have freedom of will, & therefore the dilemma persisted .
The second one I want béo mention really rocked the Machine Age & produced the first chink in its armor. In 1923, a young physicist in Germany by the name of Heisenberg came out with an incredible finding. Remember, the atom has only two properties : mass & energy. Now, if you want mập determine those two properties for a given atom in a given moment in thời gian, it turns out you can’t bởi it. Because what Heisenberg showed is, the more accurately you can determine its mass, the less accurately you can determine its energy, or vice versa. And so sánh the limit is you can only know one of its properties perfectly when you know the others completely imperfectly. Now which belief did that challenge ? The understandability of the universe. It said the universe cannot be completely understood .
John Dewey, America’s leading philosopher of the day, immediately responded with this classical book called The Quest for Certainty. He said, “ Understandability of the universe is an unattainable kết thúc, but an ideal that we can continuously approach but không bao giờ attain. ” It is unattainable in principle. Like zero error in science. You can continuously reduce the error of any observation, but you can chưa bao giờ reduce it béo zero. You can only make it smaller. And so sánh gradually, in the 1920 s & 30 s, we began phệ think of understandability as an ideal, not as something that was attainable .
The dilemma that actually broke the back of Machine-Age thinking is an interesting one. Its origins go back into the 30 s but it only reached consciousness in the 50 s. But there was a great giảm giá of apprehension & anxiety và awareness that something was about lớn happen. In 1946 I returned from four years in the military và went back béo the university béo complete my graduate work. And shortly thereafter, in 1947, a book appeared that really shocked everybody, at least in the academic circles I was in. Because we knew that something was up but we didn’t know what it was. Something fundamental was being challenged. The book was Norbert Wiener ’ s Cybernetics. Something was really up, but we couldn’t tell what it was. And the first insight phệ what it was, I think, occurred in 1954 when von Bertalanffy ’ s book appeared. Now, the nội dung of von Bertalanffy’s book was not particularly important, but the concept around which it was built was. And that, of course, was systems. Because the book was called “ General System Theory. ” Now, why ? That’s the critical question. Why did, all of a sudden, did systems break the back of Machine-Age thinking ? Well, let’s take a look .
We’ve got a system. I don’t care whether it’s a hospital, a school, a conference, a corporation. We want phệ understand it. Right ? We have lớn analyze the system in order Khủng understand it. Now, before we can understand the consequences of analyzing a system we have bự understand what a system is. So let’s look at that first. A system is a whole which consists of a phối of two or more parts. So it’s not an atom, it’s not an irreducible thing, it’s not an element. It can be divided into parts. Three requirements are imposed on parts. Each part can affect the behavior of the whole. So you are a biological system ; an organism. Your heart can affect your behavior, your lungs, your stomach, your pancreas, your liver. You name the part, it can affect you. Unfortunately, I said that phệ a nhóm of doctors a while ago, & one of them immediately arose & said, “ It’s not true. ” He said there’s at least one part of the body toàn thân that’s not known lớn have any effect on it at all. And I pretended surprise và said, “ What is it ? ” And he yelled out, “ The appendix. ” I said, “ What does the trái đất ‘ appendix ’ mean ? ” Well, what does it mean ? It’s added on or attached bự, but it’s not a part of. You see, if the medical sciences ever find a use for the appendix they have bự change its name, because as soon as it has a function it’s a part, it’s no longer an appendage .
Okay. So the first requirement is : every part of a system is capable of affecting its behavior. Second : the way each part affects the behavior of the system depends on what at least one other part is doing. Now, there’s several different ways of saying that. It says no part has an independent effect on the system. It depends on other parts. Or, if you’re a logician, you would say it simply is the parts constitute a connected mix. They all interact. No part is isolated. So it says the way a heart affects your behavior depends on what the brain & the lungs are doing. You all know that. What the lungs are doing depends on what some of your nerves are doing in the brain & so sánh on. The parts are all interconnected is all the second part says .
Now, the third part says if you take the parts of the system & line them up in any order at all — doesn’t matter how you bởi vì it — & then divide it up into groups, subsets, the subsets, no matter how you create them, will have the same properties as the parts. That is every subset of parts can affect the behavior of the whole, & no subset of the parts has an independent effect on the whole .
So we take the human body toàn thân và break it up into a motor system, the nervous system, the metabolic system, và so sánh on. Thes e subsystems interact, & each one can affect your behavior. Now if you take those three properties, put them together, we get a poetic definition of a system. It’s a whole which cannot be divided into independent parts. Now that certainly doesn’t sound radical & revolutionary, does it ? It sounds almost trivial. Until you reflect. Because the system, following from its definition, has certain very critical characteristics .
First one : the essential properties of any system, the properties that define this system, are properties of a whole which none of its parts have. Now, that’s not obvious. But it is on reflection. Take an automobile — a mechanical system you’re all familiar with. What’s its essential property ? It can take you from one place phệ another, right ? What part of an automobile can carry you from one place Khủng another ? A wheel ? A seat ? The axle ? Of course, nothing. Not even the motor. The motor can’t even carry itself from one place lớn another. The automobile can, though. You walked into this room earlier, I looked at you và decided you were human beings — perhaps in error, but nevertheless I did — because I saw you vì characteristically human things. Like, you’re viết bài. You can write. Your hand can’t write. Cut it off & put it on a table và watch what it does. Nothing ! Your eye doesn’t see, you see. Your brain doesn’t think, you think. Thos e are instruments which you use in the process, but they are properties of you as a whole. And therefore, when I take a system apart it loses its essential properties. If I bring an automobile into this room và disassemble it, although I have every single part in this room I don’t have an automobile. Because the automobile is not the sum of its parts, it is the sản phẩm of their interactions. Therefore, when I take a system apart, the whole loses its essential properties và, furthermore, so sánh bởi its parts .
What does the engine of an automobile bởi ? It moves the oto, right ? If you take the engine out of the oto, it can’t move. But if I take the engine out of the oto, it can’t bởi vì anything. It just sits there. It’s lost its capacity lớn move when it’s separated from the system of which it’s a part. The steering wheel determines the direction of the automobile, right ? Take it off the steering column, put it on a table, what does it steer ? Nothing. The hand separated from the arm just sits there. And so, when a system is taken apart, the system loses its essential properties & so sánh bởi vì the parts. Now comes the system’s dilemma that broke the back of the Machine Age .
Where’s that system we had up here a minute ago ? Here it is. We want mập understand it. Analysis says : what’s the first thing we bởi vì ? Take it apart. What happens when you take a system apart ? It loses all of its essential properties. Analysis, in the second step, says : try mập understand what each part does taken separately. What happens when you take the parts of a system separately ? They thất bại their essential properties. And so sánh the great discovery in the 50 s was that you cannot understand the nature of a system by analysis. And that’s a fundamental revolution. Another method of thinking was required. And it was developed in the 50 s. Not surprisingly, it became Khủng be called synthesis. And it’s exactly the opposite of analysis .
In analysis, if this is a system we want bự understand, the first step is take it apart. In the first step of synthesis we bởi vì exactly the opposite. Consider a university, for example. If you’re an analyst & you want lớn explain the university, you first say it consists of colleges, và colleges consist of departments, & departments consist of students, faculty, & subject. You know ? You drive it all the way xuống dốc bự the element. And then you try bự build it up again into an understanding of the university. If you’re approaching the university synthetically, the first step is the opposite of taking it apart. And that’s seeing the university as a part of a larger system : the educational system. It’s exactly the opposite .
In the second step of analysis, you try Khủng understand each part taken separately. In the second step of synthesis, you try mập understand the containing system, the larger system. Not the parts. In the third step of analysis, you try Khủng aggregate the understanding of the parts into an understanding of the whole. In the third step of synthesis, you disaggregate the understanding of the whole into an understanding of the part by identifying its role or function in the system of which it’s a part .
Now, what analysis reveals about a system is how it works. If you want Khủng know how an automobile works, you have lớn analyze it, take it apart, và see what each of the parts bởi. And if you want lớn repair it, you’ve got béo analyze it Khủng find out what part isn’t working. So the hàng hóa of analysis of a system is know-how. Now, psychologists don’t lượt thích common language, so sánh that became “ knowledge. ” But that’s not understanding. Knowledge is what’s contained in instructions, not in explanations. Understanding is what is contained in explanations. And what synthetic thinking does is tell you the role or function of the system in the larger system of which it’s a part, & that explains it & yields understanding. Analysis reveals structure : how it works. Synthesis reveals understanding : why it works the way it does .
For example : you all know the British drive on the wrong side of the street. Why ? I’ll give you all the English automobiles you want & all the American automobiles you want. You can take them apart from now béo doomsday & không bao giờ get the explanation. Because the explanation doesn’t lie inside the vehicles. It lies outside them in their role or function which they perform. Now, I don’t know the truth, but there is a book that appeared recently explaining this. It said the knight in shining armor, riding on a horse lao dốc a road in England, was normally right-handed và wielded his sword with his right hand. What he was concerned about was an attack via highwaymen coming in the opposite direction towards him và he wanted Khủng be in a position mập defending himself. So he rode on the left so sánh that his sword-wielding arm would face the oncoming person. And when the British developed their automobiles they simply followed the knight. Well, we didn’t have knights in shining armor when we designed the automobile. What we designed it for was a lot of right-handed people who preferred bự shift gears with the right hand, not the left hand. So we moved them end Khủng the other side. See, the explanation doesn’t lie inside, it lies outside, in the role or function .
The automobile was originally developed for six passengers. Why ? You can take them apart from now until doomsday và you won’t tell. No amount of analysis will tell you : why leave it at six passengers ? Why not seven, fifteen, nineteen, three ? The answer lies in the fact that it was designed for the average American family, which happened Khủng be 5.6 at the thời gian. The reason it’s getting smaller is it’s now 3.2, so sánh the car’s contracted. The explanations always lie outside. So : the Machine Age began lớn die when we gave up the principle of understandability & we substituted synthetic thinking for analytic thinking when we try béo understand, not when we try bự know. Systems thinking is the fusion of analysis & synthesis, depending whether our objective is knowledge or understanding. Now let’s look at the other consequences .
This says that if I want phệ understand the university, I’ve got phệ first understand the educational system of which it’s a part. So here’s the university, here is the educational system. Now, how vì I understand the educational system ? What’s the answer bự that ? Got Khủng take the larger system that contains it, don’t I ? Society. Now I’ve got Khủng understand society. How vì I understand that ? Here we are in the same question we have with reductionism in reverse. See ? Everything I try phệ explain depends on a larger system. Is there any kết thúc ? Is there one system that contains everything ? Now, be careful ! This is your midterm exam. Is there one system that contains everything ? How many of you there is ? Well, you’ve got at least one, two brave people. How many think there isn’t ? A few. Most of you are not thinking. The answer is : you’re both wrong. And it’s important béo understand why .
Look, you’ve given up the notion that the universe can be understood. Now, given that the universe cannot be understood, if there were one whole that contained everything, you could không bao giờ know it. Because if you did, you would understand the universe. And if there isn’t, how bởi you ever prove that there isn’t ? Now, the fact is that this, then, scientifically, becomes a meaningless question. Scientifically, but not psychologically. So you don’t have lớn be ashamed of having raised your hand. Because people feel very uncomfortable. When Eddington wrote the book that proclaimed the so-called expanding universe, there were almost riots in England at its reception because people believed firmly one way or the other .
It’s interesting that, in the 1960 s, when these ideas began Khủng emerge, a very interesting phenomenon occurred. And let me get bự it by reviewing an incident that occurred lớn me a while back. In 1968 we were having a sit-in at the University of Pennsylvania. There was no use hanging around doing nothing, so sánh I went mập visit Berkeley. My colleague, Churchman, was there, và so sánh I went out phệ see him, & I arrived on the morning that their sit-in broke out. So we spent all the phút giây sitting in the faculty club chewing the rag, & among the people who were there was the faculty thành viên who was chairman of the board of the University of California bookstore, which is the largest university-based bookstore in the world. Because, you know, it’s about 60 branches that are all end the place. In the middle of lunch he turns béo me, he said, “ Russ, what bởi you think is the largest-selling book in the bookstore of the University of California ? ” And I thought for a moment và I said, “ The Bible. ” He said, “ No, no. The Bible’s a big seller but it’s not the biggest by any means. ” He said, “ Try again. ” So I thought a little more & I said, “ A dictionary. ” “ No, ” he said, “ that’s a big one, but it’s not the biggest. Try again. ” I said, “ Look, I’ll take one more shot at it, và that’s the over. ” I said, “ Rand McNally road map. ” He said, “ No, that’s another big one, but it’s not the biggest. ” I said, “ What is ? ” Now, the amazing thing that happens, he told me, there was a book I had chưa bao giờ heard of. Now, here I am, a professor at a major university in the 1960 s, & this book being most read by students was one I không bao giờ heard of ! It was called the I Ching. A lot of you recognize that. What was it about ? Zen Buddhism. Why, all of a sudden, did the 60 s generation turn Khủng Zen Buddhism ? Remember the Beatles ? What did they bởi ? They ran off mập India bự meet the guru và spend a couple years with him. Why ? Because the first generation born after World War II into systemic thinking were disturbed by the incompatibility of the concept of a god distinct from the universe who created it as opposed béo one that was the universe. And so sánh they looked for a relation in which the conception of God is God as the universe, as the whole. And where did they find it ? In Eastern religion. And so sánh we get the tremendous emergence of interest in Eastern religion .
You see, the interesting thing about that concept is : in the Machine Age view, you are distinct from God. You are a creature of God. But in this view, you are a part of God. Very different. Your stomach is not something you created. You didn’t create your brain, or your liver, or your pancreas. You are your stomach, liver, pancreas. And so sánh this view of God was conceived that way as consisting of the whole, và if you wanted lớn sense your participation in that wholeness you needed a mới ra way of doing that, which was what ? Meditation. That’s what the whole meditation movement was about. How a person could thua thảm his self-consciousness & awareness of the whole of which he was a part. That was what the effort was .
So what we get is a doctrine of expansionism instead of reductionism who say : lớn understand anything you have lớn get bự larger systems. You will chưa bao giờ reach a complete explanation or understanding of everything, but your understanding increases the larger the system that you comprehend. Now, your knowledge increases the smaller the element that you comprehend. Knowledge goes from the whole xuống dốc béo the parts, và understanding goes from the whole up mập larger wholes. So expansionism comes. Now what happens lớn the rest of it ?
The story of what happened mập cause và effect is, in many ways, the most interesting part of the transformation, but it’s also the most technical. So I’m going béo have lớn give you a feeling for it. The man who was, mập the best of my knowledge, first responsible for this transformation was a remarkable young man by the name of Edgar Arthur Singer Jr. who, in 1898, graduated from Harvard. He had been the assistant of William James, a professor of psychology và philosophy. He was an unusual young man because he got his first degree in civil engineering, his second in psychology, & his doctorate in philosophy. He got an appointment in Penn và came there as an instructor in 1896, và in 1898 published what has subsequently been seen as the most revolutionary article in science in the last hundred years. What he showed was : science has been cheating for a hundred years. How ?
He said, “ Consider an acorn và an oak. ” He said, “ Is the acorn the cause of an oak ? ” He said, “ Clearly, it isn’t. ” Why not ? Well, although an acorn is necessary for the oak, it’s not sufficient. That’s easy phệ demonstrate. How ? Throw an acorn in the ocean, you don’t get an oak tree. Throw it in the desert, you don’t get an oak tree. In an iceberg — you don’t get an oak tree. It’s necessary but not sufficient. Now, science knew that. This was no discovery of Singer’s. And in the late 19 th century, science began Khủng be concerned with that type of relationship và gave it a special name. They Gọi this relationship either probabilistic causality — this was the foundation of statistical mechanics — or non-deterministic causality. Thes e two terms were used .
Now, what Singer did : he showed that these are contradictions. If a cause is defined as something which is sufficient for the effect — if the cause occurs, what’s the probability of the effect ? One, & it can’t be anything else. Therefore, non-probabilistic causality is a contradiction, that’s mập say that the causes are not sufficient. So it’s not causality. Non-deterministic. See, causality implies determinism. That’s what we saw. Now, the first law of lô ghích according béo Aristotle is, if in an implication you deny the consequence, you must deny the precedents. Therefore, non-determinism implies non-causality. It’s a fundamental law of xúc tích và ngắn gọn. So if I say that all men are moral & then say you are not moral, then it follows : you’re not a man. So Singer said this is a different relationship. And he gave it a name. He called it producer-product. A producer is necessary but insufficient for its hàng hóa .
Now, let me just say a trái đất by way of a footnote. This was written in 1898 và was completely ignored. Nobody saw the significance of it until 1954 when, in the context of cybernetics — a cybernetician in Europe, Gerd Sommerhoff at Oxford — published a book called Analytical Biology, in which he rediscovered exactly the same thing, but gave it a different name. So you may see it in the literature under a different name. He called it “ directive correlation, ” but it was the same thing .
Now Singer said, “ Let’s look at the world through producer-product instead of cause & effect. What happens ? ” Well, a series of things happen. First of all, if I want phệ explain this oak which I have kết thúc here, what I bởi vì is look for the acorn which produced it. Now I found it. Do I have a complete explanation for the oak ? Of course not. Because it’s not sufficient. Well, what else is necessary mập become sufficient ? Well, what is ? I need a certain amount of moisture, right ? A certain kind of soil with nutrients, & so sánh on. I have a danh sách of the other necessary conditions. The sum of these is called the what ? That’s the environment. Low in the hole. All explanation now requires the environment. We have an environment-full ( not an environment-free ) theory of explanation. Nothing can be understood independently of the environment .
Boy, what a shocker this was ! See, as a child I learned there are lots of universal laws, và the first one I learned is : everything that goes up must come xuống dốc. That’s not true. It’s true within the gravitational pull of Earth. But go out beyond it & it’ll go up ad infinitum. Every law is constrained by the environment within which it applies. There is no such thing as a universal law. They’re all environmentally relative. That was the first consequence of producer-product thinking .
The second one is very technical. It’s what happened phệ determinism, và I can’t take you through that argument, but I want béo give it phệ you by analogy. Have you ever gone abroad và seen a fruit or a vegetable you không bao giờ saw before ? Most of you are shaking your heads — you have. I remember the first giây phút I saw a kiwi many years ago when I visited nước Australia. I’d không bao giờ seen one before. Or a mango, or a papaya — it’s happened béo many of us, at least if you’re my age. Imagine this : somebody from a strange part of the planet visits you và, while visiting you, walks into your dining room table where you have a bowl of fruit on it. And he looks at the fruit và he points at one, và he says, “ My God, what’s that ? I’ve không bao giờ seen one of those before. ” And you look at him in complete surprise và say, “ That’s an orange. ” He says, “ I’ve không bao giờ seen one. What vì you bởi with an orange ? ” You say, “ We eat it. It’s a fruit. ” He says, “ Well, what’s it lượt thích ? ” You say, “ Wait a minute. I’ll show you. ” So you go Khủng the kitchen, you get a knife, take your orange, slice it, cut it in half — & what does he see ? Here’s what he sees. You now have two circles with a trắng strip xuống dốc the middle & the orange segment on both sides. Hold it up mập him. Now, at just about that point in thời gian, your spouse or whoever else occupies your house with you enters your room, và they bởi vì something that’s characteristically annoying. They say, “ What are you doing ? ” And you say, “ He’s chưa bao giờ seen an orange before & he asked me what it’s lượt thích, so sánh I sliced it bự show it béo him. ” Then he or she says, “ Why don’t you slice it the other way ? ” Well, after the profanity is end you figure that, for the sake of peace in the household, you either get another orange or you take the two halves, put them together, và slice the orange the other way. And now what happens ? What I see is this. Same orange, but they’re two entirely different views of it .
Now, Singer showed — & this was in his life work — is that cause và effect is a way of looking at reality. There are an infinite number of ways. Because reality isn’t two-dimensional, it’s multi-dimensional. And every slice through it will give you a different view. And therefore, producer-product is not an alternative lớn cause & effect, but it’s complementary. This is Bohr ’ s principle of complementarity. It’s another way of looking at the universe. And it turns out that when you look at it this way, không lấy phí will, purpose, & choice are compatible. And so sánh he developed a teleological view of the universe, a purposeful one. Versus the deterministic one. And they’re completely compatible. They’re simply two different perspectives on the same thing. The question is : which one is the more useful for what type of research ?
So there we are. Every fundamental belief of the Machine Age has been going through a transformation. It’s still not widely conscious, but we’re gradually catching up with it. And we now see the world differently than we did before. We don’t see it as a machine. We’ve come Khủng recognize that even the machine is a system. But it’s a particular kind of a system. A machine is a system which has no purpose of its own. It has a function, which is Khủng serve the purposes of something external mập it — its god. Now, the universe was seen that way. But so sánh were early businesses. Who was the god of the early business ? The owner who created it. He was present và all-powerful. He could bởi vì any damn thing he wanted. There were no labor laws, no restrictions, no registration. He was God ! And the business existed béo serve his purposes. It had no purpose of its own. And his purpose was what ? To make a profit. And so sánh Milton Friedman, who was always behind times, comes out & says the only legitimate business of business is business. That’s a complete mechanistic view of a business. It’s a machine. And as a machine the business is an instrument of its owners, và the only responsibility of a business is bự maximize the value of the machine béo its shareholders. So Rapoport và Friedman go off on maximizing shareholder value. A machine is a system that has no purpose of its own, và therefore, neither vì its parts .
When von Bertalanffy came along và began his papers in 1930 — but they’re written in German, so sánh they didn’t get known on this side of the Atlantic until the 50 s — he said the organism is a very different kind of a system. It’s a system, but it’s different. Because an organism has purposes of its own. What’s the principal purpose of any organism ? Survival. Right. That’s its purpose. And in order phệ survive it must grow. So we now have a system which is survival-seeking, or viability, và growth is seen as necessary for it. Now, what about its parts, its organs ? They don’t have any purpose, they have a function. See, your heart doesn’t have a purpose of its own, your lungs, your stomach, và your pancreas. They have functions, but not purposes And this exists in an environment that’s a passive receiver of the output of this & its waste, & the supplier of the resources. But you don’t have lớn worry about the environment, it takes care of itself in the biological view .
It’s interesting that, through phút giây, we go through the history of the concept of an enterprise, & you see it went through this transformation right after World War I for a very interesting reason. Up until World War I, most enterprises in the United States were owner-managed, & there were owned either by an individual or a family, & he was god. Unions were just beginning mập appear phệ challenge the power of the owner. But several important things were occurring, lượt thích the education of the workforce. In 1900, the average educational achievement of an American worker was three years. They were barely literate. By World War I, they’d gotten up bự eight years because of public education & so sánh on. But the critical thing that occurred that produced this transformation in the way we looked at an enterprise was the fact that our economy was so sánh healthy that the opportunities for growth exceeded the amount of growth, và enterprise could achieve even by reinvesting all of its profits. That’s important ; let me say that again .
It says if an enterprise took all of its profits & reinvested in its own growth, it still could not grow as fast as possible. And therefore, the fundamental problem confronting the owners of enterprises in this country in the đôi mươi s was : vì I retain exclusive control ? Do I remain God và constrain growth ? Or vì I chia sẻ control with other contributors of capital và unconstrain growth ? Now, the corporations that survived, the companies that survived, you know what they did. They went public. So Ford went public, General Motors went public, all the big corporations went public béo raise the additional capital so sánh they could grow. And in that process God disappeared .
Now, there’s a marvelous passage in the early work of Peter Drucker who recognized all of this. He said God has disappeared. It’s become an abstract spirit out there. And we have created an institution bự facilitate communication between man và God. We’re not the shareholders in the abstract spirit. How, though, bởi the clergy — called managers — know the will of God ? By revelation. But the interesting thing that happens is the whole language of business became biological. The chief executive of a mới nhất firm, the senior manager, got béo be called the what of the firm ? The head, right. Head is a biological concept. You chưa bao giờ talk about the head of a machine. Stafford Beer wrote two wonderful books that I’m sure many of you have read. One’s called The Brain of the Firm & the other’s called The Heart of the Enterprise — biological analogy. The firm was seen that way. “ Firm ” got lớn be called a “ corporation, ” not a company. What’s the stem for corporation ? Corpus. What’s corpus ? Body. Biological .
In World War II, we went through another transformation for a series of reasons. The principal one was this : the bulk of the American workforce was drawn into the military ; they were drafted. Voluntarily or not, và I can attest bự that. At a thời gian when we demanded greater productivity from our industrial machine than we ever had in the past — which means we had béo get substitutes. So who did we get béo substitute for the men who were drawn into the service ? Tilly the tailor, Rosie the riveter. You want bự have fun, go back & look at the movies of World War II. What were they about ? They were all about the feminine heroine who picked up the welding machine Khủng fill the spot that her boyfriend left when he went mập fight the war và kill the enemy, & he eventually returns, & they reunite, & she goes mập her suburban house. There was a whole mythology of the war ; was women were drawn into the workforce, elderly people, & the young. And that was the first thời gian in the history of enterprise that the workforce was not primarily motivated economically. Why ?
Well, you see, when we were inducted in the army, our pay — well, you wouldn’t believe it. $ 21 a month. Now, you couldn’t tư vấn a family on USD 21 a month, even in 1942. But you didn’t have bự, because you got an allowance for each dependent. So your dependents could live above the poverty cấp độ but not luxuriously while you were in the service. You didn’t have mập worry about them và they didn’t have lớn worry. So the people who went béo work in the workforce did not have Khủng work in order Khủng survive. And it was the first workforce that didn’t. And therefore, it had a different attitude towards work. They said, “ If you want me lớn work, you’re going bự have lớn pay attention Khủng me. I am not a machine that you can use as you see fit và discard when I don’t serve your purposes. Because I’m here because of patriotism & loyalty mập a national cause, & you better pay attention ! ” And for the first phút giây, management had phệ begin béo think of the workforce as human beings .
That was augmented in several ways. What kinds of curious things broke out at the kết thúc of the war ? Here’s the corporation, here. Or society. Or a hospital or a school. It’s a system. Now, what happened were two movements. One is : parts of systems began bự organize phệ protest the way that the system was affecting them ; the system of which they’re a part. They said, “ Look, I’ve got purposes of my own. And I want you phệ pay attention Khủng them. And if you don’t I’m going mập screw you up. ” See ? You recognize this ? Of course you bởi. This was the race movement, where minorities protested the way society was serving their interests. It was women’s liberation, where people differentiated by sex were protesting the way society served their interests. It was the generation gap problem. It was the alienation from work problem. A whole series of problems that go under the name “ humanization, ” which had béo bởi vì with the fact that society was becoming aware of the fact that the employed people are human beings with purposes of their own .
Simultaneously, groups who were forming outside were protesting the way that the organization is affecting them và saying, “ You start phệ serve my purposes better or I’ll mess you up. ” You recognize them ? Of course you bởi. That was the ecological movement & the consumerist movement. All of a sudden, managers of systems found themselves confronted with three different levels of purpose. The purpose of the organism itself, the enterprise, the purposes of its parts, và the purposes of the larger system of which it’s a part, & the other systems in that environment. And in none of these levels were the objectives compatible. The nature of management went through a fundamental change. We haven’t caught up with that yet. That’s the problem that confronts management, because they’re still managing biological organisms. They’re still acting as though the corporation is an organism .
Because, you see, what happens is, there are systems that are machines. There are systems that are organisms. And there are systems that are mạng xã hội systems. You can treat a machine as an organism. If you bởi vì, it would be stupid. You don’t treat an automobile as though it has as its objective survival & growth. But you bởi vì treat organisms as though they’re machines. We vì it all the thời gian. So what we bởi vì is : we have a tendency Khủng treat organisms as machines, & even mạng xã hội systems as machines. Now, it has a certain usefulness. But it’s not nearly as useful as looking at a mạng xã hội system as a mạng xã hội system. And the way bự look at an organism và a person is not as a mạng xã hội system, but as an organism. And the way Khủng look at a machine is as a mechanical system. That’s one of the things we’re learning .
One last point, & then let me open the floor for discussion. The Machine Age had the Industrial Revolution as its counterpart. What’s the technological counterpart of the Systems Age ? It’s fascinating, because it goes back lớn about 1850. Remember the definition of work : the application of energy Khủng matter so sánh as Khủng transform the nature of matter. About 1850, we began phệ use electricity as a source of power for the first phút giây. Electricity was known for at least 100 years, but it had been used as a toy. You remember Benjamin Franklin used it with kites lớn goose himself, but … he không bao giờ tried phệ use it productively. But in the middle of the last century we did. When we started Khủng use it we had the problem of measuring it. Now, it turns out that you need mập know how much electricity is flowing through a wire, và you can’t see it. Turns out you can feel it, but that’s quite dangerous. So we had Khủng develop devices which would measure it for us. So what you get is ohmmeters, ammeters, voltmeters — you know, all that stuff .
The interesting thing about those instruments were : they were not machines. Why not ? They had nothing Khủng bởi vì with the application of energy lớn matter béo change the nature of matter. But nobody recognized it. We called them machines. So let’s just accumulate that. What we have are instruments which bởi vì not vì work. What bởi vì they bởi vì ? Well, what they vì is — when a human being does it, we gọi it observation. So that the gas gauge in your oto looks inside the tank & tells you how much gas is there. Believe it or not, when I was a little boy & my father bought his first oto & he wanted bự know how much gas there was, I had Khủng get out, go back, take the cap off, & look in. Great technological advance came a couple of years later when they gave us a wooden stick that I could put in và read the wet mark. Observation is symbol-generation. They were devices which generated symbols. But we thought they’re a machine .
Very shortly thereafter, the telegraph was invented. Then came the telephone, then the wireless, then radio & television, & then the laser. You know that. They weren’t machines. What bởi vì they bởi vì ? They don’t apply energy mập matter. What they vì is transmit symbols. So they’re symbol-transmitting devices. We have a name for that. What bởi you gọi it when a human being transmits symbols ? Communications. So these were observing, these were communicating. Now, for 100 years, these two sat around being treated as though they’re a part of the Industrial Revolution, & it wasn’t until 1946 that we recognized that something fundamental had happened .
What we were doing in effect is building a whole mới nhất culture on an arch that had three stones. We put observation in on one side, then communication, but we didn’t have a keystone until 1946. Now, some people who come from Boston argue that it was here in 1944. That’s not true. It was at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946. And it was called the UNIVAC. The first electronic digital computer, which was not a machine. What is it ? It’s a symbol-manipulating device. But it manipulates symbols according phệ rules, & that’s called logical. So it’s a logical symbol-manipulator .
We have a địa cầu for that, too, but it’s not quite as obvious unless you happen bự know John Dewey. Because John Dewey wrote a book before the computer about the logical manipulation of symbols. You know what he called it ? How We Think. And so sánh it came lớn be called a thinking machine. It was a machine, but of thought .
A very remarkable young lady — remarkable, first of all, because she was a lady & second because she was a professor of philosophy — observed that we had three technologies out there that had one thing in common. What was it ? They all had béo bởi with the manipulation of symbols in one way or another. Her name was Susanne Langer và her book was called Philosophy in a New Key. And she turned attention mập the processing of symbols. Now, remember : synthetic thinking was beginning mập emerge, & so sánh for the first phút giây people began béo ask what happens when you put things together instead of taking them apart ? When you put these three things together, what bởi vì you get ? Lo & behold, what you get is a mind ! See, the first Industrial Revolution was about muscle, about the application of energy phệ transform it. Here’s a whole mới ra công nghệ which is a substitute for mind. Because it communicates, it observes, & it can think. And so sánh automation, rather than mechanization, becomes the key concept of the Postindustrial Revolution, or the Systems Age .

Now, I don’t want Khủng take any more giây phút, but it’s easy bự show that the interest in kiến thiết, & unique, & learning all derive from the same transformation in our concept of the nature of reality. Thank you .

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