Asilomar 1999

Asilomar 1999: The 43rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

Asilomar Conference Centre Asilomar Pacific Grove [Monterey] California.
June 27th - July 2nd 1999


View the original web pages from 1999.

Bela Antal Banathy: ISSS President

During the past few centuries we have achieved a remarkable synthesis of science and technology. We have been less successful in establishing a graceful or even workable relationship between nature, humanity, science, and technology. It is becoming increasingly important for us to ask the fundamental questions that will lead to an understanding of these relationships.

Unique to our age is the massive scale at which we are applying science and technology to the construction of our physical, social, and cultural reality. However, our approach to the construction of these realities is fragmented. A distinguishing feature of the next millennium must be a more systemic view of science and technology. A view that gives full expression to the creative energy of the human spirit upon which the information age can be built.

A disciplined approach to engaging our creative energy calls for a level of understanding that crosses the boundaries between the humanities, the arts, the sciences, and technologies. It certainly calls for a re-examination of science, one that embraces different ways of knowing, and different ways of being. The boundary-crossings may well be rooted in our humanity, in our conceptions of aesthetics, justice, morality, and ethics.

The above discussion echoes the sentiments of the founders of ISSS. Some 44 years ago a group of systems thinkers asked: How can science be unified? How can science be applied to the improvement of the human condition? Since the time when these questions were asked, humanity has achieved a remarkable synthesis of science and technology. Some fragmentation has been overcome; however, significant, and deep-rooted fragmentation remains. It may well be that in order for us to take the next step, the original questions should be rephrased to read: How can the improvement of the human condition become the basis for the unification of science? How can the unification of science become the basis for the improvement of the human condition?