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Chapter Ten: The Systems Stage

Section 2: The Quest


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Around every mode is a distribution. The evidence for a next stage is most likely to be found in the great intellectual works of modern times. Which humans have seen problems that were not apparent to others? Which humans have synthesized longstanding competing theoretical frameworks?



Einstein, Piaget and Levi-Strauss, to name three of an inestimable number, can be considered members of our new cognitive elite. All three have dramatically revised the way we do or will think about their respective subject matters. Interestingly enough, they emphasize the importance of the concept of "structure" and comprehending the relations between the knower and the known. The astute reader will recognize Piaget's Structuralism, Bertallanfy's General Systems Theory, and, to a lesser extent, chapter two on the Genetic Structuralist Framework, are attempts to characterize the essentials of this fifth stage. It is thus fair to characterize this fifth stage as "the genetic structuralist (GS)" stage or the "systems" stage.



Accepting that there is a systems stage beyond formal operations, it becomes necessary to determine what human qualities it makes possible. It would be interesting to examine the members of our current "hall of fame" to determine what individual strengths, system competencies, and senses of purpose and identity correspond to the cognitive achievement. However, it must be remembered that these achievers attained their levels without the systematic support that societies have provided for the earlier stages. It is possible that these unsupported accomplishments would remain somewhat narrower in scope than would be possible if the educational system were designed to promote systems thinking in all realms. Furthermore, since these pinnacles share a rarefied social atmosphere, we are unlikely to see what social possibilities might be achieved through stage five peer interaction.



In lieu of the case study method, we will extrapolate from the relations between cognitive level and other competencies described in prior chapters to those that might pertain at the systems stage. We will examine the ramifications of Systems thinking on the human qualities discussed in chapter six. It is assumed that the trust-related individual strengths are only indirectly affected by the new reasoning powers. The intellectual ramifications are implicit in the impressive products of the great people discussed above. The next section examines the moral possibilities of system thinking. The social competencies of communication and conflict resolution are subordinated to the mastery of the concept of "culture", Leadership is considered in the next chapter on society and education. Identity and purpose are fused in the concluding section of this chapter.







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Transcultural Friendship: Our Political Future


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