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Living, Becoming, Process Philosophy: Systems Thinking in Time (ST-ON 2022-01-10)

System thinking, coming from roots in mainstream Western philosophy, tends to orient towards (i) thinking in space,  before (ii) thinking in time.  Structure is an arrangement in space.  Process is an arrangement in time.  A critical systems perspective leads us to think about inclusion within boundaries.  Does this lead us to overlook boundaries in time?

Living systems are a subtype of systems in general.  The capability for autonomous movement might lead us towards a philosophy of “becoming with” as “becoming alongside”.  This can lead us towards a challenging shift towards process philosophy.

Participants in Systems Thinking Ontario session were invited to discuss, and potentially reframe their view of systems.

This video has been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
January 10
(1h32m)
[20220110_ST-ON LivingBecomingProcessPhilosophy_FHD.m4v]
(FHD 954kbps 718MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was transcoded from the video into MP3.

Audio
January 10
(1h32m)
[20220110_ST-ON LivingBecomingProcessPhilosophy.mp3]
(34.1MB)

A short presentation provided some shared context for discussion.

Agenda:

  • A. Some Systems Thinking Basics
  • B. Hawk (1999):  Change of state vs. State of change
  • C. Ingold (2000): Temporality of the Landscape
  • D. Nayak & Chia (2011):  Process Philosophy
  • E. Discussion

Some who attended the session have read Process and Reality, by Alfred North Whitehead.  I haven’t. (It’s difficult!)  I’m leaning more on readings theorizing living systems.

Here is the content from the original announcement.

Structure is an arrangement in space.… Read more (in a new tab)

System thinking, coming from roots in mainstream Western philosophy, tends to orient towards (i) thinking in space,  before (ii) thinking in time.  Structure is an arrangement in space.  Process is an arrangement in time.  A critical systems perspective leads us to think about inclusion within boundaries.  Does this lead us to overlook boundaries in time?

Living systems are a subtype of systems in general.  The capability for autonomous movement might lead us towards a philosophy of “becoming with” as “becoming alongside”.  This can lead us towards a challenging shift towards process philosophy.

Participants in Systems Thinking Ontario session were invited to discuss, and potentially reframe their view of systems.

This video has been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
January 10
(1h32m)
[20220110_ST-ON LivingBecomingProcessPhilosophy_FHD.m4v]
(FHD 954kbps 718MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was transcoded from the video into MP3.

Audio
January 10
(1h32m)
[20220110_ST-ON LivingBecomingProcessPhilosophy.mp3]
(34.1MB)

A short presentation provided some shared context for discussion.

Agenda:

  • A. Some Systems Thinking Basics
  • B. Hawk (1999):  Change of state vs. State of change
  • C. Ingold (2000): Temporality of the Landscape
  • D. Nayak & Chia (2011):  Process Philosophy
  • E. Discussion

Some who attended the session have read Process and Reality, by Alfred North Whitehead.  I haven’t. (It’s difficult!)  I’m leaning more on readings theorizing living systems.

Here is the content from the original announcement.

Structure is an arrangement in space.… Read more (in a new tab)

A philosophy of “becoming with” as “becoming alongside”

In foundational research, I went through a philosophical shift from “being” (in the sense of Hubert Dreyfus’ reading of Heidegger) towards “becoming”  — as I was writing a finalization of Open Innovation Learning in Chapter 9.  As I reflect more, my view of systems as living can be expressed as “becoming with“, and more precisely “becoming alongside“.

This is influenced not so much directly from philosophy, but from the ecological anthropology of Tim Ingold, as indicated in “Anthropology Beyond Humanity” in 2013.

I conclude with just two proposals.

First, every animate being is fundamentally a going on in the world. Or more to point, to be animate — to be alive — is to become. And as Haraway (2008: 244) stresses, ‘becoming is always becoming with—in a contact zone where the outcome, where who is in the world, is at stake’.

Thus whether we are speaking of human or other animals, they are at any moment what they have become, and what they have become depends on whom they are with. If the Saami have reindeer on the brain, it is because they have grown up with them, just as the reindeer, for their part, have grown up with the sounds and smells of the camp.  [….]

My preference […] would be to think of animate beings in the grammatical form of the verb. Thus ‘to human’ is a verb, as is ‘to baboon’ and ‘to reindeer’.

Read more (in a new tab)

In foundational research, I went through a philosophical shift from “being” (in the sense of Hubert Dreyfus’ reading of Heidegger) towards “becoming”  — as I was writing a finalization of Open Innovation Learning in Chapter 9.  As I reflect more, my view of systems as living can be expressed as “becoming with“, and more precisely “becoming alongside“.

This is influenced not so much directly from philosophy, but from the ecological anthropology of Tim Ingold, as indicated in “Anthropology Beyond Humanity” in 2013.

I conclude with just two proposals.

First, every animate being is fundamentally a going on in the world. Or more to point, to be animate — to be alive — is to become. And as Haraway (2008: 244) stresses, ‘becoming is always becoming with—in a contact zone where the outcome, where who is in the world, is at stake’.

Thus whether we are speaking of human or other animals, they are at any moment what they have become, and what they have become depends on whom they are with. If the Saami have reindeer on the brain, it is because they have grown up with them, just as the reindeer, for their part, have grown up with the sounds and smells of the camp.  [….]

My preference […] would be to think of animate beings in the grammatical form of the verb. Thus ‘to human’ is a verb, as is ‘to baboon’ and ‘to reindeer’.

Read more (in a new tab)
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