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Preface of the Book "The Art of interconnected Thinking"

The Art of Networked Thinking - Ideas and Tools for a New Dealing with Complexity

('Die Kunst vernetzt zu denken - Ideen und Werkzeuge für einen neuen Umgang mit Komplexität', dtv München 9. Aufl. 2013)

The Report to the Club of Rome by Frederic Vester

Preface of the book by Ricardo Díez Hochleitner, former President of the Club of Rome
We are now all generally aware of the fact that we are living in a complex world. This concept of complexity is one to which we therefore spontaneously have recourse when we are called on to describe the situation around us today. Whenever we find ourselves face to face with a problem, and it does seem as if the number of problems we have to face is increasing all the time, we tend to attribute it to the complexity of life today and our inability to cope with it.

Do we have the right approach to complexity, do we really understand what it is? Man's attempt to learn how to deal with complexity more efficiently by means of storing and evaluating ever more information with the help of electronic data processing is proving increasingly to be the wrong approach. We are certainly able to accumulate an immense amount of knowledge, yet this does not help us to understand better the world we are living in; quite the contrary, this flood of information merely exacerbates our lack of understanding and serves to make us feel insecure. In spite of all these considerations, man should not become the slave of complexity but its master.

Ever since the first report on The Limitations of Growth was submitted to the Club of Rome in 1972 we have been aware of the fact that mankind is living in a natural system which has only limited resources, a system in which we are not free to do just as we want when the very existence of society is in danger. Whether or not we act, or fail to act, in one spot on the globe will automatically have some effects on other regions; there are no such things as problems in far-off places in the global village of today. Our actions, or failure to act, today can influence the living conditions of future generations.

It is thanks to our colleague Frederic Vester, who has consistently used biocybernetics as a startingpoint for all his research for years, that we have been shown a way in which we can create living conditions for mankind which make sustainability feasible.

Frederic Vester's book does not only introduce the reader in a very clear and readily comprehensible way to the basic scientific theories behind the logical thought processes necessary, he also provides a workshop report, based on years of practical experience, which offers a fascinating overview of the various different instruments of learning which are available to us all but which will be of particular use to those people responsible for making decisions in industry, society and politics in order to create a better environment. Vester refers to his sensitivity model, which he has practised for many years and which has made it possible to establish strategies for systematic planning and action to solve problems in many areas.

Frederic Vester quite justifiably refers to this as an art; he quotes many examples of the limitations to be faced when trying to analyse complexity successfully. The important thing is to be able to grasp the realities of a situation intuitively, almost artistically, with the help of patterns that are sometimes blurred. This book intils in us a feeling for complexity and provides us with many ideas as to how each of us can make creative use of complexity in his own particular sphere of responsibility in order to secure the future of mankind.

This book will have a very stimulating effect on our work in the Club of Rome. We sincerely hope the author and his message will meet with the same good response that his previous publications received. May his book find many interested readers, particularly, however, among people who will actively put some of the ideas into practice.

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