Complexity and exchange with the environment enhance the individuality and therefore also the consciousness of systems.
Erich Jantsch was an Austrian-born American astrophysicist, engineer, educator, author, consultant, futurist, and systems theorist especially known for his work in the social systems design movement in Europe in the 1970s. He was a leading figure in the field of complexity science and is best known for his work on self-organizing systems and the concept of autopoiesis.
Jantsch lectured widely in Europe, North and South America, Near East and Japan. He was visiting lecturer of Planning and Research Planner of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley. In 1974, Jantsch stayed at the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, "where he was one of the first distinguished residents invited by the Rockefeller Foundation". He was also Research Associate at MIT, where he studied the future of MIT and the American University.
He was also an advisor to twenty governments, several international organizations, and research institutes. Among others he was "consultant to the Directorate of Scientific Development of the O.E.C.D. and as a member of the executive committee of the Club of Rome." As consultant to OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development); prepared studies on the world food problem, technological forecasting, higher education, etc. In 1971 he was the Austrian delegate to the first session of the UN Committee on Natural Resources.
June 1, 1976
Evolution and Consciousness is one of the first, still rare, truly transdisciplinary books: it deals with a totality, not a sector of it. Therefore, it defies any disciplinary labeling. It is a scientific book, yet also deals with topics until now reserved for books of mysticism and poetry. It bridges the gap between science and other forms of knowledge. It deals not just with scientific questions, but with existential questions which concern all mankind, such as the meaning of life and the evolutionary significance of human design and action. It challenges the whole dominant Western world view: process thinking instead of structural thinking, dynamic instead of static, evolution instead of permanency.
January 15, 1980
≈ 10.9 hours
The evolution of the universe—ranging from cosmic and biological to sociocultural evolution—is viewed in terms of the unifying paradigm of self-organization. The contours of this paradigm emerge from the synthesis of a number of important concepts, and provide a scientific foundation to a new world-view which emphasizes process over structure, nonequilibrium over equilibrium, evolution over permanency, and individual creativity over collective stabilization. The book, with its emphasis on the interaction of microstructures with the entire biosphere, ecosystems etc., and on how micro- and macrocosmos mutually create the conditions for their further evolution, provides a comprehensive framework for a deeper understanding of human creativity in a time of transition.