Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2008, Madison, Wisconsin, Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the ISSS

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Tom Mandel


Ludwig von Bertalanffy, in the very last sentence of the last chapter of his book General System Theory wrote: “Note 7. Notice the theological motive in Leibniz’s invention of the binary system. It represented Creation since any number can be produced by a combination of “something” (1) and “nothing” (0). But has this antithesis metaphysical reality, or is it but an expression of linguistic habits of the mode of action of our nervous system?” (von Bertalanffy 1969)
It is posited in this paper that such a principle does in fact have a metaphysical reality. It exists not only in the conceptual schemes of humankind as a fundamental principle of that conceptual process, “an expression of linguistic habits…” but also in nature as the primary principle of structural co-operation a.k.a. synergy or the integrative system.
In this paper I will discuss the complementary (a.k.a. system) as an artifact of our conceptualization process as well as provide examples of the metaphysical reality by which nature works together at all levels of existence. This principle is not to be confused with a “Theory of Everything” which is, in principle, impossible because, in short, any thing cannot be everything. However, there can be and is a principle of how everything works as exemplified in the concept of a minimal system. (Schwarz 1995) In short, there is no "General System Theory" but there is a "General System Principle". That principle stated implicitly is “working together.”

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