The complexity and directions of Ancient-Modern East-West systems thinking



  • Thomas Sui Leung WONG Ancient Balance Medicine Education Center Ltd
  • EC HUANG Ancient Balance Medicine Research Institute


Unity in Diversity多樣性統一, General Systems Theory GST 廣義系統論, TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine 中醫學, Confucianism-Buddhism-Taoism-TCM 儒釋道醫, Ancient-Modern East-West systems thinkings 古今中外系統思維


ISSS has been interested in the Ancient-Modern East-West systems thinking for many years, and in 2016 established the first Larry Goldberg memorial award for the integral East-West systems thinking. When the different kinds of Ancient, modern, east, west systems thinking meet, they themselves become a complex system. We now wish to explore the possibility of employing systems thinking itself to deal with this Ancient-Modern East-West complex system of different theories, enabling them to integrate with each other harmoniously, and consequently creating new systems as applications to cope with modern wicked problems. What are the possible directions of research in such an area? We hope to gather together great systems scientists to interact with the new systems thinkers for new systems and new knowledge to emerge. We started with the investigation of the systemic theories within Traditional Chinese Medicine, and under the guidance of ISSS, we were able to refine our TCM model in the direction of both how the human system works, and how to diagnose and fine tune the human body for stability and efficiency. In the process of trying to understand more on the methodology, we received personal tuitions from professionals of ISSS in understanding System of Systems processes, Duality theory, Relational-Theory, VSM, Schemas Theory, and other GSTs. We discovered that all these modern GST have structures and functions similar to that of the theories of TCM and other ancient Chinese general theories in the teachings of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Lately we even found that these similarities also exist in an ancient western theory, namely the Jewish Tree of Life theory. In the research of TCM and WM, we encountered the properties and disadvantages of reductionist thinking. The reductionistic approach to problems is to go far into the left side of the spectrum and employ the findings to represent the whole spectrum. Spectrum has two sides and any point on it exists only on a relative basis. However, reductionist treat the left side of the findings to be absolute. On the other hand, systems sciences found that going into the other side of the spectrum would produce many layers of additional emergence effect, which makes the situation more and more complex. Our research discovered different spectrums such as microscopic vs macroscopic and objective vs subjective. However, it would be equally disadvantaged if the findings on the right side of the spectrum is to be employed to represent the whole spectrum or any specific point of the spectrum. We wish to invite your input and discussion on our work, and to share with us your findings related to Ancient-Modern East-West systems thinking. We hope to eventually formulate a possible systemic workshop to go through this Innovation and Continuous Improvement process. The objective is to design and implement some prototypes for different systems scientists and systems learners to work and integrate, forming a possible Ancient-Modern East-West Systems Thinking Special Integration Group SIG, which hopefully could provide information and knowledge for other SIG to develop their theories as well.


Author Biographies

Thomas Sui Leung WONG, Ancient Balance Medicine Education Center Ltd

Lecturer, Ancient Balance Medicine Education Center Ltd. 
Researcher, Ancient Balance Medicine Research Institute.
1999 - Master of Engineering in Telecommunications (by research), Australia Telecommunication Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Australia.
1998 - Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of TCM, China. Include one year full-time internship in Guangdong Provincial hospital of TCM at different departments.
1992 - Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology with first class honours (by research), University of Western Australia, Australia.

EC HUANG, Ancient Balance Medicine Research Institute

Researcher -  Ancient Balance Medicine Research Institute