Towards a Systems based Spiritual Philosophy for the 21st century


  • Victor Ronald David MacGill


spirituality, complexity, philosophy,


Papernumber: 001 (Assigned by Journal editor) Towards a Systems based Spiritual Philosophy for the 21st century Victor MacGill 12 Marama Street Musselburgh Dunedin New Zealand In the Western World over the last 300 years or so, spirituality has become a casualty in the development of human knowledge. Traditional Christian religion has tended to become rigid in its formulation, maintaining a worldview that sees the earth as the centre of the universe and ‘man’ as God’s special creation given dominion over the earth and everything in it. Reductionist science has taken us to the opposite extreme, seeing the world as a mere rock in an obscure and unimportant part of the cosmos brought into being by sheer random events. Both traditional religion and reductionist science separate us from the world we live in and see the earth and everything in it as available for our use as we please. These views have led to immense levels of pain and destruction at all levels of being. We need a new vision that returns our dignity as human beings so we can truly play our role as integral parts of a bountiful planet and a meaningful universe. There are many other spiritual visions that have been with us for thousands of years that retain our links to the environment and have much to offer us and may help us regain our balance. We can incorporate aspects of these forms of ancient wisdom into our vision for this new century. Systems Theory introduces a new way of looking at the world where we recognise that the old ways of separating ourselves from our world will no longer work. We must accept our place in nature and acknowledge and work with the complexity that is inherent at all levels of our existence. The new science of Systems Theory may help provide a framework for such a worldview and guide us as we co-create a spiritual vision to lead us into the extremely challenging 21st century. A systems view embeds us firmly within nature and places a responsibility on us to work appropriately with each other and with our natural environment. It gives us a place of dignity in our world. A systems based approach recognises the place of chaos in our lives and gives us the hope of emergent possibilities of what we can become. This paper explores these ideas and develops some principles that may help see how Systems Theory might play its role in redefining ourselves for the coming years.

Author Biography

Victor Ronald David MacGill

Victor is not attached to any institution, but has followed an interest in complex systems for the last 13 years.



How to Cite

MacGill, V. R. D. (2009). Towards a Systems based Spiritual Philosophy for the 21st century. Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2009, Brisbane, Australia, 1(1). Retrieved from