• Gary Boyd Concordia University
  • Vladimir Zeman


sustainability, ecology, cultural-symbioses, symviability


The question addressed is:- How can we have pleasant long-term humane, human survival on Earth, given our very potent globally impacting technologies, huge populations and our terrible propensity for solidarity to propagate our own 'pure' quasi-tribal genetic and cultural identities through ruthlessly devastating competition with and suppression of, others' genes and cultures?

What has been tried and why it is not good enough:  We have tried religious visions of peace, love (caritas) and even asceticism. These have indeed appealed to vast numbers of people, but have left them almost defenceless against those whose religious beliefs demand the conversion or extermination of unbelievers. We have also tried bread and circuses - economic growth with fair shares for all, but some humanimals are much more equal than others. The have-nots rebel (Thailand, Jamaica).  Moreover large-scale economic growth without system-sciences based ecological wisdom quickly becomes ecocidal and eventually may be anthropocidal. Mankind's guiding visions have been workable for small populations with primitive technics, but they are proving to be much too simple to enable us to collaboratively steer the complex webs of coupled systems which constitute Life on Earth today. Recently, many people have pushed for notions of "sustainability" a rather ambiguous term, attractive to those with much to lose, but not so attractive to the have-nots of the World. What we propose:  We propose an alternative, systems-sciences based vision that is simple enough to evoke World-wide acceptance and concertation of efforts by educated people, yet complex enough to ensure requisite variety of ventures, strategies, tactics and tools. The vision we call SYMVIABILITY is a vision of both ecological-cultural symbioses and intercultural symbioses World-wide, where each cultural actor appreciates the need to allow and support other cultural actors to live and flourish, providing that they control themselves to do likewise. It is important to eschew the use of "sustainability" which ambiguously allows people to believe that they can somehow manage to sustain whatever they feel identified with, (e.g. SUVs, imported foods and global air-travel etc.), provided that they make small sacrifices and others suffer large ones! . We propose this SYMVIABILITY as a transformative educative ultimate value vision based on methodological pragmatic philosophy and the systems sciences and implemented fairly through discursive legitimation forums representing all stakeholders - the whole to be carried out through global social networking and modelling and simulation games technology.

Author Biography

Gary Boyd, Concordia University

Education Department, full Professor, Educational Technology graduate programmes,   I teach EDUCATIONAL CYBERNETICS, Modelling & Simulations, Global Distance Education. Educational Games. And have been a SGSR/ISSS member for five decades.



How to Cite

Boyd, G., & Zeman, V. (2010). TOWARDS A GLOBAL-SYSTEMS STEERING VISION THAT IS SIMPLE ENOUGH, BUT NOT TOO SIMPLE:- SYMVIABILITY. Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2010, Waterloo, Canada, 54(1). Retrieved from