The ISSS conference launched with an inspiring talk by Humberto Maturana and Ximena Davila. They shared their perspective on the nature of being human and how we can make better choices as to the future we want to live as well as our responsibility as stewards of the natural environment. Important to their perspective of being is the need to inquire and reflect on what we do and why, as they noted the nature of being arises through the doing. Language and our ability to share stories and make sense of them gives us the ability to create new narratives, new actions, and new ways of being together in the world. As we work together to create transformative change, Maturana noted that a critical part of our conversation and decision-making must clarify what we want to conserve. The conversation about what we want to conserve will increase our awareness of the waste that is present within our lives and systems.
We live in a time of increasing complexity. Those who study the systems sciences would agree that systems thinking is a way to understand the nature of the complexity and take action individually and collectively to address the complex systemic problems that surround us. Forming and joining learning communities that engage systems thinking is an important first step. Learning communities need to be held in care, nurtured as living systems, and fed with information and other resources so that energy can flow freely … be containers for ethical, socially-conscious work that can address the complex problems and great opportunities that face us in the 21st century.