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The Patterns That Connect: Systems Thinking and Networked Thought

March 17, 2021 at 4:00 pm EDT

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Fellow Interintellect Alex Yao explores the importance of systems thinking and networked thought for tackling complex problems.

“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

— Leonardo Da Vinci

When we follow our curiosity of a subject to its limits, we find that there are overlaps in our knowledge with other disciplines. If we allow ourselves to explore those connections and patterns, we eventually realize that everything connects to everything else. It becomes a way of life to think in this way, to find the patterns that connect, where our ideas multiply because of the many unique connections we make between them. And with each new technological advancement, we are able to expand our own intelligence because our thoughts and ideas and connections become amplified by the tools that we use.

“We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human feel for a situation usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.”

— Douglas Engelbart

As we look at the upcoming and current challenges of the next century, we can see that most, if not all of them, are systems-based problems, including health, climate change, wealth inequality, and food insecurity. Buckminster Fuller proposes a reframing of culture to “get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous social behaviors that will avoid extinction.”

What subjects capture our curiosity? How do these interests overlap with each other? How can these patterns be applied to understand the complex systems that we live in and interact with on a daily basis?

As we enter the new decade, how do we handle the complexity and proliferation of digital systems and information? What frameworks can we use to view the world? What new tools will change the way we collaborate and communicate with each other?

In this Interintellect Salon, we’ll be exploring these questions to understand how we can use systems thinking and networked thought to start to tackle systems-level problems in our society.

We hope you can join us. – Salon Host Alex Yao

Reading List:

  • https://philosophynow.org/issues/134/The_Mind_of_Leonardo_da_Vinci
  • https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/03/08/buckminster-fuller-synergetics/
  • http://papers.cumincad.org/data/works/att/acadia10_125.content.pdf
  • https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1945/07/as-we-may-think/303881/
  • https://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/vannevar-bush
  • https://nesslabs.com/networked-thinking
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_amplification

Time zones:

  •  1 pm in San Francisco
  • 4 pm in New York
  • 9 pm in London
  • 10 pm in Berlin


March 17, 2021
4:00 pm EDT
Salon Category:




Alex Yao