All of our organizations, Job One for Humanity, the Universe Institute, and Universe Spirit all use and strongly recommend learning the new skill of dialectical meta-systemic thinking. We called this new thinking system dialectical meta-systemic thinking because we initially used it to look over and analyze the many complex systems and subsystems interacting within the interconnected processes of evolution and within the climate system.
We found the 28 unique dialectical perspectives perfect for dissecting, analyzing, and seeing order and prediction possibilities within the incredibly dense complexity of the processes of evolution and the climate. Dialectical meta-systemic thinking is also called dialectical thinking by the author of two excellent dialectical thinking books, Otto Laske.
Dialectical meta-systemic thinking is not only for evaluating the very highest levels of human capacity, potentials, and even abilities. For deep analysis and prediction, we have found it to be an invaluable tool well beyond the use of classic logic and systems theory by themselves.
The critical executives, analysts, and lead politicians within the following organizations would be well advised to get trained in this new thinking skill as soon as possible:
The world's governments, the military, national intelligence agencies, national hedge funds, investment banks (like Goldman Sachs,) stock and commodity market executives, the most prominent foundations, think tanks, national and international reserve banks, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and trans-national mega-corporations.
Dialectical meta-systemic thinking is the critical add-on thinking skill to logic and systems theory for anyone in high-level decision-making and critical analysis, evaluation, or prediction-related positions in today's ever more complex adaptive systems-loaded world. It allows you to "freeze" the essential moments within almost any continually evolving or fixed situation or problem and see it from 28 unique perspectives. Moreover, these 28 unique perspectives can't help but deepen your understanding of the essential factors at play in almost any situation, problem-solving or predictive challenge.
Individuals who have mastered the challenging skills of dialectical meta-systemic thinking have a significantly unfair advantage over those who do not. One could even say that it would be very difficult to aspire to a true genius-level of analysis or prediction without this new thinking still.
More About Dialectical Meta-systemic Thinking
The headline of this article is one that should naturally stimulate healthy doubt.
In the 1600s during the Enlightenment there was a major breakthrough in thinking; rational, logical thought and its accompanying scientific methodology came into being. This allowed for a new way of conceptualizing and managing the world. Even now, 400 years later, we continue to reap the bountiful benefits of that great breakthrough in a new way of thinking. Today we are also on the brink of what might be considered an even greater Second Enlightenment. It is coming into being aided in great part because of a new dialectical meta-systemic thinking process that is far more capable than logic and systems theory by themselves of managing today's personal, economic, and political interacting and evolutionary complex adaptive systems.
With the existing knowledge of the evolutionary theory movement and the new dialectical meta-systemic thinking tools in Otto Laske's book Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems, we will get there far sooner. Within its pages, readers will find an effective, near-complete overview of the newest super-systemic dialectical thinking processes that may be applied to today's problems and to the interactions of any of the complex systems of our world.
While the rational logical thinking of the first Enlightenment was two-dimensional and linear, with the advent of systems theory we became three-dimensional thinkers. The new dialectical meta-systems thinking elucidated in Laske's book is what I call four-dimensional thinking. (Three dimensions plus time.) It also allows one to deal with unpredictable spontaneities, nonlinear and unknown feedback loops, and a host of other issues that arise with multiple and single dialectically interacting complex systems.
The information in Measuring Hidden Dimensions also shows a person how to step outside of their own thoughts, problems, or issues in order to consider them objectively by using twenty-eight different thought-forms for redirecting attention creating four-dimensional dialectical thinking. The ability to think in a meta whole systems interacting way is clearly a huge advantage in all areas of life and is far more effective in dealing with today's multisystem complex problems. Dialectical meta-systemic thinking is an essential tool in understanding the complexity of the universe's evolutionary processes.
It's no exaggeration to say that Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems may be the best book yet written about the evolution of cognition and the evolution and development of human thinking in general. While Laske stands on the shoulders of the giants of dialectical thinking like Hegel, Adorno, and Jaques he is a rare genius who has not only explained the development of thought through the seamless integration of multiple perspectives and frameworks, including psychology, science and, indirectly, the mystical core of theology, he has also significantly advanced it. Powerful life and world-rearranging epiphanies by the bucketful await the conscious reader of this 4D revolution in dialectical meta-systemic thinking.
Laske's complex systems dialectical thinking process provides a well thought- out "thinking" agency that is needed for any optimized decision-making process that results in wise action, thus creating the better future we all seek. There is little doubt that someday learning the dialectical meta-systemic thinking skills using Laske's 28 attention-redirecting thought forms will be an educational requirement for all in advanced decisional or predictive positions of any kind!
This book has personally allowed me to integrate a vast amount of observations about my life and my climate science and evolution theory work in less time than I ever imagined possible. It even helped me to evaluate complex personal situations in my life in a whole new way, either saving me untold trouble and cost and more quickly motivating me to take wise risks and seize new opportunities that hold real dialectically- evaluated benefits.
Adoption of this new dialectical meta-systemic thinking system would work wonders for the Evolutionary movement as well. A well-defined and complete evolutionary dialectical meta-systemic thinking system has been until now the main element that has been lacking to effectively resolve the challenges of the multiple complex systems interacting in our world today. Laske's new book provides exactly that missing element. There is little doubt that this work will eventually spread within other progressive social and activist movements as well.
Laske's book is nothing less than a true gift to humanity! In time, he will be eventually recognized as the man who did much to help bring about and forward a second great Enlightenment. As amazing as it is, however, this book also poses a few challenges to its readers.
Although Laske says that anyone can be taught complex systems dialectical thinking, I think that this book is a difficult read for many individuals. Laske's writing style is concept-dense and demands that you pay careful attention to each initial definition that he uses. In one paragraph alone he may take you through a dozen or more interrelated or sequential new thinking conceptual spaces. In addition to the implied high cognitive capacity requirements, there may be social and emotional development requirements that also play a part in one's ability to understand and "get" this amazing new dialectical meta-systemic thinking training manual and tool.
Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems was written more as an aid to human resources staff and as a training manual for coaches who will use this new kind of thinking to help their clients see the world much differently in order to make far better decisions. That said, anyone with a little extra observational effort will find it useful as a manual for learning the new dialectical meta-systemic thinking processes.
Individuals with a strong background in developmental psychology will be in heaven and probably find the book considerably easier to understand. "Getting" Laske's new book on dialectical meta-systemic thinking will quickly separate the Evolutionary beginners and aficionados from the experts, qualified teachers, and dedicated practitioners.
Whether you're an Evolutioneer, or a corporate, government, or non-profit sector leader, I wholeheartedly recommend that you get this book fast. The news is spreading via word-of-mouth: this book is a must-read for anyone, who believes that optimized thinking processes is the best way to create success in almost any area. This book plus Dialectical Thinking and Adult Development by Michael Basseches hopefully, will find its way into all of the planet's most critical thinking applications where one is dealing with the analysis of multiple complex systems interacting with each other.
Our organization highly recommends learning Dialectical Meta-Systemic thinking skills. It is a complex and advanced service that we have chosen to best leave with its originator, Prof. Otto Laske, and his InterDevelopmental Institute as well as other friends of our organization who are teaching their own variants of this vital skill set.
The above review was written by Lawrence Wollersheim in January 2009
Executive Director at several organizations using dialectical meta-systemic thinking.
Job One for Humanity,
Universe Spirit, and
the Universe Institute.
Important Book Review Update January 25, 2022
Please note: After working with many individuals trying to grasp the need for such seeming complex thinking skills, I have come to realize more needed to be said about the value of Otto Laske's book Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems.
1. Individuals under 27 will not fully grasp these techniques because their brains have not yet developed enough synaptic connections between the neurons in their brains.
2. Individuals need high intellectual bandwidth and capacity to use these thinking skills successfully.
3. Dialectal meta-systemic analysis allows you to take any situation or problem and literally track and predict its actual and potential evolution by viewing its exact moment or situation from 28 highly enlightening perspectives. These are generally little-known perspectives inherent in the dialectical evolutionary process itself. Thinking with these shills means you will see the ongoing evolutionary change that surrounds us all at much higher levels than almost anyone who has not mastered these skills.
Let me expand what I mean here so that more worldwide decision-makers, evaluators, planners, and predictive futurists grasp the value of the thinking breakthroughs in this book. The dialectal meta-systemic analysis method allows one to look at a situation from 28 unique dialectical perspectives relating to the contexts, relationships, processes, and transformations taking place or possible within that situation and its system-related relationships.
A metaphor for the fantastic levels of deep and broad insight and perspectives available for an individual with dialectical meta-systemic thinking skills could be helpful before you start. For example, suppose you are above average intelligence with logical thought processes, and you have not studied complex adaptive systems theory or dialectical meta-systemic thinking.
In that case, you will see the many interacting, interconnected, and interdependent systems such as human, climate, and biological systems at the ancient "computer screen" resolution and clarity of about 480 dots per inch (DPI.) This low intellectual viewing resolution means you will not as quickly see all of the points of no return, crossed critical tipping points, destructive feedback loops, etc. However, if you also understand complex adaptive systems theory, you will see the information below at a much higher 1,200 DPI "computer screen" clarity and resolution.
Understanding logic, complex adaptive systems theory, and dialectal meta-systemic thinking theory will allow you to see information at an astounding 8,000 DPI "computer screen" clarity and resolution. That huge numeric DPI difference gives you an idea of how much better you will be able to see the reality in front of you once you learn dialectal meta-systemic thinking.
The better your "computer screen resolution" and clarity because of the more image dots per inch factor, the more fully and precisely you will see the many details occurring within the interactions, interconnections, interdependencies, points of no return, destructive feedback loops, nonlinear effects, and crossed tipping point interactions, etc. in the evolution of multiple interacting complex systems.
How I (Lawrence Wollersheim) use the dialectical meta systemic thinking skill
My focus in using this new thinking skill is to use it to analyze a situation, crisis, or problem and predict possible solutions or consequences for that situation. I also use this new thinking and analysis skill to:
1. review climate science for both errors and unseen patterns within existing climate research,
2. re-analyise existing authoritative climate consequence predictions, timeframes, and remedies for errors, and
3. review evolutionary science for both errors and unseen patterns within that research.
The first thing I do to start this process is immerse myself totally in all the information from a systems' perspective for what is going on. I make myself fully present to the data with no distractions.
I then re-look at the situation, crisis, or problem from each of the 28 dialectical perspectives. I flow chart out and think as deeply as possible about how each of the 28 dialectical perspectives could be affecting the situation, crisis, or problem or how it might influence its future consequences or outcomes.
After this complete and extensive dialectical immersion in all of the data related to the situation, I then step back and go off and do something completely unrelated to this work. What happens next is quite remarkable.
Spontaneously and without effort, while either awake or sleeping, the target situation and its many dynamics will come back to me in unique, complete epiphanies and cognitions. These sudden epiphanies synthesize the information in new or more holistic ways that I did not see earlier in the process of deep analysis and flowcharting.
When talking with another individual who has also become adept in this new thinking skill, their experience of the process was not dissimilar.
Please take the time to read these other useful reviews of this era-shifting new thinking and analysis process below.
For US Training in Dialectical Meta-Systemic Thinking aka Dialectical Thinking
To explore the on-line training in dialectic thinking offered by Otto Laske at IDM, the Interdevelopmental Institute in Gloucester, MA, USA, it’s best to explore three sections of the IDM website:
- Services, https://interdevelopmentals.org/?page_id=4321
- Publications, https://interdevelopmentals.org/?page_id=1974
- Blogs, https://interdevelopmentals.org/?page_id=4831
Services tells you what you can do right now to learn dialectical thinking.
Publications informs you that there are three book sources for learning dialectical thinking (as well as that dialectical thinking cannot be learned from books but only in small cohorts of like-minded people):
- MHD volume 2, entitled Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems: Foundations of Requisite Organization (2008; 3rd edition 2021; section C of https://interdevelopmentals.org/?page_id=1974)
- DTFM, Dialectical Thought Form Manual, 2010; 3rd edition 2021; section C ofhttps://interdevelopmentals.org/?page_id=1974
- Dialectical Thinking for Integral Leaders, Integral Publisher 2015, https://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Thinking-Integral-Leaders-Primer/dp/0990441997
Those who plan to study dialectics at IDM can prepare themselves for joining a cohort by purchasing ‘Gateway self-study’ materials at https://interdevelopmentals.org/?page_id=1974, Section B1 (English) or Section B2 (German & Spanish) for $50. This will help them ‘tune into’ the subject matter taught by Otto in small cohorts of 5-7 participants.
Blogs are a treasure trove of articles by Otto Laske including articles about his most recent thinking. They comprise his writings back to 2000, in a concentrated fashion collected in the ‘Social Science Archive I to VI’ that includes many pertinent articles on dialectical thinking and its applications, especially in organizations.
Right now, the publications listed under (a) and (b) above are out of print and therefore only available in pdf form via Paypal. However, in the Spring of 2022, Wolfgang Pabst, the German science publisher, will bring out a complete reprint of DTFM (in English), as well as of MHD volume 1, subtitled ‘The Art and Science of Fully Engaging Adults’, a refinement of R. Kegan’s social-emotional thinking.
To explore the training in dialectic met-systemic thinking in the UK offered by Victoria Wilding's and Rob Cobbold's 'Higher Mind Initative' see this page. Their website provides details of the training they are providing for evolutionary leaders that is designed to produce higher mind (including metasystemic cognition).
There is also a new and far easier starting-level book on dialectical meta-systemic thinking that Otto Laske wrote called Dialectical Thinking for Integral Leaders, A Primer. It was reviewed here by John Stewart. The review also contains many great insights into the dialectical meta-systemic thinking processes well beyond what is in this article. It is also reviewed here.
What Other Reviewers Are Saying about this New Book
JOHN STEWART REVIEW OF OTTO LASKE'S NEW BOOK
Otto Laske's work is a very significant contribution to the emergence of a new and higher level of cognition amongst humans. This dialectical/systemic cognition will give humanity a much-needed capacity to better understand and manage complex systems and processes.
Laske's book, Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems, promotes our cognitive development by assisting us to see the limitations of our current levels of thinking. In particular, it helps us to 'stand outside' our analytical/rational thinking and to see it as an object. This enables us to see the limitations of this form of cognition. It assists us to see why analytical/rational thinking fails to adequately represent and understand complex systems and processes. Laske's book then goes on to identify the new forms of thought that are needed to represent and understand those aspects of reality that cannot be adequately represented by analytical/rational thinking.
Analytical/rational thinking is the cognition that spread with the European Enlightenment and now dominates in Western societies. However, it can represent mentally only those limited aspects of reality that are relatively mechanistic. It is incapable of representing complex patterns and processes, non-linearities, transforming systems, emergence, and complex relationships. Cognition that is unable to represent or model something is incapable of understanding or managing it, or even of 'seeing' it.
Dialectical/systemic cognition continues to use analytical/rational cognition for understanding mechanistic aspects of reality. But it also models and represents those many aspects of reality that are more complex and fluid. It represents and models complex patterns, transforming systems, non-linear processes, etc. The use of these representations is experienced as intuitions and insights.
The spread of systemic cognition is of critical importance because:
· Systemic cognition is essential if an individual is to be able to fully understand the large-scale evolutionary processes that have shaped humanity and other life on this planet and that will determine our future. It is, therefore, a pre-condition for fully 'getting' the evolutionary worldview and for experiencing the transformative epiphanies that accompany this;
· The global crises and challenges that are confronting humanity cannot be understood and cannot be solved without a cognitive capacity that enables the management of complex systems and processes. Analytical/rational cognition cannot do this;
· True systemic cognition is currently almost non-existent. Most 'systems thinking' is done with mental/rational representations and cognition. Post-modern cognition ('green' in Spiral Dynamics terms) is incapable of rigorously understanding complex phenomenon, and people at this level are commonly anti-cognitive.
· It seems unlikely that systemic cognition will develop quickly enough to meet global challenges unless it is spread intentionally and consciously.
What is needed is a New Enlightenment. It will be similar to the first Enlightenment in that it will be driven by a shift to higher cognition. But this time the shift will be from the analytical/rational thought of the first enlightenment to systemic cognition. And the shift will be developed and spread intentionally and consciously.
Currently, there are no widely-accepted approaches to training and developing higher mind and systemic cognition. The Integral Movement and spiritual progressives tend to focus on the development of consciousness, not the development of higher cognition. Since these movements are almost universally 'green', cognition tends to be part of their shadow.
Most members of these movements do not have the cognitive development to see that effective responses to global challenges require a higher level of cognition, not just higher consciousness. The failure of the Integral Movement and spiritual progressives to make any significant contribution to resolving major crises such as global warming is due to their cognitive limitations. The 'missing piece' that is limiting these movements is systemic cognition.
As outlined in his book, Otto Laske has developed courses and supporting materials aimed at training and developing systemic cognition. The book includes an extraordinarily valuable Manual of Dialectical Thought Forms that builds on the work of Michael Basseches and others.
The Manual identifies the classes of things that we have to represent in our thinking if we are to adequately represent and understand complex phenomena and processes. It shows us the things that analytical/rational thought is unable to represent and understand effectively. It identifies the sorts of processes to which we must direct our attention if we are to build adequate mental models of complex systems.
Although Laske's work shows us where we have to direct our attention to think dialectically and systemically, it does not include practices that train the ability to freely move attention to where it is required. It is here that the 'consciousness movement' can contribute significantly to programs that aim to train and transmit dialectical/systemic cognition.
More specifically, the development of higher mind can be greatly accelerated by the use of the kinds of practices promoted by the world's spiritual and contemplative traditions that develop consciousness. These practices train the capacity to dis-embed from lower forms of cognition, freeing attention and consciousness to access and build higher cognitive structures.
Together with Victoria Wilding of Symplicitus ( http://symplicitus.com /), I have been working on the development of an approach to training higher cognition that synthesizes Laske's approach with practices appropriated from the spiritual traditions. These 'spiritual' practices train the ability to:
· Dis-embed from analytical/rational thinking;
· See analytical/rational thought 'from the outside' as an object that can be contemplated and evaluated
. Eventually, this enables systemic cognition itself to be seen as an object that can be contemplated, evaluated, and improved;
· Gain conscious and intentional control over attention so that it can be moved freely around the aspects of complex phenomena that are not represented effectively by analytical/rational thinking; and
· Access and develop non-thought-based cognitive resources, including pattern recognition capacities and intuition.
These capacities enable the individual to identify the critical aspects of complex phenomenon that are not represented adequately by analytical/rational thought. It also enables them to build new cognitive representations that include what is left out by analytical thinking. This makes possible the construction of new mental models that are not solely thought-based and that can adequately represent complex systems and phenomena as they evolve and transform through time.
John Stewart, July 201
We also strongly recommend this amazing and detailed review of Otto Laske's more simple book on dialectical meta-systemic thinking processes called Dialectical Thinking for Integral Leaders, A Primer.
It also was reviewed here by John Stewart. This review also contains many great insights into the dialectical meta-systemic thinking processes well beyond what is in this article.
Sara Nora Ross, Ph.D. book review
"I highly recommend Dr. Laske's work for integral theorists and practitioners. His research represents a truly integrative approach to a number of key aspects of human development and transformation. He has a great grounding in Kegan's subject-object theory as well as the powerful European tradition of dialectics. This book is dense but it is worth the effort." Sean Esbjorn-Hargens Ph.D., Executive Editor of the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice.
At the bottom of this page, I've included links to two other independent reviews of Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems so that you might see from other perspectives how important this book is to the future of the Integral/Evolutionary movements. The first is a brief review by John Stewart that has just been completed and has not been published previously. The review begins by identifying the reasons why Laske's work is highly significant. It then focuses on how Laske's approach can be greatly enhanced by integrating it with some of the methods for developing consciousness that can be found in the world's spiritual and religious traditions. John is one of the founders of the Progressive Evolution Movement and he is the author of Evolution's Arrow and the Evolutionary Manifesto, both of which are essential reading for the more informed members of the Integral/Evolutionary Movements.
The second review linked below John's is written by Sara Nora Ross, Ph.D, president of ARINA, publisher of The Integral Process for Working on Complex Issues and of the journal Integral Review: A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal for New Thought, Research, and Praxis.
Sara Nora Ross's Review of Laske's book
Sara Nora Ross's review on Laske's book is found at: http://www.archive-ilr.com/archives-2009/2009-06/2009-06-review-laske.php
Here is a published article on the role and improtance of this new dialectical thinking in relationship to evolution issues
Click here to see this new article called Enlightenment and the Evolution of the Material World.
To order the books discussed in this article
To order either of the two dialectical meta-systemic thinking books described in this article, click on their images and it will take you to Amazon and that book.