International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics

2nd Edition, as published by Charles François 2004 Presented by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science Vienna for public access.


The International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics was first edited and published by the system scientist Charles François in 1997. The online version that is provided here was based on the 2nd edition in 2004. It was uploaded and gifted to the center by ASC president Michael Lissack in 2019; the BCSSS purchased the rights for the re-publication of this volume in 200?. In 2018, the original editor expressed his wish to pass on the stewardship over the maintenance and further development of the encyclopedia to the Bertalanffy Center. In the future, the BCSSS seeks to further develop the encyclopedia by open collaboration within the systems sciences. Until the center has found and been able to implement an adequate technical solution for this, the static website is made accessible for the benefit of public scholarship and education.


COMMUNITIES (Types of Human) 4)

During its 1998 Conversations, the Fuschl Group strongly felt the need to establish clear distinctions between different types of human communities in history, in our present time and, possibly, in the future.

This need appeared in connection with the general aim to reach a better understanding of the ways toward the instauration of harmonized evolutive human communities, that could avoid through generally participative design the tragic political and social disasters of the past and the present.

After an extended debate the following typology of human societies was tentatively established. The typology is evolutive, as the Group understands that there is a progressive (but also at times catastrophically discontinuous) transition from one type to the next one.

Such an evolution seems to be irreversible, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Traditional Community: A closed, stable system where the individual's identity is determined by a collective identity rooted in transmitted myths, values, norms, and rites.

Examples are clans and tribes, agrarian villages, religious communities.

This has been the dominant type until it became deeply eroded by the technical and demographic transformation of the two last centuries.

Surrogate Community: A closed, unstable system, artificially created to attract and satisfy disenfranchised individuals yearning for community through imposed norms and values.

Examples are proselitic ideologized groups, fundamentalist religious groups, religious sects.

The word "artificially" should be qualified. Most communities of this type are founded by charismatic leaders who, somehow, sense the existence in people uprooted from their traditional community, of a deep need to "belong" and are able to respond to it in accordance to their own needs and psychological conditions.

Learning Community: An open and dynamic system in which reactive and proactive individuals collectively adapt to their environment.

Examples are administrative organizations, business firms, political parties, scientific research groups.

This type of adaptation is made of more or less discontinuous episodes (for example in business mergers), but are not deeply evolutive.

Evolutionary Learning Community: An emergent open system demonstrating dynamic stability by adapting with its environment and generating sustainable evolutionary pathways.

Until now, such communities are very rare, as they must initially rely on consensual collective self-organization by a number of individuals who understand how to self-organize (and re-organize) and how to do it as a way to transcendent permanent transformation in a necessary evolutive way. (M. BENEDER & G. CHROUST (Eds), 1998)

Syntony Quest


  • 1) General information
  • 2) Methodology or model
  • 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
  • 4) Human sciences
  • 5) Discipline oriented


Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science(2020).

To cite this page, please use the following information:

Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]

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