The above headline 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 of managing today's personal, economic, and political interacting and evolutionary complex adaptive systems.
With the existing knowledge of the evolutionary movement and the new dialectical meta-systemic thinking tools in Otto Laske's new 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, 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 the unpredictable spontaneities, nonlinear and unknown feedback loops, and a host of other issues that arise with multiple and single interacting complex systems.
The information in Measuring Hidden Dimensions 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 this super whole-systems way is clearly a huge advantage in all areas of life and is far more effective in dealing with today's problems than the two-dimensional linear thinking of the first Enlightenment. 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 evolution and development of human thinking in general and post-postmodernist thinking systems for the twenty-first century. 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 advanced it. Powerful life and world-rearranging epiphanies by the bucketful await the conscious reader of this 4D revolution in dialectical super-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 super-systemic thinking skills using the Laske's 28 attention-redirecting thought forms will be an educational requirement for all!
This book has personally allowed me to move with effort and attention from mostly two-dimensional thinking to much more of the new four dimensional thinking. It has also helped me to integrate a vast amount of observations about my life and 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 benefit.
Adoption of this new dialectical super-systemic thinking system would work wonders for the Evolutionary movement as well. A well-defined and complete evolutionary dialectical thinking system has been until now a 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 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 super-systemic thinking training manual and tool.
Measuring Hidden Dimensions of Human Systems is 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. That said, anyone with a little extra observational effort will find it useful as a manual for learning the new dialectical super-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 systems thinking will quickly separate the Evolutionary beginners and aficionados from the experts, qualified teachers and dedicated practitioners.
Whether you're an evolutionary, spiritual evolutionary, or eco-evolutionary, or a corporate, government or non-profit sector leader, I wholeheartedly recommend that you get this book fast.
Most of the staff at our organization have already ordered it or are reading it now. The news is spreading via word-of-mouth: this book is a must-read for anyone, who believes that optimized systems thinking 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 analysis of complex systems.
The above review was written by Lawrence Wollersheim, Executive Director at two Evolutionary organizations in San Francisco: Universe Spirit and the Universe Institute.
What 3 Other Reviewers In the Integral/Evolutionary Movement Are Saying about this New Book
"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.
THE NEW 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 phenomenon as they evolve and transform through time.
John Stewart, July 2011
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