Thanks on the Road

Global Systems Science is just beginning. But already now the conversation is surprisingly rich. There are the exchanges on this blog, with a remarkable variety of disciplines, nations, and interests represented. There are exchanges between the blog and a whole range of workshops, conferences, gatherings. New papers, some just published, others in the making, give depth to the conversation, while the interactions between different blogs and websites give it breadth. So great thanks to all of you who are helping to bring this about!

Plurality is of essence here. After all, GSS itself shall be a global system, and it is quite likely that different themes, questions, insights will be emphasized by researchers interacting mainly with, say, Chinese policy makers than by researchers operating in a European or African context. There are disciplines, in science as elsewhere, where a high degree of homogeneity gets established (say Kabuki, the Japanese dance-drama, or perhaps physics), while in other ones widely differing approaches are cultivated (say software design, or perhaps linguistics). Most likely, GSS will be closer to the latter kind, and the present conversation is a good example.

For me at least it is a pleasure to read all the different ideas and suggestions to be found in the rapidly expanding GSS universe. But there is more than intellectual pleasure here. I am certainly not the only one deeply worried about the difficulty of Europe to get its act together in today’s global society, a society massively shaped by European traditions. There can be little doubt that in the coming decades humankind will need to explore futures well beyond business as usual. So I am grateful for the hope that GSS might help European as well as other policy makers to learn what it takes to walk untrodden paths.

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