The IFF World Model is the brainchild of Tony Hodgson and draws on several antecedents and disciplines. It has been developed with the assistance of many hands, inside and outside IFF. It is our hope that this first working model will help encourage others to contribute to further developments. Lurking inside the model is a whole global research agenda, and a global teaching curriculum.
The model draws on early work on deep systems and structures by the philosopher J G Bennett. The Club of Rome, initiated in the late 1960s by Aurelio Peccei, Don Michael and others, suggested a similar approach to penetrating the deeper structures of what they called ‘the global problematique’. Jay Forrester worked on a system dynamics world model, subsequently developed by Dennis and Donnella Meadows and Jorgen Randers. One direct inspiration was the diagram below representing the global problematique in the work of Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider (The First Global Revolution,1994).
Stafford Beer’s work is relevant in pointing to the value of cybernetics and especially the idea of a viable system having a quasi-neurological structure. And Buckminster Fuller emphasises the importance of design, and also the idea of using modelling as the basis for a World Game. Thus simulation, gaming and viability combine with deep systems thinking.
The model is careful to include worldview as one of the significant nodes. That reflects IFF’s stance that the objective search for resolutions to the global problematique also requires a transformation of our subjective understanding. The future is far too open and far too mysterious to rely only on the western science paradigm of evidence based research. We must also reach into unprecedented regions where evidence is yet to be discovered with new visions and new holistic insights using the instruments of deep intuition and positive imagination.
Now it is emerging that people ranging from transition communities to international policy makers are seeking clearer frameworks for bringing a holistic overview to bear on the focus of their immediate concerns. The immediately practical and ultimately sustainable can no longer remain unconnected. The IFF World Model is a contribution offered to those who seek such a connection in order to guide their affairs.