Systems Thinking is slowly getting more known in different fields and is often presented as a new or different way of thinking. Although Systems Thinking may indeed be a new kind of literacy compared to what is mainstream, it is useful to realise that what we now call ‘Systems Thinking’ has in fact been practiced by indigenous people for thousands of years.
Systems Thinking is all about thinking in terms of process, pattern and relatedness. Indigenous wisdom will tell you that our World is a vast network of interdependent relationships, a Living Web of Life. Through this Web of Life we are all connected and impacted by our actions. The Web of Life is seen as an emerging property of the evolving eco-systems that have made biological life possible on our planet. It is thus understood that to destroy these eco-systems and their interdependent relationships would directly threaten the sustainability of the Web of Life.
Stewardship for our Natural World is thus regarded as the prime responsibility for human beings. In indigenous cultures children learn how to experience this Web of Life and how to take care of the eco-systems that give rise to and sustain the Web of Life.
Many people are looking for a new way of thinking and a new way of living. Before we re-invent the wheel, let’s learn from the wisdom of those who have walked before us and explore how we can apply this for the changes that are needed now. The laws and principles of Nature have not changed. Perhaps now more than ever before we actually need to pause and learn from indigenous people how to once again experience the Web of Life.