The third awakening happened when I attended my first ISSS meeting in Philadelphia in 1986. There I met the two most important people who guided me in the systemic stream of thought - this being most appropriate to say in the present meeting where we are honouring our roots. There we were, hearing Kenneth Boulding speak about whatever he had to speak with us in his strange stuttering way he had of speaking, which held us spellbound during two hours practically without breathing, so important, so relevant was every word he spoke.
And there was Russell Ackoff, whose ideas accompany me in my job and in my writings up to the present day (we hope to get him to join us in Cancun next year). Those two persons really made a big difference in my first contact with ISSS. And at a certain moment I realised that these two things that were in my life, the love for systemic thinking and the need to be in management in order to make a living, were not so separated as I thought when I was a youngster. Especially thanks to Ackoff, the big adaptor of systemic thought
to organisations, suddenly I saw that those two things converged.
Some time afterwards I added another of my “heroes”, as Debora would say, to the list of persons whom I cherish and remember, and that was Heinz von Foerster. During a trip he made to Buenos Aires, I was privileged to attend a two hour interview he gave to an Argentine journalist, who happened to be my son Roberto. After that, we had a three-part conversation that then continued
by email for a long time and that was also a wonderful experience and may have been my fourth awakening.
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