An Analysis of Synergetics

An Analysis of Synergetics -- Par

AS ONE WHO has been in on Synergetics
almost from its inception, I believe
I am qualified to write about it.

However, the following is my interpretation, and I alone am responsible for any inaccuracies.

Synergetics began about the time Dianetics began to lose repute, and in contrast to Scientology. Some of us did not
care for a theological approach and attempted to create an organization better
suited to our tastes. Synergetics is thus
agnostic. Religion has an important place
in life, but the old creeds are well supplied by the existing churches -- and we
felt that a new approach to the old bodymind problem would be desirable.

Art Coulter wrote two books, "Analytical Procedure" and "Synergetics" as a
starting point. The main approach was the
Human Study Group, where members would
gather to apply the methods and see what
happened. Several temporary committees
were set up. I served on the new members
committee, the evaluation committee, a n d
on a special one on the theory. This last
tossed ideas into a hopper and saw where
they led to. Several tools were proposed,
which should be familiar from Art's writings. My main interest was what purpose
the tools would be used for.

There was some discussion of political
activity, on civic improvements, in various committees. (I worked to get a new
jail in San Jose as the old one had been
condemned as "the worst dungeon in California" by a grand jury in 1932 -- but the
powers-that-be said it was good enough
for those it was for. The new jail is almost finished and will be occupied next
year.) There were various twangles (the
Synergetic word for emotional quarrels).
In course of time it developed that a
vast, and tight, communication network
would be needed to bring members across
the nation together. This is now in process of being tested and put to use. We
regard the people who took up Dianetics
and its offshoots as potential members.
But for the present, we are working on
organizational details.

So much for the general setup. Now, to
proceed to Synergetic theory. "Synergetics" was borrowed by Art from the medical
field to mean the alignment of two or more
forces to achieve a desired end. (See
also O berth's use of the word "synergy"
in Willy Ley's "Rockets and Space Travel"
in the index). It should be noted that
this original specific meaning has been
corrupted by being used in a similar context as "theta" in Scientology. The parJULY-AUGUST, 1957 The A B E R R EF
!tact flteouiat'uac
allel with Scientology is very marked
here and little purpose is served by the
redundancy. Compare this term and its
opposite, "dysergy", or "entheta"; with
Yang and Yin in Taoism, and with Korzybski's analysis in "Science and Sanity".

There is almost an universal tendency
to identify concepts of force as "fluids",
even as the old "caloric" in Eighteenth
Century physics. This concept of synergy
as a fluid to be poured into or out of
various containers, groups, etc., has
caused most of the confusion about Synergetics. Electricians should have no trouble if they remember that synergetics refers to an alignment of force vectors. It
is a problem of pouring the new wine into
old bottles. We have new concepts labeled
with new terms, but we have not established new semantic reactions for them.
We need more topologists and general semanticists!
Philosophically, Synergetics is humanist. We have no need for theomanias. We
are interested in people as individuals.
Synergetics can even be said to be a revolt of the individual against the dehumanizing mass media of this age. We refuse to be an abstraction. I am not a
"thetan" playing games out of boredom. I
am a Man who is living here and now in a
world I never made, and I am going to do
what I can to change it -- a man of flesh
and blood and emotion and a spark of
reason. All the philosophers can dance up
and down and say the moon is made of
green cheese, but that does not alter the
facts of existence. We will use our minds
and our senses and our emotions to build
a better and happier world, even if it
doesn't happen to be exactly as dead Plato, or dead Jesus, would have wanted it!
We will fling our faith in humanity like
a burning brand into the darkness of our
time, as Schweitzer expresses it.

We are thus in the tradition of Weyer
who combatted the odious Malius Maleficaum
or Hammer for Witches with cool reason,
and of Pinel who dared to remove the
chains from the insane during the French
Revolution. Read Pinel's introduction to
his Traite Medico -- hilosophique which is
given in full in "A History of Medical
Psychology" by Gregory Zilboorg, M.D. (W.
W. Norton Co., 55 Fifth Av., New York 3,
N. Y . , publisher. Price $8.50) for the
facts on these and many other matters
which should be of much interest to readers of The ABERREE. It is a gold mine of
information on what has been done and how
our misguided culture developed from the
days when the Greeks gave purgatives to