Wolfgang Hofkirchner made a contribution to the project on systems thinking origins. At a talk given at the IS4SI Summit Berkeley 2019 he provided a work-in-progress insight into his preoccupation with the topic.
He contends that thinking in hierarchical levels is a core feature of systems thinking. This core feature emerged with the emergence of new features of co-operation between emergent humans that led to the emergence of social systems they participated in. The emergent social systems of humans necessitated the understanding of a level of “We” that goes beyond a level of a mere summation of individual participants in co-operation. The organisational relations of the social systems are social relations assuming a reality over and above humans. There is a leap in quality in reality and systems thinking is a thinking that reflects that leap by giving rise to a meta-level in thinking.
The presentation also gives an outlook on the role systems thinking has in the current situation of evolution of humanity.
Wolfgang Hofkirchner | Taking the perspective of the Third: A contribution to the Origins of Systems Thinking | pdf
Addendum: His contribution has been published here.