Mihajlo D. Mesarovic

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Mihajlo D. Mesarovic (born July 2, 1928) is a Serbian scientist, professor of Systems Engineering and Mathematics at Case Western Reserve University and pioneer in the field of Mathematical General Systems Theory.


  • Since it can be argued that both science and engineering are concerned with the study of real systems and their behavior, it follows that a general theory should be concerned with the study of general systems... It suffices for the present discussion to consider a general system as an abstract analogue or model of a class of real systems. General systems theory is then a theory of general models.
    • Mesarovic (1964) cited in: Shatrughna P. Sinha (1991) Instant encyclopaedia of geography. 1. Introduction to geography. Mittal Publications, p.467
  • We found that technological optimism is the common and the most dangerous reaction to our findings... Technology can relieve the symptoms of the problem without affecting the underlying causes. Faith in technology as the ultimate solution to all problems can thus divert our attention from the most fundamental problem— the problem of growth in a finite system- and prevent us from taking effective action to solve it... We would deplore an unreasoned rejection of the benefits of technology as strongly as we argue here against an unreasoned acceptance of them. Perhaps the best summary of our position is the motto of the Sierra Club; not blind opposition to progress but opposition to blind progress.
    Taking no action to solve these problems is equivalent of taking strong action. Every day of continued exponential growth brings the world system closer to the ultimate limits of that growth. A decision to do nothing is a decision to increase the risk of collapse.
    The way to proceed is clear... [we posses] all that is necessary to create a totally new form of human society... the two missing ingredients are the realistic long-term goal... and the human will to achieve that goal.
    • Mesarovic and Pestel (1975) Mankind at a Turning point. p.88. As cited in: Martin Bridgstock, David Burch, John Forge, John Laurent, Ian Lowe (1998) Science, Technology and Society: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. pp. 245-246
  • "General systems theory deals with the most fundamental concepts and aspects of systems. Many theories dealing with more specific types of systems (e.g., dynamical systems, automata, control systems, game-theoretic systems, among many others) have been under development for quite some time. General systems theory is concerned with the basic issues common to all these specialized treatments. Also, for truly complex phenomena, such as those found predominantly in the social and biological sciences, the specialized descriptions used in classical theories (which are based on special mathematical structures such as differential or difference equations, numerical or abstract algebras, etc.) do not adequately and properly represent the actual events. Either because of this inadequate match between the events and types of descriptions available or because of the pure lack of knowledge, for many truly complex problems one can give only the most general statements, which are qualitative and too often even only verbal. General systems theory is aimed at providing a description and explanation for such complex phenomena."
    • Mihajlo D. Mesarovic and Y. Takahare (1975) General Systems Theory, Mathematical foundations. Academic Press. Cited in: Franz Pichler, Roberto Moreno Diaz (1993. Computer Aided Systems Theory. p.134

About Mesarovic[edit]

  • General systems theory is considered as a formal theory (Mesarovic, Wymore), a methodology (Ashby, Klir), a way of thinking (Bertalanffy, Churchman), a way of looking at the world (Weinberg), a search for an optimal simplification (Ashby, Weinberg), didactic method (Boulding, Klir, Weinberg), metalanguage (Logren), and profession (Klir).
    • George Klir cited in: James T. Ziegenfuss (1983) Patients' rights and organizational models: sociotechnical systems research on mental health programs. p.104

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