Meet the Flipsters

Conversations on the Bridge

A Conversation with Dr. Ervin Laszlo
(The complete Flip interview, with only minor edits, not found in the book)

NOT IN BOOK – Bio References:

Dr. Ervin Laszlo is a venerable legend in systems theory, specifically credited with establishing both systems philosophy and general evolution theory. A long-time member of the influential Club of Rome and founder of the elite Club of Budapest, Dr. Laszlo also belongs to several academies of science and philosophy. He is a prolific author with hundreds of articles and nearly seventy books to his credit. Included among works that Ervin authored or coauthored are such intriguing titles as The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for our Times, You Can Change the World: The Global Citizen’s Handbook for Living on Planet Earth, The Whispering Pond: A Personal Guide to the Emerging Vision of Science, and Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything. Editor of World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, and an advisor to such esteemed institutions as the United Nations, Dr. Laszlo is also an accomplished pianist with several recordings.

We asked how such diverse talents and interests have converged in his work. “Every society or culture is like a work of art or a piece of music in the sense that it is an integrated whole,” Ervin responded. “If something is integral you can’t break it apart without losing the properties that make it what it is. I believe that the whole is more than the sum of the parts, not in a metaphysical sense, but simply that if you break apart the whole you lose all of the essential qualities that make it an integrated system.”

Doesn’t that conflict with the reductionistic tendencies of modern science? “All traditional cultures are holistic cultures; it’s natural. I see systems theory as a recovery of something that we had lost. I think the deviation – hopefully a temporary deviation – was this extreme reductionistic thinking. Even Isaac Newton, who was one of the fathers of mechanistic thinking, talked about harmonious laws, and Johannes Kepler talked about celestial harmonics, and so on. We lost that holistic perspective when science began to break apart systems to see how the parts behave, to reduce things to the smallest identifiable component, examine the relations between those elements, and reconstruct them. Unfortunately, it turns out that with a system of even minor complexity – anything more complex than a bicycle – it’s almost impossible to put it all back exactly the way it was. You can’t even take apart a cell and expect to be able to put it back together again.

“Reductionist/mechanistic/analytic thinking served its purpose because it did away with a lot of the metaphysical speculations of the 19th century. But to persist in it is simply to throw the baby out with the bath water. We are left with a very impoverished, conceptual universe in which we’re just loose parts running around and people don’t know how these parts could have ever gotten together to create the universe in which we live. We need a holistic, integral view – a high-level view that includes the complexities and the details, instead of disregarding them. We’re continuing to move forward – but recovering elements that we have lost. We’re keeping the precision but losing the sophistry that says, ‘Oh, we can just take everything apart and then recreate it from the pieces upward.’”

So there is a flip underway? “We are witnessing a transformation of civilization,” replied Ervin. “The mechanistic, market-based, egoistic, and reductionistic civilization of the past century is no longer sustainable. It must change. It’s not a question of whether it will. It’s a question of whether it will change smoothly, with some sense of our controlling and directing the nature of the change, or whether it will change abruptly and chaotically. Our civilization is moving in a direction that requires us to take action in order to avoid negative consequences as the outcome of this ‘chaos point.’ The processes that have unfolded can no longer be controlled; they are undergoing what is – more euphemistically – being called ‘abrupt change.’

“This dynamic of systemic change repeats over and over again. It repeats in nature. It repeats in the physical level and on the chemical, biological, social, and psychological levels. Wherever we look in history, we can observe changes that, for awhile, could be tolerated and compensated for. But suddenly the processes reached a critical point where they either broke down or had to fundamentally change… and that’s the point toward which we’re heading now.

“Until recently, such adaptations have followed a learning curve that spanned several generations. Now the pace of change is such that we – this generation – have to work the whole thing out. And we have to work it out consciously. We can’t wait for the consequences. This is unprecedented.

“Equally unprecedented is the scope of the impending chaos point. Previously, these changes were occurring on a local, regional or at most national level. The primary impact was to a fairly isolated element, around which other elements of the larger system could recover. But now we are far too interdependent for that on all levels. A major breakdown in any one of our systems – economic, financial, political, ecological, or cultural – would have immediate consequences at the planetary level.

“So we are facing a global problem which is unfolding at a very rapid rate. That is our challenge, and for this we need global, holistic thinking. It has become an imperative, a precondition of our collective survival. What’s required is basically a recovery of some ancient insight in a new guise, a new form. It’s an intuitive flash, basically, that is happening – almost a miracle. Jonas Salk, discoverer of the polio vaccine, said that spirituality is like an antibody developed by the immune system of Humanity. We are developing an antibody that is our hope, our ray of light, that can lead us past the mounting problems and the specter of collapse towards a more sustainable and peaceful, harmonious world. The way this is happening is by people coming intuitively into spiritual insight. They’re opening up. Sometimes I feel that my own work is, in some sense, being guided. This is an experience that others have also expressed. All sorts of good coincidences are happening. So I think there is a spiritual renaissance and it is somehow facilitated – whether by the human spirit or some other means, I don’t know. But it is happening.

“A whole plethora of subcultures are already developing. Some groups may focus upon a certain spiritual dimension. Others may be oriented toward healthy living, more holistic views or understanding, a culture of peace, and so on. These emerging subcultures are still on the margins. But they will somehow come together and create some common transformations. There is no other way. Once the new culture becomes visible, people will join. More spiritual and creative people are already on this new wavelength for the most part. Business has been lagging, but companies are beginning to sense that they’ve got to change or they will not be able to maintain themselves. Those who don’t change will fall behind and become marginalized. Fortunately, the current generation is much more available – much more open and accessible – to this kind of thinking than prior generations have been.”

We asked Ervin how confident he was that Humanity can rise to the challenge of this impending chaos point. “It’s not a transformation that is guaranteed to occur,” he cautioned. “It is an evolutionary change process. The outcomes are not predetermined. Right now, it’s primarily a suspicion, a weak intuition that we’ve got to change just to be able to continue. But there must be a fundamental change, first on the level of consciousness, then on the level of action. We need a fast and relatively controlled, smooth change in the world so that we don’t go down in the shock of chaos. We must master it and create a world that’s worth living in.”

What can each of us do towards that end? “I think the very worst course is to do nothing. But the next worse course is to believe that everything is going so well that we can just keep on doing what we have been doing. Humanity is heading for a brick wall. We’ve got to change direction. It is imperative that we each participate in the process and pull our own weight. The key to that participation is the evolution of our own consciousness. Allow your consciousness to be penetrated by the sense of belonging to a higher unit, of being part of something, part of nature, part of the cosmos – part of the human civilization on all levels – and become a positive element in the whole. The flip is coming. We are forming a single culture. It has to be harmonious one. We have to understand each other on certain basic things. We all live together on this planet. And we don’t have too much time for this, not much time at all.”



The Flip, by Jared Rosen and David Rippe, illuminates a clear path to a vibrant enlightened world where millions of people already live and thrive. It describes in vivid detail and real examples evidence of an upside down world in decay and a Right Side Up world of authentic beings bright with possibility.
The Flip is an owner’s manual for the twenty-first century full of insights, conversations with recognized experts, thought leaders, and visionaries, and actionable exercises and tips you can use to begin your own personal flip.

To read more about The Flip and additional interviews from other luminaries, experts and bestselling authors, please visit

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