An activity of the Primer Group


A Special Integration Group (SIG) of the
International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS)
originally SGSR, Society for General Systems Research.







40 years The Tao of Science and beyond

with excerpts from the works of Ralph G. H. Siu
by Heiner Benking

When it comes to wholeness in my eyes, Ralph Siu is one of these persons embodying and living a form of completeness I only saw a few times in my Life. He is one of the deep, integral and synthetic thinkers and practical transformers who never cared about having an audience, but to develop individually and within the society.

In respect to this seminar, his Volume 10, the UNIFYING THEORY OF THE HUMAN ORGANISM AND BEHAVIOR, stands out, but needs to be seen in the light of all his works forming a greater unity. Ralph's work is subsumed under the title: THE QUANTUM AND THE TAO - An Unified East-West Psychophilosophical Synthesis toward Harmonious Living. As he never cared to have any of his 12 Volumes published (he was invited in 1957 by MIT Press to publish his first Volume of the 4 Trilogies: THE TAO OF SCIENCE. An Essay on Western Knowledge and Eastern Wisdom .

You find in the annex the titles of the 4 Trilogies and 12 Volume titles as examples of coherence and completeness which I try to mention as examples of the rare unifying man-made artifacts, as I also see the penultimate Information Coding and Classification scheme ICC of I. Dahlberg, International Society for Knowledge Organization - ISKO.

In this text I quote from personal letters and some unpublished Volumes, which Ralph Siu allowed me to share with friends. My intent with the collage below is to help you anticipate the whole, the width and depth of his works, particular in regard to the seminar theme.

Before I excerpt some appetizers from his 10. Volume, I feel it needs to be explained that Ralph Siu s studied bio-chemistry, but never ventured into academic spheres, instead starting in career in 1950 as director of research and technologies for mission driven agencies. According to his tradition he formed with his private and personal studies a pleasing whole of endeavors. The unique blend of the bicultural polarity, with traditional Chinese upbringing and professional western training has led to a widely unknown unified intellectual East-West psychophilosophical synthesis, intended for persons of practical affairs . His periods of reflection became lengthened as time went on and gradually coalesced and evolved into a serious steady avocation, helping him to carve a synergistic path.

Excerpts form:



The humanities and the behavioral disciplines have made impressive advances over the last century. The search for a satisfying framework to integrate the discrete findings into an organismic whole and functioning human is moving into high gear. But a comprehensive conceptualization remains elusive.This book offers such an unified scheme. It appears to provide an approximation to the following:- Integration of the "physical", "chemical", "animate" and "human"manifestations into a single compatible vocabulary.- Basic theoretical "elements" and standard rules for theircombinations and transformations into successively largercompositional "structures" and "higher" behavioral expressions.

- A coherent, embracing set of relationships for all human phenomena
and dynamics, both physical and mental.
- "Elucidation" of a range of heretofore "unexplained" observations
from music and management to pain and schizophrenia.
- Prediction of human conduct.
- Broadened basis for mutually useful cross-talk among natural
scientists, psychosocial scholars, humanists and societal

Some of the basic elements of our suggestion may be novel, controversial, and even a priori unacceptable for various good reasons to the leading and most respected authorities of the day.

It was only natural that I could not help but reflect from time to time about the possibility of an unified intellectual East-West psychophilosophical synthesis for persons of practical affairs. This periods of reflection became lengthened as time went on. They gradually coalesced and evolved into a serious steady avocation.

Whether or not this notion or even pieces of it would be adopted and used by psychologists, psychiatrists, behavioral thinkers, socially responsible leaders and other probing for a deeper appreciation of the wholeness of the human being is, of course, not for me to urge or forecast.
I do believe, however, that every person of genuine endeavor will sooner or later point to the same centroid of synergistic enlightenment, even after having followed quite different and often idiosyncratic paths.

I hope this somewhat unusual point of departure might contribute a lumen or two to the dialogue leading to an ever more beneficent empathy among humankind.

R. G. H. Siu
Washington, D. C.
February 1987


Thinkers may be divided into two classes: the lumpers and the splitters. The former emphasize unity and harmony in the universe. They perceive the interconnecting strands and permeating diffusions. So they tend to lump concepts together with adaptive compatibilities and people with
magnanimous accommodations.

In contrast, the splitters focus on distinctions and cleavages. They search for the special features that separate one from another. So they tend to split concepts apart into this and that school and people into this and that camp.

In following the inclinations of the lumpers, I sense an underlying congruence between the scientific approach to enlightenment and the religious, between the rationale of academicians in the humanities and that of executives in the marketplace, and between the heritage of the East and the West. All human should be cross-relatable, so I have come to believe, if for no other reason than that it originates within the same human mind. It should not be too difficult to develop a common language on human behavior beneath the specialized differentiations of the splitters.

We might even venture the opinion that an explanation is primarily an expression of how the mind functions within the cultural setting of the moment and only coincidentally is it a description of how the phenomenon under scrutiny actually takes place. The same trackings of the human mind
can be seen through whatever subject matter it happens to be examining.

The quark-antiquark of the American physicist of the twentieth century AD repeats the yang-yin of the Chinese peasant of the twentieth century BC. The thermodynamic principle of the nineteenth century that "heat cannot flow from a colder body to a warmer body" recalls the theological dictum of Thomas Aquinas of the thirteenth century that "an inferior angel cannot
advise a superior angle". The holographic process of regenerating the complete encoded message from any part, however small, of the hologram reflects Aristotle's assertion of the fourth century BC that the soul is present in it's entirety in every part of the body and William Blake's
poetic vision of the eighteenth century as he wrote:

To see the world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower.......

The intellectual integration of the wide array of ideas and data on human behavior into a unified and internally consistent theory, therefore, may not be too formidable a task. We might be approaching such a unity of sorts in the overall theory laid out in the succeeding pages.

I am not so certain, however, that we have added much of another desirable quality of harmony. The harmony of which we speak is not theoretical consistency within the world of knowledge but harmoniously within the world of human effects. Whether our theory will turn out harmonious in this beneficent sense is difficult to say. At times, one tends to be pessimistic in the face of mounting historical evidence that all knowledge has so far been exploited for evil, often with far greater gusto than for good.

But I would like to imagine that even Sisyphus has hopes. (end)

Other Chapters:

2. Virtual Presences
3. Mass-energy, Qi, and Qimass
4. Events and Episodes
5. Metabolic Operators
6. Organities
7. Heredity and Psychological Evolution
8. Laws and Rules
9. Dynamics
10. Case Studies, A. Pain, Schizophrenia, C. Poverty
11. Prediction and Freedom
References, Index


An Unified East-West Psychophilosophical Synthesis
toward Harmonious Living

I. Tao-Time Trilogy

Volume 1. The Tao of Science.
An Essay on Western Knowledge and Eastern Wisdom.
MIT Press, 1957.

Volume 2. The Man of Many Qualities. A Legacy of the I Ching.
(Paperback: The Portable Dragon).
MIT Press, 1968.

Volume 3. Ch i. A Neo-Taoist Approach to Life.
MIT Press, 1974.

II. Management Trilogy

Volume 4. The Craft of Power.
Wiley Press, 1979.

Volume 5. Transcending the Power Game. The Way to Executive Serenity.
Wiley Press, 1980.

Volume 6. The Master Manager.
Wiley Press, 1980.

III. Panetics Trilogy

Volume 7. Less Suffering for Everybody. An Introduction to Panetics.
The International Society for Panetics, 1994.

Volume 8. Panetics and Dukkha. An Integrated Study of the Infliction of

Suffering and the Reduction of Infliction.
The International Society for Panetics, 1994.

Volume 9. Seeds of Reflection. Word Clusters for Meditation on the
Infliction and the Relief of Suffering.
The International Society for Panetics, 1994.

IV. Harmony Trilogy

Volume 10. Unifying Theory of the Human Organism and Behavior.

Volume 11. Cheerfulness.

Volume 12. Shaping One s Own Life. A Socratic Anthology of
Perennial Questions.

One final remark (Heiner Benking):
The author learned personally a lot from Ralph Siu and is deeply indebted due to Ralph s ability to create cheerfulness and acknowledge his fellows, furthering step by step to achieve results and find contemplation. By the way, Ralph G. H. Siu is one of the few Americans who immediately knew and have read the works of Jan C. Smuts, even when it was before his. As I see all his volumes as treasures, I want to point out, that the III. Trilogy PANETIC, is central to making use of the scaffolding, the author called PANORAMA. The unites, values and scenarios of Panetics can be communicated, summarized and shared, even when involving time-spans of generations and individual or group suffering. Such cognitive scenarios, when embodied and visualized might help complex decision making processes and imagining the whole . The authors sees PANETICS and the reception of societal interconnectedness and governance as one of the key issues to be addressed. In the forthcoming study of the American Council for the UNU, the status of such wider issues can be seen on the overall priority list of experts .

Please see: -

The IV. Trilogy in particular is waiting to help us thinking in a steady
coalescence of Wholes and Values.

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