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Born in Belgium in 1922, coursed consular and commercial sciences at Brussels Free University.
After the Second World War , Charles emigrated to the, then, Belgian Congo, where he lived with his wife and children from 1945 to 1960, at first as an administrative officer in government and later on creating and developing his own commercial business.
Later on, already in South America, he took charge of the commercial Office of the Belgian Embassy in Buenos Aires, from 1966 to his retirement in 1987.
His first contact with Cybernetics took place in 1952, through the foundational work of Norbert Wiener, published in 1948.In 1958, he became a member of the Society for General Systems Research (now International Society for the Systems Sciences).
From 1970 on, already as a researcher and independent lecturer, he started to participate in international meetings of various Cybernetics and Systems Societies in Europe and North America, and in 1976 began to collaborate with Dr. Maximo Valentinuzzi Sr., at the time director of the Cybernetics Institute of the Argentina Scientific society.
Together with scholars of various disciplines, he created that same year the “Grupo de Estudio de Sistemas Integrados” (GESI), later known as “Asociación Argentina de Teoría General de Sistemas y Cibernética”, argentine branch of the ISSS and member of the IFSR.
He offered himself or organized courses, Seminars, Conferences, Symposia andother institutions in various argentine provinces, as well as in Buenos Aires.
In this way, he furthered the knowledge and practice of Systemics and Cybernetics and founding of other groups, and gave place for the subject to be incorporated in various disciplines and at various levels in the educational system through professors who participated in GESI’s activities.
Another important result has been the significant editorial work of the Association through publication of booklets, leaflets, opuscules, bulletins and newsletters, and more recently the creation of a website (http://www.anice.net.ar/intsyst/gesi.htm).
François is a member of various editorial boards of important international journals in the field. He has published in these, as well as in Proceedings of Conferences, numerous papers on Systems and Cybernetics concepts and models as well as their uses in Sociology and Economy.
GESI published the following works by him (in Spanish):
His “International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics” was published in 1997 in Germany, by Saur’sVerlag, Münich.
François is closely related to numerous international personalities in the field, in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, England, France, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and United States.He maintains a close collaboration with the Instituto Andino de Sistemas (IAS) in Lima, Perú.
During the 2002 IAS ‘s Conference, he participated in the creation of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Sistemas (ALAS).
He remains personally and permanently interested, directly or bye-mail, in debates and projects. One of his most significant activity is his participation every two years in the Fuschl Group of Conversations (Austria), where practical significance and applications of Systemics and Cybernetics are explored and promoted.
François lives in Argentina since 1963, and is still in full activity and formulating new projects.
For me, systemics has become a way of life, in a very wide sense. Since my early youth, I witnessed an endless and conceptually scandalous succession of collective disasters: depressions, famines, massive economic and social exploitation and dereliction, wars and civil wars, creeping violence, ideologic intolerance, political terrorism and repressive dictatorships, mass addictions, ecological destruction, etc., etc., at the hands of assorted bunches of bullies, fanatics and incompetents.
Was all this really the best that Homo Sapiens could do with his so-much vaunted brain?
I observed how people ill-treat themselves biologically, physiologically, and psychologically: eating and drinking, smoking and sometimes working themselves to premature death, or sinking into uselessness or insanity.
We all lack a certain real understanding of ourselves and our societies from many different angles.
Consequently, we have no real power whatsoever upon the critical situations in which we become enmeshed.
We float on the ocean of life events like a rudderless ship until, finally, we sink much too soon.
Slowly I discovered that the systemic insights which I slowly incorporated in my mind (and even in a relation with my own body) have helped me evermore to survive and adapt.
The systemic-cybernetic “Weltanschaung”is the specific-but global- embracing mental,conceptual and practical tool that we need to overcome the momentous challenges that we have managed to create for ourselves and for the whole of this “Spaceship Earth”.
We are systems.We live in a world of systems.All of these systems are complex. We cannot manage them just as we fancy.We cannot avoid problems or downright disasters by ideological discourses, superficial and asinine tinkering, or short-term fixes.
We must use the new dimensions of our minds and create or learn the concepts and models adaptable to complexity.If we do not understand this, we are going to pay dearly.But if we do, a very bright future may still be in store for us.
Let me end this note with a profession of faith: I feel mentally and morally engaged toward any human being, present and future, to dedicate as much as possible of the rest of my life to further our understanding (mine and yours) of systems.I owe it to all the sufferers at large in this present and future world, to all those kind people and lucid minds who showed me this new road, to myfriends, to my sons, granddaughters and grandsons, and as a need for my self-respect.
(from: Systems Research, 15, p. 511-515, 1990)
Note: The 5 preceeding papers were presented as a whole at the 7th Argentinian Systemics Meeting in Buenos Aires in 1998 and published in Cuadernonr. 17, GESI, Buenos Aires, 1999
Buenos Aires, 2003
(Teaching - in Spanish, if not otherwise stated)
A collection of about 100 drawings (originals in colors) presenting systemic and cybernetic concepts and models in graphical form.