Synergy. A History of Knowledge

The term synergy (from the Greek συνεργία, ›working together‹) is, in its most general sense, used to describe cooperative interactions and structural formations in nature, art, and society, which lead, or are supposed to lead, to a new quality. Inspired by Richard Buckminster Fuller’s work on synergetic planning and design as well as the synergetic model developed by the physicist Hermann Haken, concepts of synergy have emerged as a productive paradigm in interdisciplinary research and areas of practical application at the beginning of the 21st century. They gave new theoretical impulses to numerous disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, sociology, economy, and theology. The notion of synergy opens up new connections between the natural sciences, the humanities, and the arts. But how do such models intervene in generating and structuring knowledge and how might they contribute in the long term to innovation in our knowledge-based society? Focused by specific research tasks as well as our interdisciplinary Forum SynergieWissen, the project aims to contribute to a general history of knowledge about synergy/synergetics. The project’s Wiki-Platform SynergieWissen gives insights into our current work.

Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation »Pro Humanities – Dilthey-Fellowship« 2010–2019
Head researcher(s): Tatjana Petzer
Guest(s): Igor Polianski

Subproject(s)

Synergeia. Technology and Faith in the Slavia Orthodoxa

2010–2018
Associate Researcher(s): Tatjana Petzer

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Tatjana Petzer investigates synergy concepts from the Slavic-Orthodox cultural sphere and their religious prefigurations. The research project takes up the idea that Russian modernism was influenced by the doctrine of synérgeia, the interaction between human and divine energies in theosis. Russian religious philosophy translates this synergetic, transformative potential into modern terms that complement the discourse on humans as synergoi of nature from the realm of natural philosophy and holism. Petzer’s study analyzes the synergy paradigm within the contexts of ideological theories, aesthetic concepts of transformation, and future technology – factors that have drawn special attention thanks to cutting-edge thinkers working between disciplines and their sense of crisis around 1900 as they strove to create a »new humanity«.

Interpreting Nature. On the Theological Reception of Synergetics

2013–2015
Associate Researcher(s): Stephan Steiner

tl_files/zfl/fotos/projekte/synergie-technik-glaube/synergie-steiner.jpgStephan Steiner’s research is devoted to a scientific-historical reconstruction of the current theological reception of synergetics, as it aims to clarify the basic concept of nature. The search for mediation between religion and science – characteristic of 20th-century debates – forms the background of this exchange. Theological discussions of synergetics focus on the desideratum of a holistic understanding of nature. The prevailing gap between scientific and everyday experience – illustrated by the disjunction between science’s mathematized understanding of nature and »naïve« ethical, aesthetic or religious views of nature – appears increasingly problematic from such a perspective. Today, in Christian (Alexandre Ganoczy) as well as in Jewish contexts (Edgar Morin), synergetics constitutes a framework that allows for dealing with the multidimensional facets of nature. As a theory of interaction, synergetics promises to sidestep the hostile antagonism of the dismembered notions of nature and, through a hermeneutical project, replace them with an interdisciplinary, multilayered description of reality. The project thus addresses the heterogeneous symbolizations of nature and analyzes their interwoven complexity.

Science and Prophecy in the Literature of the Russian Avant-Garde

Dissertation project 2010–2012
Associate Researcher(s): Anar Imanov

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The search for the synthesis of art, religion, and science in Russian modernity resulted in the development of new artistic methods that engendered a complex conception of the future. The dissertation seeks to comprehend this universalistic conception as it appears in Russian avant-garde literature, one that takes shape before the backdrop of changing knowledge and science systems in modernity. Employing projective thinking and prophetic writing, this conception mediates between the organic and the material, phantasms and knowledge, faith and reason. With the aid of the poetic-scientific visions of Velimir Chlebnikov and other writings from the futurist movement, Anar Imanov analyzes aesthetic schemes and literary objectives that, through the speech acts of prophecy, entangle literature with the scientific disciplines, as well as with scientific mythologems.

Immortality (Anthology)

2016–2018
Head researcher(s): Tatjana Petzer in collaboration with Igor Polianski and the assistance of Hannes Puchta

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Since the fin de siècle modern research and technology have taken inspiration from dreams of extending longevity, resurrecting the dead, and elevating humans to a higher form of existence.
This anthology presents a collection of historical and more recent texts by Slavic authors, writing about various immortal, long-living, anabiotic, and cybernetic organisms. These authors picked up on developments in experimental fields such as bionics, electrophysiology, genetics, gerontology, immunology, transplantation medicine, cell biology, or cryobiology and saw in them the potential for eternal physical existence. The texts not only engage with contemporary debates on immortality, they also leave a culturally specific mark on the corpus immortalis.

Publications

Tatjana Petzer (ed./eds.)

UNSTERBLICHKEIT
GESCHICHTE UND ZUKUNFT DES HOMO IMMORTALIS

INTERJEKTE 12
Berlin 2018, 64 pages
Tatjana Petzer, Stephan Steiner (ed./eds.)

Synergie
Kultur- und Wissensgeschichte einer Denkfigur

Trajekte-Buchreihe
Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München 2016, 403 pages
ISBN: 978-3-7705-5896-4

Tatjana Petzer

»Kultakte der Wissenschaft. Synergie und Synthese im russischen Kosmismus«, in: Nadežda Grigor’eva et al. (eds.): Das Konzept der Synthese im russischen Denken. Künste – Medien – Diskurse, München et al.: Sagner 2010, 161–182

»›Überall ist Energie‹ Nikola Teslas Entdeckungen und Visionen«, in: Trajekte 21 (Oct 2010), 30–36

»Selbstorganisation, Spiel, Synergie«, in: Trajekte 22 (Apr 2011), 38–39

»Das Wort ist synergetisch«. Pavel Florenskijs Kulturtheorie des Zusammenwirkens, in: Forum SynergieWissen ZfL Berlin (01 Aug 2011)

Synergie - Vom Begriff zur Figur des Wissens, in: Forum SynergieWissen ZfL Berlin (01 Sep 2012)

Synergie in Kunst und Konstruktion (with Linda Pelchat, Anar Imanov), in: Forum SynergieWissen ZfL Berlin (15 Oct 2012)

»Wirksame Worte: Übertragungsphantasien in der russischen Moderne«, in: Barbara Gronau (ed.): Szenarien der Energie. Zur Ästhetik und Wissenschaft des Immateriellen, Bielefeld: transcript 2012, 45–66

»Eisige Archive. Auftauen – Einfrieren – Sondieren – Konservieren«, in: Trajekte 27 (Oct 2013), 8–12

»Symbol und Theurgie. Zur Transformationsästhetik der russischen Moderne«, in: Poetica 45 (2013) 3–4, 347–375

»Auferweckung als Programm. Entgrenzungen des Lebendigen in der russischen Moderne«, in: Katrin Solhdju, Ulrike Vedder (eds.): Das Leben vom Tode her. Zur Kulturgeschichte einer Grenzziehung, München 2015, 117–123

»Synergie«, in: Falko Schmieder, Georg Toepfer (eds.): Wörter aus der Fremde. Begriffsgeschichte als Übersetzungsgeschichte, Berlin 2017, 191–194

»Slavische Variationen der Unsterblichkeit«, in: Sebastian Kempgen, Monika Wingender, Ludgar Udolph (eds.): Deutsche Beiträge um 16. Internationalen Slavistenkongress, Belgrad 2018. (= Die Welt der Slaven. Sammelbände 63), Wiesbaden 2018, 491–511

Synergiewissen als Freies Wissen, in: ZfL BLOG (12 Nov 2018)

 

Anar Imanov

Velimir Chlebnikovs imaginäre Synergie, in: Forum SynergieWissen ZfL Berlin (01 Aug 2011)

»Wissenschaft und Prophetie in der Dichtung der russischen Avantgarde rund um das budetljanische Gamma«, in: Nina Frieß, Gunnar Lenz, Erik Martin (eds.): Grenzräume – Grenzbewegungen. Ergebnisse der Arbeitstreffen des JFSL Basel 2013/Frankfurt (Oder) und Słubice 2014. Vol. 2, Potsdam 2016, 73–85

Events

Lecture at the XVI. International Congress of Slavists
21 Aug 2018 · 9.00 am

Tatjana Petzer: Slavische Variationen der Unsterblichkeit

Universität Belgrad, Philosophische Fakultät, Studentski Trg. 3, R. 228 (SRB)

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Symposium
07 Nov 2017 · 2.00 pm

Literatur & Revolution. 100 Jahre Oktoberrevolution

MLU Halle-Wittenberg, Universitätsring 5, 06108 Halle (Saale), Hallischer Saal

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Workshop
05 Jul 2017 · 10.00 am

Synergietalks16: Unsterblichkeit. Geschichte und Zukunft des Homo immortalis

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Buchpräsentation und Gespräch
29 Jun 2016 · 6.00 pm

Synergietalks 15: Synergie. Kultur- und Wissensgeschichte einer Denkfigur

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum

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Forum SynergieWissen
27 Apr 2016 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 14: »Wurmloch« und »Dunkle Energie«. Fiktive Entitäten und ihr exploratives Potential für die Theoretische Physik

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
03 Feb 2016 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 13: Deleuzes Falte. Begriff, Textur, Perzeption

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
28 May 2014 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 12: Synergie und Sympathie. Sozialphilosophische Überlegungen

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 4. Et., Seminarraum 403

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Forum SynergieWissen
23 May 2014 · 11.00 am

Synergietalks 11: The Vibratory Cultures of Modern Art

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
12 Feb 2014 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 10: Synergie, Kooperation und Emergenz. Zauberworte zur Erklärung eines Ganzen aus seinen Teilen

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
22 Jan 2014 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 09: Synergien zwischen moralischer Vergewisserung und wissenschaftlicher Forschung. Kants Beschluss

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
05 Jul 2013

Synergietalks 08: Symbol & Theurgie. Die Transformationsästhetik der russischen Moderne

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
02 Nov 2012 · 10.00 am

Synergietalks 07: Emergenz und Innovation. Dynamiken des Neuen in Natur und Kultur

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
04 Jul 2012 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 06: Synergie – eine Elementaridee an der Nahtstelle von Religion und Medizin

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Mittwochsvortrag
30 May 2012 · 8.00 pm

Klaus Mainzer (München): Intelligente Systeme. Von der Evolution des Gehirns zur Robotik und künstlichen Intelligenz

Jeschke van Vliet Kunstauktionen, Schützenstr. 39, 10117 Berlin

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Forum SynergieWissen
30 May 2012 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 05: Komplexität in Theorie und Praxis

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
25 Apr 2012 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 04: Zusammenschlüsse. Konzepte der Symbiose in Biologie und Soziologie

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
18 Jan 2012 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 03: R. B. Fuller, Synergy und Prognostik

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
07 Dec 2011 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 02: Die Teile des Ganzen. Lektüren zu Elementen und Relationen in Systemen

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Forum SynergieWissen
26 Oct 2011 · 4.00 pm

Synergietalks 01: Beyond Reductionism

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303

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Mittwochsvortrag
29 Jun 2011 · 8.00 pm

Vorschule der Synergetik. Buckminster Fullers Lehre vom Zusammenwirken more geometrico

Zfl, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum 308

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Internationaler Workshop
29 Jun 2011 – 01 Jul 2011 · 2.00 am

Synergie. Konzepte – Techniken – Perspektiven

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum 308

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