Erich Jantsch

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Erich Jantsch (8 January 1929, Vienna – 12 December 1980, Berkeley, California) was an Austrian astrophysicist.

In the mid-1960s his increasing concern regarding the future led him to study forecasting techniques. He did not believe that forecasting or science could be neutral.[1]

Jantsch's Gauthier Lectures in System Science given in May 1979 at the University of California in Berkeley became the basis for his book The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, published by Pergamon Press in 1980 as part of the System Science and World Order Library edited by Ervin László. The book deals with self-organization as a unifying evolutionary paradigm that incorporates cosmology, biology, sociology, psychology, and consciousness. Jantsch is inspired by and draws on the work of Ilya Prigogine concerning dissipative structures and nonequilibrium states.

Now out of print for many years, The Self-organizing Universe has been influential among interdisciplinary proponents of biomimicry alternatives to understanding science like holism, co-evolution, and self-organization. It was extensively cited in Ken Wilber's integral philosophy book Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution.

Jantsch died in Berkeley, California, on December 12, 1980, "after a short but painful illness".[2] Magoroh Maruyama wrote in a eulogy, "Jantsch succumbed at the age of 51 to the material and physical hardships that worsened progressively during the last decade of his prolific and still young life. This makes us realize again the harsh and brutal conditions of life some of the innovators must endure. ... Let us face squarely the fact that Jantsch was given no paid academic job during a decade of his residence in Berkeley—a town considered to be a foremost spawning ground of scientific and philosophical innovations." Jantsch penned his own epitaph: "Erich Jantsch died on __ in Berkeley after a painful illness. He was almost 52 and grateful for a very rich, beautiful and complete life. His ashes have been scattered over the sea, the cradle of evolution."[3]


  • Technological forecasting in perspective, OECD, 1967.
  • Technological planning and social futures, Wiley, 1972. ISBN 0-470-43997-1
  • The Evolutionary Vision (Aaas Selected Symposium), Westview Press. ISBN 0-86531-140-4
  • Design for Evolution: Self-Organization and Planning in the Life of Human Systems (The International Library of Systems Theory and Philosophy), George Braziller Inc, 1975. ISBN 0-8076-0758-4
  • The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, New York: Pergamon Press, 1980. hardcover ISBN 0-08-024312-6 ; softcover ISBN 0-08-024311-8
  • (ed.) The Evolutionary Vision: Toward a Unifying Paradigm of Physical, Biological and Sociocultural Evolution. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1981.
    • Unifying principles of evolution. In The Evolutionary Vision, 83—116.


  1. ^ Trivia Library - Future Predictions of Famous Scientist Dr. Erich Jantsch by David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace "The People's Almanac" 1975 - 1981
  2. ^ Capra, F. (1981). Erich Jantsch 1929–1980. Futures, 13(2), 150-151.
  3. ^ Linstone, H. A., Maruyama, M., & Kaje, R. (1981). Erich Jantsch 1929–1980. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 19(1), 1-5.

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