Thursday, 15 January 2009

Systems

In my previous post I studied Organizational Learning in little detail. One of the major words therein is systems. One can ask someone "what is a system" and from the answer it is most often quite easy to guess the educational or even cultural background of that person.

In general Westerners refer to systems as a "thing". A building, a person, a train, a city. And technologists love to talk about their (harware/software) system too. Often in great detail.

Easterners more often refer to systems in the language of relations. Their community, their company, their family. Often in that order too. They consider themselves to be part of thereby often not even referring to themselves while Westerners would say the system consists of .... me, my friend, etc.

Another perspective on systems is found in pre-modern cultures where actually there is little system thinking as we know it, but people consider their movements during the day in terms of places. It is known that aboriginals talk about going from A to B via resting place C they refer to that yourney only by mentioning C. A and B are said to be not known in their world. I'm not an expert in that field, but can imagine that such a way of talking about traveving can work for groups that know their environment very very well.

In some sciences, sytems are identical with wholes. Parts, relations and interactions (processes) together form the system. And states (like the aboriginals' Place C) are an important concept too.

It is that kind of systems that I'm writing about in this blog. Systems that are not on their own, but related. For example, one cannot be a child without having a father and a mother. Becoming a mother creates the child and v.v. It is exactly what Maturana meant when he wrote: drawing a like creates the necessity to defend it. And as we all know. Lines are a major cause for war. Ask Europe!

And I want to write about the organization and stucture of such systems, knowing that the part can never be well unless the whole is well. Ask society today about the pain it feels from the state its financial part (sub-system) is in.

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