In the discussion on levels of systems, Michael Scudder writes:
"The entities comprising a system participate in many systems
simultaneously. So, many different systems may -- indeed, must -- exist at
the same time and place. Which is to say that systems interpenetrate and
participate in each other (and therefore affect each other). A team
manager participates in the team system and the team's environment
"That entities may be entities in one context and systems in another
suggests an entity/system duality of being, analogous to the wave/particle
duality of light. Which is to say that things have "entity" and "system"
properties not perceptible simultaneously, and that different qualities
are revealed depending on whether we regard something (or someone) as an
entity or a system. "
I've been following this thread for a bit, and it brings to mind a frog.
A frog is a system designed to eat and hop and swim and ribbit and flick
its tongue. But a frog is made up of systems. It has a metabolic system,
a cardiovasular system, and a nervous system. Each has its own function.
The cardiovascular system is made up of systems: heart, lungs, arteries,
and other things that I've forgotten from 8th grade biology. You can
break it down further and further.
Go the other way. A frog is part of the ecosystem of a pond. It eats
flies and decomposes and probably has some sort of symbiotic relationship
with a lily pad. It is also part of an evolutionary system, one in which
it has evoloved from protoplasmic goop to the sophisticated bundle of
systems it is today. An individual frog is part of a life system; it is
not an egg or a tadpole, and it is not a little frog skeleton, but it has
been or will be all of these.
It's hard to understand a frog if all it is is a system which eats and
hops and swims and ribbits and flicks its tongue.
-- Barak Rosenbloom, Troublemaker U.S. Department of Labor (206) 553-4543 x8030 firstname.lastname@example.org