S Y S T E M S
Systems are all around us.
From the infinitesimal particles of the atom to the great swirling clusters of galaxies, from the single-celled amoeba to the massive blue whale, virtually everything is composed of systems, and exists as part of some larger system. All matter is organized as collections of smaller things, structured according to rules that allow existance in the local environment.
It would seem only natural for humans to try to mimic this creation of functional existance through organization. One the one hand we try to learn the rules that govern successful structures; on the other we attempt to apply those rules to create systems for our own conscious purposes.
This segment discusses our understanding of systems from both the theoretical and applied perspectives.
DiscussionsLiving Systems (Theory)
The Reality Distortion Field
Gall, John -- Systemantics: The Underground Text of System Lore (How Systems Really Work and How They Fail), The General Systemantics Press, 1990. The book that explains the real reasons why things don't work. The tone of the book is tongue-in-cheek, but there are some solid insights here.
Miller, James Grier -- Living Systems, University Press of Colorado, 1995. Miller's book is the culmination of a half-century's interdisciplinary study of living systems -- how they're organized, what their major subsystems are, and detailed descriptions of the functions they must all provide. It's a masterly condensation for the informed layperson of a vast assembly of scientific observation of the rules that govern living systems.