Posted by: chrismaser | March 9, 2010



The behavior of a system—any system—depends on how its individual parts interact as functional components of the whole, not on what an isolated part is doing. The whole, in turn, can only be understood through the relationships, the interaction of its parts. The only way anything can exist is encompassed in its interdependent relationship to everything else, a physical limitation that means an isolated fragment or an independent variable can exist only on paper as a figment of the human imagination.

Put differently, the false assumption is that an independent variable of one’s choosing can exist in a system of one’s choice and that it will indeed act as an independent variable. In reality, all systems are interdependent, and thus rely on their pieces to act in concert as a functioning whole. This being the case, no individual piece can stand on its own and simultaneously be part of an interactive system. Thus, there neither is nor can there be an independent variable in any system, be it biological, biophysical, or mechanical because every system is interactive by its very definition as a system.

What’s more, every relationship is constantly adjusting itself to fit precisely into other relationships that, in turn, are consequently adjusting themselves to fit precisely into all relationships, a dynamic that precludes the existence of a constant value of anything at anytime. Hence, to understand a system as a functional whole, we need to understand how it fits into the larger system of which it is a part and so gives us a view of systems supporting systems supporting systems supporting systems, ad infinitum.


Related Posts:

• The Law Of Cosmic Unification

• Principle 1: Everything is a relationship

• Principle 2: All relationships are inclusive and productive.

• Principle 3: The only true investment is energy from sunlight.

• Principle 5: All relationships result in a transfer of energy.

• Principle 6: All relationships are self-reinforcing feedback loops.

• Principle 7: All relationships have one or more tradeoffs.

• Principle 8: Change is a process of eternal becoming.

• Principle 9: All relationships are irreversible.

• Principle 10: All systems are based on composition, structure, and          function.

• Principle 11: All systems have cumulative effects, lag periods, and           thresholds.

• Principle 12: All systems are cyclical, but none are perfect circles.

• Principle 13: Systemic change is based on self-organized criticality.

• Principle 14: Dynamic disequilibrium rules all systems.


Text © by Chris Maser 2010. All rights reserved.

Protected by Copyscape Web Copyright Protection

This series of blogs is excerpted from my 2009 book, Social-Environmental Planning: The Design Interface Between Everyforest and Everycity, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 321 pp.

If you want to contact me, you can visit my website. If you wish, you can also read an article about what is important to me and/or you can listen to me give a presentation.

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