Bertalanffy defined a system in the most general way as elements in standing interaction. The ISSS Primer Group defined a system as a family of relationships among the members acting as a whole. Bertalanffy called for new modes of interaction. Talking in terms of interaction, or relationships, is difficult because ti requires a new way of using the language. In simple terms, it is like changing the language to reflect verbs rather than nouns. A system is what a system is doing. Bertalanffy called for a General System Theory which would identify those basic general principles of systems. The principle of how things work together.


Can you see the systemness?



This design illlustrates how an system works. If you look at the figure above for a period of time, eventually it will shift from parts to whole to parts. This is a gestalt effect. (This design was an accident, but it sure does work.) The central idea is that systemic relational elements integrate as a whole, and a new focus is realized. This is to be expected in any system. The downside of this is that the ordinary way of looking at things merely adds stuff up. Addition does not create something new. So the creation of something new cannot be understood or explained with the old way of looking at parts alone.