Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> living systems theory
John Hopkins on Tue, 22 Jan 2013 13:10:41 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> living systems theory

Well, the following might be an entry point to a systems theory
approach to economics: which is, in fact, a subsystem of a wider ...
living system.

"Living Systems Theory is a general theory about how all living
systems 'work,' about how they maintain themselves and how they
develop and change.

By definition, living systems are open, self-organizing systems
that have the special characteristics of life and interact with
their environment. This takes place by means of information and
material-energy exchanges.

Living systems can be as simple as a single cell or as complex as a
supranational organization (such as the European Economic Community).
Regardless of their complexity, they each depend upon the same
essential twenty subsystems (or processes) in order to survive and to
continue the propagation of their species or types beyond a single

Some of these processes deal with material and energy for the
metabolic processes of the system. Other subsystems process
information for the coordination, guidance and control of the system.
Some subsystems and their processes are concerned with both.

The essence of life is process. If the processing of material-energy and 
information ends, life also ends. The defining characteristic of life is the 
ability to maintain, for a significant period, a steady state in which the 
entropy (or disorder) within the system is significantly lower than its 
non-living surroundings.

Living systems can maintain their energetic state because they are open, 
self-organizing systems that can take in from the environment the inputs of 
information and material-energy they need. In general, living systems 
process more information than non-living systems, with the possible 
exception of computers which have greater information processing 
capabilities. Another fundamental difference between living and non-living 
systems is that all living systems have, as essential components, DNA, RNA, 
protein and some other complex organic molecules that give biological 
systems their unique properties. These molecules are not synthesized in 
nature outside cells." (from The Living Systems Theory of James Grier Miller)

Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
exploring the patterns and flows of power  {AT} 

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org