1 Int . General Systems. Vol. 21, pp. 145-160 J. S. A. shers Publi nce cie h S Breac and 2 Gordon 199 © Reprint s av ailabl sher the publi from e directly licen se on ly by Ph otocop permined ying AUTOPOIESIS OF APPLICATION IN THE SYSTEMS AUTOPOIETIC ARE ANALYSIS: SYSTEMS ALSO SYSTEMS? SOCIAL MILAN ZELENY Graduate Administration , Fordham University at Lincoln School of Business West 60th St. , 113 Center, NY 10023, U.S.A. New York, D. HUFFORD KEVIN and Systems J. Watson School of Engineering T. Applied Science, Department of University State Science, York at Binghamton, of NY New Binghamton, U.S 13902-6000, .A. f orm May 1990 ; ceived final 7, July 2. 1990) (Re in systems are "self-producing" systems. Autopoietic concepts a system the autopoietic nature of The of developed by were Varela the based , biological, system . T o illustrate a living diversity of at .' upon et its application to systems a nalysis , three systems (a eukaryotic cell autopoiesis osmotic precipi- in , an membrane, the human family) have been defined and and using the six-point key, cri- tation analyzed teria, Varela et al. of sions have been drawn as to the autopoietic nature of each system . Conclu Varela a biological al. a as they have been applied to criteri (living) system can be applied to et 's systems other , s pontaneou s social) that are not (e .g . , chemical curr considered as " living" e ntly this and may have a profound eff ect on the way "living organization " is defined and/ or viewed. The very que s- tion of in spontan eous soc ial system s is irrelevant. Not only are spontan eous social systems autopoiesis but a stronger exists where autopoietic relation and "All biological (living) therefore autopoietic, all social systems." are , systems Artificial INDEX , autopoie sis, living system s, osm otic growth, precipitation membranes , TERMS: life social systems, spo ntaneous social system s , synthetic biology, sys- self-production, analysis. tems DEFINITION , FRAMEWORKS, AND AUTOPOIESIS SYSTEM 1 in his expressed and perhaps best been by Gaines "system" simply defined A has statement . " This as a system is distinguished implies what is A statement: " system define the has a choice as that how to observer the system that he intends . to to chemical systems, is a wide variety of system types such as physical There analyze. biological systems, systems, economic system s , logic systems, po- systems, social described systems, that may be others by an observer. litical and system mentioned above has an adjective associated Each it that describes with the of things that are in the system. It is not that properties of the things type the we, as systems scientists, are interested in. It is the properties that are independent of of nature of the things (independent specific the things themselves) that are the of interest . The concepts of "thinghood," properties dealing with the nature of the of the na- dealing with concepts independent "systemhood," things, properties and 2 ture things, have been introduced by Rosen of as terms for these concepts. 145
2 146 MILAN and KEVIN D . HUFFORD ZELENY an For able to characterize the systemhood, the domain of inquiry observer to be requires a conceptual This framework will determine framework. systems science, in types the can be described and should lead to some specific criteria of systems that the can how be categorized . Several frameworks have been developed as to systems 4 5 6 3 7 Takahara, and by Mesarovic Klir. Wymore, Within these frame- Zeigler and ' types works different are systems type of system is the "auto- of categorized. One formalism The poietic" system. has been introduced and defined of this system by 8 and Uribe. Maturana, Varela, of how an autopoietic system is cate- An example 7 Within his GSPS by Klir. has a conceptual been given framework within gorized Problem Solver) framework Klir has described the autopoietic sys- (General Systems of boundary, unorthodox goal-oriented system. The goal is some tem as a rather kind usually that allows the observer to recognize a part topological, Space as of a unit. the Klir in GSPS language as a metasystem autopoietic views system the of form MD = (T, D, r). are "self-producing" systems. Autopoietic system itself (limited by systems The boundary) its (its that the existence of is by structures, processes, etc.) it such itself itself. Thus it does not matter what the things are in the system only that produces they produce they whatever themselves. The autopoietic nature are a system is of independent domain science, systemhood, since it is systems of the within of the in the system . things, thinghood, and perhaps clearer, expression Another, an autopoietic system of a system (that is is observed) that is generated being a closed organization of produc- through which processes of is generated through the tion such that the same organization processes interactions of its own products (components) and a boundary emerges as a result of the constitutive processes. In other words, because of the system's operation same product is the The system the system. realization is autopoietic organization. of the the 8 autopoietic defined al. organization as have by a network of et a unity Varela components productions participate recursively in the same network of pro- of which ductions which produced these components components realize the network of and productions as a unity in the space in which the components exist. of 9 organization that the states of components and component-producing pro- Zeleny and through the interaction invariant turnover of components. is maintained cesses invariance follows the definition: The from the (the relations between if organization processes) changes there would system a change in the system's identity class: be categorization. manifestation changes is the system's structure (its particular its What nature the in and its parts. The given environment) of the components and their spatiotemporal relations (associated with "thinghood") are secondary to their orga- nization (associated "systemhood") and thus refer to the structure with the system. of boundary the Thus of the a structural underlying organi- manifestation is system's zation. is not the organization; it represents the structural realization, The boundary the system, in a particular environment of components. In a physical environment of this not mean that the topological boundary does not even to, or is nec- conducive for essary creating a favorable environment (by of components), the maintenance of an autopoietic organization. Both organization and structure are mutually interdependent. The concepts by the of a system were developed nature Varela et of autopoietic 8 al. a model upon (biological) system as a living of self-production. Yet self- based production has the potential to mean and interpreted many different ways by a be variety of people. "Autopoiesis" has been coined (not translated) from Greek as a label for a clearly defined interpretation of "self-production." This phenomenon of
3 OF AUTOPOIESIS ANALYSIS 147 IN SYSTEMS be self-production living systems. A cell, a system that renews its observed can in thousands macromolecular components of during its lifetime, maintains its times relative autonomy and distinctiveness, despite this turn- identity, its cohesiveness, 9 "autopoiesis." Zeleny presents an unity wholeness and is called This lasting over. excellent autopoiesis as a theory for living organization . But overview a sys- of for scientist tems to and to he must be able to look at his system a theory, use able be whether the theory applies to his system. determine methodologically end To this al. Varela developed a six-point key that provides the criteria for determining have et not a system is autopoietically organized. or whether It is intention to propose, demonstrate, and argue that Varela et al. 's criteria our be applied to other systems they can as to a biological (living) system are applied that currently "living," and that this not consider have a profound effect we do may way we as scientists should view and/or define the phrase "living on the organi- We intend to argue that the very question of autopoiesis also (or in) zation." of social systems is not only irrelevant, spontaneous the very opposite is true. Not but are only systems autopoietic, but the relationship is much stronger: spontaneous social All systems, all biological (living) therefore are social systems. and autopoietic, this end we will also consider that the topological boundary that has been nec- To to an autopoietic system, within a favorable describe essary of physical environment may not necessarily exist in and around a cell), components (such as those within a physical form in types of e.g ., in social systems. other systems, SIX-POINT AUTOPOIESIS- KEY THE its a system or is not To in is organization, Varela et whether determine autopoietic 8 developed six key points or criteria that must be applied to a system. Their have al. are stated as follows (pp. 192-193): criteria Point #1: Determine, through interactions, if the unity has identifiable Key If boundaries can be determined, proceed to 2. If the boundaries. the is indescribable and we can say nothing. not, entity Point #2: Determine if there are constitutive elements of the unity, that is, Key components of unity. If these components can be described, the an If there- not, the unity is and unanalyzable whole 3. proceed to fore not an autopoietic system. Key Point Determine if the unity is a mechanistic system, that is, the com- #3: relations properties of satisfying certain capable that ponent are of these unity the interactions and transformations determine in the not, If is the case proceed to 4. If this the unity is components. not an autopoietic system. Key Point #4: Determine if the components that constitute the boundaries of the unity constitute boundaries through preferential neighbor- these relations interactions between themselves, as deter- hood and by their mined in the space properties of their interactions . If this is unity not you do not have an autopoietic case, because you the If 4 is the case, the unity itself. are determining its boundaries, not however, proceed to 5.
4 148 MILAN and KEVIN D. HUFFORD ZELENY Point #5: if the components of the boundaries of the unity are Key Determine the components of the unity, either of the produced by interactions previously components , or by of produced by transformation of non-component elements that and/or coupling transformations unity through its boundaries . the enter you do not have an If not, yes, proceed to 6 . if unity autopoietic ; #6: by all the other components of the unity are also produced Point the Key If which of as in 5, and if those components are not its interactions produced by the interactions other components participate of as in the production of constitutive components necessary permanent components, you an autopoietic unity in the space in other have components . its exist which is not the case and there are If this components the not produced by unity in components the unity of do which or if there are components of not unity the 5, as in in the of other components, you do not have production participate autopoietic unity. an Thus the successful application the of key to a system will determine that six-point the system autopoietically organized . is THE SIX-POINT KEY ANALYSIS USING SYSTEMS To illustrate the diversity of autopoiesis in its application to systems analysis, three systems (a (living) system, a chemical system , and a spontaneous social biological will be analyzed using the six -point key, and then conclusions will system) defined, system of each . nature as the drawn autopoietic be to : The C ell One Eukaryotic System non-plant eukaryotic cell that The shown in Figure I, perhaps a single- generalized is organism or a single cell from celled -cellular animal, may be described as a multi having membrane which surrounds the cytoplasm and cytoplasmic com- a plasma of golgi cell. The cytoplasm contains the nucleus, mitochondria, the ap- ponents paratus, reticulum, various vesicles, lysosomes , vacuoles, cytoplasmic endoplasmic of the cell. filaments microtubules , centrioles , and other components and Evaluation of key point # 1 The eukaryotic cell has a definite boundary (plasma membrane), a separation the environment that is formed from the from var- by cell phospholipids and proteins . Thus the eukaryotic cell, the unity, is describable. ious of #2 Evaluation The eukaryotic cell has distinguishable constitutive ele- key-point of nucleus such as the Components , mitochondria, etc. consist ments: components. materials that are found within the cytoplasm of the cell . Therefore the cell is not an whole: it has components that can be analyzed. unanalyzable Evaluation of key-point #3 The properties of the eukaryotic cell components (as shown re- Figure I) are such that in they follow certain physical laws and because
5 AUTOPOIESIS IN SYSTEMS ANALYSIS OF 149 GOLGI BODY ROUGH RETICULUM ENDOPLASMIC MEMBRANE PLASMA zed non-plant otic ce ll generali Figure 1 A eukary laws of chemical reaction, diffusion, (hydrophobic/hydrophilic lations interactions, the components have developed specialized functions . Due to these osmosis, etc.), generate they interactions and transformations functions the components the which of is membrane and the components contained create the cell. The cell the cell within system. a mechanistic of key-point #4 The boundary , the plasma membrane, Evaluation the eukaryotic of cell formed by the association is phospholipids and integral and peripheral of various view This proteins. membrane, the "fluid mosaic of is shown in Figure the model," The membrane is formed as a result of the 2. neighborhood interactions preferential of phospholipid and protein molecules with each other and the surrounding me- the a polar the phospholipids seek either of (aqueous) or a non-polar (hy- Portions dia. drocarbon) environment (see Figure 3) . The same occurs with the surface elements of the These preferential neighborhood interactions occur such that the un- proteins. (aqueou of (organic) region and a polar a non-polar s) region are stable interactions minimized . of key-point #5 The function of the plasma membrane in the eukaryotic Evaluation cell is provide a boundary within which the cellular components will have an to of the cellular ma- operate. to controlled Part isolated environment in which and chinery is used to produce the membrane components from the transformation and/ or of non-component elements (amino acids, fatty acids, ions, etc .) into coupling they components spholipids and proteins). Thus (pho are produced by the membrane . cell of the components of the unity, the eukaryotic s interaction other of #6 All of Evaluation key-point components (mitochondria , nucleus , the etc .) by of unity are al so produced the the interactions of its components. Some
6 MILAN and KEVIN D. HUFFORD ZELENY 150 2 Figure membr ane model ; A = integral proteins , B = periph eral protein Fluid mo saic are as alkaline-earth metal ions) that and necessary for cel- (such alkali components may not be produced by the lular activity components the . They are obtained of cell participate environment the membrane and through as necessary permanent from the components. in the production of other elements constitutive Since the six-point key has been successfully applied to the generalized Conclusion space cell concluded that the cell is an autopoieti c unity in the be eukaryotic , it can which its components exist. in of Stephane Ledu c Two: Osmoti c Growths System 10 In Mechanism The (1911), growth, Leduc Life de scribe s an " osmotic of " Stephane having of inorganic salt, as precipitated many processes, functions , and a membrane characteristic forms that seem to be analogous to those found in living . The systems Klir, experiments Leduc have been reproduced by by Hufford , osmotic performed 11 Zeleny. and typical experiments in simple precipitation , where two solutions are mixed Unlike of an insoluble salt results, osmotic growths precipitate and a cloudy and solution grow over a period minutes to days of go from a thin transparent membraneous and state to an opaque state. A typical precipitation membrane system can be constructed as follows : Components fragments and broken into -fused CaCI 2 Na P0 -saturated 4 3 250 ml beaker A Procedure Pour ml 200 the saturated Na Drop of beaker. solution into the 250 ml P0 4 3 the of fused CaCI sink into solution and Jet them fragments three four or 2 to the bottom .
7 ANALYSIS SYSTEMS IN AUTOPOIESIS OF 151 CH3 CH3 CH3 " 1/ ".N (+) I CH2 I CH2 POLAR HEAD GROUP I 0 I O=P-0(-) I H 0 I I HYDROCARBON H2C-C-CH2 TAILS I I 0 0 I I o=c c=o I I 7(H2C) (CH2) 1 4 I I SYMBOL FOR PHOSPHOLIPID A CH3 HC MEMBRANE COMPONENT II HC I 7(H2C) I H3C 1 ITOVL I DVL CHOLINE -2-0LEOYL -PALM -PHOSPHAT example of a phospholipid 3 Figure An precipitation, the osmotic growth, develops immediately. The The is rep- process resented in Figure 4. An actual photographic sequence has diagrammatically been 12 provided by Zeleny, Klir , and Hufford . At first glance Leduc's osmotic systems are such that by their existence they pro- of an autopoietic system (self -producing) duce by the basic definition themselves and appear they to autopoietic. To determine whether or not Leduc's osmotic be growths are autopoietic systems, Varela's indeed key can be applied. six-point Evaluation of key-point # 1 The osmotic growths of Leduc have a definite boundary the (an a separation from the environment that is created by membrane), osmotic precipitated inorganic salt. Thus the unity is describable. Evaluation of key-point #2 The osmotic growth itself has distinguishable consti- form of the substances that elements: tutive components. The components consist
8 MILAN and KEVIN D . HUFFORD ZELENY 152 Saturated sodium n?Ml phosphate calcium Fused chloride ~!~!~! •.1'•.1•.1' ~ Osmotic growth Osmotic growth sequence; Tl = precipitate on the Figure of the fused fragment. T2 = water 4 surface the membrane and distension occurs. T3 traverses osmotic growth continues. = the osmotic (boundary) and the internal substances confined within this membrane . Example: indepen- the osmotic growth that arises from the otherwise membrane in materials-calcium and (solid) chloride tribasic sodium phosphate (saturated dent a colloidal membrane formed is solution)-the aggregation of calcium phos- osmotic ions The membrane-forming substances are aqueous calcium and phosphate phate. (see 4). Thus the osmotic growth is not an unanalyzable whole. It has com- Figure that be analyzed . ponents can of key-point #3 The osmotic growth is a mechanistic system. Evaluation prop- The aggregates the components (the membrane of and associated ions) are such erties that because they follow certain physical laws and relations (precipitation, aggre- gation, etc.) they generate growth and osmotic membrane formation. osmosis, Evaluation of key-point #4 The boundaries of the osmotic growth are formed by precipitated salt molecules that aggregate because inorganic of their preferential components' their of interactions that occur because and relations neighborhood
9 OF AUTOPOIESIS SYSTEMS ANALYSIS !53 IN Inside Outside Membrane Membrane Net flow into the osmotic growth 5 water Figure the space properties which they are interacting. The boundary of this unity in in the of the chemical and physical properties and interactions os- of because occurs membrane motic elements. key-point #5 In an osmotic growth the components Evaluation the boundary of of of previously produced aggregates (membrane com- the interactions are by produced ponents). The aggregates allow the passage of water molecules through the boundary (driven by to generate an increase in internal osmotic pressure (Figure 5). osmosis) longer The distends when it can no membrane resist the increase in osmotic osmotic pressure. This allows the internal element (calcium ion) to contact and couple with and a non-component ion) (Figure 6) (phosphate be transformed into a new element occurred. of the boundary (calcium phosphate) (Figure 7). Thus growth has component Inside Outside Membrane Membrane 6 Expansion Figure to increased pressure due
10 154 MILAN and KEVIN D . HUFFORD ZELENY Inside Outside Membrane Membrone Formation of membrane component; NC = new component 7 Figure a new in #6 key-point ion that is used The the formation of the of Evaluation calcium other is not produced by the interactions compo- of (boundary) osmotic membrane component it as a necessary permanent constitutive participate in does But nents. production the components of other . Based the above evaluation of on Leduc's osmotic growths Conclusion Stephane the calcium chloride/tribasic sodium phosphate system), it can be con- (specifically the an growth is an autopoietic unity in osmotic space in which its com- cluded that exist. ponents Family-A Spontaneous Social System Human System Three: into Hayek A. concepts of self-production directly integrated the domain of F. the 17 stated He social that "Although the overall order of systems. arises in ap- actions joint product of the actions of many individuals who propriate as the circumstances are governed certain rules, the production by of overall order is of course not the knowl- any have of individual action since the individual will not aim conscious the of the order, so that it will not be an awareness of what is needed to overall edge an the overall order in a particular moment but or abstract rule which restore preserve will guide the actions the individual." Therefore the individuals in a society, of a of conduct which assures their existence spontaneously assume the sort social order, the within whole. course this conduct must also be compatible with the preser- Of vation of whole. Neither the society nor the individuals could exist if they did the not behave in this manner. The overall order, preservation of the is not the society, "purpose" or "plan" of the individuals (we are not discussing human-engineered the by social individual actions are motivated The their own goals and purposes. systems). engineering social large-scale of and failures undisputed the After fatal conceit 15 16 experimentation and and ' the the phenomena of spontaneity past, emergence of Of significance are the surviving and in social systems are being re-emphasized. market, robust institutions such as social family, culture, money, language, econ-
11 OF AUTOPOIESIS SYSTEMS ANALYSIS IN 155 omy, myriads of voluntary groupings. These have spontaneously emerged city, and of as (non-human engineered) formation and organization of society . the a result natural of a spontaneous social order is an example third system, human family As the the life impact great significance in the and that has a substantial economic, social, of systems. A family constitutes , prototypically , an autopoietic system that and political and is through organizational rules (which are potentially cod- produced maintained of a given matter what the particular mix No its components (men, of society. ified) children) the family organizes women social domain and coordinates its , and its action a spontaneous self-perpetuating fashion in also continually adapt, social . It must engi- social society, of and challenges external the to spontaneously, interferences and reformers . neers, of key-point 1 The family boundary is usually well defined . The dis- Evaluation # family subject non-family members is rarely ambiguous or between to tinction and or visually observable Limiting physical purely to interpretation. fuzzy autopoiesis human-engineered "Berlin Walls") is extremely restrictive and does membranes (like serve a useful purpose. A definite family boundary can be defined, although it not concept defined the family the of of boundary might be is not the context physical. In the members in a set. In terms as included set theory the membership of of crisp set (the symbolic set boundary, if Venn the are used) is the family. Using diagrams nuclear be (can potential of the the family have "fuzzy" set outside others theory given a membership grade) to be included in the family organization. Family mem- bers are distinguished from their environment (from the "society") more sharply usually any engineered/designed "membrane" can ever provide. Thus the fam- than physical unity describable. , the ily , is key-point #2 The family system is defined through its clearly iden- Evaluation of and role-separable There are fathers, mothers, children, wage- tifiable components. extended family members, aunts, uncles, cousins, "black-sheep," earners, homemakers, an can The family is not be unanalyzable whole. It has components that on. so and analyzed. Evaluation #3 Family members display system-derived properties that of key-point as family members. Specialization, role-playing, aspirations , pref- characterize them goals , needs, erences, . generate interactions which are different from the inter- etc or the market-place, church community, of concentration camp. In fact, the actions component properties are adapted to and derived from the very family mechanism they produce. these system-derived properties the family members generate Due to the between components interactions family members) which generate the the (the boundary and the family components. family of key-point #4 The boundary of the family is defined and maintained Evaluation also the members themselves (although this may be codified and family protected by or social engineers . The boundary is maintained laws), not by external observers by through preferential relations and interactions between the components neighborhood family members). Social engineers can (the of restrict the interaction between course family components which distorts the spontaneous family boundary by force (often natural irreversibly) can occur in other as systems . Family components maintain the
12 MILAN and KEVIN D. HUFFORD ZELENY !56 cohesiveness (define family boundary) in an often fierce and uncompro- system the fashion. mising Evaluation The components within the family (the family bound- of #5 key-point through through interactions, not produced "external appointments." ary) are family and into fathers into grandfathers, mothers transformed fathers pro- are Sons fathers, the of "head family" the To become sisters). (brothers daughters and sons duce and This internal not necessarily a biological one. production, applies to both an social is women in both nuclear and single-parent men Even external compo- and families. be family of various schemes, can into transformed the adoption nents, through members desired. Man and woman biologically produce children, if well-defined of the compo- children are produced by the interactions family Thus the members. nents of the family. the unity, boundary key-point components of the family, All or otherwise, of #6 Evaluation #5. both biological and social are as in Key-Point produced through production, externally components or component-roles imposed . , family "spies") are Any (e.g and only transitory from the family unnecessary point. Others, like mid- vantage or doctors, constitute relatively family structures that are necessary permanent wives exists is well defined and in the domain of the family family for The reproduction. family family-produced members. the Based the above Conclusion on six-point key being successfully evaluation, components. the family is an autopoietic unity defined in the space of its own applied, ARE AUTOPOIETIC SYSTEMS SOCIAL SYSTEMS? ALL autopoietic key systems to be of by applying the six-point have shown We a number et that It has been successfully argued Varela biological (living) systems are of al. 14 Life of Artificial (AL), (self-producing) in advances the areas autopoietic . Recent 1 12 osmotic growths, that 1. synthetic have established biology, at least some and au- e., self-producing in inorganic milieus. In non-biological, i . topoietic are systems the phenomena short, autopoiesis is an of of matter, not a biological organization matter ("organic") so organized . particular been extensively (and sometimes heatedly) discussed whether social systems It has or (i.e., component, not engineered spontaneous-order designed by man) are their autopoietic. We now argue that posing the very question of autopoiesis of) in (or is undoubt- restrictive; spontaneous social orders and systems are systems social too All is much stronger. autopoietic systems, and relationship but the edly autopoietic, also all biological (living) systems, are social systems. therefore are above does not imply that all social systems conjecture autopoietic; there The of social engineering that are "wonders" are many man-made and man-designed neither self-producing self-sustaining nor military concentration (e.g., heirarchies, camps national socialism, of assorted "Berlin Walls"). But autopoietic systems, and both "organic" and possibly "inorganic," are necessarily social (societal, popula- (or tional). social agents do not need physical "walls" Judgmental barbed-wire fences) in order to establish strong social boundaries.
13 OF AUTOPOIESIS SYSTEMS ANALYSIS IN 157 Autopoiesis place where there are no separate and autonomously in- cannot take interacting components in a specific environment ac- and dividual communicating autopoiesis interaction . This is why of (auto- behavioral specific rules cording to be studied by postulating each poietic as a separate organization) can component of computer simulation. cellular automata its tracing behavior through and entity types the like components, of individuality this sacrifice Approaches essential which of differential equation used in the traditional sciences, cannot statistical systems because they are is of treating au- incapable definitionally This model autopoiesis. as social systems. Components and participants in autopoiesis must topoietic systems communicate-they form a community of components, interact, and follow rules, system. a society, a social their of physics, chemistry, and biology treating capable of are That sciences the of communicating statistical masses, and not as social systems object systems as components, is enough. But the social systems proper (i.e., human systems) are bad treated also equations, thus destroying their "social" by differential mathematical systems all are social systems, social systems them- though autopoietic Even quality. treated as selves systems. are not autopoietic 13 social engineers assume out, since people have pointed that As F. von Hayek to some systems generate able been coordinating their efforts, they must of rules The traditional norms design an also better and "improved" system. be able to even of socialism embody imposition and subsequent restructuring or guiding the reason and uncritical a naive theory an rationality, and unscientific methodology of obsolete von Hayek calls "constructivist rationalism." which the spontaneous (and other Although social orders) can easily produce and family of producing (and capability its primary other is that generate than itself, systems reproducing) itself. Concentration camps and other "engineered" societies are ca- of (producing "else") but not capable of autopoiesis (producing heteropoiesis pable except by force and coercion. "self"), sustained of of pressures and props is one coercive the safest tests of external removal The autopoiesis) of social systems: if viability coercive boundaries (physical or (i.e., the dissolve the social system ceases to and , it was not autopoietic; if otherwise) exist its social boundary and voluntarily increases the level of cohesiveness, it reasserts of human participation and pursuit. it is then and worthy self-sustaining, autopoietic, Eastern non-autopoietic communist systems of the Europe is a of collapse The of of spontaneous social orders in action. As soon as the threats force example prime inter- Red Army of support for the control-regimes) and the (or even the promises removed, people spontaneously vention were prior plans, leaders , or "models") (without organized themselves into a highly disciplined, purposeful, and effective social (and simultaneously political) force. both as and unscientific to consider engineered social designs It social improper is camps, jails, command hierarchies, totalitarian orders, and Concentration systems. on, are not social orders but dictatorial, rule-based systems: everybody is put in so to told to do and how to respond, where what go and when. Whatever social- place, of the imposed emerge, do so only in spite and in defiance system characteristics do order. There nothing spontaneously social about them. As soon as the boundaries is not do re-assemble themselves are dissolved they imposed rules, (the fear) order, spontaneously: rather, everybody goes home. Such engineered command systems do have a role to play in some societies-for and military hierarchies in war, concentration camps of national socialism, example, assorted "Berlin Walls," assuring continued involuntary membership in modem times.
14 HUFFORD MILAN ZELENY and KEVIN D . !58 . . ® A '0 Circular organi zation of interdepend ent processe s a nd their "production " Figure 8 that it in the sense of "command " systems only we present our conjecture : But is autopoietic (biological) systems are social All they are not hierarchical systems; command systems. organization a network of interactions, reactions, and processes involving: Social is Production (poiesis): the rules 1) regulations guiding the entry of new living and components (such as birth, membership, acceptance). of Bonding (linkage): the rules guiding associations, functions, and positions 2) individuals their tenure within the organization . during associated Degradation rules and processes the with the ter- (disintegration): 3) mination membership , separation, of expulsion). (death three Figure graphically In the above 8 we poietic processes and connect represent processes concatenated circularly of self-production. Observe that all a cycle in them only processes components necessary for other one , not of the represent productions designated as " production. " To emphasize this crucial point we speak of poiesis instead reality production and autopoiesis of of self-production. Although in instead
15 OF AUTOPOIESIS SYSTEMS ANALYSIS 159 IN of processes be so connected and/or interconnected, the above three- hundreds could represents model conditions necessary for autopoiesis to emerge. the process minimum (autopoietic) Figure 8, all biological systems are social of point From the vantage consist They systems. and disintegration production, related compo- of linkage, of therefore is a social organism . An a cell processes component-producing and nents or components, the poiesis of their of we cannot the Without system. understanding to understand them as wholes . even hope REFERENCES Yearbook Systems Research: Quo Vadis?" ~General Systems , 24, 1979 , pp. General R . Gaines , I. B. . 1-9 2. R. Rosen, Comments on Systems and Systems Theory. " Int. J . Gen. Sys. 13, "Some pp. 1986, 1-3. M . D. and T . Takahara, General Systems Theory : Mathematical Foundations . Academic 3. Mesarovic York, 1975 . New Press, A. W 4. Syst e . Wymore, Methodology For Interdisciplinary Teams. Wiley-Intersci- ms Engineering York, 1976 . New ence, 5. P. Zeigler B. (ed s. ) , Methodolog et Systems Modelling and Simulation. North-Holland, Am- al. y in 1979 . sterdam, B. 6. Zeigler , Multifa cetted Modelling P. Discrete Event Academic Press, New York and Simulation. London and , 1984. 7. G. J . Klir, Archite cture Systems Problem Solving. Plenum Press, New of 1985. York, 8. G. Varela, H. R. Maturana, and R. Uribe, F. The Organization of Living Systems, "Autopoiesis: Its Characterization and a Model." BioSystems , 5, 1974, pp. 187-196. 9 . M . Zeleny (ed Autopoiesis : A Theory of Living Organization . North-Holland , Am sterdam, 1981. .), S. Leduc, Mechanism 10. The Rebman, 1911. Life. London, of J. Klir, K . D. Hufford, and M. Zeleny, "Osmotic Growths: A Challenge to Systems II. G . Science." Int. . Sys ., 14(1) , 1988 Gen . 5-9 . J . , pp M . Zeleny, G . 12. Klir , and K. D. Hufford, "Precipitation Membr J. Osmotic Growths and Syn- anes, thetic In Artificial Life: The Proceedings Biology." an Workshop on the Syn- of Interdisciplinary thesis Simulation of Living Systems , edited by C. Langton, Vol. and Santa Fe Institute Studies VI, in Sciences the Complexity Series, Addison-Wesley of City, CA , 1989, pp. 125-139. , Redwood 13. F. A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1988 . of . "Artificial Life . " In Artificial Life: The Proceedin gs G . Langton, an Interdisciplinary Work- 14 C. on the Synthesis shop Simulation of Living Systems, and by C . Langton, Vol. VI, Santa Fe edited in the Sciences Studies Institute CA, Complexity of Redwood City, Series, 1989, Addison-Wesley, pp . 1-47. 15. M . Zeleny (Ed.), Autopoiesis. Dissipative Structures, and Spontaneous Social Orders. Westview Press, Boulder, 1980. CO, M . Zeleny, "Spontaneous Social Order s. " 16. Systems, 11(2), 1985, pp . General 117-131. 17. F . A . Hayek , "Kinds of Order in Society " Studies in Social Theory , No . 5 , Institute for Humane Studies, Menlo Park, CA, 1975.
16 and KEVIN D. HUFFORD ZELENY MILAN 160 Zeleny Milan Dip!. lng. from the Prague School of Economics, holds a and Ph.D. the University of Rochester. He is now professor of M.S. from and he in New York. Earlier University served at Systems Management Fordham of the University of South Carolina, Copenhagen School of the faculties on for Advanced Studies European Management (Brus- Economics, Institute in for ten years at sels), and School University Business. He is an Columbia of at Professor the Adjunct School at Technology in Bingham- Advanced of SUNY in of Management MBA faculty Dublin. the Irish Institute the serves and ton on agio 1980s was Resident Scholar the the Bell he Study Center In at the Rock- of Award Research of the Alexander von Humboldt recipient efeller Foundation, (West and the Norbert Wiener Award in the competition of British Germany), Kvbernetes. journal served on editorial boards He has and Computers of Generations Computer Systems, Fu~zy Research, and Systems, General Systems Operations Future Sets Yearbook, and Management. His recent books include Multiple Criteria Decision Mak- Human Systems Linear Multiobjective Programming (Springer Verlag), Autopoiesis. Dissipative ing (McGraw-Hill), and Spontaneous Social Orders (Westview Press), MCDM-Past Decades and Future Trends Structures (JAI Autopoiesis: A Theory Press), Living Organi~ation North Holland), and Uncertain of (Elsevier Ranking Prospects among (Verlag Anton Hain), Portfolio others. Zeleny has published and Analysis 260 papers and articles, ranging from to research, cybernetics and general systems, operations over history economics, science, international and quality management. and simulation of of auto- models poiesis and artificial life (AL). Five of his articles on Integrated Process Management (I PM) have been recently translated Japanese. He has been a Fulbright Professor into Prague during Zeleny's in 1990. and appeared Chinese, French, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Russian, Japanese, Polish. in have writings also published has He short stories, literary essays, and some reviews in both Czech and 300 political English. Hufford is currently a Ph.D. D. in Systems Science at the Kevin candidate J. Watson School of Engineering. Applied Thomas and Technology, Science, State of New York at Binghamton. Since 1987 he has been employed University a full-time Consultant in Business and Financial Information Sys- as Technical (BFIS) within Information Resources at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. tems (CUDA) Cornell supports Cornell University's Distributed Accounting At he project, microcomputer a distributed DBMS within 77 business offices. He also supports training for the Cornell Planning and Budgeting System (CPBS), one He Cornell's 3090) information systems. (IBM is also mainframe on-line, of Administrator for BFIS. Outside the Network of he a part-time in- Cornell is computer /information sciences at Em- chemistry, structor and in biochemistry, of Chemistry at Broome Prior to 1987 he State an Assistant Professor pire College, Ithaca, NY. was Community College, Binghamton, NY. He obtained his B.S. in Biochemistry (1977) and his M.A. in Chemistry (1981) the State University of New York at Binghamton. He has published several from and research, chemistry, education, systems of database system support. His interests articles areas the in are database in structured system analysis, user-requirements determination, theory, application systems design and development, cellular automata, autopoietic systems, L-system modeling and computer sim- ulation, and most recently, network thermodynamic models.
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