Fourth Order Cybernetics
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Can we Define a Fourth Order System?
- Fourth Order Cybernetics considers what happens when a system redefines itself.
- It focuses on the integration of a system within its larger, co-defining context.
* The 4th Order system is contextualised, embedded and integrated into the context * It can thereby become representative for the integrated context. * It therefore operates at two levels simultaneously. * It is no longer a system, but a meta-system. * It operates both as a system in its context, and as a system that is part of the context. * It thereby has the capacity to integrate and disintegrate the contact between both. * It is an active, interactive, reactive and ideally representative agent in/for/with/of that context. * This requires a different level of description: not in relationship to the system, but to the relationship between systems. * The Interface is now the system of reference, instead of the system. * This relationship is the basis of the interaction. * The transformation is the basis of the processing. * The integration is the basis of integrity. * The significant feature of the meta-system is its duality. * The essence is the same, but the relevance brings inversion. * The metasystem is an object; the meta-system is a subject. * Whereas a system can normally be described, a meta-system can only be experienced * The ‘pillars’ in this transition are the relationships (Second Order) and the interactions (Third Order). * Fourth Order Design would integrate all activities in an inverted, contextualised form * It would be embedded in its context and responsible in, and for, its actions * The system would act as meta-system and design would act as meta-design. * This represents the level of self-awareness. * It is where the system reflects upon itself and steers itself (i.e. is autopoietic). * These attributes facilitate self-regeneration, thus self-healing. * They can therefore be managed to enable a healing process.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetics: interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems.