Systems and Hierarchies

So, if a system is a collection of things that interact (A), and at a higer level it is a single entity (B), with attributes, that means it’s already a hierarchy. Not just a natural hierarchy, but one that can’t exist without being one. And since, due to the recursive laws of recursion, an entity at any level (including the B-level we just talked about) can interact with other entities at the same level (call this view A’) to produce a system, then we can have a hierarchical structure such that it’s “systems all the way down.”

This means that a system is hierarchical, not in a bad kings->nobles->peasants way, but in the same organic way that your body is: body->kidney->nephrons. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that the kings->peasants thing isn’t a system, it means that there’s more going on than the kings and nobles idea captures, and a simple “Ruritania owes allegiance to Hentzau” approach won’t work.

Next: System boundaries, or “Systemness is in the eye of the beholder”


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