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Self sufficient subsystems, and evolution.

Started by droqen, February 18, 2023, 10:59:56 AM

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Thinking in Systems - watchmaker quote

The Nature of Order - genes, self sufficient little things


Here it is. ~ Thinking in Systems, page 82-83.

QuoteWhy the Universe Is Organized into Hierarchies--a Fable

The watches made by both Hora and Tempus consisted of about one thousand parts each.

Tempus put his together in such a way that if he had one partly assembled and had to put it down---to answer the phone, say---it fell to pieces. When he came back to it, Tempus would have to start all over again. The more his customers phoned him, the harder it became for him to find enough uninterrupted time to finish a watch.
     [Aside: This is a great example of a 'balancing feedback loop' in a system! In this case it's a bad balance; the more success Tempus finds, the less he is able to build watches, which places a limiter on how much watch-building success he can achieve.]

Hora's watches were no less complex than those of Tempus, but he put together stable subassemblies of about ten elements each. Then he put ten of these subassemblies together into  large assembly; and ten of those assemblies constituted the whole watch. Whenever Hora had to put down a partly completed watch to answer the phone, he lost only a small part of his work. . . .

Complex systems can evolve from simple systems only if there are stable intermediate forms. The resulting complex forms will naturally be hierarchic.

. . .

Hierarchies . . . give a system stability and resilience . . . they reduce the amount of information that any part of the system has to keep track of. . . . relationships within each subsystem are denser and stronger than relationships between subsystems. . . . Hierarchical systems are partially decomposable. They can be taken apart and the subsystems . . . function, at least partially, as systems in their own right. . . . However, one should not lose sight of the important relationships . . .