Loss of flexibility in a system is a pathology.
G. BATESON explains it in the following way: "When under stress, a variable must take a value close to its upper or lower limit of tolerance, we shall say… that the system is 'up tight' in respect to this variable, or lacks flexibility in this respect.
"But, because the variables are interlinked, to be up tight in respect to one variable commonly means that other variables cannot be changed without pushing the up-tight variable. The loss of flexibility thus spreads through the system. In extreme cases, the system will only accept those changes which change the tolerance limits for the up-tight variable". This is related to SELYE's General Adaptation Syndrome.
If flexibility is totally lost, the system will eventually break up.
Flexibility must be exercised unless it may be lost. In BATESON's words: "…if a given variable remains too long at some middle value, other variables will encroach upon its freedom, narrowing the tolerance limits until its freedom to move is zero or, more precisely, until any future movement can only be achieved at the price of disturbing the encroaching variables" (1973, p.479).
This is particularly obvious in biological systems, but could seemingly be applied in mental, psychological and social ones.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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