Systemic randomness, i.e. randomness within a system is, by necessity, limited. A system totally submitted to randomness could have no internal order at all, and thus could not be a system.
Systemic organization is possible only by way of constraints, i.e. the existence of admissible (authorized) connections among elements or subsystems, combined with impossibility (or prohibition) of other connections.
Constraints tend to become differentiated in different areas of the system. In this way, degrees of order and randomness become locally distributed.
As the system as a whole can remain performant only as long as its specialized processes and subsystems function in a non-contradictory way, there is a paired restriction to randomness among levels:
1°- The subsystems and specific functions tend to become better interconnected and compatible.
2°- The system as a whole imposes to its parts its basic determined conditions of survival.
Randomness is also functionally limited: any system or subsystem has only a limited repertory of responses to specific stimuli, and even only some of these responses are the most probable ones.
ASHBY's experiment, with homeostats (1960, p.100-121) demonstrated, moreover, that even a machine specifically constructed to produce random behavior, tends towards at least statistical stability, provided it is constructed as a net of subsets, submitted to some rules of interconnections. Without these last ones, there can be no coherence whatsoever, while, of course, the rules introduce a measure of constraining general determinism.
The most typical random-restricted systems are the ecosystems, where, within the limits of global determinism imposed by geophysical cycles, numerous vegetal and animal interconnected populations fluctuate in ways practically unpredictable.
Respect to the environment, systems are "anti-random", using, as demonstrated by P. VENDRYES (1942) specific reserves to counteract perturbing variations imposed upon them. This concept is obviously related to ASHBY's Law of Requisite Variety.
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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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