Thursday, March 1, 2012

Living Systems

Living Systems is a theory developed by James Grier Miller in 1978. He wrote a 1102-page volume to present his theory. Miller applied general systems theory on a broad scale to describe all aspects of living systems.

Miller explained, "All nature is a continuum. The endless complexity of life is organized into patterns which repeat themselves-theme and variations- at each level of system. These similarities and differences are proper concerns for science. From the ceaseless streaming of protoplasm to the many-vectored activities of supranational systems, there are continuous flows through living systems as they maintain their highly organized states."

From this we learn that there is constant movement between systems of both information and of energy/matter. This information and energy/matter is processed by subsystems. Take for example our own bodies (which is a system) we have eyes that read this page and passes it to our brain that process what our eyes see and then decides what to make of it and then stores it. Later when we want to pass this information off to someone else we write about the information or we talk about the information. The information is passed from one system to another system. Further, the way that this information is passed is repeated over and over. This includes the way societies repeat themselves over and over. Social scientist look at societies that they are in and can see a pattern of past societies and can predict what will happen to them. This is of course hard and complicated and not entirely accurate but it is possible.

When we are creating both our characters and our systems that our characters belong to it is helpful to understand what role our character is playing within the larger system and what roles are being played upon our characters from smaller systems. All people play a role in their society in order for the society to function and stay in homeostasis. In order to move the system the homeostasis of that system must also move. This is done by...

We will talk more about this tomorrow. I hope everyone is having a very meaningful day!!


  1. In a lot of your posts I am often brought back to my high school psychology class and I can't believe I've never thought to apply it to my characters. The same is true with this post. I mean this is a great way to distinguish between humans and an alien society. I mean what if aliens processed information differently and it is these small changes that make them seem alien.

  2. It's really interesting to read your posts on systems. Looking forward to tomorrow's on changing the homeostasis.

  3. Very good food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is really interesting. We're practicing that theory here, hm?

  5. hey man...another great one on systems...seriously this kinda stuff fascinates me...esp when a writer can pull it off well...

  6. You're the winner of Aubrie Dionne's A Hero Rising giveaway! Congratulations! Aubrie shall be in contact with you shortly.

  7. First off thanks to Christine!!!
    Thanks everyone for the great comments and insights into systems theory.


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