What is Structure LO25580

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 11/03/00

Replying to LO25540 --

Dear Organlearners,

Fred Nickols <nickols@att.net> writes:

>Several others have already responded to this but I
>think what I'm about to say is sufficiently different as
>to warrant going ahead.

Greetings Fred,

Seldom have I seen such a subtile admission for authentic learning ;-)
You are a master.

I encourage you to question the following:

An atom has electrons in it, but an electron does not have atoms
in it.
A molecule has atoms in it, but an atom does not have molecules
in it.
An organelle has molecules in it, but an molecule does not have
organelles in it
A cell has organelles in it, but an organelle does not have cells
in it.
An organ has cells in it, but a cell does not have organs in it.
An organism has organs in it, but an organ does not have organisms
in it.

>To me, "structure" (in anything, including systems,) has three

It seems seem to be that you are saying that a system has structures to
it, but that a structure does not have systems to it.

However, you have not written "structures" (the plural form), but
"structure" (the singular form). Furthermore, you have put the word in
quotation marks. I know that you maintain that tacit knowledge cannot be
articulated and for that I respect you. So let me ask the following two
questions in terms of your own referance framework.

What implicit knowledge did you try to articulate here? Does the word
'structure' which you use as "structure" articulate sufficiently what you
know implicitly?

>First, there are the elements that make up the system.
>Second, are the connections between and among these
>elements. Third, are the relationships that exist between
>and among the elements by way of their connections.
>Elements, connections and relationships; these are the
>stuff of structure.

Is it not possible, according to your description and subsequent example,
that the relationships which you write of are nothing but "structures"
themselves, although each a minor "structure" to the major "structure"
which you speak of?

Please accept that I am not trying to "catch you out" with my questions.
I am very serious with them. What I did above with the section marked
between **** and ****, is to illustrate what I call the Law of Singularity
of Complexity -- the imbedding of more "less" complex "structures" into
less "more" complex "structures".

I tried to use in this last sentence "structures" (plural) in a way which
I think (hopefully correct) you think of as "structure" (singular).
(Perhaps you may want to use another word as a result of my two questions
;-) I also put the first "less" and the later "more" in quotation marks
so that you do not get confused with first "more less" and later "less
more". I definitely intend the order between the two cases, but my
English is too poor to say it better.

We have a lot of words (like system, relationship, structure and
organisation) used in Systems Thinking. But I wish somebody would point
out to me how they are imbedded into each other like I have illustrated
above with the section between ***** and *****.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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