Systems Are About Relationships
Understanding the Interconnectedness of All Things
Systems theory is a way of thinking that focuses on the relationships between different parts. In our world, the system consists of ourselves and the environment. To maintain a healthy relationship, we need to recognize how each piece affects the other and take responsibility for our actions.
The understanding that we live in a system and not an individual world shapes our worldview and helps us understand our role in it.
Systems theory is becoming more vital in physics, mathematics, or business. To understand the concept, an old-school approach will be helpful.
Systems theory is a complex term with many meanings. The following are three examples of one definition of systems theory:
1) The study of interrelated parts to understand the global system they form.
2) A model encompassing all aspects of a system and its environment.
3) The study of relationships between parts in a system to determine how they affect each other and their global effect on the system’s environment over time.
A simple explanation is that systems theory is concerned with understanding how one part or element affects another to the whole system — either an object, environment, or someone.
Systems are everywhere
Systems theory is an integral part of our everyday lives. We use systems in aspects of our life such as the stock market, management, and day-to-day routines.
The importance of systems theory plays a huge role in our society because it is the foundation from which modern science evolved. It provides a new perspective on applying systems theory to create sustainable lifestyles, including environmentally and socially responsible ones. With more knowledge about systems, it is easier to understand the effect of our actions on the environment. By understanding how everything is connected, we can create a more sustainable lifestyle for ourselves and future generations.
Systems are everywhere. There would be no science, ecology, biology, sociology, or even money without them. Systems are how things are connected. They are called systems because they form a whole more significant than the individual parts interacting with other systems around them.
The world around us is all part of a system. All the people, countries, oceans, creatures, and land are contained. Systems are about relationships — how one thing affects another to form something more significant than the sum of its parts that works together as a whole.
For example, when an organism eats grass for nutrients, it is part of the food web because the grass is eaten by cows who provide meat or milk. Humans then eat the cow, which contributes to their well-being by providing proteins and vitamins they need to survive. They reproduce and create more humans who live off the Earth’s natural resources until they die and decompose into organic matter that returns essential nutrients to where they began.
Let’s look at our economy as an example of how systems affect us financially. Many people don’t know much about the economic system within each country because they take it for granted — how money works, where it comes from, and who has the power within the system. Contracts, wages, taxes, debts — have you ever thought about how all these things affect our lives? Many people don’t know what a contract is or why they sign them for something as simple as a cell phone plan. They do it because they are told to or feel that they must be part of society.
This lack of knowledge leads to consequences that limit our ability to realize our full potential because we cannot understand how one thing affects another — us included. If there were more information available on the economic climate around us, there would be less apathy towards politics and social issues because people would be aware of the systems that connect them to other people and the rest of the world.
People might say that we don’t need to know about all these things and how stuff works, but I don’t see it this way. We must understand our environment and how it affects us. If we can make better choices by knowing how everything is connected, why wouldn’t we? There would be less conflict within communities, families, relationships. If you think about it, there isn’t such a thing as “us” versus “them” or any separation because we’re all part of the same system — life on Earth — at different levels of awareness.
When this lack of awareness occurs amongst society, it is usually because of the separation of people within the system rather than an individual problem. The more knowledge we have about something, the more likely we will influence change for the better — individually and globally.
Systems are about relationships
It’s called systems theory because everything in life is connected like spokes on a bicycle wheel. The hub moves whenever one spoke moves, even if that spoke is far away from the center. Spokes closer to the center move faster than those further out at the edge, which provides stability for all parts of life. When you understand how things work together as part of something bigger than themselves, you can make decisions based on what matters rather than focusing on personal feelings or opinions about different issues.
If we see the interconnectedness of all things, we can see what a system is. In that sense, we are all related to everything and everyone. A common misconception is to believe that there is a beginning and an end to a relationship between things. Some people think that the relationship they have with someone can end. Well, guess what? It doesn’t. The form or content of relating may change, but the relationship still exists.
It’s not necessary to be in physical contact with someone to have a relationship. We have romantic relationships, friendship relationships, workplace relationships, etc. In all these situations, we relate somehow because there is at least one thing in common between you and the other person. If you’re going through a breakup, it doesn’t mean that the previous relationship is gone. There was still a relationship while it lasted. What has ended will continue into another form or type of relatedness, which could be even better!
Everything has a system in place. Do you believe relationships end? The truth is, they never do. Relationships are an ongoing part of life and the human experience. Whether you see this as interconnectedness or how things work, it becomes clear that we’re all related.
This article was first published on Medium.com.