Circularity and Systems
Closed and Open Systems: Join the discussion
To understand the importance of non-linearity when approaching issues of circularity, one needs to consider the crucial differences between closed and open systems. Closed systems are systems where constant conjunctions of events can be recognised, while, in open systems, forces are in a state of such an unpredictable intensity that isolating one type of force vis-à-vis another seems impossible. This second type of systems are the norm and not the exception. Based on their degree of closure and openness, systems differ accordingly in scale, stability, and the ways they deal with their symmetry, or in other words, with their degrees of freedom. In brief, systems which are governed by linear causality, closed systems such as most of our traditional epistemological practices, are systems which are ultra-stable and do not evolve: a closed system presents no possibilities of transformation. On the other hand, non-linear, open systems are metastable: they can transform, for better or worse. As such, a metastable system is transversed by potentials and powers, by energy gradients and inherent tendencies so that at any moment the most minute imbalance, the most fleeting encounter, can be enough to set things in motion and lead to a systemic transformation. If a discussion on circularity aims to a true systemic shift, then the question is how can one recognise which are those singular yet indeterminate metastable tendencies that can catalyse change?