Arthur, I'm very aware of the danger of confusing this issue, but i do
find it difficult to restrain myself. And, unfortunately for others
(online), I am working from home at present.
I believe Stafford covers this in Decision and Control, and as Barry
says, his view resonnates with Ashby.
I believe that Essential Variables are equivalent to what Maturana
calls 'organisation'. Organisation is that set of components and
relations by which a system is recognised as the system it was. It is
a subset of what he and Varela call structure. Structure (which Ashby
did not cover) at any instant is all the components through which a
given organisation is realised as a given organisation, even though
the structural configurations are changing all the time. In other
words, organisation is an abstraction (though very very real) whereas
structure is concrete - is that which we in point of fact amterial
interact with. Organisation is the play of MIND. structure is the
natural flow of phenomenal interaction.This is spelled out quite
succinctly in The Tree Of Knowledge, and unless anyone says otherwise,
I think is isomorphic with, but extends beyond, Ashby's findings.
Mind never deals with structure. It's unique, emergent property is to
indicate invariant qualities in the ever changing flux, and abstract,
through a recursive procedure well documented by Maturana, the raw
matter of taxonomies. classification, identification etc etc.
Organisation (or EV) is observer-defined. It is the material of
concepts, thought, reflection and foresight. It has nothing 9but
everything) to do with phenomenal reality (which - remember
Wittgenstein 'is as it is' [which of course gets us nowhere, and is
not meant to get us nowhere, because, as human beings we are
observers, and what we observe are organisation).
This is all tied up with 'a system is what it does' in the
understanding that it does nothing in the absence of an observer from
the perspective of whose intentionality what it does can be indicated
and distinguished (Spencer Brown, Varela).
On 4 Dec 2008, at 12:17, Arthur Dijkstra wrote:
> To continue on this concept of EV's, what methodology do we use to
> EV's? How do we differentciate between variables and Essential
> variables ?
> How do we apply this concept of EV's ?
> If we take a flight as an viable system (VS). We could discuss whether
> 'airspeed' is an EV. Speed is controlled by engine thrust and vertical
> speed. Vertical speed is controlled by pitch attitude. Pitch
> attitude is
> controlled by the angle of attack of the horizontal stabilizer which
> controlled by the auto pilot) pilot, etc, etc. Nominating all these
> variables as EV's doesn't seem useful.
> You see what I am getting at, where do we start and where do we stop ?
> Your remarks on this S3 topic are appreciated.
> Nb Next to come are controllability of EV's and the limits of EV's
> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Namens BARRY A CLEMSON
> Verzonden: 03 December 2008 17:50
> Aan: [log in to unmask]
> Onderwerp: Re: Essential Variables
> I believe Stafford and Ashby were totally in agreement on EV.
> I don't remember offhand where to find Stafford's discussions of EV
> but I am pretty sure both Brain and Heart talk about them.
> On Dec 3, 2008, at 11:30 AM, Arthur Dijkstra wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I think I qualify for an S3, quoting Barry:
>> "To get anywhere with academic types, we need to work with those who
>> two criteria:
>> 1) they don't have competing approaches of their own (this rules out
>> all the
>> business schools, public administration, and educational
>> 2) they are interested in solving practical problems of great
>> My question is about Essential Variables (EV). As you know I am
>> developing a
>> safety management system based on the VSM. Safety will be nominated
>> an EV.
>> I have no direct access over all my Stafford books right now (out
>> flying on
>> layover) but I was surprised not to find EV in the index of The
>> How and where does Stafford clearly talk about EV's ? Does he agree
>> Ashby about EV's ?
>> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:
>> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at -
>> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
> BARRY A CLEMSON
> [log in to unmask]
> Cybernetica Press at www.cyberneticapress.com
> "It's not how much you do - it's how much love you put in it.... Do
> small things with great love."
> --- Mother Teresa ---
> The true warrior may be killed, but he can not be defeated.
> --- my paraphrase of Sensei Hamada ---
> And peace rolled down like a mighty river.
> -- Inspired by the prophet Amos 5:24--
> "An enemy is a person whose story we have not heard."
> -- Gene Knudsen Hoffman --
> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:
> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at -
> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
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> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org
> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
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For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org
METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - https://listserv.heanet.ie/ucd-staffordbeer.html
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