system definition

A system is a set of functions that operate in harmony or with the same purpose, and that can be ideal or real. By its very nature, a system has rules or norms that regulate its operation and, as such, it can be understood, learned and taught. Therefore, if we speak of systems, we can refer to questions as different as the operation of a spaceship or the logic of a language.

Any system is more or less complex, but it must have a discrete consistency about its properties and operation. In general, the elements or modules of a system interact and interrelate with each other. Sometimes there are subsystems within a system. This phenomenon is characteristic of biological systems, in which various levels of subsystems (cells) give rise to a larger system (a living organism). The same consideration holds for ecology, in which different systems of lesser magnitude (a puddle, the subsoil) converge in large-scale organized systems, such as a complete ecosystem.

Thus, in a classification of systems, those conceptual or ideal, which can be for example mathematics, formal logic or musical notation and the real ones, like a living being, the Earth, or a language. The latter, the real systems, they can be open, closed or isolated. In open systems there is great interaction with the environment, as described for living beings. On the other hand, closed systems only have movements and interactions within them, without the possibility of exchange with external factors.

There are many types and examples of systems such as political (a democratic, monarchical, theocratic system, among others), technological (the operating system of a car or a computer), financial (transaction and market systems), biological (such as the nervous system in a living being), legal (ordering of laws, decrees and other legal tools), geometric (in conventional and unconventional models), health (public, private and social security ordering) and numerous other examples for each of the orders of daily life.

In the event that a system has the organization required to control its development without the disturbances in the environment exceeding a certain level, it is called an “autopoietic system”. Living beings are considered the paradigm of autopoiesis systems, given their ability to produce themselves within the framework of their offspring. However, some researchers propose to consider societies as true living beings of a different order, which is why these same ideas could be applied and consider human groups as autopoietic systems. It is a subject of harsh academic debate for which conclusive solutions have not yet been reached. For now, the example constitutes a thorough demonstration of the applicability of systems in the description of various fields, even at a general level and with a unifying theory.

Indeed, the search for general laws to understand the behavior of systems constitutes Systems Theory. In turn, Chaos Theory is the branch of mathematics and physics that studies the unpredictable behaviors of a certain type of system that can be unstable, stable or chaotic. A typical concept of this theory is that of entropy, which studies the natural tendency of systems to lose order. This principle has already been applied by pure physics for thermodynamics and, it is worth saying, is today one of the most interesting tools to make the concept of systems compatible and apply it to the most varied orders.