Have you ever had that weird feeling of not being the same person with the whole world?
I remember a vivid description of our modern condition caught my eye years ago. It got me thinking, et hasta cierto punto, the effect of a revelation. It was based on the following image, easy to see and check: modern man spends his time locked in boxes.
A life divided into several plots
Said like that, it sounds crazy, but if you look… Your apartment is a big box with different rooms or rooms that are smaller boxes or sub-boxes. To go down to the garage by the elevator, we take the car, the bus, the train or the plane, which are all mobile boxes. The stores where you shop, the factories, the offices where you work are more and more boxes. We spend the day, the night and the life going from hut to hut.
Once we visualize the metaphor of moving from one box to another, it is much easier to address the systems that govern our lives. Because hasta cierto punto the people we find in the different boxes are not the same and our relationship with them is different.
For example, we do not behave the same way with work colleagues as with family members, and within the family we do not behave the same way with our parents as with our children. .
The comparison between boxes and systems has its limits, but I think it helps a lot to get an idea of the importance of systems in our lives. Now that we clearly understand the difference between the different types of relationships we have with the different people we share time with, we can dig deeper into the subject of systems.
What are the systems?
To speak of systems in psychology is to refer to systemic theorywhich is a mixture of general systems theory, cybernetics and communication.
Just as modern man needs boxes, man needs systems. Yes the first system in which we evolve is the family.
The family, or family system, is the smallest social unit. It provides us with vital support and covers our first needs. No man develops or survives immersed in nature, but by belonging to different social groups that act as intermediaries with the environment. The human baby does not survive without a nursing mother, or a caregiver who feeds, protects and teaches him.
Thus the mother-child pair is the simplest expression of what can be considered as a family system. But we quickly realized that this first system could not survive without the support of others. Most often, the mother-son duo is the subsystem of a larger family system, or of a supersystem of support (district, tribe, municipality, association, society, etc.).
All the systems in which we participate are open systems, which do not operate in a closed circuitbut they present a dynamic of interaction with the exterior, that is to say beyond the members of the system itself.
Just like the modern man who has changed boxes, we change systems when we relate to members of different systems. This is why we can speak of “the” systems that govern our lives, because we are immersed in a multitude of them.
To better understand what a system is, we will refer to the concepts that define them according to the general theory of systems:
- Concept of wholeness: the whole is more than the sum of its parts and what affects one part affects the rest.
- Concept of circularity: actions are reactions, circular and non-linear relationships.
- Concept of equifinality: there is more than one way of doing things.
- Concept of equicausality: the same causes do NOT always produce the same effects.
- Limitation: We tend to repeat limited forms of interaction in predictable ways. * Relationship rule: the relationships between the members of a system obey rules which can be explicit, implicit or secret.
- Hierarchy: In a system, some members have more power and responsibility than others.
- Teleology: a system pursues a final objective, goal or ultimate goal which is generally linked to the cohesion of its members and its sustainability.
- Homeostasis: it is the tendency of a system to maintain its unity, its identity and its balance in the face of changes in the external environment.
- Morphogenesis: it is the tendency of the system to change shape and evolve.
- Feedback: The results of an action are fed back into the system as a method of checking to indicate whether the action was positive or negative.
- Anticipation: this is anticipation, based on learning about highly probable future events.
If they affect you too much, things that happen to others.
If you believe that your actions, they are rather reactions.
If you think there is another correct way to do things.
If you realize that the solutions you refuse are no longer effective. Or if you have the feeling of being always and still involved in the same type of dynamic in your relations… In spite of yourself.
So you are interested find out what systems run your life and what you can do about it to balance them as best as possible.
And if you have realized thanks to this article that you spend a lot of time locked up. Get out of your comfort box.