Systems Open and Closed

Topics: Open system, Family therapy, Cybernetics Pages: 3 (997 words) Published: November 23, 2012
“Put very simply, your self-worth, your communication, together with your rules and your beliefs, are the ingredients that make up your family system.”(Virginia Satir, 301) quips the author near the end of her essay titled, “Systems, Open or Closed”. A system as described by the author is present all through human life and is developed by three or more persons who are in contact and share a common purpose; a system has a goal (growth), has parts (people), and an order to the parts (dynamics of people and interactions in the family). Satir’s essay is aimed at describing the continuum that interpersonal systems exist within as either open or closed using details relevant to each from the topics quoted above, and describing her feelings as to which is best. A systematic but scattered approach is used in the essay to describe the “ingredients” that make up the closed and open interpersonal systems that exist between people, and in describing the ingredients the author establishes a clear preference for open systems. A closed system, distilled into a simple few word definition from the essay could be defined as a stubborn system that resists change. Of course, labelling a system as stubborn is anthropomorphizing, but in defining a system built on human metrics like self worth, communication, rules, and beliefs like I am about to it is appropriate. Beliefs in a closed system are what cause the system to evolve the characteristics that define how it operates, and are indicative of how a family views reality. Beliefs conducive to closed systems see people as generally bad natured, and see force and fear as necessary to be used to regulate the person’s in the system into the strongest person in the systems view of good, any change in the way things occur in the system is resisted. Rules in a closed system are set according to the beliefs; Closed systems have rules that are more rational than humane, don’t change according to the needs of the parts but rather has the parts...
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