Topics: System, Systems theory, Open system Pages: 2 (473 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Punit Dhaliwal
English 108
Friday January 25, 2013
“Systems: Open or Closed?”
In her essay, “Systems: Open or Closed,” Virginia Satir argues that open systems are preferable to closed systems. Although one would think of systems as pertaining to business, Satir maintains that they can be used to describe human relationships. Specifically, the author believes that “the implications of systems thinking for personal, family, and societal behaviour are evident everywhere today” (Satir 298). First, Satir’s essay discusses the definition of a system using specific examples, such as bread and steam. Satir explains that systems consist of many interrelated parts, which contain order. Subsequently, Satir outlines the parts of a system. She argues that systems should possess a purpose or a goal, which for families, involves enhancing the growth of individuals. The parts of a family system include the individual people, and the order refers to aspects such as self-esteem, rules, and communication. Families maintain energy in the system by through basic needs and beliefs. Finally, families interact with the outside world by relating to change. In the next part of the article, Satir outlines the two types of systems as being open and closed. In this section, she emphasizes the beliefs and characteristics of both system types. She explains that the main difference between the systems involves the reaction to change. While a closed system is disconnected from the outside world, an open system involves interconnection among the parts and the outside world. Satir lists the beliefs that are held by closed systems, which include the idea that people are naturally evil and must be controlled as well as the fact that one person possesses all the power and apparently knows all of the answers. While in closed systems, power is more important than self-esteem, open systems prioritize self-worth over power and allow communication and change. Satir argues that most...

Cited: Satir, Virginia. “Systems: Open or Closed?” Essay Writing for Canadian Students with Readings. 7th ed. Ed. Roger Davis et al. Toronto: Pearson, 2012. 298-302. Print.
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