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A systems perspective of the human experience of change Penner, Raymond Henry 1982

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A SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE OF CHANGE By Raymond Henry Pennet Hon. B.A., Simon Fraser University, 1969 M.A., Simon Fraser University, 19 71 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Counselling Psychology We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1982 (c) Raymond Henry Penner, 19 82 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Raymond Henry Penner Department of Counselling Psychology The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 August 12, 1982 1 ii A B S T R A C T There are numerous fields of practise attempting to cause or enhance changes in human behavior and functioning and yet the concept of change remains an elusive quarry. This study has attempted to address the concept of the human experience of change from the perspective offered by systems theory. Initially the thesis was to be a study of the various conceptual explanations of the change process as applied to human functioning. However, the extensive literature search revealed that while there exists ample literature on various methods purported to assist i n the change process, there is a scarcity of conceptual literature regarding the nature of the change process. The literature search also revealed that the area of systems theory held the potential for further insights into change process. The possession of a clear meta-perspective of change is particularly relevant to those engaged in various psychotherapeutic and educational endeavours. Therefor, the study was conducted with an intended audience of both professionals currendy engaged in the practise of facilitating human change or assisting people in coping with change in their lives. Since the terminology and concepts offered by systems theory are not widely known by this audience, particular attention has been given to outlining the relative aspects of systems theory as it relates to change. i i i Of particular relevance to understanding change is the extraction of key variables in the human experience of change; change is obviously extremely individual and yet the dimensions on which change is experienced are shared among all human beings. Isolating these dimensions provides a potentially useful background upon which the actual projective space of individual change experience can be mapped. Change takes place simultaneously at many levels and the systems perspective offered in this study provides a conceptual perspective which encourages and assists in viewing change as the total of all the processes taking place. The concept of purposeful systems is particularly useful in this regard. In conclusion, this study offers a conceptual approach to change i n human affairs, both adaptational and developmental. It is not a predictive model but hopefully furthers the understanding of the human experience of change toward further refinements of a suitable qualitative and quantitative model. iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The process of writing this thesis was preceeded by many personal changes. However, by far the most significant changes i n my life have taken place since the commencement of this work. By my side throughout these changes, supporting my tears and anguish, encouraging my efforts, helping me find direction when there seemed to be none and sharing my joys has been my beloved Kathryn. In addition, Whitney, our incredible daughter, at two years of age has constantly been a source of wonder for me regarding human development and change. She also has demonstrably shown her support of 'Daddy's work" toward "his crat-chewayshun". There are particular acknowledgements I wish to make to D r . John Allan, my advisor, encourager, editor and supervisor. The model provided for me by Dr . Allan has been one of the highest calibre of professionalism which, at all times, has been paralleled by his warm humanity. The other members of my committee have also shown their concern for high professional standards together with support for me i n my efforts to make sense of a difficult topic. In addition to his editorial and advisory role as a committee member, I wish to thank D r . Marvin Westwood for his interest in discussing the implications of this subject, thereby assisting me to keep an eventual application of this work in mind. My third committee member, D r . Larry Cochran, made particularly appreciated contributions i n overall boundaries to the study and in broadening the reference base with additional reading which both fit into and enhanced the direction I wished to take. An additional acknowledgement goes to D r . Leslie Greenberg who saw me through the formative stages of my thinking in this study and provided early direction and encourag ement. V DEDICATION This thesis is dedicated to all people undergoing change and to all those who sacrifice so much of themselves in helping others with change, in turn making ours a better world in which to live. day slides red to blue to red night rises the day is never done still another begins someday in our speedy world on a soon to come day may we learn to manage well all these changes vi TABLE OF CONTENTS page ABSTRACT i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iv DEDICATION! v T A B L E OF CONTENTS vi LIST OF FIGURES ix CHAPTER ONE: FORMULATION OF THE PROBLEM 1 Part One: Introduction 1 A Frame of Reference 2 Intended Audience 3 Part Two: Outline 4 Part Three: Background 6 Part Four: Statement of the Problem 11 Everything Changes 11 Change as a Function of Time and Space 13 Process vs. State 14 Change and the Concepts of Reality 15 Measuring Change 17 A Perspective for Change Conceptualization 19 Categories of Change 21 Purpose 22 Limitations 23 Summary 25 CHAPTER TWO A SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE OF CHANGE 26 Part One: The Systems Perspective 26 Origin of Concepts 26 Closed Systems 29 Open Systems 31 The Instrumental Nature of a Systems Perspective 33 vii page CHAPTER TWO (continued) Bootstrap Theory 35 Part Two: Components, Structure and Functioning of Systems . . . . . . 36 Parts and Wholes 36 Complexity and Entropy 40 Levels of Systems 41 Cybernetic Systems 42 Acting Systems and Pattern Systems 43 Local Models 44 Boundaries of Systems 46 Stability and Instability 47 Well-functioning People as Open Systems 48 Part Three: Systemic Change 49 Stability and Change 50 Catastrophes and Chreods - The Evolution of a Process 54 Conditional Chreods as Local Models of Change 55 Variety of Concepts 58 Key Change Concepts 60 Summary 61 CHAPTER THREE: HUMAN FUNCTIONING AND CHANGE IN A SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE 62 Part One: Living Systems 62 Purposeful Systems 64 Adaptation 67 Control Systems 73 Developmental Change 77 Cessation of Functioning 81 The Key Variables in the Experience of Change 82 Part Two: Human Functioning in a Systems Perspective 87 The Proprium 88 Awareness 93 Choice 10 0 Part Three: Control System Changes 104 Learning 10 5 viii page CHAPTER THREE (continued) Behavior 106 Perception 109 Attitudes 115 Ref taming 117 Paradigm Shifts 122 Summary 122 CHAPTER FOUR: CONCLUSIONS 123 Concluding Remarks 123 Considerations for Change Agents 127 A Program for the Examination of Change and Stasis 13 2 Areas i n Need of Research 13 9 BIBLIOGRAPHY 142 BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION 152 iz L I S T O F F I G U R E S page Figure 1 Processes of Living Systems 68 Figure 2 Problem Solving 71 Figure 3 The Human System 88 Figure 4 Aspects of the Proprium 92 Figure 5 Sensitivity and Focus of Change 95 Figure 6 TOTE Units of Behavior 108 Figure 7 Attitudes: functions, origins, arousal and change 116 Figure 8 Change and Stasis 136 Figure 9 Dimensions of the Key Variables of Change 138 1 CHAPTER ONE: CHANGE - FORMULATION OF THE PROBLEM Part One: Introduction As human beings, we are all aware of the impact that change has in our lives yet change tends to be a difficult topic to address in a direct manner. Paul Watzlawick (1976) states that "change is such a pervasive and immediate element of our experience that i t could become the subject of thought only after the early Greek philosophers had been able to conceptualize the antithetical concept of invariance or persistance" (p.l). There is evidence that even before the Greek formulations, Eastern mystics and philosophers had long been aware that change is part of the very fabric of existence. In spite of this long history of awareness of change as everpresent phenomena, understanding or conceptualization of change remains somewhat of a mystery to most people; we are caught up in the abstraction of invariance, often weighed down by the rapid pace of life around us and hobbled by the exponential increase in the rate of change in our efforts to adjust harmoniously to shifts in ourselves and our world. In consideration of the rapid pace of current technological and sociological change, the original purpose of this thesis was conceived as an exploration of the phenomena of change and, in particular, the human experience of change. However, the research conducted toward the fulfillment of this purpose soon revealed that in order to discuss change in a meaningful manner, one must have a perspective or frame of reference through which the reader could make sense of 2 this fleeting and apparently obvious subject. A Frame of Reference In researching literature concerned with change, a thread emerged tying together the lines of enquiry originally pursued. It seemed that there was an underlying meta-perspective of wholeness and organization that held particular value in furthering an understanding of change, a systems perspective. Further investigation of this thread revealed that aspect of system functioning called cybernetics, the science of communication and control in systems, has been applied for some time to mechanical and electrical systems and there existed considerable research in these areas. In relation to the amount of literature available i n mechanical and physical types of systems, there is an apparent scaricity of research or literature which applies a holistic systems perspective to biological functioning and even less to behavioral and psychological concerns. Despite this scarcity of the application of systems theory to human functioning, evidence of this approach in the literature can be found. Carver and Scheier (1981), for example, highlight the applicability of a systems perspective while also pointing out the low level of its acceptance: The assumptions of cybernetics are assumptions about the basic nature of organized, self-regulating systems, be they electronics, mechanical systems, or living systems. These assumptions thus constitute a sort of meta-theory, an implicit picture of how reality is ordered . . . . With very few exceptions, however, cybernetic ideas have not been seen as an appropriate perspective within which to conceptualize behaviors that are of interest to personality and social psychologists, (pp. 4-5) As a result of research into the literature of change, this thesis adopts as its central focus the furtherment of the systems perspective as one which is appropriate to conceptualize the human experience of change. 3 Though the acceptance of the holistic framework of systems appears to have been somewhat slow in the fields of both individual and social psychology, there are numerous people who have initiated the application of a systems perspective to human endeavours (AngyaL, 1941; Ackoff & Emery, 1972; Bertalanffy, 1951, 1968; Carver & Scheier, 1981; Capra, 19 82; Herbst, 19 70; Land, 19 73; Miller, Galanter and Pribram, I960; Powers, 1973; Thorn, 1975). This thesis has been built implicitly from the work of these and other system theorists. Intended Audience It is hoped that the ideas developed here will be particularly useful to change practitioners working with individuals desiring to change or wanting assistance i n coping with existing change. The ideas presented are also highly relevant to individuals working within the educational milieu and those working with people systems, be they families, groups or organizations. While the thesis has not been expressly written for those experiencing change in their own lives, the perspective applied to viewing human change is also, with some transformation of the concepts and judicious reading, applicable as a model of change for such individuals. While there is an intended audience of change practitioners, it is important to note that this is not a thesis of change practices but rather the development of a meta-perspective or framework useful for analyzing change and amenable to the use of a large variety of change practices. Psychological literature abounds with instances of change practices achieving predicted results (as well as vice versa) without the benefit of a systems perspective. It appears, however, that 4 there exist results that cannot be adequately explained or managed without a holistic systems perspective. Herbst (1970) states that: The transition from a society that has evolved adjusting itself to technological changes to one that has the potential capacity for planning and creating its own future implies a fundamental transformation, not only of society itself, but also of the requirements for theoretical and applied science and of the relationship of man both to himself and to his environment, (p.234) It is hoped that this thesis will contribute to this underlying perspective Herbst calls for as we face the challenges inherent in living in our complex and ever-changing society. While the systems perspective of change i n human affairs appears to be conceptually sound, it will ultimately be only as useful as it actually helps in coping with and managing real life contingencies. The writer is aware that without further experimental data, much of what is presented in this study will remain as a conceptual framework. It is the intention of this work to contribute to the advancement of the understanding of human functioning while not aspiring to become the final word in conceptualizing change nor applying systems theory to human functioning. Part Two presents an introductory outline of the plan of this thesis. Part Two: Outline While some of the basic considerations and framework of this study have been discussed in the introduction, the remainder of this chapter attempts to 5 present a more definitive statement of the writer's point of view and ultimately the specific purpose of this thesis. First the reader will accompany the writer in his developing interest in the field of change arising from personal experience. While the specific circumstances are personal, the journey of personal development, adaptation, disintegrations and reintegrations experienced likely have been experienced by all people to some degree. This personal experience is offered as an opening address to various conceptualizations of change including the two categories of change i n purposeful systems which are explored in the thesis, development and adaptation. The argument developed in this thesis is that there is a high potential utility of the systems perspective for change practioners. Finally, some specific objectives and limitations are documented in an attempt to highlight the purpose of the study and define its boundaries. In Chapter Two, the systems concept is outlined as a guide to the reader in understanding how systems function. It is the writer's opinion that while the systems perspective has high potential utility, systems concepts and terminology are not well known and/or accepted in the intended audience and therefor are explained in some detail. In this chapter the reader is introduced to the conceptual relationship of systems and change after which the terminology of systems functioning is explained. Systemic change is also explored as an integral part of systemic functioning. Based on the literature review of systems and systemic change in Chapter Two, Chapter Three develops the systems concepts further as applied to living or purposive systems. Adaptation and development are explored as two categories of systemic change and the key variables in the human experience of change are identified. Human functioning is explored through the systems perspective with 6 particular attention given to the central organization of human beings and the role of awareness or self-consciousness and choice or self-determination. Aspects of the acting system or behavior are explored as are aspects of perception. Learning and refraining are considered as various change strategies relevant to human functioning. Chapter Four contains some concluding remarks and suggests further areas for research. To launch forth on this journey, I offer the reader some personal change experiences which have influenced my life and fueled my interest in pursuing and understanding this subject of change. While participating in my changes, the reader is encouraged to contemplate those moments or periods of changing awareness that are the transitions which have marked the course of his or her life and to reflect on ways in which he or she seems different or the same. These realizations or transition markers which occur sometimes in moments and sometimes over longer periods constitute the experience of change. Part T h r e e : Background A particularly poignant moment of my life occurred at the age of twenty-two years while I was in a plane at approximately thirty thousand feet above the Pacific Ocean. I suddenly realized that as a person I was not only physically coming from somewhere and going somewhere else but that I was also changing 7 essentially who I was as a person. My life circumstances had changed substantially leaving me with what seemed at the time previous experience that was only partially applicable to my present needs. I became suddenly and acutely aware that who I was had been and was still involved in a process of changing from the mold cast by my cultural and familial heritage. This new awareness created in me feelings of elation, defiance and anxiety. I felt a strong desire to explore the world in a different way but possessed no maps of change to help me understand what was taking place nor did I have any rituals that could assist me with the transitions that I was undergoing. For the first twenty years of my life, I grew up in a home where life appeared to me to be extremely stable. My life definitely included significant changes such as the addition to our family of three younger siblings in the space of two and one-half years (after I had been the youngest child until ten years of age), seven family moves before I reached the seventh grade plus a 'normal' array of smaller changes. Yet there was what seemed to me at the time, an underlying fundamental stability. No matter how changeful an objective observer might classify my early years, my perceptions of familial stability were strong, rooted firmly in a stable family dynamic largely dependent upon a fervent religious approach to l i fe . The authority of my parents, as with most children, was near absolute and within my perception of these absolutes and their inherent tight structures which defined a very limited range of acceptable behaviors in any given situation, choices were simple. I also experienced very important moments when no structure appeared to exist and the magical world of play created an enchanted wonderland. As the pressures inherent i n adolescence became increasingly strong and my 8 ability to conceptualize grew, I became uncomfortably aware that there were certain questions that our family's belief system could neither tolerate nor satisfactorily answer. My reluctance to unquestioning ly accept dogma grew into a challenging and rebellious approach to authority of any sort. I challenged the basis of the faith of my parents as a central target; I launched an all out behavioral attack on the moral values that had at one point been sacrosanct. While I began to wonder who I was, what I wanted to do i n life and what I wanted out of life, all of my questionning and wondering only mildly fractured the heavy mold of my upbringing. After reaching the responsible age of nineteen and after a death-brushing experience during which I feared going to a literal hell for a literal eternity, I publicly recanted all of my 'backslidden' ways and once more engaged in the faith and practises which had formed the core of my upbringing. However earnest I was in my renewed faith, there were questions of an existential nature to which I desired answers and the answers offered by my religious beliefs seemed too shallow. The more I attempted to simply believe in a divine plan, the more I felt that uncertainty regarding questions such as the purpose of life and the experience of death were preferable to simple, dogmatic answers. I again faced these questions and began to find the strength to live without prescribed answers and to seek personal meaning in these questions which have been pondered by humankind since the dawn of consciousness. Like a pendulum, I was slowly finding my own rhythm and my own balance. During the flight mentioned above, I struggled to grasp the meaning of my experience. It is difficult to convey the agony and determination experienced as I attempted to understand what was taking place. I realized that something very 9 important was happening in my view of myself and my relationship to the world but at the time could not fully formulate this shift. A personal note i n my journal at that time reads as follows: April 3 0, 1972 Surely the freedom to change is one of the fundamental principles of humanity. The problem lies with those people who are unwilling and therefor unable to change. I definitely do not want to point accusing fingers at the all inclusive 'they' however I do wish to identify a pressure placed on the individual often at the cost of individuality. Why can a person not be different every day if he so chooses? Why is such a heavy burden of expectation placed on a person to be the same tomorrow as he is today. If I choose to wear a thousand masks, is this not my right? But friends may ask why I am so different and business associates will question my reliability or trustworthiness. The whole dilemna is seen in society's recognition of the need to be flexible and yet the unwillingness to accept change. I do not adhere to the Yippie principle of "revolution for the hell of it" and yet I am now being forced to label (the behaviorists will please forgive me) myself a revolutionary. Oh, I have been accused of being a relativist (by a behavioristl) but had really been able to accept myself as a carefully thought out conservative. Now I have begun to change, not as a result of seeing social inequality or out of a burning need to reorient the injustices prevalent in our world but rather to preserve myself. This initial, roughly composed attempt to cope with self-change was instrumental in enhancing the subsequent degrees of freedom I felt in making self-directing choices in my l ife . Volition and self-direction were, in turn, increasingly viable as I understood the nature of the changes in which I was engaged. My great fear of going to hell and the subsequent need for a savior metamorphosized into courage to accept my physical mortality, to live with the ambiguity inherent i n all questions of a metaphysical dimension and to more fully explore and experience the person I am. I also realized that at the core of my own change there were inherent dynamics of change that likely were shared to some degree by other people undergoing similar transitions. From these personal experiences, I began to question the nature of change 10 itself and my own and others' predispositions toward stability. I started to see the world as one filled not with stability but rather change. Previous to this time I had worked in educational endeavors and during the time period of the experiences outlined above I was employed as a career counselor. But not until now had I really understood that these processes had a large potential for precipitating debilitating or facilitating change experiences. My naivety regarding my own changes coupled with my growing awareness of the implications of facilitating change processes in others led me to begin a course of self-directed learning to explore various aspects of change. I began working with organizational systems and discovered that change was a phenomena that must be contended with in this arena as well. Finally my interest in facilitating change at personal and organizational levels and my concern for my own perceived lack of systematic training in the discipline of psychology led me to embark on further educational developments of which this thesis is a part. The reader likely has participated in his or her own journey of discovery and from the understandings and experiences may have developed questions pursued along other lines of enquiry. However, the personal questions which I faced have been translated into questions regarding the specific problems to be dealt with in this study. It is worth noting that the actual experience of change is one that exists beyond words and is alive only in the moment of experience. Descriptions of experience as have been provided are abstractions; the systems perspective is yet another level of abstraction. Ackoff and Emery (19 72) caution: Disciplines are the ways we study phenomena; they emerge from points of view, not what is viewed. Hence the disciplinary nature of science is a filing system of knowledge. Its organization is not to be confused with the organization of nature itself, (p.4) 11 The reader is encouraged to view the map of a systems perspective developed in this thesis but to not confuse it with the actual territory of personal experience. Part Font; Statement of the Problem In Parts One through Three, the reader has been introduced to the general formulation of the problem and the writer's personal interest in the subject of change. In this part, some of the particular concerns inherent in formulating a systems perspective of the human experience of change are elaborated. After highlighting the pervasiveness of change and and briefly examining change as a function of time and space, the dilemna of defining change i n terms of a state or a process is discussed. Another dilemna involved in discussing change, that of the underlying assumptions about reality in terms of subject/object differentiation, is also introduced. This subjective/objective differentiation is also of concern in the measurement of change, change often being described as a discernable shift. While the idea of the systems perspective has been introduced, its appropriateness as a conceptual perspective for change i n human functioning is expanded upon in order to define the problem addressed in this thesis. The categories of human functioning addressed are also clarified in their relationship to the purpose of the thesis. Specific objectives and limitations are stated to ensure that the purpose of the thesis has defined areas of inclusion as well as boundaries. Everything Changes Change is a process that underlies the very essence of existence. In ways at 12 which humankind can only speculate, the universe has always contained the seeds of change; both the larger systems and smaller systems change in temporal and spatial dimensions so strange that only limited awareness of the attributes of such change is available and this is apparent only through astute observation and much extrapolation. As long ago as 1500 B.C. , we have written records of the ancient Vedic seers contemplating these vast changes. They believed that existence as we know it is the period when the Brahma, who exists in a dimension beyond time, awakens and all the universe until its eventual disappearance is but a day in the Brahma's existence. When he sleeps, another dream heralds yet another day and phase of existence; the cosmos and everything in it moves forever in this macroscopic circadian rhythm. Another ancient historical discussion of change is found in the Chinese book, the I Ching or Book of Changes. In this book, Chinese writers were concerned more with change on the dimensions experienced by humans; they discuss change as a natural transformation which occurs as a harmonious action between two representative forces, the yin and yang. The transition is characterized by the ascension of one force being mirrored by the decline of the other force with the arabesque continuing in all things with varying time frames. Indeed, rhythms seem to be a universal phenomenon; Thom (1975) states in Structural Stability and Morphogenesis that "the universe we see is a ceaseless creation, evolution and destruction of forms" (p.l). Toynbee (1966) suggests in Change and Habit that all of our evidence indicates that life and indeed everything is continuing to evolve and that "the appearance of immutability is an illusion produced by differences in time-scales" (p.7). Prigonine (1980), in a tone reminiscent of the I Chine t puts forward the hypothesis in Being and Becoming 13 that it is fluctuation itself that is the basis of all order. Change as a Function of Space and Time Change, whether it is creation, evolution, adaptation, or destruction, exists in the dimensions of space and time. Even rhythms and fluctuations can be defined as a limited set of regularly occurring points in a given spatial framework. The largest temporal and spatial framework of which we are aware, the universe, so dwarfs our own limited lifespan that all of life's subtleties and nuances seem invisible. Even our own galaxy is incredulously large; since the beginning of homo sapien, we have only experienced aproximately one percent of a galactic revolution. Universal and galactic time frames are i n all essence, beyond human knowing although as human beings, the exploration of the changes in these vast dimensions adds to our speculations of the distant past and the distant future. The smallest framework of which we are aware, the subatomic world, consists of extremely small particle/force entities and time frames that exist in billionths of seconds (indeed these even appear to defy the concept of forward motion of time). While we can readily conceive of time as being contiruous and hence divisision into discrete units is limited by our measuring instruments, Bohm (1957) has speculated that matter is also infinitely divisible (p.156). While the purpose of this thesis is not intended to delve into the nature of time nor of multi-dimensional space, it is part of the purpose to explore change i n a timeframe and terms that are in keeping with the human perspective. Part of this perspective has to do with those characteristics of purposeful systems in the capacity to remember and to plan. This involves transformations of space and time into ideational or abstract symbols that exist parallel to the physical world of 14 space and time. Events that have taken place some time ago are condensed, expanded or rewritten. Current experiences sometimes take on the characteristic of time being speeded up or slowed down. Projections into the future heighten the chance of moving successfully towards one's goals, objectives and ideals. The concept of purposeful systems will be discussed further in Chapter Two. Process vs. State In considering time and space, we must also pay attention to the difference in the hypothesis of a naturally occurring, continuous reality or process and our experience of reality which makes reality to appear to discrete jumps or to move from state to state. Change can be defined from either perspective as long as the differences are stated and there is a realization that the particular definition used has implications on our conceptualization of the phenomena under consideration. Taken as an action, change can be defined as getting rid of or making something different. Using the perspective of the state, i t can be defined as a state in reference to some previous state, an alteration, a substitution of one for another, or variety. As a verb, change refers to the active process of moving between states and as a noun, change refers to a before and after state. Change as a process is not an event although stimulated by events and may be marked by events. Events, in this context may be thought of as single frames of a motion picture; studied frame by frame we see slight changes but studied in motion there is no clear beginning nor end to movements or change; in studying the movie we find clues to focus our attention when examining the single frames where under the magnifying glass we see process as it evolves. In Levels of  Knowing and Existence. Weinberg (1973) states that: At the level of sensing and feeling life is a timeless, ever-changing dance 15 of impressions, a vast kaleidoscopic onrushing flow with no beginning, no end, only timeless change and unmeasured sense of duration, (p.20 3) One difficulty this presents in discussing the phenomena of change is that as we focus our attention on the process, it is difficult to simultaneously define the state and as we describe the state, we have the illusion of something i n place and finished with no dynamic aspects to i t . Both perspectives, however, are useful as long as the distinction is made. Our society seems to be predisposed to perceiving the state of a phenomena rather than the process and as a consequence we sometimes awake, as in my own experience, to changes that have actually been ongoing while our experience of the change is limited through rigid formulations which are to some degree incongruent with 'reality'. While the differences may appear to present a paradox the process/state concept is not paradoxical except at the semantic level; while all phenomenon fluctuate, our perceptions or mental maps move i n discrete jumps, much as the reader's eye scans the page i n short, discrete alterations of pauses and rapid movement. Etiology of systemic functioning involves problems in successful integration of these pauses with appropriate movement. Change and the Concepts of Reality In addition to the problems inherent in a lack of integration of stasis and process, our cultural perception of reality tends toward the viewing of a distinct separation of subject and object. This approach to reality as one of differentiation rather than connectedness through a hierarchy of related systems and subsystems is one that has come to us through a series of developments unique to Western culture. Perceptions have shifted over time regarding what reality is and how people can know reality; the dualities of state and process or 16 subject and object have not always been conceived of as they commonly are in this age. This data contributes significantly to our present understanding of experiences of change. A historical perspective also reveals that much of humankind's knowledge gains tend to be progressive on a cumulative or linear basis. Paradigm shifts, however, are non-linear and cause changes i n habits and the way we view the world (Kuhn, 1970). The way we view the world or define reality, in turn, is innately connected to the concept of being human and the human experience of change. To understand one's experience of change implies that one already possesses an organizing framework in which the change makes some sense. However, the change may involve the organizing perceptual framework itself. For instance, there is a distinct difference i n considering my functioning apart from the environment compared to a part of the environment. The former highlights my autonomy and self-interest while the latter does not discount my autonomy but places it in a perspective that is mutualistic and self-interest takes on a distinctly different note. In either case, it is clear that the basis of the perceptual framework, what we usually refer to as reality, is vital to the understanding of the dynamics of change and the human experience of change; the perceptual framework is a system which defines our reality. It is beyond the scope of this thesis to fully explore our ontological history but the interested reader is sure to find that research in this area is illuminating in gaining a more in depth understanding of our present concepts of change (suggestions include Capra, 1982b; Toynbee, 1966; Kuhn, 1977). 17 Measuring Chang e Another concept of change which must be addressed at this point is the definition of change as a measurable shift in variables of a phenomenon. There is no problem with this definition unless the type of measurement is limited to conventional concepts of objectively verifiable reality; I believe this to be only a partial model, useful for some situations and not for others. Considering our culture's belief in objective reality and our subsequent penchant for measurement, we have developed various ways of indicating change i n human affairs on an individual and collective basis. Psychometric and physiological tests with some degree of validity (that is they measure what they purport to measure) and reliability (the yardstick is not made of 'rubber', stretching differently with each application) constitute one approach to measuring change in human affairs. Herbst (19 70) comments: The theory of physics has to account for the special characteristics of physical phenomena, and these differ from those encountered in the study of human behaviour, (p. ix) However, since physics is based on invariant relations and constants, Herbst makes the point that this is an unsuitable model for behavior and relationships which are not necessarily invariant or constant. Self-perceptions and the perceptions of others constitutes another way of gauging the extent of change. These may involve internal, 'rubber yardsticks' and possibly even involve unique conceptualizations of reality and its manifestations as stability and change. Herbst (19 70) comments about the suitability of these instruments: The fact that the general form of measurement-scale transformations is found to be of projective type indicates that it will eventually be possible to discard the use of algebras based on Cartesian geometry in favour of algebras based on the properties of projective space, (p.xiii) 18 While subjective knowledge is not amenable to easy measurement, we should not be too quick to dismiss self and other-perceptions as both indications and sources of change. Self-perceived change, described via self-selected corroborating evidence, is a systemic force that that can induce, sustain, restrain or halt various processes involving the individual. Perceptions shared by others, as a part of the larger social system to which we belong, also affect change processes. The behavioral world is a subjective transformation system for relating to the non-subjective world; every group and individual constitutes a unique behavioral world with its own laws and requiring its own measuring scales (Kerbst, 1970). However difficult the task may seem in 'precisely' defining change at the level of an individual, basic postulates can be formed that indicate the possible network of functional principles. This author is aware that there are many issues concerned with measurement but the application of measurement technology is not attempted within this thesis. The systems perspective of change allows for varying applications where for some purposes measurement in an objective perspective will be valid and some where other types of ipsative, subjective 'measurement' will be appropriate. A caution the author considers important i n the question of measurement is that measurement may bring a false sense of the map being the territory. In reality there is only immediacy and the elements are indiscernible. The distinction is made clear in Rogers (1958) description of immediate experience; "feeling and cognition interpenetrate, self is subjectively present in the experience, volition is simply the subjective following of a harmonious balance of organismic direction" (p.149). Measurement can be useful in developing basic postulates that have application across a wide population but as in the presentation of the systems 19 perspective, both constitute abstractions whose sole redeeming feature will be i n enhancing the integration of immediate experience into effective human func tioning. A Perspective for Change Conceptualization The perspective presented here is a systems perspective of change for application to human affairs. There are many systems - closed systems, open systems, abstract or ideational systems, acting systems, pattern systems, mechanical systems, living systems - the list could go on but certain redundancies exist even in this limited list . While fuller development of this concept is the focus of Chapter Two, at this point it is important to indicate that the reason for detailing the systems perspective is to promote the concept of human beings as purposive systems (Ackoff & Emery, 1972). This automatically means that humans are also open and obviously living systems. Human functioning entails a central referent (the proprium), pattern systems and acting systems. A systems perspective has also been selected since there are useful conclusions to be drawn i n considering each human being as an organized hierarchy of numerous subsystems. In addition, the environment i n which humans exist comprises a nesting ecosystem of which humans are an integral and active part. Huget (1982) states that an individual " . . . is himself a small system within the larger system of the family, society, country, continent and world in which he lives" (p.156). All change in individuals takes place within the context of this system/sub system complex. While various fields of change technologies offer implicit theories of change, 20 no integrative perspective or m eta-mod el currently exists which unifies the critical components and key variables of change in reference to human change. Systems theory as detailed by Bertalanffy (1951, 1968) and contributed to by many others offers a core applicable to the development of such an integrative perspective. The substantive concern of this thesis is the presentation of this perspective developed through the examination of several frames of reference and the subsequent extraction of elements addressed from these to arrive at an integrative conceptual framework of change. The determination of which frames of reference through which theories of change could be examined began with an investigation of fields of practise that have historically been concerned with change in people, psychology, organization development and education, and later was expanded to include diverse frames such as philosophy, history, sociology, general systems theory, mathematics, topology and physics. From these fields of enquiry the dynamics of change have been extracted. While the purpose of this thesis is to develop a meta-perspective on human change via a systems approach rather than attempting to develop a working model complete with predictive capacities, there are components of models which warrant articulation. Two critical components of models are that they have a specified domain of application and that they remain consistent across a specific range of phenomena. The domain of application of the model may or may not be wider than its intended target. In this case, the perspective to be developed is to be applicable to a greater understanding of human change and the human experience of change with a range from minor, momentary change to significant changes of long-lasting results. The isomorphism of this perspective is intended to be within this range of of the human experience of change, both ad apt at ional and developmental. While this thesis may contribute toward the development of a model with predictive powers, the prediction of changes in open systems is difficult . Thom (1975) says that " . . . the same local situation can give birth to apparently different outcomes under the influence of unknown or unobservable factors" (p.2). Rather than predictive i n the sense of controlling outcomes, the usefullness of the perspective developed is in the provision of a map of the key components and critical variables in human change processes. In effective communication, a potent metaphor enlargens one's perspective. It does this through the utilization of language common to one domain as a lens through which another domain is viewed. It is hoped that the integrative conceptual framework of this thesis will constitute a new speculative instrument to be used in the exploration of the human experience of change, possibly revealing new dynamics and meanings. Categories of Change The types of change to be focussed on i n this thesis have been stated as the two main categorizations of the ways human beings change within a lifetime, development and adaptation. Human growth or development is a combination of physical and psychological variance and is one type of change which appears to have a certain common epigenesis across cultures; we could call this a basic stability of change process without a contradiction in terms. This process of maturation has the meaning of fully developing in the sense of completion; I will be discussing maturational development as a process of dynamic self-transcendence throughout a person's lifetime. Rogers (1958) states that: Individuals move . . . not from a fixity or homeostasis through change to a new fixity, though such a process is indeed possible. But much the mote significant continuum is from fixity to changingness, from rigid structure to flow, from stasis to process." (p.14 3) While we think of development as a relatively predictable and stable process, the 22 unfolding of previous changes or event shifts also alters the developmental map from generation to generation i n both content and process. In addition to development, there are cultural and contextual exigencies which must be met; in Changing Cultures. Changing Lives. Kiefer (1974) considers The whole life cycle as a series of challenges to the personality and . . . that normal people can and often do make major changes i n their habits of thinking, feeling, and behaving in responses to such challenges, (p.165) This adjustment process, mounted in response to various challenges brought about by a combination of situational variables, represents the other type of change, adjustment or adaptation. Although we tend to separate adjustment from development, Kiefer goes on to say: A person's circumstances change, and he must make many adjustments with little or no attention to whether the change has resulted from his own maturation or the epochal changes around him. (p.168) In discussing the human experience of change, we must remember that the developmental continuum presents us with certain content or tasks for the epigenetic unfolding of the potential residing in any individual. This idea of a continuum, however, is an approximation that i n itself does not completely explain the process of change; every individual's situation is unique and while various stages of development have certain 'stabilities', the individual's experience of various maturational stages will remain unique. Purpose The focus for this thesis is that of a systems perspective i n relationship to the human experience of change. Humans are, from a systems perspective, purposeful systems. A central aspect of purposeful systems is the phenomena of change, however this is not a treatise on change in isolation from human 23 experience but rather a perspective on the human experience of change. In light of this focus, this study has the following specific objectives: 1. To present a systems model, detailing the critical components and key variables of change toward the concept of humans as purposeful systems causing and adjusting to change as an ongoing part of systemic functioning; 2. To illustrate this perspective of change through applying this perspective to areas of human functioning; and 3. To raise relevant concerns that would benefit from further research. Before commencing the examination of systems in more depth in the next chapter, it is important to define the limits of the above objectives. Limitations Al l too often, studies are conducted which offer valid perspectives regarding various phenomena but have less than their intended effect through the creation of unrealistic expectations in the reader. It is hoped that through describing the focus and boundaries of this thesis, the reader can concentrate on what the study is rather than on what it is not. This thesis is offered as a conceptual exploration of change as a contribution toward the eventual development of a comprehensive theory of human change. It is not a methodological study regarding the effectiveness of change methodology nor of commonalities of various methods in fields of practise of human change. It should, however, be useful for those wishing to explore methodological considerations or the completeness of change theory in any given school of change practise regarding humans and their organizations. Basically what the 24 thesis purports to offer is a fresh perspective of change that will be useful in broadening the understanding of human change. While this perspective may prove too abstract and not sufficiently pragmatic or translatable into pragmatic terminology, the perspective of the writer is that this is not so and will attempt to illustrate the potential analytical application. There likely exists other literature that would be insightful regarding the concept of change. Theories of change are an implicit aspect of all sciences however the meta-assumptions of change are much more rare. Undoubtedly one could develop other perspectives or frames of reference from which to examine change by exploring even more literature. However this thesis is not intended as the ultimate perspective of change and many areas that might have been examined have been purposely ignored from the premise that there is a necessity to balance thorough research with the synthesis of that research. While the initial literature search was extensive and broad based, the literature eventually utilized was much more limited. There is no doubt in the writer's mind that there exists other relevant literature that was not discovered and which may shed some additional and important light on the topic under consideration. No apologies are made for this potential as the writer believes that the frames of reference that have been used offer ample description of the change process with sufficient overlap and sufficient differences to provide the perspectives necessary from which a useful and integrative conceptual perspective has been synthesized. The informed reader who has developed other perspectives regarding the human experience of change is encouraged to view this as a potentially useful 25 addition or reinforcement to the analytic tools already possessed. This thesis is not meant to be definitive i n the field of human change but rather contributive. It will be through the effort of many people that our understanding of human change will develop to the extent demanded by the exigencies of living in this time of great technological and social change. Summary In this chapter, the subject of change i n human affairs has been introduced and the systems perspective has been described as the frame of reference from which the human experience of change is to be examined. Various concerns have been raised including change as an ever-present phenomena, the apparent paradox of change referring both to state and process, the restrictive concept of complete subject/object separation and the inherent difficulties in measuring change. In Chapter Two, a more detailed examination will take place regarding the usefulness of such a perspective for examining change. Terminology that has been used in describing systems is introduced as a language of change. If terms such as epigenesis, morphogenesis, catastrophes, chreods and the dynamic of a system are not yet meaningful to the reader, it is hoped that after reading the next chapter, these terms will form useful components of change terminology from the systems perspective. 26 CHAPTER TWO: A SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE OF CHANGE This chapter explains various concepts and terminology to assist the reader in his or her understanding of a systems perspective of change. This chapter remains somewhat abstract as the writer's intent is to introduce the idea of systems and change within a systems perspective while Chapter Three addresses, in a more specific manner, individual human systems. Part One outlines origins of the systems perspective, introduces several sources used in this thesis, differentiates between closed and open systems and briefly discusses the instrumental nature of systems. Part Two addresses the components, structure and functioning of systems. Finally in Part Three, the concept of change is presented as an implicit aspect of systemic functioning. Two major types of change are discussed; change within a system and change of an entire system. Part One: The Systems Perspective Origin of Concents While it seems a truism that natural systems have always been i n existence, awareness of the principles of wystems themselves has been a relatively recent occurence. Building on the discoveries of various revolutionary observations of nature, it seems that Galileo was the first person to postulate the mathematical lawfulness of nature, following his theories with careful investigations designed to 27 stipulate exactly what these relationships were. His concept of relationships among the variables of a system has formed the basis for the majority of scientific investigation from his time to the present and has allowed the utilization of many of nature's previously held secrets in the advancement of our technologies. Other contributions to this thesis have arisen from the field of physics including ideas extracted from the writings of Bohm (1951, 1957, 1980), Capra (1975, 1982a, 1982b) and Heisenberg (1962). Related to these systems ideas from physics, are contributions drawn from the study of mathematics. While numerous sources have been employed in the formulation of this thesis, the mathematical analysis of the stability and instability of forms conducted by Thom (1975) deserves special note as it has been employed as a central and integrative concept in the writer's understanding of the process of change. Discoveries in the areas of biological functioning have also facilitated the conceptualization of systems. While discoveries of the mechanical nature of the skeletal and musculature system largely constituted confirmatory rather than revolutionary evidence for to the conceptualization of systemic functioning, the discoveries of the circulatory system, the nervous system and the endocrine system led to the formulation of living systems as intricate webs of interconnected subsystems. The explanation of systemic phenomena uncovered in biological studies led to the formulation of General Systems Theory (B ertalanf fy, 1951, 1968). In addition to the major work accomplished in this area by Bertalanffy, Land's (1973) concepts presented in transformation theory explain the growthful nature of systems and have been incorporated in this study. While many advances in systems understanding have come through the sciences of physics and biology, the advent of the Industrial Revolution brought 28 about an interest in systems as applied to the manufacture of goods. As machinery came into common use, i t was found that the effective organization and integration of machinery, capital, raw materials and labor resulted in cost-effective production. Formal theories of specialization, hierarchical authority and interconnected processes were developed as attention to these areas brought increased profit . Hersey and Blanchard (1977), Likert (1967) and McGregor, (1960) are some sources used in gleaning the contributions made to the systems perspective and change from organizational theorists. Contributions made by economic theorists were also considered. Economic theories were required in modern industrial environments to predict the flow of goods and to balance the supply and demand of any given commodity; these theorists attempted to apply the principles of the apparently exact science of physics to the factory as a system operating within a system. The need to coordinate production and to know both about the availability of raw materials and the potential market soon led to formalization of information theories; it became obvious very quickly that good information in each of these areas was needed if business was to prosper. Principles of information theories have been employed in the formulation of this thesis. In addition to the need to have information to control and coordinate production, the complexity of the machinery that was being developed required increasingly sophisticated ways of controlling the behavior of these machines. Wiener's (1948) seminal work in the field of cybernetics proved to be illuminating background for the concept of systemic control. It appears that initially, controls were simple mechanical devices controlled by people which could stop, start and 29 adjust various aspects of a machine's functioning. Today, control mechanisms are directly connected to the actual outputs of machines; this use of the output of a system to become an input controlling the continued operation is extremely sophisticated. We refer to this phenomena as feedback and recognize it as a vital aspect of any goal-oriented system. Another area of investigation was the systems concepts arising from physical, natural systems which have led to the application of the systems perspective to many types of 'real' systems having temporal and spatial characteristics. In addition, these concepts show great applicability to conceptual and experiential systems as well as to psychological phenomena i n general. The systems perspective has developed into a meta-model applicable to the relationships between phenomena and therefor is particularly useful for examining the human experience of change. Angyal (1941), Ackoff and Emery (1972), Carver and Scheier (1981), Lewin (1951), Miller et al (1960) and Powers (1973) are some of the contributors in the application of the systems perspective to human endeavors. So far, no clear distinction has been drawn between types of systems. However, there exist two distinctly different views of systems; one is a closed, mechanistic view and the other is an open, interactional view. In order to ensure that the type of systems approach used to explain the human experience of change is appropriate, it will be useful to briefly differentiate between the two. Closed Systems A closed system is comprised of interacting parts that relate i n a causal, linear fashion; it has no input or output and progressively moves from order to 30 disorder. For a living system, this closed system model implies mechanistic feedback to regulate actions based completely on drives or needs which, in turn, stem from pre-established structural arrangements. As a consequence of no material entering or leaving a closed system, the final state is determined wholely by the initial conditions; the final state can be altered only by changing the process or altering the initial conditions. A closed system is an abstraction which, according to the laws of thermodynamics, moves increasingly toward disorder or entropy; entropy being the measure of the energy in the system which cannot be transformed into work. Western civilization has long held the belief that complex phenomena can be understood by such closed system models, which reduce observations to basic examinable building blocks. Physics has long been considered the main trunk of science since its purpose is to uncover these basic building blocks or the fundamentals of reality via quantifiable natural laws; all other phenomena have been considered to be beyond the question and quest of science and therefor less real. Basically this reductionist approach has led most people i n Western civilization to agree with the premises that there exist fundamental forces which are essentially different than matter, that only quantitative descriptions of status and interaction are meaningful and that all things are rigorously deterministic. Our machine age has been built very successfully on these premises; Capra (1982a) writes that "machines function according to linear chains of cause and effect, and when they break down a single cause for the breakdown can usually be identified" (p.30). Over all, the reductionist approach of Isaac Newton's mechanics and Francis Bacon's scientific method (obviously with many advances in both) are appropriate and useful in understanding, predicting and controlling certain phenomena. While non-living systems can be treated as though they are isolated, in actuality this closed system is achievable only as a theoretical abstraction or an approximation in a contrived experiment where many of the subtle nuances of a process can be ignored or controlled for the purpose of the experimenter. Closed system models fall short in adequately explaining the workings of whole, acting or real-life systems and their integration with the environment. Open Systems Open systems operate with what might be called a 'throughput' of material. There is a constant inflow of material necessary for systemic functioning and a expelling of waste products. In order to sustain the supply of input, it is necessary for open systems to be contributive to the ecosystem in which they function. This entails a part of the system's functioning to be dedicated to more than simple maintenance. Open systems are not just tubes with materials going in one end and changed materials going out the other end but rather are complex hierarchies of interacting parts and wholes, balanced in a way that ensures total systemic functioning. The relationship of the parts to the whole is one of dynamic interaction rather than simple, mechanistic cause and effect. It is impossible to fully comprehend the nature of the whole from the aspect of the part. While the concept of open systems is one of human application, the phenomena reflects all natural systems and is distinctly different than the impoverished concept of closed systems. The open system concept implies that all phenomena are connected and that, while partial models can be construed for analysis, they are only partial models and do not directly address the total unity of the whole. Even in physics, the science dedicated to analysis of essential parts and 32 forces in nature, there has developed a realization that at the nuclear level, particles show a tendency to exist and processes show a tendency to occur. Properties of these strange, minute phenomena are not able to be defined except through their interaction with all other systems. The postulates of relativity and quantum theories are significant aberrations from our conventional notions of reality. Quantum theory postulates that there are no things, only interconnections that reach outward to other webs or interconnections through instant, non-local connections joining the universe as a whole (Capra, 1982b, p. 82). At the molecular level, electrons spin so that the total system spin is zero. In describing the spin of one electron i n a two electron system, the spin of the other is automatically described; they are apparently separate parts but are actually one unique whole. A recent experiment was conducted whereby the two electrons were separated and each passed through its own unique set of polarizing filters to alter their spins and axes independently. However, through some process that appears to defy Albert Einstein's declaration that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, when the spins were measured there appeared to be some instantaneous, non-local connection which adjusted the total system spin to zero and simultaneously aligned the axis of spin. Davis (1982) reports that: The mechanical features that produce this related behavior are assumed to materialize only at the moment an observation is actually made. During the fragments' flight apart, these features are i n limbo, all options left open until direct observation activates them." (p.41) It appears that by the act of observing, the particular reality is created. The implied sub-atomic process is one of non-local connections, a concept which approaches the mystic's world view in which all phenomena are parts of a 33 unified whole. Capia (1982b) writes: The crucial feature of quantum theory is that the observer is not only necessary to observe the properties of an atomic phenomenon, but is necessary even to bring about these properties . . . The electron does not have objective properties independent of my mind. In atomic physics the sharp Cartesian division between mind and matter, between the observer and the observed, can no longer be maintained. We can never speak about nature without, at the same time, speaking about ourselves, (p.87) The analysis of essential parts and forces, the so called essential building blocks described by Greek atomists, reinforced by Newton's classic mechanistic physics and bolstered as well by Rene Descartes' concept of subject/object duality, constitutes a convenient base of analysis for many phenomena. However, this approach does not adequately represent all levels of phenomenal interaction. The conceptualization of systems as open processes comes much closer to the phenomena of nature and as we increasingly understand natural organization, we will have increased opportunity to integrate these understandings into our own functioning. The system concept constitutes a tool or a means through which our experience of being may be enhanced. The Instrumental Nature of a Systems Perspective The reference to the systems perspective as a tool is not accidental or metaphoric; in fact the growth in understanding of systems has directly contributed to our technical evolution. This evolution has involved an increasing competence i n environmental transformation through the use of tools and systems. Tools initially duplicated animal evolution and biomechanical functioning while early systems were extensions of obvious surface phenomena. An example of this in the area of tools might be a spear as a duplication of the impaling intent of an animal's horns while also serving to extend the reach of the human arm. Systems such as social grouping, food gathering and communication are most likely to have 34 evolved through an extension of the very same processes obvious in animal groups. As human understanding of surface phenomena grew, systems became very complex and tools became vast machines. Though this growth reflects a perceptual change from apparent substructure to more intricate infrastructural components of phenomena, the application of systems was basically physical, mechanistic and reductionistic. Self-as-subject, very much separated from object, became the approach to understanding human experience; the need for knowledge about human change was largely aimed at increasingly small infrastructural units. Many of our present individual and societal problems have arisen from the implicit acceptance of a closed systems perspective. Examples of this assumption of independent existence as though systems do not need to integrate with their sources of input and recipients of their output are readily available i n government, education and industry. While perhaps not as readily apparent, the same phenomena occurs at the individual level from failure to understand the essential open system basis to living systems. This is an age of growing ecological awareness and it is becoming increasingly obvious that the total nature of a living system is one of holistic organization. Though there is this growing awareness and acceptance that human experience involves much more than infrastructure, it also involves quality and totality of phenomena, our language has remained largely analytic and reductionistic. Presently much of what is considered legitimate to share about knowledge seems to be experienced reduced to objective, quantitative data and our sciences, or systems of shared knowledge, tend to preserve this tradition. It is important to note, as Capra (1982b) writes, that "a science concerned only with quantity and based exclusively on measurement is inherently unable to deal with 35 experience, quality, or values" (p.375) and that these parts of our existence are at the core of the human imperative. While there is clearly value i n observation which attempts to quantify and understand infrastrutural phenomena, this is one of many possible perspectives, including some aspects of reality and ignoring others. Any model offers a limited and approximate perspective and whereas quantification is desire able i n some cases, it is not crucial in all. Bootstrap Theory Various scientists working with quantum physics have suggested that all concepts have a limited range of applicability and that what is needed is a bootstrap theory (Heisenberg, 1962; Chew, 1968; Bohm, 1957, 1980). This holistic approach consists of related models that describe some range of phenomena, each model connected to the others but not inferring some essential entity incorporating all phenomena. In essence this is a meta-perspective which does not necessarily incoporate the specifics of any particular phenomena but the relational and functional aspects common to all phenomena. Capra (1982b) explains: In transcending the metaphor of the world as a machine, we also have to abandon the idea of physics as the basis of all science. According to the bootstrap or systems view of the world, different but mutually consistent concepts may be used to describe different aspects and levels of reality, without the need to reduce the phenomena of any level to those of another. (p.9 7) The concept of closed, mechanistic systems, while proven to be functional in describing reality and providing us with pragmatic maps to assist us in understanding and relating to the world around us, tends to treat phenomena as essentially disconnected. It seems that while this approach is adequate for a certain range of phenomena, this range does not constitute the entire spectrum and, in particular is inadequate for describing the human experience of change. 36 Unfortunately, many of the existing approaches to the human experience of change fall within a reductionistic framework and fail to adequately explain the holitic nature of human purposiveness and functioning. Describing behavior as a complex pattern of reflex arcs is appropriate at one level of analysis but is dimensionally deficient in describing the function of choice or perception in daily human behavior. The systems perspective of change offered in this thesis is not intended to represent the entire range of psychological phenomena but rather is put forward as a framework which relates parts and wholes i n their dynamic connections and which is instrumental in integrating the experience of change into a holistic context of human functioning. Since "according to the bootstrap approach, there may not be any one theory capable of explaining the entire spectrum of psychological phenomena" (Capra, 1982b, p.369), theories of human functioning that explain specific aspects of motivation, behavior, attitudes can be enhanced through their integration in a holistic, open systems concept. Further, since systems are concerned with interconnectedness or relationships and all change is, by definition, relational, the systems model appears to be particularly appropriate i n the examination of the human experience of change. In an effort to promote dais perspective, the next part will introduce the reader to some of the fundamental concepts of system structure and functioning. Part Two: Components, Structure and Functioning of Systems Parts and Wholes Systems can be defined as an arrangement of parts in a whole. While the 37 arrangement of parts into wholes is a process at which the human brain seems particularly adept, making systems seem ubiquitous, functioning systems are not based on imposed order but on actual relationships. Herbst (1970) stresses that functioning systems are composed of parts he calls activity elements which function interdependently and operate together as a boundary maintaining unit (p.47); this view is repeated throughout systems literature (Angyal, 1941; Ackoff Sc Emery, 1972, Thom, 1975). Systems are not aggregates of parts or relations but are holistic organizations; in an aggregate, the parts are added, in a system the parts are organized. Referring to the unity brought about by organization rather than aggregation, Smuts (1926) in his book, Holism and Evolution, coined the term 'holistic' in the sense of a Gestalt or totality. Angyal (1941) explains: Wholes are characterized by being organized according to a main principle to which all the part structures and part functions are subordinated. In a holistic type of study we do not ask what attributes the part possesses when it is considered separated from the whole. Rather do we ask what the given part contributes to the actualization of that leading principle of organization which constitutes the essence of the given whole, (p.14) The function of parts leads beyond the parts themselves. This is opposed to the hypothesis of immanence which holds that the function of a part is an end in itself and moves us toward the concept of purposive systems elaborated on i n Chapter Three. While parts are inherently subordinate to wholes, the relationship of parts to wholes is not one of simple subordination and the difference is important i n understanding the functioning of systems. Koestler (1978) extended Smut's holistic concept by referring to parts as subsystems or 'holons' since they act as both 38 parts and wholes (p.57). A holon displays two opposite tendencies, one of integration with the larger whole and one of self-assertion to preserve its individual autonomy. Considering that systems do coexist, the larger field, or what will be referred to as the ecosystem, constitutes a large system wherein the holons must exhibit self-assertion and integration i n some appropriate balance for the overall ecosystem to maintain its integrity. Capra (1982b) states that at each level in a well-functioning system: There is a dynamic balance between self-assertive and integrative tendencies, and all holons act as interfaces and relay stations between levels . . . all levels interacting i n interdependent harmony to support the functioning of the whole, (p.281) Problems arise from failure i n achieving this integration which may be partially a result of operating from a closed systems perspective as mentioned earlier. Structure of the system arises from the interaction and interdependence of the parts in a mutually influential process. The interconnections are not causative in a linear fashion as every holon, being an open system, maintains its own structure in a dynamic stability which, while flexible, is a manifestation of stable underlying processes. If all parts have a similar function, the system appears homogenous. When parts are more heterogenous, there is more specialization. Homogeneity and heterogeneity occur according to functional requirements of the whole yet as there is more specialization there is also greater autonomy of the p ar t. A somewhat different perspective of the relationship of parts and wholes is offered by Galois (collected papers, 1846 i n Watzlawick, Weakland & Fisch, 1974). While the application of his model of the relationships between parts (group members) and wholes was in terms of mathematical groups, the ideas 39 are useful in expanding our awareness of the identity of a system. Galois states that: 1. Al l group members share a common characteristic; when group members are combined (ie. added or subtracted) the result is again a member of the group; change taking place within the group again leaves the result as a group member; 2. Group members may be combined in varying sequences yet the end result will always be the same as there is changeability in process but invariability in outcome; 3. A group has an identity member that combined with any member will give that member; a member may act without making a difference; and 4. Every member has its opposite which when combined with according to the combination rule will give the identity member; this produces change but still is a member of the group, (in Watzlawick, 1976, pp.3-6) Although Galois' theory refers to number groups, it offers concepts relevant to the examination of the unique characteristics of an open system. The combination rules in an open system are unique for each system, but the range of variation of any component of a system will be controlled by the overall systemic need for a dynamic equilibrium to maintain its function. The identity member is the common characteristic of the system and quite often is so obvious that it is overlooked; at least part of the identity member of human beings is a change or transcendent tendency which takes place both within an individual's lifetime as well as being aimed at extending past the individual's lifetime i n terms of 'future generations'. The identity member is really the main theme, concept or core of the system and can easily be applied to behavior, attitudes, perceptions and so on. Reciprocals limit the movement of the variable of the component of a system in any direction; reciprocals are essentially negative feedback. Whatever particular language we use i n our examination of systems, we must in the end attend to their holistic nature, their internal kinetics and their connection to other systems. Capra (1982b) summarizes: 40 The systems view looks at the world in terms of relationships and integration. Systems are integrated wholes whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units. Instead of concentrating on basic building blocks or basic substances, the systems approach emphasizes basic principles of organization, (p.266) In addition to considering the holistic nature of systems, the complexity of the arrangement and functioning of parts is also important. Complexity and Entropy Entropy is the relationship of the amount of energy in a system to that available for furthering the functioning of the system. Entropy can be considered to be energy spent on non-useful production. The larger the topological complexity of a system, the larger its entropy and the more like a closed system this will appear; one only needs to look at the energy tied up in non-productive functioning of any large bureaucracy to appreciate this point. Another example to consider would be the individual who has failed to integrate i n an ongoing, dynamic way with the changes taking place in his or her ecosystem and must maintain a large and complex set of explanations to justify continuation of a distorted world or self view. The energy available for dynamic functioning in either the large bureaucracy or the individual cited is minimal and both function with elaborate obscurant schematas. Unfortunately, such levels of fuctioning seem to be accepted as the status quo in our society and the incentive toward the development of a vision that things could be different must come from a reawakening of the potential rewards inherent in dynamic functioning. Even with open systems of large size, functioning is characterized by a large entropy factor and thus, like a closed system, they consume their matter/energy and move to disorder. There are many large systems which continue 41 to function without being overcome by entropy. They are able to do so only as long as they are appropriately stratified or comprised of effectively functioning smaller systems. In stratification, the components or parts maintain sufficient autonomy to act as wholes and enough integration so as to keep the entropy or disorder of the larger system within its acceptable limits. "The activity of systems involves a process known as transaction - the simultaneous and mutually interdependent interaction between multiple components" (Capra, 1982b, p.267) This stratified stability results in each level becoming a building block for a higher degree of organization at the next level; Wenninger (1975) states that "what is whole at one level becomes a part at the next" (p.28). Open systems are characterized by a tendency toward this increased level of organization through the successful interaction between parts and wholes. Levels of Systems Since all systems of which we are aware are parts of other types of larger systems, the concept of hierarchical level is worth considering. An example of a set of nesting systems is one ranging from the sub-atomic level, to the atomic, molecular, planetary, solar, galactic and universal levels. Such a classification of systems was postulated by Bertlanaffy (1951) in General Systems Theory. The criteria he used for classification were the complexity of the system's kinetics and the organization of parts; these levels are: 1. frameworks and static structures; organized information or conceptual sets; 2. clockworks; basic dynamic systems in which there could be determined the probability of the position of parts at any given moment within an overall theoretical structure (simple machines); 3. cybernetic systems; containing a range of equilibriums and involving adjustment between actual and ideal (self-governing machines); 42 4. open systems; self-maintaining structures that involve throughput of material and can reproduce (this is the level at which life is considered to exist); 5. genetic level; societal level involving differentiated, mutually dependant parts and equifinality; 6. animal level; increased mobility, teleologic behavior, self-awareness, and specialized knowledge receptors and processors (image is a knowledge structure where information is structured into something essentially different from the information itself - this causes behavior prediction to be difficult as the image interacts between the stimulus and response); 7. human level; self-reflection (knowing that one knows) and abstract symbols (capacity for speech, for the absorbtion and production of symbols and symbolic images of time and relationships, contemplation of behavior in terms of lifespan); 8. social organization; shared meaning through the standardization of assigned meaning and created images which are symbolizations of history; and 9. transcendental systems In Bertalanffy's list, all the systems past level three are open systems with retroactive cybernetic functioning and are characteristic of life in general. Cybernetic Systems Cybernetic systems are characterized by the use of feedback. Feedback is the process of converting some of the system's output into input to ensure that the system is functioning within the limits of the variables of the system. Positive feedback is basically a signal (or absence of a negative signal) indicating that functioning of some variable is within the 'normal' range of operation and thus continues the process or action occurrence. Negative feedback is a signal that the limits of a variable are being approached or are already reached; negative feedback is necessary to maintain fluctuation of a variable within the acceptable range and it becomes more obvious as the extreme ends of any systemic variable 43 are reached. Feedback must ensure stability by being sensitive enough to keep deviations of function within an acceptable range while accepting enough to allow sufficient fluctuation i n the adaptation to varying environmental conditions. Cybernetic systems can be either interactive or retroactive. Interactive systems are very similar to the clockwork level, if one cause is varied, there is a direct variation i n operation. The basic functioning is linear causality; the structure is additive and symmetrical. Retroactive cybernetic systems are non-additive and non-symmetrical and more closely approximate real, acting systems. The relationship of the parts differs at rest than while operating. Feedback is operative only when movement is taking place and this feedback is a second-order causality as the feedback becomes a cause in itself. The holistic characteristics of retroactive cybernetic systems cease to function when the mechanism stops and the system has no existence apart from its function. The concept of feedback and control systems will be elaborated upon in Chapter Three. Acting Systems and Pattern Systems Human functioning is a combination of acting systems which are modified and controlled through information or conceptual systems also known as pattern systems. Acting systems are energy/matter systems whose components interact through the exchange of these constituents and are subject to the laws of the conservation of energy (energy cannot be created or destroyed). Pattern systems or conceptualizations, on the other hand, have components that do not interact with matter or energy but through the transfer of information, which can be created or destroyed. Pattern systems link components of acting systems. Kuhn 44 (1975) says that acting systems: Come in hierarchical sets... In addition, hierarchy is itself pattern, or information. It also now seems safe to conclude that much, perhaps all, patterns learned and stored by the human brain are hierarchically structured. (p.41) Carver and Scheier (1981) elaborate on how hierarchy contributes to the effective functioning of a stratified system: In hierarchical systems, the output from a superordinate loop constitutes the specification of reference values for the next lower subordinate level of loops . . . That is, the output from one loop constitutes a resetting of the reference value for the loop or loops below i t . Only at the very lowest level is the output of the system actually a behavioral ouput. And at that level the outputs are very basic elements of behavior; changes in muscle tensions . . . several standards exist and are being matched simultaneously, as a person executes a behavior, (p.129) Whereas in closed systems, energy is consumed and the system becomes increasingly disorganized, in open systems, information functions as negentropy (negative entropy). In closed systems, stability is characterized by an equilibrium of maximum entropy with minimum free energy whereas i n open systems, stability is characterized by a steady state maintained through ordered processes. If the pattern systems themselves do not admit fresh information or allow for reorganization, with slight changes in conditions, the acting system readily loses some of its integrity vis a vis effective functioning and adaptation. Local Models While we can assume that all systems are continuous, our experience is one of discrete events. This leads to a certain dilemna in attempting to accurately describe systems. Thorn (1975) explains the usefulness of having a model that relates our experience to actual phenomena: As soon as a formal model is intelligible, it admits a semantic realization, that is, the mind can attach a meaning to each of the symbols of the system." <p.20) 45 In other words, nature presents us with continuous systems while our perception and mentation lead us to viewing the class equivalent dynamics and attempting to deduce the singularities of the process under consideration. We do this through formal models which are either kinematic (dealing with the forms or states of the process) or dynamic (dealing with the parameters of the temporal evolution and the transistion probabilities between states). While both kinematic and dynamic models involve change, the kinematic model refers to the normal fluctuations in the variables of a system and the dynamic model refers to what we more normally think of as the changeability of a system. The term Korzybski (1958) employs is useful in considering our experience of change, be it state or process. He discusses 'invariants under transformation', an abstraction which unites the concept of continual transformation and the human perspective of trying to organize and classify phenomena in discrete increments. All things are being continually transformed with the main difference between a static form and a dynamic form being the time perspective. In case the cautious reader may feel inclined to dismiss the the idea of systems as being too arbitrary, it is important to reinforce the idea that the systems perspective is useful in the articulation of local models which act as basic wholes from some perspective, always realizing that our models are approximate and that all systems are connected to other systems. An ultimate hierarchy for the classification of systems does not have to be posited each time a system is defined. Thom (1975) concentrates on describing these local models rather than universal realities or the ultimate nature of reality; he states that: To each partial system, relatively independent of the environment, we assign a local model that accounts qualitatively and, in the best cases, quantitatively for its behavior. But we cannot hope, a priori, to integrate all these local models into a system, (p.24) 46 A problem arises with the construction of a local model if that construction is a framework or clockwork as a simplification of a more complex system and then treating the model as though it were the actual system. This is not the objective of creating a local model as it would create a closed system perspective and, as discussed earlier, closed systems are hypothetical constructs borne out consensu ally not ontologic ally. In applying the systems perspective to the human experience of change, it appears that the very lowest and not necessarily the most accurate level of abstraction appropriate is the level of cybernetic systems. Boundaries of Systems Since every system can be conceived of as being comprised of partial or local models, defining the system of our interest is closely related to describing the boundaries of the system. Boundaries are both functional as parts of real acting systems as well as useful conceptual demarcations in setting off local models of any general system. We must keep in mind that as the type of analysis varies, the described boundary will likely change. For instance, the digestion system could be defined by including parts such as the mouth, teeth, esophagus, stomach and intestines while, depending on the purpose, leaving out the various secreting glands, the blood-sugar mechanism that indicates that more food is needed, etcetera. Kuhn (1975) takes the position that "boundaries of a system are always determined by the investigator, with references to his own purposes, never by nature" (p.39). While the writer disagrees that there are no natural boundaries, from the position of all systems being interconnected, it might be more accurate to state that there are no absolute natural boundaries. Kuhn states that the criteria for defining boundaries can be spatial, functional or analytical. This is in 47 agreement with Angyal's (1941) suggestion that wholes can be studied according to their structural articulation or functional divisions; the lines of division being prescribed by the structure of the whole itself (p.13). From the perspective of the use to the system, boundaries or areas of reduced interaction with other systems are of particular value. Boundaries not only help to set the difference between inside and outside (system identity or the integrity of the system's dynamics) but also help to arrange what is inside. Boundaries are selective i n their permeability in both directions, allowing passage of some things at some times in certain directions; in many ways, the boundary might be considered to be a statement of the systemic autonomy and the specialized interaction i n the larger nested ecosystem. Stability and Instability The boundaries of static forms, while topographically complex, are the easiest of boundaries to describe. While there certainly are variations, there are many such static systems in most peoples' lives such as work patterns, habitual behavioral structures, fixed ideas and so on. Static forms tend to be isomorphic; even though disturbances affect their 'topography', they behave as though they are static in their insensitivty to perturbations. Many of our behaviors and ideational systems are not that rigid but are constantly shifting; these can be considered to be metabolic forms. Metabolic forms are sensitive to disturbances and tend to disintegrate into simpler forms when sufficiently perturbed; their boundaries fluctuate and are difficult to accurately describe. The fluctuation of boundaries of metabolic forms is another way information is conveyed within the 48 larger ecosystem (Thorn, 1975, pp.101-102). Since throughput of material and information and a condition of dynamic equilibrium are integral to the functioning of open systems, change itself can be seen as characteristic of open systems. While stability involves the maintenance of sufficient integrity to maintain the isomorphic function of the system, change is also necessary for the same reason. Systems are structurally stable and strong when they can tolerate fluctuations and some slight alterations while maintaining a class equivalence. Some systems are tremendously complicated, chaotic, or appear contradictory as they show themselves one way and then another and these systems are difficult to accurately describe. It is very difficult to precisely define all the various systems which comprise a person with many rapid shifts and intricately complex almost beyond comprehension. Yet, with the aid of local models and the realization that there is an overall holistic configuration to a human being, the systems perspective can assist i n our analysis and understanding. Well-functioning People as Open Systems Well-functioning human beings operate as holistic open systems. There is a healthy inflow and outflow of components (at many levels of analysis) leading to a regular renewal of themselves. A healthy, well-functioning person, like an open system, maintains system-as-a-whole equilibrium via dynamic interaction of all facets of living. There is also a tendency to move toward increasing complexity, organization and differences; Wenninger (1975) states that open systems: Maintain themselves in changing environments and adapt and respond to external challenges. These systems experience continual and progressive modification through interaction with other systems, and through such interaction, function as coordinating interfaces between lower- and higher-level subsystems, (p.24) 49 Open systems are equifinaL that is they have an inherent or natural final state which can be reached in many ways from many different initial conditions. There exists a certain independence from their initial conditions. A significant distinction can be made between adequate functioning and dysfunction of an individual by the degree to which a person is either able to generate change or is unable to free him or herself from restrictions of initial conditions (Watzlawick, 1975, p.86). Such overcoming of barriers in the progress toward objectives and ideals is a property of what Ackoff and Emery (1972) refer to as a purposeful system and certainly has great application for the potential of human beings. This evolutionary concept of open systems is a key point i n examining the human experience of change; evolution by definition means transcendence. The well-functioning of a human being could be determined by the success i n transcending present conditions when those conditions do not nurture maintenance and growth. While the causes may be varied, the inability to change appropriately is the essence of the etiology of open systems. Part Three; Systemic Change In the previous part, the nature of open or metabolic systems was described as one of constant and inevitable change. In ihis part the reader will be introduced to the process and conditions of change. Thom (19 75) is the only 50 source located during the literature review for this study where the the process of change of systems was explored in some detail. Although his subject matter stems from the topological stability and instability of physical forms, he does make some minor excursions into areas such as the mechanics of behavior and language. Even though topology is the source of his change model, his concepts and terminology seem particularly useful in describing the dynamics of systemic change and are cited extensively in this part. Though some of the terms he uses such as 'catastrophe sets' and 'chreods' may at first seem foreign, hopefully these terms will eventually form a meaningful part of the reader's language of change. The work of Angyal (1941) also provided useful insights. Stability and Change Since systemic functioning depends upon throughput of appropriate 'information*, there are always variables outside of the system's boundary and therefor any open system has unassigned degrees of freedom of potential change dependent upon these external variables. At the same time, systems function m through a relationship of parts to a whole and ultimately a whole to an ecosystem and therefor both change and stability are necessary for ongoing systemic functioning. Buckley (1975) explains this point: Any system must maintain the integrity of its structure with some minimal time invariance, depending on the challenges of the environment . . . given severe enough challenges of the external or internal environments, the viability of a system depends on its ability to change its operating structure - to adapt so as to improve goal attainment or regulate against "disturbances." (p.18) Angyal's (1941) concepts expand upon this idea i n the delineation of those systems that seem to be able to incorporate change as a matter of their normal functioning and those which have a narrow range of fluctuation i n their main variables. He states: 51 Rigid and plastic systems differ from each other in various respects. 1) Processes which go on in rigid systems are rather localized happenings; the processes i n plastic systems spread upward and downward to superordinated and supordinated systems respectively. 2) Rigid systems carry out highly standardized, uniform functions; plastic systems have a broad range of functional variation. 3) Rigid systems are associated with a high degree, plastic systems with a low degree, of homeostasis i n the environment. 4) The function of rigid systems are more automatic than those of plastic systems. 5) Plastic systems are to a greater extent directly influenced by conscious activity than are rigid systems, (p.293) As the limits of a variable of a subsystem are broached (whether this is physical or a psychological subsystem does not matter as all subsystems are connected in the whole), plastic systems become more like rigid systems - perhaps this is what happens with rigidity in personality structure and function - under the persistance of conditions which caused the original overload of the subsystem, 'permanent' adaptation takes place at the level of rigidity. Thorn (1975) refers to changes in structure or the discontinuity of a system as 'morphogenesis'. He states that all systems evolve by "selection pressures acting in directions dictated by the functions" (p.xvii). A l l systems undergo morphogenesis; stability is simply a matter of time perspective and this change is always purposive in relation to the function of the system. Built into every system is the capacity to change to ensure systemic functioning, a feature particularly relevant in considering living systems that must make an effort to maintain their function compared to non-living systems that do not seem to be able to strive in this manner. While the usual use of the word catastrophe conjures up images of a disaster, Thorn uses this term descriptively without the affective loading in reference to any change within a system. The built-in capacity for change constitutes a catastrophe set or change potential which in prescribed conditions will produce a certain change within the limit of 52 options available. The system's integrity depends on the conditions for the occurence of a catastrophe not exceeding the tolerance of the variables of the system. Angyal (1941) explains this change within a system: Change in any part of a system spreads in a continuous fashion and may involve the entire whole, or also the range of spread may be limited . . . The structure of the parts will be affected only by such changes in the whole as require a rearrangement in the structure of the part; and the whole will be affected only by such changes in the structure of the parts as involve a positional change of the part and thus change the constellation of the whole, (pp. 2 9 7-298) The type of change which takes place within a system but does not change the entire system is a local catastrophe whereas a more global change which cause a change i n the nature of the whole is a generalized catastrophe. Thom (1975) explains that a generalized catastrophe results from: The accumulation of many of these local accidents . . . The statistic of these local accidents and correlation governing their appearance in the course of a given process are determined by the topological structure of their internal dynamic, (p.8) The 'topologic structure of their internal dynamic' refers to the functional relationship of the holons comprising the particular system. In other words, the nature of change that a system will experience is not simply a result of external causes, but rather a product of the internal functioning of the system at any point in time which in turn is partially a product of the relationship to other external systems. If the local catastrophe is within the limits of the variables or normal range of functioning of a system and is able to be controlled by negative feedback of other variables, the change will likely constitute part of the regular systemic fluctuations. Also, if the local catastrophe is involved with a dynamic of minimal importance to the function of the system, the system may not change i n any appreciable way. However, depending on the momentary configuration of the 53 system's functioning, particularly if the system is operating at the extreme of one of its variables, Thom (1975) says that positive feedback may: Drive the system over an instability into an entirely new structure which will again be fluctuating and relatively stable . . . The further the system has moved from equilibrium, the more options will be available, (pp.287-88) Often we think of change as being option reducing but Thom postulates that it is option increasing; perhaps some of the difficulties encountered in the human experience of change in addition to leaving behind a system (ideas, behavior, relationship, work, and so on) which required a known amount of energy to operate also relate partly to being unable to discern which options are most functional. Also, since systems are not simply collections of parts but an orderly arrangement of interconnected subsystems, change in a system requires a shift in the arrangement of all other parts to the whole to the extent the initially changed element affects the functioning of the whole (Angyal, 1941, p.25 7). When this new structure that Thom refers to takes place, an essentially new whole with new boundaries forms; with new boundaries, there are new types of intra- and inter system relationships. The functional systemic boundaries contain many local catastrophes. Herbst (1970) states that: Maintenance of a system boundary implies the maintenance of some degree of stress. This is the case since the system boundary comes into existence as a result of processes to achieve and maintain specific activity components and structures and to eject and avoid others, (p.50) The continued survival of any system demands that the functioning of all holons achieves certain output. Survival also depends on the maintenance of stable links to the web of external systems which utilize the output in exchange for inputs that the system requires to maintain its own functioning. Kerbst (1970) calls these cycles "positive dependency cycles" (p.49). 54 Catastrophes and Chreods - The Evolution of a Process As the process of change unfolds, catastrophe points emerge as the process changes in appearance. As a boat leaves a visible record of its passage i n the water, a catastrophe point also makes a wake as it moves through time; the unfolding of a catastrophe is called a chreod. While the reader may be familiar with structural parts, it is possible that the elemental units of a process are less familiar. What we normally might refer to as an event or even a process is comprised of many smaller chreods. A chreod is the dynamic of a structural instability in the system. Change which is deterministic and structurally stable is a unique chreod; cell functioning and human development would be two examples where numerous unique chreods exist. It is important to note that this concept of determinism is not meant i n the usual context of determinism and freedom but rather is indicative of a limited range of options that emerge as the process unfolds. Ackoff and Emery (1972) define a natural mechanical system as one where upon knowing the spatial, temporal and mechanical point properties, one could determine the spatial and mechanical points at any other point i n time. One time slice (tj) i s the cause of another (t 2) which is the effect of the first time slice; *1 is the necessary and sufficient condition of t2 (p.19). Thorn's use of deterministic chreods refers to a stability of process at the unit level and not to an overall mechanistic functioning of the whole system; once the particular element of a process starts, the course of that process is stable. Even chreods which do not appear to be deterministic contain what Thorn (1975) calls their own "fundamental system of isomorphic subchreods" (p.115). It is the combination of these islands of stable process which makes any one process 55 present a large potential of outcomes. Slight variations i n conditions can radically alter the course of evolution of a catastrophe; these are instabilities where the process could evolve in numerous directions. Basically stability or instability is "a local property of the process under consideration" (Thorn, 1975, p.126). Since neither stability nor instability is a general property of a system, change process is essentially unrepeatable; any apparent repetition is a class equivalence based on statistical distribution. However, even when there are local variations i n process i n different systems but the overall systemic result is basically the same, we have a condition of equifinality, a condition that appears to be particularly applicable to the area of biological epigenesis. Thorn (1975) explains: Generally the same chreod can have several systems of parent chreods, and, conversely, the same parents can give birth to several configurations of chreods. The complete description of a semantic model requires the specifying of all possible rules of succession and of all the known rules that can diminish the inherent indeterminism of the scheme, (p.116) Conditional Chreods as Local Models of Change Since change in open, acting systems tends to be only partially a result of unique chreods, it is difficult to describe each of the varying types of processes involved. The method advocated by Thorn (1975) is to create conditional chreods which are proximate models comprised of an aggregate of several chreods made stable by describing and realizing appropriate constraints of the initial conditions (p.116). This holding of certain conditions stable i n order to better understand the morphology of a process or to isolate the specific effect of an isolated chreod or set of chreods is what experimental design attempts to accomplish. The local model that is desired is that of a formal relationship of successions deduced from sufficient numbers of relationships between chreods without considering the actual internal structure of each chreod. Those processes which are most suited to such semantic models are so because there is an apparent smoothness in differentiation 56 of the process from the initial conditions. There appears to be some safety in assuming that the evolution of a process from a given state is "qualitatively stable, at least in some respects to perturbations of the initial state and interaction with the outside world" (Thom, 1975, p.9). The general model regarding systemic change offered by Thom (1975) can be broken into six main points: 1. Every form can be represented by an attractor of a dynamical system of internal variables; 2. Form is stable as long as the representative attr actor is structurally stable; 3. Morphogenesis (creation or destruction of a form) or a catastrophe will always be evidenced by the disappearance of the attractor representing the initial form and replacement by capture of an attractor representing the final form; 4. Structurally stable morphogenesis is described by a series or a single structurally stable catastrophe; 5. Every process decomposes into structurally stable islands; and 6. The significance of the chreod is that of the global topology of the associated attractor(s) and the catastrophe(s) it (they) undergo; the significance is essentially manifested by that which can create or destroy it. (pp.3 20-21) The essence of the cause of change is the appearance of a more dynamic attractor or the loss of competence of a dynamic of a system, either happening in the regular course of an open system's throughput. The model and terminology offered by Thom is valuable in considering the human experience of change; this constitutes a qualitative model that is aimed at describing change in a global format rather than over-emphasizing the quantitive aspects of change. Individuals involved with change i n human affairs have realized for some time that the best predictive models, which in the terms used here would 57 employ specific descriptions of the context of deterministic chreods, are at best minimally predictive. It is extremely difficult, likely impossible i n many cases, to know what the state of all of an individual's variables are in the tremendous number of subsystem's comprising an individual human being, let alone to understand the significance of the appearance of any specific attractor or the loss of competence of a specific dynamic. A suitable model of change need not predict the precise or final outcome of change in humans when our experience indicates that there are too many variables that affect any given change process; however, understanding that change is a natural process of systemic functioning may help in the integration of change, particularly those generalized catastrophes that sweep through significant aspects of individual functioning. In discussing systemic change, a distinction should be made i n the level of change being discussed. In examining change from a macroscopic perspective, what is important is change involving the entire system rather than local change within the system. However, systems evolve through local differentiation toward global variation. Al l change essentially consists of two or more attractors or options for systemic structure which are locally determined. Thom (1975) lists three models of differentiation or local determinism: 1. Silent catastrophe; there is an increase of an already contained attractor i n a dynamic and "the freeing of previously repressed degrees of freedom" - this is a type of continuous transformation which can indicate a rise in the competence of the dynamic; 2. Catabolic catastrophe; there is an abrubt decrease in an already contained attractor which indicates a loss of competence of the dynamic; and 3. Aging or sliding catastrophe; there is a continuous loss of dimension of an attractor and the lower powered attractor will cause an unobservable series of discontinuous changes causing a simplified topology and an overall loss of competence of the dynamic, (p.283) The local determinants move the evolution of the system toward the most stable 58 and coherent systemic structure possible within the available options and minimizing the damage of conflict between at tractors (p.143). This evolution toward simplicity and stability results in minimum entropy and therefor maximum efficiency of systemic functioning under the given conditions. Variety of Cone ep ts While Thorn's conceptualization of change has been used extensively in this section, there are others which offer contributions toward the development of a comprehensive view of systemic change (Frankl, 1969; Golembiewski, Billingsley Yeager; Watzlawick, 1976; Whitehead Russel, 1910-13). Watzlawick (1976) discusses the evolution of any higher order system (member to class, part to whole, system to ecosystem) as a meta-level change. Since open systems are comprised of holons, all undergoing local differentiation, open systems as wholes are continuously evolving or transcending their initial conditions. To understand these changes, Watzlawick states that we must be aware that: Change always involves the next higher level; to proceed, for instance, from position to motion, a step out of the theoretical framework of position is necessary, (p.7) Basically, change at a meta-level is concerned with the holistic nature of the system and cannot be adequately construed by referring to the constituent systems; the result of attempting to understand total system change from a lower level invariably results in paradox. Whitehead and Russel (1910-13) share this concept. They state that whatever involves all of the members of a class (system) cannot be a member of that class or in other words, systemic issues such as total identity or functioning (or shifts i n either of these), since they involve all of the parts cannot be understood as simply other parts. 59 Frankl (1969) explains the same dilemna in attempting to understand the larger system from a lower order perspective with his concept of dimensional ontology. He states that: 1. One and the same phenomenon projected out of its own dimension into different dimensions lower than its own is depicted in such a way that the individual pictures contradict one another; and 2. Different phenomena projected out of their own dimension into one dimension lower than their own are depicted in such a way that the pictures are ambiguous, (p.23) To understand the functioning of a system and the changes a system undergoes, we must not simply look at the molecular structure of the chreods but rather at the molar level in the system's interaction within the ecosystem in which it resides. Total systemic change is not a summative statement of the local catastrophes; systemic change is a generalized catastrophe that takes the system beyond the boundaries that once described and contained it . Golembiewski et al have utilized different terminology to differentiate types of systemic change: Alpha change involves a variation i n the level of some existential state, given a constantly calibrated measuring instrument related to a constant conceptual domain. Beta change involves a variation i n the level of some existential state, complicated by the fact that some intervals of the measurement continuum associated with a constant conceptual domain have been recalibrated. Gamma change involves a redefinition or reconceptualization of some domain, a major change i n the perspective or frame of reference within phenomena are perceived and classified, in what is taken to be relevant in some slice of reality, (pp.134-35) The concept of beta change introduced by Golembiewski does not seem to involve systemic change but rather refers to a change i n measuring instruments by an outside observer and is less relevant to actual systemic change as addressed in this thesis. However, if the beta change represents a difference i n self-perception or perception of others regarding an individual and brings about any type of 60 systemic change, then it falls into their category of gamma change. It appears that there are a number of. terms in existence which have been used to refer to similar types of change phenomena: Golembiewski's alpha change, Thorn's local catastrophe, Watzlawick's first-order change, Whitehead, Russel and Galois' member of the class and Frankl's lower ontological level all seem to be synonymous. In similar manner, gamma change, generalized catastrophe, second-order or meta change, class and higher ont olog ical level all refer to the total system functioning. In keeping with the systems perspective, the two levels of change represented by Thorn's terms, local and generalized catastrophes, will be used to discuss the level of change. Key Change Concepts In summarizing systemic change, the following points are important to note. Open systems operate with a balance of change and stasis, the purpose of both being to maintain the integrity of the system's function. Stability exists when the present configuration of systemic dynamics is competent in carrying out the function of the system. Change takes place when, in the regular throughput of 'information' in the system, there is some shift of conditions which alters the competence of the dynamic of a particular attractor that until then had been partially responsible for systemic stability. These local catastrophes may be part of the regular systemic fluctuations or may be some slight local differentiation. Depending on present systemic configuration of variables, local catastrophes may proceed over certain thresholds and produce a generalized catastrophe. While chreods are always, at some level, finalistic or determined, the smoothness of the change and predictability of the overall outcome is a product of many local catastrophes and is never entirely deterministic. In order to discuss change which by nature is so unique, one must rely on a semantic model which supposes that the phenomon under examination is an invariant under transformation. Change at any level involves a shift in the competency of a dynamic of the system and whereas the change may be a loss i n competency of the subsystem, well-functioning living systems strive for a total systemic gain in competency. Summary In this chapter, the reader has been exposed to various systems concepts. In Part One, closed systems were examined as abstract models and were used as an antithesis of open systems. Open systems were explored as dynamic operating systems that exist as natural occurences. The instrumentality of the systems perspective was considered and has been offered as part of a bootstrap approach to examining change. Part Two explored the special relationship of parts and wholes, the issues of systemic complexity and the concept of systemic energy. Cybernetic, acting and pattern systems were discussed as examples of various types of systems. System boundaries have been presented in a functional context and the concept of stability and instability were related to the shift in a system's boundaries. The concept of well-functioning people as open systems was introduced although not explored in depth. Finally in Part Three, the process of change within a system was considered in relationship to local and generalized catastrophes. Various related concepts in change theory were discussed to explain where similar ideas have been used with different terminology. The intent of this chapter has been to aquaint the reader with the systems perspective and terminology. In the following chapter, this perspective will be applied to human beings as living, purposeful systems. 62 CHAPTER THREE: HUMAN FUNCTIONING AND CHANGE IN A SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE This chapter synthesizes the concepts developed earlier and applies these concepts to human change. While human change refers to such diverse timeframes as genetic evolution to moment-by-moment fluctuations, the focus in this chapter is that of an individual both adapting and developing as a part of normal functioning. While the purpose of this thesis is not to outline the etiology of human functioning, the message in this chapter is that change is a normal part of our existence and change awareness and skills play an important role in healthy adjustive/developmental change. The first part of the chapter explores the concept of purposive systems, and in particular human beings with our unique capacity to strive for ideals. The key variables in the experience of change are also extracted. Part Two examines the central reference point or organizing center of the human being; Allport's concept of the proprium seems to be particularly useful i n this regard. Two of the main functions of the proprium that play a major role in the experience of change are explored, awareness and choice. Part Three examines changes in the control system of an individual, particularly acting systems and pattern systems. Attention is also given to learning and refraining as two processes of change. Part One; Living Systems While the systems perspective has not generally been applied to human 63 functioning, humans are clearly living systems, both at an individual and a collective level. In 1941, Angyal, an early proponent of the application of systems theory to people, wrote of the existence of others who advocated this holistic approach. He states: The holistic approach . . . is penetrating ever deeper into the biological sciences, especially those sciences which are concerned with the human organism. The "org anismic11 theories of Haldane, Woodger, Ritter, A . Meyer (the German biologist), Bertalanffy, Uexkull, the psychobiology of William Stern, the theory of emergent evolution, the holism of Smuts, the sociological system of O. Spann are characteristic of this trend. (Angyal, 1941, p.2) Others have also attempted to link systems concepts with psychological and behavioral phenomena (Carver & Scheier, 1981; Miller, et al, 1960; Powers, 1973). Carver and Scheier (1981) state that: Various revisions to learning theory are moving such theories inexorably toward the kind of model that is suggested by cybernetic theory. In short, the field may be undergoing, or preparing to undergo, a paradigm shift. (p.3 39) Carver and Scheier cite in particular Mischel, Bandura and Kanf er as prominent behaviorists who have moved toward the consideration of behavior being interactive with the environment and mediated by internal reference and control structures. Perhaps the most important contribution of the various proponents of systems theory has been to bypass the reductionistic approach to human functioning and replace it with purposive functioning. While there are proponents i n the application of the systems approach to human beings, there is not yet a wide knowledge or conceptual application of systems theory to the enhancement of our understanding of human functioning. One of the key issues in such an application is developing a clear understanding 64 of the essential nature and functioning of living systems as purposive systems. Most people would have no arguement with the premise that people are able to seek after and pursue goals; what the systems perspective adds to this is the special way that purposive systems operate i n the selection and pursuit of goals. Purposeful Systems That living systems are purposive and engage i n goal seeking behavior could be considered the primary characteristic of life itself. If living systems are approached as being merely physiochemical processes or combinations of simple reflexes, the teleological nature of living systems cannot be understood. Ackoff and Emery (1972) define goal seeking individuals and systems as those which: Can respond in structurally different ways to one or more structurally different events, and all their responses have the function of producing a particular outcome, which is its goal. (p.30) There is a distinction between simple goal-seeking systems which are purposeful in the pursuit of a goal in varying conditions and multi-goal seeking systems which can change their goals in constant environmental conditions by selecting goals as well as the means by which to pursue them. Angyal (1941) elaborates that living systems exhibit a self-transcending process tending toward increased autonomy; this is not teleological in the sense of strictly achievable goals but directional. He goes on to state that: It is not the goal which defines the direction, but, on the contrary, the intrinsic pattern of a direction which defines which object can become a goal, (p.55) Ackoff and Emery (1972) define goals as the desired outcome of an immediate situation as opposed to objectives which reflect the desired outcome of a longer 65 time duration. They also explain that a goal may have to be abandoned in the present situation i n order to achieve an objective; such sacrificing of a short term need or want for a longer term benefit is characteristic of a purposeful system. (Angyal's use of the term 'goal' is similar to Ackoff and Emery's use of the term 'objective'; the latter's terminology will be used for the sake of consistency). Ackoff and Emery also describe the presence of ideals, the highest order target of human striving. An ideal is to an objective as an objective is to a goal. Ideals are not accomplishments, in fact they are not attainable as such but are directional and can be approached without limit. Ackoff and Emery (1972) explain ideal seeking: Only those purposeful systems can be ideal-seeking that can choose between objectives. They are able to (1) maintain progress toward an ideal by choosing another objective when one is achieved, or the effort to achieve it has failed, and (2) consistently sacrifice objectives for the sake of ideals. (p.241) The experience of change is at least partially a function of the purpose of the individual, be it a goal, an objective or an ideal. It is important to note that only purposeful systems can be ideal-seeking yet not all purposeful systems are ideal-seeking. It is purposiveness in pursuit of ideals which can provide cohesiveness and continuity to the extended and unpredictable processes of life (Ackoff & Emery, 19 72, p.23 7). Since a purposeful system strives to attain goals, objectives and ideals, the relationship of parts to wholes is one of a certain degree of instrumentality. As individual components are instrumental to the larger system, Ackoff and Emery explain that: The system will be variety decreasing; the range of purposeful behavior will be restricted, and increasingly behavior will be at a lower level of multi-goal seeking or goal-seeking behavior. In that the system is instrumental to its component elements, it will tend to be variety increasing; the range of purposeful behavior will be extended, and increasingly behavior will be at the 66 higher level of ideal-seeking, (p.215) High-level purposive systems, those that seek objectives and ideals, tend to not be variety maintaining but variety decreasing or increasing; either the dynamic of the system is increasing in its potency or decreasing. This implies that there must be a healthy balance between using our functional subsystems in the pursuit of goals, objectives and ideals while paying attention to the needs of the subsystems. Purposeful systems are also self-organizing. Self, as defined in this context, is not limited to identity or volition but rather refers to holistic, organismic functioning; a 'whole' whose organization cannot be understood from the perspective of parts. The concept of subsystems can provide a useful local model within this holistic organization as long as it is viewed as an approximation and the functioning of these subsystems explained with reference to the nature of the whole system. Capra (1982b) elaborates: The two principal dynamic phenomena of self-organization are self-renewal -the ability of living systems continuously to renew and recycle their components while maintaining the integrity of their overall structure - and self-transcendence - the ability to reach out creatively beyond physical and mental boundaries in the process of learning, development, and evolution. (p.269) The self-transcendence and reaching out to which Capra refers take place i n the pursuit of goals, objectives and ideals. While l ife can be broken down into simple processes, attempts to reduce the overall teleological nature of purposeful systems to these simpler processes without clarifying such attempts to be approximate, local models constructed to make understandable some aspect of complex systemic functioning, are, to use Frankl's ont olog ical dimensionality, projections into a lower order. This is reductionistic and is a less than satisfactory explanation of the purposive, self-organizing nature 67 of living systems. Empirically, understanding of human life can be enhanced by attending to the functioning of a living system. Thom (1975) comments on the confusion that arises from paying attention to elements of behavior rather than the purposive nature of a living system. He states: What is most striking is that, despite the almost infinite variety of means, the functional interpretation of the morphology of living beings presents any difficulties, and relatively simple finalistic considerations can usually justify the observed phenomena, (p.162) As we observe the actual functioning of an individual, the total pattern of that person's striving and adjustive processes make it possible to infer the operative aim of the system (Herbst, 1970, p.50). This vitalistic approach to life embraces the concept that the system is dictated by function and that the living system's organization and self-organization is one of regulation to ensure some idealistic considerations. This thesis is not meant to propose what this finality might or ought to be, only that human change must be considered in the context of these essential phenomena which cannot be comprehended through a mechanistic approach. People have developed extremely diverse solutions to the demands of the ecosystem and yet the functions of these various solutions tend to be homologous in their purposive nature. Adaptation - The Functioning of Purposeful Systems Purposeful systems, as holistic configurations of parts organized toward achieving goals, objectives and, in the case of humans, ideals, organize to enhance functioning. The key to successful functioning of a purposeful system is a continuous interchange of components with the environment. Angyal (1941) points 68 The life process does not take place within the organism, but between the organism and the environment . . . Organism and the environment are the two indispensable poles of a single process - life, (p.31) This relationship to the environment is an important aspect of human change and the relationship is primarily one of processing environmental input. The main types of processing which take place are ingestion, metabolism and excretion. Land (1973) has expanded these to include seeking nutrition, screening, digesting, reassembling into simpler components, exercising of the dynamic and modifying the dynamic based on feedback. Land's outline of this process is depicted in Figure 1. External Environment Input-Search for nutrition Internal Processing System f i l l i i i— l B i i ; s : l : l S I I WSmSSfSS SSilil Screening material for pos-sible use Digestion Synthesis Use for into into new reproduction simpler combination and special components products R ej ec tion —Stor ed & spoilage; materials waste material Regulation Assimilation of response •Output Environ-mental response Chang ed environ-ment Figure 1 Processes of Living Systems (Land, 1973, p. 77) 69 The first stage, searching, involves the initiation of action toward the environment. In order to sustain systemic functioning, sufficient raw materials appropriate for required nourishment must exist. After locating nutritional input, the imperative of the boundary is exercised to selectively allow into the system what is useful and exclude what is not. The input is next broken down into simpler components and then reassembled or synthesized in a form complementary to the particular system's organization. A threshold level of complementarity must exist before assimilation can take place; this level will vary with the state of the system. The assimilated material is used to carry out the dynamic of the system which involves the maintenance of the system for continued participation with the environment or development for enhanced involvement with the environment. The system not only acts on the environment but must respond to feedback arising from the impact the exercising of the system's dynamic has on the environment. The system must receive the feedback and use this to either modify or continue its present functioning. Since all systems operate within an environment, it is inevitable that constant adaptation is required. While the above description may be obvious at the biological level, it also exists at the psychological level. The brain, particularly the highly evolved human brain, is uniquely adapted to balancing stasis and change and is the system playing a major role in adaptation to a wide range of circumstances. After the brain reaches its full size, the neurons are not replaced, thus allowing a permanent memory storage device capable of incorporating a tremendous amount of information (apparently far more than human beings have utilized) and even more important, capable of plastic changes or learning for the length of life of the organism. This is an entirely different system than the rest of our body which 70 replaces its cells on a regular basis (some cells have as short a 'turn around1 time as twenty-four hours). This storage of system information is our ectogenetic operating system and works in conjunction with our biological genetic heritage to produce the most effective systemic functioning i n relation to the quality of nutrition/information available. It is also this remarkable feature of potential plasticity that offers hope for enhanced functioning of individuals whose main difficulty resides in problematic learned beliefs, attitudes and emotional and behavioral repertoires. Functioning of purposeful systems through the processing of both physical and psychological throughput requires the ability to function under diverse conditions; this flexibility calls for movement on the systems' variables. Capra (1982b) states that: A high degree of nonequilibrium is absolutely necessary for self-organization; living organisms are open systems that continually operate far from equilibrium, (p.270) Capra further explains that since all systems must maintain structural integrity and the operation of a living system is one of dynamic interplay between the parts, the nature of living systems is also one where: Processes form rhythmic patterns - fluctuations, oscillations, vibrations, waves . . . fluctuations are crucial in the dynamics of self-organization. They are the basis of order in the living world: ordered structures arise from rhythmic patterns, (p.300) Once a system has formed and developed a competent dynamic, there is a great deal of internal stability based on complex order; as long as the processes fluctuate within the systemic variables, the stability remains. Partial destruction of the system through the exceeding of its variables will lower the competence of its dynamics in the relationship with the environment or surrounding dynamics. In Figure 2, Land (1973) extends the previously outlined model past the processing of physical material to the use of symbolic projections in the exercising of a person's functions in relating to the environment. External Environment Input-Internal Processing System lilii—liillllllSgi; i H l l l l l l 111111 Search Screening for material nutrition for pos-sible use Digestion Synthesis Use for into into new reproduction simpler combination and special components products D Data search Analysis of data Synthesis of ideas Projected use Internal Problem Solving System -Internal evaluation Regulation Assimilation of response K Output Environ--mental response Chang ed environ-ment Figure 2 Problem Solving (Land, 19 73, p.10 2) Adaptation occurs constantly in a purposive system as adjustments are made to maintain functioning i n pursuing goals, objectives and ideals in both changing and constant environmental conditions. While adaptation is part of normal functioning, what we commonly think of as adaptation is the process by which an 72 conditions. These might be external changes i n the environment or internal changes, either of which cause a loss of competency of a partial system (value, behavior, physical ability, etcetera). Al l system variables have an upper and lower limit of fluctuation and normal functioning entails operation within these limits. When a generalized catastrophe takes place, the regularity of fluctuations is disturbed until a new subsystem is established to carry out the revised function and generating another set of variables with their own processes, fluctuations and apparent stability. Reorganization to ensure maximum functional competency is successful adaptation. When stressors push the variables to their extreme limits of tolerance, the system, on a short term basis, can abide this extreme but with a loss of system flexibility. This increased rigidity will cause an overall drop in organismic efficacy through restricting functioning to a more narrow range of circumstances. Prolonged exposure to conditions which push one or more variables to their extremes results in prolonged change; at the physical level we have somatic change and at the psychological level we have regressions and fixations. If the initial system was functioning at maximum efficacy, these deeper changes replace the loss of flexibility of one variable with another variable that allows the system to continue to function but now with diminished flexibility. In the case where the initial system was functioning with a deficient or less than competent initial dynamic, the stressor may bring even lower levels of functioning or it may encourage the system into higher levels of competence. Regression is possible even after positive and growthful adaptation but is less likely as the adaptation is integrated toward enhanced holistic functioning. 73 Control Systems The process of adaptation is one which adjusts imbalances in systemic functioning vis a vis the relationship to the environment. The majority of our adjustive processes are part of our normal functioning and are possibly never experienced as 'change' situations. However, the process of adjustive functioning at the molecular level points to the mechanism of adjustment that seems to play an important role in adjustment at the molar levels of behavioral and psychological phenomena. Thom (1975) states that "every function corresponds to the catastrophic correction of a state of metabolic disequilibrium" (p.23 3). Living systems seem to develop levels of threshold stabilization i n various dynamics and then when that threshold situation occurs, function proceeds in one way or another. For instance, in a cell, potential exists in a latent or repressed state until an inducer chemical from the cell's ecosystem inactivates the repressor, allowing the cell to engage in a particular function, usually the manufacture of some product. When the product's presence reaches a certain threshold, the product becomes a repressor to the inducer (Capra, 1982a, p.69). At a higher level of organization, the phenomena of neocortex brain functioning, thinking, creates threshold situations by coordinating idea systems and organismic goal-seeking thus playing out natural selection processes in the simulation of external reality. Mutually interacting feedback loops are characteristic of the functioning of purposive systems; all adjustive behavior utilizes feedback to further the goals, objectives and ideals of the system. When an individual is functioning well, the balance of the various subsystems is coordinated holistically with a result of continued directional progress toward the individuals' ideals. Feedback is essentially the exchange of information and all functioning in purposeful systems is controlled by the exchange of information; the better the 74 information, the more likelihood there is of the system exhibiting 'wise' choices. Information in this sense involves both the hierarchy and content of pattern systems as well as the literal exchange and use of materials in acting systems. Our subsystems receive information from genetic sources and from input originating externally; Land (1973) assigns the terms ectogenetic and end o gene tic to these two sources of information. Endogenetic information results from our interaction with the environment including familial and cultural meanings and behaviors as well as situational feedback on behavioral effectiveness. Capra (1973a) explains that "information (as energy) constantly produces new combinations, producing diversity and higher levels of organization" (p. 129). However, information that is not controlled or ordered in some manner cannot help i n further organization. Control subsystems collect, organize and distribute information according to the teleological purpose of the organism. The components of the control subsystem include detectors, selectors and effectors. In humans these are, respectively, the perceptual/conceptual system, the preference/motivation structure and the performance equipment and skills. Kuhn (1975) states that these three components combine their functions to create adaptive behavior; thus it appears that the 'cause' of behavior can never be absolutely determined as it is a product of the state of the variables in the control system (p.42). The path that information takes from initial detection until the behavioral result transforms the nature of the initial information. Carver and Scheier (1981) have utilized Powers' (1973, 19 79) hierarchy of perception to develop a path that information takes from initial reception of stimuli to the consideration of the objectives and ideals of the individual. At each level, there are specialized 75 receptor systems with their own threshold criteria used for the particular transformation and routing of the information. The hierarchy includes the following: 1. Intensity - the degree of stimulation; 2. Sensation - the weighted combination of intensity values; 3. Configurations - groupings of sensations into recognizable clusters; 4. Transistions - sense of change or movement; 5. Sequence - recognition of transitions occurring in an order, a perceived event; 6. Relationships - the transformation arising from two items of experience; 7. Program level - strings of choice points controlling strategy execution; and 8. Principle level - the larger purpose toward which strategies are executed, including the decision of which strategy to employ, (pp.68-69) Information is processed while moving along the path from receptor which indicates whether or not a particular category of stimuli is present to the level of summation which determines the strength of the stimuli to the level of comparison of stimuli with the knowledge sets, goals, objectives and ideals of the organism. Each level involves a transformation of information and is therefor more abstract. Each level of our perceptual system also utilizes different recognitoty schema and hence different behavioral standards. Carver and Scheier (1981) expl ain: The perceptual event that is being experienced has been analyzed in such a way that its characteristics along a great many logical dimensions have been assessed by the various integrating centers. Its essence has been abstracted, in terms of characteristics that exist at various levels of analysis to which it has been subjected, (p.13) The hierarchical nature of control systems reflects the goals of superordinate and subordinate systemic levels. Part of the output from the functioning of a superordinate system must be the setting of threshold standards for the variables of the subordinate system (Carver & Scheier, 1981, p.20); the superordinate system sets and resets these standards. 76 Since these feedback loops operate i n a hierarchy, there is time taken for the system's action to register on the system's sensors; the higher level the system, the greater this time lag is in processing all the transformed data into meaningful feedback. Carver and Scheier (1981) elaborate: If the time lag inherent in the system's responses is not properly taken into account, the system's behavior will be characterized by oscillation; over re action first to one side of the reference value, and then to the other. (p.22) As the higher levels of perception and information processing are engaged, the corrections for sensed deviations from the reference signal are slower to take place since adjustment of a superordinate system requires the adjustment of many subordinate systems. While our control systems regulate functioning to keep within a normal range, breakdowns in regulation of systems can and do occur. Sometimes a system does not have a reference value; this occurs regularly in new and novel situations. This lack of a reference value can also occur if our objectives or ideals are extremely abstract and therefor the subordinate systems do not receive reference values translated to the appropriate level and therefor no corresponding action takes place. Control system problems also arise when the the situational requirements require certain outputs and there is a lack of ability or knowledge required to execute the behavior or even impediments arising in the environment. Problems also arise when the perceptual input from the sensing system is erroneous, is abstracted along the wrong or along less-meaningful dimensions, or is too far removed in time from the occurence of an event to effect necessary adjustments. Breakdowns can also occur in the test process. Carver and Scheier (1981) state that: 77 The'various "end products" of sensory information processing create records in memory; . . . these records assume organization over time and experience; and . . . the organizational structures are used to interpret - ie . to classify -subsequent input information, (p.15) If the organization of these records has occurred over a time when the system has been i n a state of reduced functioning as under conditions when a stressor has caused the exceeding of a system's variables, the organization of the records may be dysfunctional in the current environment. This being stuck in the past is likely one of the key change problems experienced by human beings. If such information is used as a base for tests of current experience, there is a significant reduction i n the dynamic of the system's functioning. Control systems are the mechanisms for adjustive changes. Intelligence might be defined as the ability to reach goals and objectives and strive toward ideals, the control system is the interface i n our individual functioning with the environment i n which we strive for goals, objectives and ideals. Developmental Change In addition to regular systemic functioning and adaptation, change also takes place over the lifetime of an organism from the initial stage of embryonic development or system formation through functioning to senescence or death. Similar to ongoing systemic functioning, growth is characterized by the increasingly successful incorporation of information i n a competent systemic dynamic. Growth can be diminished to the detriment of the total system if the balance of the continuance of the part and contribution to the whole is not maintained. Too great an autonomy of a part such as a dogmatic belief or persistent behavior that has a narrow range of variability and hence is low in 78 adaptive utility for overall systemic functioning will diminish the competence of the system's dynamic. In the same manner, important subsystems which are not adequately autonomous can also reduce the viability of the total system. Recent 'advances' in holistic medicine and psychology have rediscovered that there is an inherent wisdom in the total living system that is too often ignored as though the voice calling out this wisdom has become faint from innattention. Growthful change is a homologous process at the level of cell, organ, organism and society; Land (1973) states that even "psychological and cultural processes are an extension of and are isomorphic with biological, physical, and chemical processes" (p.81). It is this essence of living systems to move in an irreversible growth continuum, reaching out to partake of and effect their environment that separates living systems from non-living systems. The initial stage of growth, embryonic development, is formed by a single dynamic or conflict of dynamics. Development at this stage is very fragile and perturbances can result in very different epigenesis (possibly even premature death), particularly if further growth stages are absolutely dependent on the formation of a unique and necessary competent dynamic. It is important to remember that systems have a holistic nature and while disturbances at the formative stage can vary the outcomes, systemic holism may exercise a variety of options for development resulting in equifinality. Transitional realms are usually independent ot the initial formative conditions, though this is not to say that intial conditions do not affect the outcome in the growth process, only that they are not absolute. Transitional realms are stages at which there is a high likelihood of local 79 catastrophes becoming generalized catastrophes. Systems are the most sensitive at these points since transition of the whole implies that one or more subsystems are undergoing catastrophes and since their former operation constituted some of the total system's variables, these variables are being pushed to their limits or being exceeded. Change in a person who has lost an intimate life partner, a child, or lost some important physical ability are all examples of situationally induced transitional realms which raise the possibility of other subsequent major changes. Epigenetic transitional realms are those which have a high probability of occurence during certain chronological stages of a persons life and familiarity with the quantum changes occuring during a child's development from infancy to puberty will likely bring many examples to the mind of the reader. Growth or development is not simply a biological phenomena; it is a combination of epigenesis and successful adaptation (both adjustment to the environment and adjustment of the environment) that forms the basis for growth or transcendence. Land (1973) has postulated a theory of growth called transformation theory comprised of three levels of growth - accretive, replicative and mutualistic. Each level is capable of transforming ever-widening segments of the systems environment. Accretive growth is the lowest form of growth characterized by sameness or expansion of the system in the same form that it exists. The type of input that this system is capable of utilizing must be identical to its own internal structures and the contribution to the ecosystem is minimal or non-existant at this time. The dynamic of the accretive system is competent only for the system in this formative stage and not for the ecosystem as the organism is aggressive in seeking input, often in a destructive manner. However, since systems exhibit a tendency to 80 holism, there is a natural progression to higher levels of growth. If for some reason the system does not move past this stage, the dynamics remain far below their potential competence and the system will exhibit excess of rigidity, making it very succeptible to a generalized catastrophe. This succeptibility, in turn, may lead to increasing rigidity, lowering still further the competency of systemic functioning. As this system becomes competent and capable of a greater range of fluctuations, i t develops the capacity to tolerate input which is similar rather than identical and thus exhibits replicative growth. At this point there is more interaction with the environment and greater flexibility. This increased competence in turn paves the way for toleration of even greater diversity to what Land calls the highest stage of growth, mutualism. At this stage, the system is operating at peak competence and maintains this through organization of information and efficacy of information transfer. The toleration of great differences allows a much wider environment from which nutritional material (information) can be gathered and is also characterized by a much wider range of effect on the environment; instead of destruction, there is creative cooperation. Land (1973) states that: The development of mutual forms of growth in simple biological organisms shows the root continuum of growth forms as they exist in this single level of development. A discontinuum of growth, however, seems to be manifest as this continuum is re-expressed on another and entirely different level of size, organization, and behavior . . . the development of new levels of growth represents a progressive series of unique leaps, each providing a major advantage in the transformation of our world of relatively inert materials into interrelated living organisms and organized information, (p.26) Mutualism is the exchanging of differences based on commonalities and in many ways is a protective device for the autonomy of the part to the whole by protecting previous stages of growth through more effective contributions to the ecosystem. 81 While there is a natural tendency to growth in living systems, in purposive systems, we also see the phenomena of apparent regression to lower forms of growth ot integration. Angyal (1941) says that: Regression may also be a strategic move . . . The goal itself is always "progressive". In human life regression may occur, as when a situation becomes untenable at a certain level of complexity and one partially retreats to a more primitive situation, usually to one which has been tried out at an earlier date, (p.47) While Angyal sees that even these regressions can be progressions, the progressions can only come about as there is a positive reintegration at some point bringing with it a renewed and enhanced capacity to process and tolerate differences. When regression moves the system to a simpler level of organization and functioning and there is no reintegration, the purposive system becomes variety decreasing in options available to pursue goals, objectives and ideals; the individual loses some of his or her dynamic and begins to cease functioning. Cessation of Functioning Systems that are not in their formative stages nor actively engaging the environment are either resting or dying. In either case, the system is passive and exerts no influence on the environmental dynamics. Destruction of the system neither causes regeneration nor disturbs the ambient dynamics. If the system is at rest, there is reversibility between this stage and that of normal functioning while if the system is dying there is no reversibility. Total organismic loss of competency involves adaptation to senescence and death; rather than a reaching out to effect the environment, the dynamic is one of being affected by the environment and no longer being able to put forth the effort to overcome undue variations in subsystems. 82 Death is a generalized catastrophe with the wave of change sweeping through at first one and then all of the component subsystems that are essential to maintenance of the organism, reducing the competency of the dynamic to the point at which systemic functioning ceases as we know. Capra (1982b) states that: The flexibility of an individual organism will depend on how many of its variables are kept fluctuating within their tolerance limits; the more fluctuations, the greater the stability of the organism, (p.2 74) As regression moves more and more subsystems to the point where they are not functioning within their variable range, a generalized catastrophe wave moves throughout the system and death occurs. Living systems exhibit self-renewal or healing characteristics but after a period of time the regenerative capacities deteriorate. At the level of the ecosystem, renewal is maintained through replacement of the entire organism via reproduction. While we are constantly experiencing 'mini-deaths', death of the total living system is the final experience of change. However, rigidity in a living system's subsystems such as dogmatic beliefs, is at the expense of sytsemic flexibility. This partial rigidity can affect the regenerative capacities of the total system; rigidity therefor not only represents a less than competent dynamic in present functioning but affects future functioning as well. The Key Variables in the Experience of Change Much has been said about the nature of systems and the phenomenon of change in relation to the process and conditions from the systems perspective; these concepts constitute the critical components in the process of change. However, certain dimensions or key variables that have been alluded to have not 83 been clearly articulated. These may or may not be considered to be part of the • process of change yet are fundamental to the experience of change by any human being. The phenomena of change will be experienced differently by each person since the meaning of situations and the development of relevant subsystems will likely vary for most people. The stance taken i n this thesis is that a human being is a holistic, purposeful system comprised of numerous interacting subsytems and living within the context of the environment or ecosystem. The key variables of change include magnitude, centrality, timeframe, pace, rhthym, familiarity, range of possible outcomes and contextual occurence. The dimension of magnitude implies that the larger the proportion the subsystem undergoing change constitutes in relationship to the total functioning of the individual, the more tumultuous and dangerous the experience to overall functioning. Even mutuality as a growth form incorporating great differences into the system is based on commonality. Changes of too great a magnitude present the danger of becoming generalized catastrophes which diminish functioning on either a permanent or prolonged basis. Magnitude implies the degree of change experienced. Magnitude must also be considered in terms of centrality of the area of change to the individual. Core subsystems such as self-concept, beliefs about reality and relationships with intimate, loved others are systems which are considered to be central to the maintenance of the integrity of the holistic nature of the individual. People reporting feelings of fragmentation are likely relating experience that involve the pushing to the limits of central systemic variables. Considering that these high level, core subsystems are comprised of numerous interacting systems of a subordinate nature, these central systems can 84 be affected by a generalized catastrophe which sweeps through a lower level subsystem. They are particularly vulnerable if they are rigid as a result of remaining at low levels of growth or of having been pushed to the limits of their variables. Timeframe is another key variable i n change. Change of an extremely long timeframe is usually not experienced as change; perceptions are of sameness rather than diversity. Stressors applied over a long timeframe will cause somatic changes which might not be experienced as change but will reduce the overall competency of the individual by restricting the range of variables in involved subsystems. However, as the pace at which change takes place increases, particularly in conjunction with changes of significant magnitude or centrality (that is they have a noticeable and important impact on the individual's competency) there is greater difficulty in adjusting related subsystems and the experience of change is one of decreased overall capacity. We develop duration expectancies for various events and processes and when these are exceeded, our internal 'clocks' become disturbed. The pace of life has increased and appears to continue to increase significantly with the advent of communications and other technologies. This pace of change, if taken as the only significant dimension, should justify psychology demanding to study the effects of such change and attempting to develop skills for better management of the pace of change by individuals. However, in addition to pace, there are other significant dimensions. Rhythm is another time-related change variable. Rhythm is a pattern comprised of regular fluctuations and is key to the operation of all living systems. 85 In this context, rhythm involves fluctuations which push a systemic variable to its limit or perhaps even over its limit but because of its regularity can be anticipated and temporary subsystems which offer continued but reduced competency are likely established by the individual (coping mechanisms). These differ from the somatic changes made under the pressure of constant stressors as these are anticipated temporary changes. Circumstances which do not show regularity must be dealt with on the basis of magnitude, centrality and time-frame. Ideational complexes i n expecting and coping with regular shifts in circumstances are one of the great advantages of human beings in adjusting to a wide variety of contingencies; we create a regularity by categorizing circumstances and utilizing well-honed patterns for our adjustment. Familiarity or lack of familiarity with a change process is another important dimension of change. This refers directly to previous experience, either direct or indirect, and the subsequent storage of mental models. These models indicate the course of the process and/or the likely outcomes of a process. As there is more familiarity or identification with the change process, there is less effort demanded to make required adjustments and vice versa. Unfamiliar change can be an extremely frightening and isolating experience. This is one reason why the provision of a meta-model of change which goes past the specifics of any particular situation and prepares individuals for the process of change can be particularly valuable. The range of outcomes perceived as being possible is a dimension of change which directly affects the passive or active nature of investment in the change situation. As individuals perceive a greater range of outcomes possible, are able to make the decisions regarding which course to pursue and possess the range of 86 systemic variables necessary to have an effective influence on the outcomes, there is a greater experience of competency and likely a much greater adaptive capacity. The reverse is also true in which passivity creates a victimized feeling; if the area of change is also important, this passivity directly reduces the competency of the individual. The existentialists claim that even in the face of an unrelenting and inevitable outcome such as death, choosing to actively accept that outcome has a direct and positive influence on the experience of the change. Finally, the contextual occurence of the change process will greatly affect the outcome and experience of change. Even when the change process is characterized by some regularity and the individual may have developed competence in handling this change through previous occurrences, if the process takes place in conjunction with other change processes, stable or otherwise, a generalized catastrophe may occur, affecting the subsystems involved, related subsystems or systems of a higher order. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back is just such an example of a seemingly innocuous addition having an effect much greater than might be considered possible i n different circumstances. The experience of change is one of dimensional perspective, what affects one person in a debilitating manner may for another be an opportunity to adjust, abandon or develop new subsystems which permit greater overall competency. In this part, purposeful systems have been explored as a useful model to use i n understanding human functioning, both in the characteristic of striving for goals, objectives and ideals. The concept of change that has been put forth is that both adaptation and development are systemic processes which are utilized to ensure continued and possibly enhanced systemic functioning. The concepts of local and generalized catastrophes have been expanded upon and the range of a 87 system's variables have been used to explore the spread of change and its effects on a system's functioning. Key variables i n the experience of change have also been defined. In the next part, additional implications involved for understanding the human experience of change will be explored in examination of the proprium, the holistic organization of self. Part Two; Hymyn Functioning in a Systems Perspective In the preceding part, the concept of purposive systems was applied to the exploration of human beings. In addition, two types of change, adaptation and growth, were examined. In this part, the concept of the holistic organizational center, the proprium, is examined. The propriate functions of awareness or self-consciousness and choice or self-direction are examined as particularly important, intertwined processes which affect the human experience of change. Part of the examination of awareness is from the time frame of immediate experience including both primary processing of stimuli and secondary cognition. The concept of identity is introduced as a core area of of potential awareness that is both shaped by choice and and in turn shapes choice. Choice is examined from the concept of a volitional conscious that can work with or against holistic propriate striving. The obvious but contentious question of freedom and determinism is touched on briefly in the light of passive and active choices. 88 It is not the intent in this part to rewrite psychology but rather the intent is to examine areas of human functioning from a systems perspective in order to further the understanding of the human experience of change. It is expected that the reader will be cognizant of the wealth of information available i n psychological literature and no attempt will be made here to reproduce all points of view. The Prppuwn The proprium represents a concept embracing the totality of humans as purposive systems operating living through time in the context of an environment. This conceptualization is represented in Figure 3. ENVIRONMENT-social context physical context, changing conditions PROPRIUM holistic system of striving control system EMOTIONS ACTING SYSTEMS behavior PATTERN SYSTEMS perceptual frameworks attitudes, values, beliefs The Chreod of Life birth early development Figure 3 The Human System senescence death 89 The purposive system has been said to act as a whole which cannot be fully understood from the perspective of the parts yet many efforts to explain the psychology of human beings have concentrated on explaining parts without reference to the whole. The systems perspective calls for a conceptualization of a dynamic and central reference point of self that includes all aspects of functioning without diminishing the whole. Allport (1955) called this concept the proprium. Allport included several aspects i n his conceptualization of the proprium. These include the following: 1. bodily me (bodily sense of pain, pleasure); 2. self identity (subjective experience of continuity); 3. ego enhancement (impulses of self assertion, emotions of self satisfaction and pride); 4. ego extension (regard for and identification with possessions, loved ones, causes, loyalties); 5. rational agent (solutions and adjustments, plans and assistance i n solving equations of life, synthesis of inner needs and outer reality); 6. self image (imaginative component by which propriate movement is guided); 7. propriate striving (motivation of a higher order than drives and conditioning, visions of perfection and self actualization); and 8. the knower (the 'pure' ego, I, the knowing function). (from Allport, 1955, pp.41-54) While some functions in Allport's list might be seen as redundant, what is important is the basic concept of a holistic system of striving and controlling which organizes, executes and evaluates functioning. In a well-functioning person, all the propriate functions unify perception and action i n the service of systemic striving. Among the many other writers who have defined this central and holistic concept utilizing different terminology is Buhler (1964) who states that the self is "the core of the person . . . a central system, an organizer, enabling the healthy and mature person to function as an organized whole" (p.7). This concept of the core is one which is not something existing in the person or is in any way a part 90 of the person, but is the total person, including all conscious and unconscious aspects. Rogers (1951) emphasized that the person acts as a phenomenal whole and all behaviors are goal-oriented (using goals in the generic sense). He states: The outstanding fact that must be taken into deep theoretical account is that the organism is at all times a totally organized system in which alteration i n any part phenomena must start from the central fact of consistent, goal-directed behavior, (p.487) Recalling Thorn's (1975) statement that "relatively simple finalistic considerations can usually justify the observed phenomena" (p.162), it is important to view the phenomena of individual functioning as having a total direction or purpose, even if this may at times be confusing to the individual or an observer. The total system of striving or motivation is partly dedicated to carrying on because our cellular structure and our reactions are configurations that 'choose' to live rather than die. However, our striving is also one of avoidance of apathy producing directions and searching for personal meaning. Buhler (1964) states that there are two basic organizing principles, the concern for self-sustenance which causes a tendency towards maintenance of stasis and a concern for accomplishments which causes a tendency to change (p.8). Either an undue amount of concern with stasis or a preoccupation with creating change can be detrimental to an individual. A balance of homeostatic needs coupled with progressive growth seems to be an optimal balance for a well-functioning individual. Various concepts have been used to describe the system of total organismic striving: Jung's self-realization, Buhler's fulfillment and Goldstein's self-actualization are all terms which refer to the individual's holistic direction. These concepts include the premise that fulfillment built without attending to maintenance needs is, by definition, not fulfillment. Buhler (1964) says that 91 "ultimate goals have to be described in terms of accomplishments instead of in terms of homeostasis" (p.6). This approach becomes key to the understanding of humans as espoused by Frankl (1969), Horney (195 0), Maslow (1968), May (195 3) and Rogers (1961). The concept of a system of striving which seeks both stability and change is important in furthering our understanding of the experience of change; change is not only adaptive reactions but also proactive development and growth. The proprium of a well-functioning person, besides maintaining a continued existence through adaptive strategies, constantly reaches out to expand the meaning of existence. The processes of a well-functioning person include a balance of effective maintenance for continued existence coupled with continued expansiveness for meaning fulfillment. This also must have a high proportion of mutuality with the ecosystem in which an individual lives. While this is a qualitative and not quantitative definition, it is obvious that there probably are not many or even any people that have developed their total potential although there are likely many who find a level of maintenance without apparent continual development. While there is an apparent stability, the overall effect on the individual will likely be that of a sliding catastrophe whereby the individual slowly loses the flexibility of various operating systems; the reduction in possible options for development is variety decreasing. Possibilities in any situation generate a choice situation regarding the direction of growth and at any one point an individual has the possibility of fulfilling himself in one or more areas of potential which may be inclusive or exclusive of other areas of potential. This means that in the course of living, the individual constantly is faced with choices which present options for stasis or 92 change. While maintenance of basic systemic functioning requites constant adaptation to shifting conditions, adaptation that is excessively concerned with stasis is to the detriment of overall functioning. Awareness and choice play an important role i n managing the necessary balance of stasis and change. The functions and problems inherent in each are represented in Figure 4. awareness PROPRIUM conscious / subconscious I  identity as the chreod of experience functions - pattern system for a reference point i n void - organization to bring synthesis among chaos - separation for a boundary in sameness - macro picture for stability - plasticity for adjustment problems - fragmentation of constellation - regression to simpler forms - loss of boundary; diffusion 1 immediate experience as the contact with the ecosystem functions - translation of continuous existence into discrete units - input Sc feedback to the control system problems - stuck in thinking (past or future) - immediate experience not available for input to system choice self-determination as the striving for org anismic direction functions j - selection & combination of intellective Sc intuitive knowledge pattern systems - ensurance of balance Sc effective expenditure of energy in pursuit of goals, objectives Sc ideals problems - imbalance of intellective & intuitive leading to disintegrated directions Figure 4 Aspects of the Proprium 93 The integration of the various needs of an individual is paramount to well-functioning and means that both conscious and subconscious aspects must be harmonious; either has the capacity to frustrate operation of the other and incapacitate the whole person. Allport (1955) states that: When the individual is dominated by segmental drives, by compulsions, or by the winds of circumstance, he has lost the integrity that comes only from maintaining major directions of striving. The possession of long-range goals, regarded as central to one's personal existence, distinguishes the human being from the animal, the adult from the child, and in many cases the healthy personality from the sick (p.50-51) At levels of mutuality, where the individual is participating with the ecosystem, the ptoprium is functioning as a core integrative whole. All experience of change essentially affects this core and results in a subjective feeling or identification of being different. Awareness The proprium function of total systemic striving includes the integrated aspects of awareness and choice. A human being is not merely a machine with the ability to act or perceive in various ways but also has the capacity to be aware of how one is acting or perceiving. Awareness or self-consciousness operates in two fundamental and interactive timeframes; immediate experience and identity. An absolute categorization of awareness in terms of immediate experience would be that of first level sensory stimuli in the electro-chemical reaction of the receptor cell . For the purposes of the human experience of change, primary experience will include awareness of the organismic action and affective reaction; secondary experience refers to cognition or the assignation of symbols and categorizations to primary experience. The proprium can direct awareness to specific areas much as a person with a flashlight can choose to illuminate any point in a darkened 94 room. Awareness can also be of a longer duration i n terms of self-concept or identity. May (1953) proposed four stages of self-consciousness; these are: 1. Innocence (infancy); 2. Rebellion (fighting against external controls); 3. Ordinary consciousness of self (basic healthy personality that can use experience from which to learn and is generally in touch with feelings and can make responsible decisions); and 4. Creative consciousness of self (transcending over day-to-day reality and seeing a unification of apparently disparate truths; unites subjective/objective splits). (from May, 1953, pp.138-42) The third stage is one at which most people function for a significant portion of their lives and is likely a core to any culture's definition of normalcy. If this is so, then the definition of well-functioning must surpasses normalcy to include operation primarily at the third and the fourth stage. The experience of change is most often at the level of ordinary consciousness of self and involves secondary experience or conceptual awareness. Since the phenomena of the ecosystem are continually changing, too often our primary experiences are not attended with subsequent separation between action and awareness. People can be characterized by their range of sensitivity to stimuli. Ackoff and Emery (19 72) differentiated personality types by the degree of sensitivity to stimuli plus the focus for necessary adjustive change. The range of sensitivity to stimuli is from subjective or sensitive to objective or insensitive. The focus of adjustive internal change involves perceptual frameworks (including identity) while external change concentrates on affecting the surrounding environment. The combinations they postulated appear in Figure 5. 95 Objective! sion objective internalizer objective ezternalizer Subjectiversion subjective internalize! subjective ezternalizer Internalize! Ezternalizer Figure 5 Sensitivity and Focus of Change (Ackoff S Emery, 1972, p.122) They hypothesized that subjective internalizers and objective ezternalizers, what they call pure types, upon the encountering of situations requiring adjustment, move to extremes. Subjective internalizers become more sensitive and internalizing and objective externalizers become less acutely aware of stimuli and make more dislocated adjustments of the external environment. The objective internalizers and subjective externalizers, or mixed types, Ackoff and Emery claim, are more stable configurations and move more to a centralized position under stress. While the writer is uncertain of the validity of these classifications or what further research may have taken place, the model presents interesting possibilities regarding some of the sources of variations in the human experience of change. The most profound experiences of change involve identity, which is a stored core image of one's self and is used to anchor existence in the existential void. Identity is a life-long accumulation of experience compiled by the proprium and available partly through the conscious mind by reflection; it is formed from immediate experience and in turn affects immediate experience. Erik son (1968) postulates that in addition to experience, the context or cultural milieu in which experience takes place will affect identity. He says the traditional sources of 96 orientation i n the environment are economic, religious and political and these shift on a socio-historical basis. He states that the sources of identity strength are constantly: In the process of allying themselves with ideological perspectives . . . a universal pschological need for a system of ideas that provides a convincing world image, (p.31) Since identity is such a major operating system in the functioning of the individual, any change in an individual or in the interaction potential with the environment must be integrated into this core image in order to ensure unified organismic direction. Some of the main change problems encountered by individuals occur through a failure to integrate both internal and external changes into their identity. Partly this is a result of building the concept of one's place in the world around some fundamental, early precepts that form the basis of all other subsequent experience. Any change in such core organizational premises necessitates the reconstruction of many ways of acting and evaluating action. While such fundamental changes can and do take place, there is more resistance and greater pain when central concepts and organizational principles undergo adjustment. Angyal (1941) explains that the ease or resistance to change in the organization of an individual depends on the centrality of the system in question; he states that: A l l patterns of function - especially in man - are more or less plastic and often undergo considerable changes during the personality development. The degree of plasticity varies i n different regions of the personality structure. Cne can roughly state that the personality structure is most plastic at the "terminal branches" while going from the "terminal branches" to the "trunk", the structure becomes increasingly rigid, (pp. 132-133) In the enhanced understanding of change, it is important to realize that identity changes are core changes. There is always a possibility that a person undergoing shifts in their identity could, as May (1953) says, " lose the boundaries for themselves, would have nothing to bump up against, nothing by which to orient themselves" (p.32). While identity changes are core issues, identity is only one aspect of the proprium and such identity changes reflect holistic propriate striving for goals, objectives and ideals. Under certain conditions such as prolonged or undue stress, there is a danger of a core change becoming resolidified in a configuration which is not integrative and reduces the total potential competency of the individual. Identity shifts are most likely to be developmental rather than regressive when the changes take place with freedom from threats to fundamental aspects of being. This implies that the continuity of certain parts of the identity are likely necessary for change or reorganization to enhance organizational competency. Resistance to evolutionary changes in identity will cause fr ag ementation as the proprium strives i n one direction while conscious identity under an imbalance of autonomy strives in another. Part of this failure to appropriately adjust identity likely resides in a dulling of the organismic senses that attend to primary experience. Since identity constitutes a major pattern system in the control of other perceptual frameworks as well as the acting system, a failure to make appropriate adjustments can lead to perceiving and acting from frames of reference which are not accurate, where the map is old and the territory is new. Kerbst (1970) differentiates between this static approach which he refers to as involutionary change and the dynamic adjustive aspect of continual re evaluation which he calls evolutionary change. He states: Involutionary changes are definable as those whereby behaviour becomes increasingly blindly mechanical and less subject to self-control, the transformation of phenomena to which the system responds is rigid and distorted by the existing behaviour structure, and the range of conditions under which suffering is experienced is increased. Evolutionary changes, on the other hand, are those that lead to the development of behaviour organizations which are less rigidly bound by quasi-mechanical laws, have 98 increased self-control, produce less transformational distortion of phenomena, and are less likely to engage in actions that result in suffering for themselves and others, (p.54) This observation of Herbst's is consistent with the earlier statement that purposive systems are either variety increasing or variety decreasing. Involutionary change, may be experienced as stasis or regression. The involutionary change that is experienced as stasis is what Thorn referred to as a sliding catastrophe; there is a gradual loss of competence in the dynamic but there is no awareness of the loss. Self-image may be intact but it is separated from reality and is not receiving feedback regarding the loss in competency. The experience of regression often arises from a catabolic catastrophe whereby the individual is suddenly faced with a large drop in competency in their dynamic. Both a sliding and a catabolic catastrophe are involutionary if there is failure to make adequate adjustments in self-image in correspondence to total systemic striving. A catabolic catastrophe is more likely to bring awareness of some change and thus tends to present more of a possibility of a positive evolutionary systemic adjustment. There is a vital choice point that takes place for the individual undergoing a catabolic catastrophe of choosing to exercise the choice to gain in competency along new dimensions or to live with the loss of the competency of the particular dynamic involved. It appears that the autonomous, conscious will has the power to subvert the holistic organizational striving and thus it is likely that conscious will must either not interfere or come down squarely on the side of holistic functioning i n order to take positive advantage of the potential present in any situation resulting in a loss of competency. Awareness of the potential effect of such a decision coupled with the belief that catabolic catastrophes offer 99 potential gains in competency through reorganization could make a significant and positive difference in the experience of change. If gradual, evolutionary change is also not necessarily experienced as change.There likely are aspects of most people's lives i n which gradual, evolutionary changes have taken place; the reader might consider the person she or he was several years ago and upon analysis conclude that there has been growthful change yet there might not have been any experience of a sharp demarcation. Thom called such gradual gains i n competency silent catastrophes. Porter (1976) explained this phenomena: As human beings become more sharply aware of their own motivations and more sharply aware of their conceptualizations of how to be i n this world, their concepts change and new behaviors appropriate to the new concepts replace old behavior patterns, (p.302) Other evolutionary changes occur in leaps. These are the result of a generalized catastrophe and might indicate an ongoing silent catastrophe occuring subconsciously which, for some reason, reaches over the border to consciousness. As mentioned, a catabolic catastrophe responded to with a growthful, integrative response can also lead to this sudden leap in competence. Either source can elicit the experience of being a 'new' person. Allport (1955) describes this increase i n dynamic: What he had once learned mechanically or incidentally may suddenly aquire heat and liveliness and motor power. What once seemed to him cold, "out there," "not mine" may change places and become hot and vital, " in here," "mine", (p.87) Attempting to force such change, evident i n some people who through instant conversion become a true believer in first one system and then i n another, inevitably brings involutionary results. When evolutionary, enhancing changes occur, they are directed by the proprium in all its conscious and subconscious aspects. 100 In considering self-consciousness, we are inevitably drawn to the area of self-direction since one's degree of awareness of experience i n addition to one's view of him or herself as an autonmous being will in turn affect the amount of autonomy exercised. Also, decision making is affected by that aspect of identity that validates the source utilized in decision making, be i t intellective, intuitive or some combination. Miller et al (1960) describe this interactive effect: Changes in the Images can be effected only by executing Plans for gathering, storing or transforming information . . . Changes i n the Plans can be effected only information drawn from the Images, (p.18) Images are the individual's goals, objectives and ideals while Plans are the stored "programs" for execution i n particular situations. Plans constitute an internal decision tree utilized in the pursuit of goals, objectives and ideals; they are series of choices. This concept of choice must also be included in understanding the fundamental role of the proprium in change. Choic e In human functioning, choice is a selection of alternative courses of action or perceptual frameworks. The main dynamic in terms of choice is autonomy and choices in an individual take place at various levels of autonomy, each involving a choice environment, available alternatives and possible outcomes. From the previous discussions describing the relationship of parts to wholes, the reader will recall the emphasis placed on the balance of autonomy of parts and subservience to the whole. Autonomy of the whole organism is superordinate and not the same as will power in the sense or conscious choice as in "I want" or "I will". Angyal (1941) differentiates these aspects of autonomy and volition; he states: 101 The conscious self which is only a part, namely, the conscious or part of the biological subject, tends to establish its own autonomous determination, the self-government of this narrower conscious or symbolic self. (p.118) Conscious will serves an economical end in the application of organized knowledge. This application brings its economy of tine and opportunities through symbolization and abstraction of any situation to fewer dimensions as well as the projection of several Images and Plans onto any given situation in accordance with the individual's purpose. The danger comes when the conscious self is not integrated with propriate striving and threatens to impose a hegemony in the proprium. Yet growth or developmental change must take place i n the context of self-consciousness; this implies that a need exists to have a high degree of awareness of both self-concept and immediate experience i n order to determine whether one is operating in a narrower or larger context of self-determination. Some of the difficulties in the choice environment arise when there is an absence of concrete guidelines, a phenomena which is becoming more frequent in our rapidly changing environment. In such circumstances, successful adaptation makes imperative an acute awareness of identity, immediate experience and organismic direction. This awareness helps articulate the choice environment i n terms which are consistent with and progressive toward the functional intent of the total person. The constellation of what Goldstein (1939) termed the self-actualizing person, provides such a perspective for the choice environment; a perspective which creates increased competency and enlargened degrees of freedom in the choice environment. Weinberg (1973) explains: It puts the responsibility for his conduct directly on man himself, and he takes it upon himself not becaused he has been so ordered by some authority, which must be obeyed for fear of punishment, but because to act as an effective time-binder fulfills his highest-order needs, inducing the most long-lasting and satisfying of feelings and attitudes, (p.174) Humans have a part in choosing life and how it will be lived; part of the 102 experience of change involves the degree of subjective experience of being able to create and exercise options among parameters. While choice always has parameters many of the parameters imposed are more restrictive than the situation demands. Choosing a new perceptual framework removes unnecessary restrictions and results in a subsequent increase in degrees of freedom. Such choice is premised on awareness of experience and options which means the ability to symbolically manipulate the environment to infer likely consequences. The effective time-binder also approaches l ife as constituting a gestalt extending through time. Change of the past is considered possible since the past is seen as a storage of selected memories constituting only a part of the self in the present. Selection of future options is also possible since ideals are utilized to determine objectives. As parts to the whole of the person, memories and plans are subject to shifts in positional value. The ineffective time-binder is one whose view of the past or the future is under- or over-valued in relationship to the present self. Humans are innately able to transcend the present circumstances and imagine future possibilities; as such transcendence from a position of awareness of immediate experience and from the basis of organismic goals, objectives and ideals will allow for the incorporation of change into meaningful direction. The discussion of choice environment, available alternatives and possible outcomes invites the discussion toward the philosophic foray of determinism and freedom. The writer does not wish to engage in a full discussion of many of the finer points but does wish to make a few comments from the sidelines of this controversy. From the focus of this thesis, the belief of whether one has certain degrees of freedom or does not have such a choice is important i n accepting responsibility inherent in choice and this in turn will significantly affect the 103 experience of change. Freedom implies that there are always some options in the choice process, that an individual can help to create or discover these options and that the value of these options has meaning to the individual thus providing a basis for choice. Determinism infers that there are no options and where options might exist, humans are limited in their choices by previous experience and innate drives. Frankl (1969) postulates that there are inherent drives which appear deterministic while there are also areas of striving where there appears to be free choice. He states: An unbiased observation of what goes on i n man when he is oriented toward meaning would reveal the fundamental differences between being driven to something on the one hand and striving for something on the other. It is one of the immediate data of life experiences that man is pushed by drives but pulled by meaning, and this implies that it is always up to hin to decide whether or not he wishes to fulfill the latter. Thus, meaning fulfillment always implies decision making, (p.43) Active acceptance of experience differs from passive acceptance. The first involves a choosing to operate within certain parameters rather than exerting undue energy in attempting to overcome those parameters when doing so does not further the pursuit of goals, objectives and ideals. The second involves being controlled by some external reality and often narrows the perspective of options and encourages feelings of victim. The victimized person's experience of change is one of a lack of a choice environment with a consequential scarcity of possible outcomes in comparison to one who actively chooses choice. Weinberg (1973) states that the feeling of freedom to choose: Destroys the strict determinist interpretation of . . . actions, for new characteristics, unpredictable on the basis of input alone, arise each moment as a result of ever changing structure, (p.118) Choosing choice is an existentialist position and yet the alternative, the vacuum left when one does not feel free to choose, leaves a person with nothing to gain from the projection of future possibilities. Choosing choice is not to be confused with believing that one controls all the outcomes, only that in any situation, there 104 are decisions which can be made, decisions which reflect propriate striving. In this part the concepts of the proprium and some of its integrated functions of awareness and choice have been examined. These functions are organismic systems which play a crucial role in the experience and functional result of change. Change which takes place in awareness and integrated with propriate striving is evolutionary, change which takes place without awareness has the potential danger of being involutionary. The role of choice seems to be paramount in the experience of change in such basic concerns as choosing perceptual frames of reference as well as the more global concern of being able to choose choice. In the following section, the acting system of behavior and the pattern system of perception are examined. Part Three: Control System Changes The aquisition and change of behavior and perceptual frames takes place through learning. In this part, learning is explored as a multilevel phenomena affecting the capacity to change both behavior and perception. The acting or behavior system is examined as a cybernetic system dependent upon internal maps representing actual phenomena. These maps constitute the pattern system or what is known as perception. The concept of frames or schemata as organized and organizing categorizations of phenomenal experience are also explored. Attitudes 105 are examined as particular types of perceptual maps. Finally, the concept of paradigm shifts is discussed as an example of a generalized catastrophe that can sweep through major portions of a person's organized pattern system. Lear ni rig Learning is essentially information processing; perception, categorization, storage, retrieval and re application. Through learning we a quire and modify existing information, attitudes, values and behavior. It is unknown whether humans are genetically programmed to be more receptive to certain information at certain times as many animals are although developmental idealists such as Piaget (1954) and Erik son (1968) have indicated that there are such critical stages. Whatever the findings on these predispositions to receptivity, it is quite likely that the earliest methods of gathering, organizing and using information form a primary core upon which all future learning is built. During the early stages of forming one's internal knowledge system, it is quite likely that there exists a close connection of learning to holistic organismic biological and psychololgical needs. Learning in a narrow sense, is the creation of an isomorphic chreod of certain thoughts, actions and feelings that comes into play when triggered by the right set of circumstances. Similar principles apply in all learning situations but as the situation moves past a rather mechanistic duplication to situations which do not present such clear guidelines, different skills or levels of learning are needed even though the knowledge used might appear to be the same. Bloom and others (1956) prepared a list of levels of learning and their behavioral applications. These are, ftom the lowest to the highest, recall of specifics or principles of knowledge, comprehension of knowledge, application of abstract knowledge in concrete 106 situations, analysis of ideas into their hierarchical structure, synthesis of parts to arrange a whole not clearly there before and evaluation of the value of the knowledge for a given purpose (pp.201-207). Many theories of learning have stressed mechanical association and the varieties of such learning situation particulars as the scheduling of stimuli and feedback but have not acknowledged the directional characteristic of purposive systems. In purposive systems, understanding in learning allows the selection of appropriate perceptual frameworks and strategies in order to further the purpose of the system. Understanding implies finding a structure i n a situation that coincides with an existing frame already held by the individual. Learning is the transformation of existing frames into more comprehensive frames which permit understanding in a greater variety of situations. The highest level of learning is metalearning or learning how to learn. This enables novel situations to be approached in a less stressed manner. Huget (1982) states that the: Increasing domination of our society by mobility, machinery and incessant change demands that individuals develop the capacities to be self-directing and self-responsible throughout their lives. The ability to learn independently is prerequisite to effective life management in the future, (p.24) Metalearning requires the development of self-awareness regarding one's current modes and sources in the collection, organization and use of information as well as a willingness to experiment in order to determine optimally effective learning strategies in a wide variety of situations. As such, metalearning is intertwined with the capacity for successful adaptation. B ehavior The behavioral world is a subjective transformation system for relating to the 107 non-subjective world; every group and individual constitutes a unique behavioral world with its own laws (Kerbst, 1970, p.xi). The boundary between the individual and the ecosystem is perforated by behavior and experience; behavior as the systemic language of reacting to and acting on the environment and experience as the reception of external phenomena coupled with an organismic assessment of this phenomena. Kiefer (1974) discusses the implications for an individual who understands the interactive nature of behavior; she states: Changes in behavior patterns result in changes in the environment, which in turn result i n further behavioral changes, and so on . . . . A person who knows, even unconsciously, how to switch according to context is a different sort of person from one who has never learned this skill . . . . When we talk about personality, it is just such behavioral sets, or skills, that we refer to. (p.89) Changes in ways of acting such as suggested by Kiefer's changes in behavior patterns implies the development of a substantially new way of interacting with the environment, one in which behavior constantly defines and redefines the boundary between the individual and the ecosystem. Changes in action and changes in ways of acting are different levels of behavior. Miller, et al (1960) have developed a simple cybernetic model as a concept applicable to all levels of behavior. They suggest that Test-Operate-Test-Exit (TOTE unit) is the basic unit of behavior and that changes in action are small TOTE units. Changes in ways of acting are large TOTE units, comprised of a number of smaller TOTE units arranged in a hierarchical fashion. They state that a change i n behavior: Is initiated by an "incongruity" between the state of the organism and the state that is being tested for, and the action persists until the incongruity (ie. the proximal stimulus) is removed, (pp.25-26) The TOTE unit is represented in Figure 6. 108 incongruity • T E S T "-congruity I i OPERATE Figuie 6 TOTE Unit of Behavior (Miller, et al, 1960) The test phase involves specification of standards for comparison while the operational phase (which might or might not involve overt action) is what the organism does about the situation. The test phase is basically a process which signals when the output is such that the operational phase can cease. The presence of a test implies that behavior is organized according to plans which then also must be arranged in a hierarchy. This is supportive of the concept of goals, objectives and ideals (Ackoff & Emery, 1972) and the concept of the hierarchical nature of the control system with various levels of referent standards (Powers, 1953). The concept of plans and autonomous behavior is at odds with much of behavioristic psychology since it clearly infringes on the observable aspects of behavior. As early as 1939, Tolman was concerned with how behavior theory was to make contact with such notions as knowledge, thinking, planning, inference, purpose and intention. Tolman concentrated on the meaning of the act rather than the components. He postulated that because behavior is purposive, there is use made of environmental props and objects; concepts and perceptions are also instrumental in the pursuit of the individual's purpose. The individual behaves in response to a selection of mental representations or maps. It is upon these maps that the individual at first symbolically and then later actually applies the various skills, procedures and knowledge that have also been stored in memory. 109 This cognitive map that represents the environment, offers us various routes to our destination. Hilg ard and Bower (1975), discussing Tobian's work, state: It is this tentative map, indicating routes and paths and environmental relationships, which finally determines what responses, if any, the animal will finally release, (p.124) In examining behavior change at any level, we must also consider these mental maps and plans which govern behavior since they are quite interconnected. Kiefer (1974) rather colorfully states that "behavior does not change independently according to separate processes any more than spring comes independently to frogs, flies and lily pads" (p.110). The concepts of perception and framing of experience are useful to consider in this regard. P ere eotion The concept of perception includes the input of stimuli, the attention to or selection of which stimuli to attend and the assignation of a frame of reference by which to understand the phenomena, all of which are united in a holistic manner. The individual's selection of which stimuli to attend constitutes the reality in which the individual behaves. While attention to stimuli is partly one of context, Kagan (1971) offers an explanation that stems from observation of variations in the tempo of play in children. He found that the variations related to differences in the richness of reservoir of responses, in the rate of emission of behavioral possibilities and i n the tendency to activate all possible responses. Experimental data suggested that frequent act changes: Were characteristic of children with short fixations to visual stimuli. This 110 association was interpreted as reflecting a generalized tendency for rapid satiation; a tendency to reach adaptation level quickly, (p.129) This tempo seems to carry on later in l i f e . At first, an infant's attention is controlled mainly by changes in physical parameters. Later this attention moves to discrepancy from existing schemata; attention is most likely to be to events that are transformations of those that produced existing schemata rather than something totally different. Eventually, attention seems to be based on the density of hypotheses used to assimilate the phenomena into existing schemata plus the utility to the individual. Kagan's work seems to corroborate the supposition that a core of organizational premises and categorizations begins early in l i fe . Bruner (1967) lists five purposes for categorization i n human thinking. These are to reduce complexity of the environment, to reduce fear of the unknown through identification, to reduce need for constant learning through future categorizations, to provide direction for instrumental action based on appropriate properties and to provide for ordering and relating classes of events (pp.12-13). In the previous discussion of large systems, high levels of entropy were said to be present unless suitable organization took place; Bruner's list indicates that categorization of the symbolic representations of primary experience represents such an economizing purpose. In addition, his list indicates that categorization is useful for expansive, purposive action based on functionalism or meaning to the individual. The concept of a series of conceptual maps representing the territory of primary experience has been put forward as a useful metaphor of our organization of categories. Miller, et al (1960) call the total set of maps the Image which they say is the: I l l Private representation of self and world consisting of everything learned; organized by concepts, images and relations that have been mastered, (p.17) In a similar vein, Thom (i975) states that: The territory of an animal is, in reality, an aggregate of local charts, each associated with a well defined motor or psychological activity . . . each associated with a partial ego. However, in the higher animals at least, there are mechanisms acting to remedy this fragmentation, (p.303) The perceptual process involves selecting from all the possible maps, the one that best matches the current experience. This selection will depend upon all previous experience plus the present state of the individual at the moment. Selection of an appropriate perceptual category occurs concurrent with the attending to stimuli. Perhaps the simplest way to imagine this concurrent process is a series of rapid matchings to initially find potential matches of the stimuli with appropriate categories. This is followed by additional checks to ensure the best match or matches. As a match is found between the stimuli and a perceptual category or categories from memory, the image generates further beliefs which are organized into a model or representation of the situation; we call this recognition. Thom (1975) likens this process to that of identifying with certain essences in the situation and then "capturing" the "prey". He says: As soon as the external prey is perceived and recognized by the predator, it becomes itself again, and it jumps from the surface corresponding to the prey to its own surface i n an instantaneous cognito. (p.299) Matching of the perceived phenomena with the stored schemata triggers a capture chreod which responds in a modality corresponding to the nature of the "prey". Recognition is a resonance of stored form and perceived form. Selection is always a reduction of the stimuli to a few major dimensions and hence is a symbolization of the primary stimulus input; primary experience is sensory and no-thingness while secondary experience is symbolization and classification. 112 Perception of what apparently is continuous activity results in an experience of discrete events, they have a start, a middle and an end or perhaps a series of these processes. Goffman (1974) refers to this type of perception as a strip of action. He says that events that appeat synchronized are ordered by our perceptions and a strip is not necessarily rationally divided from ongoing action. We make strips meaningful by building up and ordering frames of experience. He differentiates between those frames that are natural and those that are social; he states: Such unguided events are ones understood to be due totally, from start to finish, to "natural" determinants . . . . Social frameworks, on the other hand, provide background understanding for events that incorporate the will, aim, and controlling effort of an intelligence, a live agency, the chief one being the human being, (p.22) At particularly informative moments we end one strip and begin another; concurrent with at least partial attendance to the next strip, we then utilize the context in which certain signals are perceived to determine which frames we will utilize in bringing meaning to the situation. As ambiguous stimuli are encountered, we increase our reliance on a priori concepts. The determination of where to break strips in natural frames seems to be based on the schemata of 'natural' physical laws while in our interaction with other people this decision is based on certain punctuating of the meta-communication and in part on causal attribution. The placement of phenomena into categories is somewhat arbitrary since there are so many possible dimensions upon which any phenomenon can be analyzed. However, there are more and less likely correspondences between perception and interpretation which tend to enhance the likelihood of the assignation to certain categories. There is also economy in having some common agreements with others and categories are usually assigned based on how many other people share this view in addition to the coincidence with observation. 113 Goffman (1974) states that: Taken all together, the primacy frameworks of a particular social group constitute a central element of its culture, especially insofar as understandings emerge concerning principal classes of schemata, the relation of these classes to one another, and the sum total of forces and agents that these interpretive designs acknowledge to be loose i n the world, (p.27) This central influence in assigning classes to experience can be seen in our culture's predisposition toward a subject/object split, a perception that was formalized as recently as the seventeenth century by Descartes' statement, "I think therfor I am." We also are heavily inclined toward the experiencing of discrete events rather than continuous process again at least partially formalized through the advent of scientific thought and measurement by Galileo and Newton. Both of these predispositions profoundly affect the experience of change and both are able to be at least somewhat affected in the reframing of our perceptual processes. Another area where our past cultural influence affects our perception is in our predilection to structure our categories in the form of cause and effect. Although causality is an attributed characteristic of our perception; we tend to act as though causes were an inherent characteristic of events rather than a perception in itself. Weinburg (1973) states that: The vital question in any instant is: Does this particular selection of causes enable me to function effectively in this situation? And effectiveness will be measured by such matters as predictability, simplicity, ease of decision-making, verifiability, relief of tensions, and the like, depending on the problem-solving situation, (p. 105) Obviously causal attribution has proved to be functional or it would not last. Again, what is important to understand is that this is an ascribed characteristic of phenomena and not one that is necessarily inherent in the phenomena. Purposive systems, for instance, are so interconnected that the question of what is cause and what is effect quickly collapses into paradox. 114 We are not normally aware that our experience of reality is one so heavily mediated by symbolization and interpretation since we have learned to select frames which blend in with the expected phenomena. In order that we have some area of commonly accepted reality, it is important that a particular phenomena is not transformed any more than typical. It is likely not a common awareness that our behavior is so heavily mediated by symbolization and yet understanding this allows an individual to perceive that many significant change experiences are readjustments in phenomenal categorization or symbol value. Through studying the acculturation of three generations of Japanese Americans, Kiefer (1974) developed certain perspectives on the use of symbolization in human behavior. She found that: 1. Humans' relationship to the environment is almost entirely mediated by symb ols; 2. Symbols are usually arbitrarily assigned rather than inherent, often formed through historically based conventions; 3. Symbols are often ambiguous and malleable, meaning is derived from context and therefor there are a wide variety of contextual applications; 4. People use ambiguity of symbols to change their own and other's understanding of the environment in order to engage it in new ways; and 5. Plastic or elastic quality of symbols allows creative engagement of the environment but makes certainty of order and stability difficult to believe in, culture is a shared symbol system used partly as a defence against perceptual disintegration (from Kiefer, 1974, pp. xiii-xvii). Symbolic interpretation of the environment plus experience, expectations and purpose (all largely symbolized) determine our behavioral responses to any given situation. The classification of symbols into perceptual schemas not only allows us to recognize phenomena but also to derive meaning and organize involvement according to our particular purpose. Miller et al's (1960) concept of a plan as a "hierarchical process in the organism that can control the order in which sequence of operations is to be performed" (p.16) is an example of a perceptual schemata or 115 frame by which behavioral output is managed. Attitudes The value system is the hietarchical organization of attitudes arranged by the individuals ideas of cause and effect relationships in addition to the concepts previously mentioned in selection of categories (the objective similarities of referents, the personal experience of referents and individual needs). Attitudes, beliefs and values are the stances of an individual toward what he or she takes and gives to his or her situation in life and as such are high level perceptual categories. Attitudes can have instrumental, ego defence, expressive or knowledge functions, each of which are elicited and changed by various conditions. Attitudes that are elicited serve as a frame reference for perception and a basis for evaluation of experience via emotional and rational components. Katz (1960) says that the reasons for attitude change are best explained by the functional aspect of the attitude. The attitudinal dimensions that affect the likelihood of changes are intensity or strength of the affective component, differentiation of the cognitive elements, specificity, relationships to other value systems and centrality to self-concept. Various theories that explain attitude change such as congruity, balance and dissonance theories all imply that humans seek a basic consistency in their attitudes. Figure 7 indicates the various types of attitudes and the conditions for their arousal and change. Function Origin ft Dynamic Arousal Conditions Change Conditions Instrumental need satisfaction, maximization of reward and minimization of punishment; clarity of reward and punishment directly related to the formation and dynamics of attitude - activation of needs - salience of clues associated with need satisfaction - need deprivation - creation of new needs and new levels of aspiration - shifting rewards and punishment - new ways of meeting needs (skill and/or knowledge and/or circumstance change) Ego defense protection of self-image from internal conflicts and external and threatening challenges - posing of threats - appeals to hatred and repressed feelings - rise in frustrations even if unrelated to particular attitude - removal of threat (necessary but not sufficient) - lowered tension from discharge of emotion - development of insight that reduces the need for protection Expressive establishment, maintenance and enhancement of self-image; assertion of self via expression; 'I express myself therefor I am' - salience of cues related to values - need to reassert self-image; ambiguities which threaten self-concept - frustration at previous expressive attempts raises likelihood of expression - some degree of disatisf action with present self-imag e - more appropriate attitude for a revised self-image - shift in environmental supports that support old values Knowledg e understanding leading to meaningful cognitive organization that is consistent and clear - reoccurence of cues associated with original learning context - ambiguity created by new inf ormation - change in environment - increased relevant knowledge regarding the learning context (definition that is better suited to current problem situation than attitude from original learning context) Figure 7 Atti (ad itudes: functions, origins, arousal and change apted from Katz, 1960, p.192) However apparent the desire for consistency might be, Katz (1960) reports that research indicates attitude change has "slight generalization effects" (p.199). He suggests three reasons: 1. The over-all organization of attitudes and values in the personality is highly differentiated. The many dimensions allow the individual to absorb change without modification of his attitude; 2. Generalization of attitudes is reflective of individual organization rather than conventional, sociological categorizations; and 3. The lack of systematic forces in the social environment to implement a change, (from Katz, 1960, p.200) The degree of lack of integration of attitudinal change likely is directly proportional to the pain of change experiences. Without a periodic reassessment of attitudinal frames plus a linkage of awareness of immediate experience to the attitudinal referent, an individual becomes a poor gestalt. The lack of periodic reintegrative appraisals indicates the lack of a meta-attitude regarding the acceptability of change itself. A flexible spectrum in attitudinal orientation is such a meta-value; valuing progressive change in terms of systemic striving implies a predisposition to experience change as a positive expenditure of effort. Ref r amine The idea of individual development includes the concept of changing the current conceptual frameworks into those which are at the same time more inclusive, more differentiated, more integrated and more hierarchically organized; this results in a position of minimized entropy and maximized integrative stability. Allport says that becoming is moving dominance from "segmental systems to comprehensive systems, or from one comprehensive system to another" (p.87). The difficulty of changing categories and organization of perceptions varies depending on the level of the category in the total pattern system. 118 The lower the order of abstraction the schemata is, the more changeful, the higher the order of abstraction, the more independent of the environment and resistant to change. Since higher-order abstractions tend to be somewhat static they sometimes need to be pushed; they must be deliberately changed to fit the territory they represent. However, our language, without our awareness of the transformation, often forces the territory to fit the map. Weinberg (1973) states that: When our maps do not fit the territory, when we act as if our inferences are factual knowledge, we prepare ourselves for a world that isn't there. If this happens often enough the inevitable result is frustration and an ever-increasing tendency to warp the territory to fit our maps. (p.29) Change of a map can cause either a local or a generalized catastrophe. Such refraining is a change in the concept of reality. Watzlawick (1976) says that refraining: Means to change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint i n relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame which fits the "facts" of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changes its entire meaning, (p.95) Refraining is perhaps the core to the human experience of change and as such is a meta-concept in human change terminology. Since our experience of the world is through perceptual frames, change is essentially an adjustment of these frames. However useful frames might be, they are always vulnerable to collapse. When a central framework collapses, the changes can be quite dramatic. The notion of paradigm shifts is informative in providing another perspective on changes of this type. P aradigm Shifts Paradigms are essentially models; this is another term for perceptual frames. The concept of paradigm shifts, however, has been applied by Kuhn (1962, 1977) in a particular way to the restructuring of concepts of reality within a culture or subculture. While this thesis is not examining such sociological phenomena, there is a direct parallel for individuals available in the larger perspective offered by Kuhn's paradigm shifts. In addition, after having been exposed to many and varied change concepts of the individual, this concluding section to the main body of the thesis is also meant to provide a more expansive view of the human experience of chang e. While each individual experiences the world from a unique perspective, there exists a general, usually culturally-based, consensus of the perceptions of reality. If one were to poll any given population exactly what this is, there would likely exist a high degree of diversity and in addition, likely a dilemna would exist in attempting to describe this reality. In spite of any difficulties thus encountered, any sociologist examining various behaviors and institutions would likely be able to hint at the nature of the consensus. Kuhn (19 77) says that the paradigms shared by a culture, and particularly the subset of a particular branch of science, help to form the function of that group. The area of consensus would, from a societal level, constitute the boundaries of the culture as a system, permeable in some circumstances and for some information, impermeable i n others. In the course of everyday living, it is easy to take for granted the rich and varied heritage of philosophic, religious and scientific thinking that focus our attention on certain elements of experience while reducing our perception of other elements or totalities. However, even though we do not necessarily focus our thoughts on the consensual facets of values and beliefs that guide our perceptions, evaluations and actions, it seems apparent that these do exist and are useful in helping explain the world around us and in guiding us through this 120 world. This consensual reality is the cultural paradigm. Paradigms, either from the perspective of a belief structure or from the perspective of empirically constructed, sytematic knowledge, are essentially models and all models offer a limited perspective. Paradigms, therefor tend to have 'edges' or anomalies that while not central to the model and perhaps regarded as curios, still do not seem to fall neatly into the current paradigm. The anomalies cause some consternation but the vast majority of people in a culture will either dismiss these anomalies or reduce the actual phenomena i n order to f i t the current schemata. Shifts in the environment can also cause anomalies. Since the world around us is comprised of nested open systems and the nature of open systems is to fluctuate, adapt and generally to evolve for reasons previously discussed, certain habits, traditions and thought processes become idiosyncratic over time with relationship to experience. Inmost cases, science, or the organizing, proving and advancing of certain types of knowledge consists basically of 'mopping up' type of operations. This is change within a system and is using a previous finding to explain misunderstood or poorly understood phenomena; the type of advancement tends to be linear and is built on all previous observations. As long as the belief or theory being tested is sufficient to provide new understandings and is not completely undermined by contradictory findings, the theory gradually becomes refined to present as accurate a picture of reality as possible within the framework that forms the underpinnings of the theory. As the puzzles that the theory does not address become important enough for some scientists to address, a new theory may be 121 advanced and while this does not necessarily have to do with the mainstream of thought, as the new theory is successful i n addressing the fringe areas of concern, a generalized catastrophe sweeps through the entire field, causing a reassessment of the underpinnings of the previous theory and an attempt to apply the new findings in a broader manner. The new paradigm thus not only addresses the specific phenomenon or anomaly it was intended to but in the process, causes a domino affect throughout theories which up until this time had worked perfectly well. This type of change in not instantaneous nor does it revolutionize the entire population's thinking or interacting with reality. New knowledge or perceptual change is usually not instandy shared by all other people but disperses at various rates depending on the implications of the jump, the general adequacy of the previous myth of reality, the spatial separation and other similar factors. But in looking back from a historical perspective, the paradigm shifts become quite evident as watersheds dividing mainstreams of thought, closing one era of investigation and opening a new era. Most often, the paradigm shift, being a large scale systemic change, cannot be predicted from the previous findings although quite frequently, the groundwork for the eventual proclaimer of the new model is layed some time before the actual breakthrough, the last piece needed to make a coherent theory. Individual contributors to the change process act as a condensation of an impetus for change that exists within the general milieu in which they lived, allowing future mankind to take advantage of this new framework or conceptualization to in some way discover a new and different world. The resulting reevaluation is qualitatively enriching to the community as a whole. If we were to apply the systems metaphor, 122 we could say that the paradigm shift has increased the competence of the society's dynamic through more nourishing information. Summary In this chapter, the systems perspective of change has been applied to humans as living, purposeful systems. The concepts of adaptation and development have been examined as particular types of change. Key elements in the experience of change have also been detailed. Various aspects of human functioning have been examined from the perspective of their role in the functioning and changing of human beings. This chapter concludes the main body of this thesis in the application of the systems perspective to the human experience of change and in the next chapter, some concluding observations are made regarding change in human beings. Also, for the reader interested in pursuing the concepts addressed here, some considerations for further research are noted. 123 CHAPTER FOUR: CONCLUSIONS This chapter concludes this study's investigation into the systems perspective of the human experience of change. The intent here has been to present a systems model illustrating the critical components and the key variables of change. The specific focus of this investigation has been the application of the systems perspective to humans as purposive systems; human functioning has been considered from the perspective of systemic functioning. Throughout the thesis, both adaptational and developmental change have been presented as an integral part of healthy systemic functioning. This chapter presents some concluding remarks, considerations for change agents and ideas for additional research in this field. Concluding Remarks Change obviously takes place at many levels, there is the constant change at our primary level of experience while there is very slow change at higher levels of organization. Understanding change from the systems perspective entails accepting change as a normal part of all system functioning and understanding that change which exceeds the systemic variables will cause a generalized catastrophe. In lower level subsystems, such as a cell, this generalized catastrophe is usually contained by our immune system although cancers and viral infections are examples of the spread of a generalized catastrophe from a very local catastrophe. Higher level subsystems such as behavior patterns and perceptual categories also have a range of fluctuation that is normal or within the range of their variables. When these variables are exceeded, the spread to other closely 124 connected subordinate and superordinate systems is not so easily contained; it is this total systemic change rather than the fluctuations inherent i n systemic functioning which we normally experience as actual change. Core subsystems such as the pattern systems of identity or main directional predispositions, although formed as very plastic systems, tend to solidify and then if they change, they generally do so slowly over long periods of time; they tend to be resistant to rapid or total change other than when faced with a generalized catastrophe of a related subsystem. Al l change results in a new relationship between the individual and her or his environment. The ability to use naturally occuring fluctuations in one's self and the environment to increase competency is partly the product of maintaining a large variable range in any system. The meta-value involved is one of welcoming and accepting change situations as growth situations while the meta-learning involved is learning how to learn. All systems that can be affected by the conscious mind have the capacity for a great range of flexibility, unfortunately this capacity is not always developed. Many of the systems that are within the range of conscious control such as behavior, attitudes, identity and other perceptual processes, are easily relegated to narrow, fairly rigid systems unless the person develops and exercises awareness and choice. Flexible systems have a broad range of functions and require low degrees of homeostasis; they often affect a wide selection of other systems and thus tend to be quite integrative with subordinate and superordinate systems. Rigid systems tend to have limited functions and require a great deal of homeostasis; they tend 125 to act in more automatic ways and are not highly integrated with other systems. Flexible systems tend to incorporate differences and hence increase their range of competence. There is thus an ever-growing tolerance for change, both local and generalized. Changes in flexible systems tend to be from the perspective of the functional integrity of the superordinate system while i n a more rigid system, change often occurs from the functional integrity of a subordinate system. Tn flexible systems, there is a holistic relationship of parts and wholes whereas i n rigid systems there is a fragmented connection of parts and wholes allowing partially interactive functioning in a narrow range of conditions. Change i n a rigid system often causes further rigidity and fragmentation. The presence of change acceptance in a person can often be determined by the nature of their superordinate objectives and ideals. People with a high preponderance of rigidity will have purposes which tend to be tangible and have a short time frame while the person with a healthy balance of change acceptance will have purposes which tend to be on the level of goals, objectives and ideals. Such a person is well-equipped to live in the present as well as to strive in meaningful directions toward the future. In writing this thesis, the question that kept coming to the mind of the writer was why one individual might develop flexibility and change acceptance while another might become fragmented and rigid. A conclusion of this study reveals that there are direction setting choice points inherent i n the the process of change. A l l change initially involves the loss of competency of a dynamic; the initial reaction, at any level, is a reduction i n the range of the variables of the particular system and hence an initial loss of flexibility takes place. This ensures continued, even if limited, functioning and thus is org anismic ally healthy in the particular circumstances. However, continued operation under conditions of reduced 126 competency is not healthy and calls for a restructuring of parts to the whole. At this point, those systems within conscious control take on a distinctly volitional difference from other systems. If I lose my arm, I cannot necessarily grow a new one, but I can make adjustments i n the functions of other limbs and most of all, I can make functional enhancing changes in perception and behavior - if I believe I can and possess change skills. These skills are behaviors which emerge from a fundamental pattern system of change acceptance, what has been referred to as a meta-value, and on the exercising of growth enhancing directions in conditions where change was not 'forced' on the individual. Where change is 'forced' on the individual through extraneous circumstances, active acceptance of inescapable circumstances constitutes the ultimate choosing of choice. Problems with the integration of change also indicate that there has been a retardation in the individual's development of the dynamic or catastrophe set which allows for growth past the accretive or replicative stage. People can get stuck in these lower stages by continually being in a position of taking and/or of integrating only phenomena that constitutes a sameness. Movement toward a more mutualistic type of growth pattern calls for setting loose the natural and repressed degrees of freedom through the encouragement of exchanging, utilizing and appreciating differences from a base of commonality. In addition to the conclusions listed, the reader has likely come to his or her own conclusions regarding the human experience of change as a result of contemplating the ideas detailed in this study. The purpose of this study has been to present a concept of change utilizing the systems perspective. Undoubtedly there are other perspectives that might be utilized although as a result of the investigation and analysis conducted, it is the belief of the writer that the 127 exploration of change using the systems perspective is useful in furthering the grasp of this elusive subject. The application of change theory is particularly relevant for change practitioners. Considerations for Change Agents From this study, it has become apparent that the role of change agents involves assistance in the enhanced growth of individuals by addressing individual learning and development as processes which can have both immediate and long term instrumental value. The immediate value is largely one of providing a forum for exploration and a source of support through times of crises and feelings of disintegration. The longer term value is that of developing improved change management skills through enhanced awareness of experience and a deeper understanding and acceptance of the process of change. All therapies, education and other planned change strategies, either implicitly or explicitly, attempt to tap the organizational schemata of an individual in order to facilitate adjustment of perception, the organization of experience and systemic functioning. Therefor, it is essential that change agents understand change in its relationship to each of these areas. The systems perspective offers a useful analytical tool for understanding each of these areas in their functional integration as well as in their dynamic processes. One of the particularly useful elements of this perspective is that it is readily applicable at all levels of analysis regarding human functioning whether this is biological, perceptual, social, self-identity or any other level of analysis. Another useful element of the systems perspective is its versatility in viewing change on several levels as simultaneous fluctuations within larger fluctuations. Thus, there is no conflict regarding the 128 magnitude of change, whether the change involves normal functional change within the variables of a system, adaptive shifts i n systemic organization or developmental shifts occuring over a lifetime. Another finding of this study is that, unfortunately, the systems perspective has not been widely utilized in the facilitation of human change. However, if the systems perspective can serve as the utilitarian tool the writer proposes, it will be important to widen the scope of its application i n regard to human functioning. The first step in such a process necessitates change agents gaining a working familiarity with systems concepts. Often the focus of a change agent is narrowed to assistance i n some defined area of functioning or some particular symptomatic problems experienced by an individual. The systems perspective encourages a holistic approach; there are many intertwined acting systems and pattern systems in an individual and engaging any particular system will impact on the processes of other related systems. The concept of the holon is particularly valuable i n viewing the areas of functioning in which change is taking place; change agents must ensure that attention is given to the changes of the related subordinate and superordinate systems. Any area of functioning must be approached as subservient to the total person, the proprium, and at the same time likely superordinate to other systems. It is particularly important to be aware of the difficulties caused by excessive autonomy of any partial system; what is often termed a lack of personal integration is a diversity in the total systemic striving brought about by excessive autonomy of a partial system. Psychological maturity might be considered to be the successful integration of component subsystems within overall systemic striving and in turn would also involve a highly mutualistic relationship with the 129 environment in which one lives. The systems perspective also indicates that change agents must be aware of the levels of purposive functioning ot purposive striving being addressed. The contributions to systemic striving by the component subsystems must also be a part of the change agent's awareness. Goals represent the most basic level of systemic striving and ongoing problems with changes at this level are indicative of fairly immediate and severe crises in interactions with the environment. Objectives and ideals represent longer term striving and consequently change processes involving these levels of functioning must be expected to take longer. It is essential that change agents attend to the total picture of systemic striving and attempt to facilitate an individual's formulation of goals, objectives and ideals into a unified directional configuration; the meta-perspective of objectives and ideals must work in conjunction with shorter term goals. The study also reveals that the concept of change can be profitably viewed as a shift in the dynamics of a system; this may be either a gain or a loss of the system's effectiveness. Loss of competency can take place rapidly as in a catabolic catastrophe or slowly as in a sliding catastrophe whereas gains i n competency, silent catastrophes, are relatively slow. There is an underlying isomorphism to each type of change which is an accumulation of local catastrophes gathering momentum and overcoming some systemic variables' flexibility thus causing systemic change. While it is useful for change agents to understand the isomorphism of the process, each type of change has distinctly different experiential components with the most severe being the catabolic loss of competency. Therefor, it is the writer's belief that facilitation of the change process must begin from the individual's actual experience of change. Beyond this 130 theie is a need for change agents to assist the individual in learning to attend to current changes within a perspective of ongoing and longer term change processes. i When an individual experiences difficulties which she or he cannot successfully manage, the etiology is inevitably a process problem. Therefor, it is important that change agents have a firm grasp of the shape of the change process. Al l changes, including those which involve gains in competency, begin with a loss of competency in answering existing or new demands placed on the system; the terminology employed by Bridges (1980) is that all beginnings start with endings. After an initial loss of competency, there is a period of reduced systemic organization. This is a critical opportunity where the person will become either more or less integrated in their total systemic striving. This is an in-between time which is in many ways a time-out while a new basis for organization regarding the definition and/or answering of systemic needs is emerging. Finally, as change takes place i n a growthful manner, a reorganization emerges representing a new beginning; this may involve finding new meaning in previous directions or it could involve utilizing old resources in new ways. Change agents can profitably incorporate the view of change as an ongoing process rather than as some immediate and miraculous transition from fixed state to fixed state. The study concludes, therefor, that change is never completed as each change brings about new relationships with related systems including all subordinate, superordinate and ecosystems. An individual may experience difficulty at any point i n this process. Sometimes an individual may focus on the difficulties of a new beginning while never having allowed him or herself the necessary preceeding ending and the 131 experiential mini-death that accompanies any ending. It is often those people who choose change that have difficulty with beginnings as a result of not fully experiencing the ending of the previous mode of functioning. The reverse must also be considered, that those individuals upon whom change is 'forced' and have difficulty making the required adjustments, are caught up in an ongoing ending as an avoidance of making a new beginning. Difficulties in change also occur in the emptiness of the time between an ending and a beginning. Sometimes these difficulties are indicative of not being able to find meaning in the emptiness and not trusting that out of the chaos a holistic striving can emerge. While the precise mental processes that allow this to take place are unknown, this phenomena of emergent direction has been well documented yet the patience and courage needed to live with the uncertainty have not been widely developed. As individuals attempt to rush through this stage, there is a great danger of grabbing at the nearest ready 'answer' whether it be a system of belief or a course of action, thus increasing the chances of fragmentation i n systemic striving. It is the writer's belief that a record of aborted beginnings constitutes a clear indication of not allowing this fertile but fallow time to take its course. It is incumbent upon change agents to be fully aware of the process of change in order that their change strategies facilitate change i n accordance with the stages in which the individual demonstrates a lack of awareness and/or skills. From this study emerges a concern that whatever the current theories and methodologies utilized, change agents must examine their explicit and implicit approach to the etiology of dysfunctioning of an individual with a primary consideration in this examination being the assistance offered regarding difficulties involved in change. Dif ficulties with change acceptance and utilization often are related to excessively autonomous or rigid systems. Understanding the relationship of the autonomy of subordinate systems to their functional 13 2 specialization is important i n understanding the overall variability of a system. Indeed, the level and nature of normal fluctuations indicates the variables of the system and the degree of specialization. Careful examination of the tolerable range of the system will indicate whether the autonomy is in keeping with the degree of specialization. Of particular importance is the often excesses of rigidity in the area of volitional control and logical analysis compared to the possible benefits from a more holistic acceptance of organismic feedback. In summary, this study reveals that change agents can profitably assist an individual with change by developing the concept of change as a process rather than a state and the acceptance of change as a normal part of systemic functioning. In turn, this approach necessitates the development of a change vocabulary, change models and change skills in individuals. It should be the explicit goal of any change agent to increase the competency of a person's dynamic through the development of more flexibility and enhanced change management. A Program for the Examination of Change and Stasis A program for assisting in the development of change awareness and change skills is an important adjunct to any of the conventional change methodologies. The following ideas are presented as an example of a process whereby change agents might translate the various ideas developed in this thesis into more concrete change strategies. It is important to reiterate that this study does not have as its intended purpose the development or analysis of methods. Consequently the program offered for enhancing an individual's change awareness and skills constitutes a process outline rather than a detailed step-by-step method. This 133 program is not intended for a person i n crisis although aspects of the program may indeed be applicable. Rather this program would be useful for those who are undergoing transistions but with less immediate needs for support and who possess a desire to grow in their ability to effectively manage change i n their lives. As such, it aims at developing the meta-value of accepting change as a normal and natural part of everyone's lives and the meta-learning of learning how to learn from one's own experience. Successful adaptation or change must be accompanied by successful stability or stasis if a person is going to avoid complete fragmentation. Yet since we tend to only be aware of small bits of the experience of change at particularly meaningful moments of our lives, it is likely that most people are largely unaware of their normal behaviors regarding change and stasis. An analysis of current areas of functioning together with a retrospective look at one's history offers the possibility of discovering these trends. The following outline represents one approach to this process: 1. Since systems are organized relations of parts and wholes, any part essentially connected to any whole, identifying the present relationship of systems to each other and the ways these relationships have evolved can help with the understanding of the change processes. This in turn helps to facilitate change and increases the effective utilization of the experience of change in developing change awareness and skills. The change agent may encourage the individual to graphically map out their own perception of his or her superordinate and subordinate systems within their particular ecosystem. While there may be other areas, some of the systems which are involved in change are: a. innei identity (awareness of self, insights, dreams, levels of consciousness); b. personal functioning i n relating to the external world (health, goal and objective seeking behaviors, emotional patterns); c. relationships; d. home life ; and e. work (nature of interests, accomplishments, financial matters). Either these categorizations or those of the individual's own configurations would be appropriate for this mapping process. The intent in this stage is to encourage the view of self as a total system with various subsystems that are integrated at varying levels. This map should be adjusted to represent the experiential or projective space of the individual, including those areas of clear and ambiguous definition. In order to understand one's present approach to change, it is important to distinguish the various areas in one's life i n which change takes place. The next step in understanding one's changes is to describe i n detail the priorized components of the systems mapped out in step 1. In other words, how would the individual describe each of these areas of the self? Attending to the ways in which the individual allocates his or her resources (time, money and energy) may be useful in developing such a list or priorities. These descriptions represent self-identified systemic boundaries and as such are reciprocal determinants in the spread of change effect from one component system to another. Next, these same systems should be described as the individual remembers them from one to five years previously (a number of intervals of greater or lesser time may be more appropriate depending on the individual's particular 135 circumstances). This is a process which literature on journal keeping details and can be used in a number of ways. In this case, the particular emphasis is on determining the personal chreods or the changes in the boundaries of systems through time. This picture of the changes that have taken place will involve some which have registeted in awareness and some which have occurred without awareness. The benefit to be gained in this comparison of present systemic structure and meaning to past structures and meanings is an identification of being in constant process in at least some aspects of life while maintaining stability in other areas. The analysis of the changes might also include identification of critical incidents or periods which act as watersheds in the person's life, hard and easy changes, changes which parallel parental transitions and so on; awareness of change patterns and even change attitudes could emerge from such an analysis. The identification of the evolution of various systems is by itself informative but not necessarily sufficient to develop enhanced change awareness and skills. Change process takes place i n the context of a certain degree of stability. In order to ensure that the change is systemic ally healthy, there must be a balance of change and stasis. Without stability the individual collapses into total chaos yet without change the individual becomes increasingly rigid with a resultant drop in competence. The type of stability necessary for effective functioning is termed homeostasis while stability that is poorly connected to the overall systemic striving is referred to as morphostasis. Similarly, change which is functionally effective is called morhogenesis while ineffective change is referred to as destructive conflict. The next phase of the diagnosis would involve identification of those areas in which there are positive and negative aspects to both stasis and change. 136 Figure 8 details these categories. Stasis Change All systems must maintain the integrity of their structure for some minimal time frame. Protection of viability necessitates change dependent upon the challenges of the internal Si external environment; adaptation needed to improve goal attainment & regulate against disturbances. Negative Morphostasis Destructive Conflict Regulation to maintain structure of system separate from &/or in spite of outcomes. High risk structural changes occurring through the lack of adaptive processes. Positive Homeostasis Motphog enesis Skills & Processes Regulation to maintain system's critical output. Meta-value of accepting g rowthful chang es based on functional needs & propriate striving; change made in awareness by considering alternatives & exercising choice. Procedures for defining and operationalizing objectives and ideals. Self-assessment of current state of func tioning and direction (trajectory). Efficient feedback through awareness of immediate experience & impact on environment. Figure 8 Change and Stasis 5. The development and use of an instrument would be helpful i n identifying areas of positive change and stasis as well as negative change and stasis. Such an instrument would also be useful if it addressed the essential skills and processes by which a healthy balance of change and stasis can be achieved. These include: 137 a. the procedures for defining goals, objectives and ideals; b. the processes for attainment; c. the efficacy of self-assessment regarding functioning and direction; d. awareness of self in terms of both primary and secondary experience; and e. awareness of impact on the environment. The purposes of such an instrument would be for discovery for the individual and not for a conclusive diagnosis by the change practitioner. The instrument might also be used as another stage following the initial examination of the evolution of various systems and the compilation of an overview of areas of positive and negative stasis and change. Findings from the application of such an instrument then could be used for a secondary analysis of the progress of these changes, possibly revealing new layers of meaning. 6. Change is clearly a pervasive aspect of human existence and yet in spite of this pervasity, the dimensions of change remain extremely elusive. What is apparent as a result of this study is that change must always be considered in relationship to the total system. In human terms, this indicates that the experience of change is a highly individualized process. However, in spite of this degree of subjectivity, there is potential benefit to an individual undergoing change in the dimensionalizing of the change. This dimensionalization could profitably be done utilizing the key variables of change. The development of a semantic differential scale could assist in such a venture; Figure 9 represents one approach to the individual dimensionalization of the personal experience of change. Change agents are urged to consider other methods which might be useful in assisting an 138 individual in coming to terms with the relative dimensions in his or her experience of change. Variable Dimensions Magnitude small h 1 larg e Centrality peripher al 1- 1 core Timeframe long H 1 short P ace slow h 1 fast Rhythm regular b- 1 irregular Familiarity familiar |- 1 novel Range of outcomes many h 1 few Context isol at ed h 1 concurrent Figure 9 Dimensions of the Key Variables of Change While this is only one way in which to envision the dimensionalization of change, the important point to remember is that such attempts will hopefully allow a new experience, a new realization of the changes the individual is undergoing. Other projective techniques may also be useful in this regard. In addition to projective techniques, existing statistic ally-based psychometric instruments applied in novel ways offer promising measurement possibilities for the human experience of change. One example is that suggested by Golembiewski et al's (1976) consideration of beta change. Beta change is indicated by a new conceptual pattern resulting in a redefinition of the original categories of an instrument rather than a simple change along the original scales (see p. 59). While the explanation of the stastical techniques utilized for such an analysis is beyond the scope of this study, the writer encourages change agents to become familiar with some techniques for measurement of stability and change beyond the normal 139 application of psychometric instrumentation and analysis. Golembiewski et al (1976) and Herbst (1970) are two sources which may be found to be of particular interest in this regard. The ideas found in the above program are offered as a developmental base toward making concrete some of the conceptualizations of change which have been discussed in this study. This is by no means exhaustive and change agents are encouraged to develop suitable processes within their own particular methodologies and theories which can directly address the process of change in individuals , lives. Above all, it is important that change agents accept the challenge of moving individual functioning beyond the realm of distress and coping to that of successful acceptance and managment of both change and stability. Areas in Need of Research This thesis has concentrated on providing a conceptualization of the human experience of change through the systems perspective. However, the benefit to be found in these ideas is only through the enhancement they provide to current theoretical structures and methodological concerns. While there are undoubtedly other areas which have come to the mind of the reader, some areas that might prove to be illuminating i n furthering the understanding of human change include: 1. Longtitudinal research on individuals with the focus being the formulation of behavioral and perceptual systems and how these change over time; a connection to the reasons and the efficacy of the changes would be important; 140 2. Development of a change model based on systemic considerations such as a method for the suggested idea of mapping out the projective space of an individual (how he or she experiences the connection of various acting and pattern systems); 3 . Development of self-directing change strategies including a systems model and techniques such as diaries and periodic systems analysis in terms of objective and ideal direction and progression, awareness and choice; 4. Population studies regarding change strategies correlated to other conceptualizations of effective functioning and sense of satisfaction i n life; 5. Studies of change agents (therapists, teachers, etcetera) in terms of their implicit and explicit theories of what change means to people and how change actually takes place; among the possible correlations might be the relationship of individuals' (clients or students) awareness of the nature of change and feelings about changes they are undergoing to the presence of an explicit change model held by the change agent or the relationship of actual change to the matching of explicit or implicit assumptions about the nature of change in individuals. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to stimulate thinking of applications for further research into an area that concerns every human being and should be of special interest to change agents. 141 This sec t ion concludes this thesis . It is the hope of the writer that the presenta t ion of the mater ia l , while de ta i l ed i n some areas and more sweeping i n others, has provided the reader wi th addit ional ins ights in to the nature of change and the human exper ience of c h a n g e . It is qu i te l ike ly that prior to be ing exposed to this study, the reader already had c o n c e p t u a l i z e d , either expl ic i t ly or impl ic i t ly , one or more change models. Hopefu l ly , this study has been re in fo rc ing of those conceptua l i za t ions which have proved use fu l whi le helping to c la r i fy some other areas which might not as of this time have been c lear ly conceived or a r t i cu la ted . 142 BIBLIOGRAPHY Ackoff, R. & Emery, F. On Purposeful Systems. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton, Inc., 1972. Alamshah, W. Creative Living. Journal of Creative Behavior r Spring 1970, 4(2), 123-13 0. Allport, G. Becomina. Clinton, Mass.:Yale University Press, 1955. Angyal, A. Foundations for a Science of Personality. 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