Trend toward an increasing complexity
This concept, introduced by WOLTERECK (1940), "has been indicated as a primary characteristic of the living, as opposed to inanimate nature … and was often used as a vitalistic argument" (L.von BERTALANFFY, 1969, p.79)
In BERTALANFFY's opinion organizational laws exist at all levels in the universe. To search for them is one of the basic goals of General Systems research.
In fact, it seems evermore well confirmed (see for example Carsten BRESCH, 1977) that this same tendency is – or was – already active at the micro-physical level and that it is linked to the very general phenomenon of structurating dissipation researched by thermodynamics of irreversible systems.
Note: Another (unrelated) meaning of this term is: "A mode of distorsion of an image such as it can be viewed only from a special angle or with the help of some instrument".
These optical deformations were used by the Milanese painter ARCIMBOLDO (1527-1593)