"A canalised pathway of change" (C. WADDINGTON, 1977, p.140) or,…
"A canalized trajectory which acts as an attractor for nearby trajectories" (WADDINGTON, 1975, p.22).
C. WADDINGTON explains: "… the name chreod, a word derived from Greek,… means 'necessary path'"
"I have coined the word "chreod" for what is really a characteristic of an attractor surface in a multidimensional space" (1976, p.245).
He also states: "Different canalised pathways or chreods may have rather different types of stability built into them. These can be pictured in terms of the cross-section of a valley. You may for instance, have a valley with a very narrow chasm running along the bottom, while the farther up the hillside you go, the less steep the slope; with such a configuration of the attractor surface, it needs a very strong push to divert a stream away from the bottom of the chasm… If the system is acted on by only minor disturbances, it is likely always to stay very close to the bottom of the valley" (1977, p.140).
This type of situation corresponds to dynamic stability.
"In contrast, (if) we have a valley which has a very flat bottom… then, minor disturbances can easily shunt the stream from one side of the flat valley bottom to the other" (Ibid).
This is still dynamic stability, but with more potential fluctuations amplitude.
In case of very strong disturbances, the system may escape from the chreod, in which case instability sets in and the system crosses over into another domain of attraction (or stability), or undergoes dissipative structuration, which will transform its very nature, or still, is destroyed.
It is interesting to note that normal growth processes in systems are chreodic, which is well in accordance with their organizational closure.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
We thank the following partners for making the open access of this volume possible: