A way of organization whose "governing relation is symmetrical dependence" (FEIBLEMAN, J.& FRIEND, J.W., 1969, p.36).
This organization mode is related to models of integrated systems, as parts can hardly survive their splitting off. Complementarity implies that parts of different identities fit usefully, or at least satisfactorily with each other.
Complementarity is typical of very complex and heterogeneous systems, in which numerous functions and structures can operate and maintain themselves only by cooperation.
Complementarity is quite obvious, for example in James G. MILLER's description of the 20 critical subsystems in living systems.
As a concept, complementarity carries some semantic ambiguity. According to J.A. GOGUEN and F.J. VARELA: "Our usual way of thinking about pairs of descriptive notions is biased in the direction of regarding them as mutual negations of the general form not-A/A. It is the case, however, that many of the most important such pairs operate by mutual specifications, that is, are complementary. We mention in particular, content/form; semantics/syntax; autonomy/control; net/tree; minimal-model/behavior; simultaneous/sequential and environment/system" (1979, p.40).
Others complementarities are: being/ becoming; levogyre/dextrogyre (in molecules and crystals); stability and change. Moreover, complementarity is not merely binary: many different processes and/or functions enter into intricate associations in complex systems.
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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]
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