International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics

2nd Edition, as published by Charles François 2004 Presented by the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science Vienna for public access.


The International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics was first edited and published by the system scientist Charles François in 1997. The online version that is provided here was based on the 2nd edition in 2004. It was uploaded and gifted to the center by ASC president Michael Lissack in 2019; the BCSSS purchased the rights for the re-publication of this volume in 200?. In 2018, the original editor expressed his wish to pass on the stewardship over the maintenance and further development of the encyclopedia to the Bertalanffy Center. In the future, the BCSSS seeks to further develop the encyclopedia by open collaboration within the systems sciences. Until the center has found and been able to implement an adequate technical solution for this, the static website is made accessible for the benefit of public scholarship and education.



The ability to organize or re-organize elements into new complex forms and/or processes.

M. MARUYAMA offers the following systemic-cybernetic views about creativity: "It is a fallacy to equate creativity with capriciousness. A symphony is the opposite of random noise. Creativity involves the development of patterns, differentiation and structure. This is possible by means of differentiation-amplifying mutual causal processes…" (1979, p.210).

These processes are caracterized by a well defined initial situation, the existence of different types of elements and of development rules. These conditions seem indeed to be the real bases of human, artistic (f. ex. musical, pictorial or poetic), scientific and technical creativity.

Such creativity is possible only in a minimally constrained and structured conceptual space. It can operate through the mechanism of association of two conceptual matrixes: A. KOESTLER's "bisociation". This author explains: "The basic bisociative pattern of the creative synthesis (is) the sudden interlocking of two previously unrelated skills, or matrices of thought" (1975, p.121).

H. ODUM offers another interesting angle: "Creative thinking requires an effectively motivated random-thought generator plus a well developed truth-reward response" (1971, p.155).

Such a concept can be generalized in the following way: Creative evolution requires an effective random-variety generator plus a well-developed fitness-reward response device. This could even make the way easier for intelligent artifacts evolution.

Creativity involves, moreover, in D. BOHM and F.D. PEAT words: "… an extremely perceptive state of intense passion and high energy that dissolves the excessively rigidly held assumptions in the tacit infrastructure of commonly accepted knowledge" (1987, p.38).

The same authors observe that creativity can easily become blocked: "Basically the setting of goals and patterns of behavior which are imposed mechanically or externally, and without understanding, produces a rigid structure in consciousness that blocks the free play of thought and the free mouvement of awareness and attention that are necessary for creativity to act" (p.231).

Creativity is frequently stifled in this way by the imposition of excessive constraints in the very process of education. (The only necessary constraints in any system are those necessary for its entification – i.e. the definition of its organizational closure). Conceptual order parameters are necessary as frames for creativity, but excessively constraining ones kill it.

The same situation is also encountered in human organizations and in cultures, where sclerosis sets in when the rules become too numerous, too formal and finally downright oppressive.

As creativity supposes at least a reorganization of conceptual space, and sometimes the very creation of a new one, it is frequently not understood and rejected, at least for some time. This situation affected and still affects the creative work of the founders of systemics.

Many other stimulating insights in this subject, have been offered by M. BODEN (1990).


  • 1) General information
  • 2) Methodology or model
  • 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
  • 4) Human sciences
  • 5) Discipline oriented


Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science(2020).

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]

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