"A system that seeks (moves toward) a maximal condition while not necessarily ever achieving it" (H. KLOPF, 1972, p.9).
According to KLOPF :"The primary goal of animals, including man, is the achievement of a maximal condition (of excitation), not the achievement of a steady-state condition… The variable to be maximized is that of the amount of neural polarization being experienced (which is) defined to be equal to the amount of depolarization (pleasure) minus the amount of hyperpolarization (pain) (p.5)
The author adds the following comments: "Nervous systems are so structured that homeostasis is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for the maintenance of heterostasis. This explains why organisms vigorously pursue homeostasis even while it is not their primary goal. That homeostasis is a subgoal suggests that survival may not be as central a concern of living systems as has been previously assumed" (p.5).
From a more general viewpoint he considers that "The nature of heterostats is such that they do not cooperate as parts of larger heterostatic systems unless they have more positive than negative reinforcement to do so" (p.57).
The present example of the difficult ordering of various supra-national systems seems to confirm KLOPF's opinion. It seems thus possible that the growing severity of global planetary messes may exert finally a favourable influence.
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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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