Homeostasis is obtained through regulation.
W.D. GROSSMANN and K.E.F. WATT explains: "A feedback loop is the classical example of homeostasis. Two types of homeostasis exist. One happens within the existing structures and is actually generated by these structures, in particular by feedback processes" (1992, p.10).
Repeated feedback processes implies the existence of a regulator.
The same authors pursue: "The other is a reaction by the system which causes a change in the systems structures" (Ibid).
This case corresponds to the progressive institution of the regulator.
Still: "The capability for homeostasis is enhanced, the shorter the time-lag from the moment the system experiences a perturbation or threat to its viability, to the moment it respond appropriately… The speed with which systems can respond depends on the availability of resources to perform the response" (Ibid). This corresponds to VENDRYES' concept of "reserve".
Homeostasis does not of course come free. The different needed types of regulations have an energetic cost.
H. ODUM expresses it this way: "Some energy must go into storages which may be necessary for structure of for smoothing out fluctuating power supplies. Some energy must go into the work of gathering input flows, and some energy must insulate and control the relation of other circuits. Special energies overcome special limiting factors, such as material shortages, poisons or the seasonal fluctuations. Finally, special energies may be required to pump out excess wastes. (1971, p.88).
However, homeostasis is merely the behavior of dynamically stable systems, generally mature ones. Systems in course of differentiation, dissipative structuration, bifurcation, emergence, etc… are definitely not homeostatic, and the use of the concept in these cases lead to gross misunderstandings. This point was already made by L.von BERTALANFFY in his book "General Systems Theory" (1968)
Two other concepts complement homeostasis. One, which did not become widely accepted, was W. CANNON's heterostasis. The other one is C. WADDINGTON's homeorhesis, applied to systems in their period of growth towards maturity.
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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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