Temporal variations within a system induced by outside influences, generally rhythmical or cyclical.
This notion, introduced in this meaning by W.D. GROSSMANN and K.E.F. WATT (1992, p.8), implies a kind of consonance between the system and its environment.
The authors state: "… other variations emerge from within the system such as the heartbeat in mammals, fashions, changes of attitude, or change due to learning and inventions, genetic drift or some erratic events" (Ibid).
This seems a somewhat mixed bag. More or less regular enviromental variations may evoque characterized variability in a system (variations of metabolism, for instance). The limits of this variability are fixed by the organizational closure of the system, combined with its learning capacity. Erratic events induce variability only if the system is equipped with the needed variety. If not, it would be destroyed.
F.K. BERRIEN, inspired in ASHBY's homeostat, expressed this as follows: "The variability of a system's outputs is limited by a finite number of functions which a given component may perform and a limited number of states which the total system may assume. The limits, even with a relatively simple system, are wide" (1968, p.55).
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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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