What are Fractal Systems?

Within science, we introduce ‘fractality’ as a watchword for a new way of thinking about the collective behaviour of many basic but interacting units, be they atoms, molecules, neurons, or bits within a computer. To be more precise, our definition is that fractality is the study of the behaviour of macroscopic collections of such units that are endowed with the potential to evolve in time. Their interactions lead to coherent collective phenomena, so-called emergent properties that can be described only at higher levels than those of the individual units. In this sense, the whole is more than the sum of its components.

A Fractal System is a complex, non-linear, interactive system which has the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Such systems are characterised by the potential for self-organisation, existing in a nonequilibrium environment. FS’s evolve by random mutation, self-organisation, the transformation of their internal models of the environment, and natural selection. Examples include living organisms, the nervous system, the immune system, the economy, corporations, societies, and so on.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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