The suprasystem of any living system is the next higher system in which it is a component or subsystem. For example, the supraystem of a cell or tissue is the organ it is in; the suprasystem of an organism is the group it is in at the time. Presumably every system has a suprasystem except the “universe.”

from The Nature of Living Systems (1965)

Portrait of James Grier Miller

James Grier Miller

Biologist
July 17, 1916 – November 7, 2002

James Grier Miller was an American biologist, a pioneer of systems science, and academic administrator. He originated the modern use of the term "behavioral science," founded and directed the multi-disciplinary Mental Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan, and originated the living systems theory.

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Mentioned in 3 documents

Francis Heylighen and David Sloan Wilson

Glimpsing the Global Brain

Complex systems theorist Heylighen and evolutionary biologist Wilson discuss a possible phase transition of humanity in which the members of our species become neurons in a planetary brain, utilizing the Internet as a shared exocortex.

Tyler Volk

Metapatterns

In the interdisciplinary tradition of Buckminster Fuller’s work, Gregory Bateson’s Mind and Nature, and Fritjof Capra’s Tao of Physics, Metapatterns embraces both nature and culture, seeking out the grand-scale patterns that help explain the functioning of our universe. Metapatterns begins with the archetypal patterns of space, both form-building and relational. Tyler Volk then turns to the arrows, breaks, and cycles that infuse the workings of time. With artful dexterity, he brings together many layers of comprehension, drawing on an astounding range of material from art, architecture, philosophy, mythology, biology, geometry, and the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences. Richly illustrating his metapatterns with a series of sophisticated collages prepared for this book, Volk offers an exciting new look at science and the imagination. As playful and intuitive as it is logical and explanatory, Metapatterns offers an enlightening view of the functional, universal form in space, processes in time, and concepts in mind.

Francis Heylighen

The Global Superorganism

The organismic view of society is updated by incorporating concepts from cybernetics, evolutionary theory, and complex adaptive systems. Global society can be seen as an autopoietic network of self-producing components, and therefore as a living system or “superorganism”.