Systems and Context

The core concept in Systems thinking is to look at things and events as they are in their contexts and not in isolation, the assumption is that context reveals different properties, consequently, we should define and reason from system level (using system language to see the big picture and avoid reductionism).

To fully understand this idea, let’s consider some examples, a simple example is the key, yes that item we use to open things, if we try to think of the key alone without it being inserted into the lock we would never have the ability to think of its property to open other things, only when we see the key and the lock in one context we can tell this property.

We can also have different contexts for the same object and consequently different relations each time, if you think about the car, it could be defined with a transportational function to help you and your family to commute from one place to another. The same car could be seen as a taxi where passengers pay to get the service within the context of Uber.

Contexts may also change over time and, accordingly, the definition will change and new properties will appear, a good example are horses, they first existed free in nature :

Then we used them in the battle context :

Then we redefined horses as a mean of transportation, now maybe we have all contexts together.

Words also can have different meaning as the context changes, the word “ take” can mean to bring something as in this context “ He took the book” also it means the amount of something “ The take from commodity taxation” in other contexts it means other meanings.

Laws are perfect example to how abstract ideas vary from one context to another, someone could be considered as an adult and be allowed to do many things in one country, the same person might be seen differently and under certain age in another country.

If you think you know yourself very well try to change the context you are in now, where you live, your career, or wait till you get older, and see if you can notice different behaviour, they say people change, maybe they just evolve to different characters when a context changes.