The Organizing Principle of Complex Living Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
A. S. Iberall

General Technical Services, Inc., Upper Darby, Pa.

W. S. McCulloch

Massachusetts Institute of Tech., Cambridge, Mass.

J. Basic Eng 91(2), 290-294 (Jun 01, 1969) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3571099 History: Received August 01, 1968; Online November 03, 2011


A scheme is outlined for a useful way to think about the complex biological organism, man. It is based on physiological findings that the regulating and control functions in the system make use of active processes, exhibiting oscillatory properties [1]. The resulting homeostatic regulation, which was the key concept proposed by Bernard, Sechenov, and Cannon for the living system [2], emerges from mediation of these oscillators. Because of its dynamic character, the scheme is renamed homeokinesis [3]. The concept may be extended to man’s behavioral complex. In outline, it touches on all the time or frequency domains in life—that is, of the many episodes in man.

Copyright © 1969 by ASME
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