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Systems and Coupling

Systems couple elements together and thus give them a form. Strictly speaking, therefore, couplings are both: they bind and they also offer the prospect of shaping the coupling differently – loosely or more firmly coupled, coupling different things with each other, coupled for a longer or shorter period, decoupled and coupled in another place! Freedom and determination meet in the coupling. This is because systems cannot decide against coupling, unless they also wish to dissolve. In the phenomenon of coupling is hidden the phenomenon of decision-making.

Deciding always means that it could also be different. Systems change through decisions, which alter couplings. If one then remembers that in complex conditions no system fully knows how the changes in coupling will affect things, then a system will always have to engage with the known and the unknown consequences of his change activities. It dissolves bonding, wins freedom and pays for this with new bonding. For a theory of change, this is a fundamental consideration: freedom consists of choosing the compulsion! Compulsion exists in the relinquishment of other free decision-making possibilities!

Change, therefore, begins when elbow room to manoeuvre is sought and decided about, where, previously, a specification has been made. Some of these specifications (couplings) are, however, also a part of the identity of the system. Accordingly. it can be laborious to create elbow room here.