General System Theory, by Ludwig von Bertalanffy | Literature Discussion W/ Some Cornish Translation

I want to improve my Kernowek a little more before getting into wholesale translation.



Von Bertallanfy makes the argument that system theory is important when applying to many fields. Each chapter is dedicated to a particular field in which system theory can be applied.

A Maboweresow gul an dhadhel dre bysi yw tybieth gevreyth gweytha dhedha lies testennow. Dedicatys yw chapter kettep dhodho testen arbennik may tybieth gevreyth gyll yw gweythys.

Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1901-1972)

Kasavri a Maboweresow (1901-1972)

He was a biologist originally from Vienna. He was educated in the Meidlinger Karl-Ludwig Gymnasium, where his classmates included those who would become famous scientists and scholars. After obtaining his doctorate, he began a career as a professor in universities in Vienna, Britain, and eventually America.

Reder-bewnans beu ev dhedha Vienna dre gwreydhek. Dyskys beu ev ynno’n Meidlinger Karl-Ludwig Gymnasium, ple y glassmatyow komprehendsons an re-na peu biens godhonydhyon ha skoloryon a-vri. War y lergh kefy y dhoctorate, dallas resegva avello professor ynna en pennskolyow ynna en Vienna, Breten, ha America dre dharvosek.

However, he was a supporter of the Nazi Party when Austria was occupied by Germany. He would eventually leave Austria during the Denazification.

Byttegyns, beu skoodhyer a’n Parti nazi p’eur kavandehys beu Austria gensi Almayn. Dibertha dre dharvosek Austria dresto’n Denazification.

He credits himself for introducing system theory into academia.

Kresys y honan rag komenda tybieth gevreyth ynni academia.



Historical Context

Kettesten Hwedheltusek

At the time von Bertalanffy was writing this book, cybernetics and advances in technology played a major role in reorienting the thinking behind many fields. This introduction started after World War II. He gets into depth about the invention of computers, and how the need for physical labor has become increasingly unneeded.

Dhodho’n prys A Maboweresow skrifa an-lyver-ma, cybernetics hag avonsyansow ynno redyans-jydn gwarsons rann vrassa ynno dasdesedha’n brys a-dryv lies testennow. An-komendyans-ma dallas war y ergh World War II. Ev’th a ynno downder a-dro’n dismygans a jynn-amontya, ha fatla’n odhom rag dhodho labor physical re yw dysresys moy ha moy.

Since less labor is needed, the more focus is put on having a system in place to manage everything. Of course, having a system and an organization are completely different.

A-dhia resys yw labor le, an fog moy yw gora warnodho gora ynno kevreyth dyghtta keniveronan. Heb dout, dihaval yn tien yns gora ynna en kevreyth ha organization



The problem with organizational thinking has to do with the fact that systems tend to have components that act independently. So, it would be inappropriate to claim that an organism is a machine of some sort. Systems, on the other hand, adhere to the laws of thermodynamics and probability.

An kudyn ganso brys organizational re gul ganso’n feth dre kevreythyow ons usys dhe yssynons components dre gwarons dre anserghek. Mar, dysgwiw bia lavassa organedh yw jynn a par nebes. Kevreythow, warodho’n leuv aral, glenons dhedha’n laghys a thermodynamics ha probability.

System theory is based on the holistic application of knowledge, applying to both physical and social sciences. Von Bertalanffy argued that system theory had incorrectly been identified with exclusively cybernetics, however he spends the duration of the book arguing that it applies to every field, including biology and math. He further argues that there should be an interdisciplinary, integrative field of science, in which system theory can be used as a skeleton key for learning multiple scientific fields.

Based yw tybieth kevreyth warnodho’n omrians a goffos, gweytha dhe godhoniethow fisegel ha kowethasek an thiw. A Maboweresow dadhlas tybieth kevreyth re identified yn dysewn gans cybernetics yn unnik, byttegyns spen an our a’n lyver gweytha eev dhe testen kettep, komprehenda redyans-bewnans ha awgrim. Gweyth pella yma galsa testen interdisciplinary, integrative, a godhoniedh, yn may tybieth kevreyth gyll yw usys avel alhwedh-skeleton dyska lies testennow godhoniedh.

Another field that can have system theory applied to it is history. Although it is cyclical, it does does guarantee to repeat itself. It is a field that is completely reliant on the law of probability.

Types Of Systems

Eghennow A Kevreythyow

There are different forms of systems and they vary based on how the components interact or are introduced–if ever. The summative elements change either progressively or a sudden change.

One of them is an open system, which relies on constantly changing components as well as interaction with components outside of the system. This applies to biology and gases, since there are many molecules and proteins that rely on outside sources. It also tends to have equifinality, which means that the output remains the same even after the components are changed.

The closed system needs to reverse its own reactions in order to reach equilibrium. This is seen with the breakdown of starch as it is being consumed. When it comes to equilibrium, the curve is the most important part of the closed system when applied to organismic growth.

There is also the constitutive system, in which means that any change in the component changes the outcome. This is seen in mathematics. The factors that can influence the change in mathematical equations include societal factors.

The system that is specifically used in cybernetics is servo-mechanism, which means that the feedback from the output of system is used to self-regulate the system.



The issue of viewing a system not as an individual organism, rather as an aggregate of organisms is definitely seen with Eugene Odum. He discusses how the Earth, in spite of the Gaea hypothesis, would not be considered its own organism. Like any other system, the Earth has organisms that live within it which function as its components.

As for Ian McHarg, system theory would have been important to his study of the floodplains, since studying the landscape is important in order to build houses–or to avoid building houses. He argued that humans use the landscape around them as their own niche, like any other animal; and disrupting it would become damaging in the long-term.

Writing Style

Gis Skrifedh

Von Bertalanffy takes issue with the words organization and machine because they do not accurately represent a system. There are various words for different types of systems, the outputs, and the components.

Of course, there is a lot of mathematical equations involved, so it is important to keep that in mind.

Real-World Application

Omrians Vys-Wir

Inspiration To Ken Yeang

Awen Dhodho Ken Yeang

Von Bertalanffy mentioned nothing about the application of system theory in architecture, however as for the ecological aspect, I can definitely see how this would have influenced Ken Yeang. Since Yeang had to consider every ecological aspect of his designs, from the species of plants to the location of his designs. Since biology is an open system, in which outside sources influence the system itself, it would make sense that botany would be included.

As for the transdisciplinary approach that system theory enables, this would definitely apply to Ken Yeang. He managed to become an incredibly important architect for synthesizing two completely opposite fields. High-rise architecture is the least environmentally friendly form of architecture, due to the fact that it takes a lot of material and subsequent maintenance, and it consumes a lot of energy.

Inspiration To Myself

Awen Dhybm Ow Honan

When I mentioned numerous times that I wanted to take a multidisciplinary approach to life, it was not within direction. This book definitely helped quantify it in such a way as to look at the holistic view of transdisciplinarity.

This book should also be helpful in order to truly understand how science works and how systems are the literal root of everything. This should be important if I ever make a giant leap from liberal arts to STEM.

As for the Nazi background of von Bertalanffy, it is not uncommon for intellectuals and writers in history to have been openly fascist and eugenicist in their own times–two examples being Martin Heidegger and H. P. Lovecraft. When looking at their relevance in modern time, it is quite compromising, since it involves coming to terms with these realities, while also recognizing the utility of their works.

We are stuck with our heroes.

Ni’s en yn stag gansa’gan gorwer.



Just like Whitehead’s book, this book does involve a lot of heavy thinking. It has less to do with the actual science and more to do with the thinking and methodology behind it.

Recommend This To…

Komendysen Ma Dhe…

  • Anyone who is more in-depth into polymathy, since they would help cohesively understand how systems can be applicable.

Sources (Pednfentydnyow)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *