Is a subject which has come to my attention following reading some material from a book called "Web of
Life" by Fritjof Capra: http://www.fritjofcapra.net/
Until now I have had an assumption of what it is all about, but never a clear clean definition. The most interesting aspect of Cybernetics to me currently is its application as a tool to measure whether a system is prone to feedback loops, or if it is self-correcting.
Apparently, any system, whether it me organic or abstract, or mechanical, or conceptual, follows the same rules.
Namely, if a system has an even number of negative* feedbacks as part of its loop, it will be reinforcing, while if it has an odd number of negative feedback-segments, it will be self-correcting (as seen in the above image).
This piece of information is important to my world-view for a number of reasons: it reinforces my translation-principle (that all systems, whether living or not, follow the same laws and are thus interchangeable), and because it puts a new framework around a means to determine whether a system will achieve dynamic-equilibrium or break out of its current state.
In other words: when we claim that something is "sustainable" we are implying that the "overall/generic" causal loop of a system reaches "overall/generic" dynamic equilibrium.
*: negative here is not a value statement, but rather a description of whether the small changes that occur in the causal loop are reduced or reinforced. A negative effect is one which reinforces the effect.