Maturana, 1988, pp. 65-7
I maintain that an observer claims that social phenomena are taking place when he or she sees two or more organisms in recurrent interactions that follow an operational course of mutual acceptance ... an observer will claim that a given living system is a member of a social system if he or she sees it participating with other living systems in the co-ordinations of actions that constitute such a social system.
It is constitutive of social systems that the components that realise them should be living systems.
Luhmann, 1995, p.98
In the final analysis, psychic and social systems are distinguished according to whether consciousness or communication is chosen as the form of operation.
... the elements of social systems are conceived as communicational acts (events) and not as persons, roles, subjects, individuals, etc." (John Bednarz's introduction to Luhmann, 1989: xi)
... when communication shall come about, ... a social system is activated, that reproduces communications by communications and makes nothing else but this (Luhmann, translated by Steinbring, 1999, p.42).
Bateson, 1979, p.193, p. 154
What is important in the present context is to note that my procedures of inquiry were punctuated by an alternation between classification and the description of process. I had proceeded, without conscious planning, up an alternating ladder from description to the vocabulary of typology. But this typing of persons led back into a study of the processes by which the persons got that way.
For many people, their thinking about the social system of which they
are the parts is shaped (literally in-formed) by an analogy between that
system of which they are the parts and the larger ecological and
biological systems in which the animals and plants and the people are all
parts. The analogy is partly exact and partly fanciful and partly
made real -- validated -- by actions that the fantasy dictates. The
fantasy them becomes morphogenetic; that is, it becomes a determinant of
the shape fo the society.