The Zen of Systems and Networks


My own work with Enterprise Frameworks and Networks has led me to come up with the following table.  It describes the Nodes and Links in a Complete System Network.  I am saying that the Nodes representing Goals, People, Time, Locations, Code, Data, Qualities and Quantities can all be represented as Scale-free Networks and that each of these Node Networks require only one datatype.  I am also saying that there are only three types of links in networks: recursive links within a set, multiple links between sets, single links between sets.  I know of no case where this has been attempted in the manner I am attempting to represent it.


If you have been following my blog you are aware that I have been struggling for a long time to come up with a framework and a clean terminological set to describe systems.  I think I have come one step closer to that goal today.  The table above describes a Fact composed of eight Nodes (first white row illustrating entities) and the Links (last three white rows illustrating recursive, multiple and singular relationships) for each of the System Networks (Interrogative columns).  One of the interesting aspects of this System Network Model is every Fact is composed of a Unique Set of all eight Nodes.  However, all the Nodes in one Fact do not have to have Links to all the Nodes in another Fact.  Each Node within a Fact is independent regarding its Links.  Therefore you have a single set of System Facts with each Fact containing a single set of Interrogative Nodes each connected by their respective Link Networks.

I have recently been writing with the intent to challenge centrism on any one of these networks and advocate a more integrated view. I still remember dealing with data centrism, event centrism, user centrism, goal centrism, program centrism and schedule centrism over the course of my career. All of them have a role to play. My insight into all of these Nouns being Linked by Verbs in only three ways required me to look at all of the Enterprise Architectures and disengtangle the Nouns, Links and Verbs from the reasoning and representations that extend back beyond computing itself.

The Data Model below is a hybrid of Relational Models and Dimensional Models.  I call this an Associational Model.  It is using Relational Architecture to represent it.  However, I think that an alternate Entity-Attribute-Value (EAV) architecture called the Associative Model of Data would be better suited to the task.  I am using relational representation as I am still trying to communicate with a community only familiar with Relational technology.

The first thing to note about this model is Links are represented by Associations.  Associations link two Nouns using a Verb.  What is interesting about this model is every Verb, Association, Noun and Fact is unique.  The vertical connections are Many to Many relationships which allow two vertically adjacent Verbs, Associations or Nouns to have multiple unique relationships between each other.  What this means is there are no integrity problems (duplicate values) as the system network would enforce uniqueness.


The premise of this model is that the Nodes are not dimensions at all.  I am rejecting the traditional concept of dimensionality instead I am saying that there are three dimensions of Links: recursive, multiple and singular.  All we perceive are Facts, Nodes and the Links between them.

So you could come away with the following Zen koan:

entity without entity,

source without source,

path without path,

target without target,

size without size,

dimension without dimension.

Structured Thinking System: Relationships

In the last post, Structured Thinking System: Entities, I laid out the the thirty-six fundamental entities of the Structured Thinking System. In this post I will discuss the relationships between these entities.


The relationships in the Structured Thinking System are a recursive hierarchy both vertically and horizontally. What I mean by this is each column is a series of one to many relationships proceeding down the column and the bottom most entity has a one to many relationship to the top most entity in the column. The same applies to the rows. Each row is a series of one to many relationships proceeding from left to right across the row and the rightmost entity has a one to many relationship to the left most entity in the row. For example, in the Green Coat (motive) column one Verity has many Unities, one Unity has many Qualities, one Quality has many Quantities, one Quantity has many Safeties, one Safety has many Reliefs and one Relief has many Verities. In the same way, one Verity has many Creators, on Creator has many Motives, one Motive has many Creates, one Create has many Universes, one Universe has many Years and one Year has many Verities.

The reason for such a structure is due to the nature of “centrisism” in system design. Although the Structured Thinking System always starts with Verity as the central concept of the system’s design it is possible for other centrisms to exist. It is equally possible for a Leader centric design, an Object centric design or a Moment centric design. Note how the center can move not only horizontally, but vertically, however the direction of the one to many hierarchical relationships remain the same.