In describing symptomatic sequences we are dealing with arrangements that influence the schismogenic tendencies of relationship processes, as Bateson first surmised. If this is true, then an ideas about how to change these processes must deal with the nature of recursive, cybernetic systems.
We have already cited Ashby in describing the change processes involved in entities that have what he called "bimodal feedback mechanisms." As he said, these mechanisms entail two types of corrective action. First order changes are the minor fluctuations from state to state within the limits for behavior that are already set. Second order changes have to do with resetting the rules for those limits and usually require a transformation, the discontinuous change described in Chapter 10.
An example of first order fluctuations in a family would be a mother who knows she can serve any main dish for dinner as long as it is not fish. Or a child may know that he can come in any time after school as long as it is not later than six o'clock.
Second order change applies to any situation in which the usual range of behaviors is no longer applicable because of developments