We can think about relations for a system, but the system needs to make them explicit. It is difficult for a system to think of relations themselves, as this is meta-reasoning. If we can define some kind of function for a relation, a system is able to assess a relation. For example if you send a message and it is send it back directly, you have a response time. Because of the response time you can have an assumed distance, which is related to location. You can say this machine is close to me and this machine is far from me. Computers require functions to assess relations.
In a computer and system environment you can smash everything down to relations. Indeed, you can program statements, have some kind of syntactic structure, so basically you have a relation of terms. And instructions are coupled to specific hardware instructions. From that perspective, it would be all relation based. Indeed. But where does that bring us, asks van Splunter and he explains that we can understand and reason about the level of syntax in relationships. But if you want to abstract from that and have it perform tasks by itself, it also needs to understand these tasks, to add meaning to the syntax. To be able to understand a task it needs to understand how the relations that are needed to perform a task, relate to itself and/or its own syntax.