Re: virus: Metasystem Transition

Dan Plante (
Sun, 02 Feb 1997 02:04:00 -0800

At 02:46 PM 2/1/97 -0800, Tim Rhodes wrote:
>On Fri, 31 Jan 1997, Dan Plante wrote:
>(all clipped up)
>> ...., it becomes apparent that a formal, rigorous
>> definiton of a metasystem transition is needed, as well as a self-
>> consistent rationale for that definition.
>I agree and think that what you have set out so far is fabulous.
>> Any thoughts?
>I have a few questions.
>> Atomic phenomena arise from sub-atomic interactions (the stable isotopes)
>> Molecular phenomena arise from atomic interactions (chemistry)
>> Self-reproducing structures arise from molecular interactions (life)
>> Self-aware structures arise from self-reproducing interactions (mind)
>Is self-aware the right term at for this stage? Self reproducing
>interactions (life) produce social structures before producing self-aware
>structures (unless you wish to grant starfish and red ants

I made a distinction between "social" and "cultural". I realize that
ants are sometimes referred to as "social", but I regard it as a
euphamism stemming from the /apparent/ correlation to human culture.

But yeah, I didn't like it either. I tried to keep it so that the basic
nature of the emergent properties were consistent at each transition,
and the formal definition of that basic nature would provide the
rule to formulate a more self-consistent process table. One obvious
rule would be that the nature of the emergent property is not implicit
in any facet of any unit in a system from which it rose - for example
the activity of a single neuron does not imply a self-aware mind that
emerges from the interaction of many. But then I asked myself "Am I
skipping some steps? What about between 'life' (the first self-
replicating structures - rudimentary precursors to RNA) and 'mind'
(interaction of neuronal cells). Might there be valid meta-system
transitions, say, at the development of cell structures? Or the
development of pro-karyotic from karyotic cells? And if so, why?
Each development imparted some distinct quality, but would it qualify
as a meta-system transition according to the previous rule? Are there
other rules that we can extract from the nature of more obvious and
aparent transitions, that we can use to refine, to disqualify certain
developments? If not, there could have been thousands of transitions,
and to evaluate each development with competence and extract a formal
definition would require a trans-encyclopedic knowledge base." I started
to get a headache at that point, and thought "Fuck it, I'll just puke up
what I've got so far, and see what flies back at me."

>> Memetic structures arise from self-aware interactions (culture)
>Or perhaps: Memetic structures arise from social interactions. (culture)
>> And....?
>Well, this is were I stumble. Is the next step:
>* Metasystem transition structures arise from memetic interactions (???)
>And if so, is this too self-referential to take us to the next step. What
>arises from transition theory interactions? Can we usefully talk about
>the next stage using the terminology of the previous stage?
>I don't know the answer.

Me either.

I don't know about self-referential; maybe just "goes without saying".
I think it would be extremely difficult. The crux of it is the limit
imposed by the intractible nature of predictions of complex systems
implicit in the fact that the nature of emergent systems are not
reflected in the nature of any underlying component. That doesn't
mean it would be impossible in theory (depending on the number and
nature of the variables, and the simulation time, etc), just nearly
impossible in practice. That's where intuition comes in - arriving
(jumping?) at conclusions based on incomplete information. The sticky
part is making the right conclusions, and knowing why they're right ;-)


The Metasystem Transition History of the "Dan Plante" System

initial conditions = data (conception)
control of data = information (conception to puberty)
control of information = knowledge (puberty to marriage)
control of knowledge = wisdom (marriage to divorce)