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« How Might Humanity Survive a Radically Changing World? | Main | Mommy, where do jobs come from? »

August 30, 2011

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Molly

Hmmmmm........ Interesting and VERY rational - logical - as usual. There's definitely a genuine personal appeal in the picture that you are drawing. Of course several questions come to mind. For example, !. And what is the pattern of YOUR lifestyle these days? We have a garden, the old man fishes, we live next to a reservation and our faithful Indian companion Roger sells us fish, BUT we drive to Costco....we drive to visit the kids, and while we don't have a BIG house, we have a larger house and WAY more stuff than we absolutely need and we're probably too old to make DRASTIC changes. While we TRY to "educate" the kids about the likely future we see lurking "out there", I can't say that they buy into much of what we have to say! 2. It's about the "extra" BILLIONS of people these days. Will one of your future posts address that rather significant "little" problem? I realize that "Mom" ( as in mom nature) does have her own (often) ruthless ways of dealing with over-populations, but.....
And lastly, I'm a third of the way thru a wonderful book - The Ecological Rift, by Foster, Clark and York - which deals with the absurdities and consequences of capitalism's war on nature and it's impossible belief in the continued possibility - plausibility - of infinite growth in a finite system. Probably won't tell you anything you don't already "know" but it's a FINE read.

Siddharth

"Siddhartha" here once again :). Mr. Mobus.

Most often I find your posts 'dark'. But relevant. Since I live in India, living a respectable, clean, healthy life is mighty tough. At least I have found so. Besides this country is 'economically' growing. As you mention, to expect people to transition to a different kind of life in this age would be preposterous.

I also train MBA aspirants, and when I share a few thoughts related to what you share on this blog, I find that the students understand but they would like to forget all that I share for then 'living' becomes difficult.

It's a marketing problem this. I surmise a lot of education is marketing of a certain kind of life. If educationists aren't well-educated (read, well aware and thoroughly read), this lack of sapience might continue. And I wonder, what would be the consequences.

deston

....anything based on maslows heirarchy of needs is starting from a middling mediocrity ebbing towards wretched pejoratives. maslow was, unfortunately, a staunch conservative ( in the classical sense) who understood little of the wilderness, individual will, or the disproportionate central influence of statistically outlier events and beings. so any design based on its entirely subjective method is... headed to the same failures. the PR package of creating a new sustainable lifestyle is one that may sell well to a subset of well to do neo liberals, whose cultural cohesion is so strong they forget the rest of the world exists at times, but it would be a hard social sell o the average new york millionaire as long as that fief lords favorite dogs dance as (s)he throws treats to them. and its damn near impossible to legislate morality, last I checked. the 196 hectare/community (at 4hT/person) is entirely discreditable on the premis of regional production variations. the island of kauai is about 500 odd square miles and had a pre-colonial population of about 40-60k people. way denser. the gobi desert is the inverse. a patent (x acres) doesnt work, esp in the light of roving plaugue, drought, blights, etc. a new formula for "people per acre" isnt that useful. hell, it was forced motility in the face of drought that likely led to the first archological evidence of warfare in the levant. the warring was apparently brought on by excess resources, curioulsy...what is telling is the authors idea of sapient beings...when the HG cultures that found themselves on the fringes of proto ag rose up looking for new game and range, they were cut down by the newborn ag cultures... just as this author cuts down those suckling on the glass teat "This is why I don't think the majority of humans alive today even need try to establish a sapient society." ... classist at best and eugenic at worst. the author can think, and reason, perhaps, but that matters little. trashin trashout and maslows hierarchy is... 'nuff said. btw, who is the author? I dont see a credit on the blog. I would at least know the name of who I am questioning... ;) I think wed have an excellent conversation!

George Mobus

Hi Molly.

As to my personal lifestyle... Let's just say that more than one person in a family has to agree on what a suitable lifestyle entails. Not everyone in my family thinks Dad is spot on. However, I'm the one who generally collects the used toilet paper roll centers and the paper wrappers for the new rolls from the trash and makes sure they get into the recycle bin! I drive a Honda 250 Rebel motorcycle to work (too far to ride my bike unfortunately) which gets 75mph. I eschew material goods, and I am currently wearing a T-shirt bought over five years ago. Not enough, of course.

I and my wife do a little gardening. We grew enough that this summer, even with the cold weather, we had an almost zero food bill in veggies (tomatoes are just now ripening.) We even gave stuff away but canned some other stuff. This in a yard that was fully landscaped when we bought it.

At my age I'm not making any long term plans to go be a farmer or homesteader. However I am working with several young couples who are laying plans for the coming shocks. That will be my contribution! OK, maybe a few other things in the works. But strategic, not tactical (yet).

Have not read the book. Perhaps you will write us a synopsis when you finish.

-------------------------------
Hi Sidharth(a)!

I'm becoming less and less evangelical WRT students because of the phenomenon you mention. I will answer questions with the truth as I understand it, but I am not trying to sell them anything.

Sapience is a heritable trait, I'm convinced of that. It may be boosted slightly by the right environment during development, but after a certain age I really don't think it can be brought to bear on gaining wisdom. And it is wisdom that is needed. I find that there are students who have the natural curiosity and drive to gain wisdom (not just degrees). They are the more sapient among us. They are the ones to bring the message to. They will be the ones who will have to adapt to the future.

----------------------------------
Dear me Deston.

You are certainly welcome to express your obviously strongly held views. But I would ask that you provide some evidence re: the theory rather than an ad hominem attack of Maslow.

I guess you missed the part about the 4 hectare being a margin of error due to regional and future variations. That is OK. Maybe a slower read with emotion put aside will assist your understanding. If you have issues with the numbers take it up with Pimentel and others who provided them.

I doubt that we would have an "excellent" conversation. Your style doesn't match my own. Oh, and BTW, I am the author. Its my blog.


George

Mark Twain

George, another wonderful post. Well thought, reasoned, and, may I say, wise.

Lots to think about. I'm still digesting. :-) Looking forward to the rest of the series.

George Mobus

Mark,

Thanks. It's getting closer to school for me. Time to start thinking about syllabi, etc. Time is the problem now. But I will try to keep them coming in a reasonable time frame.

George

Phil Henshaw

[.. had difficulty posting this a couple days ago] w/ some ed.

George, I do like your way of describing the end result, but we need more on the essential steering mechanisms to get us there. From a physical systems view to change directions don't we need to redirect the system's net-energy somehow?

That would include a change in how we use profits, so as to redirect our self-investment choices, wouldn't it? For any net-energy system the procedure for allocating self-investment resources needs to switch doesn't it, from one principle to another, as the system transitions from eruption to maturation.

Because how people work is by searching for opportunity, it gives the economy a self-optimizing global search mechanism. We use it for making money, energizing the markets of suppliers and producers to look for supplies and products to make.

There are various values one might think desirable, of course, for how that system should allocate funds to build its infrastructure of the future, and replacing old with new. Those decisions all end up being defined in terms of money though, following its rules.

To change the direction of investment choices you then need to change the rules of money. One of the changes certain to be physically necessary is a change, as Keynes first pointed out, from regulating finance for multiplying investment to regulating finance for stabilizing investment.

I like the social values you and most other visionaries on the subject favor. Nearly all sound great for finding how to use. Noticeably absent from the discussion is a rule change for switching from multiplying to stabilizing the scale of the system.

Money is now regulated to give average investors returns on every bet, and allows them to keep adding them to their bets, in the hopes they will forever multiply. That constitutes a forced exponential driver for the economy.

It keeps the parts of the economy from operating unless they promise to contribute ever multiplying real returns, for exploiting our talents and the earth. It's popular to blame the super rich and their financial malfeasances, for the problems it causes.

If you look closely, though, the super-rich are only the leaders of a society that has physically committed itself, as a whole to completely impossible dreams. So it's really the practice not the practitioner that guarantees societal failure in this case.

In our culture, nearly everyone’s central economic purpose is to culture an ever greater wave of growing investments, hoping it'll never break. That cultural self-deception is more the real culprit. It’s embodied in our principle of financial regulation.

Regulation is thought to be for protecting us FROM malfeasance, so it's the last place we'd expect to find as the direct source of our malfeasance. It contains a design to build the maximum unsustainable wave of financial obligations, before it breaks, a maximum achievable calamity.

The anti-social behavior of the people fulfilling our culture’s mad dreams are truly just "the surfers" riding our great wave of multiplying expectations, operating a casino purposefully designed to lose multiplying amounts of money on every bet. We've got to change that.

George Mobus

Phil,

I do like your way of describing the end result, but we need more on the essential steering mechanisms to get us there. From a physical systems view to change directions don't we need to redirect the system's net-energy somehow?

Well, patience. I am trying to analyze and characterize the end goal first before laying out the road map. Remember I started this with the idea that every journey starts with the destination.

My plan is to finish this phase and based on what the end point looks like start laying out the travel plans, so to speak.

The problem that you go on to describe is more of what Greer calls a predicament. Not a solvable problem, just a situation that has to be coped with. My journey will be designed not to take society from where it is now to this new world. Rather it is designed for just the few travelers that actually have the capacity to make the trip. Those will be the people best able to work out the details of their trip as they go. No one told Lewis and Clark what all they would encounter in the way of challenges on their trip. They had some idea from scouts and their talks with various Indian tribes, but they didn't have all of the details. They had to adapt and improvise. So too will those who will make the trip I have in mind.

There is no "us" to get to this end point, if you are thinking of current society. The plan is not to transform one culture into another, but rather, to allow the first to disintegrate (as all cultures and species eventually do) and then seed the world with people who will ultimately create a new culture. My vision of this village approach is just a stop along the longer journey. The idea is to have a way to get through the bottleneck, after all.

George

Shoudaknown

George, I made this a blog post on 'Reading Nature's Signals', still short and very well worth reading but a bit longer than these three paragraphs. Phil
---------

...Can we shut down the system for repairs?... The first learning steps beyond the impasse, on a new path.

Well, that would be conceptually neat, but does not seem to use the path finding mechanisms that nature typically uses. She offers myriad examples of how run-away growth systems can change by maturing to become stable self-managing ecologies. That's what we need to do, and learn how to mimic, that our culture knows little about because science has avoided the subject all but entirely.

I know this approach is problematic for someone accustomed to representing systems with equations. Real ecosystems are niche making learning and development processes, though, and “rule making” not “rule following” processes. The far better conceptual models are of collective learning and development.

Collective learning and development systems can cling to one systematic behavior while it is useful, and the break from it to find and cling to another model, when that is opportune, because the parts are actively learning as they go.

Continued: http://www.synapse9.com/signals/2011/09/18/can-we-shut-down-the-system-for-repairs/

George Mobus

Phil,

Not sure what "shut down the system for repairs" would really mean.

I do get the idea of nature finding a new structure/organization that allows the system to adjust to stresses. In my systems book I give examples of the hierarchy of organization and an explanation of auto-organization (I redefine self-organization which sounds too intentional to me). One big example is the emergence of eukaryotes from cooperating (mutualistic) bacterial predecessors. In my interpretation of your view of learning systems this statement:

...because science has avoided studying the opportunistic learning of natural systems all but entirely.
doesn't comport with this example. A good book on the subject of sociality as a kind of learning process in general leading to higher levels of organization, take a look at: Principles of Social Evolution by Andrew F.G. Bourke. He provides numerous examples of science studying natural learning systems in this context. But if you mean something entirely different you'll need to explain.

But there are also cases of system breakdown and starting from a simpler state to re-evolve to higher states. All of the major species die-offs appear to be of this kind of process. The emerging species almost invariably possess new capabilities, especially in the realm of information processing, that provides a new basis for further evolution. This is kind of what I envision from your phrase about "shut down". But if I'm wrong...

In any case, my vision is more like that of the mass extinction model with a bottleneck situation for many species, including the genus Homo. I definitely cannot see our society learning how to live differently or reorganize in the same way eukaryotes learned to live differently given the massive depletion of high power energy facing us and the time scale it takes for such learning processes to proceed.

Later in your blog you say:

Science has simply not studied it at all, is part of the problem, and even though I have a large store of high value and readily actionable guidance to offer on the subject, no one is even asking questions.

I take issue, again, with what I emphasized. You are not alone in thinking about these things, at least as far as I can interpret your writing. I still think the frustration you are experiencing is due to the persistence in a belief on your part that we can somehow transition the current civilization to something new by just taking a few simple re-investment (or similar) steps.

I assert, and I have been writing as much, that due to scale in size, power, and time, this simply can't happen. It will not be a shut down to fix the system. Rather, in my view, it will be a huge dissolution of the current system to be replaced by another, more adept one.

George

Phil Henshaw

George, I'm glad you at least take issue with what I said. I appreciate it. It indicates you are looking for what I'm referring to, but not finding it. You'd have to look for some of the kinds of emergence that science is not addressing, then.

Yes, some kinds of emergence have been theorized to follow imagined stochastic equations. Using that as a universal explanation, though, rules out considering other observable processes. It keeps you from inquiring into the bursts of new relationships associated with locally opportunistic processes, for example.

Bursts of new relationships seem to actually be both found and quite necessary for initiating any new regular process, however grand or slight. The physics is that any process needs to develop into existence. Energy conservation prevents systems from being projected into existence.

Where I get the idea to reply with a critique of "shut down the system for repairs", is your sentence suggesting it. You say: "The plan is not to transform one culture into another, but rather, to allow the first to disintegrate (as all cultures and species eventually do) **and then** [my emphasis added] seed the world with people who will ultimately create a new culture." It's the "and then" that bothers me.

When you study system development as a local construction processes, producing designs by accumulating local additions, you find building process being animated by their parts. They use what they find as local opportunities. That kind of development follows a “map” of discovery, not one of “goals”.

If the parts don't take local opportunities for increasing their net-energy, the system doesn't develop at all, for example. If they do take them, the system first increases by systematically increasing steps (growth) and then by decreasing steps (climax), to either end in a lasting new steady state or vanish with exhaustion. That's a universal pattern of instrumental phases of change for the emergence energy using systems.

The critical concept is seeing development as a real discovery process, a path of searching for what rules to follow. Opportunistic systems follow rules that are in development, and change according to the discovered opportunity, rather than follow preexisting rules that are unalterable. It’s the accumulative effect of the parts taking the opportunities they find for themselves, at each step. That causes the system as a whole to be searching for what else it can become.

That way development can be thought of as the system's process of learning and discovering what to become, at every step. It’s just as any individual experiences in their career growth, or as any business assesses it’s options as it develops too. It also applies to any economy, culture or any other system developing without a map. Their “map” is the explorations being done by their own animating parts. Observing that, then, expands the language we can use to discuss emergence scientifically, expanding to include those subjects we can see this process happening in.

The important transformation step is when the learning parts of a developing system find their growth becoming unprofitable, as it always much, as growth changes internal and external relationships by ever bigger steps. As the procedures for growth become unprofitable, maximum profitability is achieved by changing them, switching the system from a divergent to a convergent phase of accumulation. Having the net energy of the system always applied to growth defines a path leading to exhaustion, but also exposes an opportunity to **change destinations** by altering the procedure.

So, conceptually, I don't entirely object to the destination as you define it. I'm just pointing out the critical juncture, whether the emergent system takes its option to head there, or not, in the normal course of growth to maturation.

That it seem universally necessary for emerging systems to “switch designs in mid-stream” (altering their rules for what to add), is something I find quite missing from mainstream science. Wouldn't you agree that principle is quite important, if true, and not yet recognized as a question of science?

George Mobus

Phil,

A lot there. I will need to read several times I think.

My chapter on "Auto-Organization, Emergence, and Evolution" is nearing completion. Perhaps I should send you the draft. I suspect we might be on the same wave length with some aspects of what you describe. But you use phrases that are unfamiliar to me or could have many meanings. Examples would help a lot.

As for my phrase "and then" referring to seeding the post-bottleneck world with uber-sapients to give future evolution a starting point for more sapient hominids, it was short hand for saying that, with the right preparations these higher sapient people would be the major, perhaps only survivors of the bottleneck. There wouldn't be any active agent in that time that sets things up then. The setting up has to come before and be done by the sapients themselves.

As to what comes next that is up to the course of future evolution, which may or may not do more with the sapient hominids. They could even go to complete extinction. My point now is not to try to second guess evolution but to fix it so that whatever future evolution of hominids might take place will be starting with the best (in my opinion, of course) qualities of humanity. Then it is entirely up to nature.

George

Phil Henshaw

Well, I think the starting point would be to do like Robert Rosen did, and I make as clear as I can with quite frequent examples. That's to clearly distinguish as two separate subjects 1) what we see in our minds (concepts) and 2) what we are looking at in the world (changing complex processes).

The latter are notably NOT built like cognitive structures at all. One needs to develop a way of searching and exploring their physical features. You can't discuss them as conceptual objects. They are as different as the mountain in the distance is from the image in the camera. The subject and our information about it represent quite different kinds of reality.

Discussing natural processes and conceptual models separately also helps one see how well our conceptual models, based on some fixed idea, fit the complex processes we study with their ever changing organization. Since physical systems don't have fixed design, and conceptual models can't work without one, it becomes critical that the observer have a way to keep changing their concepts as that becomes important.

It'd be great if you tried to at least refer to this paradigm in your next chapter. You might just call it a new way to shift the subject to the instrumental processes of complex systems we've had such a hard time understanding.

George Mobus

Phil,

I am curious as to the meaning behind your first paragraph. Also, I would like to know why you assert, in the second paragraph, that processes are not "built" like cognitive structures.

My curiosity is based on a long history of study of cognitive structures and the way the brain seems to construct them. They are themselves complex processes, not memory as we find, say, in a computer. The brain does seem to build dynamic complex structures driven by both perceptual inputs and other conceptual inputs (along with affective drivers as well). And those conceptual structures are the basis of our mental models. They are models (representations) built in dynamic neural networks.

Now if what you are saying is that those mental models are not or cannot be accurate in all details or that they may, in fact, be completely at odds with reality, I acknowledge that. But there is nothing anyone would dispute in that. When a model that is at odds with reality is constructed that is saying more about some constructural problem with the individual brain that forms them rather than with an inherent fault in all human brains.

I am at odds with your claim that conceptual models can't work without "fixed design". Then you go on to say the holder (observer) needs a way to keep changing, etc. Aren't those two ideas at operational odds with one another? Have you ever heard of Gerald Edleman's evolutionary model of memory encoding (Neural Darwinism)? I don't agree with all aspects of his model but it does attempt to address the very dynamic way in which conceptions do change with experience.

Yes, representations are not the same as the real thing. They are only representations. But what matters is what you can do with a representation at any point in its lifetime. Can you generate realistic scenarios? Can you predict future states of affairs that have a meaningful impact on the observer? If you can, then in Edleman's sense, the concept is fit in the domain of the human mind.

I can't refer to a "paradigm" I don't actually grasp as being a paradigm. You will need to provide a good deal more description and evidence for some of the statements you've made. Otherwise the prevailing neurobiological evidence will remain operant (I wouldn't exactly call it a paradigm yet). Since I do cover mental models and representations (of all kinds) in my book already I don't think I need another chapter on it.

George

mesudar

To further examine the potential effects of climate change that number might be a little more, combined with the above estimates by population density.

George Mobus

mesudar,

Afraid I haven't a clue as to what you are referring to.

George

Shoudaknown

George, I've been on travel a bit and that's why I didn't respond promptly. Your first two questions are excellent. What I and Robert Rosen did was distinguish between "what we see"(a cognitive construct made in the brain") and "what we are looking at" (an environment of energetic systems organized as independently as weather, worms and sparks).

There are lots of very recognizable differences between cognitive realities and physical ones. They have quite separate energy sources, for example, and so are differently organized to deplete different gradients.

Granted it's confusing that how we imagine what we "see" is itself imagination, not reality. Our perception uses essentially the same process of individualized cultural "story telling". It doesn’t bring the natural world we are looking at into our minds, but only creates our image for our own mental theater to "see".

The difference between how a brains think and nature works is visible in all the details. The brain thinks of nature as working by what we see. Nature mostly works by what is hidden from view, her systems that evolve by their own internal growth processes unseen from the outside, not by their measurements from the outside. One could go on to the very different kinds of change that are possible for information systems and physical ones. There's the extreme difference between the time, the process and the energy it takes to change the images of things and the reality of things, for example.

What I'm saying is not that models are incomplete, but are quite unlike reality is kind. Models are naturally missing all the details of how natural systems are organized internally. For models we have to use our own imaginative idea of what might make them tick, and represent it with rules of our own. One thing we can't possibly achieve is models that are continually reorganizing their own internal designs, as natural systems typically are doing, everywhere, all at once, all the time. I think that means a model that is not designed for asking helping us learn how real world systems are behaving differently are ultimately pointless.

Sure, one may design a very creative model, based on some principles you like, as you say Gerald Edleman did. What that does not help you with, in the least, is an economy operates by the creative learning of a society of people discovering new uses for their own environment. One of the very big differences is that human learning, and the swarm behaviors that develop from it, are themselves far more inventive than anyone would claim to understand.

Another is that no model has our environment, or even has the capacity to interact with ANY sort of faintly realistic environment. Models are self-contained intellectual constructs, so if they're not designed as learning tools for understanding OUR environment, raising questions for us to use as we go, I don’t think they tell us anything relevant.

So, all that is why I took the approach of studying environmental systems themselves, as physical rather than as theoretical objects. I realized that models would never successfully emulate them. So I switch from looking for models and instead followed the other most useful habit of science, looked for simple questions I could answer with high confidence (like some of the above).

It comes down to how what we see in our minds is so very different in nature from what we're looking at in the world. As I said: "They are as different as the mountain in the distance is from the image in the camera. The subject and our information about it represent quite different kinds of reality."

It'll take work to learn how, but I think it has become simply untenable, with all we now, to continue saying that nature can be represented as a construct of our information. That's what science started out trying to do, but it's not working. We need a "paradigm of two realities" one we individually learn with, the other the one we learn about in common, our individual information worlds and the physical world.

Central to that, of course, is learning how to refer to the physical world as our common subject. That’s what seems needed to claw our way out of this tangle we’re in, with every thinker, every social network, and every sub-discipline of every field referring to the world as a different universe of their own design. Kind of a weird impasse,… no?

George Mobus

Phil,

Hope your travels were fruitful.

As I read your comment I was overtaken with an uneasy feeling. Isn't there a philosophical problem with your claims re: mental models are not the real reality? Namely, what are you thinking with in your own head? How, if you have mental models to work with, can you claim some kind of knowledge about the distinction between mental models and reality unless your mental models are really reflections of reality itself? What special perspective do you have to say that your understanding of reality is "real" vs. the common other person's mental images of their reality?

My feeling was that you are claiming a privileged perception and mental conception of real systems that allows you to make judgments in distinguishing between another person's perceptions, which are not really real, and the reality they are supposedly perceiving.

It seems to me we either have to accept that, yes, our mental models are never really perfect, but good enough for thinking about what is going on in the world, or that there is a Platonic reality (that you are somehow privileged to see) that no one else recognizes that they don't have access to and therefore continue to misunderstand real reality. By claiming that there are "recognizable differences" between cognitive realities and physical realities you have to be claiming that you can somehow see the physical realities AND the cognitive realities in order to make the comparison. And you seem to be saying you go on to find the former wanting!

Now I will be the first to agree that cognitive realities are mental constructs in the brain and they are no more than models of reality (whatever that may be). But I don't claim that I know what the differences are. I work from principles regarding the resolution of all models, computer-based or cognitive, which, by definition, cannot be precise representations of all aspects of physical realities. But it is the best we have to work with. And since all of us are humans with human brains to build our representations in, none of us can claim to have particularly special understanding of THE reality.

Do you see my problem?

George

Phil Henshaw

George, I'm very relieved you're willing to discuss that, as the great majority of scientists seem quite unable to. It's a matter of being able to switch back and forth between the use of natural language and symbolic language. People often seem to find that difficult once they become dependent on symbolic language.

When non-scientists use a word like "apple" it means *both* a reference to the meaning in relation to other words, *and* a reference to an undefined physical object of nature that is not part of our mental world at all, but a physical world that behaves independent of our thoughts. If you rely only on symbolic language its common to get that reversed, depicting the physical world as arising from our mental world (as the QM philosophy folks all seem to do explicitly), not the reverse as the energy paths clearly indicate.

I'm saying that science is handicapped by that, by symbolic language relying on self-definitions internal to the language of science, connecting with the natural world only through symbolic contemplation of "data". The big advantage to making separate symbolic and primitive references to complex physical objects of nature is that you can then discuss how they are connected and what separates them. That becomes a real necessity for the study of individual instances of complex natural systems like the natural growth of organisms or cultures.

I'm definitely not, of course, saying that some change in attitude lets you know all of the unknowable complexity of undefinable physical things! ;-) I'm really just saying that it makes the wilderness of complexity we find in nature more explorable. My approach is to find simple questions that can be answered with high confidence, used for asking better and better questions. They become tools for exploring networks of discoverable features of otherwise undefinable physical things. Another example is how I use it to define the thermodynamic boundary of a business as an environmental net-energy system in SEA.

I go further into how one would use the ability to define such a natural system boundary (maybe clumsily I think) in my paper called "Models Learning Change". It's subject is how to read the approach of the limits of organization for complex systems that are systematically changing scale. The general principle is that no system can operate at a scale larger or smaller than its parts can respond to. Because both growth and decay are systematic auto-catalytic processes of changing organizational scale, as if without end, they'd naturally end at such time as they cross the operating limits of their parts... for example. http://www.cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/view/176/295

George Mobus

Phil,

From the first sentence in the Introduction of the article:

Because natural environmental systems can reorganize and change their behavior over
time...

And following your pattern of asking simple questions first as a basis for asking more complex questions later, I would like you to explain and give examples of what you mean by a "natural environmental system recognize and change behavior".

I stumbled on that right off the bat, and thought it would be good to clear it up. If you explain and provide examples later in the paper, my apologies. Point me to them. I only read the abstract and started the introduction when this caught me off guard. I thought this might be problematic for me understanding more of the paper if I kept wondering what you mean by this, especially the recognize part.

George

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