Which came first? LO20369

Tue, 12 Jan 1999 15:42:45 -0800

Replying to LO20296 --

AM de Lange writes:
> Gray, you have judged my NMR example to be obscure. I wish I had a
> less obscure example to convey the importance of the back action of an
> emergent on the substrate. I will try my best to think of a better
> one. Maybe somebody else will succeed. Obviously, the example is one
> issue. The other issue is whether such a back action exists and how
> important it is.

I'll give it a try...

How about an example from organizations that many of us are familiar with?
I'm thinking of a chorus or orchestra (is Ray Harrell still listening?),
with the singers or players as "components". No matter how good they are
individually, without the back action they won't add up to a good
ensemble. (Senge's discussion of team learning is appropriate here; it
can't be done by individuals.) With this example in mind, the following
makes a lot of sense:

> In terms of the general systems problem "which comes first", the
> complex emergent system induces a complexity in the behabiour of its
> sub systems -- a complexity which they did not had on their own. We
> may now think generally in terms of a "complexity shift" rather than a
> "chemical shift".

I think part of the problem is that, like a typical scientist, you've
appropriated a common word, with a loosely understood meaning, and giving
it a somewhat different, more precise (and complex) meaning.

> It is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve this problem if we
> assume creativity to be purely a human behaviour. But if we comprehend
> creativity as something which at least mammals posess, then the
> problem becomes easier to solve. The marked difference between humans
> and other mammals, is not in creativity, but in learning. The
> complexity of learning in humans has evolved to much higher orders. It
> causes a complexity shift in the underlying creativity. Thus,
> allthough all acts of learning are acts of creating, it is the
> complexity of the learning which induces a complexity shift in the
> underlying creativity.

In fact, as you've explained, even molecules possess creativity in your
sense, in the way in which the organization of the atoms creates something
different than simply the collection of the atoms, and in the way that the
organization changes the atoms themselves (the back action). (Think of
the difference between a bunch of singers sitting around in a room, then
coming together to create the chorus.)

At, am I getting warm? Gray and others, does this help any, or have I just
muddied the waters?


Don Dwiggins "The truth will make you free, SEI Information Technology but first it will make you miserable" d.l.dwiggins@computer.org -- Tom DeMarco

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