Degrees of Freedom in an Unfolding Reality

“How can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?

  • In the 1970s Karl Weick[10], an American organisational theorist introduced the concept of “sensemaking” into organisational studies.He explored how people try to make sense of organisations, and organisations themselves try to make sense of their environment. In this “sensemaking”, Weick paid attention to questions of ambiguity and uncertainty — how we frame and act in the unknown and give meaning to our collective experience. Since that time, the framework has been extended beyond the organisation as a way to build intelligent knowledge for decision making. A further abstract decision making and intelligence tool anchored in perception, context and patterns — a compliment to logic and an increasingly abstract form of reason that have dominated decision making since the Age of Enlightenment and the mental structure forms of consciousness (Jean Gebser[11]) embraced by modern civilisations for the last 2300 years (Aristotle);
  • In the early 2000s French Computer scientist Jean-Louis Dessalles and colleagues shaped a Cognitive Theory (Simplicity Theory[12]) to explain how through observed drops in complexity we make decisions on how to navigate reality;
  • Hungarian-American Investor and philanthropist — George Soros’s Theory of Reflexivity [13]— outlined how humans perception interplays with reality through feedback loops; and
  • United Kingdom Neuroscientist — Prof Karl Friston’s Free Energy Principle[14] — which explains how biological systems maintain order (i.e. mitigate entropy) by minimising uncertainty (‘surprise’) — an embodied intelligence — the interplay between the Mind, Body & Environment. Abstract Models of reality that are constantly being tuned through a form of Bayesian analysis and thermodynamics (free energy).
  • In 2017 Olivia Judson an evolutionary Biologist and writer published an essay “The Energy Expansions of Evolution” in Nature Ecology and Evolution[16]. She set out a theory of successive energy revolutions that purport to explain how our planet came to have such a diversity of environments that support such a rich array of life, from the cyanobacteria to daisies to humans. She divided the history of the life on Earth into five energetic epochs, geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh, and fire. Each epoch represented the unlocking of a new source of energy, coinciding with new organisms able to exploit that source and alter their planet. The previous sources of energy stay around, so environments and life on Earth become ever more diverse — a “step-wise construction of a life-planet system.”

“The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself…[the adjacent possible] captures both the limits and the creative potential of change and innovation”…[19]

“If such a tiny fraction of the potential diversity of proteins of length 100 have ever felt the sun’s warmth, then there is plenty of room for human explorers to roam. Evolution can have sampled only the tiniest reaches of “protein space.” And since selection tends to stick with the useful forms it finds, evolution’s search has probably been even more restrictive”…

- Stuart A. Kauffman, At Home in the Universe

Welcome to emergence.

A break in Symmetry – these Universal Structures & Patterns – is Emergence


[1] — Erwin Schrodinger — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Schr%C3%B6dinger

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