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A significant part of the scientific and philosophical work of Ilya Prigogine(see e.g.Prigogine,1980)has been devoted to the dynamical meaning of phenomenal/physical irreversibility expressed in terms of the second law of thermodynamics.For systems with strong enough instability of motion the concept of phase space trajectories is no longer meaningful and the dynamical description has to be replaced by the motion of distribution functions on the phase space.The viewpoint is that quantum theory produces a more coherent type of motion than in the classical setting and the quantum effects induce correlations between neighbouring classical trajectories in phase space.
This diagram sketches four major pieces from the puzzle of the emergence/origin of life on earth,without however coming very close to completing this puzzle;thus,Prigogine’s subtle concepts of microscopic time and micro–entropy super–operators may allow us to understand how life originated on earth several billion years ago,and also how organisms function and survive today.They also provide a partial answer to subtle quantum genetics and fundamental evolutionary dynamics questions asked by Schr¨odinger–one of the great founders of quantum‘wave mechanics’–in his widely read book“What is Life?”Other key answers to the latter’s question were recently provided by Robert Rosen(2000)in his popular book“Essays on Life Itself.”,unfortunately without any possibility of continuation or of reaching soon the‘ultimate’or complete answer.Schr¨odinger’s suggestion that living organisms”feed on’negative entropy’...,”was at least in part formalized by Prigogine’s superoperators,such as M.This theory is in great need of further developments that he could not complete during his lifespan;such developments will apparently require a categorical and Higher Dimensional Algebraic,non–Abelian theory of irreversible thermodynamics,as well as a quantum–mechanical statistics of open systems that are capable of autopoiesis,e.g.living organisms.
Dynamic Emergence and Entailment of the Higher Complexity Levels
We are considering here the question of how biological,psychological and social functions are entailed through emergent processes of increasing complexity in higher-dimensional spacetime structures that are essential to Life,Evolution of Species and Human Consciousness.Such emergent processes in the upper three levels of reality considered by Poli(2006b)have corresponding,defining levels of increasing dynamic complexity from biological to psychological and,finally,to the social level.It is therefore important to distinguish between the emergent processes of higher complexity and the underlying,component physicochemical processes.Chaotic dynamics are not,however,emergent systems because their existence does not require aggregation,or the presence of a level higher than molecular.We are here defending the claim that all‘true’dynamic complexity of higher order is irreducible to the dynamics of sub-processes–usually corresponding to a lower level of reality–and it is therefore a truly emergent,real phenomenon.In other words,no emergence⇒no complexity higher than that of physicochemical systems with chaos,whereas reductionists now attempt to reduce everything,from life to societies and ecology,to systems with just chaotic behaviour.The detailed nature of the higher level emergence will be further developed and treated in a more formal/precise manner in the following sections.
As explained above,there is an ongoing ambiguity and also inconsistency in the current use of the term‘complex’,as in‘complex dynamics and dynamical systems’–which is employed by chaotic physics reports and textbooks with a very different meaning from the one customarily employed in Relational Biology(Rosen,1987;and also earlier,more general definitions proposed by Baianu(1968 through 1987).We propose,however,to retain the term‘complexity’–in accord with the use adopted for the field of physicochemical chaotic dynamics demanded by modern physicists and chemists.
Then,in order to avoid the recurring confusion that would occur between inanimate,chaotic or robotic,systems that are‘complex’and living organisms which are at a distinctly higher level of dynamic complexity,we propose to define the latter,higher complexity level of biosystems as‘supercomplex’.Thus,we suggest that the biological complex systems–whose dynamics is quite distinct from that of physical‘complex systems’–should be called‘supercomplex’(Baianu and Poli,2007).(Elsasser also claimed that living organisms are‘extremely complex’,as discussed in a recent report(Baianu,2006)).For example,a collection of parts could be assembled through a categorical colimit,as it will be shown in a subsequent section(8).Note also that a categorical colimit is defined not just by its parts but also by the morphisms between the objects,which conforms with the naive view that an engine,say,is not just a collection of parts,but depends crucially on how they are put together,if it is to work!
Interestingly,the term‘super-complex’is already in use in the computer industry for high performance digital computer systems designed with a highdegree of parallel processing,whose level of complexity is,however,much lower than that of physicochemical chaotic systems that are called‘complex’by physicists.On the other hand,in the fields of structural and molecular biology,the term‘super-complex’recently designates certain very large superaggregates of biopolymers that are functional within a cell.Thus,our proposed use of the term h super-complex i is for the higher level of organization–that of the whole,functional organism,not for the first(physicochemical)level of reality–no matter how complicated,‘chaotic’or intricate it is at the molecular/atomic/quantum level.Therefore,in our proposed terminology,the level of super-complex dynamics is the first emergent level–which does correspond to the first emergent level of reality in the ontological theory of levels recently proposed by Poli(2006a,b).A more precise formulation and,indeed,resolution of such emergent complexity issues will be presented in the following sections.Our approach from the perspectives of spacetime ontology and dynamic complexity thus requires a reconsideration of the question how new levels of dynamic complexity arise at both the biological and psychological levels.
Furthermore,the close interdependence/two-way relations of the psychological and social levels of reality(Poli,2006a)do require a consideration of the correlations between the dynamic complexities of human consciousness and human society.The emergence of one is ultimately determined by the other,in what might be expressed as iterated feedback and/or feedforward loops,though not restricted to the engineering meaning which is usually implied by these terms.Thus,feedforward loops should be understood here in the sense of anticipatory processes,that can,for example,lead in the future to the improvement of social interactions through deliberate,conscious human planning–or even more–to the prevention of the human,and other species,extinction.Further inter-relations among the different ontological levels of system complexity are discussed in Baianu and Poli(2007).
The important claim is here defended that above the level of‘complex systems with chaos’there is still present a higher,super-complexity level of living organisms–which are neither machines/simple dynamical systems nor are they mere‘chaotically’–behaving systems,in the sense usually employed by the physical theory of’chaotic’dynamics.These distinct levels,physical/chaotic and biological were represented as distinct objects in the non-commutative diagram of the previous section joined by causal links,running from simple to‘chaotic–complex’(physical)dynamics,then upwards linked to super-complex biodynamics,and still higher to the ultra-complex,meta-level of mental dynamic processes of processes.
A further claim is defended that even though the higher levels are linked to–and indeed subsumm,or include–the lower ones in their distinct organization,they are not reducible in a physical or(bio)chemical sense to the lower dynamic level.In esse,the distinction between the existence of the higher,super–and ultra–complexity levels and the physical/chemical level of reality can only be made on the basis of their dynamics.Neither Life nor the Mind can be properly conceived as static/closed systems,or even as quasi–static structures,without either a time-dependence or associated,material(including energy)and microentropy/gradient-driven flows which are characteristic of irreversible,open systems.If the super-complex dynamics stops so does life.Somewhat similarly,but at a different,higher level of reality,the human mind’s ultra–complex existence emerges as a dynamic metaprocess of processes,supported also by neural dynamics and life.Artificially separating the mind from the human brain and life in an abstract–‘analytical’sense,as in Cartesian Dualism,promotes a static view and an object–based approach that might be relevant,or just partially applicable only to unconscious human beings,such as in the case of a severe brain stroke,or even worse,in cases caused by permanent,irrecoverable human brain injuries to a‘living–vegetable’status in grave,major accidents.
We shall examine next in some detail how super-complex dynamics emerges in organisms from the molecular and supra-molecular levels that recently have already been claimed to exist by several experimental molecular biologists to be‘super-complex’.As shown in previous reports(Baianu,1973 through 2004;Baianu et al,2006),multi-cellular organismic development,or ontogeny,can be represented as a directed system or family of dynamic state spaces corresponding to all stages of ontogenetic development of increasing dimensionality.The colimit of this directed system of ontogenetic stages/dynamic state spaces represents the mature stage of the organism(Baianu,1970 through 2004;Baianu et al.2006)
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