NOTES on other forms of Emergence *

Emergence of Internet Communities.  Emergence of Community ‘Rules’  (Self governing, self-generated by consensus).  Let the community police itself.  EBAY!  Find articles.

Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Control.  Emergence is always bottom up.  For social emergence, freedom is indispensable.  It is the parts self-organizing into higher-level orders and dynamic layers of systems upon which they rest.

How does centralized control of an organism or social network work?  Does it send out general requests and depend on local  organized structures to implement them, perhaps by sending out more generalized yet more specific requests to its subsystems?  This is somewhat like the ideas of Paul Weiss.

Why central government fails.  It tries to write direct rules that must apply to everyone in all circumstances.  This is an absurdity and leads to inevitable failure.  What is cultural conservatism?  The gradual emergence of government and private institutions of learning, business, law and the arts.

Law, like science (and like parenting) is experimental.  Laws are attempted and the consequences studies in order to improve the  laws by improving their effectiveness and minimizing their numbers and repetitions. We learn about laws by watching how they affect peoples actions and decisions. We try to guess why, through empathy, but must inevitably ask the the people themselves to get the right answers.  The same is true of economics, marketing, education, healthcare, recreation, etc.

Above all, laws emerge from human values and preferences, from the bottom up.  People create laws of action before any written formal law is written to codify human practice.  It is NEVER the other way round.  Top down laws do not work, they clash with the very people who must live by those laws.  I say that they do not work, not that they do not exists.  Unfortunately many such laws exist, even entire systems of ‘dysfunctional’ laws exist.  They can only exist and continue to exist by means of some form of centralized tyranny.

Take transportation.  Highways and railroads are not built to create markets, but to respond to markets.  Yes, once the markets exist, the transportation amplifies their value by lowering their cost, but it is the customers who ultimately decide which markets will flourish.  But the attempt to build highways and bridges as a top-down inducement to create markets must fail when the markets are not already there or emerging.  At best, government planning of infrastructure only diverts the resources of society to a less effective, less profitable utilization of such resources in both the short run and the long.

When Obama said, ‘You didn’t build that.  Other people did.’ He was chanting the same fantasy tunes of all who believe (a) that those who build the infrastructure are the primary agents or cause of the creation and growth of industry, and (b) that businessmen only  or primarily react to the infrastructure to create businesses which exist to exploit the infrastructure.   This is entirely backwards.  As stated above, first comes the businesses and then come the infrastructure.  That’s the rule every time. That is why, top-down so-called ‘planned economies’ always fail by building bridges and roads to nowhere that only crumble and are overtaken by the weeds of nature.

We want to believe that one mind solves all things and the rest are followers.  Not so, there is no single inventor of the law, of the market, of medicine, of science itself.  All are practices.  They emerge through widespread practice which yields results that lead to more thought about why these results occurred and how to improve behavior when they were not intended (or even when they were).

Men have always wanted to find the simple laws of nature that explain everything.  This is a false and foolish goal.  It turns out that it is the complexity of nature and not its simplicity that explains it order.  And this order is itself almost never the mere outcome of simple underlying laws.  Both the beauty of nature and of its laws are mutually emergent, complex, dynamic.  To find it order, one must be willing to accept the very complexity that enables the emergence of the seemingly simple laws of nature.

The deep desire to want the universe to be simple, or ultimately simple, has motivated philosophers, scientists and humanists to propose systems of nature, methodology and law that embody this prejudice for simplicity.  Descartes’ New Science emerged in just this way; not as the outcome of research and observation, but rather by arm-chair (rationalistic) reasoning about what an ideal science would require from nature.  Descartes’ solution: two simple substances, res extensa and res cogitans.  Nothing is granted to either substance that is not required by the simplest requirements for scientific reasoning.  Thus both forms of existence (res) were defined as mathematical in their essence, res extensa as purely and simply  geometric extension and res cogitans as the simple conscious intuitive grasping of the mathematical nature of all of being.   Needless to say this simplistic model did not and could not survive in the face of emerging science and practical reason.  (See Mario Bunge’s  The Myth of Simplicity.)

The laws of emerging systems must themselves be emergent!

* Do not cite or quote this page.  It is under development and its contents are tentative. – bioperipatetic

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