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Self Organizing Systems, Thermodynamics, Gravity and Life

Updated on April 4, 2017

Part Three

Continued from:

Rational Scientist, David Robison asks, "In current orthodoxy we are supposedly left with two choices: everything is ultimately "random," or everything is ultimately deterministic, i.e., completely determined by what has been consummated in the past.”

Systems theory considers that both living and non-living systems may be self organizing along with the resulting emergence. Chaos brings about self organization which leads to greater chaos which leads to greater self organization and emergence. What is the key to this emergence?


"Is this along the lines at all of what you meant by the thread being the source of the kind of motion circumscribed in the definition of life? But here maybe you're talking about life preventing eternal recurrence? If it's the latter then I think I understand. Or perhaps you mean both?"

Probably both. They're related. They're joined at the hip, so to speak. The intelligent movement of life organizes the system while the randomness of inanimate objects works against that. Or we can say it’s the opposite. Perhaps motion can not cease, because, although there is some friction at thread level, it is ever so slight, and living entities pull and push this way and that way lending their hand towards order (or disorder).

With all self-organizing systems, feedback is the key to the chaos to order to chaos to greater order and emergence cycles. I suggest that there is some friction at the fundamental level (think about charge according to RH, where M-threads “rub against each other during atomic expansion/contraction, for one example). This could allow for mostly "effortless" continuous motion, but might, without the aid of living entities pulling against gravity, come to a stop eventually.

If you counted up/weighed all the mass of both inanimate and animate objects, the former greatly outweighs the later. So perhaps it is not the quantity but the quality of the "against gravity" mechanism that keeps the process going. Or, perhaps the “pull against” mechanism is responsible for not reaching equilibrium, but the living entities ability to make quality choices prohibits a repeat performance of events.

We'll take a look at macro, micro and nano scale phenomena through the eyes of thermodynamics, in light of the Rope Hypothesis to see if we can make some sense of it towards forming a Theory of Threads. This may shed some light on motion and also touch, and what that might mean at a subatomic level.

What is Life?

See Rational Scientific Method Vol. I, Chapter 42, Life; or Vol. III, Chap. 29, Life

What sets a living object apart from the non-living is, by definition, its ability to move on its own against gravity and along with or against the path of least resistance.

When we talk about life, and unpredictable motion, is it thread motion that is the source of unpredictable motion? What is it about living things that make their motion unpredictable? I think, it is the "moves against gravity and along the path of least resistance" and the resulting Pushme-pullyou with thread motion. But non-living self organizing systems like tornadoes are not easily predicted either.

How does a single cell (using its flagellum, etc.) “choose” to move this way or that? What is the decision process? Internally it's about osmosis between membranes, and externally it's the same tug of war as the rest. A worm chooses based on light/dark, hot/cold, wet/dry, etc, but ultimately it's likely that whether single cell, multi-cellular or intellectual top of the heap critters like hairless apes, it's a matter of survival "choices." The term choice differs depending on levels of abstraction obtainable by various living objects and determines the “quality of movement.” Surely the higher level of abstraction makes it possible for man to have unlimited intelligence and therefore many more choices are available to him (this is what I mean by quality of movement).

Whether or not motion itself can be explained, we seek to explain the motion of our segment of the thread where we live and move and have our being (to wax religious for a moment). If we assume the Rope Model, what happens on a cosmic scale must relate somehow to what happens on a planetary scale, macro, micro and atomic scale.

Because all H-atoms are connected, it doesn’t matter whether we work from the macrocosmic to the microcosmic or the other way around in our discussion about inter-connectivity or inter-relatedness.


See Rational Scientific Method Vol. II, Chapter 37, Temperature what Is It?; Vol. IV, Chapter 21, Black Body, Chapter 22, Black Body Radiation, Chapter 29, Black Body and Thread Theory

In respect to the rope model and thermodynamics, any relationship to reality would have to be as regarding the finite amount of matter (ultimately there's only so much thread to go around) and “finite amount” of motion.

Wait! Stop the presses! How can one put a limit on an amount of concept? One can not! But this is exactly what one MUST do to create "closed, open, or isolated systems" that fulfill the "laws" of thermodynamics. An increase in entropy here means a decrease there (conservation of energy), as entropy is a dynamic process referring to the dissipation of "energy" (read motion of objects seeking equilibrium) in a system given its relationship to its environment.

One can put limits on individual object’s motion, after all objects are limited by definition. One can bolt a chair down, and a dumb ape can not move it, but molecules and atoms are still moving, however so slightly as far as the ape is concerned.

AND if atoms are moving, then so are ropes and threads. Therefore, ultimately, a single fundamental thread comprising all objects must be moving as well.


See Rational Science Vol. II, Chapter Twenty Eight, Zero Point Energy Nonsense, Chapter Thirty Five, Dark Energy and Dark Matter; Vol. III, Chapter Twenty Five, Mass Part Three

Energy is the ability to do work, or the concept of two or more locations of a weighed object over time. Well, there are apparently, now, all kinds of energy, but let’s talk about kinetic energy, keeping in mind that all types of energy use the same units:

Object A weighing ‘w’ kilograms moves ‘d’ meters with respect to object B, in a time of ‘t’ seconds, as measured by an observer

1 J = 1 W s = 1 kg x m ^2 / s ^2

Energy=verb. What some thing does.

Let’s quote the Fat One:

”Without a minimum of 2 objects and an observer to establish this abstract relation between objects A and B, there is NO energy!

“The litmus test for this energy nonsense is to imagine the universe consisting of a single lone object. This single object has NO energy because it cannot even move from one location to another. It cannot move a distance of ‘d’ meters. It doesn’t even have any weight ‘w’ kilograms because there is no gravitational pull to it. Also, in this scenario, there is no time ‘t’ seconds because time is a concept that requires a minimum of 3 objects to be realized. For example, 2 objects could be the Earth and the Sun, where one moves relative to the other. The third object must be an observer with a human who counts, or a computer that keeps a running total (i.e. memory) of the “ticks” from an arbitrarily-defined unit we call the second.

“As you can see, energy is NOT something that can exist. Energy is a concept, more succinctly, a verb! Energy is a concept that necessarily requires at least 2 objects to be defined.”

So, obviously, thermodynamics is measuring, calculating, and describing (motion of) objects. How do they do THAT!?

In this series of articles, I’ll be presenting my two cents worth on what the Laws of Thermodynamics have to do with self organizing systems (SOS) and also discussing the difference between living and non-living SOS.

Ultimately SOS is a good way of putting it because it’s all about survival for living objects, but what about non-living? What is being preserved if there is no principle of fecundity?


Rational Scientific Method Vol. II, Chapter Eleven, Matter and Motion

Motion above atom is defined as two or more locations of an object. With thread we can only assume that motion is a property of thread. When it comes to the rope, we can define motion as a change in the number of links between atoms; but when talking about threads, two or more locations of an M thread; or, when talking about atoms, two or more locations of an atom.

BUT when referring to "the" single thread we can only say that motion must occur because it comprises all other objects which move. The closest term to use in an attempt at defining motion at thread level is perhaps in a new use of the old term: energy

energy: motion of thread

Self Organizing Systems

Meteorologists and storm chasers would love to be able to understand tornadoes well enough to predict when and where they will occur. But until the self organizing weather system reaches a tipping point, and the emergent property called tornado appears, there is no telling about them. After “the” tornado emerges there is no way to know which way it will go, how long it will last, or how powerful it will be. Why is this? Because with emergence arises qualities not found by studying water, rain, and wind.

Generally when scientists study a phenomenon they try to understand it by its component properties, but the tornado is simply not the sum of its properties. The tornado is the phenomenon. It is what wind and rain are doing. AND what are wind and rain? These too are phenomena. The objects involved are water molecules and air. So rain is moving water, and wind is moving air and a tornado is therefore moving motion! To call weather a system, is where the misconception begins. It is OK for the weatherman to tell his audience “a” tornado was seen touching down. This is casual, ordinary language for the common man.

If I do not define a term, then it can be assumed it is being used in the ordinary sense. “The” or “a” tornado was used above because to place the or a in front of a verb, is scientifically (and grammatically) incorrect. In science we don’t use verbs as nouns. I will assume, for the remainder of this series, that the reader is familiar with the Rational Scientific Method, and ask forgiveness in advance for the casual use of some terms. I will be using the language of those from whose material I have drawn. When they define their terms, I will provide those definitions.

As the self organizing “system” known as human grows, neurons branch fractally and form a complex web of inter-connectivity. At some tipping point in the developing brain, the emergent property unlimited intelligence arises, but this is not just a result of the neurons any more than man is a result of the cells which comprise his body. To understand self-organization we can not remove the neuron from the brain or the man from his environment. Yet this is exactly what is done (the terms isolated system, closed system and open system are used throughout, yet there really are no such systems).

Self organizing systems are found throughout physics, chemistry, and biology. Its study has a long history stretching back to Democritus, but the term was coined in 1947 by William Ross Ashby. I started with Wikipedia and followed a trail from ancient to modern times trying to understand what the common thread is between inanimate and animate objects and “Why the disconnect between physicists and biologists?” I went to hundreds of websites, read dozens of papers, blogs and discussions in comment sections too numerous to mention. Every website or scientific paper referred to a dozen more in an endless, far-reaching, multiple discipline encompassing, interconnecting web of scientific nomenclature with mathemagical derivatives and integrals of function. In general, the one element common to all of the discussions is thermodynamics. In particular, the second Law of Thermodynamics. Biology depends on chemistry, chemistry depends on physics, and the many laws of physics all seemingly rest upon the basic laws of thermodynamics. So I hope to connect the dots between self organizing systems, thermodynamics, and life. As I always say, to coin a military phrase, “Sempli-Fi, Leave No Man Behind.” Woven throughout the series of articles are questions such as, “What is life?”, “What is intelligence?” and, “What is energy?”

What is Intelligence?

See Rational Scientific Method Vol. IV, Chapter Nine, Are Humans Intelligent?; Vol. V, Chapter Two, Intelligent and Smart; Chapter Three, Artificial Intelligence - Artilect

Rational scientist David Robison says, "Within a biological brain, neural adaptation is one of the crucial ingredients of consciousness which enables conceptualization. While non-human animals may be unlimited in their low level concept formation, they are limited in the extent to which they can relate concepts and engage in abstraction."

This is a very interesting idea that I'd like to explore further. I think humans are limited in their ability to APPLY concepts (smartness), and wondering, if that is the case, how that differs from non-human animals limited ability to relate concepts. Also, I'd like to understand what you mean by "low-level concept formation" by defining it or by giving examples of that and contrasting that with "high-level concept formation."

David responded, “By "level" I'm referring to levels of abstraction. So, say, a cat may be unlimited in how many low-level concepts it can form throughout its life. But it in terms of relating concept into abstract concepts, and then relating those, I think it's limited in terms of abstraction.

“So most of the cat's conceptualization is relating objects into concepts, and maybe some degree of abstraction above that. But it may be able to continually relate objects into new concepts throughout its life, forming more and more associations as it ages.

"Low-level" simply means fewer levels of abstraction. The "lowest level" are all concepts that relate objects. One level above that would be concepts relating to other concepts. And so on. It has to do purely with levels of abstraction, or maybe a better term is the degree to which the concepts are nested.”

In response, I offer up these definitions:

concept: relation between objects and abstract concepts

low level concept: relation between objects
high level concept: relation between concepts or nested concepts

Whatever level the ant is on conceptually, he is smart. Smart: the ability to apply concepts. He is able to keep organized societies going for 100 million years. He can conceive of the consequences of rain, temperature fluctuations, attacking neighbors and that the queen is dying and what to do in response to these things.

Does the ant have the unlimited ability to conceive of concepts? I don't think so. I think man's intelligence is an example of emergence due to the shear number of neurons and synapses and the ability to create new neurons and new synapses (neuronal and synaptic plasticity), along with (among other things) natural selection and phenotypic plasticity. But higher processes likely go on between neural nets and neural nets, whereas lower processes go on at neuron to neural net.. Something like that.

Now, I don't understand anything about ant consciousness, but in regards to my definition of intelligence, if ants are not in some way relating objects or concepts, then what are they doing? The ant uses a complex method of communication with mixing 20 pheromones in varying strengths for words, is able to derive syntax and context. In other words, sentences! AND the ant must be rubbing neurons together to do that.

I sure don't think that a tornado can conceive of anything, or has anything like what we call intelligence,

but there is a difference between biological self-organizing systems and inanimate ones.

Intelligence: the unlimited ability to conceive of concepts. Smartness: the ability to apply concepts to reality

David said, “Neurons communicate through synapses extremely rapidly, and neurons are all highly interconnected with other neurons. So the signal transmission and feedback are all happening with lightening speed, all over a brain.

”Conceptualization requires the kind of rapid signal transmission, near instant feedback, and direct interconnection that you find in a brain. I'm saying anything with a brain is capable of conceptualizing. I've never said that conceptualization is limited to humans. So yes it can be other creatures. What it requires is a brain with interconnected neurons, synapses, and electrical/chemical communication.

"I'm inclined to believe that there's more than one set of physical processes by which conceptualizing can come about."

So if I understand correctly, David, you are calling for degrees of abstraction, whereas I only delineate between conceiving and applying concepts. There are neuron to neuron connections. Maybe that accounts for one degree. There are “neuron to neural net” connections. Maybe that represents another degree of abstraction possible. There are neural net to neural net and neural net to environment, all these may represent how levels of abstraction are possible.

What I think happens is that at some point, like with all self organizing systems, there is a tipping point where the whole is greater than the parts.

100 billion neurons and upwards to a 1000 trillion synapses (and this is dynamic as neurons can be manufactured in various parts of the brain-neuronal plasticity and numbers of connections is dynamic-synaptic plasticity).

Cro-Magnon had larger brains than modern man. Would the Bee weighing in at a million neurons outsmart the ant in the survival game with a quarter of the neurons? I have a sense that it is not entirely the number of neurons that account for what we call intelligence, afterall how can we put ANY restriction on ANY concept?

David said, “For sure. The cell was the tipping point for life. Specialized cells which are highly interconnected by electrically conductive pathways and which are capable of both electrical and chemical signaling was the tipping point for consciousness.

”And I think another tipping point occurs when a brain is capable of unlimited abstraction. There may be some other identifiable tipping points in between, like conceptualization and low level abstraction. I imagine there is some kind of recursive mechanism that makes unlimited abstraction possible. And as you stated, it probably has to do with how neural nets relate to neural nets.

”Within the human brain there are specialized regions, and within these regions I'm sure there's all kinds of other things happening with how neural nets relate internally.

”I think [brain size] that's only one parameter, there's going to be many other qualitative attributes, both structural and dynamic, which are essential.

”I view quantity of neurons and synaptic connections as being a threshold parameter -- there's some bare minimum necessary, but beyond that it probably has a lot more to do with the structure of the brain and how neurons and neural nets relate and interact with one another. And there are likely many other qualitative considerations.

”There's plasticity and neural migration, growth of new neurons and synaptic connections, synaptic pruning, strengthening/weakening of existing connections, and the whole range of dynamics for how protein synthesis and epigenetics affect the functioning of a neuron with its environment.

”Since all neurons are undergoing adaptation (how internal structure and function change in response to a cell's external environment), which happens constantly and very rapidly, and these changes affect signaling along all of the connections, meaning changes due to neural adaptation are communicated "almost instantly" to other neurons, thus influencing the course of their adaptation, there's a never ending "co-adaptation" of all neurons and neural nets.

”DNA and protein synthesis are critical factors, and I think this helps explain why "artificial intelligence" is impossible. These are molecular level "machines" which developed through emergent complexity, at every level, molecule to molecule, macromolecule to macromolecule, internal cellular organ to internal cellular organ, inside the cell to outside, and so on, and even the mechanisms of DNA and gene expression undergo adaptation, so there are new macomolecular, intracellular, intercellular, and so on, architectures and dynamics emerging constantly which cannot possibly be emulated or replicated using non-living entities.

”There's no other way to do it but billions of years of evolution. And there's certainly no chance of us being created by super-intelligent aliens who built a supercomputer and a simulation, that's considerably more idiotic than even Flat Earth.”

Until it is understood that living entities can not be considered apart from their environment, that there is no mind/matter dichotomy, and that physics is not in opposition to biology, there will remain a large gap between the two camps, a disconnect between physics and biology.

Disparate ideas abound in this regard, and I think that it is because physics looks to discrete particles where there are none, thinks that time and space are things instead of the abstract concepts that they are, and can not separate their concepts from objects.

In terms of the Rope Hypothesis, there are a finite number of H-atoms which comprise all matter. BUT rationality says there is not a finite number of combinations (read- "amount" of motion).

The First Law of Thermodynamics is about the conservation of energy and the Second is about the one-way linear progression of entropy. There is an element to the first which speaks to eternity of motion, but a misconception about disorder in the second.

However, cause/effect in a linear fashion occurs locally, NOT globally. Motion never ceases, matter is never created. Because mainstream science lacks the interconnecting physical mechanism the particle phiz whiz gets the idea that “energy is never destroyed, it just changes form.”

What does this mean in regards to the Rope Hypothesis? Things assemble and disassemble, but there always remains the same number of H-atoms connected by ropes woven from the same amount of thread.

The "higher laws" on a planetary and cosmic scale related to Rope Hypothesis are the driving force behind thermodynamics and make life on earth and elsewhere not only possible but inevitable. When we take into consideration that there are no discrete particles, and that while life is linear on earth, but matter and motion are eternal, it all starts to come together and make sense.

Take thermodynamics and replace the term energy with motion, and then when one reads that a bacterium exchanges energy and matter with its environment, it makes sense. Remove the stochastic discrete particle collisions and Boltzman probability distributions and replace them with interconnecting ropes, and it all begins to make sense.

The typical Four laws of Thermodynamics do not even cover the best and newest idea relating to a law of maximum entropy production. Bolztman misapplied the 2nd and everyone is considering that law as a law of disorder, but this is not really what Clausius was saying when he developed the idea.

More on the Fourth Law of Thermodynamics later, but next a very brief look at General Systems Theory:


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