EMERGENCE vs or and TRANSFORMATION
I have never doubted that transformation was by far the most dominant change process in our observable universe. Indeed, science can be comprehended as the study of transformational change – or we seek transformational theories (scenarios) as explanations. There are many today who would deny parity of both processes, even claim that phenomena labeled “emergence” can be reduced to transformation.
In high school, confronted with the evident determinism of physics and becoming aware of validated empirical evidence for (weak) psychic phenomena, I sought an explanation that permitted both to “exist”. I wrote a short story about how a needed psychic intervention (to save a life) altered the initial state of the physical universe so that the “rare” psychic phenomenon occurred – determined from the “new” initial state. This foreshadowed my later “feedpast bootstrapping” speculations.
When I first attempted to share my insights about Societal Metamorphosis I never anticipated conflict between transformation and emergence. I recognized that small transformations would occur within a system in metamorphosis, and obviously there would be transformations after metamorphosis. Resistance by others to even consider my hypothesis led to my discovery that most persons had (what I comprehended as) emergence in their blindspots. TransFORMation was, to them, THE ONLY mode of change. Although others would read or listen to my arguments, when it came time to speculate on future changes in humankind, transforming existing systems was the only option.
It wasn’t that simple. Obviously there are revolutionary defeat/replacement of regimes, with old regimes and populations sometimes totally exterminated. Also, should contemporary humankind totally collapse (as in SciFi novels and videos), the rise of a new civilization would not involve transformation of the old, which no longer existed to be transformed. But, the emergence of new order from chaos was still reduced to complex sequences of transformations. Conscious actions transformed. The paint on a palette transforms to paint on the canvas, and the emergence of the image – which was transformed from the mind of the painter to the canvas. These “stretch” the concept of “transforming”, from morphing, to simply moment-to-moment, incremental change.
I was surprised decades ago, in conversation with Humberto Maturana (inventor of Autopoiesis) that ALL scientific explanation had to be mechanistic, a sequence of causes.
This led to my argumentation AGAINST the belief that large, overly complex and highly dysfunctional societal systems could be significantly transformed.
More recently I am coming to feel that some transformation of contemporary society may be required to set the stage for successful societal metamorphosis. I still hold that we can’t morph our societal caterpillar into a viable societal butterfly. However, given Maturana’s interpretation of “transformation”, a moment-to-moment “trail” could be found for each person and thing – from today to 2100.
Personal history. I gained meaning for “transformation” from its use in the mathematics of operators on functions; transforming one function to another function. I gained meaning for “emergence” from the history of science retrospect of thermodynamics “emerging” from statistical mechanics.
This has moved me one more step – to the discovery/acceptance that some transformation occurs in the formation/emergence of the biological butterfly form, and we might explore what aspects of civilization might be transformed to be part of the emergent societal butterfly. In my struggle to gain comprehension of my hypothesis I neglected this aspect.
BIOLOGICAL PROCESS RE-EXAMINED
If any reader of this knows a biologist expert in metamorphosis, I need a professional assessment of this “story”.
I recently read that the imaginal buds are in the surface of the caterpillar – yet this is difficult to imagine as it sheds its skin (molts) as it grows. But, the point is that the imaginal buds are for body structures (wings, legs, etc.) and – it now appears – NOT internal organs).
I had read a while ago that three functional subsystems actually transformed, the caterpillar cells getting smaller and radically reorganizing. These were the digestive, respiratory, and neural subsystems. The continuing functioning of these subsystems during the transformation is an interesting query.
I have also read that there are two distinct genomes in organisms that undergo metamorphosis. I am not sure this means two separate nuclei.
As with any use of analogy, all aspects need not be used. In my model I ignore the protective function of the chrysalis; but have just learned that Bill Voltrep explicitly considers the function of a societal chrysalis for organizational metamorphosis.
My blindspot for the chrysalis was that, in the biological case, it enclosed both the decaying/transforming caterpillar and the emerging butterfly. Caterpillar changes contribute to the metamorphosis. Today’s societal institutions are not supportive of UPLIFT, and I cannot depend that they will be supportive. Yet, I have given considerable thought to the protection and security of the emergent UPLIFT movement – but given it was to be from within, and not a shield, I didn’t accept the analogy of the chrysalis. That the butterfly doesn’t grow or change significantly between emergence and death, is a feature not part of the analogy.
SOCIETAL METAMORPHOSIS RE-EXAMINED
With these modifications in analogy, what functional subsystems of our Societal System in contemporary humankind might be transformed into corresponding functional subsystems of emergent Humanity? We should not be too quick to nominate our economic, agricultural, and governmental systems.
When considering societal subsystems we need to carefully distinguish
(1) the physical infrastructures,
(2) the human participants, and
(3) the semiotic structures (semfield).
The physical infrastructure includes all of human built environments and constructions: roads & vehicles, buildings, dams & bridges, factories & machines, universities and research sites, research equipment and installations, offices and facilities, farms & livestock, computers and networks (wired and unwired), rail, air and sea transport systems, communication & information/entertainment systems, waste dumps, zoos & museums, etc. Humans make, use, transform, and destroy this physical infrastructure, and in the process damage Gaian living systems (organisms to biomes) and land/water/air geological systems.
Humans interact with these human created infrastructures. Humans grow up and are conditioned to live within these infrastructures, which becomes the primary, relevant world for them. The cyclical creation-of & living-within infrastructures gives rise to “cultures”. Some humans may visit “natural sites in Gaia”, or view videos of “nature”. Others, poorer and indigenous persons may live “close to nature”, getting most of their basic resources from “nature” [what is the scope of this, as compared with those living in “developed” societies?].
A few humans behave in ways that “direct” others in how to interact with and change physical infrastructures. They are “elites” and “leaders”, themselves living in situations and circumstances often radically different from the majority of humans – their special “world”. However, they are themselves conditioned by their settings and associations and are no more “really free” to be “different”.
Persons and their infrastructures are one “highly complex system”, interacting over centuries and millennia. Human persons have the potential to over-ride their conditioning and be more than S-R (Stimulus-Response) machines. Human creativity can lead to creating things/processes that can often be “disruptive” to the status quo (positive resonance between humans and infrastructure). HiTech businesses pride themselves in being “disruptive”. The natural decay of infrastructure or intentional violent destruction during war can also be very disruptive to the status quo. Changing “nature” will also be “disruptive” to societal systems, disturbing the status quo.
Since humans during metamorphic transition must continue having basic needs met, the physical infrastructure existing will be transformed to merge with new infrastructure created. UPLIFT can’t create all new physical infrastructure from scratch and then somehow dismantle and discard the all old physical infrastructure. Roads buildings, machines, energy and food sources are examples of such physical infrastructures to be transformed during Societal Metamorphosis.
Who is to design/plan/manage this transformation? Not those societal institutions and human persons who had done so before. The nu emergent humanity, the Societal Butterfly’s developing “s-genome” should guide participants in UPLIFT in designing/planning/managing requisite transformations. In insect metamorphosis, the whole transition is directed by the genomes of the caterpillar and butterfly (I need to confirm that there are two distinct genomes in the DNA system of cells of both caterpillar and butterfly).
The s-genome (societal genome) is the semfield created, used, modified & improved by human participants in UPLIFT. This field of semiotic structures (e.g., text, graphics, code) seafs the 4Cs (Cooperation, Coordination, Communication, Creativity) of Collectives. The s-genome contains the data, information, recorded knowledge/comprehension/wisdom statements (language and visuals). The s-genome is continually changing.
The galdee patterns of human interactivity relevant to UPLIFT will be by collaborative design & experimentation. They will not be transformations of patterns in pre-existing societal institutions. Today, many are suggesting features to avoid and features to cultivate – but most are intended to be achieved by transforming the behavior if existing organizations – which Larry/nuet concludes is either impossible or too difficult.
There is one knowledge domain that lead me to conclude that transforming civilization would be impossible.
The extraordinary power of elite forces, the presence of sociopaths at high positions and that the system attracts sociopaths, the accelerating decay of infrastructures, the threats of major conflicts (eg. USA-NATO vs BRICS re the continued dominance of the US Dollar), the successful dumbing down and indoctrination to propaganda of populations through the manipulated media, etc. If efforts to significantly change systems that favor elites appear to be succeeding, the BuzzSaw will be lowered (including assassinations and False Flag events, such as 9/11 – the “evidence” points to corruption and conspiracy as two dominant processes in contemporary societies).
Most positive change agents avoid delving into this dark side, which is often difficult for persons with good visual imagery. Lacking visual imagery I can dig deep without activating emotional denial (of how bad things really are). This is not the place to go into this in detail. But, if UPLIFT and Societal Metamorphosis are to succeed, the societal environment within which they will emerge MUST be very accurately known and accounted for. The same goes for our gross over-estimation of current human competencies, in contrast to our yet to be developed potentials. We must determine accurately how dysfunctional (ill) we (humankind) really are. The Anthropocene has morphed into damaging Humankind as well as Gaia. Many of our positive “human natures” have been suppressed and might not magically appear in crises – as many hope would happen.
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster Book by Rebecca Solnit points to a delicate propensity, easily suppressed by external “authorities”. Humankind is a wide distribution of different types of persons at different stages of development or decay. We cannot afford to confuse who we are now, and what we have the potential to become.
There are many possible scenarios for the galdee of UPLIFT and how/when it assumes “command” of the physical infrastructure. In an early scenario I wrote, THIS GREAT DAY, the shift occurred on one day when the Financial/Governmental systems were decoupled from the production/distribution systems. Alternative scenarios would have a sequence of many GREAT DAYS; the transition to “command” different infrastructures coordinated over time. I speculate that Bill Veltrop’s GlobalGEA may be a model for working with managers of production/distribution systems. . I have yet to explore this in any depth, but am highly encouraged.
OTHER ISSUES TO CONSIDER (to be enlarged)
What happens to those not yet participants in UPLIFT during the transition, the active phase of societal metamorphosis, and after the nu humanity (societal butterfly) begins to stabilize?
Local cultural traditions are unlikely to last millennia, so we shouldn’t treat them as needing eternal preservation. Cultural traditions both enable and constrain. Finding a balance between honoring traditions of living persons and permitting children to be enculturated will be a sticky issue.