Logical Insight into Living Systems

We should probably not be entirely transfixed by the individuated, particulate nature of our own bodies to assume that all entities, artefacts or integrated (bio)logical systems need necessarily exist in ways which mimic our own materially (and relatively) isolated forms. An effloresence of discovery in the complexity sciences in recent years seems to quite clearly identify underlying convergence across a diversity of physical, chemical, organic and logical processes. While this convergence in many ways foregrounds the rich mathematical and physical foundations and unity of an organisational grammar that is distributed and universal within and across both organic and inorganic systems, it does not in any essential way provide answers to questions of what exactly it is that, in Stephen Hawking’s words, “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”

Some of the most intimate and directly accessible self-propagating dynamical systems of information and energy are those cognitive, cultural and technological patterns within (and through) which we exist and, curiously, from whose vantage point we come to reflexively structure our comprehension of this rich emergent participatory tapestry of experience and world. It may be unlikely that an introspective analysis of cognition, culture or technology will provide us with an unambiguous explanation for the self-inflating logical rationale implicit to the self-propagating material systems of which we, our cognition, culture and technology are causal consequences. It is, however, quite plausible that a self-conscious inspection of the conditions and parameters supporting the continuous manifestation of a diversity of self-propagating organic, cognitive, cultural and technological artefacts will reveal useful methods and models through which to translate the complex grammar of reality into intelligible components and regularities.

In analysis of any part of an integrated global system (of any kind) it should be possible to identify universal characteristics and tendencies in ways which provide further insight into the global functions and key axioms of logic which (in biological instances of emergent complexity) inflate the plausible continuous self-expression of that system, even of ourselves and our own aspirations to substantive continuity, influence and a sense of meaning or purpose in our lives. Subjecting our concepts of self and world to radical reconfiguration and a creative recombinatory metamorphosis is a certain path to cultivating insight, innovation and discovery.

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