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Philosophy

Deep Dives into Holistic Philosophy

Information and energy flows both ways, we just have trouble unproblematically and intuitively comprehending this.
(Image by Ilya Kuvshinov.)

Our world is complex and yet as a matter of cognition and, beyond the confused and hollow or unthinking tribally-reflexive and adversarial impulse that humanity is prone to express, of intelligence – we are bound to assert or overlay simplicities, mnemonics and shortcuts or cartographies to interpret all of this effervescent noise in useful ways. Where our intellects recognise or create structures, regularities and ordered patterns in the world, we do so in economical ways. Our minds work just as do all other information and energy-processing systems – by minimising entropy (as ignorance) in ways from which deeper structures and symmetries emerge. It is really no different to the ways the higher mathematical analysis reveals the endlessly-extensible recombinatory dimensionality and optimally-concise encodings through which these things synthesise, even as (and as an equal and opposite balance) they avail themselves of analysis.

One often unacknowledged cognitive (and cultural) cost of all this pattern-making is that for reasons of historical or phylogenetic accident we find ourselves inhabiting symbolic systems which, as extensions of bodies and behavioural systems that have themselves been refined and optimised to solve a particular (and relatively narrow) range of existential problems, we possess limited conceptual flexibility. That an individual might exist in an extended field of information and energy-processing (i.e. computation) that simultaneously exists as a distributed entity across the system surface of the many individuals and artefacts that inhabit it is a complex thought that suggests that causality (and meaning) is implicitly and irreducibly bi-directional. At the level of unified systems analysis we find ourselves considering not one view, not one perspective or direction but all possible causal threads and directions of information and energy flow.

The cost, and yes – there is always a cost of displaced information entropy and even here at the level of whole systems analysis, is that to see all perspectives simultaneously, the knower must vanish, must completely disappear. It is a special kind of nothingness and does not indicate closure.

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