Metaphorical corollary: is technology the extended phenotype of the genotype of humanity or is humanity the extended phenotype of the genotype of technology? It is really neither and both. The key issue being that the radical inversion of teleological intuitions in language and cognition is a necessarily difficult feat of mental gymnastics.
Analogies are useful. Where John Wheeler described General Relativity in terms of “space-time tells matter how to move; matter tells space-time how to curve” we already begin to see a way in which the enigmatic bootstrap of system/environment unity and logical self-containment quite naturally decompresses itself into a higher – in this instance, 4 – dimensional shape.
Purposive map making and recursive cartographies of complexity sound complicated but we do it all the time in logic and language as matters of conceptual abstraction and meaning-making. We displace entropy from one conceptual vocabulary and referential vector into another. It is the essence of emergence and aligns quite naturally with a concept of autonomous self-propagation. The “cost” or loss of one system becomes the “benefit” and free energy of another and both sides of the symmetry unify in one system that contains itself.