Cottam, Ranson, Vounckx- Living in Hyperscale: Internalization as a Search for Reunification

Living in Hyperscale: Internalization as a Search for Reunification

Ron Cottam*, Willy Ranson and Roger Vounckx

Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium,

*Correspondence can be directed to this author, as the primary contact.


The word system is a standard way of describing a functioning entity which operates as if, or appears to consist of, an assembly of individual parts which necessarily communicate with each other for the implementation of that function. A system is, by its nature and description, unified - or at least, it should be so. The central characteristic of any system is that its individual elements and scales are all unified in a single procedural-structure by Quantum-Mechanical entanglement (QMe). Where this is naturally available between the various parts of the system it can occur internally. Where it is not naturally available, for example in fragmented high-level digital information processing systems, unification is provided by the QMe of the designers' and/or users' brains (Cottam et al 2004). All systems exhibit some kind of scalar characteristic, even if this is just the combination of 'external appearance' and 'internal workings'. System unification takes place through the medium of inter-scalar correlation, generating a 'scale-free' hyperscalar 'representation', which to the system or its 'owner' is the system.

Robert Rosen (1991) has pointed out that a major, if not the major difference between organisms and machines is that efficient cause is 'internalized' in an organism. How does this relate to system unification? If we compare an organism to a digital computer, 'where' and 'what' is the hyperscalar representation in each case? An organism is internally unified - it is a real self-constrained hierarchy. A digital computer is formally unified: interscalar correlation is forced out of its physical boundaries by the system clock, whose central function is to eliminate any global-to-local dependencies other than those imposed by design or programming. As Rosen shows (1991), Aristotle's causes are inseparable and environmentally-dependent in an organism, but categorically segregated in a mechanistic machine: efficient cause is entirely external to a digital computer. It is not only efficient cause which is internalized in an organism; it is the entirety of its hyperscalar unification.

Metzinger (2004) has presented the hypothesis that we are unable to distinguish between the objects of our attention and the internal representations of them which we 'observe'. When we use a screwdriver, we are at the screw; when we drive a car, we become the car. The most astounding characteristic of this transfer of presence is the way in which we can effortlessly skip between different scales of an overall picture. Metzinger's hypothesis provides a credible model for the independence of 'mind'. As he states (2004): "We are systems that are not able to recognize their subsymbolic self-model as a model. For this reason we are permanently operating under the conditions of a 'naïve-realistic misunderstanding': we experience ourselves as being in direct and immediate epistemic contact with ourselves. What we have in the past simply called 'self' is not a non-physical individual, but only the content of an ongoing, dynamical process - the process of transparent self-modeling." However, Metzinger provides no clue as to 'where' we can 'find' this 'self-model', or how it could be internally generated over the aeons of evolution.

Biological cells can portray themselves to their surroundings in whatever manner they 'wish', by enclosing themselves in an 'impenetrable' lipid membrane and then opening up the communication channels they require. Their survival, however, demands effective control of this capacity through (low-level) awareness of their surroundings: they require an embryonic 'mind'. The internalization of hyperscalar information-processing provides the means of managing a selectively-communicative survival strategy, by delivering an apparently multiscalar view of surrounding phenomena and internal events without the computational complexities of inter-scalar manipulation. In a complex, multiscalar, ever-changing environment there is much to be said for the construction of a strategic interface between the simplicity of our thinking and the complexity 'out there'.

We propose that long-term evolution of unification-maintaining hyperscalar survivalist behavior has resulted in the development of the high-level transparent self-model Metzinger refers to. We believe that the 'spotlight of consciousness' in humans is momentarily focused at a single 'location' within a spatio-temporal hyperscalar 'phase space' which we construct from the entire history of our individual and social existences, including the 'facts' of our believed 'reality', numerous apparently consistent but insufficiently investigated 'logical' suppositions, and as-yet untested or normally-abandoned hypothetical models which serve to fill in otherwise inconvenient or glaringly obvious omissions in its landscape.

We (systems) (organisms) relate to our environment uniquely through hyperscale (Cottam et al 2003) - we are present in our environment through hyperscale (Cottam et al 2005) -- we are reliant for our survival on hyperscale (Cottam et al 2006) - we live in hyperscale.

We can view the "big bang" as an emergent evolution of asymmetry, rupturing the apparently perfect unification of some previous state. Science hypothesizes that nature progressively condensed into its current form through a series of scalar levels (…, strings, quarks, electrons…). However, even accepting that a first degree of localization is the very nature of symmetry-breaking, it is less than obvious why further (higher) scalar levels materialized.

The traditional homo-sapient view of nature maintains that objects and organisms are fundamentally different. Given the apparently general applicability of system theory, and the universal dependence for unification on QMe, is this sustainable? Interviewed by Weber (1987), David Bohm stated "I would say that the degree of consciousness of the atomic world is very low, at least of self-consciousness." (Weber) "But it's not dead or inert. That is what you are saying." (Bohm) "It has some degree of consciousness in that it responds in some way, but it has almost no self-consciousness." … (Weber) "… you are saying: 'This is a universe that is alive (in its appropriate way) and somehow conscious at all the levels.' (Bohm) "Yes, in a way.". Far from being 'inertly reactive', we believe that Newtonian 'billiard-ball' mechanics depends on a local awareness of context, and that 'higher-level' entities (which implies that they constitute larger coherently 'unified' information-processing networks) display greater awareness - most specifically greater self-awareness in the guise of Metzinger's (2004) 'transparent self-modeling'.

In the acceptance of a commonality between objects and organisms, and in consideration of David Bohm's position (Weber 1987), it is implicit that 'everything can want': in an evolved state of segregation, every entity will possess at least some awareness of its origins, and can put into practice an aspiration to re-establish global unity. We suggest, however, that evolution is the result of a misdirected search for re-unification by a historical multitude of individuals, which has fed the progressive development of nature's hierarchy. Relativity permits segregation and differentiation, but also imposes partial isolation and limits an entity's knowledge of its evolutionary history. Informational loss inherent in the emergence of new higher scalar levels misguides the search for reunification towards yet higher, more energetically-dependent digital communicational states, rather than the nonlocally-analog unification of its lowest-level precursor.

A further commonality complicates the issue. Differentiated entities are always related to their ecosystemic surroundings in a birational manner (Cottam et al 2004b). 'Awareness' and 'intelligence' are both associated with the assimilation of multiply-scalar representations into a hyperscalar 'reality', but as the entity-ecosystemic relationship is birational the result is a complementary pair of awarenesses, of self and surroundings, and it is only at the highest level of entity-ecosystemic correlation that the singular systemic property of wisdom emerges as an awareness sum. For entities existing at a low scalar level the vast majority of this awareness sum is external: witness the survival through rule-based interactions of Newtonian particles, but the failure of quantum mechanical particles faced with high-energy stimuli. Higher level entities exhibit a greater awareness sum, and its internalized component dominates. As Metzinger (2004) suggests, entities at the 'highest level' come within reach of the transparent self-delusion of purely internal awareness: they construct integrated hyperscalar models of both environment and self, such that they can no longer clearly distinguish between 'what is inside' and 'what is outside'.

Is natural evolution the search to internalize everything as a self-delusional 'transparent self-model' of unification? Is hyperscale the globally mistaken but locally seemingly-successful conclusion to this quest? And how does an evolutionary search for unity relate to gravity?

Keywords: hierarchy; hyperscale; unification; internalization; organisms


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Cottam R Ranson W and Vounckx R 2004a. 'Autocreative hierarchy I: structure - ecosystemic dependence and autonomy', SEED Journal, vol. 4, pp. 24-41.

Cottam R Ranson W & Vounckx R 2004b, 'Back to the future: anatomy of a system', Computing Anticipatory Systems: AIP Conference Proceedings 718, Dubois D M (ed.), AIP, New York, pp. 160-165.

Cottam R Ranson W & Vounckx R 2005, 'Life and simple systems', Systems Research and Behavioral Science, vol. 22, pp. 413-430.

Cottam R Ranson W & Vounckx R 2006, 'Hyperscale puts the sapiens into homo', New Mathematics and Natural Computation, in publication.

Metzinger T 2004, 'The subjectivity of subjective experience: a representationalist analysis of the first-person perspective', Networks, vols. 3-4, pp. 33-64.

Rosen R 1991, Life Itself, Columbia UP, New York.

Weber R 1987, 'Meaning as being in the implicate order philosophy of David Bohm: a conversation', Quantum Implications: Essays in Honor of David Bohm, Hiley BJ and Peat FD (eds.), Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, pp. 440-41 and p. 445.