Thursday, 11 September 2008

What powers the rise of emergent properties?

I read in page 53, 'The emergence of consciousness' book, by Anthony Freeman

" ... as a result of the potential activation of two incompatible states, a mechanism produces in the subject an experience associated with a state that is qualitatively distinct and unpredictable from what would be produced by either of the incompatible parts."

Incompatible states? States as defined by their own specific conditions. Under the influence of variables defining, determining their status. Variables that their values fluctuate along their unique ranges. Values acquired as they are driven by forces. Incompatible states, a result of forces that contravene one another. Do not cancel one another, instead are pulling or pushing, attract or repel to that or the other configuration or arrangement of the incumbent state. Chaotic attractors?

Could this be a clue of what is responsible for emergent properties to come into existence? A quality that marks all cases of emergence, a universal property? Following up the thought about emergence being universal, ubiquitous and the incompatibility case a common attribute that applies for all cases emergence arises.

Anthony Freeman continues in the same page,

"The above examples share this feature: two states (logical constructions or biological processes) that are in important ways incompatible are maintained in juxtaposition. If they occurred only serially, the emergent solution would be unnecessary. We can alternate between the perceptions of two incompatible perspectives, as in the Necker cube. The emergent property requires forced simultaneous processing of two incompatible states or representations, long enough for the organism to register the incompatibility and attempt to resolve it; the emergent property is the result."

and giving an example

"Depth perception is an obvious one. Binocular vision presents two visual fields, isomorphic but slightly displaced. The result is not a blur or a confusing double image, but visual depth. It is not deducible from binocular processing alone that visual depth would occur; we can imagine instead the experience of Necker cube-like aspect shifts."

Is this how emergent properties come into existence? Incompatibility generates emergence? Is that element of incompatibility significant? Forces? How new properties emerge? Opposing forces? That none of them releases its hold? Stubborn? Dynamical?

The continual interplay of opposing or incompatible forces, which by exerting their influence instantiate, bring into existence the emergent property or properties? But when any of the incompatible forces ceases to be, for reasons of its own, the emergent property ceases to be as well.

Consciousness as an emergent phenomenon, ceases to be, as being dynamical, at any time any of the incompatible forces responsible for its rise, is no more. All of the properties that constitute consciousness, constantly relying on the existence of the opposing incompatible forces that are responsible for their rise in the first place.

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