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The Emergent System - The key to reality's most vexing mysteries

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posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 07:36 AM
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I don't usually hand secrets away, but I'm feeling pretty altruistic today, so I thought I'd share something that could literally move my fellow TOE enthusiasts forward in their efforts more than anything else can. It took me three years to figure out why Quantum Physics and Newtonian Physics are incompatible at such a pervasive level with one another, and it has nothing to do with a god or a primordial universal consciousness or even the plasticity of time. It has to do with the mysterious nature of the Emergent System.

Here's a book that can do a really good job of explaining the deeper aspects of emergent systems but for the purposes of this thread, I'm going to simply offer the most recognizable example of an emergent system - one that we've all dealt with at one time or another.

Traffic.

We also deal with weather systems, but traffic is much easier to detail, since most of us - if we're confronting traffic - are actually integral to that emergent system while we're dealing with its existence. We can much more readily understand the nature of the contributing systems, being one of those contributing systems ourselves as we languish for extended periods of time in the center of traffic - the emergent system that it is.

Traffic is a physically existing something, and while you can refuse to accept its existence as something that's more than an illusion, try being unaffected by it as the real and impenetrable obstacle that it is. It doesn't exist as a solid, and it is a fleeting system (meaning that it doesn't maintain a predictable shape, size or duration) but it is physically existent and it is palpable to the senses. It exists for as long as it exists, but while it exists, it's as real as anything else that exists.

But what makes it an emergent system? How can you recognize one? The easiest way is to take notice of the fact that an emergent system is not a logically predictable progression of any one system that contributes to its existence as the system that it is. Let's look at traffic to see what this means.

No car or person or asphalt road surface taken from any instance of traffic can be examined to fully predict the nature of the emergent system that came into being as a result of that car, person, or road surface's contribution to the emergence of that system. In this sense, traffic is immune to reductionism. It exist whole and fully realized, without any precedence factor existing as integral to the fully realized whole that it is. It "emerges" fully formed and viable. And this fact of the emergent system has driven some philosophers to distraction over the ages.

If you look at traffic, you see a number of lesser systems in confluence; cars, people (drivers, pedestrians, street crews, policemen, etc), asphalt surface or lack of pavement perhaps, number and condition of roadway lanes, time of day, day of the year, culture, degree of technological sophistication of the society involved, weather, local traffic regulations, and probably plenty more contributing systems depending on the specific emergence being examined. And the elimination of any one of these systems will radically alter the nature of the emergent system, even though it won't necessarily prevent the emergence of the traffic system per se.

And this is another fundamental aspect of the emergent system - its capacity to be what it is while being completely unlike any other version of what it is. The same, while completely different in its fundamental size, shape, duration, and specific composition. The emergent system defies all attempts of material reductionists to quantify the true nature of physical reality, and this is what makes the existence of the emergent system so valuable to the effort of establishing a plausible Theory of Everything.

I just thought I'd share this small item with the class, and turn you loose to see just what you can discover for yourself now that I've calibrated your compasses to true north.





posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 08:05 AM
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I like it.

I currently occupy the Washington D.C. area, and the traffic here is completely erratic and unpredictable. I have been most everywhere, and never have I had to alter my schedule to account for traffic as much as I do now.

And in a little bit I am going to sit in traffic for about 5 hours.
Hopefully there will not be too much volume to the system.



posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 08:12 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster

If you look at traffic, you see a number of lesser systems in confluence; cars, people (drivers, pedestrians, street crews, policemen, etc), asphalt surface or lack of pavement perhaps, number and condition of roadway lanes, time of day, day of the year, culture, degree of technological sophistication of the society involved, weather, local traffic regulations, and probably plenty more contributing systems depending on the specific emergence being examined.




^this reduction



The emergent system defies all attempts of material reductionists to quantify the true nature of physical reality


proves that this^ is not true.

well sorry. I was confused. In your example of the emergent system of traffic.. It is reducible and understandable by being the total sum of its parts, along with other background information which helps to comprehend if you have existed for some time as a human.

But you may be right that since we as humans are not so intimately familiar with the true nature of physical reality, as we may be with traffic, or cars, or work hours, or roads... that we may hit limits in our understandability when it comes to reducing the parts of reality. In other words we would have a purely quantitative and descriptive comprehension of reality, void of certain interpretation, meaning, purpose, intent, prior history...

just like if two flies who knew nothing about human nature, were taking scientific notes on the near by road which fills up with traffic every day, they know nothing about work, or humans... only that at these times, this strip of land gets congested with these metallic chambers. That may be a bad analogy, because I think humans are much more capable and hopefully careful when describing reality, and in our short time being successful doing this, I think nature is hinting at us that there is a reward for our diligence and interest in its secrets.
edit on 15-2-2013 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)
edit on 15-2-2013 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 08:17 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster
The emergent system defies all attempts of material reductionists to quantify the true nature of physical reality, and this is what makes the existence of the emergent system so valuable to the effort of establishing a plausible Theory of Everything.


So if anything, Imo, It is the relative duration of the emergent system, and its level of complexity and sophistication, coupled with being born as a completely ignorant observer... which makes reducing and deducing the true nature, mechanics, and principles and meanings and histories, of the universal system, so difficult and challenging.



posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 08:19 AM
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Great explanation dude. Your altruism has been appreciated. You should be altruistic more often.



posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 11:38 AM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 


Got anything that applies this to emergent biological systems?




posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 08:47 AM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi

Originally posted by NorEaster

If you look at traffic, you see a number of lesser systems in confluence; cars, people (drivers, pedestrians, street crews, policemen, etc), asphalt surface or lack of pavement perhaps, number and condition of roadway lanes, time of day, day of the year, culture, degree of technological sophistication of the society involved, weather, local traffic regulations, and probably plenty more contributing systems depending on the specific emergence being examined.




^this reduction


This isn't reductionism. The nature of traffic is not the nature of the parts. There is an emergent "collectivism" that can completely transcend the nature of any combination of lesser contributive parts, depending on circumstance - which is the wild card within this specific emergence system. Another very similar emergent system that features this transcendence is a mob. Each contributing member of a mob has their own specific psychological profile, and even if you balance the sum of all of the psychological profiles of each member against each other member, and combine and layer each profile according to dominance, submissiveness, aggression, passivity, personal predilection, social behavior and what-have-you, one to the next in any mathematical prediction algorithm you choose, there;s no way to accurately predict the "psychological profile" of the mob itself as the emergent system that it is.

This is the same thing that makes traffic the emergent system that it is. It's fundamental "personality" will be unique and unpredictable regardless of whether you have all the pertinent data concerning every integral or ancillary contributive system involved. The collective "psychological profile" will still be unique and unpredictable - and this has always been true of both mobs and traffic. The key to traffic being an emergent system is the fact that it does have a "personality", and no two traffic "personality profiles" are alike or can ever be alike. A reductionist could never explain or anticipate that most primary aspect of the identity of traffic or a mob, if handed all the data possible for each and every contributing part - and this is why traffic (and a mob) is greater (or just completely different) than the sum of its parts.






The emergent system defies all attempts of material reductionists to quantify the true nature of physical reality


proves that this^ is not true.

well sorry. I was confused. In your example of the emergent system of traffic.. It is reducible and understandable by being the total sum of its parts, along with other background information which helps to comprehend if you have existed for some time as a human.


All things can be reduced, but an emergent system can't be properly explained (or predicted) by reduction. Why it is that one traffic congestion - featuring the same number of cars moving within the same finite space of time and area - will always end up being a unique whole and unpredictably so, is something that can't be determined by a reductionist approach. The free decisions of every human being in every car, changing the entire nature of that emergent system from instant to instant, is only one reason why traffic can't be simply the sum of its parts. One small shift within the whole has immediate and potentially exponential ramifications within the very same whole, regardless of what that shift may be. And the hyper-dynamic nature of the confluence itself insists that many such shifts occur, and in an ongoing manner. And that's only the impact that human response/reaction/initiation has on the whole of traffic as the emergent system that it is. There are others, even if we can't reasonably anticipate what they might be. A mechanical breakdown. An accident. Many such contributing potentials that won't exist until they suddenly do exist. And this is with a traffic confluence that has been carefully replicated again and again. Not even a normal spontaneously emergent traffic confluence.

As you can see (I hope) there's no possible way to reduce traffic to a mere sum of its parts. There's a transcendent character that emerges as the "personality" of the moment that a specific traffic system exists, and this is the emergence that occurs. That behavior that exists while that traffic confluence exists. Be it aggressive or pastoral or any gradient between the two, or something completely unrecognizable, that "personality" exists, and is the primary identification mark of that traffic confluence as the emergent system that it is. And that "personality" can't be reduced.



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 08:58 AM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi

Originally posted by NorEaster
The emergent system defies all attempts of material reductionists to quantify the true nature of physical reality, and this is what makes the existence of the emergent system so valuable to the effort of establishing a plausible Theory of Everything.


So if anything, Imo, It is the relative duration of the emergent system, and its level of complexity and sophistication, coupled with being born as a completely ignorant observer... which makes reducing and deducing the true nature, mechanics, and principles and meanings and histories, of the universal system, so difficult and challenging.


It's also the fact of an emergent "character" that is unlike any contributing part's character - with that "character" (the personality of the moment itself) as the most obvious and descriptive aspect of (let's say, considering the example) the experience of dealing with that one confluence of traffic, that makes it an emergent system. You can describe how many cars there were, the impact of the heat of the day, the condition of the street surface, the functionality of the traffic lights, and a host of other things, but you would still have to describe the overall "personality" of the confluence, as a whole, if you wanted to accurately describe the specific experience you had as someone who confronted that emergent system - that traffic - to any extent. That "personality", as I detailed above, is the emergence that makes traffic the emergent system that it is. That "personality" exists only as long as that confluence of traffic exists, but it does exist.



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 09:01 AM
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Originally posted by smithjustinb
Great explanation dude. Your altruism has been appreciated. You should be altruistic more often.


Yeah, I probably should be.


Still, I wish to teach folks to fish. It's a tough love thing. This should open up a lot of spawning grounds for the fisherman among this community.



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 09:07 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by NorEaster
 


Got anything that applies this to emergent biological systems?



  • Life. Auto-animate life is an emergent system
  • The orbit is the most primitive emergent system that exists.
  • The human mind - i.e. Consciousness.

Those are the most important emergent systems that exist.

Damn, that's practically giving the whole store away.



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 09:16 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster

Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by NorEaster
 


Got anything that applies this to emergent biological systems?



  • Life. Auto-animate life is an emergent system
  • The orbit is the most primitive emergent system that exists.
  • The human mind - i.e. Consciousness.

Those are the most important emergent systems that exist.


Uh huh, true - but looking for refs describing emergent biological systems



Damn, that's practically giving the whole store away.


Already done. (Read Chrichton's Prey for example)




posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 09:24 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster

This isn't reductionism. The nature of traffic is not the nature of the parts. There is an emergent "collectivism" that can completely transcend the nature of any combination of lesser contributive parts, depending on circumstance - which is the wild card within this specific emergence system. Another very similar emergent system that features this transcendence is a mob. Each contributing member of a mob has their own specific psychological profile, and even if you balance the sum of all of the psychological profiles of each member against each other member, and combine and layer each profile according to dominance, submissiveness, aggression, passivity, personal predilection, social behavior and what-have-you, one to the next in any mathematical prediction algorithm you choose, there;s no way to accurately predict the "psychological profile" of the mob itself as the emergent system that it is.

This is the same thing that makes traffic the emergent system that it is. It's fundamental "personality" will be unique and unpredictable regardless of whether you have all the pertinent data concerning every integral or ancillary contributive system involved. The collective "psychological profile" will still be unique and unpredictable - and this has always been true of both mobs and traffic. The key to traffic being an emergent system is the fact that it does have a "personality", and no two traffic "personality profiles" are alike or can ever be alike. A reductionist could never explain or anticipate that most primary aspect of the identity of traffic or a mob, if handed all the data possible for each and every contributing part - and this is why traffic (and a mob) is greater (or just completely different) than the sum of its parts.


We can generalize though. If we are viewing one road for a week there will be many different events of traffic, different number of cars, different color cars, from different years, with people heading different places, with different personalities etc. all those details, which over time are infinitely different, are all generally limited in the fact that they can all experience and contribute to the phenomenon of traffic. Similar to the infinitely different back round story to every water molecule in the ocean, which in a moment of time happens to find itself surrounded by others heading down a river.

That is the way I see it unless you are trying to say, we cant possibly know and understand what traffic is, because we dont really know what quarks and electrons and the fundamental nature of reality is. Well yes when we set off to describe, label, or understand any phenomenon in the universe we start from a level of ignorance about the true nature of the totality, But that doesnt mean we have not become very familiar with details of levels of the constituents ( like atoms and materials) and human nature and the things we do ( like go to work, and drive cars on roads). So just because given the information that : Cars exist, this quantity of people exist that have cars and go to work, cars drive on roads, this many of people work between these hours, along the road these are all the paths to all businesses, this amount of people arent going to work but driving to attend to personal business... Just because we wouldnt be able to predict who would be driving when and where, (even though that information exists and is knowable because every person involved with this event knows when and where they are driving) doesnt mean we cant know just about every reason why traffic occurs, how it occurs,and what traffic is. I feel like I have a good grasp on those things about traffic. Traffic is an emergent system, I am an emergent system, I think I know a bit about the nature of traffic.


This relates to quantum mechanics. Because the universes tiniest bits compute in a quantity unimaginable and at a time rate on imaginable, it is impossible for us to predict a large amount of these actions, we use probability. But as chaotic as it seems, there are limits, and thus even though quantum nature may be fundamental (im not sure) it has birthed a stable classical macro universe, which we are a part of and can know and become familiar with.
edit on 16-2-2013 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 09:35 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster

All things can be reduced, but an emergent system can't be properly explained (or predicted) by reduction. Why it is that one traffic congestion - featuring the same number of cars moving within the same finite space of time and area - will always end up being a unique whole and unpredictably so, is something that can't be determined by a reductionist approach. The free decisions of every human being in every car, changing the entire nature of that emergent system from instant to instant, is only one reason why traffic can't be simply the sum of its parts. One small shift within the whole has immediate and potentially exponential ramifications within the very same whole, regardless of what that shift may be. And the hyper-dynamic nature of the confluence itself insists that many such shifts occur, and in an ongoing manner. And that's only the impact that human response/reaction/initiation has on the whole of traffic as the emergent system that it is. There are others, even if we can't reasonably anticipate what they might be. A mechanical breakdown. An accident. Many such contributing potentials that won't exist until they suddenly do exist. And this is with a traffic confluence that has been carefully replicated again and again. Not even a normal spontaneously emergent traffic confluence.




Traffic is still the sum of its parts, no matter how complex and how many variables there are. Just because we cannot predict a humans behavior from second to second or 100,000 of them, does not mean that the nature of traffic cannot be understood, or the potential natures of humans cannot be understood for whatever reasons a human does what they do.



As you can see (I hope) there's no possible way to reduce traffic to a mere sum of its parts. There's a transcendent character that emerges as the "personality" of the moment that a specific traffic system exists, and this is the emergence that occurs. That behavior that exists while that traffic confluence exists. Be it aggressive or pastoral or any gradient between the two, or something completely unrecognizable, that "personality" exists, and is the primary identification mark of that traffic confluence as the emergent system that it is. And that "personality" can't be reduced.


Ok so besides the sum of parts to objects and events. You are saying there is some essence or history or informational realm that is needed to comprehend the exact details of what an object or event is. And because we are ignorant of what the universe is and what started the universe we can never fully grasp the significance or true meaning of any object or event? A star is the sum of its parts, plus can be described by action which occurs over a dimension of time due to its nature. Can we not know what stars are composed of, why they do what they do, how they come to be? We can, but we cant truly know about them because we dont know everything?



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 09:51 AM
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Originally posted by NorEaster

Originally posted by ImaFungi

Originally posted by NorEaster
The emergent system defies all attempts of material reductionists to quantify the true nature of physical reality, and this is what makes the existence of the emergent system so valuable to the effort of establishing a plausible Theory of Everything.


So if anything, Imo, It is the relative duration of the emergent system, and its level of complexity and sophistication, coupled with being born as a completely ignorant observer... which makes reducing and deducing the true nature, mechanics, and principles and meanings and histories, of the universal system, so difficult and challenging.


It's also the fact of an emergent "character" that is unlike any contributing part's character - with that "character" (the personality of the moment itself) as the most obvious and descriptive aspect of (let's say, considering the example) the experience of dealing with that one confluence of traffic, that makes it an emergent system. You can describe how many cars there were, the impact of the heat of the day, the condition of the street surface, the functionality of the traffic lights, and a host of other things, but you would still have to describe the overall "personality" of the confluence, as a whole, if you wanted to accurately describe the specific experience you had as someone who confronted that emergent system - that traffic - to any extent. That "personality", as I detailed above, is the emergence that makes traffic the emergent system that it is. That "personality" exists only as long as that confluence of traffic exists, but it does exist.




It does exist, but I dont agree with the way you are saying it has a personality like traffic is some transcendent being on its own. i think you can do this with other things, like civilization,society, humanity as a whole of being a body made up of the sum of its parts (humans as cells), and traffic can be considered a momentary clot of blood in a vein heading to an organ. But this goes against your idea that things are so different from one another that they cannot be analogized to describe other things and know other things. The human body is the sum of its parts + a tremendously complex universe which it exists in, and a "within boundaries and parameters and laws" random history on which it is founded. that random history being your parents meeting and having you, and their parents meeting and having them, all the way back to the animals humans evolved from not becoming extinct,, all the way back to the beginning of life on earth, all the way back to the universe.

Are you asking the question; How can a minor,relatively ignorant tiny part of a seemingly infinitely expansive, infinitely durative, infinitely complex system; know what it is, and know what the system is?

like how could the cell of a human body (if conscious) know all about the human body? how could the cell of a human body know all about the town the human body is in? how could the cell of the human body know all about the planet? etc.etc.

In other words, could something relatively extremely smart and sophisticated and capable, create a consciousness that is capable of knowing something and anything, and has the drive to do so, but can this consciousness deduce or comprehend "everything"... is it physically possible? or is the consciousness eternally at a disadvantage and has know hope of actual true knowledge of the reality it is in and of?



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 10:40 AM
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I think that the mob example is better than the traffic example. The aggregate psychological influences of a mob produce "mob mentality". Which is unique. Perhaps even to every single individual's psychology within the mob itself. Therefore, you cannot look at the whole and reduce and deduct an understanding of its parts. They must be studied separately.


ETA: I cannot agree however, that this idea can bridge the divide of Newtonian and Quantum physics, though. In the examples above of emergent systems, there must be common ground in order for the systems to emerge in the first place. Quite literally ground. In traffic it is the road. Mob? Crowded movie theater. Even if you cannot reduce physical laws enough to accurately explain quantum mechanics, there must be a link between the two. Otherwise they would simply be incompatible and "physics" just wouldn't work. There would be no system to study.
edit on 16-2-2013 by JayinAR because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 06:11 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow

Originally posted by NorEaster

Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by NorEaster
 


Got anything that applies this to emergent biological systems?



  • Life. Auto-animate life is an emergent system
  • The orbit is the most primitive emergent system that exists.
  • The human mind - i.e. Consciousness.

Those are the most important emergent systems that exist.


Uh huh, true - but looking for refs describing emergent biological systems


I'd probably lump any brain-equipped biological system as being emergent. There is no "linkage" between them and the types of biological systems that work solely on DNA information directives.




Damn, that's practically giving the whole store away.


Already done. (Read Chrichton's Prey for example)





Good. Nothing's given away then. [whew....
]



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 06:54 PM
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reply to post by NorEaster
 



But as I have clearly shown above, there IS linkage in any "emergent" system. Namely, the medium UPON WHICH THEY EMERGE.



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 07:07 PM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi

We can generalize though. If we are viewing one road for a week there will be many different events of traffic, different number of cars, different color cars, from different years, with people heading different places, with different personalities etc. all those details, which over time are infinitely different, are all generally limited in the fact that they can all experience and contribute to the phenomenon of traffic. Similar to the infinitely different back round story to every water molecule in the ocean, which in a moment of time happens to find itself surrounded by others heading down a river.

That is the way I see it unless you are trying to say, we cant possibly know and understand what traffic is, because we dont really know what quarks and electrons and the fundamental nature of reality is. Well yes when we set off to describe, label, or understand any phenomenon in the universe we start from a level of ignorance about the true nature of the totality, But that doesnt mean we have not become very familiar with details of levels of the constituents ( like atoms and materials) and human nature and the things we do ( like go to work, and drive cars on roads). So just because given the information that : Cars exist, this quantity of people exist that have cars and go to work, cars drive on roads, this many of people work between these hours, along the road these are all the paths to all businesses, this amount of people arent going to work but driving to attend to personal business... Just because we wouldnt be able to predict who would be driving when and where, (even though that information exists and is knowable because every person involved with this event knows when and where they are driving) doesnt mean we cant know just about every reason why traffic occurs, how it occurs,and what traffic is. I feel like I have a good grasp on those things about traffic. Traffic is an emergent system, I am an emergent system, I think I know a bit about the nature of traffic.


You're still missing the point of what an emergent system is. The primary identifying characteristic of an emergent system is something that can't be progressively linked to any contributive system's primary or ancillary identifying characteristic. This the thing about emergent systems that intrigues physicists. The author of the book that I linked in the OP seemed to see traffic as a really good example of an emergent system, and even though I kind of like the example of a mob, traffic does work if you understand what it is that emerges when traffic comes into emergent existence. I did explain it properly, and while you can pick over the pieces within any instance of traffic, the fact that it is an emergent system isn't affected by your deciding to do so.



This relates to quantum mechanics. Because the universes tiniest bits compute in a quantity unimaginable and at a time rate on imaginable, it is impossible for us to predict a large amount of these actions, we use probability. But as chaotic as it seems, there are limits, and thus even though quantum nature may be fundamental (im not sure) it has birthed a stable classical macro universe, which we are a part of and can know and become familiar with.
edit on 16-2-2013 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)


I think that you may want to check out that book I linked to in the OP. Emergent systems are not what you envision them to be. I don't think that I can adequately describe what they to your requirement if the posts I've put up so far in this thread didn't help. They are pretty mysterious, and are a challenge for physicists. Especially those who resist acknowledging the presence and influence of information within the material realm. The emergent system may ultimately prove the symbiotic relationship between matter and information as physical and determinant.



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by ImaFungi
like how could the cell of a human body (if conscious) know all about the human body? how could the cell of a human body know all about the town the human body is in? how could the cell of the human body know all about the planet? etc.etc.


A cell of a human body isn't conscious. So, what's the use in presenting it as an example of anything? The human mind is an emergent system, and it isn't composed of cells or atoms or material substance at all. And yet, it does exist, and it knows about the town that the human body lives in. It knows what it knows about the planet too. This is the thing about an emergent system. It doesn't resemble the contributive systems that brought it into physical existence. It's not reducible at all, without ceasing to be what it is.


In other words, could something relatively extremely smart and sophisticated and capable, create a consciousness that is capable of knowing something and anything, and has the drive to do so, but can this consciousness deduce or comprehend "everything"... is it physically possible? or is the consciousness eternally at a disadvantage and has know hope of actual true knowledge of the reality it is in and of?


If something is smart and sophisticated, then the assumption would be that it is already conscious. Like I said, you aren't seeing what an emergent system is here. This line of debate isn't serving the examination. It's just creating a potential distraction.



posted on Feb, 16 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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Originally posted by NorEaster

Originally posted by ImaFungi

We can generalize though. If we are viewing one road for a week there will be many different events of traffic, different number of cars, different color cars, from different years, with people heading different places, with different personalities etc. all those details, which over time are infinitely different, are all generally limited in the fact that they can all experience and contribute to the phenomenon of traffic. Similar to the infinitely different back round story to every water molecule in the ocean, which in a moment of time happens to find itself surrounded by others heading down a river.

That is the way I see it unless you are trying to say, we cant possibly know and understand what traffic is, because we dont really know what quarks and electrons and the fundamental nature of reality is. Well yes when we set off to describe, label, or understand any phenomenon in the universe we start from a level of ignorance about the true nature of the totality, But that doesnt mean we have not become very familiar with details of levels of the constituents ( like atoms and materials) and human nature and the things we do ( like go to work, and drive cars on roads). So just because given the information that : Cars exist, this quantity of people exist that have cars and go to work, cars drive on roads, this many of people work between these hours, along the road these are all the paths to all businesses, this amount of people arent going to work but driving to attend to personal business... Just because we wouldnt be able to predict who would be driving when and where, (even though that information exists and is knowable because every person involved with this event knows when and where they are driving) doesnt mean we cant know just about every reason why traffic occurs, how it occurs,and what traffic is. I feel like I have a good grasp on those things about traffic. Traffic is an emergent system, I am an emergent system, I think I know a bit about the nature of traffic.


You're still missing the point of what an emergent system is. The primary identifying characteristic of an emergent system is something that can't be progressively linked to any contributive system's primary or ancillary identifying characteristic. This the thing about emergent systems that intrigues physicists. The author of the book that I linked in the OP seemed to see traffic as a really good example of an emergent system, and even though I kind of like the example of a mob, traffic does work if you understand what it is that emerges when traffic comes into emergent existence. I did explain it properly, and while you can pick over the pieces within any instance of traffic, the fact that it is an emergent system isn't affected by your deciding to do so.



This relates to quantum mechanics. Because the universes tiniest bits compute in a quantity unimaginable and at a time rate on imaginable, it is impossible for us to predict a large amount of these actions, we use probability. But as chaotic as it seems, there are limits, and thus even though quantum nature may be fundamental (im not sure) it has birthed a stable classical macro universe, which we are a part of and can know and become familiar with.
edit on 16-2-2013 by ImaFungi because: (no reason given)


I think that you may want to check out that book I linked to in the OP. Emergent systems are not what you envision them to be. I don't think that I can adequately describe what they to your requirement if the posts I've put up so far in this thread didn't help. They are pretty mysterious, and are a challenge for physicists. Especially those who resist acknowledging the presence and influence of information within the material realm. The emergent system may ultimately prove the symbiotic relationship between matter and information as physical and determinant.


I dont think im missing the point as much as you think i am... or I dont think there is as much of a point as you think you are. what do you think is so mysterious or un-understandable about traffic? What dont I understand about the phenomenon of traffic? It doesnt matter if I cant predict every nuance, there is so much information involved with this event, and I am not a capable enough computer. but the event it self is a computation of the exact information involved to create that event, so the event doesnt defy logic, or sense, or law. Its exactly what it is, exactly why it is, exactly when it is, exactly how it is, exactly where it is.






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