Yuri Tarnopolsky






This essay continues a series of discussions (http://spirospero.net/complexity.htm) in which a chemist joins the debates about the large and complex world outside the narrow professional setting. It aims at understanding evolving complex systems (ECS- or X-systems: life, mind, society, culture, economy, language, ideology, etc.). Understanding requires transfer of information in a language shared with the receptor. The language must include terms for most abstract patterns of action and change regardless of particularities of the system. An attempt to create highly abstract ideograms for such patterns was made by René Thom. The problem is discussed here from the point of view of transition state in generalized chemistry. The focus of interest is the origin of the stubborn growth of complexity typical for X-systems. An aggregation through multiple weak bonds is a possible general pattern of complexification. The alternative to algorithmic complexity pattern complexity applies not to configurations but to their harboring configuration space. Pattern complexity grows when the space expands. Examples and toy models (ditalini pasta, “brushmobile,” rusty bolt, zipper, “wealth pump,” and others) are used as illustrations. Pattern understanding of history is discussed.


KEYWORDS:  Pattern Theory, Ulf Grenander,  René Thom, Hannah Arendt, Gregory Chaitin, Stephen Wolfram, Leonard Talmy, complexity, transition state, evolving complex systems, theory of history, cliology, understanding, X-systems, stability, lability, generalized chemistry, multiple weak bonds, origin of life, origin of society, origin of life, aggregation, cognitive semantics, ideogram, iconic graph, metaphor.


                                                                                                                       First draft, May 2006