Sunday, 27 October 2013

Evolution –2– Noosphere

First emerged the Geosphere, then the Biosphere, now the Noosphere - this is the time-line of evolution up to the Anthropocene

The concept “evolution” is a philosophical insight how to describe the process of the development of the world. Its story line tells the fantastic development from stardust to virtual social networks. Evolution  has a much wider scope than survival of species by weeding out the least fit for an environment with limited resources.
The Track - Collage, Ukko El'Hob

Regarding “evolution”…

Evolution is an iterative process, in which structures assemble and replicate. The overarching key-features of evolution are “self-assembling of structures” and their “replication”. 

The biological evolution of “living beings” by self-replication, a process which also is called reproduction, is part of that general evolution process. However, the biological evolution of “living beings” is a central step in the overall evolution process. A new feature emerged, the competition of finite structures. These finite structures process energy, matter and information. Their competition is for the efficiency of these processes, with a focus on the efficiency of the information processing.

Regarding “self-assembly”…

Regarding assembling of structures; evolution implies that simple components aggregate to more complex structures. The aggregation of the simple components is spontaneous without an external driver. The features of the simple components drive the aggregation process. The aggregated structures are more complicated as the simple components and show different characteristics. These new characteristics are more than the sum of the characteristics of the aggregated components. Getting their turn, these more complex aggregated structures spontaneously aggregate again. They are now the components of even more complex structures that have in turn their own distinct features; and so on.

Regarding “replication”…

Lilith's sister - Collage,  Ukko El'hob
Regarding replication; evolution is about copying the original structure. The result of replication is, at least, to keep the particular original structure forthcoming whilst the original structure has broken apart. The replication process has to be achieved before the replicated structure starts to break up, and, so the replication process is of a competitive nature. The result of a more efficient replication is to multiply the number of structures that are like the original structure. A replication may not be entirely faithful but could be approximate only and so will lead to variants of the original structure. 

A very crucial development step of the evolution process takes place when structures replicate themselves. A self-replicating structure commonly is understood as “living”, the self-replicating process is called reproduction. Once self-replicating occurred, then biological evolution appeared. An approximately self-replicating structure is understood to be evolving, and that is what biological evolution is about.

Regarding “reproduction”…

It is an essential prerequisite of the reproduction process that it is confined to a limited space. Once a replicating process excludes structures outside a limiting boundary from replication then self-replication begins. These limiting outer boundaries segregate the “self-replicating structure” from its “environment”; the latter may include other “self-replicating structure”. Excluding structures outside a limiting boundary from a replication process turns that process into a reproduction process. 

To generalize, reproduction is about reading and applying information which is describing a limited structure for the solemn purpose to replicate this structure before it breaks up. Thus, reproduction is processing a limited set of information in a race against time. Therefore, reproduction is a competitive process.

Regarding “competition”…

The competition has three main targets. The first target is to timely access resources found outside the limits
of the structure that is reproducing itself. These resources are energy and matter. The second target is to timely transfer these resources into the structure that is to reproduce and across its limiting outer boundary. The third target is to timely use these resources inside the structure for its reproduction including the a new limiting outer boundary. For successful reproduction, these targets have to be met before the structure breaks up that is to replicate. So generalizing what reproduction is about; a finite structure within a limited elapse of time and for the purpose to self-replicate transports matter as well as energy and processes information. Evolution is about improving the efficiency of that structure. Evolution happens because the self-replication is not faithful. Reproduction errors occur and variations of the original structure form; varying in efficiency. The least fit variants do not replicate before they break-up, so they die.

Initially the evolution of “living beings” targeted the processes for transport and use of energy for improving their efficiency. Eventually, evolution targeted the efficiency of the processes that handle information and support communication. In the course of evolution, the latter got more and more relevant for an efficient self-replication.

Regarding “information and communication handling”…

Splintering Memories - Collage, Ukko El'Hob
Efficient “information and communication handling” is needed in the first instance for the functioning of the internal processes of the “limited self-replicating structure” including its repair, growth and self-replication. Second, the “limited self-replicating structure” needs efficient “information and communication handling“ to capture in its environment the resources that are needed for its repair, growth and self-replication. Third, the “information and communication handling“ determines how efficient the “limited self-replicating structure” may interact with other “limited self-replicating structures” of the same or different kind. The evolution of these three levels of “information and communication handling” consecutively led to the development of cell-body-systems, body-mind-systems and mind-culture-systems. 

On the way...

Much has happened since stars lighted up, and before mind-culture systems, thus societies, developed along the path of evolution. Now, the number of human beings and their manner of reproduction are such that we squeeze the biosphere of planet Earth. The combined strength of humans is such that we shape the Geosphere of planet Earth and that we are starting the Anthropocene

Diverging Tracks - Collage, Ukko El'Hob
Where will we go from here? By aggregating simple building blocks, evolution will continue its path to build more complex systems. Currently these “simple building blocks” are the individual humans, which form interacting groups and societies. Consequently humans interaction likely will evolve following the current path of evolution, namely to improve the efficiency of “information and communication handling systems”.This will cause humans to create increasingly complex technologies, including technologies that extend their body-mind-system. Likely these technologies will in turn open development paths to self-replicating systems that differ from the the body-mind-systems as we know them today. These systems will reproduce themselves “about the same”, will carry internal representations of their own structures and their environment, and these beings will belong with us to the Noosphere. 

P.s......if we do not crash this planet.
Ulkko El’Hob