Complexity, Conflict and Change:

Surviving Change:

One can suspect that to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing world it might be useful to understand the way complexity, conflict and change are manifest in one's (personal) environment: Complex changes in (external) conditions may require a reconsideration of one's current organizational and belief systems in order to discover which rules are still valid and which procedures need changing. In turn, it is perhaps important for us to understand the affect, on ourselves and our environment, of the modifications that we make to compensate for the changes made by others -or by the system itself.

Understanding and Control:

"Cybernetics" has been defined as the study of control and communication in the animal and the machine
<>. However, there are many different ways of controlling something and a broader approach might be more advantageous: "The notion of a system may be seen as simply a more self-conscious and generic term for the dynamic interrelatedness of components" -Von Bertalanffy <>. This wider range of approaches and techniques might then offer a greater individual choice regarding the aesthetics of control -which can vary from externally imposed coercion to internally organized self-control. Presumably, the way the system is organized also affects the way (both internal and external) communication and control systems might operate. So understanding the system is probably an effective part of the process of gaining control -although perhaps, when we understand the system well enough, we may be able to work within the (existing) bounds of the system and have less desire (or need) to control it externally. Or maybe the way the system is defined would determine what is "internal" and what is "external".


Towards a Unifying Language:

However, it is surely not easy to understand a complex and diverse system with many components operating on different and perhaps even conflicting principles.

In this context, a "General Theory of Everything" might be useful: Provided this was designed not to impose a preconceived structure upon the world -but to function as an "interface" which, without imposing hidden and unwarranted assumptions, could act as a language allowing us to compare and evaluate the diversity of organization and process which surrounds us on both physical and mental levels.

Perhaps an important first step in constructing such a unifying system involves an understanding of the relationship between fundamental concepts such as Space, Time, Process and Language:

-If the computer is perceived in terms of Turing's "universal simulation machine", in the form of a self-modifying memory system, which in turn can be interpreted as a one-dimensional Einsteinian Time/Space machine -then this would seem to integrate the concepts of Time, Space and Process quite effectively. See "What is Space?" , "Some personal Remarks on Conceptual Space" and "Developing the Einstein/Turing Machine".

-So how might "Language" then link both descriptive and computational processes? Could the concept of Model (implicit in the universal simulation machine) be the missing link which connects language to the processing of time and space? What is the a distinction between "interface" and "language"? Is the computer fundamentally a
"linguistic" machine after all? Might "technology and "language" be linked -and not opposed, as so often appears to be assumed?

Presumably, understanding of the fundaments of both the aesthetic and practical problems involved in the description, comprehension and control of systems generally would have many useful and creative implications for a wide range of culturally important subjects -including politics, economics, ethics, science and art.

Originally published as a comment to Dialogues and Directions at <>

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Trevor Batten,
<trevor at>
Manila, Aug 2007