Chapter 2 Information beings

The next step towards the point of view of information is to imagine that there is some consciousness associated with information. In other words, the life, the propagation and the survival of information is related to a desire to live, a desire to survive.

Let's suppose this is true and investigate how the world would look like when it where true. We will find out that the world would look like just like it seems to be.

2.1 Structure.

Information is basically the structure of something.

The information of a city map represents the structure of the city.

The information of a tale represents the structure of some events in time and space.

The information of a theory represents the structure of a part of the world seen from a particular point of view.

2.2 Organism.

A theory is a complex structure, a complex information set. Each element of the theory has its specific function, a specific task. Some elements of the theory serve only in special cases, others serve a more general purpose.

A structure in which the elements are inherently active and alive, in which the living elements are cooperating by fulfilling specialized tasks all contributing to a consistent whole is an organism. Therefore we can consider a consistent information set as an organism.

An element of a theory has not much value separated from the theory. As part of the theory, the same element can be of the greatest value. Spreading of such elements takes only place together with the theory because the element has no chance on survival when separated.

Similarly, an element of a biological organism has no chance on survival when separated from the organism. The life of the element (organ) depends on the life of the organism and the life of the organism depends on the proper functioning of the elements.

2.3 Information being.

A living organized set of information is called an information being. The name "information being" reminds us of the active aspect of information, the living aspect and the fact that it is an organism in which the active elements cooperate in a coordinated way to perform a task.

An information being lives, propagates, interacts with other information beings, evolves, gathers experience, etc.

2.4 Specialization.

As in all developed organizations, each element of information in an information being fulfills a task which is more restricted than the general abilities of the element. The restriction of the element is a specialization in one of the abilities which is determined by the place (function) it has in the organization.

A company is an example of an organization. Each member of the organization fulfills a specialized task. When the company is well developed, the actions of the employees are adapted to the function the employee has in the company. Each employee is inherently able to perform a wide range of other tasks but his or her place in the organization restricts the actions and determines the specialization.

In an information being, there is also an organization in which more universal elements fulfill a restricted, specialized task. The structure of the kind of information beings we deal with is reflected in our language. We can recognize structural elements of information beings in expressions in language. This is similar to the way structures of other living beings can be recognized in fossils. For example : the function which a particular word has in a text is only a small part of all what the word can express in general. It is restricted by its place in the structure (text).

Each cell in our body has the same inherited capabilities. Integrated in the body, it exhibits only those capabilities which are appropriate to the specific place it has in the organism.

2.5 Behavior.

The study of the behavior of information is of course the study of the behavior of information beings. The word behavior suggests some intelligence, a way of making the actions dependent of the circumstances. This is exactly what we have noticed about words. The meaning a word has, the effect it causes, can be totally different depending the context in which it is used. This illustrates again the similarity between information life and biological life. The word behavior suggests also a level of awareness. This subject will be discussed in a later chapter.

2.6 Biological life versus information life.

We have discussed several parallels between biological life and information life. These similarities are there not by chance. The parallel is there because biological life is an induration of information life. Elementary actions of information life have been stable for such a long time that matter has been influenced to the point that some complex mechanisms of life are fully indurated in matter. This is biological life. Information life is thus a more general form of life. Biological life is an indurated offspring of information life. In most of the following chapters we will come back to the process of induration and the related processes to support this important statement.

More in next chapter on Information and knowledge

This is Chapter 2; Information beings of Behavior of Information

Author: Luc Claeys. All comments welcome, mail to lcl at this site:

Last updated on Nov 12, 1997