Chapter 8 Insulation

8.1 Insulation.

Insulation between information elements increases the time required for interaction between them. Without insulation, there could not be any difference between two information elements, there could be no diversity, there could be no information at all.

This illustrates the very deep relation between insulation and information.

Imagine a country as breeding ground for culture. Suppose there is no insulation between the people of the country and thoughts coming up in the mind of one person are at the same time in the minds of all persons. Such lack of insulation would cause the entire country to evolve as one person. When there is insulation, several persons can try out different thoughts at the same time and people can specialize themselves.

Suppose there is a wide river cutting a country in two parts. The extra insulation between the two parts can cause the development of two different cultures in the country.

Modern communication techniques and the wide spreading of world languages facilitate the communication. By this, the cultural differences are threatened. When the insulation is reduced, the interaction increases and the differences reduce (there are exceptions which will be discussed in later chapters).

We would never be able to memorize or consider contradictory information without a mechanism of internal insulation between information in our mind. This kind of insulation inside our mind allows us also to understand information coming from a slightly different mind without losing our proper nature.

8.2 Nature of information, nature of induration.

Two information elements interact faster or slower depending on the insulation between them. Complex information structures are composed out of a number of elements. These elements are also information and interact of course with each other spontaneously.

This interaction causes a reduction of the differences between the components. This leads necessary to the collapse of the information structure (death).

The speed of this interaction and by this the life time of the structure depends on the internal insulation between the elements. Building this internal insulation requires energy. The more energy is spend in the internal insulation structure, the longer the information can survive before it will collapse by internal deterioration. This is how energy is used for induration.

8.3 Pairs of opposites.

Information can be described as an organization of insulation between smaller information elements. The smaller information elements are again such organizations. This goes on down to the smallest information elements which are pairs of opposites.

A pair of opposites is "nothing" separated by insulation. The poles of the pair have only a meaning because of the difference of insulation between each pole and some external elements. This difference of insulation is a mapping of the abstract element to concrete elements of the environment.

From this point of view, information can entirely be described as an organization of insulation.

8.4 Insulation and time.

Insulation and time are very closely related.

The survival of an information structure depends on the amount of insulation between its components. In this context, we can consider the insulation as some packed time between the elements. After expiring of the time, the structure collapses.

Insulation increases the time required for an interaction between information structures.

Nations develop different cultures. The more insulation between the nations, the less interaction between the cultures exist and the larger the differences can be.

8.5 Vertical insulation.

Abstract information is linked to its instantiation through the mapping. However, it is essential for the abstract information to keep some distance from the instantiation. Because this is an insulation between different levels of abstraction, I have called it "vertical insulation."

Abstract information abstracts experience from different instantiations. Vertical insulation, protects the abstract information from a too profound impression of one particular instantiation.

During the existence of an instantiation, the vertical insulation varies. In later chapters we will return several times to the use of this. In a number of cases, the vertical insulation increases for a longer time or permanently. The instantiation becomes then a mechanism separated from its origin. In many cases, the separated instantiation can survive for some time.

A machine built by an engineer can function for some time without contact with the engineer. As long the external conditions do not change, or the internal deterioration does not destroys the mechanism, it can go on operating.

When an abstract element propagates while it is instantiated to a concrete form, the form propagates without copying all abstract information. This offspring is (vertically) insulated from its abstract origin.

An engineer has a mathematical problem and asks a mathematician for help. The mathematician finds a solution by applying a very abstract theory. Because the application requires only an instantiation of the theory in the context of the problem, the mathematician explains only the instantiated form of the theory. Later on, the engineer can apply the instantiated theory as much as he likes. The theory of the engineer is insulated vertically from its abstract origin.

8.6 Gaining experience.

Vertical insulation allows different instantiations of the same abstract origin to gain experience in different circumstances at the same time without affecting each other permanently via the common abstract origin.

8.7 Short circuit effects.

A sudden reduction of the insulation between information can cause drastic changes which look more like a short circuit rather than the usual interaction.

Imagine two nations separated by an ocean insulating them in an almost perfect way. The two cultures evolve separately. Suddenly one of the cultures develops ships to sail over the ocean. Communication becomes possible. The history of colonization has shown us that such short circuit between cultures can cause very drastic changes.

8.8 Information organization.

Arranging the insulation between elements of information results in an organization of information. The arrangement involves increase or decrease of insulation. By arranging elementary information elements in this way, more complex information structures can be constructed.

An organization of people is a structure defined by a number of communication channels. These channels can be seen as a reduction of the information distance (insulation) between the connected members. Except for the channels, there is a relatively strong insulation between the members.

A classification is an arrangement in which the insulation between some elements is reduced and the insulation between other elements is increased.

Our body can be described as a complex arrangement of insulation between smaller elements. The reduction of the insulation between elements which are not physically close to each other results in pipe alike structures. Such structures like blood vessels, trachea, throat, intestine, nerve fibers, etc. show clearly the decrease of insulation between the connected elements while the insulation from the other elements is maintained by the membranes around the pipe structures.

A pair of opposites can be created by insulating the opposites. The more insulation between the pair of opposites, the stronger the new information element.

8.9 Communication channels.

Because of the active aspect of information and the fact that interaction between information elements depends on the insulation between them, a reduction of insulation between two information elements can be imagined as a communication channel between the elements.

8.10 Mapping.

The mapping of an abstract element on more concrete elements is caused by a reduction of insulation between the abstract elements and the elements upon which it is mapped. These reductions of insulation form intensified communication channels between the abstract element and the elements on which the abstract element is mapped.

Imagine a new pair of opposites separated by some insulation. As long the new pair is well insulated from all concrete elements, it has no concrete meaning.

Reduction of the insulation between one pole and a concrete element and the other pole and another concrete element causes an instantiation of the abstract element. At this time, the abstract element represents the difference between the two concrete elements.

An abstract element which instantiates to concrete elements can be imagined as a being grasping concrete elements. When not instantiated, the abstract element keeps its abstract meaning because the grabbing hands are selective in grabbing information elements with a particular structure.

More in next chapter on Energy

This is Chapter 8; Insulation of Behavior of Information

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

Last updated on Nov 12, 1997